Chronic pain is not an easy thing to live with. It can have a devastating impact on life as we know it and can leave us feeling fragile, anxious and at times, hopeless.
Hope is an interesting thing. We often don’t pay much attention to hope until we begin to feel it slip away from our grasp. Hope is a delicate balance of want and expectation. In the early stages of chronic pain, we tend to have high hopes that something will cure the pain and that the damage can be fixed. We expect to go back to our normal life before the pain was a part of it. This is what we desire.
For some, the battle with chronic pain is a long and exhausting one. After countless appointments, diagnosis, treatments and trials of medications to manage the pain, the expectation diminishes, and we are left merely wanting to “get better”. This disrupts the delicate balance that is hope, and we are left with only the desire without the expectation. The desire can become the entire focus. It can lead to frustration, anger, depression and eventually hopelessness.
It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of chronic pain patients suffer from depression and anxiety. Losing hope and even worse, losing the will to hope can leave you feeling vulnerable to developing a depressed mood.
Changing the expectation can reignite the hope for someone who cannot see the light at the end of the chronic pain tunnel. It may not be reasonable for all chronic pain sufferers to expect that the pain will one day dissolve and they will have their old lives back. Instead, by making the expectation to have a better quality of life despite the pain, and truly having the desire to achieve this, your hope can be reestablished in you and in those around you. Expectations such as better relationships with family and friends who are guiding you through your pain, a better outlook on life and seeing the positive through all of the negatives that chronic pain has to offer can all lead to a new found hope in your chronic pain journey.
Taking the time to speak with a professional can help you regain perspective and can be one of the first steps to reigniting your hope. It was once thought that the level of pain could be measured by the damage to the body. We now know that chronic pain is a complicated thing riddled with unique complexities. The level of pain is dependent on a number of factors including mental health. Chronic pain can have an impact on self-image and self- worth. Pain can also lead to new physical limitations, leaving you feeling as though you have lost control of your body. It can be frustrating and disheartening. Depression is common in chronic pain sufferers and seeking professional help can be the key to seeing the beauty in the world around you while living with chronic pain.
With chronic pain, your world may not change much from the outside, but hoping to give the pain a less important role in your life can change the world from inside of you.