Chronic Pain and Depression: A Mental Struggle
When I first discovered I had EDS I thought “so what, I’m in pain, I can deal with it” but I didn’t realize that chronic pain effects the whole body. Chronic pain is a matter of biology: nerve impulses keep alerting the brain about tissue damage, your body is dealing with the pain by flooding your body with adrenaline. In turn you might have days where even though your life is going great you feel angry, depressed, annoyed and you don’t even know why. You body is firing in overdrive being flooded with adrenaline in an attempt to deal with the pain and then suddenly you drop into exhaustion. I would say my biggest complaint is my inability to sleep. Multiple dislocations during the night cause me to constantly wake up from REM sleep to readjust my joints. In turn, I have very exhausting sleeps. I’ve tried multiple sleeping pills and have found the best results with Ambient but the big problem is that restful sleeps equal no re-adjusting dislocated joints which equals more pain in the morning. It’s an endless cycle of painful sleeps or painful mornings.
Because of these pain cycles I get into a really negative mindset and I feel like “what’s the point, this day sucks, I can’t even lift up my dog because my shoulders hurt so much…this day sucks” but focusing on the negatives just makes my day worse. Frankly, it doesn’t matter if you are in chronic pain or not. It is easy for any of us to focus on the negative. It is SO much easier to be upset than it is to be happy. The outside world isn’t perfect and isn’t tailored to our personal lives so all of us have various struggles to deal with. When I get into a really negative mindset I have a couple of techniques that help me to push out of the mud and swim up to the bright and colourful surface.
The spotlight is what I nicknamed my inner thoughts. The only person in control of your spotlight, it is you. When you’re having a bad day, your spotlight is focusing inwards and shining on your personal thoughts making the outside world pitch black. Listening to the voices inside your head can be a disaster sometimes! I might look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I look terrible resulting in my not wanting to leave the house. I might have conversations in my head about what other people are thinking about me when in reality no one has actually said anything. We can all convince ourselves that the outside world is a scary place or that people are thinking the worst of us but really, we’re just talking to ourselves. Adjusting the spotlight means turning that spotlight onto the outside world. Lighting up the outside world lets it sparkle and you can find something positive to focus on and to be excited about. It can be a teeny tiny thing. A new Sailor Moon episode! A new Korean drama! Loki in general! I’m going to make some adorable Pokemon themed cocktails just because! Why not go for a walk and check out that new coffee shop you saw? How about trying out a new funky makeup look? Learn a new hairstyle! Youtube has tons of free tutorials online, learn to do something new! What about looking through your closest and putting together a cool outfit? Get some scissors and re-haul that t-shirt you never wear into something cool! By enjoying fashion, makeup, and hairstyles I found that people comment on my cool makeup or adorable Hello Kitty backpack rather than my ugly knee brace. It makes me feel excited about leaving the house and gives me a boost of confidence even if I’m just grocery shopping or going to work.
So shift your spotlight, shine it out on the world and let me know what awesome things you can see!