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By Wendy Burnett
If you take more pain medication than your doctor has prescribed for you, on a regular basis, you have a much bigger problem than you think. Whether the doctor is under-prescribing or not, if you’re constantly calling and asking for more meds, you are labeling yourself as an addict.
Even if you legitimately need a higher dose, taking matters into your own hands will only make it harder to get. The more desperate you seem when you ask for more, the less likely your doctor is to even renew your existing prescription, let alone increase it. Continue reading Do You Take More Pain Meds Than You’re Supposed To? »
Dr. Grinstead was kind enough to allow me to post this short article as a guest post, and the copyright belongs to him exclusively. The contents of this post may only be used with his permission, and with appropriate credit and links.
By: Dr. Stephen F. Grinstead, LMFT, ACRPS, CADC-II
To find a balance point you must be able to identify what the extremes are that you need to balance. In the table below you will see each of the target five balance points you need to strive to obtain in your life.
1. Positive Self-Talk
2. Appropriate Emotional Expression
3. Healthy Support Network
5. Effective Pain Management
Most people pay little attention to all the random thoughts that go through their head each day. Unfortunately, this is not the best way to go through life if you want to thrive. I want to have you consider a quote attributed to the Dalai Lama that I’ve posted below.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Balance Point One: Positive Self-Talk
The first balance point is positive self-talk. On one end of this continuum is repressed self-talk. When you are at this end of the spectrum you are not listening to your thoughts that eventually create your destiny. When your thoughts can lead you to making poor choices this might not be such a bad thing. However, for the most part it is important to monitor your thinking patterns so you can end up not creating negative consequences for yourself.
Balance Point Two: Appropriate Emotional Expression
A trap I see some people fall into is labeling feelings or emotions as either good or bad. I do not believe in “good” or “bad” emotions. I do believe that emotions can however be comfortable or uncomfortable. Some emotions such as happiness or joy are sought after, while other emotions like fear or loneliness are to be avoided at all costs. This type of paradigm can lead to going to one end or the other of this spectrum.
Balance Point Three: Healthy Support Network
It is crucial to build a chronic pain support network for yourself. This balance point of a healthy support network also has two dangerous extremes—isolation and enabling. Let’s start with the isolation extreme. This is usually fueled with the belief that I have to do it myself. Sometimes this is coming from a power position because of a mistaken belief like “I can’t trust/depend on others.” While for other people the mistaken belief might be “I have to do it myself because I’m no good; or nobody is there for me.” Either way you lose the chance to have someone in your corner when it really counts.
Balance Point Four: Spirituality/Humility
The next balance point of spirituality/humility also has problematic extremes. Here too people can vacillate between the extremes and never stay in the middle. On one end of the spectrum people are at risk for moving into pride and/or arrogance while at the opposite end is shame and guilt. Spirituality is a complex and multidimensional part of the human experience. It involves beliefs, perceptions, thinking, feeling, experiential and behavior aspects.
Balance Point Five: Effective Pain Management
This last balance point of effective pain management is crucial for effective chronic pain management and freedom from suffering. The two extremes here are ignoring pain or suffering. I believe that there are times when ignoring pain—or avoidance by appropriate distraction—can be a good thing. I don’t believe it is ever a good thing to be in suffering from your pain.
Striving for balance in chronic pain management recovery is crucial for freedom from suffering and obtaining a great quality of life. This will help you move beyond surviving with chronic pain to thriving and enjoying life to the fullest.
Dr. Grinstead’s blog: Addiction Free Pain Management Blog
Dr. Grinstead’s company website: CENAPS
Dr. Grinstead’s personal website: Addiction Free Pain Management
It’s time for the new Graceful Agony Blog Carnival post, and the subject this time is dreams. Not the kind of dreams you have while you’re sleeping, but the dreams you have for your life . . . It’s a wide open topic, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the group does with it.
Personally, I don’t really know where to start. I have so many dreams that it’s hard to choose between them, and that lack of focus makes it almost impossible to accomplish ANY of them. Since that’s true, it makes sense to me to focus on the dream that caused me to start this blog, and that keeps bringing me back here, even when I’ve been having issues with writer’s block and fibro fog.
No matter how long it is between posts, I always wind up coming back; finishing up drafts and writing new stuff. Even during the worst of the fogs and fatigue, I find myself starting drafts so that when I’m more able to work on things the ideas will still be available.
I started this blog because I wanted to help others with chronic illnesses to find ways to cope that don’t necessarily involve doctors and prescriptions. Allopathic (Western) medicine is great for some things, but it is failing those of us with chronic illnesses because its total focus is on curing disease, and when the doctors can’t cure it they get frustrated.
My dream is to help people find things that help to make their lives better in spite of the diseases they live with every day, whether that is a new prescription medication that reduces their symptoms or a stress reduction technique that helps them cope with those symptoms. Continue reading A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes »
Does having bipolar disorder automatically mean I’m not in pain, or that my pain should not be treated? Does the fact that someone has been addicted to something in the past mean that they should have to suffer excruciating pain for the rest of their lives to prevent readdiction to a new medication? If someone is dying of cancer, what difference does it make if they become addicted to the pain medication that makes their death less painful, that allows them to have a little relief?
