Depression vs chronic pain syndrome 

On a daily basis, due to the chronic pain syndrome that I’ve had for over 4 years, I am in constant pain. A constant pain that starts at the base of my neck and works it’s way all down my spine. This ache brings with it, all the surrounding muscles into a continual contraction. Sometimes it feels like I have 2 heart beats. One at the front of my chest, and one in my back. It’s a weird feeling. A pain that has taken its toll on my body and my brain.

However, when I have a really bad depressive episode, the pain ceases to exist. There is no space in my brain to recognise the pain.

Yippee!!! No pain!!!! So you think that I should be celebrating the fact that I can’t feel the back pain?

Yeah right! The problem is, when I get so low, I don’t even recognise that I’m not in pain anymore.

How unfair is that?

So it’s either feeling constant pain or feeling absolutely nothing.

Which is better? Which is easier? 

Is it better to feel too much or feel nothing?

I should say feeling too much because at least I feel something…anything.

However, sometimes I’m not so sure. 

 

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Today is a bad day!

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Today the depression is all-consuming.

The urge to just hide under the blanket all day is overwhelming.

I don’t want to talk.

I don’t want to feel.

I don’t want to think.

I don’t want to let anyone in to help comfort me.

I just want to step off the world today and start again tomorrow.

Should I allow the depression to take hold, or should I fight it?

Am I allowed to just be in a semi-comatosed state?

Is this ok? Is this wrong?

What am I supposed to do?

What is right?

Today, I don’t care what the right answer is… But maybe tomorrow I will.

Depression is the devil!

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For the first time in ages, I’ve actually had almost a whole week of no depressive brain

fog. I’ve felt almost like my old happy, less anxious self again.

However, yesterday, the guilt started creeping in.

Am I faking being depressed?

Am I allowed this amount of happy days when I’m depressed?

Should I not be off sick from work still?

Instead of enjoying the good days, I allowed negative thoughts to creep back in and ruin them.

Then this morning I woke up and the depressive brain fog was back. It was almost like the depression was saying ‘I told ya so!You are depressed. You aren’t allowed to be happy’

Instead of enjoying the good days, I wasted them by feeling guilty.

Well, no more.

I’m gonna make the most of the good days.

I’m gonna live in the moment.

Depression will always be sitting on my shoulder, like the devil, but I will not let it stop me from enjoying the good days!

 

 

Chronic Pain Syndrome

 On a scale of 0-10, how much pain am I in?

As I lay here, in bed, trying to sleep, with a heat pack on my back to help relieve the  pain, I decided I needed to write about the  pain that has ruled my life for the past 4 1/2 years. 

But what do I say about it? This I suppose:

Constant

Repetitive

Overwhelming 

Never ending 

Irritating

Consuming

Persistent 

Acute

In my head?

No, it’s in my back!

Suffering

Yearning to get better 

Never getting better😢

Demanding 

Relentless 

OMG, it hurts!

Mentally

Exhausting 

On a scale of 0-10, how much pain am I in? Right now, I’d say probably an 8.5. 😢

Maybe tomorrow it will be better?

Night night.

Ask for help, you may be surprised at the answer!

imageSo first off, let me explain why I gave this blog the above title. For the past few years, I have got into cycling in a big way-triathlons, 2-3hr weekend rides, sportives and I’ve loved every minute of it. Except last year, when marathon training, I started getting panic attacks. These panic attacks then seeped into other areas of my life; my cycling, my work, the gym, blah, blah, blah!

So as to avoid these stressful situations which incur the panic attacks, I haven’t been on my bike for almost a year now. My training buddies keep inviting me out to ride with them, but I keep declining. The thing is, I don’t want to burden them with my issues. They shouldn’t have to put up with me like this! They need people to support and encourage their training, not hold them back.

Last weekend, I decided to be honest with them about my anxiety and depression issues and they encouraged me to join them anyway. So I decided I was going to pull up my big girl pants and just go for a ride… even if it was slow… and to not worry about what others think of me.

Unfortunately, the anxiety overtook me and I didn’t even get out the door to ride.So I decided to not even attempt riding for a bit until I was in a better place mentally.

However this weekend, my buddies invited me out again. I felt a bit pathetic, but I was totally honest with them about all my worries including not wanting to hinder their training etc, and I was so surprised and overwhelmed at their responses.

They encouraged me to come along anyway as I would be with them and they would not leave me behind. I know this to be true, but my irrational brain forgets this. My irrational brain tells me that they are there to focus on their training and I’m not worthy of joining them and that I’d only embarrass myself, or them, if I panicked whilst riding with them.

They’ve even offered to ride solo with me during the week to help me gain my confidence back on the bike before joining them on a group ride.

I was so touched and overwhelmed by their support, that, of course, I burst into tears whilst reading their texts. I have never felt good enough or worthy enough to be training with these guys, even though I’ve trained with some of them for 4 years now.

So to hear that they care for me and want to help me through this rough patch, has made me rethink my thinking.

I didn’t want to admit to them how pathetic I am right now, but to them, that’s not how they see me. They just see me having a rough time and want to do what they can to help me. I’m still me, just a rather sad me at the moment.

I was worried about being judged or ditched completely, yet they did nothing of the sort. They offered their support and advice to help me and encourage me to get back out on the bike with them.

So this week, I will be taking them up on their offers of solo rides with the possibility of joining them at weekends soon.

This anxiety and depression will not rule my life.

I am in control of my life.

I just have to create space for the anxiety and depression to have a space in my life right now… But, be warned Anxiety and Depression, every day the space that you hog, will get smaller and smaller.

I reached out to my training buddies, was totally honest with them and in return I was rewarded with their support and friendship.

I’m learning that it is ok to ask for help!

I can do this alone as I am strong, however it will be much easier and quicker with friends and family by my side…. Which in turn proves to me… That I am worthy!

I saw a glimpse of the old me!

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Yesterday, the brain fog of depression and the panic inducing anxiety were amazingly absent, and whilst training in the gym, I saw a glimpse of the old me (BDA- before depression and anxiety).

I had such a good time. I was able to push myself hard! I could appreciate my successes-even small ones like running 800m without a panic attack. I was able to laugh at my mistakes (like when I almost fell over when doing a single leg burpee).

I came out of the gym feeling like I was on cloud 9!

But then, out of nowhere, I burst into tears, as I’ve missed feeling like this! I miss the old me!  How sad is that?

I knew that I needed my friends and family to help me understand these emotions. So when I text them, these are the responses I got. They are all so different, but all so very much appreciated and helped me see things outside of my little bubble.

Hubby’s response: they are good tears. I knew it was still in you, just waiting to burst back out.

Sister’s response: definitely not sad at all, but you have to give yourself some time to get back there. Slowly slowly catchy monkey.

Friend’s response (Let’s call her Fairy God Mother): but you did it, so that is you!

All these responses helped me see that I am still comparing myself now to the old me (BDA), when in fact I’m still me, just a different me now. I can’t keep comparing myself to how I used to be, as I’ll never be there again! Instead I have to work on becoming the best me that I can be now. I have to embrace the anxiety and depression and know that although I’m having a rough time of it now, I will not always feel like this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

However, it is always easier said than done! But I’ll get there! I have faith in me!