Random thoughts

The unbearable burden of emotional pain

I prefer to rant into my private journal or release unpleasant feelings through exercise. Or talking to somebody very close to me.

But I’ve done pretty much everything and nothing helped today. At this point I’d go for a razor or some drugs (that’s something I’ve been avoiding for many years, but I did have a few relapses).
If I have to pick one more thing today, I chose writing. So writing it is. Sorry dear reader.

It’s really hard to understand, even for me, that something you can’t even see, can hurt so much.
I’m talking about emotional pain, which is involved in similar regions of the brain than physical pain.
When you break your leg, you actually see the injury. In emotional situations you can’t see anything at all sometimes.
I’m surprised how normal can we look while suffering so badly.

This is exhausting and sometimes I really think I won’t be able to take it a second longer. It’s not just the intensity, but the time.
I can have some good time, but I can’t go even one single day without noticing the pain. It’s there and it doesn’t stop, no matter what I do or don’t do.
This has been going on since my childhood. Some drugs help to numb the pain, but it never really goes away. πŸ™

I’m suicidal on a daily basis for a few years now. This doesn’t go away either, but it’s easier to live with.

I think this is a common story for many people with PTSD or CPTSD.
If you have any suggestion about coping with this pain, it will be more than welcome.

I’m having therapy twice per week now, taking my meds regularly, I do stick to my healthy routines, practice mindfulness, living quite healthy life etc.
But I’m obviously missing something. There must be a way to stop this madness.

Further reading:
Emotional and Physical Pain Activate Similar Brain Regions
Is There Such a Thing as Psychological Pain? and Why It Matters
The Relationship between PTSD and Chronic Pain: Mediating Role of Coping Strategies and Depression

27 Comments

  • Yetismith

    I think I know the pain you are describing. It’s like someone has stuck a spike into your heart and they ate twisting it. I get it at times, though nothing nearly as badly as you, so I don’t know what to suggest. For myself, I have to be very careful to avoid triggers and if I have changes in medications, it will send me into a spiral. My MD made me go off oxycodone recently. I was on it for pain for 15 years. Now I have a lot more physical pain and have had the whole roller coaster withdrawal causes. I had many dark thoughts and got very angry too. What you suffer is hell on earth. My situation is managed with the right meds and avoidance of triggers. I wish you peace and send you my thoughts.

    • Maja

      It’s not just the heart, the whole body hurts me often. But when it comes to the heart, it’s the way you’ve described it. Sorry to hear about oxycodone journey (been there too). Thanks for stopping by Carolyn and I wish you less pain in the future.

  • Looking for the Light

    Maybe try another therapist and new medication. It doesn’t sound like things are working at all. I suffer from a severe mental illness and I know it’s really bad if you are suicidal for years. I have my days but that long is a problem. Who precribes your depression medication? If a genral doctor does maybe it’s time to see a Psychastrist who can help pin point what ype of meds you need for the problems your having. If you already seeing one I would suggest adding something else to see if that helps. I hit a very bad spot last year and had a hard time finding anything that worked. Finally Rezulti brought me out of the deep deoression. I’m Bipolar so i take several other meds on top on Rezulti everyday but it has worked wonders. I wish you well and I’m hear if you need to talk.

    • Maja

      Thank you for many good suggestions.
      I have a shrink and psychologist on my team. They are both more than ok. I’ve been on almost every psychiatric drug available, so we’re running out of options at this field.
      The meds I’m on are doing their job, they just don’t manage the pain. For the rest of my issues, they do wonders.
      I really appreciate your effort, but I have to look outside the box in this case. I’m glad you found your combination of meds that help you.
      Thanks for nice wishes, I wish you the same. πŸ™‚

  • David M. Hazen

    IF i may…. the 12-Step program has saved my life, not only physically but also emotionally. I enjoy its non-medical approach, its practical blueprint for steady progress, its emphasis on connection with groups and individuals. I know it’s not for “everyone,” and sometimes luck in finding the right group plays a role, and I hope you explore its possibilities if you haven’t done so already.

  • Hetty Eliot

    Have you ever tried EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy)? The quickest way to describe it is that you spend a few months talking to a therapist so they know you and you trust them. Trust and comfort are essential in this process. Then the actual treatment consists of sitting by the therapist not directly across, but off to the side so you’re both looking forward past each other (like two ships passing). They ask you to think of something. While you do that, you watch their finger moving back and forth. There are other options such as their tapping your hands alternately, or holding small vibrating devices in each hand. I opt for the device one because it hurts my eyes to move like that, and tapping me triggers serious OCD rage πŸ˜‰. So you do that for a while, then they stop and ask you to tell them what you’re thinking. You can say whatever comes to mind. You stick with that thought, and the therapist repeats the process for an hour or so (or however long you feel comfortable, it’s not forced). At the end, we’d do a sort of mental exercise of imagining putting the memories away. This therapy is pretty intense and it can be very difficult to do. However, it has been shown to be very effective and is used even for victims of severe trauma. It’s worth checking out. It helped me tremendously when other forms of talk did not help.

