Geology versus Psychology

13 Oct 2022

The last few weeks have been eventful.  I passed (“gave birth to”) kidney stones and I lost a friendship.

As for the first experience, all I can say is, “ouch.”  Excruciating, searing flank pain, then surgery to remove a big sharp-edged “rock.”  Later, a slurry of smaller stones (gravel?) inched their way down.  Again, “ouch,” and “ouch,” again.  At the hospital as nurse asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 1 – 10.  I said 9.5.  (It could get worse, I reasoned.)  They gave me pain killers, IV fluids, and bed rest. I’m ok.

At the same time, but in no way connected, a close friend told me she felt I hadn’t been supportive over the past few months while her husband went through a health crisis far more serious than mine. I felt terrible. I apologised for letting her down. I promised to do better. I begged her not to give up on our long-standing friendship, but her mind was made up. 

Then, the real pain took over. What would be “painful” for most people, for me, was a trigger that caused me to spiral down into a relapse of depression. Sadness, self-loathing, and low self-esteem overcame me. Mental pain that registered 100 out of 10.  Seems I can more easily endure the physical pain of tiny, jagged knives coursing through my urinary tract compared to the mental torture. Perhaps it’s not a balanced comparison, but for me psychological pain is far more difficult and disabling than physical pain caused by a mere “geological” plumbing disruption in my body.   

Over my 63 years, I’ve had open-heart surgery for a valve replacement, migraines, and a few broken bones – but these are nothing compared to withstanding clinical depression. I’ve come to realise that dealing with mental illness has given me a resilience that helps me deal with physical problems. 

Is it like this for you? Do you feel a separation between physical and mental pain. Are there any benefits you have gained from your mental health challenges? 

Nurse Tilda

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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