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  • Writer's pictureShannon Green

Patient vs. person identity

In 2015, I attended the Cleveland Clinic chronic rehabilitation program. We did some group therapy and when I introduced myself to the group, I introduced myself as a patient and not a person. Up to that point I didn't realize I was letting my diagnosis be my identity until the doctor pointed it out. The light bulb came on and sparked the journey to find who I really am. I was so wrapped up in my illness, I had lost my purpose. #therapy #purpose

I knew that laying in bed or sitting on the couch all day was not going to serve me well physically and mentally. I know because I tried this approach in 2014. I lost a whole year because I wasn't participating in life. I couldn't work and became officially disabled. Without my job, who was I? What am I supposed to be doing? #wellness #health

This path led me to facilitating a chronic pain support group in Austin, Texas. I trained as a meeting facilitator for the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA). As of 2021, I am the point of contact for all of Texas and lead an online group via Zoom monthly. #ACPA

I knew that helping others made me happy. Therefore, my mission was to help those dealing with chronic pain both physically and mentally. I follow many social media support groups for those dealing with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, fibromyalgia, non-epileptic seizures (conversion disorder), anxiety, and depression. I answer questions and make videos and posts about chronic pain management. #GBS #depression #anxiety #fibro #fibromyalgia

I had to learn to let go of the expectations of what I thought my life would be like and embrace it just as it is. This concept is called radical acceptance created by Marsha Linehan. Out of this, she created dialectical behavior therapy (dbt). It combines behavioral science with concepts like acceptance and mindfulness. #dbt #dialecticalbehaviortherapy

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