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Battling Chronic Pain and Mental Health Together/How to Fight Victoriously

Battling chronic pain and mental health together is one of the most difficult challenges those with chronic illness face.

Why is it necessary to fight victoriously when battling chronic pain and mental health together? Because we have no choice. It is a conflict that is not of our choosing, but we are here fighting none the less. Chronic pain wages a war of attrition on the condition of your mental well-being. Being in a constant state of affliction wears on the spirit, and grounds down the heart of even the strongest individuals.

Chronic pain wages a war of attrition on the condition of your mental well-being. Click To Tweet

When we feel good and are at our best physically, the mind is at ease. I used to always say that I never really appreciated being healthy until I got sick. At the time I was referring to the simple colds and flus that quickly came and went. Common illnesses that were easily bounced back from.

Chronic pain is different.  The very nature of ‘chronic’ is found in it’s state of lingering persistence. Pain in this ‘chronic’ form requires a well stocked arsenal . Weapons used in countless campaigns launched to combat against the discouragement of the heart and mind.


Here is a large part of the battle; accepting that there is one. Knowing that you are going to have fight to keep your head above water, and equipping yourself with what you need to endure the ‘low’ times, will create a mindset of preparedness and perseverance.

Life is not easy. It just isn’t. It has taken almost 50 years for me to come to terms with this fact, and start learning to deal with it. Not in a defeated, self-pitying way, but rather in a way of ‘acceptance’. Forgive me if this sounds cliché, but in I am learning to look at problems as ‘challenges’ that build the strength of my ‘character muscle’. A muscle that grows tougher as each challenge is overcome.

Battling chronic pain and mental health together is one of the most difficult challenges faced by those who fight chronic illness.

I am not trying to speak to anyone specific here. And there is absolutely NO JUDGEMENT from me as far as how someone may or may not be doing in their fight to balance mental health and chronic pain. I am simply writing what helps me, and if it helps you too, that would be my most ardent hope.

NEVER, EVER GIVE UP! National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-(800)-273-8255 Click To Tweet

As always, no advice or writing here at ‘ALWR’ is EVER meant to take the place of professional medical advice. On the contrary, I ENCOURAGE you MOST EMPHATICALLY to seek out and take full advantage of all the professional medical help available to you. Use ALL the tools that are accessible, ESPECIALLY from those who are licensed and trained to deal with the problems of the mind and body.

Weapons of Victory Used In My Life of Battling Chronic Pain and Mental Health Together

  • Spiritual ~ I do not talk here often about my belief in God. Just telling people what I believe is not something I have ever felt the need to do. (If you are not attracted by the ‘something different’ in me, what good does it do to try to convince you of anything?) Just quoting the bible at people and saying ‘Praise The Lord’ after every sentence does nothing but ‘turn people off’ to the reality of who Jesus really is…more ‘Christians’ need to understand this). I know not everyone is a believer, and this is not meant to convert you. Just inform you of what is the most effective weapon I have in my arsenal; the dependance I have on the Israelite God and His Son. 

  • Giving Of Yourself By Helping Others ~ Oh, this is a hard one. To quote Bilbo Baggins: “Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.” But there is something cathartic in sharing the difficulties of someone else. It makes no common sense, but stepping into another’s pain and sharing their burden, can help to ease the heavy weight of our own troubles.

  • Professional Help Is An Option ~ There was a time in my life when I needed more than what I was able to get from reading books, and taking advice from other people. The things of my past were wrecking havoc on my life in the ‘present’; physically, relationally, emotionally, and mentally. I sought professional help, and it helped bring me to the level of health I am at today, and continues to keep me growing. (You can read more on this here) 


 Of course, almost all of you know that May 12 is Fibromyalgia CFS/ME Awareness day.  But, May is also the Mental Health Awareness Month. In my life, these go hand in hand. Battling chronic pain and mental health together is hard, but so is everything else that creates beauty out of ashes. It takes a pressure of 725,000 pounds per square inch to create a diamond from a lump of carbon…’shine on Beautiful Ones, shine on!’


Used by permission of the ‘great and powerful’ Gemma Correll herself! (click image to visit her site and laugh your b*** off!)

