Outpatient Pain Rehabilitation: Day One

Dear Audy,

Last Thursday brought the beginning of my new outpatient pain rehabilitation program. Overall, it was an underwhelming experience. Thankfully I have picked up something useful from the day. I am thinking about pacing in a new and more detailed manner and I can only see this clarity being a positive and useful thing.


Outpatient, day one, went a little something like this…

I attended a “group education class” in mood management that was actually more like a group therapy class to discuss depression. I can completely see how this was beneficial to many of the other patients in the group, however I did not find myself encountering any aspects of depression or coping therapies that I was not already familiar with.

A hidden upside to being a part of this session was that I was able to see how far I’ve come. I could relate to the topics being discussed, however I realised that I was relating to them in a past tense. I used to feel that way. I may not be Little Miss Joy & Sunshine every day, however the tactics that I am employing to alleviate my anxiety and deal with negative thought processes are working.

It’s a slow process, the changing of one’s perspective about pretty much everything. I feel like I am on the right track and that I simply need to continue getting stronger, more adaptive and faster at recognising the things that might trigger a drop in my mood before becoming subject to an emotional reaction.

Most disappointingly, the two following sessions that completed the day’s activities were both of the group variety. I had a consultation with a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist. Both were conducted with the practitioner and another patient.

Granted, the other patient was friendly and lovely, however the group dynamic meant that I needed to sit through a lot of education on subjects that I was already familiar with.

As I have slowly dropped off my medication in the past year, I have found myself much more capable of reading and absorbing information. It’s almost as though the little nerd inside of me, that girl who would spend hours reading rather than running around on the beach during holidays, has been sleeping and is now once again awake and eager to be fed as many words as possible.

My situation has led me to want to understand as much about pain as there is to know. These days I spend quite a lot of time reading on the subject, both online and offline and rather than becoming bored with the topic, I find myself keen to learn more.

Sitting through an hour’s worth of introductory education on pain felt just a teensy bit like a waste of time. It never hurts to reinforce learnt information, or hear it in a different way and perhaps realise something not previously noticed, however it was a bit frustrating to be enduring the session in a group and therefore be unable to simply skip ahead with a few questions to ensure mutual understanding of the topic between myself and the practitioner.

The occupational therapy introduction was the most useful of the sessions. The therapist spoke about pacing and introduced me to some approaches and concepts that I hadn’t previously encountered. I think this is the area in which I could use the most improvement as I am currently enduring more flare ups than I would like as a result of getting the pace wrong.

I am to keep a list of everything that I do for three days. I began this morning. Shortly, I will wander over to the kitchen table and make a note of how long I spent sitting here with the laptop and how my pain level has been effected. I have thought I needed to be doing some sort of record keeping like this for a while now, but something about having a nice form all ready for me to fill in has made this job seem easier.

Life, it’s a funny thing.

If I can remain motivated, I shall continue this practise past the three days as I would like a longer view of my statistics, for lack of a better term. I am prone to latent pain and I think that a longer view of how my methods of living are effecting me will be more useful.

I am already finding myself more disciplined in taking action against my pain due to being accountable on paper for it. I am not sure if it’s the accountability that’s driving this or the clarity of seeing my behaviour laid out like that. Whatever, it’s working and that’s really all I care about.

I was frustrated to be given no individual time with any of the practitioners throughout the entire first day. I was unable to voice my concerns about being given a contract to sign, however non legally binding, stating that I will cease sessions with my Feldenkrais practitioner. I just…don’t…see…the…point…

I’d much rather come to a reasonable understanding than simply lie to them. Why should I have to be a liar in order to do what is best for myself? How silly.

In any case, I will need the chance to speak to somebody individually to discuss this, I really didn’t feel the need to subject the other patient to my personal drama. I haven’t quite decided whether it would be worth calling my doctor during the week, or just showing up next Thursday and going with the flow and learning what I can from amongst a barrage of what I already know…hmm.

My feelings about the program are a little mixed at this stage. The good thing is that I am doing my best to pace my days more effectively and keeping a record. I might not have the physical strengthening program to work with, but I have something. Hopefully the next time that I go in I will find myself given the individual time that I felt was lacking, maybe make some adjustments to the future sessions that they have lined up for me and come away with nice, separate, unmixed feelings.


Love & Sort Of Progress,
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  • 4 thoughts on “Outpatient Pain Rehabilitation: Day One

    1. Tracey

      The record-keeping sounds like a great idea … sometimes we don’t realise things until we see them written down on paper.

      I would not do well in a group sharing session … perhaps I’m just too impatient to have to listen / deal with other people! 😉

      1. Hayley Cafarella Post author

        I saw a great picture online that I wish I’d saved, it was a pie chart of “what working in a group teaches me”, very small slices for things like “communicating” and most of the graph for “how much I hate working in a group”…it was very me! I am very excited for July to start tomorrow, I bought a new diary to keep up the record keeping as I just can’t seem to do it without a pre-arranged form to fill in, but writing things down is helping me a lot :) xx

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