Don’t Stress Over the Little Things

Chronic pain, stress, and bad moods are a never ending vicious cycle, and if you don’t learn how to control them, they can be very overwhelming. I get anxious and stressed all of the time, even over the little things that aren’t a big deal at all. That is the biggest struggle in my life right now, stress and anxiety, which end up triggering my chronic pain. It’s important to find ways to cope with things because not everything is going to go as planned. If someone cancels hanging out with you, or if you have a big test that you didn’t study for, I promise you stressing about it won’t help.

People reading this who know me well may think this sounds hypocritical, but I really do work hard at calming down and I have gotten a lot better. Find a happy place that you can go to wherever you are. Think everything over, as calmly and rationally as possible, and figure things out. Think, “What would I tell a friend to do if he/she was going through this and reacting this way?” I do that all the time, and by asking myself that, I usually get an unbiased opinion.

Also, let’s face it, in the heat of the moment we aren’t thinking as logically as we could. So sometimes I try to distract myself until I calm down, and then I can be smarter about what my next step will be. I listen to music, or draw, or watch TV; pretty much anything that will get me to stop thinking about the situation, unless it's urgent of course. Then, when I am composed I can usually think more productively than if I am frantic and panicking.

Again, I struggle with this so don’t think I’m perfect just because I have my chronic pain under control. Other things can contribute to it coming back, so we need to find the tools that help us directly, and use them as needed. Stress and anxiety might occasionally re-invite chronic pain into your life, as it sometimes does mine, and that is the last thing we want, because that just adds to more stress and anxiety. Like I said, it’s a cycle that needs to be broken, sometimes multiple times, and it’s not easy, trust me I know. Don’t stress about the little things.


Caterpillar doodle.


I know this is the last thing anyone wants to hear, but it’s the truth. I still struggle with my chronic pain. It’s not nearly as serious and it’s very rare, but it does happen. When it does happen, it is so important not to let it bring you down or ruin your day. Use your tools that you learned and just relax.

I know that it is easier said than done, but you have to get through it. I don’t get panic attacks anymore, but I do get anxiety attacks quite a bit. I call up my boyfriend all of the time crying, saying stuff like, “What if I’m going back? What if I have to take medication again? What if this takes over my life again?” He helps me calm down and says that it’s not going to happen. Everyone has faith in me, even though sometimes I lose faith in myself. Stay strong and don’t doubt your abilities to fight through it.

After my struggle with chronic pain was done and we stopped worrying about it, I got an ovarian cyst. I was hospitalized because it was very large and it was still killing me even with all of the insanely intense medication the doctors were giving me. They were giving me morphine and I was still in so much agony. They were all stumped, and so were we.

My dad then emailed my chronic pain doctor, asking if this could have anything to do with my chronic pain. She said it could. It turned out that I did have the ovarian cyst, no one was doubting that at all, but because of my chronic pain all the pain was being magnified. So, for me it was a lot worse than for someone else, and that was also why the medication wasn’t helping anything. Chronic pain can make regular painful experiences like that not only feel a million times worse, but last longer, too.

But, as I’ve said many times, the pain will go away with hard work. You have to learn how to listen to your body and to help it so that chronic pain does not take over your life. It is a long battle that I still fight, but it’s worth it to have the life that I have today.

Bird plummage sketch.