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  • Reply
    Chronic Mom
    May 9 at 8:45 am

    What a great post. I known that having a chronic illness has had a huge effect on my mental health. For many years it brought me down until I learned to accept it and live without. Even know when I’m mostly okay with my life it can be hard on my bad days. I used to think getting professional help was a sign of weakness, but now I realize how silly that is. Getting professional help is a must when you have depression or another mental illness, or even when you have a physical illness and need to talk through the ramifications of that.
    Chronic Mom recently posted…7 ways to cure your FibromyalgiaMy Profile

    • Reply
      May 9 at 10:15 am

      I really appreciate that Shelley! This was not an easy post. I wanted to say SO MUCH, but had to say what was necessary. I tell you what though, I remember saying years ago, “I will NEVER see a couenselor, and there are things I will NEVER say to anyone…” I can’t even imagine where I would be, let alone those I was responsible for if I had maintained that thought process. Have a wonderful week and FANTASTIC MAY 12 FMS CFS/ME Awareness Day!! ♥

  • Reply
    Darlene Wright
    May 9 at 6:14 pm

    Amen! Couldn’t have said it better. Thank you for sharing. God bless you. Xoxo

    • Reply
      May 9 at 6:46 pm

      Thank you so much Darlene! I appreciate that very much 🙂

  • Reply
    May 9 at 8:08 pm

    I send you a star.

  • Reply
    May 10 at 9:04 am

    Visiting your blog from the blog hop and love your post! I myself have lived with a chronic illness for over 10 years and can relate to what you are saying…my mind and body have mainly healed but every now and then I have to battle the negativity of my mind hehe. Well I look forward to reading more of your articles. Take care!

    • Reply
      May 10 at 10:41 am

      Thank you so much Alison! Negativity comes so easy doesn’t it? So glad to hear that you have come so far in your healing process, that’s wonderful! Glad your coming back here to read more from me! Have a fantastic day 🙂

  • Reply
    May 13 at 4:00 pm

    I can’t tell you how much I love this post Kristine! So encouraging!
    We’ll take meds for all our other issues but we feel shame if we need somethings to balance the chemicals in our brain.
    I have battled with anxiety and depression in the past and it wasn’t until I had another chronic illness did I seek help from a counselor. I finally felt it would be “ok” to get help now that I had another issue.
    I’m so sad I wasted so much of my life thinking the depression wasn’t issue enough!

    • Reply
      May 14 at 12:33 am

      Thank you Kim! There definitely is a stigma attached to mental issues. I’m glad that regardless of how much time it took, you were able to seek out and recieve what you needed. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories
    May 15 at 1:59 pm

    Chronic pain can have such an impact on mental well-being. I don’t think I realized how much when I was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. May is also RA Awareness month, Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup. Pinning to our linkup board and hope you found some great posts to visit this week!
    Tanya @ Mom’s Small Victories recently posted…Small Victories Sunday Linkup {102}My Profile

    • Reply
      May 15 at 5:12 pm

      Thank you Tanya! Have a good week 😉

  • Reply
    Deborah Davis
    May 16 at 9:45 am

    My Dad has been suffering from chronic pain for many years so I have firsthand experiences trying to understand and help him to ease his pain. Your suggestions are very valuable. Spiritual help has provided some solace for him. Thank you for sharing your suggestions with us at the Healthy Happy Green Natural Party! I’m Pinning and sharing this!
    Deborah Davis recently posted…10 Delicious Soups You Can Make With Your NutriBullet That’ll Warm Your Body And HeartMy Profile

    • Reply
      May 16 at 11:05 am

      I hope he is doing well, please give him my best Deborah! ♥♥♥

  • Reply
    May 17 at 4:35 pm

    For me there was a point that it got really ugly. I was in bed for 7.5 months, had a stroke and of course no one could figure out what was wrong. And I was in pain. I watched my family suffer and I hated that I was such a burden. At the same time all this is happening I was mourning who I used to be and frightened about the future. It really wears on your mental health, doesn’t it. And the anxiety doesn’t help physical or mental health. It’s a hard road we travel and it’s great to find others to talk to.

    Things do get better. Yes, there are times when I feel horrid, but I pamper myself and get back quicker. I’ve astounded myself with how strong I actually am, that is a bonus. I’ve become so much more empathetic too. I never would have been able to say that 3 years ago. But along with the pain came some good stuff.
    Nikki recently posted…A Refreshing Spring Cocktail for the PatioMy Profile

    • Reply
      May 17 at 7:09 pm

      Nikki! You should do a guest post here sometime on your battle with chronic illness! I think people would LOVE to hear from you! I do 🙂

  • Reply
    Brandi Clevinger
    May 20 at 10:30 am

    It is a daily struggle. Some days are better than others, but every day is a mental struggle in one way or another. Mental illness, in all forms and severity, should be taken seriously. My family didn’t realize the extend of my mental state and the daily war until I finally had a break down. There is only so much we can do internally, and it only builds up to the point of exploding. Just as eating junk food is unhealthy for the body, so is the mental struggles.

