Tom Seaman

@tom-seaman | contributor
Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of 2 books:: Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey and Beyond Pain and Suffering: Adapting to Adversity and Life Challenges.. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network, The Mighty, and Patient Worthy. To learn more about Tom, get a copy of his book (also on Amazon), or schedule a free life coaching consult, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram.
Tom Seaman

How I Moved Beyond Feeling Like a Victim in Life With Dystonia

The term “victim mentality” refers to people who blame someone or something else for the unpleasant things in their life. It helps us rationalize why we are not growing and moving forward. “Victim mentality” also applies to people who believe that undesirable life circumstances only yield negative outcomes. Feeling like a victim is normal when diagnosed with a serious health condition, but it is self-destructive if we remain in this state of mind. We can become isolated, depressed, bitter, angry, and resentful. This is exactly what happened to me in 2001 when I developed dystonia. I was only focused on myself and constantly upset with all the things I lost and could no longer do because of my physical pain and movement limitations. I was stuck in a “Why me, poor me” frame of mind. It got me nowhere but depressed. I had to change this question if I wanted freedom from my mental anguish. Instead of asking, “Why me?” I began asking, “Why not me?” “How can I learn to live with dystonia?” and “How can dystonia help me learn and grow?” I was no better or worse than anyone else, so if it happened to me, so be it. There was nothing I could do to reverse things so I needed to come to terms with it and maybe even find the good in it, even when I was in ridiculous pain and could barely function. There was nothing inherently wrong with what happened to me. Life just gets really hard sometimes — for everyone. The only thing wrong was my perception. A big part of being able to break out of the victim role is focusing on what I can still do and then getting passionate about it. I also practice gratitude for literally everything in my life. This helps me see all the good things going right for me and less about all the challenges. I also had to release the past. It was a process that began with the understanding that certain things do not last a lifetime, so I thought of all the good times I had — playing sports, for example — said thank you for all those times, and let them go. I had to say goodbye. I had to release the past so I could live in the present and focus my energy on the direction my life was heading. It was hard work, but I eventually came to understand that change is a natural part of life over which we have little to no control. Just ask any aging person about their former abilities compared to their current abilities. Healthy aging requires accepting change just as healthy coping with any health issue or life-changing circumstance requires accepting change. It is a process that unfolds one day at a time. I believe we just need to allow ourselves to let it unfold so we are free to live our current lives. When I focus on the abilities I have now, I have greater peace of mind and less stress. With my mind at ease, my body is more at ease, which increases my level of ability. The acceptance/gratitude approach might seem infuriating when an illness takes over your body, but without a calm, peaceful mental state, the body will always remain in trauma and never reach a healing state. We will have many storms throughout our lives, and they can help us grow if we look at them as opportunities and not obstacles. Instead of running from or trying to avoid the storm, it is best to find a way to dance in the rain.

Tom Seaman

How I Moved Beyond Feeling Like a Victim in Life With Dystonia

The term “victim mentality” refers to people who blame someone or something else for the unpleasant things in their life. It helps us rationalize why we are not growing and moving forward. “Victim mentality” also applies to people who believe that undesirable life circumstances only yield negative outcomes. Feeling like a victim is normal when diagnosed with a serious health condition, but it is self-destructive if we remain in this state of mind. We can become isolated, depressed, bitter, angry, and resentful. This is exactly what happened to me in 2001 when I developed dystonia. I was only focused on myself and constantly upset with all the things I lost and could no longer do because of my physical pain and movement limitations. I was stuck in a “Why me, poor me” frame of mind. It got me nowhere but depressed. I had to change this question if I wanted freedom from my mental anguish. Instead of asking, “Why me?” I began asking, “Why not me?” “How can I learn to live with dystonia?” and “How can dystonia help me learn and grow?” I was no better or worse than anyone else, so if it happened to me, so be it. There was nothing I could do to reverse things so I needed to come to terms with it and maybe even find the good in it, even when I was in ridiculous pain and could barely function. There was nothing inherently wrong with what happened to me. Life just gets really hard sometimes — for everyone. The only thing wrong was my perception. A big part of being able to break out of the victim role is focusing on what I can still do and then getting passionate about it. I also practice gratitude for literally everything in my life. This helps me see all the good things going right for me and less about all the challenges. I also had to release the past. It was a process that began with the understanding that certain things do not last a lifetime, so I thought of all the good times I had — playing sports, for example — said thank you for all those times, and let them go. I had to say goodbye. I had to release the past so I could live in the present and focus my energy on the direction my life was heading. It was hard work, but I eventually came to understand that change is a natural part of life over which we have little to no control. Just ask any aging person about their former abilities compared to their current abilities. Healthy aging requires accepting change just as healthy coping with any health issue or life-changing circumstance requires accepting change. It is a process that unfolds one day at a time. I believe we just need to allow ourselves to let it unfold so we are free to live our current lives. When I focus on the abilities I have now, I have greater peace of mind and less stress. With my mind at ease, my body is more at ease, which increases my level of ability. The acceptance/gratitude approach might seem infuriating when an illness takes over your body, but without a calm, peaceful mental state, the body will always remain in trauma and never reach a healing state. We will have many storms throughout our lives, and they can help us grow if we look at them as opportunities and not obstacles. Instead of running from or trying to avoid the storm, it is best to find a way to dance in the rain.

