Pain and depression go hand-in-hand. This is nothing new. Pain is not just physical, it is also emotional. They feed off of each other and there is no way to actually defeat this circle. Medical science does amazing things in today’s world, yet so much is still unknown and out of the reach of man’s abilities. See vicious circle

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The older I get, the more my body feels like it is falling apart. Arthritis, bad back, bad knee, bad hips, nerve damage, migraines, depression…. I personify my body, the pain and the mental issues. The joke is that my demons and I have an understanding. They leave me alone during the day, and I give them free reign at night. Wonderful sense of humor, right? Since I feel there is so little I can do about the mental health aspect of my life, I focus more on the physical.

The last two years of my life have seen me focusing more and more on the physical health aspects. Drink more water, less soda, eat better, move more, etc. Living with physical limitations is a harsh pill to swallow for me. I grind my teeth at the mere thought of it. Yet, the last two years have seen me slowly adjusting to limitations. By slowly, I mean a glacial pace of speed. On the bright side, my body is not attacking me as much as it used to.

No matter how much pain I am in, regardless of the mood I am in, I move. I do something. Even small things like sitting on the couch and crocheting make a difference. My hands are working better than they have in years. There is a fine, gray area between working through the pain and a complete arthritic flare up-but I exist in that gray area without complaint. My back does not give me as many problems as it used to. I cannot remember the last time the spasms were so sever that they woke me up in the dark of night crying. This is cause of celebration.

Yes, I still struggle. Some days are better than others. There are still times when the physical pain is just to much and there is nothing I can do about it. Anyone with a chronic health condition knows exactly what I am referring to. The best of intentions are not guaranteed to affect the outcome. The girls are noticing the changes in me as well. D- is still nervous whenever there is something physical to be done. She struggles with her own anxiety each time I move furniture and shovel snow. D- watches me as I carry in the groceries or as I vacuum the floor. Constantly being watched by my 15-year old daughter is unnerving and triggers my own anxiety. We are spending more time talking about it and admitting our triggers to each other.

D- still will not play soccer. The last few times I tried to take the younger girls outside to play, D- jumped in and volunteered. She thought mom should rest. How do I comfort her? As the eldest child, she has seen more than her sisters. She has seen me crawling on the floor, unable to walk. She has seen her father help me to the bathroom because I could not physically do it on my own.

The doctor’s have given me advice over the years. I take it all with a grain of salt. I do push myself harder than they recommend, but they are impressed with the progress I have made. They are concerned about my spine and wonder what will happen over the next few years. This is a topic that I struggle with daily. Will I be able to keep going and take care of my daughters? Will I end up like my Dad? Will I end up in wheel chair, unable to put my own shoes on without help from my children? It is a constant fear that eventually something will happen and I will truly be a failure as a parent because of my physical limitations. Needless to day, this connects strongly to my depression; thus the circle continues.