I Was Diagnosed with a Chronic Pain Condition. But I Refuse to Be a Statistic.

By Dr. Sabrina Nichole

Hello Seven Client  |  Licensed Psychologist, Certified Professional Coach, and Certified Meditation Teacher

Are you one of the 50 million people in the US who deal with chronic pain? Pain can derail every part of your life, from your relationships at home to the way you run your business. Dr. Sabrina, a psychologist and Hello Seven client, wants you to know that finding relief is possible… and your journey to healing can begin with a single breath. This is her story.

Two weeks before COVID shut NYC down I was sitting on the top of Rainbow Mountain in Peru after an unexpected journey. At, I knew that if I could manage my mind on a mountain, then I could do it in my everyday life. 

I made a choice to learn how to meditate after I realized how chronic pain not only settled into my body but into my mind—causing me to feel anxious, depressed, and hopeless. I am one of over 50 million people with a chronic pain condition. Women are more likely to suffer from chronic pain than men. Black women who experience chronic pain tend to have more physical impairments than white women. And, due to racist biases in the healthcare industry, Black patients are less likely to be offered treatment for pain. Sure, plenty of people find a way to grit their teeth, tough it out, and get through life while tolerating immense levels of pain. But just because we can doesn’t mean we should. No one should have to live that way.

I had tons of fears about what my diagnosis meant for me.

“How will I be able to work and take care of myself?” “Who takes care of the caretaker?” “Will I become invisible and just another statistic?” 

I knew that I could allow these fears to derail my entire life. Or, I could choose a different path. I decided to make a bold declaration: “F*c k being stuck!” I chose to believe that I could find relief from my chronic pain condition. I can. I will. “F*ck being stuck” became my cry of liberation. 

After three days of meditating on a mountaintop, I felt new sensations in my body like energy moving and tingling in my extremities as well as uncomfortable feelings like nausea. I knew something was shifting. Possibilities were opening up… so, I didn’t stop. Although brief, I had pain-free moments.

After returning home from that meditation trip,I felt more present in my life. I began to appreciate these unfamiliar sensations and trust my body again. All the worst-case scenarios that played in my mind didn’t happen. 

None of those things happened. In fact, the opposite happened.

After the meditation retreat, a thought crossed my mind for the first time: maybe I don’t need to take pain medication anymore. At my request, my doctor weaned me off the medication. I felt empowered. As I began to manage the mental aspects of chronic pain, it seeped into other areas of my life. I was in a better mood and I could be present for others. 

Instead of fueling the fears of COVID by overindulging in the news, I used the time during lockdown to work with a life coach. The idea to write about my journey up the mountain came to me. Chronic pain is an invisible illness, but it was time to bring it into the light. I wrote a book to tell my story. And I vowed, I will bring this message of hope to the people who need it most.

Meditation changed my life. For me, meditation is all about becoming familiar with myself.

Do I think everyone should meditate? No, well…maybe. If you have a chronic pain condition, I want you to believe that there is another way. And it is not going to come from what you already know. You have to be willing to try something new.

I used to believe the myth that to meditate I had to “stop my thoughts.” Let me just tell you this is impossible. The key is to be aware when random thoughts come up. Another myth about meditation is that you have to sit perfectly still. You don’t. One of my favorite meditations is a walking and standing meditation.

Whether you choose to create a meditation practice or not, the most important thing is to make a decision. Decide that you’re not going to be a victim or a statistic. Decide that you’re going to explore new pain relief methodologies, even if they might seem unconventional at first. Decide that you’re NOT going to remain stuck. Even if it’s only for one second, allow yourself to feel the emotions of the new pain-free you. 

Start where you are. I started meditating 5 minutes per day. You can start with one breath. Every attempt is a victory.

You don’t have to believe the doomsday scenarios that play in your head, regardless of how they got there. You can flip those mental scripts.  

There are two things that Western medicine does not consider when treating chronic pain that you need to use to your advantage: the power of the mind and the human spirit.

I want to be honest with you. You can’t improve your physical body without working on your mind.

I also want you to know you are not alone on this journey.

For starters, find a squad of believers. Read and learn new information.

With just a few minutes of practice, you too will believe in possibilities. See how that feels. It’s going to feel uncomfortable, and don’t stop. 

As you still your body, your intuition will begin to speak. The answers you seek will not come from outside you, but from within.

You are the mother-effen light.

-Dr. Sabrina

PS. If you want to learn more about my journey and how I help women master chronic pain, check out my website: www.drsabrinanichole.com 

About the Author

Dr. Sabrina Nichole Crouch is a New York State Licensed Psychologist, Certified Professional Coach, and Certified Meditation Teacher. Outside of her professional accomplishments, she is most proud of her investment in her personal and spiritual development. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, cycling, traveling, and exploring her right-brain creativeness through painting and writing.

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