Chronic pain doesn’t just literally hurt. It takes a toll on our mental health as well. Some of the ways it affects *my* mental health are:
- One of my chronic pain conditions (fibromyalgia) actually has mental health symptoms! These include depression and anxiety.
- I get sad and/or frustrated about what I miss out on. This includes things I can no longer do because of my chronic pain conditions, such as running. It also includes missing out on social opportunities or not being able to fully participate in things.
- It’s stressful and discouraging to feel like I’m “ruining it” for others because of my limitations. It’s also socially awkward to not be able to sit for any duration like able-bodied people (I have a sitting disability due to arthritis and one particularly terrible disc in my lower back). I feel like people may be staring when I stand up at meetings or think I’m unprofessional if I’m lying down during virtual meetings.
- It’s frustrating when people just don’t get it.
- I feel like people don’t believe me and think I’m being dramatic or wimpy or otherwise judge me.
- Sometimes I feel unworthy, or just *less.* I think I’m undateable, even. Sometimes. (Then I remember: 16 Reasons People With Chronic Illness Make Great Partners)
- And I just get depressed sometimes that this is it. This is my reality. And it can be really, really crappy and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.
To go along with my November 13, 2020 online event for The Mighty (titled same as this blog entry), I’ve compiled this list of articles and resources from their site and mine to help you manage the mental health effects of chronic pain. (And I can always use these reminders myself!)
Start with Splat
Here’s my entire page of Splat (definitely check out the Impact Map; it really helps; the Splatvocate Map is also worth a look if you’ve got a close somebody): TalkingSplat.com
One iteration of my Splat explanation as published by The Mighty: An Easy New Way to Talk About Pain (and Why We Should)
Very similar is my first-ever article on The Mighty, which is when I introduced Splat to this audience: The System I Developed to Explain the Ever-Changing Severity of My Symptoms
And here’s my Mighty article about my Splatquake Kit, which you should totally do! What’s in My ‘Splatquake’ Kit for Bad Days With Chronic Illness … or read about it on my blog here: You Need a Splatquake Kit!
This is a great supplement to the Impact Map, which is helpful for mental health: Using “Little Things” to Keep Up with Life
In case you missed it, I did this Facebook Live event for The Mighty for Pain Awareness Month and talked about Splat some: Keeping a Routine When Your Pain Won’t
Ideas from Mighties
The Mighty reached out to our audience and asked what are our favorite products to help our mental health, and I compiled this article about them: 15 Products That Help People With Chronic Illness Manage Their Mental Health
Mental Health Hacks from the Blog
These are my favorite blog articles I wrote with my tips and tools to help manage my mental health in the midst of chronic pain and chronic illness:
- 4 Ways I Reset My Optimism During a Flare
- Start, Drive, and Be Done
- Refresh Your Hardships with a “First Day of School”
- 8 Ideas to Amplify Healing
- 9 Simple Ways to Brighten Your Mood
- 11 Things to Do When Feeling Utterly Morose (That are Zero Help, but Whatever)
- My 3-Item “Reset Mantra” When Legit Trying is Too Hard (You may need to read this first: What’s Your Purpose?)
- (#) Things Since (Terrible Thing)
- A 3-Spot Check-In
- Weathering Your Epic Storm … on a Ship [“FEED YOUR ANIMALS!!!”]
- Why Their Opinion of You Doesn’t Matter
- My Easy Daily Journal
- Salvage Your Pandemic Calendar with Theme Days
- Mantra Checkpoints for Impossible Days
Works for Me Every Time
I made this 10-minute movie about my greatest adventure ever. It cheers me up every time I watch it. It might cheer you up, too, because it’s fun and there’s a dog. Also, it features one of my favorite go-to tricks to get myself through a gloom [“GET LOST!”]: Amicasmells.com