[Image: 6-piece blue colored background with a Siamese cat with blue eyes. Text reads: “See people on Chronic Illness Cat’s Tumblr who are physically ill. Feel like a whiner because there’s nothing physically wrong with you.”
Um, it depends on how you define “physical”: depression and other mental illnesses are physical illnesses, since they involve the brain, which is a physical organ.
Also, I don’t see how my pain (both physical and emotional) in any way diminishs your pain. Yes, you might have problems that seem to have less of an impact on your life than those of people who have posted to this blog have on their lives, but that doesn’t mean, in absolute terms, that your problems are any less real or troublesome to you than they were before you started following this blog.
So please be kind to yourself, recognize your own pain, and remember that you have a right to your feelings and a right to express them when you feel the need. Yes, be grateful it isn’t worse, and be sensitive to others’ pain and be willing to listen to them, too. But please don’t stifle the expression of your own feelings, just because you feel that other people seem to have it worse.
If you do decide to hold back on expressing frustration about your own issues, do it because you are easily able to express gratitude for the good things in your life instead. But if things are so bad that this isn’t possible, then be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up with labels like “whiner” or “complainer” when you need to give voice to your own experience.
[Image: 6-piece blue colored background with a Siamese cat with blue eyes. Text reads: “Prescribed prozac for social anxiety disorder. Can’t stand without fainting”]
SRI’s are supposed to help POTS patients but apparently not me. Now I get to choose between being too afraid to ever leave my room without having a panic attack or not feeling anxious and wanting to go out but being unable to stand.
I’ve been on many different SSRIs over the years and some of them made my POTS worse, while others made the symptoms better. It might be a good idea to ask your doctor about trying a different SSRI, or even a SSNRI (selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) or an SNDRI (selective serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor).
[Image: 6-piece blue colored background with a Siamese cat with blue eyes. Text reads: (top) Sister sees Cymbalta bottle in med pile (bottom) Begins singing commercial to you.]
One day my ten year old sister saw my Cymbalta prescription and said, “oooh, you take Cymbalta? Do you have pain? Cymbalta can help!”
Yes, I have pain. Cymbalta isn’t really helping, though.
I’ve never seen the commercial for Cymbalta. I take it for depression and it helps with my POTS symptoms and brain-fog, to some extent, but I don’t know if it’s all that helpful for pain. I’ve been taking gabapentin successfully for pain since 1999, and only started taking Cymbalta in 2006 for depression. It was the first anti-depressant that ever really worked for me, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work for another person. Our bodies are all so different. At least for now, it’s too complex to know who will react to what drugs in what ways. Supposedly, someday they’ll be able to predict that kind of thing and get people on the most helpful drugs for them with the least amount of side-effects, just by examining their genetic code, or some such. But that’s probably a long way off.
[Image: 6-piece blue colored background with a Siamese cat with blue eyes. Top text reads: “compulsively picks at eczema…eczema gets worse” Bottom text reads: “eczema gets worse…further fuels compulsive skin picking”]
Yeah, dermatillomania + eczema = a perpetual cycle of frustration. :(
[Image: 6-piece blue colored background with a Siamese cat with blue eyes. Top text reads: “But it’s the 25th of December, can’t you just—” Bottom text a in large bold font reads: “NO.”]
Wow, that sux. I know yours and my experiences are probably different, since we’re different people, but I’ve had experiences something like that, too. One time at university, for example, I had a panic attack when I was walking across campus to see a student I was tutoring, and there wasn’t anything on my mind in particular. When I was almost at the building, my body just suddenly went into full panic for no reason that I could figure out, and I went into the building and sat with my head between my knees hoping it would pass, but eventually had to run into the bathroom where I lost my lunch. I was so physically overwhelmed that I couldn’t make the tutoring session, and my student actually came and comforted me and told me all about one of her favorite French books, which was awesome because it got my mind off what my body was doing and I was finally able to physically calm down.
I think in the case of my panik attacks, the key to avoiding them wasn’t to observe what I was thinking about at the time I was having one, since my mind tended to do pretty much what yours does: cataloging symptoms and thinking about other random things at the same time. For me, the key to avoiding panic attacks was to lessen my overall level of anxiety, and to do that, not only did I need to learn to avoid certain anxiety-inducing situations in my life, but I needed to alter how I thought about things during the whole day, even when I wasn’t feeling like I was about to have a panic attack, but when I was just feeling my usual level of anxiety. (It also helped that I finally got on the right medications over the years and got a better living situation.)
If I were you, I’d tell your therapist what you wrote above. If they are a good therapist, they won’t pressure you into just telling you what they want to hear, but they’ll really listen and help you find other approaches to the problem.
*hugs* I hope it goes well tomorrow.