Tom Seaman

How I Moved Beyond Feeling Like a Victim in Life With Dystonia

The term “victim mentality” refers to people who blame someone or something else for the unpleasant things in their life. It helps us rationalize why we are not growing and moving forward. “Victim mentality” also applies to people who believe that undesirable life circumstances only yield negative outcomes. Feeling like a victim is normal when diagnosed with a serious health condition, but it is self-destructive if we remain in this state of mind. We can become isolated, depressed, bitter, angry, and resentful. This is exactly what happened to me in 2001 when I developed dystonia. I was only focused on myself and constantly upset with all the things I lost and could no longer do because of my physical pain and movement limitations. I was stuck in a “Why me, poor me” frame of mind. It got me nowhere but depressed. I had to change this question if I wanted freedom from my mental anguish. Instead of asking, “Why me?” I began asking, “Why not me?” “How can I learn to live with dystonia?” and “How can dystonia help me learn and grow?” I was no better or worse than anyone else, so if it happened to me, so be it. There was nothing I could do to reverse things so I needed to come to terms with it and maybe even find the good in it, even when I was in ridiculous pain and could barely function. There was nothing inherently wrong with what happened to me. Life just gets really hard sometimes — for everyone. The only thing wrong was my perception. A big part of being able to break out of the victim role is focusing on what I can still do and then getting passionate about it. I also practice gratitude for literally everything in my life. This helps me see all the good things going right for me and less about all the challenges. I also had to release the past. It was a process that began with the understanding that certain things do not last a lifetime, so I thought of all the good times I had — playing sports, for example — said thank you for all those times, and let them go. I had to say goodbye. I had to release the past so I could live in the present and focus my energy on the direction my life was heading. It was hard work, but I eventually came to understand that change is a natural part of life over which we have little to no control. Just ask any aging person about their former abilities compared to their current abilities. Healthy aging requires accepting change just as healthy coping with any health issue or life-changing circumstance requires accepting change. It is a process that unfolds one day at a time. I believe we just need to allow ourselves to let it unfold so we are free to live our current lives. When I focus on the abilities I have now, I have greater peace of mind and less stress. With my mind at ease, my body is more at ease, which increases my level of ability. The acceptance/gratitude approach might seem infuriating when an illness takes over your body, but without a calm, peaceful mental state, the body will always remain in trauma and never reach a healing state. We will have many storms throughout our lives, and they can help us grow if we look at them as opportunities and not obstacles. Instead of running from or trying to avoid the storm, it is best to find a way to dance in the rain.

