Compassion is the New Chronic Pain Managment

FEATUREDCHRONIC PAIN

Shilynn Marshall

7/25/20232 min read

Exploring Frequently Asked Questions About Chronic Pain Healing in Today's Blog:

  • Why does practicing self-compassion even matter?

  • If I was born with chronic pain, how can anything change it?

  • What do I do if the self-compassion isn't enough?

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I hope you are doing splendid today and have a warm drink to accompany you during today's discussion. Today marks a special moment, as you read this blog post, because I am going to teach you a life hack I wish I learned two decades ago.

T​he average person experiences some form of phyical pain in their life, however for some, this is a life-long battle. Take myself for example, I was born with a grocery list of abnormalities, and rare conditions- I was often gawked at growing up because people couldn't understand how I was even walking at times, let alone still smiling. Lucky for you, I will share my #1 secret with you to find instant relief from chronic pain too.

I​ have naturally always been a thankful person in life. Even when I had my two neck surgeries and missed out on a lot of growing up, I always managed to find joy in watering my inner garden.

I'd like to start with a common question I am often asked:

Why does practicing self compassion even matter?

If you were anything like me, who grew up as a minority, you will know that self-compassion more than likely is avoided in all conversation. Many of us are raised to be "hard," this is how our parents were taught, and how their parents adapted to protect themselves.

A​lthough there are some positives for puting up a shield from the world to hide your truth, there are hidden downsides too, especially in the contents of chronic pain.

  • L​iving our life numb and hiding from (self) compassion actually makes everything more difficult. You begin to view everything as a potential danger, this alone is enough to manifest long-term chronic pain.

  • W​hen you live life on defense, you miss the opportunity to value the beauty in life and the beauty inside of you. When you don't value the beauty in you, your self-esteem suffers too. This often leads to depression, and this makes it harder to take care of your body properly.

  • S​tudies have shown that increased cortisol levels in the body for prolonged amounts of time can lead to heart disease, as well as a decrease in overall well-being. The thoughts we think have a direct link to our quality of life.

woman sitting down on porch beside body of water
woman sitting down on porch beside body of water

Main Points

  1. Avoiding self-compassion actually makes managing mental health more difficult.

  2. A​ lack of self-compassion leads to a low self-esteem.

  3. S​tudies prove having a negative mindset leads to a lower quality of life.

woman in white scoop neck shirt holding brown wooden chopping board
woman in white scoop neck shirt holding brown wooden chopping board

N​ow, even with all this information you may not be convinced. That's okay, most people need a bit more information when it comes to chronic pain management. Afterall, this is your health and well-being we're talking about. No health or lifestyle change is easy, and you may be wondering:

I​f I was born with chronic pain, how can anything possibly change it?

I​ used to have the same skeptical question. Years of medications, surgeries, and discouraging doctor appointments. I was tired of trying. I​ was tired of searching for answers beyond myself, there had to be something more, right?

  • D​espite what you may have been told, the body is one big regenerative powerhouse. It holds the power to truly heal itself, with the right guidance and support of course.

  • S​uffering is not the only option, this is an ancient Buddhist belief. Every human holds the power to transcend and transmute their pain. In other words, you hold the power to love and respect yourself unconditionally, no matter what you've been through. This one discovery helped me begin my radical self-love journey.

  • Y​our thoughts about your chronic pain is the hardest part about the battle. Once you learn how to nurture and control your mind, the possibilities for a happy life are unlimited. It first begins with seeing your body as a friend- not the enemy. Remember every cell in your body is listening to your words and thoughts, so please remember to be kind.

Main Points

  1. E​very single human holds the power to heal chronic pain and disease in the body.

  2. S​uffering is not the only option for your existence, radical self-love is the alternative.

  3. Y​our thoughts play a role in your everyday pain levels, so remember to always be kind. You deserve respect and compassion.

A​s we are exploring the positive alternatives for your chronic pain you may be feeling a tingling inside, a sparkle of hope. I will tell you right now, listen to it, follow it, and believe in it. I​ felt this same sparkle over four years ago, and I didn't quite understand it, but I knew deep down inside that my life wasn't over.

When I discovered the power of finding compassion in chronic pain, my world was changed. I've undergone many challenges in my life, as we all do, including you. After my first neck surgery when I was 13, I wasn't so kind to myself... and my cells listened. I battled with extreme shame, high-pain levels, low self-esteem, and guilt for being different. This carried with me all throughout my adolescent years.

I​ntuitively I knew my surgery journey wasn't over yet, and I ended up needing another surgery at 17 to finish the complete fusion of my neck to my skull. This time around, I felt a new urge, a pull towards compassion- this felt completely foreign to me, but I dedicated myself anyways.

T​o make a long story short, after my second neck surgery I had my life back in just two months post-surgery. My doctor was amazed, how was a girl who was severely disabled for six months due to her spinal cord being crushed was able to walk, smile, and even drive again so soon after surgery?

"I​ was, and still am, a walking miracle."

A​s a rare disease and chronic pain patient, this story may inspire you or make your lips curl with doubt. This is normal, and your feelings are valid. You may be thinking, "If finding compassion in chronic pain is so easy why doesn't everyone do it?"

I​ will be 100% transparent with you, it's not easy. It does require many sacrafices, but they're not all bad though. The main one, but also the hardest is your core self-beliefs. When you choose the path of radical self-compassion, you must commit to experience long-lasting positive results.

What do I do if self-compassion isn't enough?

O​n your self-love journey you will quickly discover one size doesn't fit all, and it shouldn't if we're truly honoring our unique individual needs. Just because my chronic pain healing journey began with yoga and herbalism, doesn't mean yours has to in order to work. (I'll be honest, four years later and I hardly even practice yoga anymore, it's mostly long walks, meditation, and some fresh air now.)

  • S​elf-compassion does not replace your physical needs, but it enhances your awareness for them, so you can truly honor them without unecessary shame or guilt.

  • A​s you commit to your chronic pain healing journey you will discover a world of pain managment tools, both natural and medical. This isn't by coincidence. When you open yourself up with compassion, naturally things for your highest good begin to align with you too. It's almost like self-compassion is the key to unlock all that you truly deserve.

  • T​o simply put it, self-compassion alone is not enough to take away all your chronic pain, but without a doubt it's the perfect place to start. True joy, peace, and self-acceptance flows through those who believe they are worthy. Without adjusting your core beliefs around chronic pain and your suffering, you will find yourself trapped in an endless negative thinking cycle that leaves you feeling stuck and hopeless.

Main Points

  1. S​elf-compassion gives you the strength to honor your needs without shame and guilt.

  2. S​elf-compassion is a crucial key to unlocking all the good you deserve in life.

  3. S​elf-compassion is not a quick-fix, but a necessary lifestyle adjustment to enhance your inherit value and replace your negative core beliefs.

In Conclusion

C​hronic pain and rare conditions can be viewed as a crutch, or a tool. We can choose to follow the path leading to your true purpose: to love and respect yourself unconditionally. Yes, we all sometimes wish we were different than how God made us, but when you cultivate the strength to smile in the mirror and promise yourself that you will be your best friend, no matter what life brings you- you my friend are this much closer to winning the game of life. You deserve to be full of peace and joy, do not let the stress of life convince you otherwise!

Y​ou are loved.

Meet the author.

Shilynn Marshall is a passionate blogger, chronic pain warrior, rare disease advocate, and intuitive healer. She lives in Iowa and travels often. You can find her drinking green tea and writing in any local coffee shop.

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