Hello, hope, faith, love family!
I thought I’d make this blog post an informal one. I have been away from my desk lately because I am recovering from COVID, which hit me quite hard and put me out of action for a couple of weeks.
As I was convalescing and thinking about how to restart my work routine, I would have to create a new routine since the circumstances have changed, which I will share with you in my next post.
Being in bed daily, I’ve left my budgeting unchecked and neglected my website and social media. As a result, I have not done any writing, only made a few phone calls and lost interest in anything that I once found very exciting.
Even writing this blog post is challenging. I’ve been thinking about it for several days and now forcing myself to sit down. Still, it was just thinking about doing it when I haven’t quite recovered. I have to refocus my mind completely out of routine and when something used to be just second nature getting out of routine is like you have to almost relearn again since really very strange, whether that’s my dyslexia or just me. Have you experienced a similar thing? If you have, let me know.
I think pain doesn’t allow you to focus on things you want to, and I experienced a lot of joint pain in my COVID experience. Laying in my bed, not knowing what to do with myself, the pain was so intense; my thoughts went to those of you who live with chronic pain, day in and day out. Mine only lasted a week, which caused me a lot of distress, but if you live with chronic pain, I understand it will drive you crazy.
When dealing with chronic pain, one’s whole focus is on how to get through the next hour, indeed, the next minute breathing through the pain. There are many reasons for chronic pain, and I won’t deal with them here. But I want to encourage those experiencing chronic pain and struggling to live with it. I hope to bring you some measure of love and put a smile on your face, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Pain is such a Private and Personal Thing.
As a child in Australia, when one was sick or injured or had some pain, parents and teachers told us to put our socks up and get on with it. As a 17-year-old, I was in the hospital for three days. I had an operation on the soul of my feet because I had a verruca dugout. It was so deep I had about four stitches, and every movement of my foot was excruciating. When the pain got so much I was writhing from side to side in the bed, the nursing staff told me to pull my socks up instead of administering more painkillers. It’ll soon heal. And that is an excellent philosophy to measure because it stops one from feeling sorry for oneself while motivating one to push forward to better things into recovery. However, this attitude is not helpful when living with chronic pain day in and day out, as no matter how often one pulls one’s socks up and tries to get on with them, it never seems to work. We are human beings, and sometimes a little tea and sympathy do not go amiss.
When dealing with pain, your resources get depleted, and you feel exhausted and worn out from thinking about how much pain you’re in. But, unfortunately, when you’re in pain, it does dominate your thinking. It dominates your decisions and lifestyle, even what you eat, what you wear, how you sleep, et cetera, et cetera; living with pain dominates every part of one’s life. And when you try to share how this pain feels with even your closest loved one, it does fall short of what you’re experiencing.
Someone else may be battling chronic pain similar to you, but it’s not the same as your pain. We must understand that every person experiences chronic pain differently; sharing and finding solace through others can be difficult. But when one does find similarities with another, it can help and be of great comfort to you.
Look to join a support group of some sort or therapy group. People share their stories in support groups, so listening to other people’s stories will help you not feel alone. In addition, listening to other people’s experiences will help you realise that others are experiencing something similar and may share tips about coping with day-to-day activities.
For all of us, no matter who we are, healthy or not, networking is such an essential part of our human social experience. Whether we network for work, support or friendship, networking is vital for us to be able to live an integrated, purposeful, and fulfilling life.
I encourage you to ask someone to help you find any support groups in your local area or a group that meets online. However, If you haven’t got anybody to help you, take courage and do the research for yourself when you’re feeling up to it. Of course, this can prove difficult because depression often comes along with chronic pain, and when one is depressed, you don’t want to do anything or try to motivate yourself.
Reaching out to strangers can be scary and problematic, but isolation is the only alternative. Suppose you have got somebody to help you with this. In that case, ask them for their assistance; perhaps you have your local doctor or your local social worker or counsellor who may be able to help and guide you in this.
Making Most of the Good Days
In my younger years, I worked as a nurse. I am an ordained minister of 40 years, hospital chaplain, mental health chaplain, counsellor, and coach. I’ve come across many people with chronic pain who say, ‘today is a good day; yesterday was a terrible day.
I learned a lot from these people. First, they taught me well that making the best of their good days made them as productive as possible. We all need to find meaning and purpose and setting goals to fulfil our dreams is essential.
It’s like the old saying ‘make hay while the sun shines ‘. You never know; tomorrow might be a bad day spending most of your time on bed rest. So if you find yourself with strength and vigour today, use it to do the things you want and need to do.
Here’s a word of caution when you feel better, don’t overdo it because when you feel good, and you feel great, I can do things I haven’t done for a while, and you can go overboard and find that you wish you hadn’t you might you have set yourself back. So, gauge yourself, take it little by a little, and set your daily goals. Make realistic goals. If you don’t complete them, that’s fine when you’ve got another good day to fulfil those goals.
