Moment of despair

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I am waiting on my appeal for long term disability from work and that in-itself is pretty anxiety inducing. But I was just thinking of what it would be like if it didn’t go through. What it was like working. The pain, inability function, inability to concentrate, think… the failure, the missed days.

And I was overwhelmed with a sense of despair. You know where it almost chokes you? Where it feels like you are suffocating with this horrible overwhelming sadness. I teared up and blinked them back.

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It is frightening when that much despair hits you when you think about working part-time. When you think about how it felt. When you think that you might have to be in that space again of pain, depression, cognitive dysfunction… and having to function when you can’t. The guilt. Then more guilt at the inevitable failure. Then more guilt at every missed day. And how pathetic you feel. How worthless and useless. That you can’t even do a simple job. What a loser you must be.

I have the pain, the cognitive issues, depression here at home. And I struggle to do anything. But I am not forced to function for 8 hours where others are dependent on what I do and how well I do it.

It was a horrible sensation that told me to automatically stop thinking about it so as to not slippery slope myself into a depressive episode. Thoughts like that lead to dangerously dark thoughts. And deep depressions. And I know sometimes distraction is the best I can do. So after this post I am going to switch to fiction writing. I must not thinking about the failure of this appeal for my own mental well-being.

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EmilyD

There is something special about chronic migraines. In its unbearable suffering. I admit I have not exactly been responsive to treatment. Recently at the pain clinic my doctor put me on 200mg of slow release tramadol for pain. And nada. I actually wondered if it was a strong pain killer but someone else at the same pain clinic… for sever TMJ was getting a 1/4 the dosage and was doing great on it. Either I respond poorly to it, or it just doesn’t do it for migraine pain. It actually moderately helps with fibromyalgia related pain, which I rather like. Not a lot, just sort of takes the edge off the sharper pain. But it is like it ignores the migraine pain altogether. However, there is no other pain killer he would put me on due to rebound effects. He did consider a NSAID but due to my rather unfortunate response to previous NSAIDs and now side effects that wasn’t an option. He is completely right to do so. My doc once put me on codeine for a rescue med and I rebounded like crazy on that. More than twice a week and the headache From it was nuts. There is no winning with rescue medications. The only reason they tried the tramadol at all with me is because I have been completely non-responsive to medication. I do however respond to triptans, just have bad side effects so cannot take them very often at all.

So there actually is no option. Aside from trying botox for a second go around, when it failed the first time. Nevertheless, I am going to try it, because rather nothing else to do. And when you have nothing else to do, you repeat and hope for the best.

The pain is mind-boggling. So difficult to even attempt to function through. To even want to contemplate functioning through. But doctors all encourage work. Only part-time, but work. And it is just so freaking exhausting to try to manage the pain.

If I didn’t have a medication to manage the depression associated with all this pain, I would in fact be suicidal from it, as experience has told me. As it is, my mood still dips quite a bit. Because, well, it isn’t exactly fun and games is it? But it is constant. A constant battle of pain every damn day. This is because the pain levels are quite high. For example FM pain varies from a baseline pain of around a 4-5 with more intense pain in specific areas of around a 6… flare ups get to 7 or 8. Migraine pain ranges from a 7-9 all the time. So all the time I am in 7-9 pain. Best case 7. Good day.

And a 9 is extremely high intensity pain. Yet I am told to work through it. To push myself because the pain will be there regardless and I need to work. That is effing high pain. I have troubles driving with that level. Troubles just moving. Thinking is very narrow and tightly focused… and not all there. It is like the pain gives you blinders. It crowds your brain so you have to narrow your focus to the specific task in front of you. Inch by inch, get though the day. Plod though things slowly and methodically. Praying for no errors. And just counting down the minutes until you can get home to suffer in peace. Time becomes infinitely slow. Drawn out. Endless.

And I wonder how the hell am I even managing this? Not well really. Not well enough at work, still, even part-time. The pain specialist said the pain and medications make things difficult cognitively. Not to mention migraine pain specifically does. How the hell do we manage all this pain? Affecting our capacity to think to function to move to sense our environment with accuracy… Because we must, obviously. But I don’t know why we don’t just up and quit one day. Enough! That is it! I’m not moving from my dark house until I have to… screw you society! You can’t make me suffer more! Course they can. And they do. And we continue on.

Where does all that damn strength and courage even come from? Some days I cannot get out of bed because of the pain and the creeping depression that tells me I just don’t want to move in all that pain. Those days are days the pain wins. How I manage to get out of bed on other days… I have no idea.

We must be badass mothertuckers. I don’t feel like I am, but to do what I do in pain I must be. All I ever feel? Is the guilt of not doing when in pain. And I am sick of the bad pain days. Because there are too many of them. If I could just decrease the intensity of these migraines I would be so relieved. As it is, I feel like I am running in a dream… where my legs don’t work and are stuck in thick air and I get nowhere at all. Nowhere fast. Can’t escape.

I wonder if I am the only one that wonders… how will I get through tomorrow with this pain? And how long can I endure this pain? Years? decades? So maybe I am a badass Mothetucker but I am a tired one. Far too tired of this pain game. Worn to the bone. How I have survived this long is something that surprises me. I don’t know how I did it. Moment by moment of course. Still decades of pain wears a person down. Yet we carry on. Tired. Badass with our freaking shear determination and guts. I will win this day! And we do.

