I hope this post finds you all well and snuggled into your homes as directed. Covid19 has hit the world like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime and has stirred many thoughts and feelings for each of us. It has raised fear and anxiety to new heights.
We will begin sharing some of our thoughts and feelings here as a means of connecting and communicating on what feels like the new normal. Some have been previously posted to our Facebook page, some posted to In the Face of Adversity at Psychology Today online., and some will come from our colleagues and guest bloggers. We welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. -Charlene Fernald Moynihan
Covid19 has captured our attentions most of our waking hours and even intruded into some that should be reserved for sleep. Many continue to feel lost and helpless as no real solutions are immediately in sight. But in recent days I have seen so many wonderful people joining together in virtual groups to support one another and/or address the issues that we can address. There are community groups forming to meet the needs of neighbors and those who are at high risk and must isolate. I joined a group of crafters to make facemasks for medical providers who are currently seeing patients without them due to the shortage. These small yet powerful acts allow each of us to practice and apply the skills & attitudes of resilience now and going forward.
It’s really simple. Connect & communicate. There are a multitude of online groups focusing on a variety of issues. Be flexible in your thinking…open to possibilities. Problem-solve alone and in these virtual groups. Do what you can. Manage strong feelings that come with feeling helpless by finding a way have some control over what you can. No act is too small nor insignificant. Believe in your ability to do so. Trust yourself. Look to the meaning and purpose in your life and you’ll discover what motivates you. Look for virtual groups where those of similar values are acting on them. Join in. Take a look at the big picture with optimistic eyes and you will see what you can do. Care for yourself and others while doing so. You needn’t sacrifice your health nor that of your loved ones in order to make a difference. Above all else…find time to laugh. It may just be the best possible medicine we have available right now.
Our communities continue to struggle with an epidemic of opioid misuse and abuse. This epidemic has many causes. One contributing factor is our healthcare systems’ overreliance on pain medications to treat a large number of patients with chronic pain. Unfortunately, our current workforce does not include an inadequate array of behavioral and non-opioid options for the large populations of patients with chronic pain. Alternative treatments and models of care needed now, not later.
We are excited to introduce you to an innovative and important project in our community. We have organized a consortium of independent practitioners from various disciplines to participate in a project to respond to the needs cited above. The consortium includes skilled psychologists and other experienced clinicians as well as others who are interested in gaining such experience. Continue reading “Greater Portland’s Response to the Opioid Crisis”
As we said in the last blog a positive attitude and self-management skills can make it much easier to live with chronic pain. And as we said in the last blog, beliefs, circumstances, your mood, and the attention paid to the pain symptoms will determine in good part how difficult it is to manage.
Here is the situation people often face when dealing with chronic pain. The pain causes you to stay home alone, a lot. Your friends say, “Get out. Do something. Stop thinking about your pain all of the time.” They just don’t get it. If you hear it just one more time the outcome won’t be pretty. It’s easier to stay away from people than to risk arguing with them about the way you’re managing the pain or not managing it. Continue reading “Chronic Pain”
The problems with pain medications are not new ones. The epidemic that many talk of in terms of opioidaddiction is real. Many states in response to this problem have created new guidelines and requirements for the prescription of these medications. Some physicians have simply stopped prescribing them because they may not agree with or want to work with the new guidelines. This has left some patients without a prescriber.
A few months ago I posted a blog about non-pharmaceutical interventions for the treatment of chronic pain. The response to that blog was in general positive, but I got a number of angry responses from people who felt I was saying that pain medication should be replaced with these non-pharmaceutical interventions. That is not what I was saying. Unfortunately, people can become so dependent upon these medications they firmly believe there is no way they could manage without them. And for some that may be true. Continue reading “Addiction to Pain Medications”