    Having a tweet for the suicide number is a brilliant idea! That one sentence WILL make a difference in someone’s life. Thank you!
    Brandi Clevinger recently posted…Chronic Friday Linkup 18My Profile

    • Reply
      May 20 at 2:49 pm

      Thank you Brandi. Chronic illness takes it’s toll on the mind just as much as it does on the body.

  • Reply
    June 6 at 9:23 am

    I’ve been in a “chronic” pain state for about a year. It’s all fixable, but it’s exhausting dealing with the “how much longer do I have to wait” part. Now this is due to two different things, one of which is fixed and I’m suing the dentist that caused it. that pain is gone now, but for 4 months last summer ever moment was filled with pain and every bite I took, whether cold or hot was excruciating.

    Moving on, during that time I tore the meniscus in my knee. At first it didn’t bother me too much and I could only deal with one thing at a time. I got the dental work fixed and now that’s pain free. thank you God. But my knee… OMG. I’ve been in PT for months and it was getting better, then I fell and well, forget it. I can’t do anything. Try getting an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. At last I have one tomorrow. I hope he can repair the meniscus, and replace the cartilage on Wednesday. Of course I know that won’t be possible, but really, that would be ideal for me. Even tomorrow night would work just fine.

    Now i’ve had a long history with chronic pain. Car accident screwed up my back, herniated disk in my neck screws up a lot of things from my neck to my wrist, lower back and sciatica pain screw up my hip… arthritis in my feet, knee, hands… it’s been a tough life. Actually it should have been a perfect life, but I kept screwing it up. I’ve been through panic attacks in the 90s and still have them if I stop taking my meds. this is 2016. My emotional state is … who cares. I just want the pain to stop. Even when I get my knee done there will still be the arthritis, neck, back… feet, forgot that. 35 years of 4″ heels with pointy toes… don’t do it. My husband doesn’t want to hear it anymore. to him it just sounds like I’m whining, again. I don’t want to bother my friends, because I want them to stay my friends. I do whine to my doctor, he give me more drugs. None of them help my emotional stability. As I write this I want to cry. I still haven’t gotten over the death of my mom, which I believe was my fault, and only makes all the pain that much worse. thanks for letting me dump all that here. Maybe this will help.

    • Reply
      June 6 at 10:04 am

      Thank you so much for sharing all of the struggles you are going through. I know chronic illness can be so very hard on relationships. Unless someone has gone through chronic pain, even for a short time, they just will not be able to fully understand. I do have a thought on your pain treatment. Believe me, I understand the ’emotional instability’ part of chronic illness. I truly believe it comes from chemical imbalances many CI cause in the body, from the enormous amount of physical and mental stress put on the body from pain that does not abate, and also many of the drugs/opioids that are prescribed can wreck havoc on your emotional instability. I wonder if you have ever looked into LDN? It has helped MANY people suffering from chronic illness (ones I personally know or have spoken to). Here is a link to an article I wrote on it: Low Dose Naltrexone . The beauty of this drug, is that if it works for you, the side effects have been shown to be unbelievably low/mild. I plan on starting on LDN here very shortly. Do your research on it, and talk to your physician if it seems like something you would want to try.
      The second thing is, and I NEVER say this lightly, you may want to seek out a good professional couenselor. Someone you can say all you want to say to, and who can help you cope both relationally and with your chronic pain. I have had counseling before and it has been an invaluable resource to pull from long after you are no longer having sessions. (and this coming from someone who said they would NEVER get into counseling)
      Good luck to you Lizzy, and all of my very best to you ♥

  • Reply
    June 6 at 11:46 am

    Kristine, thank you so much for not telling me to go away because the most intense pain is repairable, I hope. Just having someone listen helps so much. I will ask my doctor about the low dose naltrexone. I tend to doubt any drug, but I’m willing to try anything. I’m old, and I remember the good drugs of the 70s, that would work, but I can’t get them now because some people abuse them. I hate how that screws things up for those of us who really need the drug and can handle it like adults and not strung out kids. sorry… rant. The only problem with drugs is that you get used to them and they stop working and you have to take more and it’s a viscous cycle. I wonder if that drug will help my arthritis too. . You know I was really enjoying life, arthritis or not, a few years ago. I love to swing dance, but I can’t now because of my knee. I can’t walk my dogs, sometimes just standing up long enough to cook dinner is painful. Since the fall, most of my PT exercises are horrifically painful. I can’t wait to see the surgeon tomorrow. If he can take care of my knee at least I’ll just be back to the normal pain, back, neck, etc. I’m used to that and it’s not as debilitating as this has been, although there are times when my head is just to heavy for my neck to hold up. i feel like just going out and playing in traffic sometimes.

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