Communicate with Your Loved Ones
I had one child who would never open up and talk to me. I would ask her to come and sit down and have a chat because something was bothering her, and she would reply -‘ you don’t understand.‘ My reply would always be, ‘share it with me; I will try to understand. ‘
She would look at me blankly, shrug her shoulders, repeat the chant- you just don’t understand and walk off. This unsettling behaviour continued through her teenage years and very sadly into adulthood. It hurts when you want to help someone, and they refuse. However, if they give you the benefit of the doubt, they may find that you want to listen to their problems and help them through them.
So, the point of this little story is that please do not ‘presume’ that your loved one does not want to hear about how you’re feeling. Instead, ask, ‘may I share with you how I feel today?‘
It will probably be the wrong time if you suddenly dump all of your mad, bad, sad feelings upon them without any warning. There is a chance that you’ve caught them at the wrong time and are unprepared. They may want to listen to you but can’t listen to you at this particular time. If this happens, you could easily take it as rejection.
People are busy and have a head full of things they have to get done. They have their issues to cope with, so it’s best to ask them if you could about how you’re feeling today. In taking this cautious approach, you’re also respecting their space and time. If your loved ones learn a bit more about what you’re going through and how you feel, they may be more ready to learn how actually to support you. If they don’t want to listen, I am sure that there is somebody else, if not within your family, but a friend that will be there with you and for you through thick and thin.
Keep the Faith
I find it hard to do any form of Bible study devotion or even formal prayers when unwell. However, I do talk to the Lord like I am talking to you; it’s just that I can’t do anything structured and organised, which leaves me exhausted, and my mind is all over the place!
When you are experiencing chronic pain daily, you may find that any form of structured Bible study and prayer may be impossible. Yet, nurturing your faith is essential because, like anything else, it can wane, get weak then eventually disappear through neglect, and you don’t want that.
When you are not up to prayer or Bible study, audiobooks can help. If you have a smart TV or an iPad, signup to Google and download the YouTube app, it’s completely free, and you will get unlimited access to YouTube.
On YouTube, you will find audiobooks, hundreds of Christian audiobooks and indeed fiction or any other books that you want to listen to. You will also find the Holy Bible, sermons, Bible studies, prayers, and more. In addition, you will find the complete audiobooks of the Old and New Testaments. Even if it is for 10 or 15 minutes a day, listen to the Bible and allow it to soak over you. If you are alert enough, take a few notes as you hear the person narrate whatever part of the Bible you’re listening to. Don’t forget to ask your Pastor or Christian friends to pray for and support you.
Don’t Give Up
I’ve already shared that I’ve ministered to many suffering from chronic pain syndrome. In my observations, once a person gives up on themselves, gives up hope of any remedy, or stops learning how to cope with their pain, they begin a deep downward spiral.
Don’t allow your circumstances to overwhelm you to the point where you don’t want to carry on living and withdraw from people and society.
People with chronic pain often self-medicate once they’re in a lonely state. When there is no one around you to love and support you, addiction can develop very quickly. Before you know it, you can be addicted to prescription drugs, alcohol, or even illicit drugs to cope with the pain. Addiction is just a big, endless pit of horror that is deeper than you realise and challenging to get out of – so I encourage you not to go there in the first place.
You’re Stronger Than You Think
Don’t give up on your ability to find your way through this; you are far more potent than you think. And for those of you who have faith in God through the Lord Jesus Christ as you call out to God, he will strengthen you and help you to find that you have got ideas and the motivation to fulfil those ideas to be able to help you to live a more fulfilling life.
Facing the mountains in our lives can be difficult. Any sickness, whether associated with pain or not, is a horrible place. When we accept our situation, we find a way to cope with the condition. I’ve seen folk who have struggled against their situation and refused to accept their condition are more likely to slip into depression because they will not face the reality of what they are experiencing.
Even though I walk through the valley of the Shadow of Death
If you want more help on this subject, pick up a copy of my book on Psalm 23, Unwrapped by Paula Rose Parish, from Amazon.
You can get Psalm 23 Unwrapped in paperback, and I am now editing it to create the Kindle book, which will be available on Amazon soon.
I have taken Psalm 23 verse by verse and unwrapped its meaning to help you get through your valley of the shadow of death. Father God says that ‘even though I walk through the valley of the shadow’ – in other words, when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
God never said that you would find never experience the valley nor avoid the valley, go around it, or pretend it’s not there. God didn’t say- confess it away, pray it away!
No- God is even though you walk through the valley, Father God is with you, walking with you. God is there to bring comfort, healing, and strength. Psalm 23 Unwrapped explains how to journey through that dark valley into restoration.
Well, thank you for reading this blog post. I hope it was helpful to you. If it was, please like it, and if you haven’t already, please subscribe to this blog so you can get updates every time I post.
Until the next blog post or a video, God bless you and remember to live life on purpose in hope, faith, and love.
Paula Rose Parish💕