Sunday, January 23, 2011

How Does Chronic Pain Effect You Mentally

Those of you who know me, know that I have suffered greatly in my life. Most recently, I suffered anguishing back pain and underwent surgery just over a year ago. I went almost a year relatively pain free. However, almost two weeks ago, my pain began to return. Most people do not understand all the ways that pain effects you. How it consumes you. So I thought that I would do some research for myself.

Today we realize that there is actually a mind-body and body-mind connection representing that communication goes both ways. Pain is a subjective and highly personal experience. How can anyone with a significant degree of chronic pain only be affected physically? Pain makes you feel tired, mentally fuddled, irritable and often depressed. It affects you mentally and emotionally as well as physically.

Pain doesn't just affect the body. It also affects what you can do, how you feel, the quality of your life and those around you. There may be many losses as a result of pain, e.g. job, finances, self-esteem and confidence. Thinking patterns can change, become negative, low and full of frustration. Tempers can become short and memory and concentration poor as a result of long term pain.

An individual’s pain involves and influences various parts of their life: behavioral changes in work, familial relationships, marital relationships, and even parent-child relationships as well as attitudes, expectations, and even religious beliefs.

Pain does not happen in a vacuum; it happens in a person with a personality, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and ways of thinking. Chronic pain complicates people's lives, diminishes their emotional and physical capabilities, questions their coping strategies, and fatigues them and their family and friends. Chronic pain often adds stress that breaks down relationships, leaving a person isolated and alone and feeling no one understands them or their pain. Depression, anger, and anxiety often result from chronic pain.

What can anyone do to help? I don't know that there is anything that anyone can do. I know from personal experience what kind of havoc pain can reek on a life. How you can make bad decisions out of pain. How you can shut down. Even how you can lose some of your religious beliefs. I went almost a year pain free and yet I still never managed to gain myself, the real me, back. (Other things contributed to this, but still, pain changes you.) Just before I had my surgery, I got mad at everyone, even God himself. To this day, I still struggle religiously. It sounds stupid, but I lost that connection and I can't get it back. If you suffer chronic pain, seek help. Get counseling, don't just try to withstand it, don't just try to make it through, get help from a reputable counselor who can help you manage your reaction to pain.

No comments:

Post a Comment