Chris speaks with author Sarah Anne Shockley about dealing with chronic pain, the importance of recognizing emotional pain, and shifting the cultural paradigm of pain away from fear.
As a result of a work-related injury in the fall of 2007. Sarah Anne Shockley contracted Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) and has lived with debilitating nerve pain since then. She has been a columnist for Pain News Network and is a regular contributor to The Mighty. Sarah is the author of a number of books on living with chronic pain, including The Pain Companion: Everyday Wisdom for Living With and Moving Beyond Chronic Pain. Learn more about Sarah at thepaincompanion.com.
Recognizing Emotional Pain
Chris introduces Sarah, who details her journey with TOS and how she deals with the chronic pain it produces. They discuss how scary and isolating pain can be, and the importance of recognizing and addressing the emotional pain that accompanies physical pain.
“When we talk about pain today, a lot of the things we’re going say are going to relate to physical pain, but they’re also going to relate to emotional pain. They’re very, very similar in the way we deal with them. Or don’t deal with them, in our culture.” – Sarah Anne Shockley
Shifting the Pain Paradigm (21:48)
Chris asks more about TOS and how to prevent it. Later, Sarah talks about how to make friends with your pain. Which involves shifting away from the cultural paradigm that pain is something to be feared.
“If we can just think of pain as the part of us that wants to heal trying to get our attention, just that very seemingly small but extremely profound shift in the way we perceive it… If you can do that, your body suddenly begins to relax. Everything begins to shift around how you feel about it.” – Sarah Anne Shockley
Explore more about how we relate to physical and mental pain on Episode 39 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
Victimization and Powerlessness (44:19)
Chris and Sarah discuss how pain leads to feelings of victimization and powerlessness. Sarah talks about the need to soften our view of pain. Not to see it as a battle, but simply part of the path of being human.
“Nobody should feel bad about feeling bad.” – Sarah Anne Shockley