Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
There's a wide variety of ways to handle pain, be it physical or mental. I've been thinking about the physical kind, especially since re-injuring my knee the other day. I have a Baker's cyst, which releases poison, painful liquid down my leg almost continually. If it doesn't heal with care, I may need an operation at some point. However, I'll be leaving for Israel with a cane with a friend in about a week for two weeks. I may not walk much there, since that's when it hurts most. My attitude toward most injuries is to have as full a life as possible with it, living around it. Of course, avid exercise junkie that I am, rest is of the essence. No jogging (maybe ever), minimal walking, lotos of ice and elevation for now.
I see so many people with major injuries, even amputations and diseases, who model courage. They are shopping, going to the theater, teaching, learning, dating, parenting and even dancing. Think DWTS.
But, there's another side, too, the ones who suffer from physical pain and don't distract themselves with the rest of life, don't relax and don't think positively. They focus on the pain, feel it too completely and identify so much with it that they become married to it. They allow anger, frustration, fear and self-pity to consume them. To them, I say-I understand your sadness and grief and you are entitled to it for awhile. Then, please don't let it ruin your life. Enjoy what you can. Meditate, listen to the docs and cooperate with your treatment to the extent you can. Allow others to offer support but comfort yourself with love and optimism . See a future. There always is one.