Accommodation is the third step in Kicking Pain in the “As”, and in this third blog in the series, I look at how accommodation of the symptoms of my conditions has allowed me to live a positive life with pain.
Chronic pain could lead, very easily, to a pattern of “I can’t do that” in our lives; constantly telling ourselves, and others, what we are not able to do. However, when we approach it from the “I can do that” space, we find our lives feel more positive, more fulfilling. We have a greater sense of accomplishment.
In order to get to the “I can do that” place, we have to learn to accommodate our pain and the limitations it imposes on us. Instead of fighting it, battling with it and hoping that this time we will prove we can do it, we can be more strategic.
Let’s look at this situation you’re in from a different perspective. Imagine that today, you found a puppy. It was tied to a tree in a park and you knew, instantly, that you had to find a way to give it a home. Everyone around you is telling you all the reasons why it’s a bad idea, not least that you work long hours and that, no matter how much they promise, your teenagers won’t help with the walking. Yet, despite all their (unsolicited) advice, you will find a way. You’ll accommodate this new, gorgeous animal into your family and everyone will make it work. You’ll change patterns and discover new joys and experiences that were absent from your life before.
Pain is certainly no puppy! However, when you accommodate it, when you make allowances, work as a team with family and friends, do things a new way, you can discover new joys too. Sound unlikely? That’s the “I can’t do that” voice; it’s become a habit and you’ll have to be prepared to tell if to “shove off!” as you learn the new “I can do that” habit.
Now, before you think that what I’m really saying is “learn to live with it” or “there’s nothing you can do about it so accept it” that’s not what I mean. This links back to the first two steps – and you’re not able to accommodate without acceptance, or face it with courage and determination without first thinking about your attitude and taking responsibility for it.
I’ve already started my day with accommodation of my EDS; I dislocated my hip during the night, so I had to work from the sofa rather than my office this morning. Did it stop me? No; I accommodated it, and then got on with my day. Does that mean I didn’t allow myself to say “I wish that hadn’t happened!”? No way! I certainly had a few choice words to say about it before I accommodated it. That’s real, that’s allowed.
As I type this, I’m watching Pickle accommodate Lillie (if somewhat reluctantly at first) who is determined that there is plenty of space next to me for both of them! She’s already accepted that sharing the space is going to be better than leaving it all together and has returned to a state of happy purring as Lillie gives her head a good wash!
So today, think about some steps you can take to accommodate your pain into your world; ways that allow you to be kind to yourself without overwhelming yourself. Start with something small, one step at a time.
Here’s to a pain-free day