Take 5 Chronic Pain Style

When your nerves are shot to all hell because of your chronic pain and/or chronic illness symptoms, and you just wanna scream bloody murder at the top of your lungs, take a break. Take a minimum 5 minute break. Also, I encourage a good cathartic, blood curdling scream once in a while; it has healing power in doing so, even if it just knocks the pain and stress down a notch, that notch can mean a lot.

Having a chronic illness is hard. Hell life is hard for healthy abled people whose nerves are shot and feel like screaming too. But as a person living with chronic illness, we have to take more breaks than others, more breaks than we do now, to keep from totally losing our shit.

So next time you feel a scream coming on, take 5. Well actually I vote for actually screaming if you’re at home or in your car, as long as you’re not waking a baby or something by doing so. For real tho it can seriously help take the edge off. If screaming is not a good option because you’re at work, or in an indoor public place, or living with people who are sleeping, there are other ways to catch a breather for 5 minutes.

If you’re at work or around people, escape to another room or a bathroom or go outside for a minute if you can. If you smoke, smoke. If you pray, pray. If you meditate, meditate.

Wash your face. Water helps.

Breathe slowly and deeply for a few minutes.

Text or message a trusted friend and vent.

I have learned in what’s now been a decade of having chronic pain and chronic illness that our mental emotional and spiritual health is more important than it ever was before I got sick. Our emotions didn’t make us sick, but they are definitely connected to our symptoms once our physical illness becomes chronic. And keeping our emotions inside with no release will definitely manifest as more pain and worsening physical symptoms unfortunately. So addressing our emotional mental and spiritual health regularly, better yet daily, will help our physical symptoms also.

Try this image for a quick and easy 5 second break. Whenever I remember to do it, I can feel my body release. Most people with chronic pain are all clenched up much of the time without realizing it, which of course also adds to our total pain load.

Each one of us will have different ways to take 5 when we’re ready to lose it. What’s some ways that you take 5? Or what’s some ways you think you could try to take 5?


Dear Young Person In the Restaurant

This goes out to all the able bodied people with their “I’m sorrys” and the “you’re so strong/brave/etc”……

Living with CPCI

I know you don’t know me or what it’s like to be me, but you said so many things that simply don’t apply to me and, since you didn’t know part of me was an activist, you had no idea the education you would receive yesterday. But I’m not apologizing, I’m just explaining why you might feel a bit uncomfortable today. It’s okay, you can do want you want with the discomfort, but if you interact with me the same way next time, I will provide the same education and you might have the same discomfort.

Now, in case you are not the only person reading this, young person, let me share with the others what happened.

Yesterday was a rare day, a rare day indeed. I was able to go to a mall to get something for mom and me. Something we had a difficult time finding. And at…

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Who Am I?

Who am I?

A concept I’ve been pondering a bit lately. When chronic pain and/or chronic illness comes into our lives and our bodies, our world is turned upside down, and who we were before, is not who we are today. There are so many things that we want to be, or that we were, that we can no longer be, or cannot at this time in our lives anyway. Jobs, careers, families, friends, hobbies, feelings, thoughts, abilities, all are changed in the blink of an eye. So I wanted to explore in this particular blog entry: After seven years of chronic pain and chronic illness in my life, who am I?

I wanted to explore this because sometimes my crazy magnifying pain brain will tell me things that are hurtful and untrue- things like “I don’t matter”, or “My life is pointless”, or even “it wouldn’t even matter if I wasn’t here anymore”, on especially dark days. Since I can’t DO the things that I want to, or the things society expects of us, thoughts like this pop up sometimes. So this blog entry is dedicated to those thoughts, to remind them that I do matter, I do have a purpose, I’m alive for a reason, and I contribute to life and those around me in good ways, even if they aren’t the ways I wish I could, or used to be able to.

I am a warrior. I am fighting for my life, for my health, for joy, for peace of mind, and sometimes just hanging on to make it through the day. Me and other’s in chronic pain and/or chronic illness are fighting a bigger battle daily, then many without will in a lifetime. We are warriors, and we are fucking awesome.

I am a friend. Yes I cannot always be the friend i want to be if i weren’t sick, but I am still a good person with good stuff to offer as a friend. When I can, how I can. And I can learn to take care of myself in friendships, and ask for what I need, and say “I can’t I’m sorry” when I need to rest and take care of myself. And those who matter won’t mind, and those who mind won’t matter and will fall by the wayside, and that’s ok, because another who understands and needs me like I need them will take their place if I am open to it.

