The Emotional Turmoil of CRPS
Coping with Suffering and Emotional Turmoil
There is so much to talk about in this section and I am continuing to work on it, but this is what I have so far:
Pain and suffering come hand in hand but are not one and the same.
The amount we suffer can manifest in lots of different ways. It can cause emotional distress that in turn can feed the physical pain. So how do we reduce the suffering we experience? Now you may think that this sounds stupid that we can chose how much we suffer. Of course no one chooses to suffer nor do they choose to be in pain, and do we really have any control over how much we suffer? Well actually we do. And what is more by reducing what we are suffering can in turn reduce both the amount of physical and emotional pain we experience.
Suffering = Pain + Resistance.
The more we resist the situation the harder being in the present is and the more we fuel the suffering. I really have experienced this first hand and have also experienced and benefitted astoundingly from learning to accept the situation I am in. I am very aware this is much easier to say now that I am well into my recovery, whilst in low low moments during flare ups it is much more difficult. But the less we can resist the situation the easier it is to accept it and the less we suffer. This doesn't mean resist as in give in to it. It means resist fighting where you are at the moment and willing it to change. Don't worry if this seems extremely daunting or incredibly ridiculous at first, I am sure I felt both of these, but try and stay open minded. I read a number of good books that helped me get to grips with these concepts, 'The power of Now' - Eckhart Tolle and 'Man's Search for Meaning' by Viktor Frankl are to name a couple but I have included more recommended reads in the 'Books, audio and links' Tab at the top of the page.
For a long while I was very angry at the situation I found myself in. I was angry at the doctors for missing my fracture, when I should of had a cast for 6 weeks some gradual rehab and back on the hockey pitch, walking up hills and cycling miles in no time, but no, here I was up in this awful situation. I was also angry with the doctors for not believing me when I kept going back saying it wasn't right ''ligaments take time, you have to be patient''. More than everything else I was angry at the unfairness of the situation. I remember telling my story to people and the anger bubbling up inside. But keeping hold of this it was not helpful at all. In fact completely counter productive. Especially as these intense emotions fed into driving the pain.
Many things in life are out of our control and being mad at the situation does not help that situation to be resolved. I first had to learn to accept where I am right now and use this as my starting platform to get better. One of the things that help me let go of this was writing a letter to the doctors responsible for my care at the time (I never intended to send it) but it was a chance to get out and write down exactly how I felt I had been treated and how unfair this was. I then ripped it into lots of little pieces and burnt it. I think it helped. I also found meditation, yoga and relaxation exersizes helpful. All I can say here is try and let go of your anger; it is not helpful for anyone and particularly for those of us with CRPS as I am completely sure these strong emotions feed into the pain.
Exersize is great for low mood. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. These brilliant chemicals in teh brain also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energising outlook on life. What is great it doesn't have to be strenuous exersise either. A gentle walk to the shops, a light swim, yoga, ti chi or whatever you fancy that involves movement is great.
Accepting the situation id really reallly difficult. When you are in a really tough place it is so hard not to think how unfair this is and how you don't want to be here. The problem Suffering = Pain + Resistance. Take away some of the resisitance and the suffering reduces. I didn't start getting better untill I stopped fighting the situation and started to accept that.
It is going to take time to get better! But do not be disheartened because it is possible!!
Anxiety, Fear, Guilt, letting go of Independance and much more coming soon!!