According to The National Center for PTSD, (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Approximately one in three Americans suffer from some kind of chronic pain in their lifetimes, and about one quarter of them are not able to do day to day activities because of their chronic pain.
Research has also shown that approximately 35% of patients with chronic pain also have PTSD! One study diagnosed 51% of patients who suffered from chronic back pain with PTSD symptoms.
And almost all of us who experience chronic pain (up to 100%!) are also diagnosed with depression.
Confronting emotional trauma helps alleviate your suffering on the long term. It begins with REALLY listening to how your mind reacts emotionally to the chronic physical pain your body feels. It is the complete opposite of distraction so it can be very uncomfortable but it can also be a powerful coping tool. It starts with complete self-awareness. Get fascinated and even excited with exploring your ’emotional currents’ and how they flow. The torrent is different for everyone. So, let’s dive in together! Here are some common symptoms of PTSD caused by chronic pain…
Physical pain directly caused by stress
Common physical symptoms caused by PTSD stress are sudden headaches or migraines, dizziness, fatigue, chest pain, involuntary tensing and aching of muscles, breathing difficulties, and stomach and digestive issues.
Nightmares or Flashbacks about severe pain episodes
Flashbacks—a symptom known as re-experiencing—in which you may suddenly and vividly re-live traumatic hospital incidents or the worst of your pain episodes in a repetitive manner. Re-experiencing can enter dreams or come on suddenly in waking sensations of physical and emotional pain and fear. It may cause sleeping difficulties and anxiety leaving the safety of home.
Depression or Anxiety
Chronic pain causes depression and anxiety. We can all testify to the overwhelming fear, helplessness and resignation that can consume us at times.
Withdrawal and Avoidance
It may seem easier at times to just stop trying to form connections with people. Sometimes our bodies are not even reliable enough to make plans with friends. We may start to lose interest in our favorite hobbies, and activities that we used to be very passionate about or even develop social anxiety.
It’s very common for those with sever pain and PTSD to feel emotionally numb involuntarily or to deliberately try to numb their feelings. It’s your body’s natural defense mechanism against chronic pain. After all, it’s hard to suffer pain if we don’t feel anything.
It’s common to suffer jitters so sever that it becomes impossible to relax due to our level of fear. We feel “on edge” and “jumpy” or easily frightened.
This state of constant fear and paranoia can cause PTSD-associated irritability, indecisiveness, a total lack of concentration, and sleeplessness.
Guilt and Shame
When we have difficulty getting past all of these negative emotions we may blame ourselves for ‘being a burden’. We’ve all felt the immense shame and guilt that none of us deserve to feel.
Exploring our ’emotional currents’ is the first step to processing the anxiety and depression that accompanies our chronic pain so that instead of desperately treading water with no land in sight, we will reach the other side where some peace can be found. Our emotional suffering is just as legitimate as our physical suffering. It is justified and absolutely normal. It is not weak. It is not selfish. We are human. We must express to heal by embracing the power that comes with self-awareness, and ultimately – self-acceptance.
If you found this article useful, please post your findings in the comment section:) Good luck today my fellow fighters!