Step 01 of 10

The American Chronic Pain Association’s

Ten Steps: Step 01

Understand there are stages of processing the grief of having a chronic illness. Moreover, understand its invisibility makes it no less painful. As well, there is no particular order in which you will experience these emotions to which degree I cannot state if you will nor how many times you may revisit one or more of the stages below.

“Accept the Pain”

“Learn all you can about your physical condition. Understand that there may be no current cure and accept that you will need to deal with the fact of pain in your life.” ~A.C.P.A.



Denial happens as the shock sets in. An individual may experience feelings of dismay, bewilderment &/or confusion.

  • ANGER: 

From which questions of “Why me?” or “Why did this have to happen to me or my family member?” “Is it possible to keep going on?” “Why won’t the doctor do something?!”


Let’s make a deal! Depending upon your spiritual beliefs one may start making deals with God or suddenly begin to outwardly profess one’s belief in an effort to make good for failing to in the past.


Not everyone experiences every warning sign — some people will experience a few signs, while others, many. An individual may experience any number of the following signs and symptoms of depression of which the severity will vary from person to person as well as over time. Signs to look for include but are not limited to, being persistently sad, anxious, or empty mood. Feelings of pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, a loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex. Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed” such as a difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions. Insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping are also signs of depression. Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain. Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts. Restlessness, irritability,  &/or persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain


While many do reach acceptance, at least for some period of time. They are not happy about the fact that their family has been affected by chronic illness, but they adjust their expectations and get on with their lives. Chronic illness no longer has “center stage” in their lives. It is just one of many aspects of their lives. Some people never reach this stage. Their lives become permanently sidetracked by the other stages: denial; anger; bargaining; &/or depression.

Steps toward acceptance: 

  • Learning everything you can about your condition.
  • Learning that you are responsible for your feelings no-one can make you feel angry, mad, sad, happy.
  • Learning that only you can fix yourself
  • Learning to accept yourself and others as s/he is now, not as you wish or think s/he would be.

What acceptance does NOT mean:

  • Tolerating behavior that is dangerous, too disruptive, or unacceptable to you or others in your family.
  • Abandoning yourself, a relative or a friend.
  • Giving up hope.

Acceptance could help you to

  • Be more empathetic toward others.
  • Be appropriately involved, but not overly involved.
  • Become less intense.
  • Set limits so your needs are not neglected.


Click here on the fourth of January for the next step on our journey, step 02.

(Note: As soon as the article is written and is published… this link will work.)


N.a (n.d.). American Chronic Pain Association – Ten Steps. Retrieved from (n.d.). Coping with a Diagnosis of Chronic Illness. Retrieved from

Melzack R (n.d.). The McGill Pain Questionnaire: major properties and scoring methods. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from

Published by lisa proctor

Since 2012 I have suffered the effects of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Moreover, through lifestyle changes, I've taken back control of my life and regain much of the independence I thought lost to me. It is for this very reason I wish to share my discoveries with others with the hope that it will serve you as well.

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