Photo Therapy

It’s been very silent around here. Honestly?  I’ve ran out of words. It’s the the same pain, the same frustrations. Doctors who don’t listen, weather flares….

I’m running out of ways to express it…
Until now. Recently someone suggested photography therapy and I’ve been giving it a try. It has been very good for me. 

I feel like this is finally a way to “show” my life with chronic pain. So…here are my introductory pictures. These pictures show my life…some struggles, joys, things I do to cope and the people who support me…just a little bit of “me” with a side of Chronic pain. 

Hopefully they tell the story I want them to…

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

 

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This Is An ANGRY Blog….

Anger

If you don’t want to hear anger, frustration and defeat, then I would not read this blog…

This past few weeks/months have been a disappointment for many reasons and I’m doing my best to not roll over and let my fibro and PSA win.

First, the most frustrating part of my life at the moment….

I am going on almost or over (never sure with chronic pain exactly when something starts) three months of having intense pain directly on my spine between my shoulder blades.  My Rheumatologist pushed muscle relaxers and pain medication.  Not happy with that decision, I went to my family doctor who ordered an X-Ray and MRI, both of which have come back “normal.”

Hearing the “your test was normal” diagnosis as a chronic pain patient is a frustration I can’t seem to convey to “regular” people.  Do I want something to be “wrong”?  No.  But do I want a valid reason for this pain?  YES.  All I want is for my pain to be something a doctor sees as “real” and “treatable”  not…oh… “She has chronic pain so we don’t really have to take any of her pains seriously.”  I wonder, just wonder, if I had walked into any other Doctor’s office that had never seen me before, who didn’t know what I suffer from, would more steps be taken to find a source of this pain?  I know the difference between my fibro pain, I’m learning my arthritis pain…and this pain just doesn’t feel like either of them.  Could it be?  Maybe.  Am I ready to accept that now?  No…not until I take a few more proactive steps.

There is nothing “normal” about chronic pain conditions.  Why should a test result make me feel like I should be normal because IT said so?  Every time I get a test back that shows “nothing wrong” I feel like I don’t have the right, or the justification to say that I hurt, or that something is wrong.  I’m so tired of feeling this way.  I’m tired of feeling the need to be overly strong for other people, or hide what I have from other people.  I don’t feel like I’m “allowed” to be “sick.”  Which makes me feel unimportant, and makes me feel belittled by my conditions.  Yes, I’m having a pity part, but I feel like it’s justified.

Now to the second most angering, frustrating and defeating part of my life in the last few weeks?  My epic fail at my gofundme efforts to raise money for NfmCPA, (http://www.fmcpaware.org).  I know, I know, it’s been less than a week, but I can definitely say the response has been less than astounding.  Of my $500 goal, I have raised….wait for it….$40.00.

Realistically, I understand there are many reasons people didn’t donate.  Budget at home is too tight right now.  They are getting bombarded with gofundme requests and mine got lost in the cracks.  So on and so forth….

But I can’t help but feel defeated that  it is because of my cause.

If I had asked for money for cancer research, would I have had the same response? Here is some perspective.

Approximately 1 in 8 women will suffer from breast cancer (I’m using breast cancer as example because there is a great track record for donations made to research and treatment).  It’s estimated 90 percent (of stage one) breast cancer patients will survive (ww5.komen.org).  THEY WILL BE A SURVIVOR.

Approximately 1 in 50 women will suffer from fibromyalgia.  100% of fibromyalgia patients are not cured.  We are considered survivors for learning to live with this condition, not for beating it.  A lot of people probably think this is not a fair comparison as most chronic pain conditions don’t come with the risk of death, as cancer does.  But isn’t it funny how the definition and expectation of the word “survivor” changes from condition to condition.

(Please don’t get me wrong…I’m not trying to down-play breast cancer by any means.  My mom and mother in law are both survivors and I am forever grateful for donations made to their cause that helped with research or treatment that helped them to survive.)

