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Updated on April 19, 2011

I heard a comment about pain. It was said that sometimes a person actually manifests physical pain because the psychological pain they have is too difficult to deal with. If that is the case, bring on the physical pain. Let’s get it over with. I thought I had searched every dark corner of my mind, sucked up the remnants of memories and brought them out into the harsh light of reality. I have spent time examining, putting in order, sorting and resorting and I still hurt. I have physical pain now and if it helps get rid of the pain in my mind, I say lets go a few rounds, see who can outlast the other. My own mind has turned on me like a flesh eating bacteria and left me lying in a heap of confusion, guilt, and emptiness. It has stolen my energy, my joy and my ability to function outside the walls of this self-imposed prison. I am sick to death of the irrational fear that grips me, preventing me from the most basic life experiences. What good am I if I can not even leave my home to keep an appointment with the doctor, shop for groceries, attend a birthday party? I am disgusted with what I’ve become, what this disease has cost me and those around me.

It’s not as if I don’t fight back. I keep a positive attitude most of the time hoping for even a short break in the madness. I fill my body with chemical concoctions that have caused rats to die slow deaths. I withstand electric zaps that attack my legs, arms, hands, head or back. Not electric shock therapy but an uncommon side effect of the medications. It feels as if there is a voodoo doll of me in the possession of a most cruel individual who stabs blunted end needles into it on a whim. My mouth is so dry my tongue often cracks and the deep fissures mimic the raw open place in my heart.

It’s not that my life, my experiences are so much more traumatic than anyone else has survived. I have examined the pain causing incidents, understood how they may have shaped my choices in life and then released them, forgiving the perpetrators, not dwelling on past issues. I feel I have read at least as much on the subjects of Depression, Anxiety and PTSD as most who have attained Master’s degrees for their learning. I not only did not gain a diploma for my studies but find knowing a lot about what causes this Hell does little to release me.

They say it is a chemical imbalance in my brain. A malfunction, as if a cog has lost one of its edges and no longer connects properly to turn the next in line of a necessary flow of transmitters and resistors. We add Serotonin and Norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, mix, stir and serve over ice cocktails along with this, or alone. There is too much of one, not enough of another and always, always the explanation. “This is a relatively new area of medicine in comparison to the other diseases.”

Then my mind travels into the conspiracy mode. “They” could fix this but there is entirely too much money to be made from the medications. “They” manage to get products onto the market after the smallest trials imaginable, yet hold back others until the right to manufacture a generic form of their best sellers comes into play and then suddenly the new drug passes through the FDA with flying colors. I held on by my very fingernails while it took more than a year to release the medication I am now taking. It was to be the last hope for me, a concoction we hadn’t tried. I was tapered off the anti-depressant I was on and went through withdrawal symptoms that rivaled that of the most hard core addict. For one day – one brief magical, incredible, bittersweet day before starting the new medication I was back! It was as if I had awakened from a tortuous nightmare and was in a world so excruciatingly beautiful I could barely comprehend its existence. I had unmeasured energy, everything fit and was right. I could laugh and sing. I could listen to music without it bringing back a flood of bad memories. I drove around the whole day going into shops, driving into old neighborhoods. I even ate lunch out in a crowded restaurant. I came home and spent the evening cleaning my poor neglected home, washing windows, cleaning out cupboards and finally, at bedtime took my new medication.

I awoke the next morning and felt pretty good. It didn’t compare with the day before but it wasn’t horrible. And as days went on, I started feeling the side effects. I dug in my heels and did my best to ignore the nausea, head pain – not headache, but my whole head hurt, down to the follicles of my hair. All the while I kept remembering this was the last chance, the one hope where other medications fell short, so I endured. For about three months I did fairly well. I had a little more energy after my body became accustomed to the chemicals. My Anxiety lessened a bit and I was able to leave the house on a more regular basis and my doctor was encouraged that I was moving back toward baseline, my personal best, my level of functioning. We watched for it to climb higher, to exceed what I experienced with the medication I had tapered off of because it had stopped being a beneficial symptom reliever. Well, that is putting it mildly. Actually it had joined the other team and was hell-bent on my destruction. I failed to progress so we added more of the new medication and more, finally surpassing the highest recommended dose. I wanted to feel better. I willed it with all of my strength. I counted every tiny improvement as a major victory and it was like knowing your lover is cheating on you but living in denial because you don’t want the relationship to end. Finally, forced into admitting that this medication was not keeping up with the symptoms, I went back to my doctor and we tried an old friend that had served me well for many years. Maybe it was time for a change in chemical combinations. Just in case, we later added another medication that had some success in boosting the main medication’s ability. Well, I had energy! I also found I could throw and shatter a favorite crystal vase, cuss at my dogs, get into altercations in the grocery store, alienate anyone I came into contact with and tell both of my kids I didn’t give a damn if they understood me or approved of me because I really didn’t like them very well in the first place. I had actually wanted to do that for some time, so it wasn’t a total loss.

