I have widespread pain in my body, mainly in my upper body and feet. It’s a very unpleasant feeling, burning and aching. It’s like a monster in my life. The pain has given me a lot of anxiety and has impacted my mental health.
Although I was employed for most of my adult life I always found work difficult. Around the time the pain first started, I remember having to sit on a stool to cook dinner because my feet were so sore. I persisted with different jobs for 15 years until the pain was just too unbearable and I couldn’t cope anymore.
In my last job, I left my shift early one day and never returned. I went straight to a medical centre and it was the first time that I heard the term ‘chronic pain’. I had always dismissed pain as part of my life. I was 34 years old.
For four years I tried to get help without finding the right fit. I had numerous tests that showed no particular problem.
Since getting support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), I’ve been able to get the care I needed.
I now have weekly sessions with a psychologist trained in chronic pain and an exercise physiologist. It has blown my mind. I’ve learned about how pain can impact the mind and how to manage it through my mind. I’ve learned to lift 25kg weights without even thinking of my pain, and I’m learning how to control my anxiety.
For most of my life pain has stopped me from living. I had to give up travelling, dancing, going out, meeting people, working, sport – everything I enjoyed. Now I’m finally feeling as though I can move beyond the pain and reconnect with life.
I told my psychologist I want to be independent and flourish in every area of my life, and managing my pain is an important part of making that happen.