Like the willow tree, people thrive if they have a strong, healthy root system. A healthy body, sound mind, and a solid support system provide resiliency to weather storms and remain strong.
I first read the call for submissions for this blog carnival before I got hit with a horrible streak of painful days (that still hasn't dissipated - so, please forgive me, if this post seems choppy or incomprehensible). That being said, it's a good idea to keep a written account of some coping skills that you've used in the past (or that have been recommended to you by others) because it can be hard to remember these coping skills, in the middle of tough situations.
Try not to freak-out: First, I try to keep myself from freaking out. I live my life day-in and day-out with the ever-present possibility of a full-on pain flare-up. So, when the pain worsens, you never know how bad it's going to be... this time (even when pain is less severe, there's the fear of the next time the pain will flare).
Be mindful: I always have to be very mindful of what I do, but especially when times are tough. I have to take even more special care to do even the most essential activities (such as eat and sleep) well. If I don't take care of these basic needs, it'll only worsen the tough situation I'm facing.
Be patient: I have to try to be patient, especially with myself. I'm absolutely horrible at this! I don't like having to take breaks, and I haven't reached a point that I've completely accepted the limitations that I have (though I have gotten better with these). It's hard to tolerate and accept myself the way I am now, especially on those pain-crazed days. But, it's important to at least try to be patient and tolerant with yourself, and with others.
Reach out: Reach out to others for support. This can be a very difficult step for me. When I'm in the midst of a horrible bout of pain, it can be extremely hard to see anything beyond the pain. Just as it's difficult to reach out when depression hits, it can be hard to reach out in the midst of pain (especially chronic pain). My resources to reach out to include: family, online support group, friends, or even a professional.
Keep the faith: Through everything, I try to hold on to my faith, and find hope in the promises our Lord has given us. I try to focus more of my attention to prayer... it may be difficult sometimes, but it helps me cope. I have many songs and Scripture verses that help me through difficult times and remind me that I'm never alone, even in the toughest of times.
"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him" ~ James 1:12