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?