I have lived with chronic pain for nearly 10 years. I have gone through tough times - needing high medications and attending pain clinics. I suffer with chronic back pain and neuropathic pain also depression and anxiety. I have lost lots but gained knowledge as well. I try and keep going every day.

I had a workplace accident in 2006 - a low back pain injury.

Later I experienced neuropathic nerve pain in my right leg as well as depression and anxiety. I went to numerous doctors, specialists and pain clinics. I tried medications, physio, myotherapy, psychology and psychiatry.

I'm finding that having a team of doctors who understand chronic pain, and with whom I have rapport is helpful. Medications that help me are monitored. In addition I am learning to cope with pain by planning and being aware of what makes my pain worse.

What i have done recently is opened up a group called "LIVE IT UP". It gives better self-esteem to share what i have done, and still do to keep up every day with chronic pain. My aim is to gather people so we can speak openly about our pain - what we go through and what may help. i do this voluntarily - it has given me back my self-worth.

I run the group every 2 weeks for 2 hours 10-12. I know it takes people a long time to get ready ,and they can’t sit or stand too long. Or else, their mental anguish is overwhelming. I am keeping a diary on how people in the group are and their progress and you never know I might publish something one day.

I really feel that peace and meditation helps me a lot. I am still on antidepressants and some pain meds. I see my doctor, physio, psychiatrist and pain specialist. Having these people in my life is a chain of help when needed.

My personal life has changed. My marriage of 30 years has broken down but i realized when I was ill I was not getting the support I needed. I have 2 beautiful sons 21 and 20. The 20 year old still lives with me and the other one comes over regularly. If I need help they are there. I have connected with lots of my friends and we do mosaics, coffee, and the odd night out.

Money is very tight being on a Disability Support Pension, but I can say that if you have control of yourself again, and try to manage your pain with what works for you, it takes all the anguish away.

Being in peace and surrounding yourself with what you need is the most important thing you can do for yourself if you live with chronic pain.

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