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Agitated in the bedroom

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Being in pain all the time is hard.

It does make me feel overwhelmed at times, and anxious and yes, even a bit depressed.

Depression was one of the key things that the PMU were focused on. They recommended that I begin taking an antidepressant. I suspected at the time and am now even more certain that they thought I was suffering from Fibromyalgia (FM), which is fine but if they suspected it, why did they not say that. Apart from being completely disrespectful, attempting to medicate someone for a condition without telling them you think they may have it? That’s just irresponsible and wrong. Were they planning to burst out of a cake bearing the slogan “Congratulations, you have Fibromyalgia!” at my review appointment and say “We knew you had it but we wanted it to be a surprise!”?

When I went to see them, I can see how they must’ve thought I was in a pit of deepest, blackest SAD. It was a combination of factors that made me so emotional when I saw them:

  1. It was very intimidating and confronting going through that whole process, it was just horrible, frankly.
  2. I had some of the worst PMS I’ve had in my life. The things that made me cry that week are laughable. Really, I was ridiculous.
  3. I was taking prednisone which makes me crazy (letsgetupat3amandcleanoutthekitchencupboards style) and also makes me cry at the mere thought of something emotionally stirring like oh, let’s say, bagpipe music. NOT joking.
  4. I actually was feeling quite depressed and anxious at that point BECAUSE OF THE PAIN!

Those things probably combined to make me seem like a complete loon and it’s no wonder they wanted me referred to a psychiatrist. I don’t blame them because they can only base their assessment on a brief snapshot of who I am.

It’s less easy to excuse the complete disrespect and disregard for the fact that I have never been depressed before (excluding a very bad teenage period). They questioned me about depression, over and over and over and….. you get the picture.

The other thing that I take issue with is the fact that they decided that my feeling depressed must be causing my pain. I tried to say that it was the other way around but they weren’t into that.

Lots of FM research suggests that sufferers commonly experience depression, I accept that, however there are also those who experience no depression or only experience it after the onset of pain.  It may be that antidepressants would help me but I would have to be a LOT further down the road of depressive illness to want to test that theory.

As it is, just the prospect that this medication might give me a bit of life back has changed my outlook completely. It’s amazing what relief it provides to have someone look you in the eye and say “I know you are in pain and we are going to fix it”. Just like that, a great weight lifted. I believe in R and she believes in me, that’s a doctor-patient relationship as it should be.  Trust and respect.

I belong to an RA forum and naturally, many of the RA sufferers there also suffer from FM. It is STAGGERING to hear how many of them have been told by doctors that FM is a fictitious condition created by bored housewives (really). I wonder, if it were a condition that was mostly diagnosed in men instead of women, how would it be treated? I wouldn’t mind betting that men wouldn’t be accused of having a “hysterical” condition and imagining their pain. It’s very frustrating that it’s such a long road for researchers to establish exactly what’s happening in FM but there are plenty of studies to show that there are differences in the central and peripheral nervous systems of FM sufferers. Actual brain differences. I wonder how the housewives managed to imagine that into existence? It surely can’t be a coincidence either, that 20-30% of people who suffer from another chronic pain condition (RA) also end up with FM. Sometimes the FM diagnosis comes first but there must be something going on there that connects the two.

At least I have something to research and get agitated about about whilst I lie here waiting for the medication to start working for the next couple of weeks.


6 responses

  1. Welcome back. This post may still be about your pain but you are sounding like you, the one with sound research, logic and a strong suggestion of fun in amongst the serious. My diagnosis? Things are looking up now that you have a real diagnosis. Hooray.

    Oh and the bagpipe thing – they make me cry even if I am not pms-ing!

    • Thanks. I’m hoping this diagnosis makes all the difference.
      Bagpipes always have an effect on me too. The difference between is getting a bit teary and choking sobs. Hormones are powerful things.

  2. I came here via kim @frogponds rock where your recent comment just made me realise (again) that the blogosphere is a place where women from all over the world connect in such a positive way.

    I really understand this post. Many with the condition I have Ehlers Danlos have alongside FM or were misdiagnosed with it; the EDS missed as its so rare but the symptoms are very much the same as FM. I totally understand what you say with regard to pain and doctors reasons for the cause of pain. Many with EDS have been given a label of hypochondria and undergone much emotional pain as a result. Regardless it does not seem unreasonable either that relentless pain and debilitation would also cause depression. I worry nowadays, that if I say to the doctor I am really really really fed up with all of this that then my condition won’t be treated effectively because I will have a label of depression. If that makes sense. I have as many do with EDS, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and other fun stuff!

    Sometimes I suprise myself at the things I say in a comment as I am in non virtual life a private person but your comment over at Kim’s made me trust you. Your honesty, integrity and intelligence shone through. So despite that in life, pms is like an angry lion, in this virtual world the real you shines through.

    I have put your blog in my reader so that I can take time to read your story. In the meantime, I understand pain, my life is pain so I will never mind if all you do post after post is talk about it because here in the blogosphere, we can talk of it, emotional and physical and I find myself continually staggered at the empathy and understanding. So today is a good day because I have a new blog in my reader. A thing I learnt on a pain management course was to find pleasure in small things and I do have to do that so often. So thank you for your comment at Kim’s which sent me here to find a woman who writes with integrity and intelligence.

    • Thank you. What a lovely comment. Being understood and being heard, that is the wonderful thing about blogging, it brings such a caring community right to your door. I am much the same. I find it difficult to share the challenges of being in pain and being not so well with many people in my everyday life, this community gives me the freedom to share.

  3. “I wonder, if it were a condition that was mostly diagnosed in men instead of women, how would it be treated?”

    I honestly think you’ve hit the nail on the head there.

    At BEST the PMU behaved in a patronizing (patriarchal) and grossly insensitive manner.

    As always, I think your attitude to the meds (anti-depressants in this case) is spot on.

    I really hope the new meds work for you soon. It will be amazing to start feeling more like yourself again.

    • It’s actually really reassuring to have your support. Thank you. It’s sometimes hard to stick to your guns in the face of a bunch of doctors trying to force medication on to you. It’s exhausting.

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