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The Unexpected Question that Changed the Course of My Pain Journey

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia almost a decade ago. My experiences both leading up to that diagnosis and immediately following it were likely the same as yours: it took forever to be taken seriously and months of living with pain before I was able to get a diagnosis. Then, I was told there really wasn't anything to be done and that I'd just need to learn to live with it.

In the months that followed, I tried many things "guaranteed to eliminate pain" and listened to well-meaning folks offer suggestions of yoga, turmeric, and positive thinking. I'm sure it'll come as no surprise to you that nothing worked.

In fact, the more "healing" things I tried, the more I felt like a failure when they didn't work.

I hit my lowest point several months after my diagnosis. I was working as a personal trainer, struggling to maintain the hours requirement that was expected of me. My request to move to part time hours had been denied, I was exhausted all of the time, and my pain levels had increased exponentially. I held no hope for the future. All I kept thinking was, "this is how my life will be from now on."

Then, one day, a co-worker asked me if there was a time of day that my symptoms were worse.

Without thinking too much of it, I confirmed there was. It wasn't until later that it occurred to me that if I could identify what times of day were the worst for me, I could also, then, identify what times of day were better. And, if I could do both of those things, I might also be able to identify patterns around other contributing factors, too.

Encouraged, I started keeping a journal. In addition to detailed notes on my pain symptoms, I (overzealously) tracked anything I thought might be contributing to my pain levels.

To be clear, my pain didn't disappear once I started journalling. In fact, for a while, my symptoms actually increased. So why am I telling you this?

Because journalling was how I began to connect with, embrace, and learn from my pain. I began to feel more in control of my life. I could accurately predict pain flares, and learned what techniques worked based on what symptoms I was experiencing. I began to feel hope for the future. I attribute that connection as the reason I can do what I do now.

If nothing else, we all deserve the opportunity to feel hope for our future. So, over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing exactly what I did to connect to my pain and learn what I call my unique 'pain signature'. And the first step in figuring out your pain signature is starting to journal.

Now, I'm a systems person, so I created templates to support each step I took. You can go through all the same steps without using them, but I think the templates make things easier. Especially the pain journal template, which comes complete with common pain triggers in place for you, plus space to add your own. You can access these free downloads by joining the free Body Wisdom community using the link below.

If templates aren't your thing, however, that's okay! You can simply track your pain symptoms and make note of any factors you think might be contributing to your flares. I also recommend writing down your symptoms at multiple times each day, as that can provide you with valuable information in the coming weeks!

Looking forward to sharing Step Two with you soon! In the meantime, join the Body Wisdom community for access to these free downloads, and much more!

Always Cheering You On, Jenna xo

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