What if had been raising money for a school fundraiser for Baby A?  Every year we support our own, or someone else’s, child by buying overpriced candy tins, or wrapping paper.  We buy these things without hesitation, but there seems to be some hesitation to my cause.

If people matched their donation to me with what they paid for Girl Scout cookies I probably could have met my goal in a few days.

I understand these fundraisers go for great things too.  The Girl Scout cookies support “girl power” and a great program for girls and I love that.  I know the overpriced candy tins and wrapping paper help support schools that are probably inadequately funded.

I get this.

I understand.

But how can I help but feel upstaged by a cookie?

To take it to the over-dramatic level….why is my pain (and the pain of everyone else who suffers from chronic pain conditions) not important enough for a small donation.  Why do people support thin mints, but aren’t supporting research that could allow me, and so many others, to FINALLY live a life without pain?

People are easily frustrated with chronic pain patients, as we are so often judged as being complainers.  We complain about the pain, we complain we feel as invisible as our illnesses, we feel ignored and brushed off by many in the medical community.  We don’t feel like people want to help us, to a certain degree.

The lack of interest in my fundraiser dug that disappointment in a little deeper for me.  And while I usually try to have a “fighter” attitude about things like this (nobody going to get me down), I have to admit I’m disappointed.

I am leaving the fundraiser open until the end of the month, and then gladly donating what I have to my cause.  If it’s still only $40, then I hope that is the magic $40 that makes a difference.

Not one to take failure lightly, I felt the need to redeem myself.

So for Fibromyalgia Awareness 2015, I decided to do something else.  I figured all of this frustration I’m letting out in this blog is usually dumped on my husband’s lap.  While I know he handles it well, I know he wishes he could talk to someone who truly understands what it is like to care for someone with chronic pain.  So, with his help, he and I are staring the “Chronic Pain Spouses” support group on Facebook.  Please let your husbands/wives/partners know about this page.  Search for it by its name.  I think it’s just as important for our loved ones to have a place for support.  This is a private group where they can vent, get advice and get understanding without judgement.

If we can’t give money, we can give support.

If you made it through the end of this negativity, thank you.  Thank you for listening to me when I’m at a low point and I need ears the most.

Happy Fibromyalgia Awareness Day!

I am a chronic pain Warrior.

In support of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 2015 I have started a “GoFundMe” page to raise funds for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain!
“As an individual who suffers from both Fibromyalgia and Psoriatic Arthritis I understand the importance in research for understanding of all chronic pain conditions.  Funds raised will be donated to NfmCPA (http://www.fmcpaware.org)National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association.

This non-for-profit organization does so much for the chronic pain community including research, resources and support for chronic pain patients as well as being a HUGE advocate for chronic pain patients, who often-time feel they have little support and understanding.

Not only will your donation support this great association, but it will also show your support for those suffering with chronic pain.  Your donation is a small way to show you care, and show  you believe in these, often times, invisible conditions.

Thank you so much for your support.”

Please find my GoFundMe : http://www.gofundme.com/fibroandchronicpai

Time Is Not Measured By Clocks But By Moments…

So…

What has been going on since February you ask?

Hopefully I can remember everything I’ve been wanting to write in the past few months…

First subject?…IT’S FIBROMYALGIA AWARENCE MONTH….GET THAT PURPLE READY FOR MAY 12TH!

I’m trying to think of something I can do to represent this year and so far I’m drawing a blank.

My first year I asked people to wear purple and send me their pictures, (See the pictures here! ).

Second year I won my Fibromyalgia video contest. (See the video here).

The next year I’m pretty sure was my fibro ribbon tattoo and fibro ribbon pedicure.

Fibrotoes

The next year was my Fibro ribbon garden,

FibroGarden

and then last year was a photo with my son…

Me and Aiden

I’ve only got 12 days left to figure out what to do this year!  Ideas anyone?