I am a girlfriend/partner, and a GOOD ONE! No matter what my mind tells me, I know I am a good woman, a good even GREAT partner/girlfriend. Yes there are challenges and obstacles, and things I cannot do at this time, but I love him with everything I am, in every way I can. Able bodied does not equal good girlfriend/partner, just like disabled/sick does not equal bad girlfriend/partner. I have a lot of love and good to give. He’s lucky to have me 🙂

I am a sponsor. I am in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and I sponsor woman and support woman. My methods may be different or need certain accommodations, but I am a kick ass sponsor and support of women in my 12 step program none the less. And as I learn and accept more of what I am unable to currently do, I can focus on finding ways to do it, just do it a little differently.

I am a sponsee! (Meaning I have a sponsor in AA) Again, our relationship may look different than other sponsor/sponsee relationships in 12 step programs, but we have found what works for both of us. Slowly but surely. We both help keep each other sober, and we both learn from each other, just like I do with the women I sponsor or support.

I am a daughter. I love my moms and dad. My relationship with my parents has definitely changed over the years, when i got sober, and then again and again when I got sick and sicker. But I am an ok daughter. LoL. I am learning how to be an okay daughter, and to not beat myself up when I don’t “measure up” for one reason or another. My parents did and do their best, and they do love me, and they try to understand me and my illness, and for that I am grateful and blessed.

I am an animal lover. I had two babies, for 10 and 16 years each, that both died this past year. It truly has been the hardest year of my life without them. Since when you are sick and home alone so much, they were my children and my best friends. God I miss them so much. I love them even more. Forever. And I know one day again, when it’s time, God will put a new fur child in my home for me to parent, love and friend. ❤

I stand for social justice in any and every form, in any and every way I can. There is so much social injustice in this world, and I will fight for equality for all until the day I leave this world. Some might call me an “activist”. Many have.

I am a daughter of a King, a child of the Living Lord, God’s daughter. He made me, He loves me, He hears me, He helps me, and He wants me to live the best life I can, even in this jacked up body, while I am here on earth.

Well, that’s as far as my pain brain will take me. I tried to think of anything else in the “who am I?” category, but it only made my head hurt more 😛 So that’s it for now. I give myself permission to add to this later, or not 🙂

Now I would love to hear from you guys/gals! I think as people with chronic pain/illness we all struggle with identity and feelings of worthlessness at times, so maybe take a moment and post some “I am __________” in the comments below! Love and soft hugs,

Jessie D. DDA





Spoonie Sisters

Chronically Hopeful 2014

Spoonie Sisters,

You are stunning. Your smile impacts the atmosphere. Though you beautiful on the outside, your beauty is more than skin-deep. Every element of your personality contributes to your beauty. Your heart of compassion, hope, and joy shines through. Your victories, struggles, tears, and laughter – every note of the melody of your life has contributed to  your beauty.

You might feel that your illness or other ‘flaws’ has stolen your beauty. But darling that is so far from the truth. Your struggles have enhanced your beauty. Don’t compare yourself to a past version of you. Don’t compare yourself to family, friends, or women in the media. Illness and medication might alter how you look or see yourself, but I assure you that you are stunning despite the changes.

You have gracefully overcome many things. Your accomplishments are impressive. The little things do matter. You are a fighter, a…

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People, We Need People

I didn’t know anything was bothering me today. I was snippy with my partner this evening, and he noticed, and asked if there was anything I needed to talk about. I didn’t think there was. But I took advantage of the opportunity and started blabbing whatever came to mind anyways. Something about feeling scared, anxious, and lost. He listened, and one of the only things he said was “People, we need people.” I shrugged it off, got pissy again, and walked away.

Then it dawned on me- I had not talked to any humans today, or left the house.

This is not an unusual thing for me. I am home sick and alone often.

But what my partner said to me just sunk in and a light bulb went off.

I had a few “good days” physically and otherwise for the past few days- got out of the house each day, got to see friends and family, and wasn’t alone at home all day. And those were consequently mentally and emotionally better days for me too.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I remembered that I DO need people. Not just need them physically for help, (which I do also) but need them to be balanced emotionally and mentally, which for me, can be even more important than how I am doing physically.

Talking to my partner when he asked if I needed to talk? That changed my whole attitude afterwards, pretty quickly too. I no longer felt useless or so lost, and all I had done was just share from the heart for ten minutes or so.

Final thought: If you’re feeling crazy, please call a friend, and no, you’re not being a burden. Don’t listen to all the crazy things your mind tells you. It’s just the fear talking. Better yet, try to make human contact daily. That’s how I keep the crazies at bay.

Having a chronic illness can mean we’re not always able to get out and be around people, or even talk to people, but dammit we can try. Or if we have five “good” minutes in one day, we can use that to call a friend. Just talking to a friend, and hearing their voice even for a little bit, can really help our mental and emotional states. I know there are scientific articles out there that prove this, but I prove it to my self time and time again.

So what are you waiting for? Go call a friend! 🙂



Jessie D. DDA

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