As I wrote in my last article, the decision to live or die, can be summed up as Life Vs Pain. Where one compares the “weight” of their life as a whole, and on the other side, all of their pain. This simple “contest” of which is greater, was often the reason I contemplated suicide. However, there is a specific type of pain that I would like to talk about. Physical pain, or even “visible” pain. As most of you know, mental illness mostly manifests as “invisible” pain, or pain that can be felt but not seen. As I have gone to incredible lengths to manage my mental and emotional pain, I thought that I would be in the clear. I was under the impression, that once my mental illness was manageable, that my life would “weigh” more than my pain. I failed to account for an injury that I received during my high school football days, a herniated disc in my spine, that has plagued me since I was a teenager. Of course, the pain from this injury ebbs and flows, it comes and goes, based on my activity level. That being said, my pain tolerance is very, very high. Where most days I can get through the excruciating pain with just a couple of Aleve in the morning. This all changed when I started my new job. For the past few weeks, my pain has been so elevated, that I can barely complete my job duties, I can barely walk or stand up straight. So not only am I going to see my doctor (as soon as they pick up the damn phone so I can make an appointment), I also invested some time (researching), and money into a back brace and a pair of compression knee “sleeves”. I have high hopes that these will decrease my pain to tolerable levels.
Enough about me, I just like to complain a little extra when I’m in so much pain. What a lot of mental illness “skeptics” (instead of the slew of nasty things I can call them) don’t really understand or even believe in, is that mental illnesses can often have physical pain as a symptom. Anxiety for example, tenses all your muscles, making it far easier for serious injuries to occur. That isn’t even considering the pain that is felt once your muscles relax after being tensed up for so long. Or even depression can make our pain receptors much more sensitive, meaning that stubbing your toe on the coffee table, can feel like someone smashed your foot with a sledgehammer. Not only are our receptors more receptive (lol I’m so punny), but since depression takes all the motivation to do just about anything, moving after being at rest for so long can injure your muscles as well. Like I said in the beginning, mental illness is often referred to as “invisible” pain, as it causes pain that cannot be seen, as much as say a broken arm. I want to contradict that belief, in that mental illness is a very visible pain, so long as you observe someone long enough. It takes away our energy, our strength, our motivation, we look obviously unkempt, there are many noticeable symptoms of mental illness, so long as you care to look. That’s the thing that really irks me about the “non-believers” of mental illness. Like there was an extremely noticeable difference in me, once my depression began to fade. Many of the symptoms of anxiety are physical, therefore visible. I just don’t get how people can still not comprehend mental illness. Like, HELLO, my heart is racing, I’m shaking violently, I’m sweating profusely, I’m breathing like I just beat Usain Bolt in a race, but sure some sunshine and prayers will fix me right up. Total and utter bull, and there is really no nice way to say it either.
The thing that I really hate about physical pain, is that it is cyclical. Once you’re in physical pain, just the wrong motion, can multiply the pain exponentially. Also, you’re in pain so you feel crappy, and because you feel crappy you’re in more pain. It just turns itself into this wheel of awful. Yet, there are people that want to still deny all of this. I can have the “gel” between my spine bones basically explode, but no, I’m too young to have major back pain. I have heard this time and time again, and it really pisses me off. I imagine if you went to a “professional” for help, and they just dismissed you, it would piss you off too. That, in my opinion, is probably the worst part of having mental illness. Not only did you work up the courage to admit that you have a problem that you can’t fix on your own, but you went out of your way to seek professional help, just to have this “professional” not believe you. This doesn’t even only apply to mental health doctors either, it goes all the way across the board. Good example, my brother has some undiagnosed gastrointestinal problems, that he has seen several doctors for, even a specialist. They ran dozens of difficult and invasive tests, because he exhibited all the symptoms of a certain illness, and even went as far as to diagnose him with this illness. When he was still experiencing symptoms, even with the treatment plan in place, they ran the blood test for the illness they diagnosed him with, and they all came back negative. EXCUSE ME?! You couldn’t run the blood tests first? No, you had to stick a camera all up in his GI tract, because duh, “trust me, I’m a doctor.” I know that they did it this way so that they could make more money, but it also speaks to the ineptness of modern doctors, and the whole healthcare industry. Ugh, calling it an industry just made me nauseous. There really shouldn’t be a way to profit off of treating someones poor health, but what do I know, I’m just some random mental health blogger.
Anywho, if you’ve experienced both mental/emotional and physical pain at the same time, you know how they can “play” off of each other. Unfortunately, I have to be the one that informs you that even if you take care of one of them, the other will probably just get worse. Why? Because f*ck you that’s why (not really, I love all of you). I think that wraps this one up, because well, I’m kinda outta ideas regarding physical pain. SO, from my mind to yours, Alan Wolfgang, signing off.