All this time I’ve been talking about depression but haven’t discussed what everyone really knows me for – migraines. I started to get headaches around 4th grade and they intensified around puberty. When I was 18, I was finally diagnosed with migraines. This diagnoses came after tons of absences from school, a lot of after school make up and a lot of what seemed like judgement from my teachers. Not to mention a lot of frustration from my mother who just wanted to help me.
I bring this up because often with depression comes chronic pain and some doctors question which comes first – do you get depression because of the chronic pain or are depressed people prone to the pain. Research from this site says that anywhere from 30 to 50% of people with chronic pain also struggle with depression and anxiety.
And what really, super sucks for me is that my pain was invisible to (most) people.
It didn’t really affect me until later in high school and in college. As mentioned early, I missed tons of class. My friends thought I was blowing them off when I inevitably broke plans. I had to register with the Student with Disabilities office in college to get absence leniency, but that actually got me more eye rolls than anything once my “disability” was revealed to my professors.
What they didn’t know is that my migraines were so bad I’d have to go to the ER if my abortive meds didn’t work, which they often didn’t. I would be in pain and/or throwing up for days. My eye would twitch and eye lid sag. My whole body hurt – not just my head. Then I would get depressed because I missed so much class. Then came the anxiety. Then came on more migraines because of the stress of missing class.
When I entered the workforce, it was so much harder. My bosses didn’t understand. And really how could they? Unless I threw up and passed out on the floor (which one time I did) there really wasn’t much to see. I got written up. My coworkers got irritated that they had to cover for me. It was a mess. Then I would get depressed because I missed so much work. Then came the anxiety. Then came on more migraines because of the stress.
Thankfully, my migraines improved after I had children. What’s funny is that I recently tried some ketamine infusion treatments for my depression, which didn’t happen to work for that, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t (almost) cure my migraines. I rarely have a bad one and I NEVER go to the ER now. But I’d trade migraines for no depression anytime. Too bad I couldn’t choose.
On a side note, if you are suffering for chronic pain or depression, I would definitely recommend the ketamine infusion treatments. It’s pricey but so are doctors’ visits, ER visits and medication.
So tell me my depressed brethren – do you experience chronic pain as well?