This image represents the sort of depression I get with intense chronic pain. But not all depression is like this. I get that I am depressed. Don't get me wrong, I admit to it. When I was younger I would not because of the massive stigma. Doctors are likely to then say your pain was all in your head if you admitted to depression. And my depression is distinctly linked to my chronic pain, as it has been noted by my psychologist. Lot of pain, intense depression, especially status migraines that are in fact associated with mood issues as is. Lower pain, mood stabilizes. But I comprehend even at the best of times I have aspects of depression. Go through more severe bouts of it even when the migraines get particularly problematic as they have been.
However, this is the status quo. I find it very hard to imagine it being Otherwise with this sort of chronic pain. With fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, nerve damage and hypermobility syndrome. Not to mention other health issues. I mean thi…
There is nothing more brutal than a status migraine. The epic everlasting migraine from hell. The level 9 longer than 3 days migraine marathon. I am currently on day 5. Nothing works on these. Not triptans. Not painkillers. Nothing. Not sleep, because you can't Get any.
Yes, these migraines seriously affect my mood. I generally get severe bouts of depression with them. However, when I was off work they were far more rare, because I was able to get more sleep. When working obviously I do not choose when I get up and my brain chooses when I fall asleep... leading to far less sleep, leading to sometimes, just getting 'stuck' in a migraine.
So far since returning to work I have had two. And this last one caused me to be suicidal, so there is that. I mean, I cannot underestimate the level of pain especially when you are trying to function... and just can't, but are trying. Now before I went on long term leave... they were a monthly occurrence, so that was literally hell fo…
You wan to know what timing is? Writing an article about your last suicide attempt days before your next one. (Selfish) "There is a thought process that we go through during these times. My existence was torture and it seemed unreasonable that I should have to exist this way. Irrational that I would choose to exist in that pain and in fact choose to make it worse. Why would any sane person do that? And all avenues I had tried to reduce that pain had been used up. Society, my employer and my doctor at the time were all by their lack of caring and disinterest stating they wanted me to suffer. So this was my existence. Forever. And forever is a long time when you are in pain. A very long time. You see how endless and indefinite it is. If you just knew how long it was you had to go on. You begin to think how nice it would be to have a fatal stroke because... that would not be your fault. Then you imagine if you could kill yourself but make it look like an accident then no one would h…
"A white blank page and a swelling rage, rage
You did not think when you sent me to the brink, to the brink" ~Mumford & Sons. (I happen to be listening to them and that lyric caught my attention. Reminds me of losing control of pain and the disinterest of those that should be helping you through it).
Fact is I am not well tonight. I missed work today and I feel immensely guilty for this, as per usual. I know this cannot continue, but at the same time... the migraines are getting worse. I am not sure if they are getting worse because I am quitting smoking and that tends to make them worse... does every time with the quitting smoking products to the increase in stress. Or if it is just work and lack of sleep, which is pretty major all catching up with me. Lack of sleep being a big factor but it always is when I am working. Work itself in pain is difficult and stressful.
And I am tired. And it just hurts. And I wonder why do I have to put myself through all this? Over and …
Sleep dysfunction is a component to fybromyalgia specifically, but the fact is insomnia is a factor with all chronic pain. I know when I developed chronic migraines my insomnia got that much worse and that much more complicated. The migraines acute at night, making it difficult, or impossible to sleep... the lack of sleep a migraine trigger for the next day. Seems like an impossible cycle of pain and insomnia feeding into each other.
I know that I have had insomnia most of my life. I know that I have tried pretty much every single thing anyone has ever mentioned to me to help with it. Every herbal supplement. I was on some medications with a side-effect of drowsiness said to help some people that I found useless. And now on some sleeping pills that I seriously do not find all that strong to be honest and only mildly beneficial. I also take melatonin because apparently I have none of my own I have done hypnosis, which, apparently, does not…
There is an aspect of fake it till you make it about the chronic pain facade. That is that we fake dealing with it until we do deal with it. That is to say, we may not always believe we can deal with the pain and work for example. But we are damned good at this facade business. We have this stoic facade of well-being Down. So we plant that on our faces, throw in some humor, and just Pretend we are all good... until we are all good. Somehow along the way convincing ourselves that in fact, yes, we can do this.
But that isn't always true, because sometimes we just fake it and the pain gets the best of us because the pain exceeds our coping. Sometimes we have to fake it because the situation dictates we not scream or act in any way in distress... like work. And so we do, but the fact remains, due to lack of treatment, we really are not handling the pain well at all. And no one can tell because, damn, we can fake it That well.
