A crucial step on recovering from long term illness or pain is acknowledging the essential role it's playing in your life.
I had a knee injury for a looooong time. Like 5 years long. It stopped me from doing all the wonderful things I love, like parkour. The pain and the meaning I gave it drove me to absolute despair. I felt overwhelmed with frustration and just wanted it to get better NOW.
But everything changed for me when I finally acknowledged that my knee pain was the site of all the frustrations in my life:
1. a dog I was struggling with but felt too guilty to rehome;
2. feeling resentful and exhausted from teaching too many yoga classes;
3. coaching sessions I wasn’t enjoying but felt obliged to stick with (because my dad kept insisting they would help!).
(I’ve skipped a few steps to get to the good bit).
I needed my knee to make me miserable enough to examine its purpose… with the aforementioned coach. The irony.
Once I’d made those realisations, any fear I’d had of people judging me for rehoming the dog vanished, and I found him a perfect new home. I ditched several of the classes I wasn’t enjoying and fired the coach (whom I’ve since reinstated, but from a place of genuine appreciation. Turns out it DOES help. Don't tell my dad though - he'll be too smug about it).
Several ‘fuck you’s’ and 2 weeks later my knee pain vanished.
Causation or correlation? You tell me.
(My knee isn’t perfect - I still feel it occasionally when it needs to steer me back on track. And I’m very ok with that).