Daisy* was struggling with painful arthritis in her hips and pelvis. The problem was that many of the treatments that she could take just didn’t suit her. Some of them didn’t make much difference to her pain, and the ones that did either had unpleasant side effects or couldn’t be taken for long periods.
The pain wasn’t just affecting Daisy’s mobility but her mood as well. She had always been independent and having to rely on other people, and not being able to do the things that she wanted to do, were starting to make her feel frustrated and low. As Daisy knew the cause of her pain and was receiving treatment for it I was happy to see her and help her to learn how to manage it.
Sitting in Daisy’s front room I asked her to tell me more about the pain in her hips – what colour it was for instance. At first Daisy found it hard to imagine but she soon started to enjoy it, and described her pain as a reddy orange colour, and like a knife scraping round the inside of her joints. Then I asked her to tell me what comfort would look like, and Daisy said that for her comfort was orangey yellow, and like a heated blanket wrapped around her hips.
Because the ideas were Daisy’s it was easy to get her to imagine seeing the reddy orange knife changing colour and shape, and gradually becoming an orangey yellow blanket. As it did so I asked her to notice how her pain reduced and she became comfortable, before teaching her how to do this whenever she wanted by imagining that she had a dial on the outside of her watch. By turning the dial she can turn down her pain and turn up her comfort.
When, much to her surprise, Daisy did this the first time she tried, I then taught her not to dial the pain away altogether. It’s important that she still feels a little pain – not enough to affect her, but enough to be able to tell if her arthritis is getting worse and needs medical attention.
Daisy is now active and feeling like her old self again, managing her pain much better and independent again.
*Daisy’s real identity has been protected, and she is happy to share her story.