Chronic Pain is a Big Part of My Depression
Chronic pain is part of my depression, and it's making me feel so very uncomfortable tonight. I have several health problems that stem from having depression and their symptoms are often more debilitating than depression is on its own. Some come from the stress of having depression, others are a side-effect of my antidepressants. Overcoming my pain is complex, and it often feels like this never ending cycle of chronic pain, depression and pills.
First came the tension headaches that lasted all day, every day. They started about eight years ago for me. After the headaches came stomach problems that involved a constant burning which became worse depending on what I ate. This past January, my family doctor diagnosed me with severe anemia. I barely had the energy to walk around or hang out with friends. My thoughts were jumbled and I simply drew blanks often when I tried to speak. Depression can create chronic pain, and chronic pain is depressing.
Chronic Pain Is Part of Depression and Often Triggered by Stress
Stress wreaks havoc in our bodies, starting by increasing our cortisol hormone associated with fight or flight mode. As if we were literally about to be chased by a tiger, our body puts all its energy into fueling us to run. Our adrenaline gets pumping, and our digestive system shuts down. Our immune system gets shut down, too. Basically, we live for the moment and our body follows suit.
So stress affects our appetite and body tension and we're more susceptible to colds and viruses. Since I'm not literally needing to run from a tiger, I'm kind of annoyed about these reactions my body has to stress because they sure aren't helping me.
I believe my depression triggered my anemia, since my symptoms often leave me feeling too tired or overwhelmed to prepare myself a healthy meal.
Treatment for these conditions are an ongoing battle. I've tried seeing a chiropractor, an acupuncturist and a naturopath. None of those treatments worked for my headaches or my stomach. What has helped the most is adjusting one of my antidepressants and practicing self-hypnosis to learn to relax my body.
My anemia has taken six months to get even slightly better; iron pills and injections are finally bringing my energy levels up. The iron pills really upset my stomach, though, so I'm dealing with that issue more than I have needed to for months.
Healing from Depression-Related Chronic Pain Takes Time
I've wanted to give up a million times with these health problems. It's taken years to get as far as I have with knowing my triggers and my minor solutions.
If you have chronic pain with your depression, know that you aren't alone. According to depressionhurts.ca, "Up to 76% of patients with major depressive disorder also experience physical symptoms, including painful complaints such as headaches, stomach pain, back pain and other unexplained pains."
I recommend ice packs, heat pads and keeping an open line of communication between you and your doctor(s). Be patient with yourself. Sometimes our bodies express what we can't with words and we have to let them speak.
You can also find Erin Schulthies on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and her blog, Daisies and Bruises: The Art of Living with Depression.
Schulthies, E. (2014, June 26). Chronic Pain is a Big Part of My Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2014/06/chronic-pain-is-a-big-part-of-my-depression