This is another one of those pesky “health” posts. If you don’t want to hear me talk about things like pain, bodily functions, and how it’s effecting me mentally and emotionally – your best bet would be to close the page. Onward!
It has been a month, now. A long, wretched month of non-stop pain in my lower back, hips, and abdomen. The cause? So far, all that has been found is a displaced disc in my lumbar region that has also decided to go and herniate itself. I can’t blame it, really. If I were displaced I would probably get pissy too. In fact, I am pissy.
I have totally forgotten what it is like to live with non-stop, severe, debilitating pain – day in and day out. Oh but that is not all. You see, I am a “get it done right the first time” kind of person who generally over communicates, etc etc. Why would I expect my body to be any different? It’s not just going around and displacing discs in my spine. Oh no, this is my body we’re talking about here. Now it’s gone and decided that vomiting every night would be a good idea too. Constant indigestion is just icing on the cake. It’s hard for me to eat now, and my body knows this is my favorite thing to do. What will be next? My liver. My awful, finicky liver. It will decide that it isn’t getting attention anymore, what with all this spinal pain going on and such. It will probably swell up again. Cue more violent vomiting. Yay. Of course, mental and emotional problems abound because of the pain as well.
At this point, it is hard for me to be nice to anyone and, strangely, at the same time I am finding that I am seeing people for who they are now. Not because of the way they respond to my current situation. Rather, I no longer have the luxury of extra energy of any type. Be it physical, mental, or emotional. Because of this, I have to be more careful about how I respond to things so that I may conserve what little energy I have. Who would have though that dealing with constant, severe pain would be so exhausting? I have learned that most people are in similar situations: they are doing the best they can with what they have at the moment. This has taught me a lot, and I hope to retain it after this ordeal is done.
Done? It will end? I think I have some optimism peeking through! It’s funny because I swing from optimistic about this pain ending to wanting to find any means to end the pain. I will have the stone cold, iron hard attitude that I can push through anything one moment and then the next I’m trying to figure out the least painful way to off myself so that the pain will at least be over. It’s really starting to take a toll on my emotional well being. I cry at the drop of a hat, or sometimes just the mention of one. My moods swing from understanding and considerate to trying to control everything possible. In my defense, I like to control things when I’m feeling out of control.
I have this nasty habit of thinking that there is a place for everything and.. well, you know the rest. I have struggled with not only trying to soften this rigid belief of mine, but also with not projecting this standard onto others. When the pain is particularly intolerable, or when I just can’t take anymore mental and emotional beatings from it, I tend to fall back on the control cushion. I start to clean things, I start to bark out orders.. I would give Chef Ramsey a run for his money, let me tell you. I know how hard this has been on Hubby, but it takes every effort to try and be .. well.. normal as of late.
I think the swinging of emotional and mental states is due to a conflict that is currently existing within me due to the pain. I have a strong desire to be very angry and nasty with everyone so that they will leave me alone. This is for the very simple reason that I have very little energy, as I mentioned, and I do not care to waste it on such trivialities as small talk, drama, gossip, etc. I have always struggled with trying to find a way out of these things, and now it seems I am just out right adamant and sometimes rude to people who try to initiate such social exercises. I don’t want to hear about “so and so”, your day, or your opinion about someone or something else (which, I must add, is generally based on uneducated guesses and outright misinformation).
On the other hand, I am suffering. Oh geez, that sounds like some victimized idiot pleading for sympathy. Hell no. I detest “poor dear” and “pity you”. Those words are simply said to make the sender feel better about themselves for at least having tried to comfort someone in pain while keeping the receiver (the person in pain) in a specific lower rung. In other words, it’s a way that people distance themselves from the person in pain so that they can keep living in their fantasy world that such a nasty thing will never befall them. It’s the whole attitude that if you are in pain, you must have done something wrong or are simply looking for sympathy. It is a self-preservation technique that healthy people use to mentally ensure themselves that the same affliction will not befall them. It is common and it is outright denial. Last night, I was just thinking about how slowly and yet suddenly this all came about. About six weeks ago I was healthy and able to function with no problems. I was having back pain, but I would push through it, take pills, or do stretches. Little did I know of the storm that awaited. Denial does nothing for anyone, so keep it away from me.
