I know there are a few out there who would be willing to have a philosophical/scientific discussion about our decisions (*cough* avi and lala *cough*) I hope others will feel free to join in.
This started with an article. I don't think I can link it here but I'm happy to tell you via PM. Here is an excerpt:
When the self-talk is saying, this is horrible, awful, terrible, the brain then amplifies the pain signal. When this occurs, the level of distress increases and people suffer thereby remaining a victim to their pain. This further increases the drive to use medications as the only solution for their pain problem.
By: Dr. Stephen F. Grinstead, LMFT, ACRPS, CADC-II
I did not like the article, because to me the implication was that anybody who went on pain medication without therapy would enter a cycle with the only possible outcome being addiction. I was in chronic pain treatment without therapy for 2 years without the addiction cycle being started. And, no, that's not denial.
I discussed that with my therapist (I've been seeing her a little over a month) and she said she thinks that the actual difference is a certain level of self-awareness. I call it (educational psychology background) metacognition. Thinking about your thoughts, whatever you want to call it. It is simply the ability to step back from the emotional and look at what's going on in your brain. It's a skill I learned early.
So, for example, when the pain gets intolerable, yes I can feel that sense of feeling out of control. But when the pain then decreases I can step back and say OK, that's better, I'm OK now.
Do you feel you are able to do that on your own? Or is that difficult for you, to self direct, or be inside your own brain in that way? If you can, do you feel it helps you manage your pain so that medication does not become your only outlet?