Where to start? I’ve not posted in a few weeks, partly because of moving into my own place at last ☺ but also because I’ve been sliding into a dark place mentally. It’s kind of ironic to think you’ve hit the bottom then find actually there’s a way further to fall.
So here I am, I promised myself when I started this blog I would always be honest, and being an advocate of openness about mental health it would be hypocritical to hide my own black spaces. This is tough both to put out there, and to put into words, but bear with me…..
I think most people with chronic illness are probably aware of the pain cycle, but in it’s simplest terms….
(pain = low mood = depression = increased pain = lack sleep = fatigue = low mood = pain)
…. our thoughts and feelings can very much affect how we feel physically, and vice versa.
These happen in no particular order, but each symptom impacts the next, so the pain felt increases, and the mood lowers further. This is not to say for a moment the pain is not real, but that our perception of its impact on our lives affects it’s actual impact.
I had high hopes (perhaps too high) that once I’d moved into my new place I would suddenly start to feel better, logic would certainly dictate that being homeless was a stressor, which has been removed. Instead, I’ve been almost free-falling. Thankfully I’ve learnt to recognise over the past three years or so when my mood is dipping, and after a bad anxiety attack yesterday, (and some prompting from my online RA family – thank you squeakers) I made an emergency appointment with my lovely GP this evening.
“I don’t know how to do this anymore” were my first words to her. Thankfully she wasn’t phased by this, she knows me pretty well. I had just reached a very dark place where all I could see is pain and exhaustion forever, and I don’t know how to live with that – thinking about it now I doubt anyone could, that’s a pretty bleak outlook. Fortunately somewhere deep inside I am fully aware that depression is a huge LIAR.
So next steps… Improve mood, to improve sleep, to improve energy, to improve mood…. You get the picture. Doesn’t it sound easy, especially as my condition causes fatigue! This is going to mean a change in anti depressant as these are no longer working for me, and this indicates a few weeks of me being a basket case, but I know it will pass. I ask forgiveness in advance if you meet this slightly deranged me 😈
The pain will hopefully be dealt with at least in part by my rheumatologist next week, I strongly suspect I have fibromyalgia as well as RA, but that will be diagnosed or not and treated as well as we can.
I have so many medical appointments over the next month it’s crazy, between the GP, rheumatologist, hand physio, general physio, hydrotherapy, musculoskeletal physio, blood tests, and pain management psychologist I’m busy! Yet I will be making a call tomorrow to add on one more, to access some talking therapy (CBT) so I’m doing all I can to support my return to a strong place mentally and physically in time. I have nothing but praise for our fabulous NHS, I’m so grateful for the very thorough support.
As an aside tonight I have done something I’d not realised I’d stopped doing, and that’s listen to music. I don’t think I’ve put a CD on since June, which is really unusual for me, music has always been so important to me. I’ve been digging through my collection, hitting the volume up and simply listening, after about three hours of some of my favourite chilled tunes I’m feeling almost purged, though I suspect admitting I need help has helped hugely.
Please, if you are reading this and feel in any way you recognise yourself, reach out, help is there.
Love & light as always 💙