Tom Seaman

What a Spider Taught Me About Resilience in Life With Chronic Illness

I have lived with chronic pain from dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, for 20 years. When it first began in 2001, it completely changed my life. I had to stop everything I was doing and rearrange my life to accommodate my symptoms. In many ways, I lost everything due to severe disability, having to start all over again from scratch, which took years to find the right treatments and self-care puzzle pieces for me. Being as healthy as possible then become a major focus of my life. Despite improvements to my health, I still deal with problems and continually have to adapt to adversity and change. While I have gotten better at it, it is still a challenge because new things are always popping up whether it’s related to my health or just life in general. For example, I was recently diagnosed with a condition called middle ear myoclonus (a.k.a. tensor tympani syndrome). It has been a roller coaster ride to say the least and sometimes more debilitating than physical pain. The other day I got a great lesson about how to pick up the pieces and keep on going when everything you know hits the fan. I was walking to my neighbor’s house and had to go between two bushes. I wasn’t aware that there was a spider web until I walked right through one of the strands connecting it to one of the bushes. Don’t you just hate that feeling! I turned around to see how much of the web I destroyed, and wouldn’t you know it, I saw the spider immediately go to work and spin a new strand to attach to the bush and repair pieces of the web that had become tattered. First off, it was fascinating to watch the spider create this web right in front of my eyes. Even if you don’t like spiders, they are amazing artists! Second, it really hit me how nature is one of our most amazing teachers about resilience, exemplified by how this spider immediately went to work to rebuild its web right after it was broken. It didn’t moan and groan and fuss and whine and cry. Well, maybe it did but I don’t “speak spider,” but it sure didn’t let what I destroyed get in the way of re-creating its masterpiece. I literally destroyed its home, and it didn’t seem to faze it in the least. What a lesson in resilience, which I believe nature is teaching us all the time. Now I pay closer attention to all of nature and what it can teach me about adapting to adversity and being resilient, something I certainly need in my life to cope with my health issues and other life challenges. Pay attention to nature — the way the trees change and grow from season to season; how squirrels forage for food, how birds build homes for their young and protect them with loving intensity, and how the bees work their stingers off pollinating all the beautiful flowers and food we eat that nourish our bodies. Then try to emulate their magical and tenacious beauty.

Tom Seaman

What a Spider Taught Me About Resilience in Life With Chronic Illness

I have lived with chronic pain from dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, for 20 years. When it first began in 2001, it completely changed my life. I had to stop everything I was doing and rearrange my life to accommodate my symptoms. In many ways, I lost everything due to severe disability, having to start all over again from scratch, which took years to find the right treatments and self-care puzzle pieces for me. Being as healthy as possible then become a major focus of my life. Despite improvements to my health, I still deal with problems and continually have to adapt to adversity and change. While I have gotten better at it, it is still a challenge because new things are always popping up whether it’s related to my health or just life in general. For example, I was recently diagnosed with a condition called middle ear myoclonus (a.k.a. tensor tympani syndrome). It has been a roller coaster ride to say the least and sometimes more debilitating than physical pain. The other day I got a great lesson about how to pick up the pieces and keep on going when everything you know hits the fan. I was walking to my neighbor’s house and had to go between two bushes. I wasn’t aware that there was a spider web until I walked right through one of the strands connecting it to one of the bushes. Don’t you just hate that feeling! I turned around to see how much of the web I destroyed, and wouldn’t you know it, I saw the spider immediately go to work and spin a new strand to attach to the bush and repair pieces of the web that had become tattered. First off, it was fascinating to watch the spider create this web right in front of my eyes. Even if you don’t like spiders, they are amazing artists! Second, it really hit me how nature is one of our most amazing teachers about resilience, exemplified by how this spider immediately went to work to rebuild its web right after it was broken. It didn’t moan and groan and fuss and whine and cry. Well, maybe it did but I don’t “speak spider,” but it sure didn’t let what I destroyed get in the way of re-creating its masterpiece. I literally destroyed its home, and it didn’t seem to faze it in the least. What a lesson in resilience, which I believe nature is teaching us all the time. Now I pay closer attention to all of nature and what it can teach me about adapting to adversity and being resilient, something I certainly need in my life to cope with my health issues and other life challenges. Pay attention to nature — the way the trees change and grow from season to season; how squirrels forage for food, how birds build homes for their young and protect them with loving intensity, and how the bees work their stingers off pollinating all the beautiful flowers and food we eat that nourish our bodies. Then try to emulate their magical and tenacious beauty.

