Mind mapping your chronic pain

Pain / Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

It’s not easy to explain the complexities of living 25 years with disability and chronic pain, and with the recent birth of our first child Olly in November, I am facing some new issues that I felt were having a bad effect on me and our family. I decided to use our workplace sponsored Mental-health Counselling service and saw a Counsellor on Thursday to talk about things.

I made this video discussing Mind mapping your Chronic Pain and felt the topic deserved it’s own blog post also, which is what you are reading now 🙂


I had the idea before the meeting to sketch out a mind-map, resulting in this hastily drawn effort:

my sketched chronic-pain mind-map
the xind version of my mindmap. click for larger image

It was a really useful tool to both show the Counsellor, and use as a plan when discussing my thoughts and feelings. Also, the very nature of a mind-map is that it is a strong tool for showing relationships between items and concepts, and a logical way of showing complex information.

Some of the factors that I included were my workplace, stress, exhaustion and fatigue. My aversion to ‘baby noise’ was close-by. I hadn’t really acknowledged to myself just how bad it gotten for me. Recently I was finding that when at home, exhausted from work, I was getting really emotional or anxious and upset just when hearing our son Olly cry.

Sometimes just any of his louder noises was enough for me to feel a physical reaction.

The Counsellor explain it was a common experience for men. She said it was ok to put in ear plugs, or even retreat from the situation. We hope to avoid having to do that and my main game-plan when fatigued is to jump straight into the shower when I get home, relax those aching muscles and joints and do a quick meditation before coming out to be with the family.

I last saw a Counsellor around 4 years ago during a very stressful period at work, and this was the first visit I’d had with any since being an outpatient at a Pain Clinic shortly after my accident in 1990.

The Pain Clinic was run by a fairly charming old Professor and he introduced me to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. CBT taught me some powerful methods to influence how I reacted to my thoughts about losing my arm, to the suffering from terrible phantom pain afterwards and to the dramatic impact from losing my dominant arm when I was close to my 18th birthday.

I highly recommend any sufferer of chronic pain reading this to please look into CBT and spend a weekend on YouTube or the Net exploring it.


A quick guide to XMind.

Offers free and premium versions.

Several types of Mind-maps and charts: Org Charts, Tree-chart, Logic-chart, Fishbone chart, Matrix

xmind welcome screen
Xmind welcome screen

Shows Relationships between Topics, can use Labels, web links, Notes, Summaries and Boundaries.

Can download different templates and apply themes.

Export and share in several file types.

I use Xmind to Mind-map my Web design and Hosting services, my Photography hobby and plan and strategise my small businesses.


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