The Cycle of Chronic Pain, Fear, and Trauma

Imagine this scene: A man is using a public shower on the beach to wash up after swimming: he puts shampoo in his hair, rubs it in, and then puts his head under the running water to rinse it out. What he doesn’t know, however, is that as he’s trying to rinse out the shampoo, […]

The Pain Identity: Finding Balance In Our Relationship With Pain

Living with chronic pain can feel like being forced to wear glasses that distort the way that we experience life. Looking through the lens of pain for long enough, we may forget that we’re wearing glasses and that we live with our pain, rather than living as our pain. It’s also possible that we dislike […]

Fear: A Spotlight On What Matters To Us Most

“Everyone is afraid of something. We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn’t feel anything. (Cassandra Clare)” Fear, in the right proportions, is perhaps the greatest […]

When The Medical System Isn’t Enough

Oh, the medical system. How we with chronic pain depend on it, and how we wish we didn’t have to. Sometimes it comes through for us; we get the right diagnosis, the right prescription – the right care. Too often, however, those are the expectations we carry into our appointments, only to leave feeling frustrated, […]

Finding Hope in Trauma

Joanne woke up one morning not feeling well. It could be a regular winter virus, but it could also be something more serious, and with her notoriously weak immune system, she always errs on the side of caution. Joanne calls in sick and makes a doctor’s appointment. As she sits in the waiting room, she […]

Learning to Trust Your Inner Knowing

When a toddler skins his knee, his mother reassures him: “You’re okay!” When the same child tells his teacher he doesn’t need a jacket during recess, his teacher insists: “But you’ll be cold!” When he grows up and says he needs to take a break on the hike, his friends respond: “It’s easy, you’ll be […]

Uncertainty: A journey from paralysis to courage

If human beings have learned anything over the past two years, it is the staggering uncertainty hiding behind every moment of our lives. When the COVID-19 storm first raged through the world, we all got hit with the realization that we have no idea what’s coming our way, and that whatever it is has the […]

Why Should I Embrace My Pain?

It’s the end of another long day, and you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, with chores and people waiting for you at home. You blast the horn and squeeze the steering wheel until your knuckles are white, but none of it makes the car in front of you move faster. In fact, your rage doesn’t make […]

Chronic Pain & Gaslighting: Nobody Knows Us Better Than We Do

There are very few feelings that hurt more than invalidation. When someone intentionally or unintentionally undermines the reality of our lived experience, it can be devastating. An ongoing experience of having our truth slowly eroded by another can lead to a loss of sense of self and a questioning of our own sanity. In 1944, […]

Depression & Chronic Pain: The Allure and The Trap

“The thing that gets me down – that makes we want to give up, is that it’s endless – that this is just my life. My focus, my time, my money – it all goes towards maintaining a baseline of bearable pain, and it feels futile – and like a trap. For me, it’s not […]