rainbow across blue sky

Coping with change

Vikki, 68

Working in disabilities, fully independent, sharing looking after my autistic granddaughter to help my bi-polar daughter and being a very social person – my life was just the way it should be except for the chronic arthritic pain throughout my body which I had been managing for years.

Then it happened, the pain was so bad throughout my back and knees that it was very difficult to walk let alone continue to support others, and I had to agree with my peers that I couldn’t manage any more. My doctors advised that I had to stop working and prepare for both knee replacements to regain better mobility.

The news was devastating to me and I sunk into severe depression and became so anxious with the thought of going out in public that I isolated myself in my home.

After surgery, my mobility was only slightly improved, I could at least walk with aid, but I was struggling to regain my confidence or leave the house.

I had to accept that my life had changed forever and I needed help.

I attended a pain management program for six weeks, which was referred by my GP’s nurse. It took all my strength to go the first week and I remember being very teary. The program covered every aspect of acceptance, treatments and long term management of chronic pain.

Each week I found it easier to attend and by the program end, I had gained a true friend struggling with her own issues and strategies to use to help manage my chronic pain in my everyday life.

Now, some nine years since giving up a job I loved, I have accepted that I can’t live my life without support.

I continue with regular physiotherapy, to strengthen my upper and lower body to assist my mobility, therapy with a clinical psychologist and regular medications, to improve my mental health, regular outings with my support worker including aqua exercise, social and community participation, visiting friends and extended family and weekly support with domestic tasks I can’t manage.

Whilst I still experience chronic pain and continue with bouts of depression and anxiety I have found, and use, the tools gained to self manage on a daily basis.

To anyone suffering in silence, your life can improve by considering the following –

 Accept your abilities
 Seek professional advice
 Implement suggested strategies and persevere with them
 Open your mind to support and accept it
 Maintain positive thoughts
 Move on and enjoy your new found PAPER WINGS

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