What happens when chronic physical and mental pain collide?
You are too exhausted to move, everything feels impossible, the simple act of getting up to get yourself a cup of tea becomes as mammoth of a task as running a marathon (without training for it). You reach the end of the day and realise that the dishes are still on the bench, and the clothes are unfolded, that you did nothing productive. And yet, you don’t even care. You don’t have the energy to care.
Mentally you have become so drained from the incessant ache of your body that your mind starts to throw questions of “how long can you cope with this?” into the mix of your already weakened psyche. Physically you are so tired that you can’t even be bothered trying to even challenge the thoughts in your head that tell you that you should be ashamed of yourself for laying on the couch or the floor, or the bed, or wherever you managed to find a measure of relief.
On these bad days you wish to close your eyes and never wake up. You pray to sleep until you feel better, but you know that most likely your dreams will be marred with pain and anxiety. You’re not suicidal, but you don’t exactly want to live a long life. You feel sad and ashamed that you are not providing for your family the way you want too.
On these days you feel like the worst mother and wife. Your children come home from school and their excited babbling makes your head feel like it may explode. When they are the ones making you a cup of tea, instead of you fixing them an afternoon snack. Your husband comes home from the job he left for at 5:30 am, and you’re feeling so sick from trying to ignore the incessant nagging of your pain all day that you don’t even feel like getting up to give him a welcome home hug.
Lately my headaches have worsened so that I can barely move my head or neck without nauseating pain, my back and shoulders cramp regularly, and my arms and legs go numb usually at the most inconvenient of times.
This is what “moderate” degenerative spinal issues, a sensitivity to pain medications, persistent nerve pain, and “tight” muscles look like, to me.
There is little that can be done, so I accept it. This is my life, if I could go back nearly 3 years and stop the accident that caused this physical pain (photo below), I would, but I can’t and now there is nothing to do but do the best I can.
This is my life.
Some days are good, I can move freely-ish, I can go out and do things. Some days the physical pain retires to a quiet ache that is able to be pushed aside and ignored for a while. On those days I can focus more on my recovery from my depression and anxiety. I cherish those days, they are valuable and rare. But it feels like such a long time since I had one of those days.
I am tired.
No, today I am beyond tired. I am exhausted.