What I need right now is comfort. I just need someone to hold me most of the time for that physical comfort that we all take for granted – touch. Being close to those whom I love and who love me in return is of the utmost importance to me now. I spend my spare time with the people I love, more so than ever before. I am hanging on by a thread to the laughter and love that is shared during these wonderful visits. They are what is keeping me going. My cats have provided a great deal of reprieve as well. Just petting their fur and hearing them purr provides a positive feedback that is enough to rebuff the negative emotional and mental outlook brought on by the pain. I find myself taking delight in the little things. A hot shower while burning incense, hot tea and tomato soup while wrapped in a warm blanket, and making gifts for others rather than buying.
Crafting has also helped me to hold onto what is left of my sanity. I feel a serotonin rush as I complete each step of a project and the positive feedback I receive from the people I give these things to helps to also ward off the downward spiral. Other than crafting, reading and music is helping as well. I find myself reading things that I want to read, versus the things that are popular at the time. The same with music. I find myself listening to more relaxing music as of late. I believe it is an effort to revive my positive outlook that has worn threadbare. To be honest, I am not truly certain of what is to pass once that occurs. Once I lose my grip on the plus sides, if you will. I have experienced such depression before. Pain is nothing new to me and this statement may make it seem like I should not be having such a problem with it now.
That is not what chronic pain is like. Even though living with chronic pain in the past has given me some wonderful coping techniques and probably a higher pain tolerance overall, it does not mean I am immune. It would be like saying someone who has been stung by wasps throughout their life ought to not feel any pain from the sting or venom when another wasp stings them now. It doesn’t work that way. Eventually, the constant battle with the pain and it’s effects will leave anyone stumbling in the dark crevices of their mind. I first experienced this when my fight with Fibromyalgia took a rather nasty turn in my teenage years. Severe Acute Depression sounds much more docile on paper than it truly is. It is Hell. I do not which to go back to that which I fought so hard to get out of in the first place. This is why, if you talk to me, I may seem detached and yet positive; sad and yet happy. I am feeling both. And to be frank (which I’m not, my name is Chelsea), I am scared. I am afraid in knowing that I must go back through the things I thought I had left behind forever. The limitations due to energy restrictions, the poking and testing to figure out what is going on, living with uncertainty about what is causing the pain while also living with anger that something so seemingly trivial could be having such a devastating effect.
I am not a fool when it comes to these things. I have been around the proverbial block more times than I care to remember. I like to think that I am educated enough to help and figure out what is going on. Afterall, I’ve spent the majority of my life knee-deep in anatomy and physiology textbooks to try and understand what is happening to my body. I find that this can backfire at times. My mind begins to wander to all those pesky syndromes I’ve read about. I turn into a hypochondriac out of fear of the unknown. What is causing the pain? The disc displacement is merely the tip of the iceberg. We still have tests to run to ensure that my other symptoms are not being caused by other things. As the ER doctor I saw yesterday pointed out, “An X-Ray can show us a picture and will help in diagnosing or ruling out problems. However, it cannot show us processes. It doesn’t show what is actually going on inside your body. This we must find out with more tests and deduction.” In other words, there is more to it then my back and more testing awaits. I do take solace in knowing that there is relief from the pain, and possibly ways to eventually stop it outright.
I plan on seeking the assistance of a chiropractor and acupuncturist in the months to follow. I have to wait for my insurance to kick in and then I’m off to visit the Wizard! Maybe he can give me my sanity back. I am eager to get started so that I may get back to normal. Not only does my body crave Homeostasis, my mind does as well. It has been knocked for a loop and is floundering to get a grip. I hope that these individuals will be able to help me in my journey back to being pain free. Or, at least, being in much less pain with days of none at all. That is my wish now. It is strange to wish for less pain. It is not something I thought I would be doing last month. I was more worried about other things that seem so small now.