Cognitive Functional Therapy with Peter O’Sullivan

I recently attended the third annual San Diego Pain Summit (I’ve been to all three!) and was fortunate to be the patient demo for Peter O’Sullivan‘s Cognitive Functional Therapy workshop. (for a review of the whole workshop, check out Diane Jacob’s post.) Funny thing was, heading into it I thought I was going to be the wrong kind of patient

Trying to get better while having to prove we’re in pain

How do we get better if we have to constantly prove we’re in pain? And does that constant need to prove we’re in pain prevent us from getting better? In recent posts I wrote about the shame I felt after developing chronic pain and how I’ve been working through that shame. They were the hardest posts I’ve ever written, my most vulnerable by far. But

Unashamed and unafraid: living well with pain

My last post, on shame, resentment, hurt and pain, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever published on this blog. It’s scary to let our truths out, to expose our cracks to the world. But it’s also been my most resonant post, by far, based on the reactions and the


Shame, resentment, hurt, and pain

At my first ever Writer’s Camp this summer we were given a writing prompt about shame. Shame is a tough thing to write about, it’s something I’ve wanted to write about for quite a while but I’ve been ashamed to. It’s hard to be that vulnerable, that bare. It’s hard to let the world see into those deep dark places.

Goals. Whose goals are they, ours or theirs?

I went for a walk today and took pictures, a favorite pastime of mine and one I’m very grateful for. As I was perched on two rocks, squatting to gain a better perspective for a photo, I started thinking about a few things, namely goals and motivation.  For a long time I couldn’t squat, at least not with any comfort.

Successful living: redefining living with chronic pain

I would like to make a plea. A plea to stop framing pain as the enemy, a thing to be battled, defeated, beat, eradicated. A thing not to be tolerated, to be vilified and stamped out. Perhaps our emphasis on pain as evil, pain as punishment, pain as suffering is only serving to make pain worse. Perhaps using warlike, military


A moment to reflect: how changing my environment changed my pain experience

I recently attended a writer’s camp in Big Sur, California, a stretch of rugged coast, and afterward took six days to drive from there to Colorado. I wanted to keep myself immersed in nature to let all that I’d learned percolate. I wanted to reflect, to think without distraction, particularly of the digital sort. I didn’t have cell reception for most

Connection, disconnection, and chronic pain

Many of my recent conversations, with both practitioners and patients, have come around to the idea and importance of connection. Connection with others, connection with the world, connection with ourselves. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that there have also been a glut articles of late about the importance of social connections in everything from all-cause mortality to addiction to physiotherapy. But


Managing thoughts and behaviors when living with chronic pain: lessons from a road trip

A lot has changed for me this past year, I’ve experienced successes I wouldn’t have imagined possible 6 years ago (heck, 3 years ago, or even just a year ago). But this most recent success is a pretty huge one for me, even bigger than the long hikes, starting to run again, and snowshoeing adventures that have happened in this past year.

Musings on the 2016 SDPain Summit (part 2)

This is part 2 of my initial musings on the 2nd annual San Diego Pain Summit, it has to be two parts because there was so much good stuff it was way too much to include in one post. Here’s Part 1 if you missed it which went over stress, motivational interviewing, acceptance, creativity, and being human. Awesome, right? On to


Musings on the 2016 San Diego Pain Summit (part 1)

I am just a few days home from the San Diego Pain Summit (check out #sdpain on various social media sites to check out the action!) and my mind is awhirl with thoughts, ideas, reflections, questions, people, pain, approaches…so much so that I don’t know what to write right off! But I do want to get some thoughts down that I

Labels, narratives, identity, and chronic pain

I have been thinking about the language we use with ourselves lately, particularly our self-talk and our labels. I’ve been thinking a lot about the words chronic, pain, and patient in particular. How does continually using, or hearing, these words reinforce our pain? Does being identified as a ‘chronic pain patient’ become an integral part of our identity that then makes it more difficult to change our