Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of The Pain Companion to review. The opinions below are completely my own. I am not being paid for writing this review.
If you live with chronic pain from injury, autoimmune disorders or any type of chronic illness, you understand that the challenges are far more than physical. Not only are the physical aspects challenging, but the mental and emotional struggles are very real as well.
As a chronic illness blogger, I received a copy of The Pain Companion to review. I took it along with me when I was on vacation at the beach which helped to really focus and meditate on it.
This is one of the most important books I’ve read since I began my chronic illness journey. It will occupy a place on my nightstand because I know I’m going to refer back to it again and again as I navigate the complexities of living with two major chronic illness conditions.
Review of The Pain Companion
“In the twenty-first century, one might wish that pain were an easily treatable nonissue. It is not. Millions of doctor and emergency room visits stem from pain, and addiction to pain medications, rampant in the United States, often takes root in an attempt to manage unremitting discomfort.
In The Pain Companion: Everyday Wisdom for Living With and Moving Beyond Chronic Pain (New World Library, June 12, 2018), author Sarah Anne Shockley, who has personally lived with chronic pain since 2007, offers fellow pain sufferers a compassionate and supportive guide for living with pain that can be used alongside their ongoing medical or therapeutic healing programs”
“I cannot know your personal suffering, of course; only you can,” writes Sarah. “But I do understand the experience of being in significant and relentless pain for long periods of time, and I understand the fear, sadness, and frustration associated with long-term physical debilitation. So I can say that this book has been written from inside of pain, a perspective on the experience and the healing of pain that we are seldom offered.”
Part 1: Pain Moves In. I can totally identify with the feelings of chronic pain being an unwanted visitor that moved in unannounced!
Part 2: The Emotional Life of Chronic Pain. The Pain Companion addresses the complex emotions that we face as learn to adjust to our new and unwanted normal. It gives a voice to thoughts and feelings that we may not realized that we even had! Naming and understand these emotions has been an essential part of the coping process for me.
Part 3: Meditative Approaches to Physical Pain. I can’t overstate the importance of meditation practices to people living with chronic pain and illness. There are about 15 different meditation techniques here that you can incorporate into your day. I like to think on them slowly. Don’t rush through this section!
Part 4. When Pain is the Teacher. Chronic pain and illness has been a journey that I never asked for but I work hard to remain teachable even as I feel powerless over my symptoms at times. One of the most important lessons that I’ve personally learned is having compassion for myself. As a woman in recovery I’ve always pushed too hard and been too hard on myself, even when my mind and body were telling me otherwise. Living with two debilitating chronic pain conditions has taught me to be kind to myself.
Living Better While Living With Chronic Pain
I had so much identification with Ms. Shockley. While I’m not a single mom with chronic pain as she is, I am a special needs mom and can completely identify with the overwhelm of being a caregiver while having physical struggles and limitations of your own.
She speaks of a different approach to chronic pain – one of not running away from it or resisting it. She also talks about writing as a way of processing everything and again, I was able to identify with it because that’s what drives my own writing and blog.
Do give this a listen!
The Pain Companion is an excellent book for both the newly diagnosed chronic pain patient and for those who’ve been on the journey for a long time. There are so many nuggets of wisdom and insight that you’ll want to refer back to it over and over again.
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