All things considered, the new miracle drug seemed as if it had been the better idea. At least it kept me quiet and non-confrontational. So back I went to a lesser dose, hoping if we gave it more time I would reach baseline on the maximum recommended dose this time. We also discussed the obvious. My baseline may very well have changed. I might not ever reach the level of functioning I was once able to achieve. Well, as we get older, there are some things we can no longer accomplish so I try to take this in stride. Weeks turn into months and I find myself less able to leave the house again. My energy is gone and I watch as the house is not properly cleaned, my hair doesn’t get combed, sometimes it doesn’t even get washed. I sleep more and rest less. I have gained even more weight, for a total of sixty pounds added to my short frame over the course of the last fifteen years. I once wore a size three and I now wear Plus sizes and those that give and disguise. I avoid looking in the mirror and on the rare days I can manage to leave my home I feel sorry for inflicting my presence on the world outside. No one should have to look at me or be exposed to my inadequate self and disgusting invasion of their normal space.

By now, I can’t even keep the appointments with my psychiatrist and beg one more refill and make up lies about why I can’t be there. Until finally, there will be no more refills unless I can see her. So, last week I drove into town, wrinkled clothes, less than shiny hair and all, trying to disappear into the chair in the waiting room. She came out to greet me with the warm smile she always has for me and we walk the longest mile back to her office. She says it looks as if spring has arrived and I look out the window and agree, there does seem to be some evidence of that. We discuss the plant in her office that was planted in a coffee cup when I first saw it. It now towers over the file cabinets and threatens to take over the room. I don’t want to say it and neither does she, but she finally offers the only option available that hasn’t brought with it so many side effects my poor body can not withstand; the racing heart, increased blood pressure, sweats, dizziness, nausea, shakes, sleepiness, and the band plays on.

She smiles at me and with her eyes not quite meeting mine, asks if we should bump up the dosage to over the recommended level again and see if that will lessen some of the symptoms. I say,” Sure,” and leave with a brown paper bag of samples to get me by until hopefully my insurance will do a preapproved exception and pay for the increased dose, again, not for my Depression or Anxiety, but for the physical pain of fibromyalgia. Since the last time I was on that dose, it was decided that physical pain is worth the risks involved in taking so much of this medication, but not for the management of Depression.

Funny isn’t it, how “they” decide what is worth paying for and why. Meantime, I’m hoping this means the time is running out on this patent and there is a new miracle drug on its way through the twists and turns of the FDA. Who knows, my road to recovery might be just beyond the next hill.


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  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Just came across your article.Wow! Don't think I'll complain about my ills!

    Doesn't it really make you wonder about a world that can clone people,go to outspace,sit on the bottom of the ocean etc and can't help us when we're in pain? Doesn't make sense to me.

  • Healing Touch profile image

    Laura Arne 

    7 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

    Poohgranma my dear friend,

    Life is so hard some days. I suffer too with depression and anxiety, but you already knew that. I am proud you wrote this because we all care.

    You will help many that have not or do suffer with mental health issues. I believe that none of us in our life time will be spared without some type of emotional or psychological malady. "One day at a time" helps me.

    Love and comfort to you my friend.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    I saw your offer and raised you...ha ha ha You help keep my hear above water dear friend.

  • epigramman profile image


    7 years ago

    ...well I really do admire you my dear friend for your honesty and bravery - I don't there's a person 'out there in the world' who dosen't or hasn't suffered from some sort of depression or anxiety - I think it's called - 'welcome to the human race' ..... all over this planet (made often a small world by the internet) I have met people who have 'money' problems or health issues or conflicts with their spouses, bosses or neighbors - it really does make the world a smaller place when you see and hear these similar situations with other people in different time zones and languages and cultures

    .....this is an essential hub and one that really should be shared and read by everyone - you have covered a lot of emotional and intellectual ground here - I am so proud of you and godspeed to you - and please keep writing - it's a gift to you and a gift to us - and by the way I left you a comment on my piece Benny and Burt's diet!

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    KBD, Steph Harris & lisa - thank you all for your support. I do try not to whine about this crap, believe it or not but sometimes it just gets damn tiresome. I also write the truth of the neglect of self care, housework,the black pit and the hopeless feeling for those who have this disease. No one wants to talk about how bad it gets, when you can't shower, change clothes, sit up for more than maybe half hour at a time until you give in and go back to bed, pulling the coves over your head. I've been on Depression support group sites where people were talking about feeling tired at work and I think, "Amature! You can get dressed? Leave your house, hold down a job?" Yeah it's tough but you can start feeling like a freak when you read about the symptoms of Depression and all of the ads that tell you it's a "quite treatable disease." Well, maybe. Maybe for 85% of the population, but for the rest of us it only makes you feel more responsible for not getting better. You must not be trying hard enough, if you would just ... So I write of the shameful parts of it. It is an ugly, consuming, non-relenting disease for some of us.

