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Living with Chronic Pain

From OK to Despair and Finding My Way Back Again

(29 customer reviews)
Authors: Dawn Macintyre
Health, chronic pain
C Format

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“Compelling and invaluable.”Dr Travis Gee, Psychologist, Pain Specialists Australia

“This book is a bible for everyone who knows or works with people living with chronic pain.”Dr Travis Gee, Psychologist, Pain Specialists Australia

“I have written this book from the heart in the hope that my story helps the millions of us who live with chronic pain
to navigate this sometimes seemingly impossible journey.”Dr Dawn Macintyre

* * * * * * * * * *

One in five people live with chronic pain and most feel misunderstood and unsupported. Dr Dawn Macintyre is one of those people.

In Living with Chronic Pain, Dawn shares her journey from living a full life to a life so diminished, full of pain, shame and exhaustion that she was desperate enough to want to take her own life.

The author’s personal story is interwoven with insight into the emotions and challenges faced, as well as practical advice for changes and support to help sufferers enjoy life again. Dawn provides her perspective as both a sufferer of chronic pain, and a health practitioner.

If you are a health professional, this book offers insight into how to best support your patients and clients living with chronic pain.

If you are living with chronic pain, this story will bring you courage, joy and most importantly, the knowledge to find your meaningful life again.

Dawn Macintyre

Dawn Macintyre

Dawn Macintyre is a clinical counsellor, educator and behavioural scientist with a Doctorate in stigmatised conditions. She is also a chronic pain sufferer and now uses her clinical background and personal experience to work extensively with people in this area. Dawn has also authored a number of health books and articles and is a sought-after […]

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29 reviews for Living with Chronic Pain

  1. As a physiotherapist, I feel anxious when I go and see people with chronic pain. I know what I am going to say and how well I say it can be difficult. I know translating new knowledge without inquiring into a person’s experience of what and how living with chronic pain is fraught. When I can drop this agenda and allow time to talk about their experience we can get somewhere.

    Dawns book by making this process so clear gives me and other practitioners permission to step outside our dogma and prescribed roles to join together for a different experience to emerge. These safe conversations are only possible due to Dawns generosity and courage and how she enables her experiences to be felt, shared and understood.

    It is only through this new understanding of how it is to live with chronic pain that we can continue to work in what is often a complex and intense human experience for both practitioner and Person with chronic pain

  2. I believe this book fills a valuable part of the puzzle about the relationship between chronic pain and depression. What Dawn has done with her experience is provide validation for others who are going through the same or similar illness. It lets them know they are not alone. I would like Dawn to speak at insurance industry conferences, so advisors and agents have a better understanding of the support needs of their clients.

  3. Despite Dawn and I having different “causality” to our spinal and chronic pain, we share many similarities as women, mothers and partners.
    This raw, honest and refreshing personal account of both chronic pain and the harrowing impact to life- attempting to maintain a career and humanity is undeniably pivotal in the acceptance of chronic pain and finding a life thereafter.

  4. Finally, a raw, authentic book that shares the real challenges of living with chronic pain. Dawn’s insights into how her life was challenged, how stigma and guilt became all-consuming, and how she has turned it round to help both professionals and those living with chronic pain to identify what they need from family, friends and health professionals, makes this book the bible for everyone who knows or works with people living with chronic pain.

  5. • Thrive and survive with this wonderful chronic pain chronicle
    • Smile in recognition and cry with this book but most of all learn about chronic pain and the way out of suffering.
    • Enter the shadows of chronic pain and then emerge into the light that you will be able to switch on yourself
    • This book is a clear window into chronic pain and the image is sharp. Contemplate too, the bright horizon.
    • Take this surprising voyage of chronic pain; into your work in the clinic or into your life as a patient

  6. I love this book….
    Firstly, I have to say I am not a reader. I am usually bored and frustrated by most writers constantly repeating the same content/idea in a different way, so their readers ‘get’ what they are trying to say. So, I will either end up putting the book down after a couple of pages or just speed reading through it to get the relevant information I need.
    Dawn’s writing style is clear and concise in a way that you are instantly captured there beside her, experiencing each step of her journey through the good and the extremely bad all the while keeping a sense of humour along the way. But with enough detail that you can feel her pain as you read.
    I have myself experienced chronic back pain, been a support person for people with chronic pain/disease and treated people with physical and emotional pain.
    It is and never will be an easy condition to deal with (as Dawn points out) it involves your whole being – mind/body/spirit.
    I think people suffering from chronic conditions, people supporting someone close or a patient with chronic conditions and also people in general can benefit from the insights of Dawn’s book.
    You will either:
    * Relate to her experiences personally and feel validated and no longer alone in your quest for some normalcy in life.
    * Gain a better understanding of how to support someone close to you or someone you are treating
    * Feel extremely grateful that you haven’t had to experience these challenges yourself but be aware of how quickly life can change forever in an instant. Even if you have never experienced chronic pain/disease everyone will relate to the struggles of life and the need to be heard and validated.