Tom Seaman

What a Spider Taught Me About Resilience in Life With Chronic Illness

I have lived with chronic pain from dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, for 20 years. When it first began in 2001, it completely changed my life. I had to stop everything I was doing and rearrange my life to accommodate my symptoms. In many ways, I lost everything due to severe disability, having to start all over again from scratch, which took years to find the right treatments and self-care puzzle pieces for me. Being as healthy as possible then become a major focus of my life. Despite improvements to my health, I still deal with problems and continually have to adapt to adversity and change. While I have gotten better at it, it is still a challenge because new things are always popping up whether it’s related to my health or just life in general. For example, I was recently diagnosed with a condition called middle ear myoclonus (a.k.a. tensor tympani syndrome). It has been a roller coaster ride to say the least and sometimes more debilitating than physical pain. The other day I got a great lesson about how to pick up the pieces and keep on going when everything you know hits the fan. I was walking to my neighbor’s house and had to go between two bushes. I wasn’t aware that there was a spider web until I walked right through one of the strands connecting it to one of the bushes. Don’t you just hate that feeling! I turned around to see how much of the web I destroyed, and wouldn’t you know it, I saw the spider immediately go to work and spin a new strand to attach to the bush and repair pieces of the web that had become tattered. First off, it was fascinating to watch the spider create this web right in front of my eyes. Even if you don’t like spiders, they are amazing artists! Second, it really hit me how nature is one of our most amazing teachers about resilience, exemplified by how this spider immediately went to work to rebuild its web right after it was broken. It didn’t moan and groan and fuss and whine and cry. Well, maybe it did but I don’t “speak spider,” but it sure didn’t let what I destroyed get in the way of re-creating its masterpiece. I literally destroyed its home, and it didn’t seem to faze it in the least. What a lesson in resilience, which I believe nature is teaching us all the time. Now I pay closer attention to all of nature and what it can teach me about adapting to adversity and being resilient, something I certainly need in my life to cope with my health issues and other life challenges. Pay attention to nature — the way the trees change and grow from season to season; how squirrels forage for food, how birds build homes for their young and protect them with loving intensity, and how the bees work their stingers off pollinating all the beautiful flowers and food we eat that nourish our bodies. Then try to emulate their magical and tenacious beauty.

Tom Seaman

What a Spider Taught Me About Resilience in Life With Chronic Illness

I have lived with chronic pain from dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, for 20 years. When it first began in 2001, it completely changed my life. I had to stop everything I was doing and rearrange my life to accommodate my symptoms. In many ways, I lost everything due to severe disability, having to start all over again from scratch, which took years to find the right treatments and self-care puzzle pieces for me. Being as healthy as possible then become a major focus of my life. Despite improvements to my health, I still deal with problems and continually have to adapt to adversity and change. While I have gotten better at it, it is still a challenge because new things are always popping up whether it’s related to my health or just life in general. For example, I was recently diagnosed with a condition called middle ear myoclonus (a.k.a. tensor tympani syndrome). It has been a roller coaster ride to say the least and sometimes more debilitating than physical pain. The other day I got a great lesson about how to pick up the pieces and keep on going when everything you know hits the fan. I was walking to my neighbor’s house and had to go between two bushes. I wasn’t aware that there was a spider web until I walked right through one of the strands connecting it to one of the bushes. Don’t you just hate that feeling! I turned around to see how much of the web I destroyed, and wouldn’t you know it, I saw the spider immediately go to work and spin a new strand to attach to the bush and repair pieces of the web that had become tattered. First off, it was fascinating to watch the spider create this web right in front of my eyes. Even if you don’t like spiders, they are amazing artists! Second, it really hit me how nature is one of our most amazing teachers about resilience, exemplified by how this spider immediately went to work to rebuild its web right after it was broken. It didn’t moan and groan and fuss and whine and cry. Well, maybe it did but I don’t “speak spider,” but it sure didn’t let what I destroyed get in the way of re-creating its masterpiece. I literally destroyed its home, and it didn’t seem to faze it in the least. What a lesson in resilience, which I believe nature is teaching us all the time. Now I pay closer attention to all of nature and what it can teach me about adapting to adversity and being resilient, something I certainly need in my life to cope with my health issues and other life challenges. Pay attention to nature — the way the trees change and grow from season to season; how squirrels forage for food, how birds build homes for their young and protect them with loving intensity, and how the bees work their stingers off pollinating all the beautiful flowers and food we eat that nourish our bodies. Then try to emulate their magical and tenacious beauty.

