Monday, October 28, 2019

Heroes As Helpmates Dealing With Fibromyalgia Or Other Chronic Pain And Illness

I think we would all say living with a condition that causes us chronic unrelenting pain is a threat to our overall well being. It's because we travel an unpredictable road full of potholes. But despite this reality, I still try to find opportunity in adversity because I know it is important to maintain a balance that keeps me mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy. I can't change my physical condition, but I can control how I react to it. Viewing my circumstances from the perspective of my heroes helps me with this.


"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. 
Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
-~Helen Keller


For me, heroes are people I admire for their tenacity and their ability to show gratitude despite facing significant obstacles. My heroes are people I admire for the way they confront adversity with success. 

Know your heroes

Identifying our hero or heroes is an important first step. 

I have many heroes. Several also face chronic illness. Another is my granddad, who always related to others in a positive way, without judgment and with a willing and giving spirit. He grew tomatoes, just so he could give them to his neighbors, and he kept cookies for all the neighborhood children who came to visit.  Some are my heroes because they make me feel loved or safe. Many heroes are advocates who use their voice for the greater good. Not all of my heroes are people I know personally.  I have had several through the years, actor Christopher Reeve is one.

Have you thought about who might make this prestigious list in your life?

Reasons we choose our heroes

There are many reasons we admire certain people.

·        They confront obstacles head on.
·        They are work to turn obstacles into opportunities.
·        They avoid a negative vortex.
·        They are empathetic.
·        They stay focused on resolution.
·        They are a positive role model.

When I think of how my hero would handle something, I feel their strength. 

How to think like a hero

We can’t say for certain how someone else would react to any given situation, but we can identify observed behaviors that we admire. We can:

·        Recognize acceptance is necessary to move forward.
·        Accentuate the positives that are a result of your illness, such as new friends, opportunities for helping others, becoming more spiritual, or any opportunity for personal growth.
·        Strive to react the way our role model would react. [This allows us to maintain a neutral, non-judgmental point of view.]
·        Be supportive to others.

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and author who was world-renowned for her pioneering work on death, dying, and the grieving process. Through her work she learned that life is like the changing of the seasons from spring to summer, summer to fall, and fall to winter. 

Abridged excerpt from Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-body Connection, The Power of Body, Mind, and Spirit (Chapter Five).


Elisabeth Kübler-Ross has influenced the world. The impact of her work affected me through my nursing career and has had a great influence on my writing. Learning to live with chronic pain is a process we work through to acceptance, much like the grieving process. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's work on the changing seasons of life was instrumental in the development and writing of our (co-author Jeff Miller, PhD) Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the See-Saw of Chronic Pain series, Winter Devotions, Spring Devotions, Summer Devotions, and Fall Devotions.


Obstacles are necessary turning points. If we cultivate them into opportunity, we know triumph. For those of us living with chronic pain, success is measured by how far we come in our reaction to it, for that is the only thing we can control. Heroes are my helpmates for dealing with fibromyalgia, migraine, autoimmune chronic illness and rheumatic disease.

Additional Reading:

·        The Gift of Connection, Communication for Managing Pain (Pts as teacher)

In healing,

Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

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