August 11, 2010
Trigeminal neuralgia, face pain, and emotions
As someone who has counseled people with facial pain, I understand that it is not uncommon for someone's emotions to reach a nadir. It doesn't matter if it's my pain or the pain that belongs to someone else. So I am always concerned when I hear that someone with facial pain has emotional issues. Of course we do. What others take for granted in every day life has been taken from us, and no one seems to understand the intensity of the pain. Except the people who have it...
I wish that I could explain to the world what it is like to be unable to communicate orally with others and to not know sign language. E-mails and text messages have been some of my best friends, but not everyone has email or text-messaging. Fax machines are temperamental. Just like fax machines, sometimes we humans with facial pain can communicate orally but other times we cannot. We aren't dependable, regardless of how much we would like to be.
Pain of any type can bear on our emotions. Face pain can cause a person to have bad breath and poor dental hygiene (no brushing for days on end sometimes), robs a person of the ability to share a kiss, and going out to eat is just unthinkable. When people experience this much isolation, pain, and disability... well he or she just may get emotional.
Why some people think that the emotional issues cause the pain, I'll never know. Perhaps it's because they have never experienced disability. I've always thought that the world would be a more compassionate place if people could experience trigeminal neuralgia or other types of face pain - just for a day.
Several types of medical issues cause face pain. It could be trigeminal neuralgia, myofascial pain, neuropathic pain, or a jaw problem. These things travel along the trigeminal pathway, and they have a life of their own. We don't know when the pain will come or go. We just know that we are out of commission until it settles down.
If you get emotional because of facial pain, let me reassure you that it's normal. Take good care of yourself. If you are able to talk, you may want to see a counselor. But you may not be able to talk...
God bless you.
Have you read With Great Mercy?