The Sadness of Chronic Pain

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I’ve noticed how very quickly my mood changes as a result of the kind of physical pain I experience. I can wake in the morning with an aching body and feel a little down, but often shake it off in a reasonable amount of time. If the pain persists my mood will predictably worsen. If I am having a good day, and I am suddenly or even gradually afflicted, I can almost watch my mood deteriorate as my ability to function does as well. It’s as if I am watching a movie of someone else, like an outer body experience, because as it happens, I feel so utterly and completely out of control.

What amazes me most is how rapidly my affect deteriorates based on the severity of the pain. It feels so sudden at times, and I feel so very helpless. Most typically when the pain sets in, my demeanor will turn melancholy and teary, almost as if a switch has been flipped.

I believe when the pain sets in, so does my fear. The fear and wonder…”Will I be able to enjoy the day with my children? Will I be able to take care of my children the way I want to? Who will I let down today if my pain persists? How long will it last?” That fear takes grip and the sadness is at times a bit overwhelming.

What does physical pain trigger for you? Do you notice a sudden change in mood too? How quickly does it set in?

6 thoughts on “The Sadness of Chronic Pain

  1. You are so brave to put this out into the world. I do not live with chronic pain, but have experienced seasons of it with sciatica during pregnancy and with lower back issues, sometimes lasting weeks or months. And you are so right about the effects of it on your mental and emotional state. It’s so hard to be nice to people when it’s really bad, never mind what you simply have to power through and do in a day. Having to care for a family and a house then there is guilt on top of fear and overwhelm and sadness. All I can do is listen, but I’m so glad when you let me know it’s a bad day so I can hear you, encourage you, and pray. I love you!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing, Amy!

    YES, loud pain days affect my mood. It takes more energy to smile and express positivity when I am experiencing pain. I wear out so much more quickly. I fear I will say something unkind w/o meaning to.

    It’s pretty amazing the shift that happens when I do something to relieve my pain. Suddenly, I’m a human being again. I breathe easier and function better. Life feels so much brighter.

    I definitely move out of my body when I can, too, when I have a flare. Distraction keeps me from being focused on the pain and lets me get some things done. I do need to be present to myself, though, if I want to actually help myself feel better. I also have to take care of my feelings of fear and sadness.

    I love that you are creating such a beautiful life, even while diagnosed with hard stuff. And thank you for reminding me to include anxiety, depression, and ptsd in my (soon-to-come!) website. It’s a gift to share the truth out loud and connect. You are a great gift to the world, and I am grateful for you.

    • I am grateful for you, thank you for your sharing and kindness. I am blessed to know I am not alone and blessed to feel empowered to share my experiences with others! I look forward to your new website!

  3. I definitely see my mood is directly related to how I feel physically. It seems like lately because I’ve had so few good days I’m getting used to my current state… but when I have days that I start out feeling good then get worse as the day goes, my mood is that much worse. It’s like I get psyched-out. Like “oh yeah, things are getting better”, then BOOM – “psych!”.

    Today I woke up with a sore throat but otherwise felt about like I have lately and just the sore throat was enough to throw me into a funk and feeling crabby and crappy.

    • Thank you very much for commenting and sharing. It is definitely tough to regulate our moods in response to our pain! And I understand what you mean about getting “psyched-out”, that feeling really stinks.

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