I read an article on Facebook about CRPS and how it was dubbed the suicide disease. I shared this article on facebook hoping to raise awareness for CRPS because not many people have ever heard of it. Instead of raising awareness, it raised concerns of me being suicidal. I had several people question if I was ok and I tried to assure them that I was. I was in a dark place at that time, with depression. Although I tried to hide it, many people close to me could still see it. I think that’s what got people worried that I may be suicidal, the depression. I’m not sure why depression and really all mental illnesses have such a stigma, but they do! The way people act around you, the way people look at you, the way they don’t say what they’re thinking but you can just tell they’re thinking it…it’s all just so exhausting! That first week back to work, following my surgery, when my friend suggested that I talk with my doctor about getting on some anti-depressants, I was shocked! What did she mean I needed something for depression? Only people with depression need something for depression and that certainly wasn’t me!
It wasn’t until February 2019 when I went to Pittsburgh to get a Ketamine infusion, in hopes of helping the excruciating pain that comes along with CRPS, that I realized that I was depressed! I had had a pre-infusion phone interview with the anesthesiologist before going to Pittsburgh. He went over some paperwork that I had filled out and he actually said it! He said I can tell you’re battling some depression! What did I say to him? “How can you tell that?” Well anybody with a brain could tell that someone who’s life has been turned upside down and every aspect of their life changed, would be struggling with depression!
Although, Ketamine didn’t work for the pain, it did work for the depression that I didn’t even realize, at the time, I had! Following the Ketamine, I felt like my brain was clear, I could actually think again! Before, it was like there was so much going on inside my brain that I felt like I couldn’t think. I was going to school, working full-time, all while be being a wife and mother. All of that alone is enough, but then add CRPS to the mix and it’s just a recipe for disaster! I will get into detail about the infusion in a later post, but if I felt myself not being able to think or had those close to me telling me I needed something I would be open to going back for another infusion. I can’t imagine what other people go through, I feel like what I went through was situational and that there are so many people out there that live most of their life this way. This makes my heart ache for those people. Although I think of my depression as situational, that doesn’t mean I won’t struggle in the future. After all, I will have CRPS forever which means I will struggle with debilitating pain for the rest of my life. I think those of us suffering from CRPS are far too hard on ourselves. I mean, who could have something like this and not be depressed? I still get up out of bed daily, I still work full-time, I’m the best mother I can be and have been happily married for 12 years…I think I’m doing pretty daggone good!
I was so relieved when Ketamine was ok’d by the FDA for the treatment of depression. I feel like this drug can help so many, just like it helped me even when I didn’t realize I needed help. But you see, that’s the thing, your brain doesn’t usually let you think clear enough to know you need help when your in the midst of depression. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with those you love and that love you so that even when you can’t see it, they can! I’m very lucky to have such a huge support system. But for those that don’t, please reach out to someone! Nothing can be so bad that it’s worth ending your life! God never gives you more than you can handle! And although I questioned at times if I could deal with CRPS, I realized that I could and I have! Is it easy? Not in any sense of the word! There are days that I would rather just stay home, but that’s the other thing with CRPS, you have to keep moving! I messed up initially following surgery and have a muscle in my upper arm that my therapist described as feeling like a bone. But it hurt to move, so I didn’t!
I want everyone to know this blog is mainly to educate about CRPS to everyone who I can reach on this platform, but it has also helped me get through so tough times. To me, it’s very therapeutic writing. Being a nurse myself, I had no idea about CRPS. I’m sure I’d heard it at someone point during school or during my career. But to actually be able to explain to someone what it was, I could not! My best friend, who is in the medical field, told me she had heard of it but didn’t realize what people went through until she saw me battling. And for me to hear that I helped one person further understand the disease, I felt a sense of fulfillment! But, I’m far from being done! I’m just getting started!!