On to the next subject…Treatments…

If you remember a LOOONNGGG time ago I wrote a Blog about “Cupping Therapy”.  Recently, the clinicians in the Physical Therapy clinic where I work got certified to do this technique!  Ok…well, sort of…It’s not the ancient Chinese medicine called “cupping” but “myofascial decompression.”  The difference?  No scary fire technique or alcohol like what was mentioned in my blog, but uses suction cups instead.  The hickies?  Well those were definally still part of the process.

Cupping

As far as results?  I liked it!  I think it really relaxed some super tight areas (those awful “knots”) in my back and it was well worth being “spotty” for a few days.  The patients in our clinic also seem to respond well to it.  Does it hurt?  Sort of….just a feeling of tightness, as oppossed to “pain”.

Recently my PT who does dry needling returned from her maternity leave!  Believe or not, I could not WAIT to get some needles dug into my knees again!   I genuinely have not had anything work as well as it does on my knees.  Did you miss my blog about dry needling?  Find it here!

I am also currently back in formal Physical Therapy for a very painful spot on my spine.  X-ray was clear, possibly looking at an MRI.  I have no idea what is going on with it other than it hurts…bad.  Could be fibro, could be arthritis, could be something else.  I don’t know, but I’m over it. It hurts to lift my child…I don’t like that.

I’m still doing the Humira shots…well…correction…my husband is giving me the shots while I lay on the bed with a pillow over my face so I can’t see what is going on.  One of these days I’ll be brave enough to do it on my own…I think.

What else is going on?

I’m 23 days away from my first triathlon.  I’m on a team where I will be swimming, and another will be biking and another will be running.  I’m looking forward to it.  It’s a new challenge for me.  I’ve never swam an open water race and I’m excited to do something new.  My swimming has improved greatly since the training season started.  It’s been good for me, physically and mentally.  I have one more week of coaching at the pool.  I’ll miss seeing my group every week.  They are great, amazing and funny people who motivate me every practice.  After I get my first race done I’m preparing to train and swim in a 2 mile canal swim through Indianapolis.  I’ve never been a “distance” swimmer and I’m a little nervous about training for it, but I’m SUPER excited for the race!

I have found out, however, that putting on a wet suit is a workout in itself.  Holy. Cow.

Wet Suit

My baby A turned one.

Babybaby                                                    babyA1

I can’t believe how fast he grows and it’s amazing to see him learn something new every day.  I know everyone is partial to their own kid, but I seriously have one of the cutest little stinkers ever.  I love watching him play, and “read” himself a book, and see how kind hearted and loving he is.  My favorite part of the day is sitting in a chair with him and resting my cheek on the top of his warm, fuzzy head.  I recently got a whole week off work with him.  We went to the park, had an ice cream date, took walks, had a visit with family and friends, and went to a music program at the library where he learned the Hokey Pokey and LOVED it.

Park-Aiden

He wore me out!

It was worth it.

Balance and Stigma…

Balance

Having a life with Fibromyalgia and Psoriatic Arthritis is a life spent trying to find balance.

I have to balance the amount of energy I spend at work and at home-while remembering to balance enough to get in some exercise- while trying not to neglect my son or husband.

I have to balance getting enough sleep-and finding time to catch up when I don’t.

I have to balance what I eat.  I can’t allow severe obesity to creep back into my life and cause MORE damage to my joints.

I have to balance the energy to keep up with a home.  Cleaning, paying bills and figuring out budgets.

With the help of my husband-I’m doing “Ok” finding the balance for all the things I just mentioned, but I’m failing miserably at finding balance with something else…

Balancing how much I verbalize what is “really” going on with my body.

What do I mean by this?

When do I say how I’m really feeling?  At what point does it stop being an intention of being informative and turns into (what seems to be) constant complaining?

I can’t figure this out.

I know that I “shouldn’t” mention how I’m feeling every second of every day because, let’s face it…that would get very depressing for me and the person listening.  But how much is too much?

