Chronic pain and mood swings

One of the most interesting things to me are the mood swings of the chronic pain patient. Why are we on one hand the most loving and caring people in the world, and on the other, at times, so bitter and cold towards others? I have noticed that not only do we have both of these traits, but we can switch from one to the other in a blink of an eye! Is it because we deal with so much anger due to the pain related aspects of our lives? Is it because we have developed the fight needed to protect ourselves from getting our own feelings hurt? What about the physical toll that chronic pain takes on our minds and bodies, like poor sleep habits and ability?

Pain is an "invisible" experience. It is a very private challenge to our sense of self, and to maintaining a meaningful and positive connection with others. It is natural at times to feel "in a bad mood" when you are in pain. You may even find yourself angry or resentful of a healthy partner, family member or friend who doesn't understand your situation. Sometimes people around you, also feel helpless seeing you in pain. They may react in a way that makes you feel even worse, by ignoring your pain or trying to cheer you up when what you really want, is for them to just understand!

Your self-esteem can suffer too. Your role at home or at work may change as a result of coping with chronic pain. It becomes more challenging to find alternative sources of pleasure and mastery in order to continue to feel good about yourself. Many of us have posted to the group regarding this in one form or another!

Some or all of these things can play a major part in how our mood is projected towards others. All of us should be able to see how much help we are to others in need, when we express our love and respect towards them. However, some of us can be just as hurtful to someone as we can be helpful, given opposite or different circumstances. I think it would help all of us to really work on this! Try to understand that as chronic pain patients, we need to be careful not to "unload" on someone when we are having a bad day! When things do go bad, and tempers flare, try to stop for a moment and realize that "it's the pain causing all of it"! And remember, the person you are at odds with today, is the same person you'll be helping with open heart and arms tomorrow, when they need you!

Let them know that it is the pain, and not them, that had you feeling this way. Let those close to you know how you are feeling. Try not to blame them for your pain or their reactions to it.