Coping with a Physical and Emotional Pain Setback

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

July 23rd, 2010 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

A pain setback comes not only with a physical symptom, but with a chain reaction of events that can cause emotional distress as well. I just had a bad experience tonight which left me with bad pain in my ankle. This ankle has been a bitch to heal in the past, and when I’ve had a setback in my ankle since then, it has lasted up to several months. Meaning several months of inability to shop for groceries, do laundry, go outside, and so on.

Here’s how I have handled and will continue to handle this setback:

  1. Process it:
    I called my mom and a 12-step phone line. My mom gave me love and support, and the phone line helped me gain insight into what was going on for me and what spiritual juice I could get from the situation.
  2. Lay low:
    I had plans not only to do business networking at the largest local business networking event of the year but also to spend my birthday whale-watching with my mom — something we wanted to do for almost a decade but never managed to pull together. If this ankle doesn’t heal, I may not be able to do that. But I have to accept circumstances as they are and take care of business. So I’m hunkering down until this pain episode passes.
  3. Find shopping alternatives 
    Fortunately, I live in a big city. And more fortunately than that, there is a store that delivers food. Yummy food. For just a $5 delivery charge. So I gave myself some TLC and ordered from them. I also jumped online and discovered that I can have an organic produce box delivered to my door for less money than I pay each week to take the trip out to the farmer’s market. Kewl. I’m signing up right away.
  4. Find a way to luxuriate in the down time.
    So yeah, I’d really like to be rubbing elbows with other business owners tomorrow night. But instead I’m going to see tomorrow as an opportunity to catch up on all the administrative meshugas I have not been able to get around to, because so much has been going on. I’ll sort my mail, file everything, pay bills, sign up for some training progrmas, and otherwise take it easy tomorrow. I’ll see it as a mini-vacation.
  5. Write
    Writing is the way I communicate with the universe and with other people. Tomorrow I’ll write about the incident and why it upset me so much. And tonight I’m writing about how I am handling the situation. That’s my catharsis in action.
  6. Dance
    Tomorrow I’ll have a session working intensively with the energy in my ankle and exploring, through dance, how I can master the healing process.
  7. Practice gratitude
    Yeah this setback sucks. And yeah it brings up all kinds of crap from my life — how I ended up in chronic pain with a super sensitive body. But in the scheme of Life, this setback is nothing. I acknowledge and offer gratitude for what I have in life — including shelter, an income, access to healthy food, running water, a successful company, work that I love and that I can do from bed, being my own boss, having dance as a tool at my disposal 24/7, being myself, and on and on and on.
  8. Use the experience to surge ahead
    I have taken this experience as motivation to get back into physical therapy and work with a specialist who can help me get buff again. I also have taken it as motivation to collect stories of people with hypersensitivity who have insights into the matter of navigating space in an often-insensitive world.
  9. Take herbal meds
    Certain vitamins and supplements give my system an extra boost that helps reduce pain — MSM, fish oil, multivitamins. I’ll be taking these again for a while, until the pain goes down.
  10. Meditate and give myself healing energy
    Wherever I am at any time, I can use the energies in my body to my advantage — channeling them into raw energy and then transforming them into healing energy and feeding the power back into the place of pain, recycling the pain to heal itself!


Dana Marton July 29th, 2010

Great ways to deal w/ it!
Blessings, Dana

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