No. I’m not angry. No. I’m not hangry. I’m paingry.
A whole lot of paingry. I’m paingry because my back is spasming (again). I’m paingry because this pain flare-up seems to have no end in sight. And I’m paingry because I’m not motivated to finish this article.
There. I said it.
Yep. All caps PAINGRY.
Chronic pain SUCKS.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Whether you’ve suffered for three weeks, six months, 25 years, or longer, chronic pain can, and more often than not does, take a toll on your mental health.
It is not something to be ashamed of.
Studies show people with chronic pain experience depression and increased anxiety at twice the rate of the general population, often resulting in a lower health-related quality of life.
Living with chronic pain is often stressful. Daily pain equals daily stress. Daily, or chronic, stress can change the levels of hormones and neurochemicals within your brain, affecting your mood, thinking and behaviors. Picture chronic pain and stress like a computer virus attacking and damaging your central processor.
In other words, depression, anxiety, and moodiness is the result of altered brain-biology and is not something people with chronic pain can control.
It is not something I can control. Much to my dismay.
The mind and body are connected.
When one is malfunctioning, the other is usually not too far behind. Pain can cause mental illness, and mental illness can cause pain. Vicious meet cycle. Not the merry-go-round you want to be on, my friends.
Unfortunately, sometimes diagnosing and treating chronic pain conditions and associated mental health problems tests the medical community’s skills and abilities. Add in personal biases, heavy patient loads, and long wait times for referrals, and some patients may suffer for months or even years without proper physical and/or mental care.
Now add to that the general population’s lack of understanding of what people with chronic pain go through daily, and it’s no wonder we sometimes get PAINGRY.
And warning — unless you want to be on the receiving end of a paingry outburst, telling someone with chronic pain to soldier on is risking a poke at the paingry bear most of us try to keep caged. Putting one foot in front of the other does not fix this shit, especially when that first step results in severe hip pain.
Healthy living is hard work.
Yes, there are things we can do to reduce our stress and improve our pain responses. No, I’m not doing any of those things at the moment.
Exercise – nope.
Healthy eating – nope.
Meditation – nope.
Talk therapy – yes.
Medication – yes.
Listen, I know what I need to do to get where I want to be, but mentally, I’m not ready. And that’s OK. I’ve got time. I just wish I wasn’t so damn paingry with myself, because trust me, there’s no one harder on me than myself.
Yeah. The cycle is vicious, but I’m a paingry bitch, so no worries.
I’ve got this.
How about you? Seeing any increases in your paingry outbursts lately? Have any coping strategies or funny stories to share?