Chronic or Catastrophic Illness

Do You Feel Emotionally Burdened with Chronic Pain?

 Are you persistently worried about the state of your health? Perhaps you’ve received a diagnosis that’s bringing on feelings of fear, confusion, and anger. You may have doubts about being able to cope, and you may be preoccupied with sensations of grief and disbelief, especially if this diagnosis was recent, and you’ve always been healthy.

 It’s possible you are in a state of physical or emotional pain that feels constant and unyielding. You may be experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety, such as sleeplessness and fatigue. You might be saddened and worried about your family’s future and financial stability. You may have lost trust in your body and are feeling anxious and afraid.

 It’s possible you don’t feel like yourself anymore. Do you feel forced to organize all of your activities around this illness? Maybe you are spending an inordinate amount of time at doctor’s appointments, experiencing unpleasant side effects from medication, or isolating yourself from loved ones.

 You might feel fear around your future, and a lack of trust for your doctors. You may even feel like a burden to family and friends. As your body changes, you may experience anger or sadness over not being able to exercise or do chores, run errands, and manage the routine of your life . If you’re no longer able to complete tasks that were once easy, you may be asking yourself: Where is my life as I knew it before?

 By now, you are probably looking for relief— not only from the fatigue but from the mental chatter and dissociation from your core self. You may even be looking for ways to soothe the pain that feels unbearable.

 You Are Not Alone

 Living with chronic illness is extraordinarily common. In fact, according to the National Health Council, 40 million Americans struggle with some kind of chronic illness or disorder.[1]

 It is perfectly natural to experience fear, grief and anger when coping with chronic illness. It can bring on anxiety, confusion, and anger, along with doubts about your future.

 Many people experience a sense of initial disbelief. The search for acceptance is a challenge that many people have to face.

 Unsettling news of any kind can make people feel isolated and frantic. If you’re feeling like this, you’re not crazy, and you’re not alone. You are strong for bearing this burden, and you are wise for seeking support. At Pathways to Wellness, we have been on a similar journey at times in our lives. We deeply empathize with your suffering.

 Chronic Pain Therapy Can Empower Your Wellness

“A burden shared is a burden lightened.” —Proverb

At Pathways to Wellness, you will find a collaborative, highly trained, multi-specialty collective of therapists, all of whom approach each case individually. We take a compassionate approach to your unique experience.

We understand that pain and catastrophic illness can come unexpectedly in life and how confusing it can be, especially at first. We have all experienced different combinations of chronic and catastrophic illness, and we know how important it is to work through shame, grief and loss. As knowledgeable and empathetic therapists, we can help you challenge limiting beliefs and thoughts about your illness.

 We are trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a scientifically backed method for re-processing the internal experience of your pain. By using bilateral stimulation, this technique can help you access and re-configure patterns of experience, establishing a healthier relationship between you and your body. It is especially useful for relieving episodes of acute chronic pain.

 Because the body and mind are intricately connected, we may equip you with relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, that can help relieve suffering. Deep breathing has been shown to strengthen immune health and manage stress.[1]

 Mindfulness training is another useful approach to chronic pain management. This includes mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and gentle, fluid movement. We might ask you to keep a pain journal, or to share your inner narrative about your pain. Being present can help you access a more aware and compassionate part of yourself and recognize any distorted beliefs, so you can finally let them go.

 We also encourage the use of emotional support animals. We are especially fond of our two adorable dogs, Dudley and Ollie. Research shows that when a person and a dog meaningfully gaze at each other, there is a rise in oxytocin in both beings.[2] Oxytocin is a hormone that stimulates happiness and healthy social bonding.

 We know that coping with chronic illness is a daily struggle. And you aren’t alone. Together, we can help you reconnect with yourself and improve your quality of life.

 You may still have questions or concerns about chronic pain therapy…

 I’ve heard that therapy is expensive.

 Finding emotional stability and comfort in your body can actually save you money. When you feel grounded and capable, you’ll notice fewer medical bills.

Not only that, but you deserve support. You are worthy of health and hope. There is a priceless value in being able to pursue the life you want.

 Are you going to tell me it’s all in my head?

Absolutely not. There is nothing that you should or could have done differently. What’s more, we can help you use the power of your mind to your advantage. For example, mindfulness meditation has been proven to directly strengthen the immune system, decrease stress, and reduce pain.

Therapy won’t help my pain.

It’s normal to doubt that anything will make a difference. Our thoughts and feelings can be overwhelming at times. Therapy can help you sort through those scary thoughts and find the sources of strength and support that you need.

We invite you to call us at 714-432-9856 to set up an appointment so you can start to feel better!