• Kristina Cherep

Chronic Illnesses & Mental Illnesses... The One-Two Punch 🥊

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

After posting about body love yesterday, it made me realize that most of my pictures are of me with makeup on or looking somewhat decent. Let’s be real, the majority of my time I’m in sweats and have no makeup on. So it’s time to get real...

This picture of me is from yesterday. A little backstory for ya... I woke up in the middle of the night Friday night and could not move. For those of you who don’t know, I have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome which means I have chronic nerve pain in my left arm. I have numbness all the time. Four years ago, I was told that there was a surgery, but with only a 25% success rate. I chose to live with the numbness. It became my new norm after awhile and I was ok with that. 

What happened Friday night is something that has never happened to me before. I woke up at about 2am and could not move my body. At first I thought it was peralosis because I know that’s related to anxiety sometimes. However, then I realized I couldn’t move because my arm, neck, and back were at about a 10/10 for nerve pain. Again, I have never experienced something like this before. In fact, I’ve never been in that much pain before. I was confused and felt hopeless. 

I went to urgent care and was told I need to see a neurosurgeon (if only Derek Shepherd lived closer) and probably reconsider surgery. They prescribed me pain killers and off I went. 

For those of you that don’t know I was a Division I softball pitcher and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is what ended my softball career. During that time in college, I began to develop suicidal thoughts and so on. I lost my identity and one of my dreams was taken away. This was also a subject I have worked on in therapy and I had thought I had conquered those thoughts.

However with all that said, discussing my arm this past weekend was definitely still a trigger. It started to bring back all those old feelings and thoughts that I had thought I already moved on from. The good news is that sure those same feelings started to come back, but now I had the tools to cope with them in a much healthier way.  

The picture above is of me after taken the pain killers and feeling a little loopy from them. The picture above is me after crying through those triggers, but deciding not to get lost in them. The picture above is me stuck inside all day because of a chronic illness. The picture above is someone who is still fighting even though feeling terrified as to what comes next with their arm. 

I’m sharing this because I don’t ever want to give off the illusion that I have my shit together and am conquering the world. Because I’m not. I mean is anyone really? I’m battling through my mental illnesses that also happens to be triggered by my chronic illness sometimes. I’m battling through uncertainty and confusion, but ya know what I am doing. I’m still fighting and as should you.