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Nov 6, 2017
Don’t get lost in the shuffle.
When you have chronic pain and mental illness, it is easy to feel like your sense of self gets lost in the shuffle. Between all the appointments, lists of diagnoses, and varying treatment opinions, it is common to feel overwhelmed as you wonder how to become your own care advocate. Pair this with limited appointment availability and you have a recipe for reduced advocacy as you feel unheard and shut down. It may also lead to treatment burn out and turning to your providers as the directors for your treatment.
You are the expert!
It is true that your providers may be the experts in certain assessments and interventions. This does not mean that they are the experts in your day-to-day experience. Keep in mind that you are not only the consumer and advocate for your care, but also the expert in your daily life. YOU are the one who lives in your body and the only one who knows how this truly feels. You are your own advocate. Hold on to this idea so it empowers you to ask for help as you advocate and direct your care. If something doesn’t feel right, speak up. Ask questions. The goal is to advocate and collaborate with your team—you as the expert in your life meeting with the provider in the middle, to develop the best plan for you based on your experiences, goals, and values.
Morgan Cusack, PsyD
Program Coordinator of Thrive for Mental Health and Chronic Pain Management at MHS