Depression, chronic pain, panic disorders, and eating disorders are all like a double edged sword with no winning; especially coupling them all together into one horrible, wretched scenario. That is, at least until you get your twenty minutes of solace each day. We all know there are those twenty good minutes to remind us that there must be some sense of hope, until, we are torn to absolute shreds again. Dealing with depression or anxiety with chronic pain is worse than anything I’ve ever had to just “wait out.” And that’s exactly what it is… a waiting game! Who wins? Whoever doesn't pull the trigger first!
What made my mental illness the worst, ever? There was one scenario that almost killed me with physical pain, ultimately almost killing me with mental pain… but what would win first?
During a time in my life I suffered from an auto-immune disorder that gave me full body nerve damage(Guillan-Barre Syndrome); it felt like my body was on fire at all possible moments. But, there were those times that were lesser in pain than the others. It almost killed me and that fear of being dead drove me into a deep depression that was spiked by a panic disorder whenever the pain would spike too. There was no controlling it and there was no guessing when it would happen. And if I did try to guess it I would send myself into a panic disorder all over again, therefor making the pain worse just by panicking! Talk about the double edged sword, right? Sheesh!
The problem with my panic and depression was that the highs and lows were so bad that I’m not sure whether the pain was going to kill me, or if I was going to kill me. Not to mention being unable to function in a somewhat "normal" life without looking or bursting out into sociopathic tendencies; at least that's what I felt I looked and acted like! But the weirdest part of it was that I wanted to not live through this, but also, I truly didn’t want to die from it either! Limbo sucked! So which side of the sword do I grab?
My problems seemed to run in cycles. I would worry about dying and that the pain or nerve damage would kill me, as in a way of not wanting to die. But then when the pain came I would want so badly for something greater than myself to take it away, whether that was death or not…
All I know though is that drugs, addiction tendencies, and eating disorders (mostly eating disorders since I was now a couple years clean) got me to this point. So I knew that I couldn’t use again or else I’d have to start all over. But my God! Was it so tempting to try and find something to take the pain away! I think though, that the only time I really threatened anything was the day I ended up checking myself into inpatient rehab at the mental hospital. It was one of those, “You end it or I will…” type scenarios!
But thank God I was too scared to do anything…
I waited and I waited, and I waited. The doctors couldn’t physically see anything wrong, although they knew that it was there because of nerve testing. They also wouldn’t give me any drugs for it because of my addiction problem and always triggered to use heroin or opiates in some way or form when my panic disorder did go off. I guess though, that I am blessed knowing that waiting it out is what saved my life. I didn’t really think of whether or not things would be better if I was gone, like most people say… I just wanted the pain to go away. And if those twenty minutes of good times started to show even seconds of increase in helping me get by, then I knew it would eventually go away… just for how long?
I’d say that this was the hardest thing I had to go through when recovering from anorexia and mental illnesses, which is what the doctor’s attributed the auto-immune disorder and panic disorder to, along side a stomach infection. But, I did become stronger from it too. I realized that if I could wait this out, each and every dreading hurtful second, then I knew that I didn’t have to use drugs or go back to my eating disorders, or kill myself for it to get better. What I really needed to do was find recovery…
I started working on myself and with working on myself I started working out, a lot! I started strength training to get some muscle back on my depleted bones after the anorexia and nerve damage had taken its toll… this was six months into my pain but I knew that the twenty minutes had lasted at least an hour of goodness during my workouts and started to carry over that much more. And heck! I started to get hungry after my workouts, so no matter how painful the anorexia told me that it was to eat, I was just so damn hungry!
So, I’m here and I’m living proof to tell you that panic attacks, depression, and chronic pain, even if coupled all together will have a way out… and that way is not death! That way for me was earning some sense of recovery, no matter the cost or time… I was done giving into demonizing ways, so I waited for the right moment to make it better, and I struck gold! Today I’m eating a healthy diet, hitting the gym every day, and as it took a few years for all of the nerve damage to go away (headaches too), it is truly gone and I’m so healthy and so very strong inside and out!
The truth to take from this is to never, ever, give up! I didn’t and each second I waited on doing something stupid gained me that much more time to do something smarter and healthier… IT CAN BE DONE! JUST NEVER GIVE UP!