I have a tendency to hold it in and then it all comes flooding out in an ugly cry, with me babbling about pain, making no sense, overwhelmed by all of it.

I have a tendency to “complain” more to certain people.  For example…I mention my pain a lot at work.  Not because I work in a PT clinic and I want them to “fix” me (although, maybe “sometimes” I don’t turn down treatment), but because they are “pain” people.  That’s what they do.  I feel like they have more patience for pain than other people do.  I also complain more to my husband.  He’s the only one who truly sees the bad days and the ugliness they entail.  But these few people can’t carry the load and burden of being the only people I talk to when I’m hurting.  I’m glad they’re there, but this isn’t really a fair balance for them.

Then there are people I’m afraid to mention my pain to at all, or people I try to act “strong” for.  My mother is a prime example.  As much as I’m sure she wants to understand how I’m feeling, the ugly truth of what it is “really like” is something I’m sure a mother never wants to see her child go through.  While I am able to break down into a limped, tear-filled, hobble of a walk with my husband, the thought of having my mother see me this way breaks my heart.  But yet, I want her to understand.  She is my biggest cheerleader and  one of my biggest supporters in educating everyone about chronic pain so how do I  break down this fear and find a balance between teaching her, but accepting she’s going to hurt for me when I do?

I know I’m trying to be too “strong” for Baby A some days when my body has had enough…but at the same time, will my husband understand if I “complain”, yet another night, and have to ask him to take over?  I know he would, but it doesn’t make it any easier to ask.  Will Baby A understand when he’s not “Baby” A any longer?

I don’t want to “complain” to other people working out, or exercising because I don’t want to seem weak, but all at the same time, I want people to understand why working out is such a challenge for me and why some days I can do it, and some days I can’t.

No balance.

I think a lot of this stems from a stigma chronic pain patients have for being whiney, for doing nothing but complain about their pain.  People stop listening to us, when in all honesty; we’re desperate for someone to keep listening so they can maybe understand how much these conditions truly consume our lives.

I don’t believe it does the mind (or body) good to talk about pain ALL the time, but I think it’s just as damaging to feel like I can’t.

Sometimes I just need to tell someone why I look tired.  Why I may be quiet.  Why I may be taking the elevator instead of the stairs.  Just getting it off my chest is mentally more therapeutic than trying to be strong.

Please be more patient with us.  If someone with chronic pain is “complaining” about their pain, they may just be looking for some understanding, a new ear to relieve the burden from the ear they usually talk to.  We are trying to get others to genuinely understanding what we’re going through, and as much as people don’t want to hear “complaining,”-to chronic pain patients, it’s not complaining-it’s our life…and it’s unfair that we have to balance how we talk about our lives.

consideration

Needles, Needles, Needles…

Working in a physical therapy clinic has educated me about chronic pain more than I imagined.  I’ve learned about, and been able to try treatments I never knew even existed for chronic pain.  Most recent of these treatments?

Functional dry needling…

Here is a brief description of the process and purpose of this treatment, from www.kinetacore.com

Dry Needling is a general term for a therapeutic treatment procedure that involves multiple advances of a filament needle into the muscle in the area of the body which produces pain and typically contains a trigger point. There is no injectable solution and typically the needle that is used is very thin. Most patients will not even feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it advances into the muscle, the discomfort can vary from patient to patient. Usually a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort upon insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or contains active trigger points, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp, often referred to as a ‘twitch response”.

The twitch response also has a biochemical characteristic to it which likely affects the reaction of the muscle, symptoms and response of the tissue. Along with the health of the tissue, the expertise of the practitioner can also attribute to the variation of discomfort and outcome. The patient may only feel the cramping sensation locally or they may feel a referral of pain or similar symptoms for which they are seeking treatment. A reproduction of their pain can be a helpful diagnostic indicator of the cause of the symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation, as it results in deactivating the trigger point, reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the involved muscle. Typically, positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, overall health of the patient, and experience level of the practitioner.

