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Our Circumstances Don’t Determine Our Destiny
“I have to live with these things, but I don’t have to suffer from them.” -Lauren Rose
Lauren Rose is an author, coach, and the host of the “It Hurts to Mom” podcast.
In this week’s episode she’s speaking about her challenges with pretty severe chronic pain – and how through all of that, she found a loving partner and is raising a kind and compassionate daughter. Lauren is living with several degenerative disorders, fibromyalgia and chronic migraine to name a few.
Lauren is sharing a treasure trove of information, resources, and tools she’s learned to help her with her own chronic pain on a daily basis. She shares about her anxiety and her gratitude as she finds her way towards helping others living with chronic pain.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Dating and finding love while living with chronic illness
- Speaking with your children about fatigue and chronic pain
- The power of gratitude and love when battling anxiety
Guest Spotlight: Lauren Rose
Lauren is a disabled wife and mom living with chronic pain and illness (degenerative and inflammatory arthritis, degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, migraines, major depressive disorder, and anxiety).
When she had to stop working she went into a deep depression for two years. Lauren came out of it through 1) intentional daily gratitude, and 2) realizing God could take her broken life and make something new and beautiful out of it!
Lauren started a podcast and blog as ways to put good into the world. She doesn’t believe our circumstances determine our destiny- we do!
Podcast: It Hurts to Mom
Book: Why Does Mommy Hurt?
Resources discussed in this episode:
Other Resources: Grateful Gratitude Facebook Page
Love the Podcast? Get these books by Andrea Hanson
“It is refreshing to have a book that fosters hope and promotes self-healing. This book is an excellent resource for those looking for ways to be proactive….and ways to find hope.”
“It is a true guide on how to listen to our bodies, connect to them, nurture ourselves and understand the power of our mindset.”
“I will be recommending Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis widely to all my patients when dealing with a diagnosis or setback!”
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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.
52. Lauren Rose
[00:00:00] Andrea: If I were to put this week's episode into a category, it would be love. Lauren Rose is speaking about her challenges with pretty severe chronic pain and how through all of that, she found a loving partner and is raising a kind and compassionate daughter. Lauren is living with several degenerative disorders, fibromyalgia and chronic migraine to name a few, and this week she's sharing a treasure trove of information and resources and.
She's learned to help her on a daily basis. She shares about her anxiety and her gratitude as she finds her way towards helping others living with chronic pain. Please enjoy this week's episode and visit Andrea Hansen coaching.com for more. On Lauren Rose resources that we talk about in the show and transcripts from today's episode.
Welcome to the Live Your Life, not Your Diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hansen, author, motivational speaker and master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told I would never reach my goals, but I did, and I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view, and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds to inspire you to achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw. Uncensored and judgment free listener discretion is advised.
I am here talking with Lauren Rose. Lauren is a disabled wife and mom living with chronic pain and illness. She's living with degenerative and inflammatory arthritis, degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, migraines, major depressive. And anxiety. When she had to stop working, she went into a deep depression for two years.
She came out of it through intentional daily gratitude and her belief that God could take her broken life and make something new and beautiful out of it, Lauren started a podcast and blog as ways to put Good into the world. She doesn't believe that our circumstances determine our destiny. We do. Lauren, welcome.
[00:02:14] Lauren: Hi. Thanks for having me. Letting me share with you.
[00:02:16] Andrea: Yeah, absolutely. I can't wait to talk to you about all of this stuff. Just off the bat though, this idea that you don't believe our circumstances determine our destiny, I love that. I think it's such a powerful realization. Is that something that you have always believed or did you come to believe it through kind of this journey that you've been?
[00:02:36] Lauren: I think I've always believed it, but as I've gone through different things in my life and gone through them and overcome them or work to overcome them, it's just something that kind of came to me in these last couple of years where I just decided I'm not going to stay in bed, suffering from my pain and my depression and my anxiety because suffering is a choice.
I have to live with these things, but I don't have to suffer from.
[00:03:05] Andrea: Mm. I think that's such an important distinction for us all to make really, and it's, that's one of those things like many that are true and we kind of come through those realizations through our own chronic illness and what we have to deal with.
But really it's just a good thing for all humans to realize that suffering is a choice and we can choose how we want to perceive that and how we want to move forward. ,
[00:03:33] Lauren: right? I mean, if, if I can do it after I've been through a lot of stuff and then, I mean, those two years of dark depression were, were really, really deep and dark and and horrible.
But if I can come out of it, I think anybody can.
[00:03:47] Andrea: Yeah, and let's, I wanna go into that real fast since you brought that up. Doing things like daily gratitude. I talk about it a lot when people are in this podcast and how powerful it is, and also your faith. How was it that you were able to get to that point though?
