Suffering chronic pain is like most experiences in life. Until you go through it yourself, you cannot possibly comprehend what it does to you. For those who don’t know, it’s distressing, incredibly disruptive and leaves you often wondering if you’ll ever feel happiness again. It can strip you of any confidence you have to perform even the most basic of tasks, let-alone perform at work.
There are few things more deeply challenging then chronic pain. Whatever the suggested treatment plan is, where possible, look into doubling your efforts.
Don’t be a hero, ask for help if you need it. Call a family meeting, send a physiotherapy roster to friends. If you’re temporarily in a state of distress, you won’t find a way through it without simply asking for assistance.
This sounds like a simple suggestion, but keeping work colleagues and your boss informed via weekly or monthly updates is key. They may be distracted in their own private work bubble, but being an inclusive staffer means summarising how things are going for you and managing expectations about your ability to re-enter the office. This also means there is evidence of your efforts to get back on track in case of any unexpected action against you.
Whether you have smashed a joint, been involved in a car accident or developed a serious health condition, your body will need time to heal. Your mind also needs time to process the trauma. If this means connecting with a professional counsellor, then do it. Suddenly finding yourself in chronic pain can be debilitating so don’t underestimate the help you may need to re-group. Telling others that “I’ll be right” is not realistic and not fair on yourself.
A Harvard study talks about the ‘triple threat’ to optimal healing – bad food, no sleep and lack of movement. These three things interfere with our body’s natural healing process, creating an environment for average healing at best. When we’re not well, we tend to neglect nutrition, when we should be fuelling our body with critical proteins, fruits, vegetables and supplements.
Our sense of suffering can so easily be escalated by how much support we feel we have around us, so don’t hesitate to reach out to those around you and be honest about how difficult it is. It’s far easier to hold onto your confidence by taking more control, instead of allowing the circumstances take control of you.