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Looking at suffering: how to manage

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The thing about chronic daily migraines is the suffering. Can’t escape the suffering. Chronic pain research is in its infancy but one thing they know is when we feel pain that pain information in the brain also goes to emotion centers. So we have the sensation of pain and we have an emotional response. We have suffering. They go hand in hand.

That means with chronic pain we have to find ways to manage our suffering. Personally I suck at this. I suck balls at it. I am not a overly negative person. More a realist but when it comes to pain I am negative. I find a life with pain to be a limited existence. On my dark days I wonder if it is just an unlived life.

So for people like me who develop depression associated with pain. Well, we have to look at the thoughts that come up when we are in pain and suffering to see if they are rational and reasonable thoughts. Because pain and depression both distort thoughts. I will be in pain FOREVER. I will NEVER feel better.

Here are some examples:
Continue reading “Looking at suffering: how to manage”

#Migraine and #depression

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I was diagnosed with depression associated with chronic pain, but the fact is migraines play a significant role in this. Migraines can dramatically affect my mood. Significantly when the migraine is a status migraine and lasts for three days to, well, way too long. I have had suicidal ideation. Suicidal attempts. The depression itself can rise and fall like a storm, much like the migraines itself. And powerful. However, due to the chronic nature of my migraines it also became a force in-in-itself. More powerful in times of high pain, but there regardless.

It was ignored for years and I wrote a post about why here. Point is after a second suicide attempt the pain clinic rather thought the depression itself needed to be paid some attention to. When I first when to them they thought it could be managed with just some support from the psychologist who specialized in chronic pain, because the depression was a beast of the chronic pain. In a way, that was true but the intensity of the depression when I was in high amounts of pain and sleep deprived was extremely difficult to get around the excessively dark thoughts. Since I already in the past had a suicide attempt my second one was very spontaneous. I had already crossed that mental barrier and knew how easy it was to cross… so just leap right on by it the second time with little thought or consideration. Pain has a way of influencing thoughts to be deeper and darker. Not, unfortunately, unrealistic… just sharper and more exemplified of reality. Nothing gentle can sneak in there. Therefore they decided I needed to temper the storm with medication. Here is the irony; antidepressants make me suicidal. In fact that was the contributing factor to my suicide attempts, the medications, that made suicidal thoughts aggressive and persistent. Therefore when they looked at my medication choices the pain clinic psychiatrist said I can never be put on that class for pain management again, let alone depression. There were two alternatives and I am on Abilify. It actually works well. I have depression still, especially with a wicked migraine hitting hard. I just don’t really have the extreme lows that I was used to. The freaky scary lows.

Depression is an insidious beast that affects my chronic migraine treatment in so many ways. I was not as involved in my general self-care. I lacked motivation to do anything let alone the exercise I was supposed to do. I didn’t care about my hobbies and the things I used to enjoy anymore. I just wanted to sleep. I’d miss work from the migraines but also because I didn’t want to move, exist, be in pain that day. I am still in what I call a ‘funk’ still trying to encourage my motivation, force myself to engage in self-care. Trying to work on my hobbies hoping to spur my creativity again.

Another thing about depression is the lack of hope. When I feel a bit better I try. I try all the things on my pain management list and I do them every day. Set a routine. But when the depression sinks into me lower. I don’t try. Because why does it even matter? Nothing is going to work. And my routine falls apart. I have yet to find a way to keep my routine through the dips of the depression.

Here is some research to look at for migraines and depression.

Continue reading “#Migraine and #depression”

Bad mood days

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The pain is getting the best of me today. The migraines have been brutal as the weather shifts from sunny to rainy on a dime. That and knowing I have to work tomorrow with the fake smiles and the game that I have to play brings in the depression I struggle with.

My depression is directly correlated to my pain. I was diagnosed with depression related to pain. But it is more complicated that that. Due to anti-depressants and their suicidal side effects I have two suicide attempts under my belt. That was being on those medications odd-label for migraines and fibromyalgia. So due to that sensitivity I cannot take them. Due to the second attempt, which was very spontaneous and sudden, they put me on Abilify for mood control.

I have not had any suicidal intent since. No active plan. But I have had suicidal ideation. That rises and falls with high pain.

Because I want the pain to end. I want peace. Silence. Darkness. Rest. All the things I cannot have working. All the things refused to me. And I tire of this game of pretending to function. Putting on the facade of wellbeing and the fake smiles.

And my brain knows an answer to that. It craves an end to pain. It tempts me with its story of an end to suffering. It is Compelling.

I don’t listen. Even though it is smart that brain. It makes some very valid points. It knows how to get me going down that slippery slope to suicidal intent.

I can’t listen because the rules say suicide isn’t right. It hurts people. The rules say you have to learn to cope with the pain. You have to function with it. You get no rest. No silence. No darkness. The rules say you have to do things that will cause you more pain because it is the right thing to do.

I don’t really believe those rules at all. I believe I need to find my own reasons to live and stick with them. Hold onto them tightly. Fake it till I make it. And know when the pain lessens slightly I will feel better mood wise.

Nevertheless, I am in a lot of pain. My mood is low. I have to work. And I am damn tired of it all. And i will go to sleep in pain. Have a crappy sleep. And work in a great deal of pain. One more day till the weekend. One more day to make it through to earn some rest, silence and darkness that a migrainuer needs to find a least a little peace to suffer in.

Something to tell my psychologist about I suppose.