There's that mo, was it a catalyst? Was it a moment? Was it a decision? What brought you to realizing, hey, I need to practice this on a daily basis? So
[00:04:12] Lauren: after my two years of depression, I had enough strength and energy and willpower to sign up for a Bible study at my church. And we are reading this book called, it's Not Supposed to Be This Way.
Mm-hmm. . And that's exactly how I felt about my life. This is not what I'd worked for. This is not what I was planning. I had this great career and I was about to get this promotion and everything was gonna be amazing. And I even applied for it while I was on short-term disability, but I could never go back to work.
And so I, that the book helped me realize that, that, like you said earlier, God could take my broken life and make something beautiful out of it. But there was a lady in the group and I was going to this group and I was sobbing every single meeting. I was just so upset about the turn my life had. I was that person.
You didn't want to be in your women's group cuz I was crying all the time. It was just a really rough time. And there was this woman and she actually started a, a program called Grateful Gratitude. , and I believe it's a nonprofit organization, actually. Mm-hmm. . And it focuses on gratitude. And she gave me this little wooden heart that was painted and I got to pick from all these different ones.
And I picked one that said love. And she just told me every single night, you know, close your eyes, put that little heart to your heart, and think of three things you're grateful for. And some days it was hard because it was hard to find with the gratitude. So I went with things like, I am thankful for running water.
and the basics that we, we really take for granted. But after doing that for a while, just a couple of months, it really changed my perspective on life and, and my mindset. It, it's one of the big things that helped me get out of my depression. .
[00:05:59] Andrea: And I think that's something that's often, I think mistaken when people are looking at gratitude.
It's, they feel like they have to be grateful for something and they have to, they have to find something in order to practice it. And just looking at those simple things that you really are grateful for, like running water and you're right, like all these little things that you take for. . It may feel little and it may feel, because we take it for granted.
It might feel just like a given and like you're not really getting that juice from the gratitude. But those tiny little things, if you're doing them consistently, can really help you move to that next step. And sometimes we have to start with those little baby steps.
[00:06:39] Lauren: Absolutely, and you just said we have to find things we're grateful for.
I was at the point where I wanted to find things I was grateful for because I was so miserable and ready for something new and different and good in my life. and so that really did just help change my mindset. I still wasn't grateful for what I was going through at the time. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:07:02] Andrea: That's a big leap.
[00:07:03] Lauren: Yeah. it definitely. But I found lots of other things that I realized that my life wasn't completely destroyed and terrible. Just mm-hmm. find all, finding all these things that I was grateful. .
[00:07:17] Andrea: Yeah. Do you have that feeling now? Because some people, and I'm, I am one of those, I think, slightly annoying people who can say things like, I, you know what?
There are things I'm not a hundred percent grateful for my ms. I'm not so grateful that I have it, but there are things about my MS that I'm grateful for because they have taught me things, or I have learned things from it. , are you at that point, or do you feel like you don't even have to get to that point?
What is your viewpoint on that?
[00:07:46] Lauren: I don't know that we have to be grateful for our circumstances. I think we can find joy in them without being grateful for them. Ooh. And that's why I started my blog on my podcast. It's a way for me to find joy. Despite the different things that I'm going through. Mm-hmm.
because having this purpose in life has, it's what gets me out of bed and my purpose in life is to try to help other people, encourage other people, bring community, help them feel not alone. Talk about things that we don't all get to talk about with just normal people who frankly don't wanna hear about all of our depression, our anxiety, our chronic pain, our chronic illnesses all the time.
So, yeah. .
[00:08:29] Andrea: Yeah. Well, and having said that, some of these diagnoses that you had, you've actually have from a pretty young age, but you were definitely on a very different career path. You definitely had a very different life from what you have now, and I'm always. A believer in we are not our, like you said, we are not our circumstances, we are not our illnesses, we're not our chronic pain.
We're not, we are not any of these things. So talk to me a little bit about what that career path was that you were on and what your, what your trajectory was before you started having diagnos.
[00:09:07] Lauren: Yeah, so I'd gotten my degree in communication and I was big on like written communication, print marketing, things like that.
So I worked for a company that focused on energy efficient construction and doing good for the environment while building buildings and maintaining buildings. Mm-hmm. and I was, I did marketing, I did executive support, I did office management, all sorts of things. But this job they actually had, they created a new.
and they put it in the Dallas office. We were based in Seattle, but they, they put, put it in the Dallas office because that's where I was and I was gonna get this job and it was a lot of sales support, marketing, advertising, that kind of thing. And I was really excited about it. And it was just really gonna get, I was gonna get to do more of my, what my degree was in more advertising, marketing, things like that.
