I waited many years for a diagnosis, and now that I finally have one I find myself discomfited. There are… implications that I find troubling, and I am troubled over being troubled.
Over the last 20+ years I have experienced progressively worsening pain that started in my right knee and slowly spread to all of my joints. In addition, I suffer from frequent cluster headaches, occasional migraines, and terrible pain throughout my back and neck that is near constant. There have been times when I have been unable to turn my head or lift my arm due to the intense pain incurred by these simple actions. I have bursitis in my right shoulder, elbow, and hip. My sleep pattern is in complete shambles–either I can’t sleep at all, or I can’t drag myself out of bed. Oh, and I have been fighting an ongoing battle with depression for as long as I can remember.
So which came first? Am I depressed because I’m in pain, or am I in pain because I’m depressed? It’s the latter notion which is causing me to mentally fidget.
Growing up in my house meant following a number of unspoken rules. The one rule that ruled them all was:
Thou shalt not shew thine emotions.
This rule was all-encompassing. As a child I was not hugged or kissed. We did not say things like, “I love you.” That was just icky and weird. My siblings and I would see television sitcom characters express such sentiments and experience an odd creepiness in response. It was so pervasive that even expressions of wonder such as,”Oh! How beautiful!” were distasteful. The only emotion that was ok was anger. We could express anger in any number of unhealthy ways: beating the hell out of one another, demeaning and belittling one another, screaming at one another. You get the idea.
There was abuse that I’m not fully ready to discuss in this forum outside of acknowledging that it occurred. I ended up on my own at a very young age. I did my best to overcome my upbringing. I got married (twice). I have two wonderful children, and I am proud to say that they are happy, healthy children who are confident and secure in the knowledge that they are well loved. I do not hit them or demean them or even raise my voice (well, I rarely raise my voice, anyway). I am proud of the fact that I am, above all else, a good mom. But…
I’m still struggling. I’m still in a lot of physical pain, and it has taken its toll.
I thought that getting a diagnosis, whatever it was, would be a relief. Until now, doctors have basically shrugged their shoulders and told me that they did not know what was wrong with me. For a long while I just plain stopped going to doctors because I felt like they were tacitly suggesting that it was all in my head. It was upsetting. It is NOT all in my head.
Being told that I have fibromyalgia WAS a relief until I started looking into it. Although the cause is unknown, one of the possible triggers is “Physical or emotional trauma”.
Have I fooled myself all this time in thinking that I’m a survivor, that I have overcome the negativity of my youth and moved beyond the abuse? Am I still holding in when I thought I had learned to let it out and let it go? Am I crazy? Sometimes I think I’m crazy.
Therapy would be my best bet at this point, but, you know, therapy is expensive. I can’t afford therapy. So, I’m pinning my hopes on medication right now. I’m hoping that either the depression is the result of physical pain that can be controlled by medication -OR- if it’s the other way around, taking antidepressants will initiate a chain-reaction of awesomeness: I’ll start to feel emotionally better–>my sleep patterns will stabilize–>I’ll feel better physically–>I’ll get my relationship with my husband back on track–>I’ll get back to work–>I’ll be able to afford therapy.
Or something like that.