Chronic Pain and Mental Health

Since May I have been dealing with lower back pain. At the beginning it was severe and prevented me from functioning normally.

A couple weeks ago I finished up my sessions with my chiropractor (my insurance has run out and I don’t have any more visits left) I was feeling awesome. Literally the next day I was in pain. The pain continues to get worse and it is incredibly frustrating.

I don’t want to go back to the chiropractor, with weekly visits the money really adds up. Sadly it is a luxury to try and receive the medical care that I need.

It makes me so frustrated that I have to live with this chronic pain. I can’t live my life to the fullest because of my back pain. I can’t exercise to the level I desire. Cleaning my bath tub makes the pain so uncomfortable that I end up neglecting it for ages because I don’t want to be in anymore pain. Even going to work and sitting in meetings is painful.

My depression tells me that this pain will be forever. That I will always have to deal with this struggle and not be able to function at full capacity ever again. I won’t ever get to live a pain free life because my body decided to revolt against me.

I’m starting to believe my depression. It’s been months and I have been going up and down with my pain. I want it to stop, I want to move on from this and be happy.

But maybe that’s all just a fantasy.

In Control for a Day

As I’ve written about in previous posts, I’ve been working through a difficult bout of emotional/stress binge eating.

For the first time in weeks, today I felt in control. It was odd but also great! My mind partially wanted to dive into my bingey habits but I was able to resist them and focus on other tasks at work.

I ate a large soft pretzel as a mid-morning snack which held me over for hours. It seems that if I have something hearty and sustaining the urge to binge isn’t nearly as strong.My body and mind recognize that I’m full and I don’t need anything more.

I feel proud of myself for being in control today! I got a little snackish (a term meaning you want to eat a lot of snacks) once I got home from work. I had some control over myself so I didn’t go crazy.

Keeping up the control is going to be challenging but I hope that I can do it!

Leave me a comment about the best part of your week! I would love to hear how you all are doing 🙂

P.S. — The photo is Animal in “The Muppets Movie” from a few years ago when he’s in anger management and says, “In control.”  Here’s a video clip for reference.

Turning to Food for Comfort

For most of my life I’ve struggled with my weight. For years I took comfort in food which naturally resulted in weight gain.

I’ve hit this point in my life again.

For years if I was struggling with depression or anxiety I couldn’t eat. My stomach would be in knots or I wouldn’t be hungry. Now it’s the total opposite, like I’ve gone back to old habits.

I’m trying to lose weight for my brother’s wedding but my issue with food is very much getting in the way of that. I also am still recovering from a lower back issue so I can only exercise at a very low intensity with breaks between workouts.

Imagine if your 90 year-old grammy was exercising. It’s like that. (I love my 90 year-old grammy just for the record!)

I’m going through a period of depression and anxiety so I know why I’m comfort eating, but I don’t know why my body has switched from under eating to overeating.

What about you? Do you have a challenging relationship with food?

 

 

Crying during Yoga

I haven’t done any exercise in two months due to lower back pain that prevented me from doing anything mildly strenuous. I’m a little sore today from doing a very low intensity yoga routine from Yoga with Adrienne. I love her!

I want to get back into exercising but I want to take it really slow. So I turned on a recent video of hers called “Slow Your Roll,” which sounded perfect for my sensitive condition.

The one part of the routine she asked us to sit and bring our knees to our chests then give our legs a hug while resting our heads on our knees. I started crying immediately. Then Adrienne said something along the lines that if we are feeling emotional in this position it’s ok.

It’s like she knew!

It must have been the act of a self hug. I recently watched a video from someone who was talking about a scene in one of my favorite animes where a character gives himself a self hug. In the show, the character was overwhelmed by past trauma and went to a secluded place where he is on the ground hugging himself. kyo

I thought about that scene and how much I resonated with it like never before. The anime is “Fruits Basket” if you’re curious. (If you like this anime/manga, comment me your favorite character! I love Tohru, Prince Yuki and Momiji best.)

ANYWAY,  back to yoga.

It is incredible that one yoga routine could bring up such intense emotions for me.

Has this sort of thing ever happened to you? If so, leave me a comment below please!

Hope you guys all have a great week that involves far less crying than me. It’s only Monday morning and I’ve cried so much already!

Feeling Insecure

Maybe it’s just me but seeing perfect celebrities makes me feel like shit. I look at these women who are totally perfect (whether they are naturally that way, have a whole team putting them together or they had surgery to get there) I feel so much less than.