It was, it was gonna be a big step. That's why even though I was on short-term disability, I still put in my application for it because I thought within these six months I was going to get better. Mm-hmm. , I was doing things actively to get better and it just, it just didn't work out. So they ended up moving that position to a different office once I couldn't come back to work.
[00:10:24] Andrea: So what was that, what was that like? You say you had kicked off this, this deep depression. What was it like realizing that? Okay. things are gonna need to change.
[00:10:35] Lauren: Yeah. So at first, I mean, it's, it, I felt helpless and I felt hopeless. Hmm. Because I'd spent those six months on short-term disability doing physical therapy and getting steroid injections, and getting radioactive ablations or radiofrequency ablations, I mean, And I was actively doing things to get better.
Yet, my pain ended up going from just my low spine to the rest of my joints. And during short-term disability is when I developed the fibromyalgia, which I didn't have before. So my autoimmune disease just, just kicked in full force while I was trying to get better. And that was, it was really hard. I, I felt, I'm doing things to get better, yet my body is fighting against me.
And that's why I felt helpless because I didn't know what to, what else to do to stop my body from, from fighting against me. And I was on biologics. I was on immune suppressors for my radio, my rheumatologist, we were trying to get my immune system. Stop overreacting, . Yeah. And fighting against itself, but none of those medicines were working.
So it was a combination of feeling helpless and feeling hopeless because I just kept getting worse. .
[00:11:52] Andrea: And so when you were, you went through this period after you realized that you're not gonna come back from being on disability, and you had this, this journey through depression, this journey coming out of it with your various practices with gratitude and faith, how did you know that you were ready to move on into this very different career and with everything else that you're doing?
[00:12:21] Lauren: I think part of it was a combination of getting a medication that supplemented my antidepressant, cuz at that time my antidepressant was not working very well because I was just in such deep depression over my circumstances that the medication just wasn't working well enough. So once I got kind of the right dose of medication and I just, I got tired.
Missing so much of my family and my friends. I was missing a lot of my daughter's life because I spent so much time in bed. Mm-hmm. , and I was missing date nights with my husband. I was missing movie nights and game nights with my family and I, after the two years, I was just ready to. To see something good in my life and I wish it hadn't taken two years, but that's the amount of time I needed to grieve cuz that's what I was doing.
I was grieving. I was grieving the loss of my job. I was grieving the loss of my health. I was grieving this new part of me, this chronic pain that completely taken over my life. So it took me two years to, to start coming out of that grief. Mm-hmm. , and I think it was cuz I just realized that I didn't wanna spend the rest of my life in bed suffering and being miserable.
I wanted to change, I wanted something better.
[00:13:37] Andrea: Yeah, that's something that I think sometimes people don't give enough credence to is the idea that no matter how your diagnosis comes to you, not you personally, but like one's diagnosis comes to them. Sometimes it's something that started when they were really young.
Sometimes it's something that happens pretty quickly no matter how it is. For a lot of us, I would even venture to say most of us, there is a period of grief. because exactly what you just said. It's like the loss of the life that we expected to have. A lot of us had very different careers or, or were ramping up for a very different life before this happened, and sometimes it takes a moment to work through that grief, work through that trauma.
And it's an identity shift, right? Who we once were. It's not only loss, it's like we have to become someone totally different and we don't even really. What that is or how that's gonna happen or what's going on.
[00:14:39] Lauren: Absolutely. And I mean, in some ways I do feel like a different person. I've still got the same values and same character, but I feel like I, I can't do things I used to be able to do.
Like for instance, I, I'm was an avid reader, but reading. The being in that position, it hurts my neck, it hurts my, my low back. And even with arthritis in my hands, it hurts my hands to hold a book. And I just, I feel like I, I just can't do all the things I could do before. I could do a lot of things with modifications.
Which has really helped me is to learn how to modify things that I need to do, like chores and things like that. Yeah, I definitely think we all need to take time to honor that grieving process. I think it's, it's really important. If we don't, it's like any other kind of trauma. It's gonna come back later and bite you
[00:15:30] Andrea: Yeah. Yeah. It really is, and I love that word that you have to honor it. It's a lot of times we can get, I mean, I know. Did not take the time immediately after my diagnosis. I didn't, I mean, I was super young, I didn't know what was going on, and my ego was way too big to honor anything that was gonna slow me down or make me stop and regroup.
And so a, a lot of times we pushed through it or we can get frustrated with it going on for so long. Whatever that is in our minds. It can be frustrating, it can, it can be all sorts of things. Really coming to that realization of honoring it, I think that is the key to moving through it more quickly.
[00:16:17] Lauren: Right. And it's, it's a hard time to go through, but it's important. I mean, we deserve, we deserve to grieve these losses, right? Yes,
[00:16:27] Andrea: yes.