    Regardless of what type of treatment you might like to try next, I’d strongly recommend a gratitude journal. It really, really, makes a difference. At first I hated it and thought it was stupid. But now I cannot go to sleep unless I do it, the ritual is that important to me. Just saying one tiny thing is enough. It can be as tiny as, I made my bed. I changed the toilet paper roll. Little by little, you’ll find more stuff.

    I hope any of this helps. In any event, good luck and feel better😊

    • Maja

      Thanks for sharing your experience Eliot.
      I had different therapies, but not the EMDR. I will ask my therapist if we can do this.

      I don’t use the gratitude journal, but I’m doing similar with my mindfulness exercise every day. This is a life saver for me when it comes to negative thoughts. But it’s something you have to do every single day. I need a reminder in difficult moments for this. Even though I’m doing it daily, my mind just isn’t trained yet to think about it by itself when I’m overwhelmed. My apartment is filled with stickers and reminders already, but obviously I need some more πŸ™‚
      These tiny things are the most important.

      I’m glad things worked out for you. Sending some nice wishes to your side too, be well πŸ™‚

  • Just Agatha

    Dear Maja. I have no suggestions. It seems to me that you are already doing everything right. I don’t presume to understand what you are going through, but I know it’s one of the hardest things to deal with. There is no ‘one-more-thing’ that will ease your pain and remove the struggle. You get to fight the battle…every day…just like you have done today. And just like you will tomorrow.

    It may be little comfort, but you are not alone. Millions struggle alongside you. And all my sincerest, warmest wishes I send to you across the oceans and lands. I pray that tomorrow is sunnier than today…

  • 𝑹𝒐𝑩𝑰𝑡 πŸŒ‹

    It is so hard isn’t it to compare experiences, and what different people mean by suffering. Some people are suffering because they lack certain things in life, and it’s like a simple recipeβ€” therapy + adding those necessary things resolves the problems. That’s like a mind/soul problem. And some people are suffering with a more fundamental sense of feeling in thingsβ€” more of a physical brain problem. And any combination of those two.

    I personally don’t truly feel things until I’ve had exercise at the beginning of each day. Or if not intense exercise, then at least some kind of physical moving around, doing useful things which are satisfying for a few hours. Even doing something positive like going outside in the sun, or reading, can be just neutral or even stressful without first the exercise to ‘unlock’ the feeling in my brain/body. And that’s something no amount of therapy or lifestyle changes or mindfulness can fixβ€” that just is. Then on top of that there’s the lifestyle things which contribute but in a physically different way.

    Anyway, it feels to me that you’re suffering with a problem with the first kind of emotional feelingβ€” the gut-level in-the-moment feeling. I don’t know how much sense any of that would make to anybody else.

    • Maja

      Oh Robin… you made me laugh when I saw all of the comments you’ve posted. πŸ™‚
      Thanks for your care. I think you get me right, like usually.
      It’s interesting to hear what helped other people, even though they don’t struggle in the same way. It’s also nice to hear that you’re understood – thanks again.
      I really appreciate any input. It may not help me, but it might help somebody else who reads this.

      I can relate to the part you’ve described about not feeling things until you do something. It’s not a nice place to be. I’ve been like this on one of the antidepressants for years. I became addicted to exercise, because it was the only thing that made me feel at least something, at least in terms of feelings. The pain was there all along, it just changed it’s shape. We can have a long conversation about this. I’ll stop here before the coffee kicks in πŸ™‚

  • ZeroSpace

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling like shit, Maja. That makes me sad. I hope you feel better soon. I know this isn’t the most insightful comment, ha, but that’s the best I can do at the moment.

  • Jeff Flesch

    I feel for you, Maja. Know that I am here for you in any way possible.❀️ Also know that you are not alone. Often times in my darkest hours, when the emotional pain is seemingly unbearable, knowing that I am not alone, provides some light. And, I do know what you mean about whole body pain, it is real, and it is not just you that feels it. You are strong, wonderful, a light and an inspiration.

  • Jeff Flesch

    Not sure if my previous post was saved, so am writing it again.

    I am sorry to read this, Maja, and feel for you. Know that I am here for you in any way possible. I totally know what you mean about total body pain, a very real thing. In my darkest hours, where the pain is seemingly unbearable, I remember that I am not alone. You are not alone. It does, at times, provide some light. You are light, wonderful, and an inspiration.❀️

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