You know the story, an apple a day’s supposed to keep the doctor away. But can a healthy diet also help keep depression at bay, too? Some researchers see a connection.
And that’s important, because sometimes depression’s treated as though it’s “all in your head.”
As it turns out, it may well be in your body, too.
And, if that’s the case for you, then it’s worth investigating. So let’s take a quick look…
In Part 1 of this post, we looked into some of the tough parts of living with chronic pain – and some ways you can help yourself through it all.
We ended up talking about pacing as being a way of still being able to do the things that are important to you, without having to hurt yourself to do them.
Pacing is one of the core ideas of a pain management system (ADAPT) set up by the University of Sydney Pain Management and Research Centre.
Pacing can help overcome a couple of cycles that many people with chronic pain get locked in:
Pain > leads to rest and frustration > and when the pain eases again > you’re tempted to do way too much all of a sudden (because you finally can) > which takes you back to pain again.
Are you in pain?
Not just the emotional or relational or physiological or existential pain that most of us will feel sometime in our lives. But the purely physical stuff – especially the chronic, ongoing kind that can accompany you for many years.
It can be such a challenge to live with. The constant nagging of your nerves or muscles can really get you down. It can strip your life of joy. It can transform you from who you once were to someone you no longer recognise. It can leave you feeling empty and pointless. Or angry and alone.
But there is hope.
Even if there are no physical or pharmacological solutions left to you. Even if you may have to live with some degree of pain for the rest of your life. Even if it’s been the hardest road you’ve ever walked down. Or crawled… There is hope.
For there are a number of therapeutic approaches that can really help you through this. They can help you make all the difference. And invite some of the beauty, some of the life, back into your days.
So let’s take a look at a few…
If you’ve read this blog a bit, you’ll know I often draw on existential therapy and how the idea of death – and really engaging with it – can help you live a more vivid life.
But this time I don’t just want to talk about ideas. I want to talk about the nitty gritty stuff. The real stuff. The physical realities of this dying business; and the way that many of us in the western world will probably die (and whether that even gets close to how we might like to die when we finally do).
Because it’s important stuff to talk about.
And, as Jean Kittson put it: “there are no Apps for this stuff.”
I’ve spent the last few days at a conference on palliative care* with some really inspirational people (doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, volunteers, pastoral care workers and therapists) who all work with life and death. Who aspire to help us all “live until we die.” Who are guided by principles like these:
“You matter because you are you.
You matter to the last moment of your life.
We’ll do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully,
but to LIVE until you die.”
– Dame Cicely Saunders, Hospice Movement Founder
So let’s talk…
I attended a workshop on hope* today. It particularly looked at what it means for medical practitioners and counselors to work with hope in light of serious illness and death – and how to support people’s many versions of hope in those spaces.
But hope can be such important territory for all of us to explore, in all sorts of phases of our lives, so I’d like to share some thoughts from the workshop with you, and also to invite you to share your own definition of hope here, too.