    Having ‘Reflections from this Chapter’ at the end of each Chapter is a great idea to reiterate simply the points covered.

    “Life is a Journey – not a destination” – everyone’s journey is unique and our pain and emotions only relevant to ourselves.

  7. Dawn, congratulations to you on writing such a masterpiece of raw truths and giving us an insight into your challenges. You are a woman with lived-experience, professional credibility and words that will move mountains, giving us hope that through endurance, love, determination, knowledge and having the right people on your journey, a rich full, happy life is attainable.

  8. Although I don’t suffer from chronic pain, there were many ‘aha moments’ in your book that I have written down now as my day-to-day mantra. My daughter, Anna, at her end of life, did suffer from chronic pain as she had multiple inoperable brain tumours. Finding the right health professionals made a huge difference to Anna’s quality of life which gave her dignity and a ‘gentle rite of passage’ that otherwise would have been unbearable for her as a young woman with autism who did not understand what was happening to her. However, giving her peace and calm during the most turbulent time in her life, not through medication, but through unconditional love and with a release from her pain in other ways that worked for her. She certainly wanted to end her life while she lived with chronic pain, which she showed, not through words, but by her twisted features in her face and body. Once she was pain-free we saw our beautiful Anna share her soul with us in a way that would not have been possible had she been wracked with pain. My learning is that holistic, person-centred, strength-based approaches, along with the right people on your journey, manifests abundance in more ways than I ever thought imaginable. As human beings all we want is to be loved, valued, heard, and treated with compassion and dignity. This compelling book shares those valuable lessons and so much more’.

  9. This book is an absolute blessing and a must read for all of us living in the tumultuous world of chronic pain.

  10. I have not read a book that has been so authentic, raw, and confronting. The way Dawn has written this book is VERY eye opening. For those in the medical field, I feel this could be such a good tool to help understand just how real the pain is! As a sufferer of Chronic pain this is also an invaluable tool to help educate other sufferers who find themselves placed in the “too hard basket” by the medical field.

  11. Through Dawn’s ability as a counsellor I felt totally accepted and understood as we worked though the issues I brought to counselling, which allowed me to build on my strengths and believe in myself again!

  12. Dawn’s special ability is to mix her incredible theoretical knowledge of counselling with applying it in ways that are practical, relatable, and completely connected to her clients and their needs.

  13. I connected with Dawn through my workplace’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), during an extremely challenging time of my life. I’ve had various therapists for the last decade or so but Dawn is the one that I found the most beneficial in terms of her warm, frank, flexible style and practical advice. I also appreciated the way that Dawn shared her own experience of chronic pain — she is not afraid to be ‘real’ with her clients. I found the time spent speaking with her so useful that I continued seeing her even after I was no longer engaged with EAP. The hardest months of my life were made easier by the fact that I had Dawn to talk to throughout.

  14. I’ve only ever used the services of one counsellor – Dawn. I am so pleased with her that I happily drive over 50km to see her.
    Despite being the only counsellor I have seen, I feel confident in stating that she must be one of the best because I always feel so much better after having spoken to her.
    After a counselling session I walk out feeling happy and settled, focussed, strong and ready to tackle whatever problem is currently filling my mind. Often, as embarrassing as this is for a thirty-four-year-old mother to admit – I literally skip to my car!
    No matter what I bring up in conversation, she confidently suggests ways to deal with it, or a way to think of it from a different point of view. I often think to myself; ‘why didn’t I think of that?’
    I know why though: someone who is totally unbiased, who is outside your situation and is also very knowledgeable about human nature and how people work, can see the situation much more clearly than you ever could.

  15. I find talking with Dawn akin to confiding in a close girlfriend. Her integrity and warmth quickly dismantled the sterile often clinical nature of previous counselling experiences, allowing a dialogue to emerge which I found to be open, funny and compassionate. Her willingness to bring her own experiences to our conversation, allowed for an authenticity and integrity to emerge that I had never experienced before.

