When I was 20, I fell down a flight of stairs when I slipped on black ice on my way to doing laundry. It happened so fast that I just remember blacking out for a little bit and the first thing on my mind was “I hope nobody saw that.” I was in college and that would have been so embarrassing. Today, I can’t believe that was the first thing I thought about. Fast forward, 18 years from that accident and now I live with herniated discs that every couple of years decide to slip out of place. The last episode happened right after my 38th birthday and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t walk for a week. My mom borrowed my grandfather’s wheelchair so that I could get to the doctor. I was too embarrassed to call an ambulance.
It has been almost 3 months since this last episode and thankfully I am doing much better. I discussed in another post the steps that I have taken to recover without taking pain killers. In addition to my body doing its best to heal itself, I also needed to make sure that my mind was in the right place. The first few days I was being strong, but after a week with the pain I started to fall into a depression. I was crying more often and was just very scared.
One of my favorite things to do is to run and with my back injury running it was impossible. Running was my mood booster, what made me feel great, and also how I maintained my weight. Now, I didn’t have running and I was having the worst time trying to feel better. Then one day, I decided to put my mind in a better state. That day I told myself, “You will feel better.”
Here are my top positive mantras for chronic pain to help deal with this very dark period and which I use now during recovery.
“You will feel better.” – I said it more like a command than anything else. My mind was telling my body what to do and I just felt like I was in charge of my outcome. I didn’t know how I would feel better, but that didn’t matter because I had made a decision to recover. The recovery is slow and the pain didn’t immediately go away, but I was now in charge and that helped me to fight off sadness.
“One step at a time” – Before my injury I was routinely running between 3 and 7 miles. I wanted to be able to do this right away and the task of running again seemed insurmountable. Mind you, I was still not able to walk for a block yet I was thinking of how I was going to run. Every day, I would wake up and walk a little further at whatever pace I could. The first few days were heartbreaking because I couldn’t make it past the corner of my house, but I told myself “One step at a time.” And slowly I started to add more steps. With the right shoes, physical therapy, and patience I am now walking 2 miles. Not over doing it was important because the time that I tried to go too far too soon, I got a sharp pain that I had to rest for 2 days before starting my walks again.
“Thank you, God, for what I do have.” – I am religious person, but you may not be and that is OK too. I just started to focus on the great things in my life like my family and my business. I am the founder of Workvie Pain Relief Creams and having this episode reminded me why I do what I do. I want to help other people that have pain to feel better. I was thankful to have a product that could help me without harmful side effects and that I could bring it to others.
If you are suffering from pain and find yourself in a dark hole, I feel for you. I also want you to know that there is hope and that you are stronger than your pain. I want to send you positive thoughts of recovery and well-being.
Annabel Mendez is a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist and founder of Workvie Pain Relief Creams for people working with pain.
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This blog is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. Please consult with your doctor.