On May 15, U.S. Pain’s bimonthly webinar featured Jenni Grover, also known as ChronicBabe, who has dealt with fibromyalgia and other health issues for over 20 years. Through ChronicBabe.com, she has helped thousands of women cope with their own chronic pain. (Grover is also an editorial consultant with U.S. Pain’s INvisible project and a longtime patient advocate.)
Her recent book, “Chronic Babe 101: How to Craft an Incredible Life Beyond Illness,” is a collection of resources about “how to kick butt despite chronic pain.” In the webinar she spoke specifically about a chapter on acceptance, part of the “grieving process” that is hard to get past when dealing with chronic health issues. Acceptance isn’t a loss or defeat, she explained, and viewing it as a war to be won means seeing your body as the enemy.
The webinar’s Q&A period extended this theme. One participant asked for advice on explaining how pain can vary from day to day; another asked, more broadly, how to deal with friends and family, especially when they mean well but say hurtful or aggravating things. Grover’s responses were simple: do what you can do, and hope that the people in your life will respect it and be supportive. She even gave attendees a line to use: “Just say, ‘My chronic pain condition is unpredictable, which means I have some really good days, some really bad days, and some in between days.’” She explained the importance of hobbies and friends, and in finding joy wherever you can.
Finally, Grover, a practicing Buddhist, brought up the concept of “mudita,” which she explained as “finding joy in the joy of others.” As people with chronic pain, it’s easy to fall prey to jealousy and negativity when we see people in our lives able to do things we can’t. Learning to be happy for them instead can change everything.
Grover’s book is available for purchase here (use AmazonSmile to donate to U.S. Pain!). She encouraged everyone to also check out her website, and her twitter account at @ChronicBabe. You can also watch the recording of the May 15 webinar, or download the slides.
The next U.S. Pain bimonthly webinar, on July 17 at 1 pm, will feature social worker and Pain Connection Clinical Director Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, who will present “From ow to om: Using mindfulness to reduce pain and stress.” To learn more or register, click here.