Our society has become so terrified by the picture of the crazed, murderous addict that the government has painted for us that we will allow them to do almost anything to protect us, even though in the vast majority of cases that picture is no more than government propaganda.
The government has lost the war against drugs, they have no hope of ever being able to stop the illegal flow of drugs into this country, so they have changed their propaganda, and their targets. The war on drugs has become a war against chronic pain patients and the few remaining doctors who are willing to treat them.
Doctors are being persecuted (AND prosecuted) for trying to provide adequate treatment for their patients, and for every doctor who is prosecuted, many more begin refusing to prescribe the pain medications that make our lives worth living because of the fear that they will be next. Continue reading Killing Me Softly – The War on Drugs Becomes a War Against Adequate Treatment of Chronic Pain Conditions »
The next ChronicBabe carnival topic is “how do you deal with the medical establishment.” Since I lost my insurance two years ago, I hadn’t dealt with them at all until last month when I had to go to the emergency room, and ended up in the hospital for 5 days with no pain meds. I had my first visit with a rheumatologist since Oct. 2007 on Monday, and that experience wasn’t a whole lot better. Continue reading The Medical “Establishment” – Thanks; but No, I Don’t Think I Will »
Some of the fireworks I missed while in the hospital.
I just had the most awful holiday weekend EVER, thanks to my fibromyalgia, not having had insurance in two years, and the prejudice in the medical field against those living with chronic pain.
I got up last Friday(July 2) to start getting ready for work, and started passing huge amounts of fresh, liquid (and very red) blood. Naturally enough, that scared the hell out of me, and when it happened for the fourth time in an hour-and-a-half, I called in sick and headed to the emergency room at our local hospital. Since I wasn’t sure if it was related to one of my pre-existing conditions, and the insurance through my husband’s job doesn’t cover those for another couple of weeks (they have one of those clauses that says they won’t pay claims related to anything that was diagnosed before your coverage started for the first twelve months,) I went to the charity/teaching hospital, just in case it turned out not to be covered.
My first mistake was having the hubby drop me off, rather than calling an ambulance, assuming that even as a walk-in patient I would be seen within a reasonable length of time. (I guessed that it would take three to four hours to see a doctor, since I was bleeding, but it wasn’t VISIBLE. Boy was I ever wrong.) I arrived at the ER at approximately 2 PM Friday afternoon, and was FINALLY moved to a treatment room at 3 AM Saturday morning. That’s THIRTEEN hours of sitting in the waiting room, hoping I wouldn’t bleed to death before they got around to seeing me and watching people who came in after I did get treated and released because they didn’t need a “trauma room.” Continue reading Hospitals, Unfamiliar Doctors, and Fibromyalgia: What’s Your Experience? »
- Image by ☃ via Flickr
I’ve been without insurance for two years now, which means I haven’t seen a doctor for my fibromyalgia in quite a while. Without a doctor, I don’t have access to medication, so I’ve had to get rather ummmm, “creative,” to manage my symptoms. Continue reading Fibromyalgia without Insurance: How I Cope »
The state of Washington has passed a bill (SHB 2876) that could limit access to treatment for your pain and set dosage limits on opioid pain medications. This is a serious issue for all of those who live with chronic pain and their families/caregivers, as well as for society as a whole. Inadequate pain control results in more frequent doctor visits, increased work absences, lower productivity, higher rates of disability and an increased need for social programs such as food stamps. It can also cause depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment (difficulty thinking, reasoning, or remembering,) a compromised immune system, chronic stress, an impaired ability to perform everyday tasks such as dressing or housework, limited mobility, disturbed sleep and more. Continue reading Do You Live With Chronic Pain? Your Right to Adequate Treatment is Under Attack! »
The new ChronicBabe Blog Carnival theme is favorite self-care tools and techniques, and will go live on Tuesday June 1.
I love this topic . . . self-care is a very important part of managing a chronic illness, and we all deserve to take good care of ourselves. I use a lot of non-medication methods to manage the symptoms of my multiple chronic illnesses (the short list is fibromyalgia and bipolar disorder, but if you’re really interested in the entire list, check my “Who Am I” page,) and I love sharing them with anyone they might help. I use a lot of aromatherapy and herbal teas for symptom control; and stress reduction techniques to minimize flares, anxiety, and bipolar cycling; so let’s get started. Continue reading You CAN Feel Better: Self-care Tips and Tricks for Fibromyalgia and Bipolar Disorder »
My personal idea of a good day is one where I don’t have to go to work, and I can spend some time just doing things that make me feel better. It does NOT mean that I’m not in pain (I haven’t had a day when the pain levels were below a 4 or 5 on the pain scale in at least 5 years.) It also doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted, or that I can actually remember all the things I need to take care of without lists, notes and reminders from the people around me.
What it does mean is that the pain levels are at a 6 or below, and that I can lay down with the hot pads when I need to, or take a nap. Continue reading What does a "good" day look like to you? »