Dry needling is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects. This technique is unequaled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.”

Sound scary?  I agree!

Before I would even attempt this, I watched one of my co-workers go through the treatment.  I knew since I would more than likely be getting it done on my back or neck and wouldn’t be able to see, I wanted to see what was actually going on first to try to calm my nerves.  In hindsight, I should have just gone into it blind.

My co-worker was getting a place on his arm treated.  Basically it looks like this…

Gloves on…

Alcohol on…

Needle in…

Dig around with needle…

Dig around…

Watch my co-worker wiggle and flinch…

Electrical stimulation added to the needle to make it vibrate while it’s still in…

Co-worker says it feels good…

Needle out…

Done.

Of course, there is WAY more expertise, detail and navigation of the human anatomy that went into the treatment, but as far as what you can “see” that was pretty much it.

I was still nervous but did it anyway.  The PT started by giving me a background in dry needling and made sure to mention that, although the needles are the same as acupuncture, the treatment, evaluation and goals are all very different from acupuncture treatment.   She also stated I may be sore, like a deep ache, after the treatment.  I was only sore for an hour or so, and luckily had no soreness the next day.

I had built what I thought it would feel like in my head to the point where I actually got nervous enough for the PT to tell me to stop and breathe.

All in all…it really wasn’t that bad.  I got my shoulders and neck done (my trigger points).  Looking back on it, the intense ache I got during the treatment didn’t feel any worse than a flare, like during a strong weather change…and it only lasted a second or two.

Now to the most important part….

Did it work?

I was pain free in the treatment spots for almost one full week after only one treatment.  These are the spots where I have daily, nagging, never goes away, pain.  I just felt…normal.  I was able to turn my head in the car easier and didn’t feel my neck “stick” while reaching like I usually do.

I was extremely happy with the results and YES, I will do it again.

Our next attempt?  My sore hips from the psoriatic.

Next needle on my agenda?  Getting rid of the methotrexate!  My Rheumatologist Ok’d the switch from Methotrexate to a biologic because of the side effects I was having.  I am SO excited to have my Sunday’s back…and some of my hair back for that matter.

New needle to try?  Humira injections.

After weeks of working through to get my co-pay lowered ($8,000 a month without insurance, $100 copay with, and now $5 with copay assistance, thank goodness) the injection pens are sitting in my fridge waiting to be used.

Because of the potential side effects (nothing like methotrexate from what I’ve heard) I am choosing to wait until after the holidays to start the injections.  I don’t want to miss out on any of the holiday events, or have a possible bad reaction, etc.

While this is great, it’s also a double edged sword.  I’m swollen, sore and crack and pop every time I move.  Once the methotrexate started to leave my system, this all came pouring back unfortunately.

I have high hopes for Humira, as it seems to have helped quite a few psoriatic arthritis patients based off the reviews and the posts in my support group.

As usual…

Only time will tell.

The First Step Is Admitting You Have a Problem…

 

Thumb

 

On November 12th I decided to take a two week vacation from Facebook after reading the article, “7 Ways Facebook is Bad for Your Mental Health,” on Psychology Today, found here:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-murder-and-the-meaning-life/201404/7-ways-facebook-is-bad-your-mental-health

Depression and anxiety are some of the most common symptoms that accompany chronic pain illnesses.  So, by spending time on Facebook, was I making it worse?  Was I on a slippery slope where I was on Facebook, Facebook was causing me to be stressed or depressed and then, in turn, making my pain worse?

Well, it’s November 17th.  I obviously didn’t make it the full two weeks because, well, while it was beneficial for MULTIPLE reasons, it was hurting me (no pun intended) in other ways.

The 7 “reasons” found in the article and how I connected to them….

