How To Use Chronic Pain to Your Advantage
The chronic pain I deal with has taught me to be very conscious of what I say yes to. I used to be a chronic people pleaser - I would say yes to everything, whether it aligned with my happiness or not. I was afraid if I said no I wouldn’t be liked or that not saying yes or not doing something would make me unlovable. Serious FOMO, but in such a way that it was tied to my worthiness.
Now, nearly everything I do causes debilitating pain. The more I do, the worse the pain is. For the first couple years of suffering from it I coped by doing nothing except laying on the couch. It led to serious depression PLUS was making my anxiety and feelings of unworthiness almost more unbearable than the physical pain. Now, I use the pain as a tool and have learned to use it to my advantage.
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Is This Worth It?
I've now lived through both extremes, saying “yes” then “no” to all the things. Now, instead of reacting from a place of fear I check in with myself. I ask myself if doing this thing is worth the pain I will be in afterwards. Will it light me up, help my mental health, or add enough value to my life that I won’t regret how much physical suffering I will have after? It's a filter for deciding what truly matters to me.
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I’ve been noticing the things I say yes to have much more to do with exploring, playing, and connecting. I say no to a lot of work related things, especially when I need to rest. It’s helped me whittle down my business to keep me on track (because I have a LOT of ideas & it’s hard to not want to do all of them, all at once). It’s helped me cut out obligations, the “shoulds" and the shame. It’s even led me to cut out people, especially when they made my mental health suffer - because that’s defs linked to the pain. It doesn’t happen in a bubble friends. It’s all related.