“Can you accept that your pain is permanent and incurable?” asked my Acceptance and Commitment therapist during our second session.
Permanent and incurable? I felt the question in my gut. Heavy. Weighty. Dark. Sticky. As if a shadow had run across my whole being in that moment and landed in my gut.
Acceptance of what is? Sort of. I was diagnosed three years before this therapy with Trigeminal Neuralgia (also known as the Suicide Disease) and needed more help dealing with it. I had a huge list of tools and processes I was using and I still found myself stuck. I could not get above my TN pain.
I heard about ACT therapy and thought I would give it a try because it emphasizes psychological flexibility and emotional awareness. It also does not attempt to reduce your symptoms, but most people get symptom reduction while doing the work of focusing on their values, compassion, forgiveness and living in the moment.
I wrote this question on my big white board, I had it on my phone and in my purse. Can I accept that it’s permanent and incurable? I stood within myself and watched my thoughts and struggles each time I had a flare. The pain, icepick stabs and taser like jolts continued, but I learned to turn my attention to my loving and funny relationships with my husband, children, family and inner circle of friends. I noticed how I was contributing to the world and began to live more in the moment.
I was able to accept that my pain is permanent and incurable and I still have a wonderful life. Yes. I have chronic pain. And whether I live in the joyous moments or feel depressed, I have pain. I choose acceptance and finding the best in each day.
May this help you come into alignment with what you know to be true for you and thrive.
Gail Sinclair, MHt, CNC is a hypnotherapist who helps those living with chronic pain go from discomfort to thriving by using hypnosis, pain management tools and resources.
She is a Master Hypnotherapist, Nutritional Consultant, and a Reiki Master Teacher. She has over 20 years in healing work and is an international award-winning speaker.
Gail lives in Portland, OR with her delightful husband, son, and cat. She can be found cooking, knitting, writing, and figuring out new ways to thrive with Trigeminal, and Occipital Neuralgia.