If somebody talks about how attractive and sexy a superstar like Beyonce or Nicki Minaj are I think to myself, “I’ll never look like that. What can I offer the world if I don’t look like her?”

I shouldn’t compare myself to these superstars but sometimes I do.

For most of my life I have compared myself to my peers in school and university. I would usually envy how thin they were compared to me, how they dress better than me or how naturally beautiful they were without the need for makeup. It was pretty difficult because I didn’t feel beautiful until my early 20s.

It also goes beyond just celebrities. Instagram can be a positive place but also one where perfect people go to show the world how perfect they are. I scroll through on the discover page and see women that I will never ever look like.

It makes me jealous, insecure and feel like a frumpy slug.

I asked myself, “Why can’t I look like that?” too often. It’s really not great for my mental health.

I sometimes think that if I looked more like some of the girls on Instagram that people would like me more. That my boyfriend would love me more if I looked that way. That he is settling for a frumpy slug when out there I’m sure is an Instagram model looking woman that he could be with.

I even consider deleting my makeup Instagram that I have put so much time and money into because I don’t think I’m pretty or talented enough compared to the others out there.

How does the Internet and social media apps like Insta effect your mental health? Does it ever make you feel insecure about yourself?

Next post is going to be more positive! I’ll write a positive rebuttal to this post so keep your eyes peeled for that soon!

Speaking Up is Hard

This post is inspired by autumnskiesblog’s post on The Bipolar Writer. She wrote about how it is difficult for her to speak when somebody asks her a question or for her input. I relate to this so much so I wanted to share my experience too.

All throughout school I would almost never raise my hand to answer a question. Getting called on out of the blue was a fate as bad as getting yelled at by the teacher. Teachers felt like they had to call on me because I rarely raised my hand. I either didn’t have anything to say or I was nervous that my answer was wrong.

In college it was the same. One of my professors actually confronted me about it. Her name was Dr. Simcox, very smart and serious woman, who wondered why I never contributed in class. I flat out told her the truth.

I said, “I don’t have anything to say and I don’t want to get the answer wrong.”

I have always been afraid of sounding stupid or saying the wrong thing in front of a lot of people. Oddly enough I didn’t have those worries when I performed minor roles in the plays in high school.

Those fears have stayed with me all of my life. The fear of speaking up (even if it would mean something positive could happen for myself) has held me back. I often leave a situation regretting that I didn’t say something that I wanted to.

I’ve worked with my therapist to try to speak up in meetings at work or in general conversations with other humans. The conversations with my cats go very differently.

Yesterday I found the courage to speak up in a meeting. I don’t know where it came from but I opened my mouth and gave my opinion. My idea was shot down but I think that was good practice to realize that if I’m wrong about something, I can survive it.

Seeing My Past

Monday was the first time it was warm enough to be wearing shorts this year where I live in America. It is always exciting when it starts to feel like spring especially when it is around my birthday (which is this Saturday)!

I was sitting in my boyfriend’s car while he went to get us pizza for dinner. I looked down at my legs which were covered in scars. Sadly they have not faded like I hoped that they would.

*Before you go any further please check yourself because I’m going to talk about self-harm. If you are not in the place to read something like this please check out a different post of mine! Like this or this.*

They’re scars from 2016 when I was really struggling with self-harm during my episode of severe depression. During that time I didn’t care what my body looked like, I wanted the relief that cutting brought to me at my lowest point.

I don’t regret doing what I did to myself during those horrible months. I regret other times that I have self-harmed but not then.

“But Megan why?” you might ask.

A great question! I was having constant suicidal thoughts, wasn’t eating and wanted all of the pain I was in to end. My mind told me that the only way for me to escape my suicidal thoughts was to end my life.  So instead of doing that, I cut myself.

I had been struggling with self-harm for 5 years at that point so this negative coping skill was one that I was very familiar with.

I’m not encouraging anybody to self-harm as a way to cope with mental illness. But as I reflect back on that time in my life, I give myself a pass. I wasn’t myself, my mind wasn’t functioning properly at all.

Even though I am left with the scars on my body, I forgive myself for it all.

I don’t think forgiveness is spoken about much among people who struggle with self-harm. It really should be though! We have to forgive ourselves for what we did when we weren’t feeling mentally well. We forgive then try to find a different coping skill next time.

I still have scars from when I began cutting at 18 so I know these will not fade for a long time. I have to accept my past, love myself despite my challenges and be confident even though my past pain is carved onto my body.

If you struggle with self-harm, have you forgiven yourself? If not, what’s holding you back? Leave me a comment please!