No Problem! We Can Figure This Out.

No problem, we can figure this out.”

I have said this a lot over the past 5 years. Not because I always believed it at the time but because Greta needed to hear it. And so did I actually.

Feeling trapped can lead to increased tension and anxiety which leads to increased pain. So when we run into snags here and there I need to reassure Greta that she isn’t trapped. There are many ways to problem solve.

Off the top of my head, here are some of the scenarios when I have had to use this phrase to reassure Greta:

• Missing a test • Extra homework • Having to miss out on something • Feeling overwhelmed with too many shifts at work • Getting in a car accident • Not feeling like she would get an assignment in on time • Not knowing if she would get enough credits to graduate • Pain flares that weren’t receding • Worried that doing something would cause her pain to flare

In fact probably once a month Greta gets overwhelmed and I need to reassure her that she doesn’t need to worry ~ we have lots of options.

• Some of the ways we have had to problem solve include: • Sending emails to teachers and bosses • Scaling things back to 15 min instead of an hour • Driving Greta to attend something for a short while • Trying something and if it doesn’t work, adjusting it as needed • Being on hand to pick up early if needed.

When you have chronic pain, you are more easily overwhelmed. You have less capacity for added stress and pressure. Your nervous system is on high alert and sees many everyday small stressors as major threats. You are already juggling a lot and one more thing can make everything topple.

It is important to know that you aren’t trapped, there are ways around the obstacle.

As parents of kids with chronic pain we can also feel easily overwhelmed. We need to know that we have options and there are ways through the difficult times. It is important for us to know that we aren’t stuck or trapped. We need to be reminded that we know how to manage difficult things. We have done it so many times before. In fact, we are experts at it! And we are expert problem solvers!

If we aren’t flexible in our thinking, big obstacles can throw us off course and make us want to give up. But these obstacles are also a part of life. They will keep showing up. So we need to find ways to be creative in problem solving.

And we need to teach our kids with chronic pain that there are lots of ways to figure out a problem. Then they learn to be creative and resilient in the face of obstacles.

Have you found that your child gets easily overwhelmed?

How do you respond?

~ Carla Friesen

Licensed Psychotherapist, Pain Coach

© 2021

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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