    I took a shower today and put on clean clothes, I cut my bangs and put styling gel in my hair. I dressed in clean clothes and I vacuumed 2/3 of my home. I also made a pineapple upside-down cake for desert. I colored and did word find games with my granddaughter and made umpteen trips to the kitchen to get her an apple and some grapes, some Gold Fish crackers, a paper towel, some raspberry tea. I hurt physically so bad right now I could cry, if my meds would let me. I will more than likely have muscle spams in my back and charlie horses in my legs tonight because I am normally so inactive this amount of exercise hurts. But it's like the title says - bring on the pain - the physical pain. And please don't think for one second I am discounting the horrid pain some people have to endure and I'm sure they would want to change places with me, just to get some relief. I am not insensitive to REAL physical pain. It is just more acceptable if there is a cause and if it is not concerning your mood, emotion or God forbid a "mental problem."

  • profile image 

    7 years ago

    This was so heart wrenching. I see myself in so much of what you wrote. I am hoping the pain in your mind and body will see the clouds part and bring sunshine to you again.

  • Steph Harris profile image

    Steph Harris 

    7 years ago from Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

    Dear Pooh my hopes are with you, wishing that the horror of fibromayalgia and your depression could be eased by a wonder drug for you. It really does sound like you are going through some nasty kind of hell. You must be a very strong person.

  • K. Burns Darling profile image

    Kristen Burns-Darling 

    7 years ago from Orange County, California

    Every time I read one of these updates from you, my heart breaks a little; you are such an amazing person, I don't think that you see how incredibly strong you are to endure what you have so far. You are a literal testimonial to the true strength of the human spirit. Hang in there, I have faith, I believe, I am praying for you as are so many others. I will get better, because there is no other acceptable alternative for my wonderful friend.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    Mickey Dee, I know you are hurting too dear soul and having you read and comment is worth its weight in gold to me. Thank-you so ...

    SOH - I wish for that drive too. I have Ali later today, Friday and Monday for her spring break so I know I will hold on for that many days. Maybe the increase in meds will kick in sometime soon. A large dose of her unconditional love is a welcome respite.

  • SomewayOuttaHere profile image


    7 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

    ...ahhh..Pooh..Phoenix...wish i could take it all away...

    ...wish we could for a ride or even a drive with the top down - you and I!...and laugh and be free, just for a moment...

    ..and yes...i hear you loud and clear...the drugs...which one will work?...and bring it all back or most of it back...i like what you said about 'anger means you're still in the fight'! are still in the fight and keep hangin' on and keep writing!'ve got it going on there...i wanna read more about Ali and how she made you feel when you first set eyes on her...your bundle of joy and how she makes you laugh..

    you've many friends here - including me!

    xxoo and a big big hug!

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 

    7 years ago

    Awesomely beautifully done dear Poohgranma. I have difficulty participating anymore. God bless you dear heart.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    Thanks to you all, MT, Hyphenbird and stars. There are some days when I just have to bitch it seems. If I channeled that energy into housework maybe I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed. But this disease, Depression (which I believe needs to be renamed), can be so exhausting and such a thief of who you once were that there are times when it is all I can do to just hold on until ... until???

    That is the most dangerous part of this journey. If there is hope, if you can see light, then holding on is possible. It is when there seems to be no options left, no change on the wind, that you can feel yourself sinking under into the darkness once again. Right now I am angry, furious at what I have become. But that is all right because anger means you're still in the fight. When my emotions flat line and even breathing seems too much to muster the energy to do, that is when you know you are in serious danger.

  • stars439 profile image


    7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    Dear Phoenix : You have been threw a lot in your life. You are always in my prayers, and I hope you can begin to feel better. God Bless You.

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 

    7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Dearest Pooh! My heart just bleeds for you and for others enduring the daily battle with these issues. I am so incredibly sorry and will pray for your release from this bondage of pain and depression. Your Hub will benefit many sufferers!

  • Minnetonka Twin profile image

    Linda Rogers 

    7 years ago from Minnesota

    OOhh Pooh, I am so sad that your going through all of this. I struggle with depression and anxiety but I have many ups now. I have heard so many people that are diagnosed with Fibromayalgia these days. You do wonder don't you Pooh, if these people prescribing meds even know what their doing or if they've ever struggled with any of these issues. I have always been a believer that a therapist or doctor who knows of our plight is much better and much more tuned into us. I know I got into the mental health field as a therapist because I had a tough childhood and could relate to my client's and visa versa. Anyhoo, your on my heart friend and I will pray that a medication will come along and free you. Love Linda:)

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for the well wishes. And yes, it is always my hope to bring education that may help in any way, either the person with these diseases or those who think they know what it's all about.

  • HattieMattieMae profile image


    7 years ago from Europe

    Wow so real and trutful! I hope healing will come to you, to set you free! Love & Light! Thank you for sharing and allowing others to learn about this, they need to be aware, so others are less discriminating and prejudice! :)


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