Depression + Chronic Pain

I’m not sure what came first…depression or chronic pain? Probably chronic pain, but it’s likely that the depression has always been there too…lurking in the background, ready to jump in and throw punches and kicks when I’m already down and hurting…

Anyway, I suffer from both…and you know what? Some days are hard. Really, really hard. Today is one of those days. Most days this week have been like this. They’ve started out bad and gotten progressively worse over the coarse of the day.

My pain levels are high. I can take absolutely nothing for it. Tylenol does nothing, and anything with Ibeuprofen is out because of my bleeding disorder. Anything that could cause addictions is out because I can’t deal with depression, chronic pain and an addiction. I’ll be honest, I’ve tried a few of them and they may have numbed the pain a little, but they also made me feel sick to my stomach and dizzy.

I don’t deal with that well.

When I was younger, before I had responsibilities, my pain coping method was lots of rest and taking it easy. I would at least be able to give myself slow starts to the day.

I can’t do that now, with my kids. They don’t understand what a “slow start” means. The younger one still can’t be trusted alone for any length of time, and both of them have been known to cause mass destruction in my brief absences. For example, it took them all of five minutes to rip the mattresses off their beds yesterday while I showered. FIVE MINUTES, to move mattresses that I can barely move on my own.

So, “slow days” and “rest days” do not mean the same thing they once meant. I can sometimes deal with that, I mean…often I can. It is what it is and my boys are the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. I know I am blessed and I love spending time with them…

But then there are the days where the pain is so high, and it clasps gleeful hands with the depression…pulling it up to greater heights too. They are “twinsies” in making me miserable, and on those days…I don’t want to be around anyone because I am miserable and snappy and not the self I want to be.

It’s hard to come out of it on my own, because I haven’t found a successful way of dealing with the chronic pain that eases it. I can’t help but think, surely if I ease the chronic pain symptoms…I’ll be able to ease the depression. I can’t help but wonder if I could be happy and feel…free…if I weren’t weighed down with chronic pain. The chronic pain is the instigator.

I feel guilty for my bad days, because my bad days are everyone else’s bad days. Misery loves it’s company, after all. Some times, throwing a little fit and crying my eyes out helps me to release the negative energy that threatens to consume me.

All I can do is press on though, trying to push past the over whelming feelings of sadness and desperation. I can’t change my situation. I can’t stop things from hurting and get rid of the pain fog I am constantly stuck in.


About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
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5 Responses to Depression + Chronic Pain

  1. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to deal with chronic pain that is debilitating as well as depression. Not to mention parenring two little kids. You are so strong even when you feel weak. xo

  2. I didn’t “like” this because you’re in pain, but because I enjoyed reading your writing. Just to clarify.

  3. tierney says:

    Pain sucks, there’s no way around it. My pain has absolutely caused me anxiety on a regular basis that now, as I’m older, I realize I should have been treated for. I support your decision to not be on any narcotics. For me, I made the choice to be on them. I don’t take them daily and when I do need it I start with half a pill and work myself up as needed. I had to make certain choices for myself and I can truly say I wouldn’t have gotten through University or Teacher’s College without my medicine- it made the hard days a bit easier.

    Have you considered any NSAID’s? I’ve been on a few over the years. They’re non-habit forming and don’t alter your state of mind like narcotics. I didn’t find a benefit but there are plenty of people that do. The path of chronic pain is truly about figuring out what you can do to manage your pain while still enjoying your life- I hope everyone with chronic pain finds their balance, some days it feels like I have it, and others it feels like it’s so far off.

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