Wednesday, May 23, 2018




As I attempted to write my post the past few days to cover the theory, by Elisabeth Kubler Ross, on the 5 Stages of Loss, denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance, I realized I needed to change my topic. My intention was to help with awareness regarding these stages of loss so that all of us suffering with chronic pain would know this is normal and that we are not alone in all these emotions and behaviors. But, as I was writing about the stages of loss I realized I needed to address the losses themselves first and why they have so much effect on our lives.

Dealing with the horrendous unrelenting pain is bad enough for us all! But then to deal with so many losses, as well as the horrible emotions due to all these losses we endure, can seem unrelenting and leave us feeling as if a part of us has died. It is hard to realize all THIS is a part of our "new “normal!”

Dissecting all the effects that chronic pain has on my life the last 4 years with all the losses it brought and trying to put them into words is pretty daunting! I just have to admit this is very difficult to write about. Please know I am not complaining! I just want to be real in letting you know that trying to zero in on one particular area to write about, when so many subjects to cover are flooding my mind, as well as being in pain, is extremely challenging! As I attempt to break down all the losses to write about for the next post on "The 5 Stages of Loss," many emotions I went through just kept coming back! We really do need to take a look at them, as hard as that is to do, and see why they affect our lives so drastically. Then we can look at how to rebuild from there!

Maslow’s theory,, basically defines that each person has definite needs that are common to all people.  Need is defined as something that is desirable, useful or necessary. These human needs are physiological and psychological conditions that an individual must meet to be able to meet a state of health or well-being.  In theory, we require to have the basic needs met before we can go on to the next level. As these definite needs, “that are common to all people,” are met we then can grow and eventually find self-actualization.

Looking at the picture below, which is an example of what a balanced life looks like according to Maslow, we can definitely point out needs that have turned into losses due to living with chronic pain. It affects us physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, socially and financially! We cannot deny that for some of us, if not many,  these losses tear through our lives like a tornado! Thus, taking this theoretical base of needs and turning it into a pile of rubble!

The pyramid is built from the bottom up. We need to have basic needs met in order to grow and move on to the next level.  I am sure that as you read this you can see that due to suffering chronic pain the basics physiological needs of eating, resting, going to the bathroom, our daily activities, as well as sex, are affected.

Then as you move up to the next levels you can see how our safety needs, love and belonging and esteem needs are affected. When chronic pain sufferers lose their inability to work it tragically affects all these areas. So it is no wonder we are thrown into an emotional state with all this blown apart!

Goodness, I don’t mean to make it sound so pessimistic! But in all reality, whether we like it or not, this is part of our "new normal!”  Do we really need to have a pyramid of hierarchy of needs to show us what we already know?  Probably not for some, but for those of us in the throes of all these losses, it may help to realize why these losses, and the resulting emotions are not only normal, but it may give us a starting point as to how to rebuild with what we are left with and why we need to rebuild.

Many of us are grasping for answers as to what to do with all this loss. How do we survive?  And when it is time, how do we rebuild a purposeful life with where we are at?  This results in many of us searching for help! We are looking for a place where we can have others to relate with what we are dealing. Some of us may need a place to process these emotions and help us to figure out how to rebuild. If you are having a tough time, just know that you can talk with your doctor for a referral to a behavioral therapist, seek counsel with a pastor or find a support group in your area or online.

After shuffling through many chronic pain groups online I have finally found one I feel comfortable in. For any question you have you can have access to answers almost immediately from thousands of people experiencing the same thing! That to me is absolutely amazing! It is a treasure of blessings that gives us support, understanding and guidance. Of which, that falls in the areas on the pyramid regarding safety, belonging, esteem and cognitive needs while we are trying to regain our balance and work through all the stages of loss I’ll cover in my next few posts!

Note:  Just beware that if you join a support group, online or anywhere, that there are some that give advice that is not healthy. No one should ever tell you what to do with the medications your physician prescribes or what exercises are healthy for you. Any medical advice should always come from your physician!

So, fellow chronic pain survivors, if you are struggling and having a difficult time processing this life in pain, please seek some help from somewhere to get yourself back on track! Use the tools you can obtain from your support systems to help rebuild a functional life with where you are at.

Sometimes we just have to have others help us over these situations in addition to our faith, family and friends! I have sought many places for help and am glad that I was able to obtain the support and knowledge of others to help me along this bumpy journey through the dark valley I was stuck in!  Please don’t discount a support group! It is good to have a place to share, give and get encouragement, support and even pray for each other! To me that is priceless!

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