Posted 3/18/2016 5:31 AM (GMT -6)
I have had chronic pain for a number of years, varying from crippling to just significant discomfort. It is always located in and around my digestive system but does seem to move, some years it has all been in my chest, suspected esophageal in origin, other years it has been in my stomach with burning after eating anything, other times in my bowels with sometimes crippling pain from gas.
My doctors have pretty much told me it is all in my head, at this point I have given up the hope that any physical explanation will be found, but after having experimented with diet etc and figured out which things I should not eat etc, I have come to the limit really of lifestyle changes I can make to make the symptoms more bearable.
I am at the stage at the moment were the lifestyle changes can get me to a position where the pain isn't crippling, and if I am interested in something it is at a level where it is possible to just take my mind off it. But my biggest problem is the huge psychological toll it has taken on me. I am very depressed and scared of my symptoms. I'm scared because they get better/worse for no apparent reason and I feel like I have no control.
Even when my symptoms are more moderate and I feel like I could quite easily ignore them, I can't because I am so focussed on them.
I have been in therapy for around 6 months, twice a week, to help my depression and anxiety. It is helping but I still repeatedly have flare ups of anxiety. I feel like I can't just relax and sit, because when I think too long and dont distract myself I just end up getting more and more anxious. So most of my days are just a long effort to distract myself.
I have just about managed to stay in work but it is a struggle, without that though I really would be in a mess psychologically. I practise autogenic meditation 3x a day which helps a lot, and I have been doing something I read called neurohormonal retraining where I sit for 5-10 minutes and just focus on the pain, trying to just observe it a break my fear of it. After a few months I am at a stage where I can do this without panicking, but the nervousness is still there.
How does everyone else deal with the anxiety and fear over your pain? I have been asking my Dr for months to try something like Lyrica or Gabapentin for the pain & anxiety but they keep saying to wait another month and see. They have no sympathy and seem to think that therapy will somehow cure it. I'm on nortriptyline 50mg for a few months now, it is the best antidepressent I have found for the pain and sensitivity, and also helps my mood and anxiety somewhat but I cannot go to a higher dose as I get side effects with my heart racing.