Day 1 on the program
So this morning I was up bright and early as I had to be at my first session at 9.
When my alarm went off this morning I just wanted to hit snooze and curl up in bed as I had not slept very well. The loud sirens and busy road outside my window kept me awake and the room lit up every time an ambulance went by. Thankfully I just about managed to push through the fatigue, get ready and still have enough time for a cup of tea and a cigarette.
We started off the first session by getting to know both the staff and each other as there is 11 of us in the group. I’ll be honest, I barely remember anyone’s name but, I am sure this will change as the week goes on. We then filled out a very lengthy questionnaire which seemed to take ages. By the time I got to the last few pages, I was barely able to concentrate and had lost all interest. People were being taken out to speak to a nurse about their medication, an occupational therapist about the treatment offered and a physiotherapist who wanted us to walk up and down a corridor and a set of stairs so that she could see how much we were physically able to do. Luckily this was on a relatively good pain day for me but, I must admit that stairs have become an enemy of mine. Everybody was here, there and everywhere so no one really knew what was going on. The occupational therapist seemed really nice and had a very honest, no bullshit approach to what the therapy can do for people. He put my mind at rest by telling me that he does not believe or understand the benefits of pacing and also doesn’t agree that positive thinking will automatically help with your pain.
After lunch (which was pretty grim by the way) we all gathered back in the lounge waiting to be told what we were doing next and this is where we stayed for at least the next hour. When we finally started the next session, we spent some time talking about the 2 different paths that people with chronic pain often find themselves stretched between. The first path which people usually find the easiest and most natural to them is the one in which you avoid challenging situations and just stick to what you feel comfortable with. In relation to pain, this would mean trying to ignore it, taking medication to block it out and sleeping so that you can’t feel it. As much as this may seem like a good idea at the time, you often find yourself going round in circles as the pain will always creep up on you no matter what you do to try to avoid it. The other path entails challenging yourself and not letting your pain stop you from avoiding what you are passionate about which can be difficult when you have gotten so used to your pain holding you back. Up until now the majority of medical professions have little to offer you but a cocktail of medication that may or may not help and half-arsed advice about how exercise and positive thinking can magically change the way you feel mentally and physically. It was nice to hear that we would be trying a different approach. Learning to live a fulfilling life is essentially in your own hands but, you have to make the decision to take the first step onto the right path and I guess today was a step in the right direction.
Overall, today has been a bit all over the place and it has not been very structured. There have been a few times where I could feel myself switching off and repeatedly checking the time which obviously doesn’t make it pass any quicker. Hopefully, tomorrow will be different as we will not have to go through all of the formalities.
Thank you for reading and I will post an update tomorrow 🙂