Guaranteeing That Today A Good Day (Even If You Are Experiencing A Lot Of Pain!)

Years ago, soon after I started writing this blog, I was exhausted. I would wake to another day of immense pain and not know what to do. It often felt like I was parasailing; another gust of pain would come along and–like it or not–I had to go along for the ride. I remember thinking that if I could only get a half a second ahead of the pain, that I would be okay…and this felt like a perfectly acceptable goal, until I realized that I was in for the marathon of my life. Not only would the running never end, but I would also constantly be looking over my shoulder, looking at the pain that just never seemed to go away.

I’ll never forget those feelings of desperation.

One day is all I need. Just one day of no pain. One day of complete rest. One good day…and I will be okay.

That day I was looking for, however, never seemed to appear. The cycle of exhaustion, sadness, anger, depression, and every other negative emotion imaginable (and a few which were previously unimaginable) only continued to grow.

Then, just when it felt like I couldn’t take one more day of pain, I woke up one morning and asked myself: Just because I wake up with pain, does this mean that I should immediately write off my entire day as being a bad day? Yes, I know this is what I had been doing for what had already been years…but what if I were to wake up, and–despite the pain and disability–tell myself that I was indeed having a good day?

A few days later, I decided to make the following public promise, right here on my blog:

I pledge to work on making my feelings of personal well-being less dependent on the presence/absence of pain and mobility limitations in my body.

Since I wrote these words, my life with rheumatoid arthritis has never been the same. Sure, I still continue to experience pain and inflammation which leaves me suddenly unable to move my entire body; for exactly how long, I never know. I often have flares which are so world-changing, that it feels like I’ve passed through the back of a wardrobe. (And unlike others who are fortunate enough to  feast on Turkish Delight, I am advised to take ever more toxic medicines!) I live a lifestyle which, only during my recent visit to my hometown, is eerily similar (in pace, at least) to that of my retired parents! I am happy to share, though, that I have finally found someone who takes more naps than I do: my lovely one-year-old niece/goddaughter.

But, despite all these seemingly negative aspects of life with rheumatoid arthritis, I have finally reached the point where years ago I longed to be: I am happier than ever to be able to have one good day after another. (The secret, you see, was figuring out that even with the pain, I can still have a good day. In fact, I rarely ever–no matter how bad the pain is–label any of my days as being bad. Have you always thought that it’s impossible to guarantee that tomorrow will be a good day? Think again!)

If you currently find yourself in a place where it’s hard to connect with your thoughts or with your breath because the chronic pain just seems oh so overwhelming, if life seems like a series of bad days, one after another, do yourself a favor by doing exactly what I did many years ago.

Tell yourself that today is a good day, no matter how much pain you might be feeling right now.

Tell yourself that tomorrow is going to be an even better day, no matter how much pain you might be feeling then.

Trust me…it works!

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

12 Comments
12 comments
  1. Alice Adams says:

    Thanks! I needed to read this today. Yesterday and today I have alot of pain. I live in North Carolina and we have all four seasons. We are now getting cool at night and still warm in the afternoon! This is tough for anyone who has RA! I appreciate all the positive things you write! It’s nice to know there are other people who know exactly what you are going thru! Have a GREAT day! God Bless!

  2. Robin says:

    Good observations, it takes a lot of focus on the positive, but the fact is that RA is only a -PART- of our lives, not the whole of it. I’m a relative newbie to this disease (diagnosed this summer), but reading blogs like yours are very helpful.

  3. Robin H says:

    What helps with me is trying not to spend energy wishing you were normal and just accepting your pain. (Much easiler said than done however)

  4. Row itbin K says:

    This DOES work and work well. And before I know it, I haven’t noticed the pain in hours. Thanks for all the positives RA Guy ;)

  5. Tina T says:

    You are an inspiration to all your readers. I too have been dealing with depression and pain and frankly I am at my wit’s end. It is good to hear your words because I know you know how I feel, somehow it is more meaningful than the healthy people in my life telling me to keep going. Just wanted to say you are awesome and I am so blessed to have you as a encourager.

  6. Echo T says:

    Hey, I am actually Tina T’s daughter. (She wrote a couple comments ago.) I am eighteen and I also have a Rhuematoid problem. I understand exactly what you mean. Thanks for share. I will definitely be trying this. :)

  7. Beth h says:

    This is the very technique I use to get over the daily pain. When the pain is so distracting no matter what it’s time to call the Rhuemy. And it’s probably a good indicator if disease activity! Like now,,,good ole freaking prednisone burst. But better than the other option, have a great distracting day!

  8. Amanda says:

    I’m really glad that I looked at the blog today because the post has definitely helped on a humid, rainy day like today. This has helped me to look at my day differently than I was when it started.

  9. Katrina says:

    This definitely does work! Even when stuck in one place, a lot of your happiness is in your mind! I am in a lot of pain right now, but I REFUSE to give up on today. It has been good so far and it will stay that way! :)

  10. abcsofra says:

    Raising my glass to you! You are right on and yes, this can be very difficult to do but like riding a bike, it takes practice and eventually one will ride that bike and in this case….have a wonderful day. I know it isn’t easy as I have been practicing a very similar technique for almost 14 years. So far I am coasting on my shinny bike down a beautiful path (and yes, this is only in my mind). But that is the point, we may not be able to control things that happen to us in our lives but we sure as heck can change how we react to those things. That is the ONLY thing we have control over in our lives.

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