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:
- It was very intimidating and confronting going through that whole process, it was just horrible, frankly.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.