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How To Improve Your Mental Health If You Live With Pain


May is Mental Health Awareness Month! When you live with chronic pain people often see how it affects you physically but typically don’t see how it affects your mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health because if you have poor mental health it can affect everything you do but often is not taken as seriously as physical health. When you live with constant pain telling people that they need to be happier is a lot easier said than done because sometimes you have to stop doing things that you once enjoyed which makes some people get depressed and crave their old life. People that live with pain are more likely to get depressed than those without pain because their quality of life tends to go down due to the lack of energy which can make some people really sad and depressed. Mental health can be a challenge for many people with chronic pain but it is so important, especially for those who are struggling with their health because it’s not just about the physical pain but it’s emotional too. In this post, I am going to talk about how you can improve your mental health if you live with chronic pain and are struggling.

Get a therapist– Therapy is expensive and is not an option for all disabled people because sometimes insurance companies do not cover therapy unless you are in a crisis situation and not everyone is. Therapy is common for people who live with pain because it can be hard to come to terms with the fact your pain is not going away and sometimes you need someone to talk to about it. if you live with pain and are struggling with your mental health get a therapist or talk to a friend who understands the mental aspects of pain because it can be nice to have someone to vent to about it that will listen to you that will not tell you that you need to see the bright side of things. There is no shame in therapy but sometimes it’s necessary for people who live with pain need a therapist to help them cope.

Try to not focus on things pain takes from you– Before I lived with chronic pain I did a lot of things that I no longer do because it makes my pain worse. When you live with pain often people try to get you to do a lot of things but don’t realize how much pain takes from you and that sometimes you can’t do what you once loved. It is normal to crave your old life but sometimes people tend to focus on things that they used to be able to do without pain because you may want to do those things again. I sometimes wish I could do things in the same capacity I used to be able to but the reality is my pain changes things and I can’t do a lot of the activities I used to be able to do before chronic pain. It is okay to want to do things that people without pain can do but try to not dwell on everything your pain takes from you because those things are not a reality for you and can get depressing to think about all the things you wish you could do. Find new activities that you can do with minimal pain instead of focusing on all the things you can’t do because when you focus on all the things other people can do that you can’t it makes you more depressed.

Try to not feel guilty for saying no– When you live with chronic pain or any kind of disability sometimes you can start to feel guilty for needing more help and having to quit your job for less pain. Chronic pain is something that happens to some people and you can kind of manage it but it’s not in your full control and you should not feel guilty about saying no to people. I know I have struggled with guilt as a disabled person like most of us have but I try to remind myself that asking for help does not make you a burden or inconvenience to people but sometimes it’s necessary. Disabled people will naturally need more help than abled-bodied people because of our disabilities and that is okay but you shouldn’t feel guilty about things you cannot control.

Do some yoga or meditate– Exercise can help manage pain for some people but it can be hard to motivate yourself to do it because if done wrong exercise can also worsen the pain. I would never suggest that you can exercise your pain away because a lot of the time you can’t but if you can a lot of people with chronic pain swear by light exercise such as Yoga. Personally I do very minimal Yoga because a lot of Yoga moves are impossible with a physical disability but I have found some Yoga stretches helpful. If you can’t exercise try meditating because although in most cases you can’t mediate pain away sometimes it can help improve your mental health. Meditation does not work for me as an individual because my anxiety makes me think about my to-do list and I would rather lift weights for less stress but don’t knock it until you try it.

Talk with people who get pain– Friends and family are great support systems for people with chronic pain or disability but in most cases, friends and family only get pain to a certain extent because you can’t fully understand something you have never experienced. I love my family but I don’t typically have conversations with them about my pain levels are my disability in general because sometimes you make it obvious that you don’t get it. Chronic pain can sometimes feel isolating because not everyone in your life will get pain which is why it’s important to find a community. It doesn’t have to be someone that has your disability who has your disability but it can be helpful to talk to people in person or online that has some understanding of what you are going through. Friends and family often want to be supportive of a loved one’s but sometimes they are not as supportive as they think they are because they have not personally experienced it and often will not give the best advice. Community is so important for bettering your mental health and the best way to do that is by talking with people who understand.

Surround yourself with positive people– I am very guilty of hanging out with people that are negative who only care about themselves to have more people to talk to because as a disabled it’s harder to make friends than it is for able-bodied people. We all want a large group of friends but that is not a reality for most disabled because people tend to judge you based on what they see and sometimes you became desperate and will be friends with literally anyone. . Be picky with the people you hang out with because having a large group of friends isn’t necessarily better for you but sometimes it can be worse for your mental health. I am now very picky with the people I hang out with and don’t care if I have only one or two friends because I want people that support my goals. The people you hang out with matters because if you are hanging out with people that are overly negative it can rub off on you and that is not something you want or need in a friendship.

Improve your selftalk– When was the last time you looked in the mirror and called yourself ugly or fat? I know as humans we can be very hard on ourselves and say things about ourselves that we would never say to someone else. Improve your self-talk and start saying positive affirmations about yourself if you have a bad habit of bringing yourself done because if you wouldn’t call your best friend ugly you shouldn’t say that about yourself. Positive affirmations can sometimes feel silly and a waste of times but for some people it does help change the way you view yourself.

Get a pet– I do not have any because I still live at home but if I lived alone I’d probably get a service dog to make my life easier and support my mental health. Many people with pain who struggle with their mental health have pet because emotional support animals have been shown to help people with depression.

When you live with pain sometimes your mental health takes a hit because what a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s not just about the physical pain but it affects your emotional health as well. Some people prioritize their workouts more than their mental health but both of these things should be equally important because when your mental health is poor it doesn’t make you want to do anything. When you are disabled it is common for people to struggle with their mental health because we live in a world that is designed for abled people and it’s okay to admit that you need help. Don’t wait until you are in a mental health crisis before you seek out support because you deserve to be happy but won’t be until you are honest about the true state of your mental health. Mental illness is invisible and sometimes you don’t know who in your family is struggling with depression because some people hide it well but don’t be that person who says depression is just sadness. People want to always do things that their families approve of and often will stay silent if they think their loved ones wouldn’t approve which can be dangerous for people who need professional help. How do you take care of your mental health when you live with pain?

Reminder: This post are some of the things I do to improve my mental health while living with chronic pain but I am not a doctor and it should be used for informational use only and is not substitute for individual medical care or advice.

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