The Desperation of Invisible Pain

Depression and unexplained pain have a lot in common.

You don’t know why you are experiencing either one. They both make you feel incredibly helpless, frustrated, and even out of control.

When you have depression, unexplained pain can make you feel like a crazy person. Sitting in the ER last week, I was sure the doctors and nurses were convinced I was seeking painkillers. Nevermind that I had pain meds at home that I chose not to take in order to go to the hospital. But of course they didn’t know that.

Even I’m starting to wonder if it’s all in my head. That antacids and stomach coating medications that are supposed to help me if it’s an ulcer aren’t helping. People keep asking me if it’s muscle pain or indigestion, but it’s not that kind of pain at all. My stomach feels sour all the time, but that’s probably because I’ve been eating so much bread and cereal. After eating a paleo diet for so long, my stomach isn’t used to that. Also, the antacids would fix that wouldn’t they?

Depression can make you desperate. It can make you wish you were dead, wish you had an obvious disease like a broken bone or the flu. It can make you want to hurt yourself. It can make you try to come up with all kinds of reasons and excuses for why you’re depressed.

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Turns out, unexplained pain can make you feel those things too. I have to keep reminding myself that I really am in pain. I pause throughout the day to see if not moving will make it go away. I focus on it, trying to will the pain away – if it’s all in my head, that should work. I find myself asking my husband if he believes me, reminding him that I really am in pain.

I feel guilty, like I’m doing it on purpose. I keep trying to make up for it by ignoring my pain and doing things I think will make other people happy. I ruined our trip to Albuquerque, so I planned a trip to Kartchner Caverns. It was a lot of fun, but too much for me. The caverns were hot and humid. There wasn’t too much walking, but I was exhausted afteward, nauseated, and dizzy.

I tried to go to a party this morning, but got so woozy I thought I was going to pass out. Erik had to turn around and bring me home.

I may not know what’s wrong with me, but something is definitely wrong. And once again, I find myself wishing I had a broken bone or the flu, because that at least would be fixable. And no one, including myself, would balme me for being in pain or less able to do things.

This is how I’ve felt my whole life about my mental health. I’ve learned to manage it, to live with it. Until and unless there is a test for an illness, people don’t believe it exists and don’t understand the pain and difficulty of dealing with it.

I don’t want there to be anything wrong with me, but I hope one of the tests finds something so that it can be fixed. I’ve had to learn to live with the fact that there is no cure for my mental illness. I’m not sure I can handle there being no cure for this physical pain.

Have you felt this way before? Because of physical or emotional pain? Share your story.

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