Posted in Living with Pain

You Can Determine Your Experiences By Choice


“You can’t change reality” is something I’ve heard a lot of over the years. As a person who has lived with a lot of physical and emotional pain because of Ankylosing Spondylitis (an inflammatory spinal disease) and Crohn’s Disease (an inflammatory bowel disease) I tended to believe those statements. Hearing from doctors that “you can’t” or “you shouldn’t” or “you’ll never” are probably some of the most discouraging statements you can ever hear from anyone. The problem however does not lie in the fact that they spoke those words – the problem ends up being when WE believe it! 


Why shouldn’t we believe it after all? Those are our health care professionals – they know what they are talking about after all. They understand those blood tests. They can read those x-rays. They have the experience and knowledge of what others have been through already. Herein lies your time to make a choice…do you let their words determine your fate? 


When your body is in the middle of a flare of a disease that is causing pain and discomfort, it is really really really hard (did you get that? It’s REALLY HARD) to see any way past that moment in time. Breathing or trying to breathe through the pain can consume your moments. So how can we choose for it to be different? How is that possible in the middle of an episode that busts through that 1-10 Pain Scale with Smiley Faces you see that the doctor and tops off at a 23? 

The pain scale in Josh's Room earlier today.
The pain scale in Josh’s Room earlier today. (Photo credit: mia.judkins)



The first step is to find that little spark inside you that knows this moment is only temporary. It will pass. Find that, grab it and make it bigger. Let that spark turn in to a flame that fills your body with light. While you are doing that – BREATHE! When your body is going through a pain-filled episode, it’s common to slow down your breathing to a minimum. In fact, with Ankylosing Spondylitis, the act of breathing itself can be painful. But that lack of breathing and the physical and emotional constriction of your body will not serve you, it will in fact allow that pain to endure longer.  Your brain will hear your doctor’s voice telling you that this is all part of the disease….it’s normal to feel this way…blah blah blah and BS! When you believe that, you allow it to continue. So make a different choice for yourself! Choose to heal. Choose this time as a momentary experience – not your life story!


Choose in that moment of difficulty – no matter what it is you are facing – to find that spark inside, recognize that that moment is just that – a moment. You can get through it! When you accept the moment, rather than fight it – it can be a completely different experience. In fact, in it, you will find freedom. And in that freedom, you will begin to live your life more fully – no matter what!


Posted in Writing

Seeing things differently

When you live with a chronic disease that can wreak havoc on your schedule, it’s easy to fall into old patterns of response. It’s so much easier to cancel your plans, hide out at home and lick our wounds of not being able to participate yet again. The fear of the unknown can be debilitating to living your life fully.

A choice you can make is to try something new today. Don’t follow your old patterns of response – create a new one! Start by taking a deep breathe into the present and recognize where you are at this moment. You haven’t actually gone on that activity yet, have you? So why are you living there? Why are you fearing it? 

I’ve discovered that it’s a lot easier to live with my past experiences rather than break away. There is comfort in the patient mentality…it’s safe…we know how to be that…how to be the sick person. It’s actually scary to stop being sick believe it or not. Because THEN how do we define ourselves?

Step out today and be brave. Dare to live in the moment and see things differently. Rather than the endless mind chatter that is constantly telling you how rotten you feel, change that chatter! Tell yourself you are feeling GREAT! You are full of energy. Breathe in the light. See that light touch whatever is needed to heal inside you. Let it permeate you. 

This feeling will spread. Don’t lose heart if it only lasts a moment – rejoice in that moment of peace and well-being! With practice, those moments will double or triple or more! 

Have faith that seeing things differently will bring you to better health.