[00:16:28] Lauren: Absolutely. I mean, it's, it's part of self-care. It's part of self-compassion. So that's why I think that we need to, to honor that time.
[00:16:37] Andrea: So you said something before that was interesting while you were going through some of them, while you were going through whatever was happening with your body, regardless of if you had an actual diagnosis or not.
Right. These things were developing some of them from when you were very young, but you. We're still dating. You still got married, you still had a child. Talk a little bit about what it was like going through that process and which is something that a lot of us do, but while living with a chronic illness.
[00:17:11] Lauren: Yeah, so back when I was dating, I was suffering from the depression, the anxiety since I was about eight, and then migraines and other kinds of headaches since I was about 15. And I remember back when I was dating my now husband that I told him several times something to the effect of when I was having a really bad day and a lot of pain, you really should go find another girlfriend.
You should find somebody else who doesn't have these problems. You should just give up on me and find somebody else. And finally, one day he said, you know, I really hate it when you say that to me. I'm here because I want to be here and I don't wanna find somebody else. I don't like that you say that. And I never said it.
I realized he knows what I go through. He knows I'm in therapy. He knows I have chronic pain. He knows I have bad days and, and sometimes I have to spend hours in bed, but he's making the choice to be here anyway because he thinks that I'm, I'm worthy and I'm valuable. So that was a real turning point for me and having a baby.
it was a little difficult because I had to get off some of my pain medications while I was pregnant and then, but then when I was pregnant, I had a couple of lung collapses, which I had a history of, so I had to take pain medication for that. But my baby was completely resilient and the biggest problems back when I had headaches were just noises, like when I had a migraine.
So I found earplugs were incredibly helpful. With a screaming baby. I also found relatives who were willing to take care of her when I was having a bad day. And then it, it was when she was three was when my, my back pain started. It wasn't easy to take care of a toddler when I was having. Spinal pain and, and then joint pain.
And then body pain. She is, ever since she's can remember I've had body pain and it's just been part of her growing up. I used to read this book to her when she was young called, why Does Mommy Hurt? And I would, it's specifically for fibromyalgia, since I had arthritis as well. I would just read it and when it said fibromyalgia, I would just say arthritis and fibro al.
But you can take that to say MS, or depression or anxiety or whatever your diagnosis is, so that she would just kind of get used to the idea of mommy hearts and she really just appreciates it when I'm present there for her. That's such a big thing for her cause she needs a lot of attention, but she knows that I may only be.
Able to play dolls with her lying down or play a board game lying on the couch and she'll have to move all the little pieces, but she doesn't care. I had her on my first episode of my podcast and I did a little interview with her and she told me she really sees that I'm trying, and all she really cares about is that I play with her.
I give her the attention. Even if I have to modify it, it doesn't bother her. I mean, she just turned 10 a couple weeks ago and she was nine at the time when I had the interview, and I just thought it was just, not only just kind and loving, but I just thought it was so mature of her to be able to see in me that I do my best, even though I can't volunteer as much as I would like at her school, and I can't always go on field trips and things like that with her.
She knows that I try and she knows I love her and she know. That I'm doing my best and giving her the attention that I can give her as best I can.
[00:20:31] Andrea: I know a lot of, a lot of moms out there. Worry about how much their kids know about what's going on with them, wonder how much they should talk to their children about it or how, how open they should be.
Because some of these, some of these issues are very adult really, if you will. So I think it's really interesting that you chose to be, it sounds like pretty open with her PR pretty much from. at the very beginning,
[00:20:59] Lauren: right, and that's been a big thing because it normalizes it within our family. So even when she was 3, 4, 5, she could understand I was hurting.
She doesn't know the extent of it. I keep it at a child level when whenever I talk to her. , but it was really helpful for me to talk about my own anxiety because she ended up having anxiety and so it normalizes it for her. It makes her feel a lot better, and we can talk through it. Like when she's having an anxiety attack, we can talk about it and say, that's just your amygdala trying to protect you.
You need to just tell your brain that you are safe and we could walk through it like that. and she's got actually a lot of headaches too, like several times a week, just like I had and still have. And so I, I can, I can empathize with her and she knows that she can talk about it. Like when I was having headaches as a teenager, I never told my family because we didn't talk about things, we didn't talk about our feelings, we didn't talk about.
Opinions or thoughts? We just didn't talk about that kind of stuff. So the environment that we've tried to create here in our home is the complete opposite, where we do talk about our thoughts and our feelings and our opinions and how we're feeling physically, and we talk about our anxiety. We talk about my depression when I'm having a day.
