A twitter friend of mine, Denise Doyle @Angeldrd, explained a feeling that I often experience, in the clearest way I have ever heard it described.
She called it a post-pain depression, as people with chronic illnesses spend so much time fighting the pain and struggling to keep it together, that when the pain dissipates, they fall into a state of having no idea what to do with themselves (myself included). Those with constant pain are usually too ill to be on top of their massive pile of responsibilities, which come rushing in at an overwhelming rate when the pain lets up enough for one to feel like a human again.
I know that when I get a break in pain, I instantly feel as though I should be accomplishing something. When I put that kind of pressure on myself, I do slip into a depression, as I don’t feel as though I’m using my reasonably painless time in the most productive manner. These moments are somewhat rare and are incredibly confusing. If I spend my lower pain time relaxing, I feel guilty, even though I should be able to enjoy life once in a blue moon. Instead, I usually channel my energy in these times into cleaning and catching up on my ever growing to-do list.
It’s an odd situation, as the pain from the illnesses instills a depression, due to the awful way that one feels, and then the lack of pain leads to a different kind of depression, where one feels incredibly lost, as it isn’t the way that one normally lives. When I feel less pain, my brain meanly taunts me for not being able to work, for not accomplishing all of my goals, for not fully taking care of myself, for not having many friends, and for not being smart enough to come up with a money making idea. When the illness comes in with a bang again, I actually feel more normal, as it’s the state in which I’ve learned to make some kind of peace.
(Image from WeHeartIt)
Someday, I hope to figure out how to use my healthier moments in a peaceful and successful way. Until then, at least I’ve realized that this is something that I experience, and that I need to work on. Learning is half the battle, right? I think so anyway.
Does anyone else feel this way?