Tom Seaman

What Nature Can Teach Us About Coping With Adversity

I was driving the other night and seemingly out of nowhere, a tree frog jumped on my windshield as I was going about 30 mph heading towards my home. I thought to myself, this poor frog was probably jumping to get across the street in search of something to eat or go for a swim, mate, hang with a froggy friend, or do whatever frogs do, and then maybe return home, only to be unexpectedly whisked away. I’m not really sure if frogs even have a home, but that’s what went through my mind. Well, this frog was in for the ride of its life, ending up a mile away from where it began — probably a long way for a frog! I don’t know much about the behavior of frogs, but I’m quite certain it is not going to return to where it came from and that it will find a way to adapt to its new surroundings. I have plenty of trees that will make a wonderful home. This made me think about ants and other small insects. If I see one walking and I put my foot down, it turns left or right or goes in the opposite direction to get away from my foot. It totally changes direction because it is forced to. It doesn’t resist or fight and try to eat through my shoes or anything like that. It might climb over, but usually, they just change their course, seemingly not bothered by all. Just like the frog that now has to make a new home in new surroundings, almost every animal can get transplanted to a new place and adjust in a healthy way to new things. Not all of them, of course, but most creatures in nature are incredibly adaptive. The least among them are probably human beings. We are masters at resisting change! There are certainly people in the world that can travel around at a moment’s notice (wherever the wind takes them, as the saying goes), take things as they come, and live gracefully with whatever the day presents, but most of us are so rigid in our routine and our schedule that we do not know how to go with the flow. This sets us up for potentially intense stress when adversity comes knocking, or even just a change in plans that throw our day off course. A few minutes late because of traffic, for example, can feel like the end of the world for some people. I know many of us struggle with such things. Nature can teach us so much about letting go and allowing life to simply flow the way it’s going to flow no matter how much we try and steer the ship. If we can begin practicing how to do this more often, it can really put our mind and body at ease where we may actually begin to feel better and see things from a better perspective, and maybe even heal from some of the suffering and pain many of us live with. Having lived with chronic pain from dystonia for 20 years, as well as anxiety and depression at different times in those 20 years, I have found immense relief when I can let go of my white knuckle grip on life. It can be a bit tricky at times because my health does require scheduling and routine, but too much of each can be to my detriment. This is what my green, sticky, four-legged little jumping friend inspired me to write about, and once again, I am reminded how nature can be one of our greatest teachers in life if we learn to pay close attention.

Tom Seaman

How I Faced My Panic Attacks Head On

I used to be one of the many people with dystonia who experience panic attacks, and it felt like torture. One of my former triggers was driving, even around my own town. Forget long distances. I used to panic if I wasn’t the first car at a red light and didn’t have a way to turn off the road. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack or pass out. My heart would pound and my hands would sweat. I was claustrophobic and felt weak, with my legs trembling and my breathing shallow. After a few years, I had to do something about it. I couldn’t live like that anymore. If I wanted to deal with the anxiety and live a fuller life outside my home, I knew I had to face my fears head on. For the next couple of weeks, I put myself in situations that created anxiety and panic. While previously I would actually turn off the road and make a U-turn to avoid a red light, I now purposely drove in congested areas of town during afternoon rush hour so I would get caught at red lights and slow moving traffic. Within two weeks of exposing myself to heavy traffic and red lights, my panic attacks ended. It was a process, but I managed to overcome them in a shorter period of time than I expected. I overcame something in two weeks I lived with for years! What a relief! Then, it was time to tackle my fear of bridges. I decided to start with a bridge in my town I had avoided it for years, even as a passenger. The first few times I drove over the bridge by myself I was dizzy, my hands were sopping wet and my body was trembling. I felt like I was floating on top of my seat and had white knuckles from gripping the steering wheel so hard. I did my best to focus on the music, but a minute trip over the bridge seemed like 20. Worrying about the return trip, I missed my turn-around exit. I found myself on a highway travelling at speeds I hadn’t driven in 10 years. My anxiety skyrocketed trying to keep up with other cars. I finally came to the next exit and had to park for a little while to calm down before I got back on the road. Anxiety crept back in when I got back on the highway and onto the bridge again. When I got across safely I wanted to get home immediately. Instead, I stopped myself, did some slow, rhythmic breathing, turned around and drove back over the bridge again. I did this every day for the next week. Each time I was on the bridge and the highway I had anxiety, but it became less and less every day. My confidence grew, which gradually reduced my anxiety. After about a dozen times over a period of a week, I no longer had anxiety driving on this bridge or any other bridge. Nor did I have anxiety being on the highway. The more significant part of this experience was the boost of confidence. My world opened up, and I began doing other things I had been avoiding. Life seemed exciting and interesting again. Instead of worrying about all the bad things that might happen before I did an activity, I started to look forward to them. A huge burden was lifted. In this way, I felt I could start living again. Editor’s note: This story is based on one person’s experiences and shouldn’t be taken as professional advice. To learn more information about overcoming anxiety and panic attacks, visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America or consult your doctor.