So the facade benefits us, and hinders us. It is a social …
Sometimes we crave the victory. We talk about how it would be easier if we had a curable disease, even if it were horrific... because there is this foreseeable end date to the battle. We could conquer and move on.
Instead we just have the battle. We have good days. We have bad days. We cope well. We cope poorly. And it never ends. That can be a realization in-itself is hard to handle. However, eventually we come to terms with this. In some sense everyone has battles to fight. Life is struggle in some way or another. If it were not this, it would be something would it not?
Does it mean the battle has to define us? Not particularly but it does shape us in many ways. And although there is no 'Victory' with a capital V there is small successes. There are small accomplishments and victories that get us through things. I think it is important to focus on each and every small accomplishment like it is a damned big deal because in the end they are a big deal. We need to focus on what…
Hope can get us through some pretty dark times. But I remember when I was working, in excessive amounts of pain and i thought if I could just get to my neuro... he would do something. He would help me. He would help with something to bring the pain into manageable levels. So I pushed through the pain day by day to get to the appointment.
I get there and.... he had run out of ideas. Nothing more he could do. He referred me on to a pain clinic with a Long waiting list. I was devastated. All that pushing though the pain and long wait just to get to him and nothing. I felt so utterly hopeless when i left. I was in tears in the car.
Because I had that One hope I was aiming for and nothing else kept me going, so it crushed me when it was gone.
We have to find things that we can hope for, live for, yearn for and desire for our future so that setbacks are not brutal painful events in our lives.
I read this blog post and it got me thinking. However it does occur to me there is a large difference between sympathy, empathy and pity.
Ironically although I raise awareness and I want people to understand my journey, in real life, I shy away from true empathy. That is a true emotional connection where someone actually understands your suffering. And I tend to becomes uncomfortable in those situations. For good reason. If they truly understand my suffering... then they understand how very fragile my coping is. How very difficult it is to manage this pain. How much I struggle. When really around people I care about I am all about appearing in control. Pretending I am not in as much pain as I am. On the surface at least. I may be honest about a situation if you ask me... but I will not be Emotional about it. So you may know about a situation I am in but never know my emotional involvement. That is just my nature. In a way, I am far more exposed on t…
I sometimes refer to Chronic Pain as a life by inches. Often we do not focus on the future. We focus on This Moment, then This Moment and then This Moment. A life by inches.
Sometimes when I am at work and I am in acute pain I exist in pain. My brain is filled to the brim with pain. So I need to focus very hard on anything else. I focus directly what is before me. I am careful. I am meticulous. I check my work. I am slow. I just methodically plod along taking one task at a time. Not thinking about the next task or the previous one. Not thinking about how much of the day I must get through... because it is too long, too much... I just need to focus on the now. I can handle the now of the pain. Not 8 hours of it.
And fine, I get through the day.
But damned if you can exist your whole life like this. A life of inches. Survival mode. Just get through this moment and I'll be fine. And then this moment. With no past, no future, no goals, no ambitions. Just surviving the Now of existenc…
I don't mean this to sound hopeless but in a way it is because no matter how much you try, or even what you try, there will be pain. So in that sense it is all about treading water, which as we all know is damned draining. And yes, we all put the effort in to make changes... we swim in a direction and we hope for all it is worth we will hit land... land is like this fiction though. This place that exists with no pain. Or less pain. Never seen it. But heard about it. So we aim for it, just never get there. And then sometimes... just can't swim. Just have to try and not drown.
And right now? Just trying not to drown. Working is exhausting. It takes a lot of pain tolerance to get through work. And no matter all the things I know I could do to cope better, too damn tired for anything but to get through the day. But I am still treading water. Not drowning. And that is something.
This is the same for depression as it is for chronic pain. We can survive anything... if we had an end date. Severe pain that we Know is temporary? We can handle that. With no end date? That is difficult to come to terms with and cope with. Endlessly cope with I should say. And some days we do not cope well. Some days we do.
The thing about chronic pain though is that There Is No End Date. It is fact. And that fact can enhance our depression if we suffer from it. I have depression associated with chronic pain. So the pain is high and I am depressed... and the fact the pain is endless is a point that occurs to me often in that state of mind.
Because depression in-itself without chronic pain is insidious, and compounding, and it shrouds the future in its own view of reality... so you cannot see an end to it. You see your suffering lasting forever because that is the twisted logic depression gets you into. You are locked in this fog without an escape.