Living with Chronic Pain | PAIN-LESS by Anne Welsh
“An honest and insightful account into a world unknown to so many.” The Most Revd and Rt Hon. Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
Both a personal story of living with chronic pain and a positive guide for anyone who suffers regular physical pain and related stress.
Pain-Less offers advice and tips to anyone who has to live with chronic pain and an invisible illness. Previously in my blog I have discussed what it is like living with an invisible illness and have championed the recent ‘We are undefeatable’ campaign which encourages those people with long-term health conditions to be active. So I wanted to share Anne’s story and book, which I feel can help so many other people live out their best lives.
- Pain-Less offers great advice and helpful tips from someone who lives with pain every day, including diet and physical and mental exercise.
- Anne Welsh lives with sickle-cell anaemia, an extremely painful and virtually incurable ‘invisible illness’, where those who are affected might not be seen to be suffering.
- Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disease in the world, yet it gets little attention in Britain. Between 300,000 and 500,000 babies are born with sickle-cell anaemia worldwide each year and up to 50% will die before the age of five. Sufferers in the UK are rarely granted disability benefit despite the debilitating nature of the disease.
Anne Welsh has lived with chronic pain all her life. As a sufferer of sickle cell disease, she is no stranger to the everyday struggles and mental anguish that can come from living with an invisible illness.
Like so many who suffer from painful and life-changing conditions, Anne has battled with depression: times when she believed that she could never lead a normal and happy life. But thanks to the support of many people along the way, she has discovered that life can still be wonderful, no matter your challenges.
Anne gives advice also to families and loved ones
In Pain-Less, Anne talks about these struggles and the lessons she has learned and gives advice that she hopes will help not only others in a similar situation, but also their families and loved ones.
For Anne and many like her, pain is an inevitable part of daily life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fulfil your dreams: whatever they may be.
“Any help for people to learn how to avoid pain triggers and handle their pain better is to be welcomed, as in this book based on the life and experience of Anne Welsh.” Professor Dame Sally C Davies, Chief Medical Officer UK
Pain-Less | Living with Pain, Finding Joy
Anne Welsh was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia when she was three years old and throughout her life, she has lived with chronic pain as well as suffered from frequent bouts of severe illness.
In her own words, ‘It’s hard to choose to be happy and find peace, particularly when you suffer with a chronic illness. Constant illness can cause depression and anxiety due to the frustration of not being able to fulfil your own expectations, the threat of unemployment and just not being able to live life in the same way as those who are well. All of this can take a toll on your mental health.
‘It’s easy enough for someone to tell you to ‘look on the bright side’ but sometimes, when you live with a chronic illness and have to battle constantly to find peace of mind it is easier said than done. We are so often dogged by misfortune, brought on by our ill health, and when you are just trying to get through each day, it is hard to find joy.’
But despite this, and the struggles she has had both academically and personally, Anne has fought through the pain and mental anguish, and is now a mother of two with a successful career, and in Pain-Less she talks openly about her life from her early years in the UK and Nigeria, to her difficult and traumatic adolescence when frequent illness and severe depression meant that she did not manage to finish school until she was twenty.
She also speaks of her triumphs and how, after her difficulties at school, she managed to turn her life around. Attaining both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree. Before starting a career in banking despite suffering from the debilitating effects of sickle cell.
It’s for anyone who suffers from an ‘invisible illness’
But Pain-Less is not just a book for people suffering with sickle cell and their loved ones. This is a book for anyone who suffers from an ‘invisible illness’. Those whose outward appearance disguises the struggles they go through every day. In the book, Anne shares some of the valuable and hard-won lessons she has learned. From how to be mentally strong and learn to accept and be happy with your reality, to advice on how to help children and adolescents as they struggle to come to terms with the daily realities of their condition.
She also talks with knowledge and compassion about the challenges facing all people with life-limiting illnesses, both physically, but more importantly, mentally. Because without proper mental health support, she argues, it is impossible for people suffering with chronic illness to live a full and happy life.
So in Pain-Less Anne shares the strategies and coping mechanisms she has learned to help her fight through the pain and despair that she suffered as a consequence of her illness. Also achieving her dreams – from setting small goals and taking baby steps as you work towards achieving your ambitions. To letting go of negativity and focusing on what you can do. As opposed to what you can’t. Also not being afraid to take control of your own life and take risks.
One of the risks Anne took to try to change her mental attitude towards herself and illness and take control of her physical health was to send back her Disability Badge. For a woman who could not walk more than one hundred yards without a struggle, this was not an easy decision, but it was a message she felt she needed to send to herself to try to think herself ‘well’. Or as well as she could ever be.
In addition, there are tips on healthy living – what to eat and how to exercise when you suffer from a painful condition.
Inspiring and practical in equal measure, Pain-Less is a book for ‘people of determination’ and will bring hope to anybody who struggles to overcome challenges every day that healthy people cannot understand. Pain-Less is proof of what can be achieved with love, support, and the courage to live the life you want, despite the almost insurmountable difficulties you face.
“A powerful account of Anne Welsh’s own journey with her ‘invisible illness’.” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization
About the Author
ANNE WELSH is the Founder and President of Arise Consult, a leading strategic and business development firm based in London. Ms. Welsh has brought her unique combination of communication skills, political and commercial acumen to clients facing a wide array of issues and challenges throughout the United Kingdom and abroad.
She has provided strategic advice helping governments and business clients achieve critical commercial objectives through cutting-edge strategic advice and advocacy, with a particular specialty dealing with the continent of Africa.
Ms. Welsh is the author of Pain-Less, centred around her life experiences as a sickle cell sufferer and how she has taken on the physical and mental challenges associated with the disease. She remains an advocate for sickle cell and has received numerous awards and recognition for this community service in the United Kingdom and around the world.
PAIN-LESS is available now at all good outlets in hardback and ebook.