Helping Your Spouse Deal With Chronic Pain And Depression
Pain is considered to be a subjective concept. In fact, people deal with pain in different ways. The pain threshold of people varies from one another. Even in the medical field, no one tool can measure the pain a person is experiencing.
Acute pain is a sensation that tells us of a possible injury. On the other hand, pain that lasts longer than twelve weeks is described as chronic pain. The cause of chronic pain may be transparent or not; it depends on the case of each person.
Link Between Chronic Pain And Depression
“Depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. It has been estimated that 1 in 5 people will experience depression during their lifetimes. About 85 percent of people experiencing a first episode of depression will relapse within the next 10 years,” says Melanie Greenberg Ph.D.
It is not just physical pain but more importantly, it is also emotional, in the sense that it can influence a person’s moods and thoughts. People with chronic pain tend to isolate themselves which may lead to depression.
Even a mental health professional himself, Adi Jaffe Ph.D., he talks about his depression. “Nowadays, the depression doesn’t hit often, but when it does, it can be debilitating. It can make getting out of bed almost impossible and leaves work feeling like the most useless, and difficult, undertaking I could imagine. In short – it sucks horribly.” It can hit anybody, young or old, rich or not rich, professional or not.
Chronic pain and depression may go hand in hand. People experiencing chronic pain are three times more at risk of developing symptoms of anxiety or depression, whereas people with depression are three times more at risk of developing chronic pain.
How Chronic Pain Can Affect Your Relationship
As chronic pain affects everyday lives, it also has effects on your personal relationship. Because of the impact of chronic pain, such as emotional strain and physical limitations, interaction with your partner will change. It may have a toxic effect on your relationship as well.
If your spouse is dealing with chronic pain, her movements will become limited, and both of you may not be able to do all the things you were able to do together before. In a marriage, the partner who is not experiencing chronic pain will have to take more responsibilities in the family such as taking care of children or doing more household chores.
Moreover, chronic pain and depression may also affect your relationship in a financial sense. There might be financial problems due to medical bills and other support needed. It is important to note that partners of those who have chronic pain are also experiencing challenges on their own.
Taking Care Of Your Spouse With Chronic Pain
A big adjustment will take place in your lives if your spouse is experiencing chronic pain and depression. You have to be physically and more importantly, emotionally and mentally prepared to handle the challenges and stress that comes with taking care of your spouse.
Accepting the challenges and stress that come with chronic pain and depression is part of pain management. Open communication and honesty must be practiced, especially during this challenging period. You also have to learn coping strategies such as always seeing the big picture and understanding better than your spouse.
Therapy may be a solution, as well, for the depressive state. “If sadness lasts for more than just a few days and impacts your daily life, it may be necessary to seek out medical intervention. You should consult with your doctor and be completely honest about any alcohol or drugs you have been using to cope and self-medicate,” says Elizabeth Hartney, PhD.
It is essential for those undergoing chronic pain and depression to be understood. You should be able to show continued support and care for them not to feel like a burden. It might be difficult to take care of a spouse with chronic pain and depression, but always remember why you are doing it in the first place. ‘Til death do you part, I suppose?