“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
Most people with chronic pain also have anxiety and/or depression. Some do not know which came first the anxiety or the pain: you know the whole chicken and egg theory that is way overused! I know what came first for me: anxiety. I have had anxiety since I was my daughter’s age and she just turned five. I had many reasons to be worried at a young age and sadly they followed me into my teens and adulthood. My bike accident and subsequent chronic pain did not help my anxiety at all. Doubly whammy! Anxiety and chronic pain are a vicious cycle that one has to find an end to. Increased anxiety leads to increased pain and increased pain leads to increased anxiety. The fear of pain and anxiety is often times worse than the pain or anxiety itself. People who do not have chronic pain notice physical affects of worrying and stress. People complain of headaches when extra stressed, stomach aches when anxious events occur in their lives, and a multitude of other ailments (all acute.) The body and mind are so connected we forget the affect worry has on our chronic pain.
Yes, I have come to an amazing point in my journey with chronic pain and have been m managing it naturally for years. However, I still have a lot of problems with anxiety and spend more time worrying about things than anyone should. I have noticed lately that I find myself focusing more on my pain as I have begun to worry more about things. I have not conquered chronic pain and do not plan on conquering my habit of worrying but I am going to do something about it. My daughter and I were in Barnes and Noble this past weekend and a book randomly jumped out at me: “The End of Worry” by Will Van Der Hart and Rod Waller. I have been finding time to read each chapter carefully and with an open mind each day. I read it slowly with my trusty highlighter and do the exercises it asks of me at the end of each chapter. I am thirty five years old. I allowed chronic pain to steal ten years of my life and I am damned it I am going to allow my unhealthy habit of worrying steal more of my time than it already has. I am tired of complaining about my anxieties and I want to feel in control of my own happiness. I believe that anxiety is not only stealing my joy and peace of mind but keeping me from fulfilling the dreams I am determined to make come true.
No one is in charge of your happiness, health, or peace but you. No one is going to save you. Life is not a fairy tale or one of the sappy movies that I am in love with. With that said we all need a support system and to be around people who can understand what we are going through. We all need love and support. However, it is up to you and me to take charge of our lives. You deserve to feel empowered and filled with peace and joy. Those of us with chronic pain have a lot of crap on our plate and I have found a way to live a happy life despite pain but I am exhausted from living with this anxiety. I am tired of worrying about worrying and now it is time I do something about it.