Chronic Pain and Mental Health
Chances are that you’ve probably been in pain at least once in your life. I mean a scratch here, paper cut there, even just aches, you’ve probably had them. More than likely since you’ve been alive you’ve experienced what it’s like to be in pain. Yet, I imagine that some of you don’t know what it’s like to be in constant, or chronic pain, actually I hope that none of you do. Chronic physical pain is an entirely different beast than the chronic emotional pain that the majority of us are accustomed to with mental health issues. Chronic physical pain is defined as
“any pain that lasts for more than three months. The pain can become progressively worse and reoccur intermittently, outlasting the usual healing process.”
According to Spine-Health.com.
To those of us unlucky enough to live with both mental problems and physical problems, things can get exponentially complicated. You may or may not already know that how you feel physically can influence your mental health, and vice versa. I know that for myself, I suffer from a herniated L5-S1 disk in my spine. Basically that means the soft, jelly like padding in between my spine bones has popped and is leaking “spine juice” into my body. Yeah that’s an overly simplified way of explaining it, but I imagine I get the point across regardless. Most days I can move around fine, with little to no pain from this injury. Other days, the pain is debilitating, to the point where I can’t really even get out of bed, much less want to.
Unfortunately for us, mental health and physical pain are often intertwined. The more pain you are in, the worse your mental health often feels. The worse you’re feeling mentally, the more pain you’re in. It’s this vicious cycle that, for the lack of better wording, just plain sucks. There really is only one escape for me from this cycle, and that’s to take meds. Pain meds for the back, psych meds for the depression. It’s not a pretty lifestyle, it’s often embarrassing and misunderstood. Yet, how else can I make it through the day? Honestly, I’m in pain both physically and mentally, that seemingly has no end.
Luckily, things are changing, socially, about mental illness and chronic pain. I mean hell, you can get cannabis treatment for both! I’ve heard it works wonders, but I myself am not affected well by the medical strains of cannabis, so unfortunately I have to stay away from it (Yay anxiety!!). Back to the point, you used to be judged, sometimes severely regarding your treatment for mental health, but not so much physical health. Now things are changing to where treatment for either are being seen in the same light. So go ahead and take the pills that actually keep you alive and make you happy, because screw everybody else (in this regard) because it helps you.