It's Hard to Make Progress When You're Stuck in Survival Mode


Do you know that no treatments worked Greta's pain until she started to become more functional? It's true. When she was in bed 24/7 nothing helped. I couldn't figure out how doctors had no clue how to make the pain stop (they probably could if they gave her addictive pain meds but no one was willing to do that).


When we finally decided to take things into our own hands and help Greta to increase her function, then she started to become a little more responsive to treatments. The physical therapy appointments started helping a little more, her triptans seemed to help her migraines a little more, chiropractic adjustments helped a little more... Ajovy and Effexor actually seem to help her a little now, whereas nothing touched her pain when she was in bed all the time.


When our kids are decimated by pain and in bed day after day, it is almost like their bodies get stagnant ~ like their brains get stuck and nothing works. The step of increasing participation in life started to get things alive and moving within Greta again ~ more blood moving around, more breath moving around, and her even her pain started moving again. Rather than just being stuck at a high level, it started fluctuating again. Any movement was a good sign after being stuck for so long!


Our kids can get stuck in survival mode with this overwhelming pain (as can we!). And when you are in survival mode, most everything else in your body slows down (digestion, circulation, immune response). The body focuses solely on survival. We need to help our kids to get out of survival mode so that their bodies can start to repair and heal. We do this by helping them to increase their function, little by little.


We still haven't found medication or treatments that take Greta's pain away, but we have finally found some that help a little. Any little bit helps. A little increase in time out of bed, a little increase in laughter, a little better sleep..... all these things can help to ease our kids out of survival mode so that their bodies can start to become more alive and even thrive!


Often our kids can't begin to make progress until they are out of survival mode. Small steps to increase function can help to turn the ship around. Increased function brings increased activity within the body (circulation, digestion, respiration) and increased hope.


Get in touch if you need help to start turning that ship around.


~ Carla Friesen

Licensed Psychotherapist, Pain Coach

© 2022



The general contents of this website are provided solely for educational and informational purposes and are not meant to provide professional medical or psychiatric advice, counselling or therapeutic services.


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