Spiraling Out of Control: Chronic Pain Takes a Toll on Mental Health
Life is fickle. You never know what each day is going to bring. Some days are filled with tons of hope and happiness for the future. While others, you wake up knowing the day will be off and wish you could crawl back under the covers. The problem is that you do not know what the day will be like until the moment you wake up. Mental health and endometriosis are a b*tch sometimes.
The hardest part for me most days is waking up.
I was told to be more positive in my postings – how am I doing so far? Talking about mental health issues with endometriosis and chronic pain are not always going to be ‘happy’ and ‘positive’ – I’d be lying to you and myself if I was Ms. Perky. Frankly, I cannot change who I am. I love God. I believe He has a purpose for me and that there is a reason for what I am going through. Nonetheless, I am not going to sugarcoat it. I owe it to myself and any others going through a similar situation to not put on a fake smile and pretend that everything is sunshine and roses.
Endometriosis and chronic pain are not fun. I have to balance work with my personal life. I have to balance my mental health with my work. Every day is not bad. Yet, there are moments of almost every day that are difficult. How will I make it through the day when I can barely sit up straight? How can I fain interest in a case when I have to clutch onto my back/side/abdomen and try to pretend the pain isn’t making me want to fall to the floor in a fetal position?
Each and every day is an act. An act to be someone I am not. I have to pretend to be happy. Pretend to be pain-free. Pretend to be in a good mood. Pretend to care about anything. It is exhausting. By the end of the day I am ready to crumble. I do not know how I can keep going sometimes. Maybe that is why I find it so much easier to be online than in real life? The exhaustion from playing this role is overwhelming at times. I do not know why I have to care what others think. If you do not like me for who I am – then – why should I care? Then again, do I even know who I am anymore?
My husband has been an amazing supporter throughout the last several months, he and God are the reason I am still here! Going from random tummy troubles to constant, chronic pain has been an interesting challenge to add to our first year of marriage, but he has been such a trooper through it all. My mental health rollercoaster has been a huge player, though. Physical health can be seen, most times. Spiritual health is something always in progress but you aren’t usually crumbling if you are a bit off one day. Mental health is invisible. It is also dangerous. Your mind can play some serious tricks on you.
As we discuss whether I should start the process for another surgery, I have been pausing to think about the toll this whole situation has taken on us. There has been stress within our relationship, within our families, in our work lives, and beyond. It is prevalent in every aspect because this disease becomes you – it envelops you.
Our identity is no longer – newly married couple – it has become “newly married, dealing with chronic pain couple”. This disease is our life at times, and although I try my hardest not to allow it to suck me into its grasps, there are moments when I cannot do anything but cave into the pain to keep my head above water.
Placing my faith in God is the only option I have, or need. We are working together to grow closer to Him in order to deepen our relationship with Him, each other and our outside world. I am trying to understand more how I am perceived by others and frankly, I am not too impressed. I went to school for over eight years to get a Master’s degree, bachelor in biochemistry and, then, law school; nonetheless, I am still seen as a dumb blonde. What the hell? I do not know how to change this or if I should even care. Part of me does care – the other is like, to hell with them. If everyone knew what each day was like and how much of a struggle each day was for me to survive, would they still make the same comments? Mental health is no joke, people.
Would I still be treated as less than because of where I came from? I am PROUD of my family and where I grew up. It might not have been the easiest life at all times but I survived it and am so proud of it.
Until next time – I will work on praying more, complaining less. I will fall on my knees next time I have a struggle instead of falling to food or other unhealthy habits. I promise I am going to try, no more giving into my dark spirals. I need to rise above. Others can suck it because I am focusing on my family, myself, and my God!