I woke up to my room phone ringing. I had overslept and it was 9:05. In 10mins I managed to get dressed, grab my bag and get down to the first session of the day by 9:15. It is safe to say that I didn’t get off to a very good start as I hadn’t really given myself enough time to wake up let alone take in any information. I spent most of the first session trying to push through the fog and the fact that the first hour of psychology was pretty boring didn’t really help. We focused mainly on the three main points that we should focus on in order to become a step closer to our goals.
These points were:
- Be aware and present in the moment
- Be open and willing
- Engage yourself in order to do what matters to you
This was all well and good but, as we are all pretty tired and in pain, it tends to be our bodies that don’t allow us to do what we want to do. I do understand that for change to happen you have to be willing to embrace it and be ready to battle through all the other thoughts and feelings that will arise when you step out of your comfort zone. However, if the choice was in our hands we would be living our lives very differently.
Throughout the day we had 2 sessions of physiotherapy which pretty much destroyed all of us. We were encouraged to become more in tune with our bodies by focusing on our breathing and gradually bringing our attention to each part of our bodies. This made me more aware of my pain as I spent time focusing on each individual area. We spent this time cracking and flinching as even the smallest movement can have a knock-on effect throughout the rest of the body. We shouted out how we were feeling, what emotions were coming to mind and why. I know that movement is known to help with stiffness and helps mobilise the muscles but, both sessions just wore out myself and the rest of the group.
Our first session after lunch was quite interesting as we learnt about the large variety of different medications and their effects on our bodies. Giving us this information will allow us in the future to make constructive decisions when we may be offered something new by our GP. Many of us our on or have tried strong opioids such as morphine and Tapentadol but, the reality is that opioids are more effective for people with acute pain and not chronic. They may work for a little while but as the body gets used them pretty quickly and isn’t particularly catered to long-term pain, you find yourself in a vicious cycle of side effects and little pain relief, always searching for something better to try when the positive effects wear off.
We also discussed the use of non opioids such as Aspirin, Naproxen and ibuprofen which barely touches our pain and when used incorrectly can cause liver failure. Sleeping tablets are known to eventually become less effective which is why herbal alternatives are becoming increasingly more popular. Overall, it seemed like the nurse was trying to persuade us to stop taking medication due to the complications that they come with but, didn’t really understand that without them the pain is just overwhelming.
Occupational therapy was a bit of a strange session. Matt the occupational therapist told us that what he would be teaching us would probably be different to previous therapies we have had. We spent an hour talking about setting smart goals that we would like to achieve and what sort of things hold us back from them. I don’t think this exercise was very beneficial as focusing on goals that we know we will be unable to achieve due to our physical difficulties only makes us feel worse about our current situation.
Overall, day 2 was exhausting. As a group, we havent really been finding the sessions helpful and have instead found them tiring and uninformative. The staff seem to waffle on about various things without actually focusing on how we can learn to cope better with our pain. They seem to love a good metaphor and diagrams about our thoughts and feelings but, have not yet really achknowledged that we are here to talk about and understand our pain.