Grieving the life that once was

Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Pain Management

Grief is a universal experience. We’ve all felt it. We’ve all been there; it’s an experience shared across humanity. What isn’t shared as often, however, is the way we experience it. Grief can rear its ugly head in a million different guises, making each grieving process incredibly personal. Especially when the loss you’re grieving is that of your own body.

It sounds strange when you put it like that, doesn’t it? Because we’re so used to grief being associated with death, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

If you suffer from a chronic pain condition, you’ll understand exactly what I’m getting at here. Grief, for us, means grieving the life that once was.

Grieving your Losses as a Chronic Pain Sufferer 

A study conducted by Practical Pain Management suggests that ‘grief can be caused by chronic pain’ and that those with chronic pain conditions ‘experience considerable loss as a result of the multiple impacts it has on their lives.’

Sound familiar? It definitely does to me!

Before I was diagnosed with chronic pain conditions, I was incredibly active. If I wasn’t at a theme-park, or at the ice-rink with my two children, I was swimming 44 lengths per day. And if you couldn’t find me in the pool, you’d most definitely find me out on a long horse ride. No luck there? Try the gym! Not to mention working full time and raising my children as a single mom.

And then, suddenly, all that changed. I went from being that person to being unable to sit for longer than 30 minutes or take care of my personal hygiene 5 – 6 years into my diagnosis. Quite a shock to the system, to say the least!

My entire life changed, and if you’re facing a similar situation in terms of diagnosis, chances are, you’ll feel like yours has too. That’s what we’re grieving.

As Practical Pain Management puts it, we’re experiencing grief because our chronic pain condition means we suddenly ‘experience an inability to engage in meaningful activities, relationships’ and even with ourselves.

To put it lightly, it’s a bit shit really!

But it won’t always be.

Moving Through Grief to Accept Your Chronic Pain 

I won’t bore you by explaining the five stages of grief (I’m sure you’ve already googled them extensively!), but what I will do is chat briefly about my experience of it. Of course, I felt all the feelings. The denial, the anger, the guilt. Could I have done something differently? Why me? What if…? But most important to note is the hope of coming out the other side. The hope of acceptance.

Now, acceptance doesn’t mean giving up the ghost and just dealing with it. It means holding onto the hope that things do get better. You may not be the same person you were before your chronic pain diagnosis, and you may not be able to do the same things. But you’re still you. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s worth holding onto.

For help accepting your chronic pain condition, information on chronic pain treatments, or simply just to chat with someone who understands what you’re going through, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Share this post:

Read These Next

How Horse Riding Improves Posture

How Horse Riding Improves Posture

Rediscovering my love of horse riding has taught me many things. Firstly, it’s taught me that just because I live with chronic pain conditions doesn’t mean I can’t take up and enjoy physical hobbies. Secondly, horses are good for the soul. Thirdly, riding regularly...

Break up with your pain | Mindful Uncoupling

Break up with your pain | Mindful Uncoupling

Relationships are complex. Some leave you feeling loved and content, while others make you want to run for the hills. Unfortunately, your relationship with chronic pain probably falls into the latter category. And although we wish we could, we can’t just tell our...

Is your posture impacting your chronic pain condition?

Is your posture impacting your chronic pain condition?

Are you sitting up straight? Is your head back? Shoulders down? Is your weight distributed evenly?  It's a lot to think about, isn't it? Posture is an integral part of our overall health and well-being, but it's often overlooked and replaced by habitual movement and...