What a great topic! Distraction is one powerful tool we all have to deal with chronic pain, and it can take some time and practice before we learn to wield that weapon well. There is so much mental work for CPPs to do if we're going to have a full life that is full of joy in spite of the pain. Relief rarely only comes in the form of a bottle. Pain alone won't kill us, but sinking into depression and constant mourning of our past lives will eventually beat us down. If we let it. Can you see that I'm passionate about loving life in spite of being worked over daily with pain?
What do I use for distractions? This web site for one thing, and plenty of others that reflect my other interests in life. Warren, like you, I am a gardener from way back. It amazes me how much I learned from my parents when I was a child following them around as they worked outside. Guess it was just natural that I continued that love of getting my hands dirty as an adult. Can I do as much as I used to? No way! I can, however, get family and friends to help with the heavy work, and do what I can to maintain things during the rest of the year. I've changed over to fewer annuals and more perennials so I don't have to replace plants twice a year. I've changed to more native plantings so the maintenance isn't over-the-top. I just have to have something going on in my gardens to keep me cheerful. Houston is the rose blackspot capital of the world, but somehow my rose collection has increased to about 25 plants throughout the landscape. Anything from old fashioned polyanthas to climbers to hybrid teas. The survivors are all black-spot resistant and I rarely even need to feed them. I make it a point to cruise around the yard a few times a day pulling a weed here, snipping a branch there, watering a bit. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish with several baby steps.
When the weather keeps me inside, I do a lot of genealogy research. Being disabled has its advantages. Since I have the time, it's very easy to get lost in the tangled branches of the family tree, and I've managed to bust a few family myths along the way. I've done research for friends just to pass the time, but I sure wish I could turn my research skills into a paying job!
I'll read anything I can get my hands on, particularly if the book is at least several hundred pages or preferably more. It's an odd thing, but I've noticed that the larger books are generally better written and more interesting than their shorter counterparts. I read so darn fast now I want something that will last more than 2 days. Give me a good long book to fall into and my pain melts out of my consciousness for a good long while.
There have been many positive changes in my life through the years of living with CP. I dam-sure appreciate life a lot more and don't take one minute for granted as I did while I was in the rat race. So what if the rats won? I'm still here! I pay more attention to other people now instead of my own issues. That probably wouldn't have happened if I were still "normal." Anyone want to tell me that's a bad thing? I've had to learn to let some things in life fall away without regret or guilt. Do I miss those things? Of course! It took a while, but those things I can't do have been replaced with things I can do. Sure, pain is a part of my life, but I'll be dam**d if I'll let it take over my life. Pain is just one part of me. It's certainly not all of me. Keep your passions alive, and don't let your pain steal your joy.
Living in the Republic of Texas minus a gallbladder, a couple of cervical discs, appendix, uterus, and 18" of colon; but still alive and living with my husband, 2 dogs, 1 cockatiel, 1 quaker parrot and 2 gold fish.