Chronic Pain, Depression and Anxiety - A Vicious Cycle
I know I've spoken of my disabilities in the past, but the way things have been going lately, I feel I must write about it once again. In 2013 I was diagnosed with not only Fibromyalgia, but also Anxiety, Depression and IBS. Until recently, many thought of Fibromyalgia as a "fake" syndrome because there is no test or scan to make the diagnosis. Luckily my diagnosis came after the medical community accepted Fibromyalgia as a real illness, affecting millions each year. There is no cure for Fibro. For many people with Fibro, medications can help with the symptoms and allow them to lead normal lives. Unfortunately, I'm one of those for whom medications/diet/exercise/lifestyle changes don't work well.
I've tried all FDA approved Fibro medications - Cymbalta, Lyrica, Gabapentin, etc... The only one to help mildly is Cymbalta. Though nothing takes any pain away. Pain meds (especially narcotics) do nothing. A combination of Cymbalta, a strong muscle relaxer and an anti-anxiety med allow me a bit of sleep each night, though my sleep is never good. I wake up each day exhausted, as if I never slept. Daily naps don't help much, but are a necessity most days.
With the Fibro came depression. Depression over the loss of my former life, depression from the constant pain and depression from the lack of good sleep. After the depression came the anxiety. That constant dread feeling, no matter how good things may be at any given time. I can no longer drive. Being in public is hard. Then the anxiety makes the depression worse.
Ah, IBS, my "best" friend. Who knew your "guts" would slow down to a halt due to depression and anxiety. And so the vicious cycle began. Pain causes depression which causes anxiety which leads to IBS which causes more pain and so on....
I try every day to break the cycle. Some days are better than others. While I never have a pain free day, there are days where I can function - do housework, work my business and sometimes take the dogs for a walk around the block. Though those days are far and few between. Most days I must choose what can be done. Some days nothing can be done. But I continue to fight each day. Fighting for the cycle to break, fighting for people to see my invisible illnesses, fighting for sleep, fighting for my sanity. I will continue to fight, I will not give up!
Until next time...