I know the title of this blog post may seem strange. There is really no connection between the two words except that they are both present and on my mind.
Today is our 6th wedding anniversary. Billy and I have been together for 11 years now and our love is strong. We have been through challenges that would be hard to imagine and many that no one knows about except for us. Things that would test and destroy the most solid relationship but somehow our love has always pulled us through and prevailed. I am so thankful for my husband and the unconditional love that we share.
This should be a joyous day but I cried all the way to work. Yesterday and the day before, I cried all the way home. Last night I sat and cried on the couch but I don’t think Billy noticed. He has his own overwhelming struggles to deal with and I tried not to make it obvious. Throughout my years of participation in online chronic pain, Trigeminal Neuralgia/Facial Pain, Endometriosis, and PCOS support groups, I have read and been acclimated to the very real link between chronic pain and depression. I knew it could happen and the likelihood that it would is very high. I have watched my husband struggle with it for years, even before the wreck and his botched surgery, but so much more afterwards. It has been ripping him apart for what seems like forever and it appears to finally be taking hold of me.
I have tried to be strong for so long. I have so much responsibility and so much weight on my shoulders. The stress of the impossible situation that we are in financially, medically, physically, and emotionally is something that I have never experienced and would have never imagined, even in my worst nightmares, would become reality. I have endured some stressful times in life. I have battled internal and external demons that have tested every part of me but I have emerged victoriously time and time again. I have a high level of endurance and I am stronger than most people realize. What I am dealing with now is testing that endurance. Maybe it is karma for all of the things that I have put my parents through over the years. I brought great stress to their lives during my teenage years and it spilled over from time to time throughout the years to follow. If this is my payback from the universe, then there is no doubt that I deserve it. I have carried a lot of guilt for much of my life and that is something that I have never figured out how to let go.
I know where this sadness is coming from but I’m not sure why it is emerging right now. I’ve been blaming it on hormones for the past several weeks, but I’m starting to realize that it’s not that simple. It’s too much. It is testing my faith, hurting my heart, damaging my mind, and starting to break my spirit. This is a time when I need to remain strong and I don’t have the time, energy, or strength to take on another challenge. I can’t deal with people anymore. I am withdrawing from everyone. I have stopped logging into Facebook and Twitter, I can’t see my family very often, and I’ve never been someone with a lot of friends. I have even started to develop this weird phobia of talking on the phone. I feel toxic. Why would I want to expose anyone else to the negativity in my life? They shouldn’t have to deal with it. Who would want to and why should I ask that of anyone? Everyone has problems of their own and the gravity of mine is something that no one has answers for and even those who love me the most can’t fix no matter how much they wish they could. Frequent communication with them is just going to remind them of that and I don’t want to bring anyone else down. I want them to be happy and enjoy their lives.
I believe that much of what is wrong with me physically could be fixed, but it would take an enormous amount of money. Money that we just don’t have and will probably never have a way to obtain. The same could be true for Billy. We would need expert doctors and specialists to find out and we just don’t have access to them.
It has become hard to listen to the chit-chat and happy conversations and stories going on between co-workers during the day. I had to close my door immediately when I got to work this morning. It was partly because I was still fighting back tears from the drive to work and partly because for some reason everyone’s happiness seems to increase my sadness. About an hour after I closed it, someone who started to withdraw from me years ago came in to show me something funny. Was that God’s way of trying to help ease my pain or was it just a coincidence? Who knows … It actually made me laugh for a minute but for some reason shortly after he closed the door, the uncontrollable tears were, once again, streaming down my face. Why can’t I control this? I do not understand it. I hate feeling this way and I am ashamed to admit that I do. I know jealousy is to blame. I would give anything to have a normal life and still have stories to tell, other than my disappointing experiences with doctors, the severity of my latest pain flare-up, challenges with my husband’s disability application process, medical billing errors, and all of those negative types of things. I would give anything for even normal temporary problems, let alone a normal life. There are some illnesses going around my office right now. Lots of people have been out with stomach viruses, sinus infections, headaches, etc. Even that makes me jealous because I remember having those ailments and although they are miserable for a few days or a week, they go away and you get better. I want my husband to get better. I want to get better.
I wonder if other people can feel the intense sadness radiating from inside me. I doubt it because I don’t think most people pay close attention. Plus, I really try to hide it. The feelings are so strong to me that I can often feel them physically. That isn’t too surprising considering how I have always had a tendency towards physical manifestations of my emotions. That part scares me too. I have so many physical problems already. What if my out-of-control emotions make them worse? What if it causes me to develop something else? Something worse or even fatal, like cancer. I hope this isn’t how a nervous breakdown starts. The Mayo Clinic’s description of a nervous breakdown is pretty much what I am experiencing. Great.
This post is already getting long and I am starting to ramble on and jump from topic to topic, as usual. I was hoping that writing about how I feel might ease the pain just a little bit. I think it helped some. The point is that this heavy sadness seems to be something that I just can’t shake. I have not been taking my anti-depressant consistently since my long-acting pain medication dosage was increased. The reason for that is because the two meds interact and cause my blood pressure to drop. I have only been able to tolerate half of my normal Zoloft dosage since I started this particular pain medication. I decided to try to deal with it and stay on half of my anti-depressant dosage because I have tried SO many pain medications and it seems like most of them interact with SSRI medications, or at least the ones that my doctor is willing to prescribe to me. As my body adjusts to the new dosage of pain medication, I will try to at least take my half dose of Zoloft on a daily basis. Maybe that will help. For now, I just have to contend with this new challenge.
My depression keeps getting worse, the sadness now feels suffocating, and I am scared. I don’t want to be pitied. I just want to be understood and more than anything, I’m just writing this as an outlet to get these feelings off of my chest and these thoughts out of my mind. It may seem weird to put such intimate thoughts and feelings out into a public blog, but I’ve got to do something and that is partly what this blog is about. It’s about everything that has to do with chronic pain and the challenges that it brings. Maybe someone will read this, who is having similar emotional challenges, and realize that they are not alone.
Luckily, my favorite band has a song and a verse that applies perfectly to what I am going through. Those of you who know me personally, will know the band is Blue October. The song is from the Sway album and it is called Fear. The verse goes like this:
“Breathe, ask for more, if you’re bitter still, ask Him to help you carry on.”
I will try to include a link to the song on YouTube below. Enjoy!
P.S. ~ Please forgive any spelling or grammar errors in this post. I am a little out of sorts today and don’t have the energy to proof-read it another time.