(Today’s blog post is part of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge during which writers all over the world blog each day in April based on a corresponding letter of the alphabet. These are my personal stories about living with Trigeminal Neuralgia, the most painful diagnosis known to man.)
True or False: Trigeminal Neuralgia is all in your head.
Did you say True? Right!
Did you say False? Also Right!
Okay, it was a trick question. It’s all in the interpretation. Anatomically speaking, TN is all in your head. I kind of think of it like this…imagine your head is the penthouse of the skyscraper you call “me”. There is an electrical outlet toward the back of your head. It’s the only outlet in the room and you have a lot of stuff to plug in. So you hook up one of those orange industrial extension cords. Then you plug in a bunch more little extension cords in varying lengths to reach your lamps, computer, TV, stereo etc. Well when you have Trigeminal Neuralgia, one or several of those cords gets shorted out and goes haywire, spewing out random pulses of electricity that makes the lights flicker and fries your hard drive. Medications are sort of the surge protector meant to keep the current of electricity running normally, but they don’t really work. So yeah, Trigeminal Neuralgia is all in your head.
Then again, it isn’t. It is not uncommon for people who have TN to be treated as if theirs is a psychosomatic condition. Sadly, I have even heard stories of medical professionals who have this viewpoint. I’m lucky. I have a supportive family who never questions my disorder as not being legitimate or used as an excuse to bail on responsibilities. But like I said, I’m lucky. I know there are people whose family or friends look upon TN with suspicion – something you can just “think away”. They view it as a “nervous condition” as opposed to a condition of the nerves – and that’s a big difference.
I’m a pretty open minded person and also somewhat pragmatic. I view things from all angles. So, I’ve asked all my doctors the same question. “Is there really something physically wrong with me or am I crazy?” I think my Neurologist put it best. “The mind can do many miraculous things – both good and bad – but it can’t make your face swell.” Case closed.
So is Trigeminal Neuralgia all in my head? Yes, yes it is.
And is Trigeminal Neuralgia all in my head? No, not it’s not.