So she can, to her level, understand that mommy's crying and really. Not because something happened, but because I just, I have something in my brain called depression and she doesn't quite understand exactly what it is, but it's just part of our home, our life, our, it's just part of my life.
[00:22:43] Andrea: I think that's amazing because it opens the door to, as she does get older, she will start to understand things like chemical balances and all that, that whole level.
And it makes it easier to segue into a more complicated, complex conversation about what these things actually are and what's happening in your body. Right.
[00:23:03] Lauren: And I don't want her to have to hide anything that's going on with her like I had to back then, cuz I never talked about my anxiety or depress.
Once I realized that they weren't normal things to my family either, I mean, they, they found out that I had an eating disorder, so they threw me into therapy to fix myself. But we never talked about anything as a family. We never talked about what led me to having eating disorder or what led me to my depression.
They just threw me in therapy. So , I want her to, to know that she can always come and I will probably understand what she's going through and that she doesn't have to hide. Cuz there's, there was such a stigma in my family that if you had depression you were quote unquote crazy. Right? Hmm. So, and, and I knew that stigma.
I heard my parents talk about, you know, mental illness, quite a destructive way. , I wanna be the complete opposite. I want to have a, a much more open relationship with my daughter than I had with my parents.
[00:24:04] Andrea: Yeah, I mean, it sounds like you're, you're already on that path.
[00:24:08] Lauren: I hope so. .
[00:24:10] Andrea: I would say so. , for sure.
So talk to me about how going just into your, your daily life, how does things like chronic pain. especially affect you on your daily basis. And what are some things that you do as your go-to tools to help you with it?
[00:24:32] Lauren: So first thing in the morning, I have an alarm that wakes me up at 5:00 AM which is an hour before I have to get up because I have to take multiple kinds of medications so that they can start kicking in before I can even get out of bed.
Cuz if I'm, if I miss that alarm and six o'clock rolls around and I haven't. , I slept through my alarm or turned it off without taking my medicines. I normally can't even get out of bed, so my husband has to, to take care of our daughter and everything. And so that's really difficult. And then I usually take my daughter to school.
I usually come back and I'm still in fairly good amount of pain. In the mornings, even after taking her to school and, and getting up and moving around. So I usually go back and lay down for a couple of hours, stretch out, maybe meditate, maybe play wordle or something like that. That I enjoy, listen to a podcast, something like that.
Or, or just rest. And then during the day, I usually try to get any chores done, kind of late morning. And I have to modify all of my chores. So I mean, I sit down to do the dishes. I have a bar stool, I've got seating everywhere. I sit down to sweep, I sit down to clean my bathtub, all of that. Cause I can't stand for very long, not more than a couple minutes.
And that way, if or when it causes more pain, I'll have a few hours to take more pain medicine and get into a tolerable amount of pain before I have to pick my daughter up from school. And then we bring her home, we do our homework, let her relax. I love to say that I make dinner for my family each night.
I don't . A lot of nights we fend for ourselves, so I just eat cereal or an Achi bar and either my husband or I will make something quick for my daughter. My husband will just fend for himself, figure something out, and usually before the end of the night, I take. more medicine so that I can sleep cuz I have a lot of trouble finding a good position to sleep in.
So I, I pretty much lay on one side within that side starts to hurt. So I have to flip over and lay on the other side, but then that side starts to hurt. If I lay on my back, my low back will start to hurt really bad. . Mm-hmm. . So I don't, I don't get a great amount of good sleep because I'm moving around a lot, but I try to find things to do to keep myself busy during the day, even working on my podcast.
Been a great tool to get me out of bed because it's kind of given me a renewed purpose in life. Mm-hmm. , because I can't take care of my home and my family as well as I'd like to, but I can use my podcast to, to try to, like you said, bring good into the world and to try to help other people. So some of the biggest tools that I've, I use in my daily life are resting, pacing myself.
Modifying tasks, self-compassion on days that I can't do anything. That's a, a big one. And my husband will come home from work and I'll say, I couldn't get anything done today. I'm sorry. And he'll just say, I'm not upset. It's okay. I get it. And so I get a lot of support and love and encouragement from my family on those really hard days.
So. Mm-hmm. , I'm really appreciative of
[00:27:43] Andrea: that. When you were looking at things to help modify what you wanted to do, was there ever any type of, I would say like a mental barrier to it. I sometimes, when we know we need help doing something, like you said, like sitting down all over, like everywhere in the house and, and different things like that.
