By Toni Bernhard J.D. in Turning Straw Into Gold.
Part of living day-to-day with chronic illness (which includes chronic pain) is learning to cope with a flare in symptoms. Even though my parade of symptoms tend to be relentlessly the same, at times they flare and can even feel out of control.
Here are seven suggestions for effectively handling what seems to be an inevitable consequence of being chronically ill.
#1: Don’t fight it
This is one I have to remind myself about every time I’m in a flare, because my first reaction to it is aversion: “Go away! I don’t want to feel this lousy.” But ordering a flare to go away has never worked for me—not once. Not only that, but fighting it tends to make things worse because it adds a layer of mental stress to the difficulty you’re already experiencing. Fighting it can especially affect pain levels, sending them sky high.
You may not be able to accept a flare as gracefully as you wish you could, but I suggest that, at the very least, you acknowledge it gently with words such as these: “This is a flare. I’m sad about it, but it’s what’s happening in my life right now.” Acknowledging it in this way (even if it brings tears to your eyes) keeps aversion at bay and this helps you address the symptoms without adding mental suffering to the mix.
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