When you are living with chronic pain your life is turned upside down. It can affect every area of your life, family, friends, financial, housing, career, social, hobbies, fun activities, self-esteem, sense of purpose and finally sense of hope.
You might feel like you are on high alert unable to relax because of the pain. You may feel judged, misunderstood, frustrated, angry, sad and many more emotions that affect your sense of self. You may have the impression that others think you are making it up, which can even have you questioning yourself. “Is it all in my head?” Many people with chronic pain state that their pain is all consuming and in control of their lives. It can be very unpredictable causing you fear and anxiety, which slowly limits your activities more and more. Completely understandable.
How can counselling and CBT help?
Cognitive behavioural therapy. What affects the body, affect the mind and what affects the mind affects the body.
Have you ever had a physical reaction to someone telling you a story? Someone tells you about scratching nails across a blackboard. You automatically want to cover your ears. Someone telling you in detail what it was like to bit into a sour lemon. You can find your cheek react and have an increase of saliva in your mouth. Perhaps someone is telling you about being kicked in the “xxxx”. Most men cover themselves and can have a physical reaction to the story. How about when you are lying in your bed at 3 and hurting? The pain is your only focus and it is all consuming. At another time, after a good night sleep you might be enjoying a visit with a loved one playing a game and your pain is lighter. The pain is real but it is processed in the brain. Just like someone telling you a story it can give you a physical reaction, your conscious and unconscious thoughts & behaviours have a direct impact on your pain level.
Cognitive behavioural therapy helps you change the sense of powerlessness you may feel about the impact your pain has on your life. It can have you learn new coping strategies that calm down your nervous system that in turn reduces your pain. It can improve your quality of life and even have you enjoying things that you thought you would never be able to enjoy again. It does this by changing what chemicals your brain releases into your system such as norepinephrine and serotonin. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters and they can either be inhibitory or excitatory. So either calming your brain and system or increasing stress.
CBT is an all natural way of reducing your pain and getting your dreams back.