Larry Berkelhammer, PhD

This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below and I will answer them on a future Friday in this column.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are articles I’ve written. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts now consist of your questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Someone recently asked me this question after one of my presentations:

Question: You talk about suffering less by accepting and being fully present with pain or other symptoms. But, when I’m really afraid or in a lot of pain, why would I want to experience more of that?

Answer:  This is a common question. Of course, none of us wants to suffer. However, on the occasions when I’ve tried to reject fear or pain, it intensified. A common expression is: What we resist persists. Whereas, when I fully accepted my fear, pain, or malaise, allowing myself to fully experience it and fully accept it, it diminished markedly. In other words, when we allow ourselves to accept rather than reject our fear or our pain, we are, in effect, accepting ourselves, just the way we are.  Nevertheless, there are times when the fear or the pain is too intense. In those situations, it can be most helpful to use distraction or dissociation. Watching a movie or listening to our favorite music can provide both distraction and dissociation.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges?  Each Friday, I will answer your questions in Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box and you’ll see my response to you in an upcoming Friday post.