  1. It can make you feel like your life isn’t as cool as everyone else’s. Social psychologist Leon Festinger observed that people are naturally inclined to engage in social comparison. To answer a question like “Am I doing better or worse than average?” you need to check out other people like you. Facebook is a quick, effortless way to engage in social comparison, but with even one glance through your News Feed you might see pictures of your friends enjoying a mouth-watering dinner at Chez Panisse, or perhaps winning the Professor of the Year award at Yale University. Indeed, a study by Chou and Edge (2012) found that chronic Facebook users tend to think that other people lead happier lives than their own, leading them to feel that life is less fair.

Well, duh, of COURSE my life isn’t going to feel as “cool” as everyone else’s, right? I have chronic pain…I’m either limited or have to adjust my life around that pain, which in turn can make me feel more like an 80 year old lady—not so cool.  I can’t ride rollercoasters, or stay up late drinking with my girlfriends.  I can’t go on vacation or travel at the drop of a hat. I don’t like being the “Why me?” person and Facebook was only making that worse.

  1. It can lead you to envy your friends’ successes. Did cousin Annabelle announce a nice new promotion last month, a new car last week, and send a photo from her cruise vacation to Aruba this morning?  Not only can Facebook make you feel like you aren’t sharing in your friends’ happiness, but it can also make you feel envious of their happy lives. Buxmann and Krasnova (2013) have found that seeing others’ highlights on your News Feed can make you envious of friends’ travels, successes, and appearances. Additional findings suggest that the negative psychological impact of passively following others on Facebook is driven by the feelings of envy that stem from passively skimming your News Feed.

You better bet Chronic pain sufferers are envious of a pain free, or easier lives.  I was jealous of people who didn’t have to work when working full time is so exhausting for me on top of raising Baby A and dealing with chronic pain. I was envious watching people who “seem” to have it so easy.  I found myself drifting off into daydreams of what I “couldn’t” or “didn’t” have with my limitations…not good.

  1. It can lead to a sense of false consensus. Sit next to a friend while you each search for the same thing on Google. Eli Pariser, author of The Filter Bubble (2012), can promise you won’t see the same search results. Not only have your Internet searches grown more personalized, so have social networking sites. Facebook’s sorting function places posts higher in your News Feed if they’re from like-minded friends—which may distort your view of the world (Constine, 2012). This can lead you to believe that your favorite political candidate is a shoe-in for the upcoming election, even though many of your friends are saying otherwise…you just won’t hear them.

This is SO very true when researching chronic illnesses.  “This” treatment is “Obviously” the best.  “Your doctor is wrong”, so on and so forth.  I found myself in a very un-supportive, support group on Facebook.  When you’re lost in a new diagnosis and illness, it’s hard not to think you may be doing the wrong things to manage your illness, or to listen to what other patients have to say…maybe they have the “answer” to all of this (someone has to, right?).

  1. It can keep you in touch with people you’d really rather forget.  Want to know what your ex is up to? You can…and that might not be a good thing.Facebook stalking has made it harder to let go of past relationships. Does she seem as miserable as I am? Is that ambiguous post directed at me? Has she started dating that guy from trivia night? These questions might better remain unanswered; indeed, Marshall (2012) found that Facebook users who reported visiting their former partner’s page experienced disrupted post-breakup emotional recovery and higher levels of distress. Even if you still run into your ex in daily life, the effects of online surveillance were significantly worse than those of offline contact.

Yep.

  1. It can make you jealous of your current partner.  Facebook stalking doesn’t only apply to your ex.  Who is this Stacy LaRue, and why is she constantly “liking” my husband’s Facebook posts?   Krafsky and Krafsky, authors of Facebook and Your Marriage(2010), address many common concerns in relationships that stem from Facebook use. “Checking up on” your partner’s page can often lead to jealousy and even unwarranted suspicion, particularly if your husband’s exes frequently come into the picture. Krafsky and Krafsky recommend talking with your partner about behaviors that you both consider safe and trustworthy on Facebook, and setting boundaries where you don’t feel comfortable.

