I think addiction is a chronic illness because, like so many physical illnesses in this category, its symptoms can only be managed, not cured.
Her death got me think about her hit song Rehab, so I surfed the Internet to watch a video of this song. What struck me about the song this time was the use of the phrase "No, no, no!" in response to the suggestion that rehab was needed. While I know these lyrics probably came about because repeating no three times really fit the song, it struck me how emphatically it got the point across that there was no way this was going to be considered an option.
Herein lies the lesson for those of us still struggling with our chronic illnesses.
Everyday, we face choices about how we manage our symptoms. These choices are presented to us by our doctors and healthcare providers, our families and friends, our peers and, with Internet access, a multitude of other sources. We choose which suggestions we will try. It goes without saying that our choices are often influenced by our circumstances, our resources and our mindset. Hopefully we make the right choices for ourselves...
My personal approach to this quandary is to be as open as possible to trying new things, as long as I can financially afford them. So if I hear myself saying "No, no, no!" it immediately sends up a red flag, alerting me to explore further my adamant refusal to consider something new. That leads to some introspection: time to explore my resistance and discern what is holding me back.
My strategy for moving beyond these kinds of roadblocks is to simply make a deal with myself. I agree with myself to try a new approach for a set period of time and I give myself the option to stop if the new treatment isn't working after a reasonable amount of time. In this way, I don't let my fear and anxiety prevent me from experiencing something that could help me.
My most recent example of this principle in action is my decision to schedule carpal tunnel surgery. I've picked a surgeon who uses a less invasive technique so I am not left with a hug scar on my wrist. This surgeon is also extremely skilled at what he does, having performed the first hand transplant at UCLA earlier this year. And I'm coping with my pre-surgery anxiety by focusing on the positive, pain-relieving benefits surgery will have, benefits which could quite possibly help my overall chronic pain level.
Can you relate? Share your "No, no, no!" moments and how you overcame them in a comment below. Or better yet, head over to the Oh My Aches and Pains! Facebook page to discuss this topic further.