Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain

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Living with Chronic Pain and Illness

Having a chronic illness is difficult, challenging, and emotionally draining. Chronic illness has a mental and emotional impact on your daily life and relationships. The weight of external concerns can often make the physical effects of illness and pain harder to bear.

With or without illness, chronic pain is debilitating and disheartening. Living with chronic pain can exacerbate feelings of hopelessness and make every challenge seem overwhelming.

Still, it doesn’t change the amazing person you are or how you care for and treat yourself and others. Therapy can help you create a full life, even in the midst of chronic pain or chronic illness. Reach out to get support.

How does chronic illness and/or chronic pain impact mental health?

“I have fibromyalgia and it’s really affecting my ability to live my life. I don’t feel well. I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, in pain, and I worry about the future.”

Anxiety, depression, trauma, and chronic pain are concerns that people who have a chronic physical illness commonly contend with. In addition, feelings of isolation, uncertainty, low self-esteem, and fear for the future add a huge amount of emotional stress for you and your loved ones. Receiving therapy services from a therapist who can help you navigate your personal challenges with chronic illness and chronic pain can be an invaluable resource.

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Experiencing persistent physical pain and other health issues significantly increases the stress you experience in your body and mind. Often, anxiety and depression can make it extremely difficult to function at your optimal level. The unrelenting nature of chronic pain can affect your mood, worry, energy level, and ability to manage day-to-day responsibilities.

Chronic Illness, Chronic Pain, and Mental Health

Life-threatening illness and chronic illness often involve struggling with complex, life-changing events and experiences, such as:

  • A recent diagnosis of a chronic health condition
  • A chronic illness develops into a disability
  • A chronic illness develops into a threatening illness
  • Exposure to medical treatments that led to medical trauma
  • Receiving an inconclusive diagnosis that feels defeating and invalidating
  • Struggling to get through the day with a chronic medical condition, illness, or pain
  • Feeling alone in coping with your chronic disease or invisible illness
  • Hearing people say, “you don’t look sick.”
  • Suffering from depression and/or anxiety because you are apprehensive about the future
  • Feeling unsure and lost about how to handle limitations due to your condition
  • Experiencing chronic pain that is severe, constant, and unrelenting

Chronic Pain Symptoms that impact your Mental Health:

  • Insomnia, sleep disruption, or a lack of sleep due to pain level
  • Physical disability and being unable to do the things you enjoy
  • An inability to move and exercise as you would like to, increasing pain when you try to push yourself
  • Continual chronic pain that keeps you and your nervous system in a heightened state of stress
  • Activity that uses many of your “spoons” and leads to fatigue and exhaustion
  • Pain that exacerbates the grief, loss, and mourning about the life that was, isn’t now, and can’t be in the future

Coping with Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain through Therapy

A teal cup, the inside of which says, "relax. Do nothing at all. Take a moment for yourself. Enjoy the moment. Just... because you deserve it!"

You do not have to suffer alone. Our therapists can support and guide you in making the best decisions for yourself regarding treatment. We can work with you to develop a helpful medical and mental health care team and navigate the right care for you. We will help you create a strong support system and build coping skills to manage your emotional well-being. You will learn to define and create a life that includes the experiences and people you value most.

Therapists who specialize in working with people who suffer from chronic pain and/or chronic illness use a range of therapy methods, including:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Chronic pain therapy based in an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach can support you by tapping into your own inner strengths and wisdom. You will learn a variety of skills to reduce the intensity of your physical symptoms. ACT can also help you to create emotional distance from the chronic pain you experience.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

By helping you embrace the present moment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can provide a deeper understanding of your thoughts and feelings. This process enables you to move forward with meaningful goals and reconnect with people and activities that give purpose and value to your life even when your chronic pain persists.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) can help you transition your negative thoughts and distressing emotions to newly connected, adaptive, and positive beliefs and emotions. In turn, your bodily sensations will adjust to a new positive state, helping you feel less in a “fight, flight, freeze” mode and more in a state of safety, security, and calm.

How Therapy can Help

You can begin to create a full and dynamic life worth living even in the midst of chronic pain. Through therapy, you can begin to feel stronger, less afraid, calmer, and more hopeful.

A qualified therapist can provide emotional support and help you develop coping skills and strategies so that you feel more empowered and in control despite your challenging medical condition.

  • Learn how to understand and accept your diagnosis and illness
  • Develop a pain reduction and pain management plan
  • Nurture a deeper connection to yourself
  • Gain some control over what is happening to your body
  • Navigate new relationship challenges related to your illness
  • Receive assistance understanding and accepting your pain and/or illness
  • Recover from any medical trauma or hurtful invalidation you’ve received from family and/or medical providers
  • Connect with resources and learn what is available to help treat and support you in your healing
  • Discover a peaceful connection with and within your body
  • Identify what is most important to you and help you to live your life in a way that works for you
  • Define a new normal for yourself while creating a joyful life
  • Connect with your courage, wisdom, and determination

We encourage you to take the next step and try something new. Reach out for chronic illness or chronic pain counseling and therapy today.

Meet our Therapists

At Health and Healing Therapy, we have therapists who specialize in working with people who are facing a chronic illness and/or coping with chronic pain. We are committed to helping you feel better both physically and mentally so you can live your life as fully as possible. It would be a privilege to help you navigate your illness and pain while creating a life filled with joy and hope.

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You no longer have to suffer alone in your pain.

We encourage you to take the next step, try something new, and reach out for support. You deserve to live life with greater ease and less pain and to rediscover what brings you joy.