Slowly breathe the nerves away

  • Illustration showing woman sitting down breathing out with social media images floating around inside thought bubble

[Image: Cherryblossom Graphics, Orange 2022]

One in five Australians lives with chronic pain that can be physically and emotionally stressful. People in regional and rural areas with chronic pain face more challenges to access treatment and services, not only due to limited healthcare resources, but also costs and physical barriers.

This poem is inspired by the participants of my research study – Telehealth breathing training group for adults living with chronic pain in Western NSW: a mixed methods pilot study. Feel free to email [email protected] if you are interested in the study.


Bumping along the lone road of pain,

the steering wheel slowly drifts farther away.

‘Breathing may help you feel better’ I was told,

we breathe or we just die is what I know.

But there’s nothing to lose to give things a go,

has been the mantra that keeps me afloat.


Now I wish I had learned a tad sooner,

the reasons and methods to breathe a bit smoother.

Quenching anxiety as it may arise,

moments of calm were an unfamiliar prize.

Listening to my body was once a lost art,

Now I pause and breathe slowly, it’s actually not hard.


Riding the same boat within cyberspace,

unspoken comradeship is instantly made.

Connections nurtured in an effortless way,

physical distance can no longer blockade.

Learning with others is always more fun,

a believer in breathing I may have become.


No, breathing is not all the answers I seek,

I’m just grateful for each small bout of relief.

Having more confidence in helping myself,

is the main story I'm now thrilled to tell.

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