But sometimes we fight it, right? Sometimes we're like, Ugh, I don't wanna use that cane. I don't want to use that aid. I don't wanna look like. This to people on the outside? Did you have any of
[00:28:15] Lauren: that? When it came to doing chores around the house? I was actually happy that I found a modification. However, when it comes to being out in public mm-hmm.
my husband's on part bad days, tells me, you know, you should use that cart to go around the grocery store. And I'm like, no, I don't wanna do that. I don't want people looking at me and judging me and thinking that I'm just using it because I'm lazy. And I had, when I got my handicapped placard, I. For the first few years, I hated to use it because I was just like, I, I was 35 years old and I just knew right, that people were gonna judge me and look at me and, and say things to me, and I was going to, and I, I don't do well with confrontation, so I was just gonna cry and not know what to say back.
But over the years, I've gotten better at using those handicapped parking spaces. I. To make myself feel, I don't know better, you know, we, we call it my ADA placard and ADA spaces as opposed to handicapped because I just don't like that word. Yeah. And I know I'm technically disabled, but I just, I don't like that word.
I just, I don't like the word handicapped. Mm-hmm. . It just makes me feel bad and it makes me feel like I shouldn't be that way. And I don't know. . I don't feel that way about other people using that word or being that way. Sure. It's just, it's just a me thing that I just, I don't like it for me cuz I don't know.
I just, I feel, I feel guilty and, and ashamed I suppose since it did start at a fairly young age.
[00:29:46] Andrea: Mm-hmm. , well, I mean, we're often way harsher on ourselves mm-hmm. than we are on other people. I'd love that you. That you renamed it. I think that kind of stuff. It's interesting because we talk about different tools and we think about things like self-care or we think about aids like sitting down or using a walker or the, the thing in the, the little cart in the grocery store.
But sometimes just simply doing things like, I don't wanna call it a handicap space, it's an ACA or ada. Mm-hmm. . I actually think that's pretty genius. It
[00:30:20] Lauren: definitely helped. It definitely helped me and, and my husband uses the term as well, so he is like, do you wanna take this a d a space? And it's, he, it's helped me be able to use those spaces when I need them.
[00:30:30] Andrea: Yeah. I mean, why not, right? Like why not? Why not change the words or change how you're, it's all about how you're looking at things. It's all at how about how you're perceiving them. And sometimes if you just change a word that can do so much. And help you use it, which helps you. I know a lot of people have really feel like they want to use those spaces, those ADA spaces, and feel like it would benefit them, really shy away from it because of what other people are gonna think a lot of times to look at some people that use those spaces like they're not you.
It's invisible. You can't see, right? I can't see chronic pain, I can't see fatigue, I can't see fibromyalgia. But people have those and it really helps them to use a space that lessens how much they have to walk. But a lot of times they shy away because they're really afraid of what people are gonna say or think or do.
What helped you get over?
[00:31:31] Lauren: I think the fact that I just was so bad off that I needed it. Mm-hmm. . So if there are three spots, I'll usually take the middle spot to leave the first spot for someone who's worse off than I am. Mm-hmm. . But I had to admit to myself that there are a lot of days that I, I need those spots and because.
Going in a place is going to cause me pain, and that's why, I mean, I do most of my grocery shopping online. I might be able to go to the store for a couple of things, but I can't go to the grocery store and buy all of my groceries. It is way too painful, and usually I walk with a limp. So my disabilities are mostly invisible unless you're looking at my gate and then you can see that something's wrong with me.
But just admitting to myself that I needed. It was big.
[00:32:19] Andrea: Yeah. Yeah. And spoiler alert, a lot of times people aren't looking at you that closely. , right. . A lot of people aren't
[00:32:26] Lauren: attention. Yes. I do try to remind myself of that as well. Like the world does not revolve around me. Most people don't even look this way.
Most people don't care. Yeah. . So that's absolutely true. Yeah. ,
[00:32:41] Andrea: so what are your, because you've been, you've been living with chronic pain and you talk about it in your. In your blog, in your podcast, which is fantastic, and we will have links to all of that for everybody, but what are some of the top tips that you can give to people who are living with chronic pain?
How they can help or how different things can help them? I could say in their, on their daily lives.
[00:33:05] Lauren: Sure. The first one is what we talked about earlier. We need to talk about it. We need to explain to our family what's going on, even to our children. There are resources that you know you can use. Like the book that I mentioned, why does mommy hurt?
Hashtag not an ad and it needs to be .
[00:33:20] Andrea: It'll be in the show notes
[00:33:21] Lauren: too, . It just needs to be kind of an often conversation. Be honest about what's going on. Second is enlist help. So like if you've got a baby, you're gonna get lots of offers to help take them, take the casserole, take somebody coming over to to watch your baby so you can take a shower.
Teach kids how to help you around the house. Kids love being independent. Enlisting help use different supplies. If you need a back brace or a walking stick or a grab cloth or earplugs, like I mentioned, use tho any of those kinds of aids to help. Third would. , and I hate using the word self-care. I'll probably think of another word for it instead.
