Taking ownership of pain, a blessing not a curse

When it comes to chronic pain, the matter has clearly been bothering you for a while. You have been coping with pain for at least 6 months, sometimes even years. It is very likely that you feel sad, anxious and maybe even angry for the disruption that pain has brought into your life.

At this point, it might look like it is somebody’s fault that this is not going away. You might be blaming your physicians for not having had successfully been able to cure the pain, or maybe even blame your family members and loved ones for not doing anything to help you, or because of not showing an understanding or empathy about your problem. You may even find the society and your job to blame for causing the situation that put you in pain in the first place, and for not making it easier for you to seek help.

It is tempting to feel that others are to blame for the pain and that it is their responsibility for taking it away. People often put their lives on hold while they are waiting for doctors, family members, even society at large to do something.

There is one major problem with this way of thinking and that is it only prolongs your sense of powerlessness. It makes you feel out of control and at the mercy of others. It sometimes even leads to distortions in thoughts such as: “nobody cares how much I am hurting, or no one can do anything for me, I am all alone in this.”

It turns out that when you take ownership of your own pain , suddenly this feeling of powerlessness can turn into a feeling of being in power, being in charge of things. But now you might be thinking: so I’m responsible for my pain, I am the one to blame? And that is precisely what Is not being implied by taking up ownership of your pain. As you know, self blame, guilt and anger can be paralyzing emotions, they can make you feel so out of sorts, so hopeless that there would seem to be no point in doing anything at all. Taking ownership of your pain means acknowledging that you are a worthwhile person, that there is a point in doing something, and that you do have choices. It is very different than blaming yourself.

By taking ownership of the pain, you get to be the captain of the ship, the one that makes all the decisions about your lifestyle, how much and what kind, you are the boss of your body and in charge of your health.

For more information on managing chronic pain successfully, write or call me at www.medicalpsychologyservice.com or 831-621-1150.

Have a blissful moment.

This service is provided by Dr. Katie Dashtban, Psy.D.

Katie defines her role as a psychologist as one who holds a guiding light, while her patients choose the turns in this maze we call life. In her practice, Katie refrains from offering advice, but instead helps her patients overcome obstacles that cause emotional suffering, and shows them tools to use when deciding on the desired changes in their lives.