It is almost impossible to dicuss emotional states and chronic pain seperately. Expecially when you are talking about migraines and even fibromyalgia. So I have this issue with depression and occasionally anxiety… both tied to chronic migraines. But prior to a migraine as someone mentioned on my Facebook page is the prodrome stage where those states are quite common. In fact I’m quite aware of the fact I get depressed before some migraines because it is a very weird, non factual depression… as in non-situational… it just is and I know it will pass when the migraine does. But it can be a rather intense depression or a melancholy I need to sleep for a day depression. The intense sort is nasty and dark but at least I recognize it for what it is, but it is not a nice feeling.
Just like when I get a manic migraine… that sort of hyper, jittery state I get in where I have a billion thoughts and talk a mile a minute. And those ones I actually don’t mind. I mean I annoy myself with all the chatter that comes out of my mouth without thinking first, but I get a lot of work done. I mean a lot. And I am very creative during those migraines.
The first couple episodes of anxiety I ever felt came on from the migraine associated vertigo while driving… because I was driving with vertigo, and I could not focus my eyes, and I felt like I was falling, and things were distorted and it was freaky… so yeah that made me have some anxiety. Second issue is that fibromyalgia sort of makes it easy for your body to be hyper vigilent and react quickly so if you have an anxiety response it is damned easy for your body to have a bad one, and likely for it to happen again. A lot of people with FM have this problem. I have never had it, but I have had the symptoms of it… as in physical responses that have been over reactions to stimulus just not the anxiety associated with it. At least not until I added in the chronic migraines and thinking about returning to work… and a future being consumed by that pain. Like driving with MAV… that triggered the same anxiety response.
Everyone from doctors, to neuros, to psychologists concur that my depression isn’t a chronic depression because it isn’t a depression that sticks around and it doesn’t have the same characteristics of that sort of depression. It is basically connected directly to how much pain I’m in. If I’m having a long status migraine… I’m depressed. But is that because of the Pain… or the Migraine… or Both? Chicken meet egg. Certainly the depressed thoughts are All about the Pain. As in gee I wish I were not in so much freaking pain. As soon as the pain goes down a few notches on the pain scale the depression is poof gone because I can once again use my ability to reason.
Anxiety is a little more tricky because it is future related, it is about a fear, or anticipation I will be put into a situation where the pain will be worse forever and ever… but again when I get the anxiety (because again chronic migraine person here) I am usually either getting a migraine, have a migraine, or getting over a migraine. So is the anxiety caused by the Migraine or even the FM or just Me or all Three? The reason I think this one might be a little tricky is that I was doing a bit of research on it related to FM and how our system is a jacked up and it turns out you can actually be in a state of anxiety physically and not know it… as in physically have symptoms of it, but not have the panic or fear. Racing heart rate, trembling, vision that is shaky, palpitations… things that people with FM can have erratically or when stressed. It is possible if I think of anything that bothers me, anything that causes me fear or worry, and I was in this pre-anxiety state it would take much to jab me into a physical response of anxiety. And even if I calmed my emotions down quickly my physical body might stay jacked up for quite a bit longer. So I know thinking about this one thing causes anxiety sometimes… but I have had situations where I have thought about my youngest brother being ill and possibly dying that distressed me greatly and I had a similar physical response. My body reacts to fearful thoughts like lightning. And even when I’m calm emotionally my body remains agitated. When the FM body reacts to stress it goes overboard, because it is already hyped up to begin with, and the few situations where I was in a real stressful situation I was a shaking, palpitations, wired wreck for days. It actually gave me chest pains. Oh, and I remember long ago I once broke up with my boyfriend and the stress of that situation which was unpleasant to say the least made me sick for a week… shaking and trembling, palpitations, migraines, lots of nausea and so ill I could eat anything but peppermint tea and I ached everywhere. Yeah, we are physically not well equipped for stress. We i think we have a wire thin trigger for anxiety if the event that causes the stress also causes an emotional reaction.
So doctors and shrinks and all of us concur that we have to deal with emotional issues because they are dangerous to us. They make it harder for us to cope with conditions that frankly are already hard enough to cope with. And they can in fact make things worse. Granted. But these emotional states are also caused by the conditions themselves… they are symptoms that arise from the condition. Doesn’t mean we still don’t have to deal with them and try to handle them in whatever way works for us, but damn that makes it a bit more complicated doesn’t it? And here is the thing… they can’t cure my migraines, or apparently even get them down to 15 a month so if my depression is related to pain levels or the migraines themselves, then it is going to go something like this; depressed, not depressed, depressed and anxious, not depressed or anxious, depressed again, not again. Awesome. So our brains are wired for pain, but apparently wired for emotions too, it is comingled. And besides that because pain sucks we do have emotional responses all our own to complicate it even further. https://w.atcontent.com/-/1gr40nkeIfl/nikki.albert/2GbRZHsOmfy.text/Panel/Autocheck