The problem with one size fits all chronic pain advice?
It doesn’t work.
Don’t get me wrong- it may work for some of us.
But for many of us, the advice floating around on the internet isn’t gonna fit our situation at all.
And if we try to follow it, it may do more harm than good.
Let’s take exercise, for example.
There have been times in my chronic pain journey where exercise was the missing ingredient to feeling better. And once I started working it into my days, I saw huge improvements in my pain levels and my mood.
There have been other stretches of time where the idea of exercising was laughable at best. Days, weeks, hell, even months when moving from the bed onto the couch was a major accomplishment.
Telling me to exercise at that point would have either been an act of cruelty or incredibly insulting.
If nothing else, it would have proven that the person giving me the advice didn’t know me or understand what I was going through at all.
Which, unfortunately, accurately describes most of the advice floating around on the internet.
Because no matter how much I want to help y’all, I don’t know your story.
I don’t know what you are dealing with from one day to the next.
I don’t know if the things that worked for me are going to work for you or if my even suggesting them is gonna feel like a slap in the face.
But here’s the thing:
It is scary to make changes.
Even changes that you 100% know you want to make.
That’s why we seek out advice in the first place, isn’t it? To see how someone else fared on a similar journey to ours.
We all want a roadmap. We want to know that the changes we are considering will help us. We want to know that we’ll get the outcome we want if we can just find the right plan that will work for our situation.
We want certainty. A guarantee that we aren’t wasting our time, money, and energy.
But the sad truth is that nothing in life is guaranteed.
The diet that your friend raved about because it gave her more energy may make you feel terrible.
The 5-minutes of yoga that your boss added to her day for stress reduction may do absolutely nothing for her but may work wonders for you.
The social media break your husband took increased his productivity and improved his mood. But if you did it, it might increase your sense of isolation and make your depression worse.
There is no guarantee that doing “x” will lead you to greater “y”.
And that’s ok.
Actually, it’s great.
Because it gives you room to figure out what will work for you.
It gives you space for figuring out if the price you’d need to pay for “y” is worth it.
It allows you to take a critical look at where you are in relation to thing you want and figure out the best steps you can take to get there.
Because even if we are all on the same journey, we are not starting from the same space.
Your biology and past experiences have shaped you.
The culture we live in has shaped you.
And that’s why the only person who truly knows what’s best for you is you.