Is Emotional Pain Worse Than Physical Pain? And If So, What's the Best Way to Treat it?

A lecture on the link between depression and heart attacks got me thinking about why -- when I seem to have so many things going for me -- I am still so unhappy.
ADHD & the City | posted by Jane D.

The anguish of not being understood is worse than physical pain, I believe.

Jane D., Adult ADHD & the City Blogger

A friend and I went to a lecture at a ritzy hotel on Sunday, where a scientist from an Ivy League school entertained (some of) us with a lecture titled, "What comes first, depression or a heart attack?"

After stuffing my face with complimentary finger sandwiches and scones, I listened intently to her talk, wondering, in the end, who would really know? Sure, they could churn out a bunch of guinea pig studies that would generate flashy headlines, and maybe the results would spark some of the Big Pharma folks to invent a drug that targets both the blues and heart disease, but how many years would it take for such a definitive study to surface, and how long would it take to create a panacea that works? (Do they ever?)

To be honest, the talk was quite depressing (ironic, right?), and it got me wishing, in the scope of diseases and genetic abnormalities, that I had been born with webbed feet. The anguish of not being understood is worse than physical pain, I believe. (But what about the webbed-footed person who is misunderstood because of her disability? I guess none of us can truly appreciate another's disease, no matter the commonalities.)

One thing the scientist (with impressive degrees, but an ultimately inconclusive heart-disease-depression study) said stuck with me: People who commit suicide are the ones who are withdrawn, not the ones who cry and are visibly sad to those around them. When I think about depression, I usually think about tears, but when a person is truly hopeless, there are no tears. One may even appear happy and content, as if there weren't a care in the world, a pseudo-Pollyanna.

Sometimes I feel like that now, when it comes to the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). The Sister, who herself has been sad about a variety of things lately and says she's even cried at work, asked me how long it's been since I've been a therapist. More than I year; I'm fine, I told her, but, inside, I still feel like the slightest gust of wind could blow me over.

I had thought that swimming, living in a luxury building with a doorman and a penthouse apartment, and the coming of spring, would change things, and they did, but the benefit was only temporary, which is why, after returning from the most satisfying business trip, I have been wondering if travel and movement could be the answer to successfully leading an adult ADHD life. Maybe a bit of it is the jetlag, the result of taking Adderall in a different time zone. Or maybe it's also because I've given up on being happy at work. Having to chitchat, be polite, be politically correct, exhausts me. Maybe I need a vacation, but what good is a Band-Aid for depression? No, now I can only look within.

From the outside looking in, I have almost everything a person could ask for, and, yet, I can't stop and settle for this, right here. Why can't I be happy?

Resources for Adults with ADHD and Depression

Undo ADD Adult Depression

Stop Negative Thinking When Depressed and ADHD

How One Woman Conquered Adult ADD and Depression

More Information on Depression in ADD Adults and Teens

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