  16. I have travelled along an amazing path with Dawn. Over four years she helped me get from the lowest of the low to how I am today.
    When I first met Dawn, I had reached a point in my life when I realised I needed help. It was not easy, but Dawn cut through my fears and focused on me as a person, rather than on my problems. We focussed on my strengths and built up my life skills. By being able to establish a connection with Dawn, I was able to see my problems, my life and myself in a new way.
    Working with Dawn was like working with a trusted friend., She taught me techniques so I could help myself, while all the while providing support and direction when I needed it.
    Counselling helped me through an acute phase in my life and has been invaluable, but it has also given me much more. It has given me skills necessary to support myself successfully through life and in this way, has given me a new attitude towards life.
    Having travelled through tears of both joy and pain with Dawn, I can attest to her integrity, knowledge, and passion for helping others.
    Thank you Dawn. My life would not be the same without you

  17. Wow, that was very powerful. Thank you Dawn for your wonderful advice

  18. Thanks Dawn – that means a lot right now

  19. Many themes in Dawn Macintyre’s book Living with Chronic Pain resonate with me. By the end of the first page I decide to buy a copy for my niece who suffers incessant pain from rheumatoid arthritis. As I continue to read, I think of other members of my own family who will benefit from this book. This surprised me because I have always avoided books on other people’s pain as I have endured enough myself.
    Dawn writes like she speaks, honest and clear. Her narrative approach to psychology is refreshing. FIGHT and FEAR take on new meanings, displaying acerbic humour. Complex psychological reasoning is replaced with easily understood, expressive English. Dawn shares her story openly and courageously. Descriptions of her pain are so real, they are difficult to read.
    Despite the mountains she climbs each day, a positive outlook on life shines through on every page. She continually understates the seriousness of her pain events; she says, “I struggled a bit (OK, a lot)”. Her struggle to overcome heartbreaking setbacks is described as “I was exhausted from being exhausted”.
    A unique resilience is evident on every page of her book. She shares openly her doggedness in extensive research of pain. Comprehensive results of her research give her readers an extraordinary pathway to better management of their own pain.

  20. Dr Dawn Macintyre’s account of her journey through chronic pain was searingly honest in its vulnerability. Definitely a keeper for sufferers of Non-Specific Chronic Pain and their families. But what I appreciated most was her “Reflections”. As a psychologist and counsellor, I expected her to explain the benefits of cognitive behaviour and acceptance theory. But her practical insights in her “Reflections” at the end of most of her chapters, beautifully illustrate that acceptance and forgiveness are not enough for healing unless we also draw upon the wisdom or the lessons to be learned from our pain. This makes her book a “stand-out” for me. Highly recommended.

  21. This is a real, raw and vulnerable account of what it must be like to live with chronic pain. It opened my eyes to the trials and tribulations, while also portraying a comforting story of hope.
    Though the book is an autobiography, it could also serve as a well written and engaging guide to living a life beyond chronic pain. It’s inspiring to see what is possible when we have true understanding of pain and the right support system.
    No doubt this book will be helpful to anyone living in chronic pain and their loved ones.

  22. Dawn’s book provides an invaluable resource for anyone living with chronic pain and to a greater extent, chronic conditions (anxiety and depression). Her work is empowering in that it exposes the possibilities of being able to regain capacity after debilitating mental and physical ill health. Everyone’s personal experiences are unique, so personalising those experiences in a relatable way is extremely challenging. Hence, the importance of Dawn’s writings that bring hope to those who want to live beyond simply coping with the challenge of chronic pain.

  23. My 14-year old daughter and I dived into Living with Chronic Pain last night. I had tears in my eyes from two pages in. What Dr Dawn was saying resonated so much with what my daughter has been through. For someone with chronic pain to be told ‘Your pain is real. It’s not in your head.’ this is the most important statement they can hear. This book is going to be the beacon we have been searching for, for so long.

  24. Wow!! What an eye-opener!! I’m a bit speechless, to be honest. So raw and vulnerable. Amazing book.

  25. I love the pain cycles part particularly, as well as the remedies. I will find this very beneficial moving forward with any clients who have chronic pain. It has given me a deeper understanding of this complex issue.

  26. I read your book from cover to cover. Although I don’t have physical pain, it helped me look at the pain of losing my sister rather than physical pain. Especially the dot points about recovery and the ‘then me’ and ‘now me’
    I now feel understood and that I need to, and can, adapt to the now me of living without her

  27. “An interesting and informative journey about chronic pain and how it can affect many areas of life.
    I couldn’t put this book down and it was a privilege to see things from your perspective and your thought process to recovery.
    Thanks Dawn for being so brave and vulnerable in sharing your story.”

  28. “I just wanted to let you know that I finished your fabulous story/book. Finishing a book is quite an achievement for me so it really says something about its quality.

    So much resonated with me and my mother’s chronic pain. I’ll pass it on to her this week. If she could be convinced would you be interested in counselling her? I know you could do a lot to support her to unpack the ‘then Yvonne’ to the ‘now Yvonne’.

    Congratulations on being so brave to write your story. I hope the book sales go well and you have more opportunities to share it.

    Lyn 😀

  29. “Your book gave me hope in life, taught me how to handle difficult situations and to remember that everyone has a journey “

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