The past few days have not been the greatest. I’ve been both super anxious and fairly depressed. I guess it is probably what most people would call a mixed state in the bipolar community. I feel on edge all the time. My brain is constantly telling me something is wrong and that I need to fix it, but I don’t know what it is. The depression is telling me that I am worthless, no one really likes me anyway, and everything I do is pointless.
The depression is making me feel never good enough. It is times like these that no matter what I achieved, I would probably still feel a failure. If I suddenly won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry or had my art showcased at the Louvre, I would still find fault with it and myself in this particular mood. It is a hellish feeling.
This depression is interlaced with anxiety that pushes me to want to achieve, achieve, achieve right now, but in this state I am so all over the place that it is hard to concentrate on anything for long. Not to mention that the depression makes me feel like it is all futile anyhow, even as my whirling mind is telling me that I’m not trying hard enough.
All of this is heightening my chronic pain. I hurt so bad deep in my muscles, I feel like I have been tortured on the medieval rack.
Well, my back is no better after 5 days, so I ended up visiting the ER last night. They gave me a steroid shot and 2 trigger point injections. It was the first time I’ve had trigger point injections and they hurt like hell! Luckily, the pain is brief, but I couldn’t help yelling out a bit in pain and squeezing my husband’s hand like a stress ball during the procedure.
Unfortunately, the shots didn’t seem to work. I’m not any better than I was before going to the ER. That makes me think that it is probably my spine causing the issue – either my degenerative disc disease or my bulging discs. At the ER doc’s suggestion, I also bought a TENS unit and have tried it out a couple times. I’m not sure it is helping either, but I figure at this point I’ll try anything.
I’m so very tired of this constant pain. This is enough to drive a person crazy.
Sorry I haven’t written in a few days. I threw my back/neck out again and it has been bad. Probably the worst it has ever been. I have been constantly downing pain killers and muscle relaxers and still no change. Usually the worst only lasts a day or two during these flareups, but now I’m on day 3 and it still hurts to move in any direction.
Naturally, this has me rather depressed too. I had appointments and fun plans this weekend that I had to cancel due to the pain. I feel like it doesn’t matter how hard I try to be social or how much I try to take good care of myself, my efforts always end up jinxed.
This is why I normally end up isolating myself, because I feel like all my health issues make me unreliable. It feels like no matter how understanding other people are, when I have to call off at the last minute several times, they start to get frustrated (and understandably so).
I just wish this horrible pain would pass.
It is strange how negative words can stay with us for a lifetime and hurt long after they are spoken. Today, I was reminded of a conversation I had way back in middle school. My friends and I were having a conversation about birth order statistics and how the oldest is often the smartest and most responsible in the family – which apparently was the case in all their families.
I mentioned how that hadn’t really happened in my family as I was the youngest and yet I was the one in the gifted program, the one who got straight A’s, and the one who was least likely to break the rules. My sister was very smart in her own ways, but not overly academic or intellectual.
One of my friends (or more likely a frenemy) replied, “Well, maybe your sister is the pretty one then.”
Before I could digest this insult or respond, one of my other friends chimed in assuring the group that my sister was no looker either, which made everyone laugh. I didn’t let on that I felt anything, but inside I was crushed. I felt ugly and I also felt bad that my friends had insulted and made fun of my sister.
To this day, remembering this conversation makes me feel ugly, plain, and rejected. I wish my friends had been more careful with their words.
While I was painting this acrylic picture last night, trying to capture the burgeoning depression I could feel weighing on me, the REM song Shiny Happy People came on the satellite channel I was listening to. I felt that song perfectly captured how I was feeling, as I always felt it was a rather tongue-in-cheek, mockery of a song. I decided to name the artwork after the song, so here is my version of Shiny Happy People:
Check out all my art currently for sale on my ebay store.
That headline isn’t exaggerating. I had a horrible dental cleaning experience yesterday. Now to be fair, my teeth are extremely sensitive, just like everything else on my body (thanks autism), so cleanings are never fun for me anyhow. There are always at least a few painful nerves hit during the process.
However, yesterday the lady who regularly cleans my teeth was on maternity leave so I had a new lady who was incredibly slow, annoying, and seemed to manage to hit about every nerve on every tooth, at least on the front ones. I can’t recall the number of times I flinched from the pain. At least a couple times I teared up. I was starting to wish I was having a filling instead, because at least then I would be numbed up some.
I feel bad calling the lady annoying, but to be frankly honest, she was. She was one of those people who just talks and talks and talks, which drives me crazy. It was especially hard not to be annoyed when I was already having a bad experience. A few minutes into the cleaning I was tempted to get up and say “I’m sorry, but I just can’t do this today”, and reschedule for when my normal person gets back. I managed to tough it out though. Glad it is over and my regular cleaner should be back before my next cleaning!
I’ve been feeling rather sad and isolated the last few days. I think a lot of it comes from the stress of dealing with chronic illness and chronic pain. Anyone who has chronic illness is probably familiar with spoon theory, an illustrative way to describe why you have to choose carefully how to use your energy to do things when you have very limited physical ability.
In other words, sometimes you have to choose whether you would like to go out and socialize for a short period of time, spend that energy getting some much-needed housework done, work on a hobby or personal interest, or even simply take a shower…because you just don’t have the energy and the physical ability to do them all within the same day like a healthy person could.
Most of the time I end up choosing to spend my “energy” and limited abilities to either spend time with my husband, work on my art/writing/blogging, or take care of personal hygiene or light housework. Prioritizing these things leaves no extra energy or time to socialize on a wider scale or do much outside of the house, other than maybe occasionally going out for dinner or doing a little necessary shopping. Even the thought of going to a movie is often too exhausting to contemplate.
All of this makes me sad, especially when I remember how I used to enjoy so many other things I can’t do any longer. I used to love hiking, playing tennis, roller skating, bowling, dancing, working, swimming, being a foster parent, and going out to various activities with people I know or share interests with. I’ve pretty much lost all of that for good. And that is depressing.
I’m a paper doll
with third degree burns.
Dress me up,
make me pretty,
and please, simply ignore
all the raw, peeling flesh
falling onto the floor.
(Poetry by Maranda Russell, marandarussell.com)
I’m still struggling with bad neck pain. Yesterday it felt a little bit better, so I figured I would try to get out of the house for the first time in a while (other than ER visits). Unfortunately, once I got in the car, the vibrations from the car itself and the movement from driving kicked the pain back into high gear. I did at least make it to Wendy’s so my husband and I could get some dinner, but then it was straight back home because I was in too much pain to do anything else.
Honestly, after two weeks of these headaches and severe neck pain, I’m starting to worry this might be a long-term problem, just like my right shoulder blade and the arches of my feet. I’ve been incredibly depressed the last few days, partly because of the pain itself, partly because I can’t do much of anything, and lastly because I worry if my body continues to deteriorate at the rate it seems to be going, I may eventually become completely home-bound. I believe that all these chronic pain issues are mostly related to my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which sucks even more because there is no cure for connective tissue disorders 😦