The pain companion : everyday wisdom for living with and moving beyond chronic pain / Sarah Anne Shockley ; foreword by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel.

"A holistic guide to coping with chronic pain, written by a woman suffering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome; book aims to provide strategies for mitigating the emotional, financial, and social consequences of living with debilitating pain"--

Main Author: Shockley, Sarah
Other Authors: Siegel, Bernie S.
Published: Novato, California : New World Library, c2018.
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A Practical, Gentle, and Empathetic Approach to Pain

Where do you turn when medication and medical treatments do not relieve persistent, debilitating pain? What can you do when pain interferes with work, family, and social life and you no longer feel like the person you used to be? Relying on firsthand experience with severe nerve pain, author Sarah Anne Shockley accompanies you on your journey through pain and offers compassionate, practical advice to ease difficult emotions and address lifestyle challenges. Her approach helps reduce the toll that living in pain takes on relationships, self-image, and well-being while cultivating greater ease and resilience on a daily basis. Dozens of accessible, uplifting practices guide you every step of the way from a life overcome by pain to a life of greater comfort and peace.The Pain Companion also offers profound insights for medical practitioners and invaluable guidance for anyone who loves or cares for others in pain.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Pain, the Unwanted Gift

p. xi

Dr. Bernie S. Siegel


p. 1

Part 1Pain Moves In

1Life Taken Over by Pain

p. 7

2The Submersion of the Self

p. 12

3When Pain Won't Leave

p. 16

4Feeling Bad about Feeling Bad

p. 20

Part 2The Emotional Life of Chronic Pain

5Pain's Emotional Traps

p. 25

6Guilt and Shame

p. 29

7Anger and Blame

p. 39

8Victimization and Powerlessness

p. 44

9Fear, Anxiety, and Stress

p. 48

10Isolation and Loneliness

p. 54

11Invisibility and Silence

p. 61

12Physical and Emotional Exhaustion

p. 67

13Sadness and Loss

p. 73

Part 3Meditative Approaches to Physical Pain

14Discovering Pain's Purpose

p. 81

15The Body Made Wrong

p. 86

16Finding a New Approach

p. 90

17Communicating with Pain

p. 94

18Soothing the Wounded Animal

p. 98

19Introduction to Meditative Exercises

p. 102

20Releasing Breath

p. 104

21Unlocking Contraction

p. 108

22Paying Attention to Pain

p. 112

23Shifting Your Relationship to Pain

p. 115

24Loving the Places That Hurt

p. 119

25Imaging Pain's Form

p. 123

26Giving Pain What It Wants

p. 127

27Writing Pain a Letter of Complaint

p. 130

28Pain as Messenger

p. 134

29Telling Pain Your Story

p. 138

30Listening to Pain

p. 140

Part 4When Pain Is the Teacher

31Resistance Is Futile

p. 145

32Having Compassion for Yourself

p. 149

33What I Learned from Pain

p. 151

34The Nature of True Healing

p. 160

35Enlisting Pain as an Ally

p. 164

36You Are Not Your Pain

p. 169

37Some Concluding Thoughts

p. 173


p. 176

About the Author

p. 177

First Chapter or Excerpt

INTRODUCTION I have lived with continuous, often intense physical pain since the fall of 2007. Every aspect of my life has been deeply affected, as certainly are the lives of those of you reading these words who also suffer from chronic pain. Living in constant pain has been one of the most challenging things I have ever had to undergo in my life. It has been difficult not only because of the physical suffering, but also due to the intense emotional repercussions. These emotional states include loss, grief, shame and terror; and can be nearly as demanding as the physical pain. During this time, I have often felt isolated and alone. I did not have access to a support group, nor did I feel well enough to attend one if I had. You may find yourself in a similar situation now. I have written this book to offer you the companion I wish I'd had, a guide on your journey to living with more ease and grace even in the midst of pain and, ultimately, to relieving and releasing pain. The Pain Companion is not meant to replace conventional physical remedies, medications or procedures, or the many excellent alternative healing modalities available today. Instead, this book addresses the inner life of physical pain, how our responses to pain affect both its potency and longevity, and how that relationship has the potential to either contribute to prolonged suffering or provide a pathway to restoring health and well-being. It provides practical advice for living with chronic pain and for relieving suffering on mental, emotional, and physical levels. HOW THIS BOOK IS SET UP: Part One: Pain Moves In , addresses the ways physical suffering affects our lives. It shines light on how pain moves in and takes over our experience, and how we respond to it. Part Two: The Emotional Life of Chronic Pain addresses the very deep and persistent fears, anxieties, sadness, anger and shame that living with chronic physical pain tends to engender, intensify and hold in place. These are the unseen but potent sides of pain that are seldom talked about and usually given very little room for expression. They include emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions which are very much interwoven with each other and with the nature of physical pain itself. Part Two also offers simple, practical steps to work with and help ease these psychological and emotional consequences of living with pain. Part Three: Meditative Approaches to Physical Pain , presents 11 meditative exercises I developed for myself to help open a path to physical relief and release. These are the most effective methods I found to create a more beneficial and healing relationship with the pain in my body. More than any other approach I had been offered by medical or therapeutic models, they helped reduce the amount of physical pain I was experiencing. In Part Four: When Pain Is the Teacher , I present some of the most important life lessons I have learned with pain as my mentor, which offer invaluable wisdom for living life with more ease, grace and wisdom. This section also discusses creating true healing and transformation in life while moving on from the place of pain. I cannot know your personal suffering, of course; only you can. But I do understand the experience of being in significant and relentless pain for long periods of time, and I understand the fear, sadness and frustration associated with long-term physical debilitation. So, I can say that this book has been written from inside of pain, a perspective on the experience and the healing of pain that we are seldom offered. I honor you for the courageous journey you are on. May these ideas help you cultivate deep compassion for yourself and aid you in finding increased well-being, peace and solace as well as bodily relief. Excerpted from The Pain Companion: Everyday Wisdom for Living with and Moving Beyond Chronic Pain by Sarah Anne Shockley All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.