Thursday, June 11, 2015

THE STAGES OF GRIEF - ACCEPTANCE (PART THREE)



THE STAGES OF GRIEF - ACCEPTANCE (PART THREE)

Ac*cept*ance (noun)

Willing to believe- willingness to believe that something is true

Coming to terms with something - the realization of a fact or truth and the process of coming to terms with it

Toleration - the toleration of something without protest
Encarta Dictionary

It would be such a wonderful thing if we could just bypass all the stages of grief we have been discussing! But, unfortunately that is just not a part of how we were created. Yes, it would be nice to just jump right to the acceptance part! Who in their right mind wants to deal with all the denial, anger, bargaining, and depression!

I believe that each stage teaches us many lessons along the way! We gain strengths and insights into who we really are, where we are going, what is really important in life and who is really willing to walk this road with us! I feel looking at the relationship we have with ourselves, as well as others is a major part of all this.

Finding acceptance of living in chronic pain isn’t the same as saying it is okay. (Nor are all the negative things that have happened to us because of it!) It is being willing to come to terms and tolerate it as best we can. It is recognizing that this new “normal” is our reality. Acceptance comes little by little as we accumulate “tools” over a period of time, using them to make adjustments to be as functional as we can physically, emotionally, socially and financially.

Some try to continue life as lived previously, pushing through the pain to do things, actually causing more pain, and at times causing more damage to ourselves. Fighting our inabilities can leave us feeling hopeless and helpless. Instead of denying our feelings, becoming angry and depressed we can implement many strategies to help ourselves.

For self care we can use adaptive equipment (reachers, long handled sponges, shoehorns, shower or bath chairs, shower sprayers, etc.), simplifying tasks, asking for help as needed, taking breaks before working to the point of exhaustion and increasing pain as well as other “tools” that are helpful.  There are many adaptive devices for many activities around the house. If you have questions for what might help you, please leave a comment below and I will suggest what may help you!

We can all try to be as healthy as we can. We can research health care providers to be sure we are getting all the help we can with our pain.  We can eat right. We can move and exercise as able and allowed by our physician. And keeping on top of new health information that may help us can be useful.

We can make new relationships with other chronic pain survivors that can be encouraging and up lifting to us, as well as be encouraging and uplifting to others. It is helpful to have others dealing with the same issues as we are to feel understood. This is very helpful with the feelings of isolation many of us feel. We can reconnect with friends and relatives by calling, sending cards, visits as able and other social activities as physically able.

Slowly but surely, incorporating these activities you are able to do can help you feel some control over your life.

As far as financially, this is very difficult to address due to the various abilities to work. Some are able to collect workman’s’ compensation, disability insurance or Social Security Disability. In any case, utilize what is available to you. This is very tough when we are used to living at a certain level of income and becoming disabled leaves many of us financially challenged.  If you are finding yourself having difficulties there are places that offer free financial counseling out there. It can really help to have some information when there are a lot of financial commitments in everyone's lives.
You can try calling your church for financial counseling (it is often free). Or call, 211 which is the number for the Red Cross First Call for Help and they provide resources for needs you may have.

Seek ways to process what will work to make things better for you.  Be sure, you will find small moments of peace, joy and hope with your losses here and there that will grow. You will eventually adjust from your old self of the way life used to be to moving on to a new "normal."  You will still feel sadness, anger, denial and depression off and on, but you will have the tools to use to push through it. If not, ask for help! There’s a lot of it out here! You do not have to go down this road alone! There are many support groups on line. You might have to look around a bit for one that suits you. 
Down the road you will find others needing you to help them find their new “normal!" We need to lend a hand to each other in this journey! We do not have to let it overtake us!

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