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The act of making the lists is a helpful organizing activity. It's helpful to break tasks into small steps, and then a step can be one of the list of five. Sometimes, serious injuries hurt very little; other times, very small injuries hurt a lot! The brain determines how much or how little pain you experience depending on what it judges is in your best interest at the time. Not feeling pain after a terrible car crash might just help you to survive by keeping you able to move and get out of danger; feeling a lot of pain because of a stubbed toe may motivate you to be more careful of where you walk in the future. Think about the common feeling of "brain freeze" after you've eaten something very cold. Does the intense feeling of pain mean your mouth or brain has been injured, or that it is a medically serious situation? No! The pain of "brain freeze" just gets you to stop eating cold food for a moment so you can warm up. stand for just one task. list, and start writing a new one. list. list. Then, continue on with your new list. Never put a line through a task unless the action has been completed. For example, there were times when I jotted down a very minor task, and since I wanted to save time, I'd put a line through that task the moment after I'd written it. Unfortunately, doing that has the unintentional side-effect of sabotaging the method because even if a task seems insignificant, accomplishing it and then rewarding yourself by putting that line through it afterwards is enormously important to us, because that line formally and properly draws a conclusion to that task. And it's a conclusion that we can look back upon again and again. Moreover, it's crucial to focus at first on the simplest tasks that you can find, because in all probability, the easier the task, the quicker it will get done. However, what I've found from my own experience is that after having accomplished fifteen or more relatively simple tasks, I would occasionally grow overconfident, and begin writing tasks with the completion line already through them before I had actually dealt with them.

After a little while longer, I'd look at my list and see something like twenty completed tasks, and I'd feel confused and I'd start making negative self-statements, like: Which one's haven't I done? Why haven't I done these yet? I've screwed up somehow. I've got so much to get done! I'm such an idiot! Pain can occur without damage to muscles, bones, joint and organsSometimes pain can be a result of injuries or changes to the nervous system, called neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is common in conditions such as multiple sclerosis, acquired brain injury, stroke and spinal cord injury. Sometimes this pain can feel like it's coming from certain parts of the body even though the damage is in the nerves of the peripheral nervous system, spinal cord or brain. When nerves are injured or demyelinated, they can send confusing messages to the brain. It's like when a telephone wire gets frayed and the signal gets a "static" sound and is hard to hear clearly. Similarly, the brain may interpret these unclear signals as pain. I am fearful of the unknown. I am afraid of what people will think about me. I am going to die of something anyway. I am too old. I can't change. My family is just unhealthy. It's in the cards. I don't deserve to take care of myself. I don't have the time.

These are all damaging and self-fulfilling excuses. The list goes on and on. But you have it in your power to change your language and attitude. You can step up to the plate now by doing all you can to help yourself. Or do you want to depend on your family and friends? Or wait for the healthcare system to take care of you? Is that what you really want? Turn back to the questionnaire in Chapter 1. Look at how each situation contained a negative response and an alternative, positive response. Now read over any negative thoughts you wrote down in response to past, present and future situations at the beginning of this chapter. What other, more positive thoughts might have been possible instead? Look at each one and come up with some ideas for more positive thoughts to replace the negative thoughts. If you find this hard, it might be because you can't imagine yourself thinking in a different way. Try taking a step back and depersonalizing the process; think of yourself as a script writer - imagine you are simply writing alternative thoughts and lines for a character in a play. With the alternative, more positive thoughts, be sure to keep them plausible and realistic enough for you to believe them. For example, if you think I'm hopeless. <a href=''>I've</a> made another mistake. <a href=''>Everyone</a> must think I'm stupid', there's no need to change it toI'm brilliant! I do everything really well. Everyone must think I'm amazing.' That's just another cognitive distortion; an overly positive one!

Instead, replace it with something like `I try my best. Sometimes I make mistakes but I can learn from them. Nobody is expecting me to be perfect.' Do make the new positive thought something that feels believable to you, otherwise your mind will not accept it as a real possibility. Small steps is a major coping strategy for dealing with ADD. It has many uses; it helps deal with inertia, procrastination, distractions and with getting things finished. Let's talk about the to-do list and small steps; this will apply to all the difficulties I just mentioned. See, I can't "Do my taxes." That's an impossible job, totally overwhelming. I would just stall. But I can find the checks. Actually, I might have needed my wife's help, but that's old history. Now I know exactly where the checks are, because I have one place for them and I always and only put them there. Like the car keys. When I retrieve the checks, I can cross that item off with a sense of accomplishment, control, and relief. That's a reinforcing reward. Then I can write the next small step on my to-do list: "1. Sort checks". If there's a big task coming up, but it's not time to work on it yet, I might put the whole task on the orange card -"paint the fence." But when the time comes, I will break it down into steps - "buy paint." Occasionally, I can't see the small steps ahead of time; I may need to get into a project first. But that's OK. I can just start on the first small step - "What is the first thing I need to do to get started on this project? Well, I can turn on the computer for starters" - and then break it into small steps as I go.

Pain can go on even after tissues have healed Right after an injury, there is often pain caused by damaged and swollen tissues. Over time, scars form and tissues heal as much as they are able to, and, normally, tissue pain decreases. Sometimes pain creates changes in the nervous system that keep the pain signal on even after tissues have healed. It can be difficult to predict how long this pain from the nervous system will last. It is natural to want to get away from pain. However, sometimes the things you do to avoid the pain can also take you away from the things that matter the most to you. People who live with pain often tell us that their life can start to feel very narrow if everything that they do is about avoiding the pain. People do much better when they are able to find ways to keep moving towards the things and people that matter most to them, even though they have pain. Everyone has things in life that are important to them; these could be activities, ideas and people that you care about. When you move closer to those things, you get the greatest satisfaction and fulfilment in life. For example, if certain people are very important to you, then spending time with those people will likely bring you satisfaction. However, people also all have difficult thoughts, emotions, memories, habits and sensations--and pain can be one of the most difficult experiences. It is natural and sometimes helpful to try to avoid these unpleasant experiences, but trying to avoid unpleasant experiences can take up a lot of time and energy. Spending too much time and energy on trying to get away from unpleasant experiences can also make life feel very limited. What we don't want is for you to become overwhelmed, which is exactly what happened to me. list, accomplishing the task, and then, and only then, putting a line through that entry. list, always make certain that the task is do-able as you've written it. If the task doesn't seem do-able, then stop for a moment, rethink it, and re-write it if you need to, following the directions that appear in Chapter 11 in the section entitled How to Always draw a line through a task after it has been completed. list that you've just completed. This may happen because you felt like you were on a roll, so you plunged right into your next task.