Not really a concern for me, but sometimes I worry that he is also envious of people with an “easier” life, or “easier” wife (no comments from the peanut gallery).

  1. It can reveal information you might not want to share with potential employers.  Do you really want a potential employer to know about how drunk you got at last week’s kegger…or the interesting wild night that followed with the girl in the blue bikini?  Peluchette and Karl (2010) found that 40% of users mention alcohol use on their Facebook page, and 20% mention sexual activities. We often think these posts are safe from prying eyes, but that might not be the case. While 89% of jobseekers use social networking sites, 37% of potential employers do, as well—and are actively looking into their potential hires (Smith, 2013). If you’re on the job market, make sure to check your privacy settings and restrict any risqué content to “Friends Only”, if you don’t wish to delete it entirely.

I worried about this a lot when I was teaching Zumba.  I worried that my employers wouldn’t think I was capable, or students would think I wouldn’t be very hard or I wouldn’t be any fun. 

  1. It can become addictive.  Think society’s most common addictive substances are coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol? Think again. The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) includes a new diagnosis that has stirred controversy: a series of items gauging Internet Addiction. Since then, Facebook addiction has gathered attention from both popular media and empirical journals, leading to the creation of a Facebook addiction scale (Paddock, 2012; see below for items). To explore the seriousness of this addiction, Hofmann and colleagues (2012) randomly texted participants over the course of a week to ask what they most desired at that particular moment. They found that among their participants, social media use was craved even more than tobacco and alcohol.

I was fully, 100% addicted. Yep. 

 

So Facebook was OBVIOUSLY bad for me in a lot of ways, but at the same time, I missed the things that WERE good for me.

I missed seeing pictures of my family.  I missed sharing Baby A with them from so far away.  I missed having an “escape from reality” after a few days break when I realized that Facebook was FAR from reality. 

So let’s look at this again….

  1. It can make you feel like your life isn’t as cool as everyone else’s. 

My life only needs to be as “cool” as I want it to be, based off what I can do, have the energy, and WANT to do because I WANT to, not because it’s necessarily “cool” for everyone. Plus, some 80+ year old women ARE cool…like Betty White…If I’m half as cool as her now, at 33, then I consider myself pretty damn awesome.

Betty white

  1. It can lead you to envy your friends’ successes.

I am successful.  I shouldn’t be jealous of people who don’t have to work or those who seem to have things come easily.  I should be proud I still CAN do all of this for the time being.  I’ve got a lot to handle-People should be envious of my strength, right? 😉

  1. It can lead to a sense of false consensus. 

I have deleted all of my “support” groups but one, who I truly feel are filed with people who are kind, genuine and still have the pursuit of being active and lead a full life. I am the only one who will find the best treatment for me.

  1. It can keep you in touch with people you’d really rather forget.  

“Are you sure you which to “Un-friend” this person”…Why yes, Facebook, I’m sure.  My friend list is now very small.  I like that.

  1. It can make you jealous of your current partner.  

I’m not sure my fear of my hubby having an “easier” wife will ever go away, but spending my time sulking over Facebook envies obviously isn’t me being the supportive wife I can be.

  1. It can reveal information you might not want to share with potential employers.  

I’ve got the best co-workers and am blessed to work in a PT clinic where they have sympathy for pain.

  1. It can become addictive.  

No question, I’m cutting back.  There are lots of reason I became very addicted (especially last year during a really rough time) and I have to forgive myself for that and understand at THAT point in my life Facebook actually helped me get through by staying in touch with people, but now I have to continue to realize I don’t need to crutch anymore.

 

I worry that I’m not the only chronic pain patient who has allowed social media to become a crutch to stay inside and stay away from actual human interaction.  I worry that it is causing more isolation and less activity for those who need it the most.  I can only hope that maybe someone else with chronic pain will evaluate their use of social media too.  Is it helping, or “hurting?”

 

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