But self-care. Because self-care is not selfish. It's essential. And I don't just mean bubble baths. I mean like things that make you you happy and. self-care can include therapy. It can include medications or supplements, any of that. There's no need to be ashamed of any of that if you need it. And finally, like I said earlier, just be present.
Mm-hmm. in whatever way you can. My daughter doesn't care if I'm playing for 15 minutes. Laying on her bed, she just cares that I am there giving her love, giving her attention. She just wants to spend the time with me. So like at Christmas we were having game night, I ended up in too much pain sitting in that dining chair.
I had to go rest for a little while, and I did. They dealt me out for a few hands till like could take some medicine, come back, and I was present as I could be in the best way that I could. and a family's not gonna remember that I went and took a break for half an hour. Right. They're just gonna remember the fun that we had playing cards and playing those games.
Yeah. That's what they're gonna remember is that you were there. And that's what I wanted for my daughter. I don't want her to remember me as the mommy who spent most of my life in bed. I want her to remember that mommy, that the mommy that came and played with her as much as I could. And that's, I think really what she's gonna remember.
[00:35:17] Andrea: And I think an important distinction with that. Having her remember you as the mom that came and played with her versus the mom that's in the bed has nothing to do with the actual. Amount of time you are in bed. Right, right. It's not like you have to not be in bed as much to make her remember you. It's comes from, like you said, like being honest and open and present with her and really making whatever that time is much more of a present quality time.
[00:35:48] Lauren: I don't, I don't think she understands the amount of time I actually spend in bed, even when she's here and, and sees me in bed, because I try to be intentional. I try to, to spend time with her every day intentionally. Plus when she comes and asks me to play with her, if I can manage it, I'll say yes. I might say, sure, but just for a few minutes.
and then we might set a timer, or we might play for, you know, 15 minutes. And then I'll be like, my hip is hurting too badly. I can't do this anymore. And she'll be like, okay, we can take a break. And that's just how we do it. I'm intentional and I try to say yes. Mm-hmm. .
[00:36:26] Andrea: And on. I love how you're like, I don't like calling it self-care
[00:36:29] Lauren: It's like, it's such a buzzword. I
[00:36:32] Andrea: know. I'm the same way. It's like I don't love the word journey, but it's like I say it all the time cuz it's like, what is another word for this? I don't know. it just, right. It's very, but it's like, I, I hate saying the word journey , but we're all on a journey. But I love . I love pointing out with something like self-care.
Really, I think in the number one, the intentionality of it, but it's also in just what brings you joy. It doesn't have to be a specific thing, like, I have to have a massage. I have to take a nap. I, right. It's not any of that. It's what brings you joy. Like what came to mind for me was you starting your podcast.
right. You said I found some purpose and I started a podcast and we were talking before we started recording about how much you like it and how much, like really about how much. We both love podcasting , but I think even something like that is a form of self-care.
[00:37:28] Lauren: Absolutely. It's helped my mental health tremendously and that's what self cares about, right?
Your mainly your mental health. Sometimes it can help your physical health as well, but it just brought me a lot of joy to have a purpose in life and that that purpose is to help other people. and it, even on hard days, that's what gets me out of bed because I have, I have a purpose, and that's what I've lost.
During those two years of depression, I'd lost my purpose in life and I didn't feel like I belonged in the world anymore. Like what? W Why am I even here? That was the helplessness and the hopelessness. I've found new purpose and yes, part of my purpose is to take care of my, my child, but I found, and even maybe that's the biggest purpose fall, but I found another purpose, bigger picture, which is to put good into the world and and try to help other people.
[00:38:26] Andrea: I know there's a lot of people listening right now who are number one totally resonating with this and understanding and maybe in a similar spot, and they're thinking, I would love to find my purpose. But how? Right. It can be such a big question and a hard question to answer, and maybe that's part of it, is that there is no real answer to a question.
You can find it in a different way. How did you quote unquote, find your purpose? How do you, or what are some things that you would suggest people try or look at or ask themselves when they're looking for their purpose? .
[00:39:03] Lauren: Well, I went through this study called Kaon. It's C H A Z O W N, and there's a book I didn't, uh, I read part of the book, but it had us do some exercises and they included some of the big moments in life, the good and the bad, and they included what your values are, listing those out, finding what those are and your talents.
And so you just kind of have to merge what you're good at, what you love to do, what your values are. What your experiences are and what you can use to put out into the world. And that's how I kind of really started getting into, I decided that that's really how I came up with my goal in life is to help parents and people with chronic pain and chronic illness and e and even trauma.