Tom Seaman

How to Handle Sudden and Unexpected Pain

I live with chronic pain from a neurological movement disorder called dystonia. The other day I hurt my back above and beyond normal. In fact, I actually experienced severe pain unlike anything I have in a long time! It happened totally out of the blue while my father and I were at a basketball game at the local university. About 15 minutes after the game began, I turned to my right to say something to my dad. All of a sudden, I had searing pain shoot like a lightning bolt from the center of my spine radiating all over my back. It literally took my breath away. I was blindsided, so my initial reaction was panic (I am used to dealing with chronic pain as a way of life, but this was quite different). Then I thought I might have just temporarily tweaked something and it would probably just go away (it felt like a charley horse in my spine). Unfortunately, this was not the case. Fear took over because this was the exact spot in my body that began to contract/spasm when I first developed my most severe symptoms of dystonia almost 20 years ago. My heart began to race with fear and my breathing became very rapid and shallow; a true fight or flight response. My dad asked if I wanted to leave, but my concern was moving more and making it worse because we had quite a few stairs to go down and a long walk to the parking lot in cold weather. My body was in too much trauma. I needed to sit a bit longer to see if it would get a little better. I also needed to calm my worried mind the best I could for the walk to the car. I knew if I was in rushed panic mode, my muscles would contract more and make it worse. So here I was in horrible pain with several thousand fans screaming and going cheering. Talk about testing my ability to relax in a boisterous, highly stimulating environment in the wake of severe pain that came on in an instant! In my mind I went over all of the things I knew were important to do in that moment, panic being the last thing. I looked straight ahead watching the game, very passively, and mindfully focused on my breath. I said calming affirmations and a few prayers, and I visualized my body at rest and peace. If I resisted the pain, my body would have seized up more than it was, so I had to let go and find the rhythm of my breath. I basically went stoic; totally within the pain to find peace. This may sound counterintuitive because we typically want to run from pain, but this usually just makes the pain worse. I had to sit with it. It helped about 10 to 15% in terms of pain reduction, but my mind calmed a lot more than that, which was the difference maker for me to get to the car when I felt ready to leave. My goal was to make it to the car without getting worse. That’s why I decided to stay versus run home, which was my initial reaction out of fear. I knew that panicking and running would make things worse, so I took things in small steps. I mentally prepared myself for the walk to the car doing all the things mentioned above. I then had my dad wait until I got comfortable in the car before he began driving so I could prepare myself for the movement of the vehicle. When I got home, I did a few things; ice, heat, massage and trigger point work, but mainly just lying down focusing on my breath. I also tried to get lost watching a peaceful nature show. The next two days I cancelled all of my plans and did nothing but rest on ice and heat, do lots of relaxation breathing, meditation and visualization. I loaded up on anti-inflammatory supplements and just laid on my back. Basically, I pretty much zoned out spending most of the time lying flat as a pancake. Although most of this was very boring, I made it my priority to strictly focus on self-care so I would be functional as soon as possible. I took care of myself without guilt, something that is very hard for me and others to do, but absolutely essential! About 72 hours later, I was back to normal. Well, my normal baseline of symptoms I have with dystonia. Not the screaming pain I was in. I find it really ironic that I experienced this, because the day before I wrote something in my blog about not reacting emotionally to pain and other difficult life experiences. To be honest (and I know this sounds ridiculous), I was kind of grateful to have the opportunity to see just how much I would be able to follow my own advice in the midst of trauma. I was able to and it really helped. Having practiced all of the things I mentioned above for years (relaxation breathing, meditation, visualization, etc.) it better prepared me for this moment. However, I have been out of practice lately so this experience was a wake up call! It reminded me that I needed to do more mental relaxation activities on a regular basis. This experience affirmed for me just how much our emotional reaction to pain and any adverse condition we experience in life can either help or hurt us, and just how powerful it is to go within and not resist the pain. When we add fear and stress to fear and stress, it is a recipe for disaster, meaning it can hurt us more than we already are. This is exactly what I did not do, which I know prevented the situation from being much worse that it could have been. Whenever you are in pain, especially above and beyond what is normal, please be mindful of how you respond to it. It will always determine how much worse it may get and how quickly or slowly you may recover from that particular event. I can’t emphasize this enough.