Please help us celebrate our “blogaversary”! PainCamp.com started on July 12, 2012. So yep, that means that we’re 5 years old! So much has changed in the past 5 years, but a lot has stayed the same. How do you celebrate your anniversaries related to chronic pain?
I (Jen) decided to write this post even though it is a day late. That is pretty much the nature of living with chronic pain. I am following through though, and I have decided that I am celebrating a milestone, and I want to celebrate it with you! For me, this is a sign of moving from surviving to thriving.
When I first started this blog, my goal was to help others move on from places of desperation, frustration, and depression. That is why my very first post on this blog was written to explain the most common types of depression. I also chose that topic because I was struggling with the depression that came along with chronic pain. I had been living in survival mode for about a year, and had started to see some hope after going to a chronic pain rehabilitation program.
My goal was to continue to share my journey from surviving to thriving. It still is. Even though I don’t write much, as I’ve been busy with other projects, I still want to hand off some inspiration. Part of sharing my journey requires being honest with where I am at 5 years later.
What is the same?
Here is some honest truth with what I still struggle with 5 years after starting this blog. Granted, everything has improved overall, but there are still “those days” where I have a lot of opportunities to practice all of my skills!
- I still struggle with pacing, managing my energy, and occasionally “over-doing it” (Type A)
- Physical therapy exercises? Sometimes I slack off (sorry to my most favorite physical therapist ever!)
- Irritability when pain is really high. Check. Still an issue occasionally (per my spouse)
- Once in a while, I have to cancel plans. This drudges up old feelings of guilt and shame.
- I have stayed anonymous. I have struggled with this because I want to fight stigma. However, I also regard some of my story as sacred and precious. It is important for me to know that my readers understand that this is not personal. I know that I would probably be a lot more approachable and personable if I “came out into the open”. However, I have not been ready to make that leap due to my profession. I may some day. For now, thank you for your continued respect! I’m a real person. 🙂
What is different?
I like to celebrate the small victories as well as the big ones. Any movement forward is improvement. This is a life long journey!
- My diet has improved! I am still gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, grain-free, etc. I aim for an anti-inflammatory diet. When I slip on this, boy do I feel it!
- I have changed my work environment for the better! Part of the reason I don’t post as much as I would like on this blog is that I have been slowly taking my career down a different path. I’ve been in a long and slow transition and progression. In fact, 3 months ago, I started my own business. When I started this blog 5 years ago, I would have NEVER predicted that this is where I would be! I am actually working more than full time hours with the new business (hence the ongoing issues with pacing and energy conservation!).
- I know this will sound made up, but there are actually days where I FORGET that I have chronic pain. I still am in pain, but I have worked very hard at retraining my brain to “forget” and “ignore” the signals. It has not been easy.
- Even more off the wall, guess what, there are actual days when I am NOT IN PAIN! I don’t understand it. I freak out too when I say at the end of the day, “wow! Today was pain free!”. Granted, this happens only about 1x a month. But I will take it!
- I don’t struggle with depression anymore. I am not 100% free and clear of it, and it can come and go based on situational issues, but I do not struggle with it on a daily basis. Even with the pain and days of flaring. I think this is due to having more hope. The more that I live my life, regardless of the pain, the more hope that I feel.
- I have gratitude. I can even find gratitude for the pain.
Five years after starting this blog, I realize that things have changed. They can improve if you keep working at it. Keep track in a journal. Take pictures. Revisit old emails. Look for the ways that you have changed in your ability to cope with your pain. What small victories have you seen? What are your large victories? How can you celebrate in the moment today?