[00:39:50] Andrea: I like that it's that intersection of your values is what you love to do, what's going on and, and I think also when. We say things like put it out into the world. It doesn't necessarily have to be that you are on a megaphone, right? It doesn't have to be that you're on a podcast, cuz some people are terrified of doing anything like that, right?
It doesn't have to really even be anything visible. It's just about. , what brings you joy? What fills you up? I always look at it. It's like, what can I talk about all day long? What could I just go and just have discussions about all the time? That was one thing that I was looking at when I wanted to look at like, okay, what is my purpose?
Because that's a really big question. That's a pretty daunting . It's a daunting question, and it's a question that I actually think that we don't necessarily have to answer. Right? It's kind of, I think part of what makes it so big is that we. They make it feel like it's the one thing, like what is that one huge thing in our, that our whole life is about that we have to find?
And it's not, I mean, we can have, like you said, like your daughter is a purpose. Your podcast is a purpose, right? We can have multiple purposes. There's not one big shining one. And if we don't get it, we miss it.
[00:41:03] Lauren: Yeah. And I think our purpose can change over time. I had a purpose when I was working my different jobs.
and now I no longer have that purpose because I can't do it. That's why I had to try to find other, other purposes because just for me, not having one or not knowing what mine was, was just incredibly depressing and and difficult. But yeah, our purpose is we can have multiple ones. They can change over time.
We may not know exactly ever what our main purpose is until you know, the end of time or the other side of the world, but the other side of eternity. But I found my purpose for. And if I ever get out of chronic pain, then I might have to find a new purpose. Or maybe my new purpose would be helping people get out of chronic pain.
I have no idea. But for now, this is what I think my purpose is.
[00:41:49] Andrea: I love it. I love that idea of I found my purpose for now. I think there's something incredibly powerful there. So for people who are listening and they're thinking, I. , um, completely in the same spot. They might have chronic pain, they might have some depression, some anxiety, and they're just wondering how to get to the point where maybe they can even start thinking about their purpose or start thinking about maybe there's something else that I can be doing.
What would be an easy first step for them?
[00:42:21] Lauren: I think talking about it. Mm-hmm. So that might be talking about it to a trusted friend that's not going to judge you or condemn you. Or it might be talking to a professional. It might be talking to somebody on a, on a podcast as a guest. I, I don't know who it might be, but I think when we're keeping things in and isolating ourselves and even isolating these difficulties within our.
That's a big problem and we can't ever get out of it unless we actually get that stuff out into theopen.
[00:42:55] Andrea: Yeah, I think that's, that's very true. I was reading one of your blog posts about silent suffering. Mm-hmm. and how a lot of us do that. A lot of us keep it in. A lot of us don't want to burden other people, or we feel like we talk about it all the time and we don't want other people to think that all we do is talk about it, but it is something that.
Really helps to communicate with people. It's connection with people and there are more and more studies out that say that for the other person that we're talking to, that gives them a feel good moment that helps them with, it's almost like a big dose of gratitude, right? You're, you're kicking off that dopamine and that serotonin and all these feel-good chemicals, and when somebody is on the other end and they are helping you or they're listening to you, they are getting that same.
which I think is pretty cool.
[00:43:47] Lauren: Yeah, we're, that's really interesting. We're, we're all here to connect with other people and Yeah, we can't keep, we can't keep stuff inside for all sorts of reasons. Yeah.
[00:43:57] Andrea: Well, Lauren, thank you so much. You have been so open and honest in giving us so much to think about and so many different ways that we can help ourselves in self-care and purpose and modifications all sorts of things.
I am gonna have, there's all sorts of books and things that you talked about that helped you along the way. I'm gonna have links to all of those in the show notes for people, but where can people find.
[00:44:22] Lauren: Sure. If you wanna email me, if you wanna be my, my podcast or just chat, my email is, it Hurts to mom gmail.com.
I'd love for you to check out my podcast. It's for people with parents specifically with chronic pain. But I've got parenting episodes, pain episodes, just life episodes, health episodes, and that's it. Hurts to Mom on Apple and Spotify. You can find me on facebook.com/it hurts Tomo or on Instagram at it Hurts to.
[00:44:49] Andrea: easy. I know. Very easy. I'm jealous of people that have like all the same handle. . Thank you so much. I really appreciate you coming on and sharing your story with us.
[00:45:00] Lauren: Thanks for having me. This has been really good.
[00:45:03] Andrea: If you like the show, don't be shy. Please give us a five star rating and review. Follow us on Apple Podcast, Amazon music, or wherever you're listening right now to see complete show notes and resources mentioned in this episode.
Visit Andrea Hansen coaching.com. Thank you for joining me and until next time, take care.
About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis
Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.
I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.