Ever since I was pregnant with Tatoe (he's two and a half now), some moderately bad health things have been happening. They are mostly stabilized (solution 1: don't have any more children), but I have also, for the last three years, woken up in pain somewhere between every day and twice a week. This has done bad things to my little hamster brain. I don't know what the proper psychological term is; some disastrous mix of aversive conditioning, catastrophizing, and learned helplessness.
Some of it can be managed by being incredibly strict and rigid - specifically, food. Words can hardly express how unpleasant I find my current relationship with food - one of fear, resentment, and boredom in equal parts, with occasional sleepless red-ant-gnawed misery, combined with a reasonable but socially awkward reluctance to eat anything anyone else cooks, ever.* I am always afraid it is going to get worse (even though it's not, right now) and then I literally don't know what I would do. I feel helpless because I have a realistic belief that this may never get any better.
When I am in pain, I fear it happening over and over far out of proportion to the actual pain. As I've had histamine reactions** to at least two opiates, my pain is never 'adequately managed'. I am afraid that my image of myself as a strong, healthy, competent person is wrong, has changed, will never be true again. I try to tell myself that my fear spiral is not rational. I've mostly stopped getting sick all the time. That's better. I don't wake up in pain every day. I have less trouble sleeping. I stopped losing weight. That's better too. But still, every time it gets out of equilibrium, I have an irrational, panicked fear that it will never go back.
(I am not actually as depressed as this sounds. I just had a really bad week.)
* Aside from my mother, my sister, and Nicole, who lives 900 miles away now.
** It turns out that "I want to scratch my entire skin off and I cannot sleep for more than five minutes" is actually worse than just being in pain.