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Have you faced confrontation/jealosy from fellow sufferers

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi all, I am still waiting my initial appointment with neuro re removal of bone spur C5/6 which has been set for 2nd Oct, I have left my name should any cancelation come up. My symptoms continue to get worse and I have been unable to work since last Nov.
One of my work mates has previously had extensive time off work with spinal problems and I find whenever we meet she is very challenging. It is done in a very low key way, however on every occassion she informs that "I was so bad I needed a wheelchair and was on morphine" "now I just take a couple of tab's and get on with things, are you sure you want to come back to work"?
I have just shrugged my shoulders and advised her that I do want to come back to work, reminding her I have worked there for 30 years avaraging 2 days per year off, which were incured when I fractured a leg then a few years later my arm. However, given the severity of the symptoms I am experiencing I have no option but to have surgery should I ever wish to return to any semblance of my former life, having tried conservative treatment in the form of physio and medication only for my condition to continue to deteriorate.
I am at the stage where I am close to asking her why she is being so confrontational, however do not know if this will help or not. Have you found any similar situations?


  • sorry that you are having to put up with that. There are just some people in this world that will only feel better if they are in a worse state than any one around them...it is sad but true. I have experienced this is as well so I feel for you and I understand where you are comimg from. You will have to handle the situation as you see fit , whatever you decide , I wish you the best of luck. Take care....Miki
  • Yes I have run across this ALOT. It's just one of those things like Miki says "will only feel better if they are in a worse state than any one around them..."

    I find it a lot because I'm one of those that is insane about diving and fitness and no matter how much surgery I have gone through, I insist on dragging my behind to the gym. I insist on dragging myself to the water. People try to use that as a way to make themselves look like a sadder case.

    I feel sorry for them, because all they are doing is making themselves more miserable.

    We are who we are and we are the only ones that really know how good or bad we feel. Don't let this kind of thing get to you.

  • The nature of chronic pain can allow you to do things that seem not to be reflective of other expectation of what you should be able to do, they think one task is an opportunity to continue and that is not the case. Simple things become impossible and nobody mentions those low order elements that we struggle with and are impossible on occasions.

    It has become a common trend within society for some to equate individual health with the worse case scenario and is intended to give the recipient the intended gravity of the situation, irrespective of reality it enhances the notion of how hard it has been to recover. That mortality card is only valid if it is true and not a figment of someone’s imagination, every invasive surgery carries some risk but that is a distant notion of fatality every time.

    We all use alternative modes of coping and some are more vocal than others, and could be considerer as a syndrome in itself, an element will always think that they have the worse case situation even if this is not true, I have seen many in pain and the severity is not always measured by he who shouts the loudest, and possibly the reverse.

    I come across individuals who complain at the simplest of things and watch as collective sympathy is espoused as a consequence, this is in the nature of the person rather than the condition and it is not long before the same person has another fatal ailment condition or situation. Sternbach the eminent PM academic called it
    “ making it a career” which was not too far from the mark.

    Others will always have this misnomer and the attitude that just take a pill and carry on, chronic pain cannot be facilitated by medication alone and if it was just about taking the correct medication 70 years of pharmacy has failed to deliver.

    Try not to worry what others think, you know what is happening to you and need no recognition from another to validate your condition. This is a common and continual problem that as individuals we all have to master.

    Take care John

  • Hi Miki,"C" and John many thanks for your responses. I had by today decided to ignore the remarks and to continue with the "ignore it" attitude. I think she finds it difficult to hear folks in the office acknowledging my need to be off work and requiring surgery. I do not think confronting someone with their own difficulty in accepting everyone requires different treatment would benefit either her or me, and perhaps I should if I feel pushed just acknowledge I understand she has/is suffering, however point out I have my own path to follow just now which needs all my energy to be focused on myself just now. Otherwise I will just feel so guilty at hurting someone. As in the past, just sharing problems on the forum makes me feel better and to put a perspective on things through hearing the viewa you are all willing to share.

    Paul, many thanks for the welcome, I am one of the old members just catching up with the group now I am able to get back on conmputer some days.

  • My advice is keep conversation with this person to absolute polite minimums. I was wc injured and an associate was asked to "grill me" on my injury my intentions, and report back to the supervisor.
    I have never been a paranoid person in my life, however now...I don't trust many except those who I know love me.

    Just becareful...and protect yourself
  • gemini. Especially since the person was asking if you are sure that you want to come back to work. trust nobody.
  • After reading John's reply I am now worried that when I complain about how bad my situation is that I will be thought of as one of those who "shouts the loudest" and others will assume that I am just crying wolf for attention. I may be paranoid at this point, I know for a fact that I am very defensive becuase of how others have treated me in the "real" world. Coming here I have felt so comfortable seeing others just like me and finally being able to let down my gaurd. Am I being paranoid over this? Can everyone just really let it all out here without feeling as though they will be attacked? I'm new here so I'm still trying to find my way. I'm just so tired. What do you think?

    And BTW Tig, I had the opposite problem when I returned to work. Instead of anyone trying to outdo me with "my pain is worse than your pain" I had to deal with all of my coworkers being angry that I had to be off of work for emergency surgery. 5 weeks fater the 1st surgery I had to have another. So in all I was off of work for 11 weeks. They actually came up to me, one at a time and chewed me out because they had to work harder while I was gone. Even my manager said this to me, actually she was the rudest of them all. Luckily I realized that I was no longer able to work at all and quit for good. I shouldn't say "luckily", because instead, now I am permanently disabled. Not such a great trade off.

    All in all, your coworker shouldn't be trying to one up you. I feel that people do that so they will stay the focus of everyones attention and want to keep their pitty party. They are lacking in self-esteem.
  • jewels said:
    After reading John's reply I am now worried that when I complain about how bad my situation is that I will be thought of as one of those who "shouts the loudest" and others will assume that I am just crying wolf for attention. I may be paranoid at this point, I know for a fact that I am very defensive becuase of how others have treated me in the "real" world. Coming here I have felt so comfortable seeing others just like me and finally being able to let down my gaurd. Am I being paranoid over this? Can everyone just really let it all out here without feeling as though they will be attacked? I'm new here so I'm still trying to find my way. I'm just so tired. What do you think?

    First of all this IS a place where you can let down your gaurd and not worry about being attacked. We have 4 great moderators here that keep a watchful eye out for those wanting to stir up trouble.

    If you are really concerned, then use PM back and forth with the person you are wanting to let it out to.

    I wouldn't worry about being seen as one that shouts the loudest or cries wolf. Those people are the ones that don't really have your problem.

    As long as you are honest and true to yourself and others, then it is their issue if they have an issue with you.

    You will learn that it is more comfortable to just not mention your pain unless it is an issue at the moment. It's just something I think we all learn as we go along. Like taking the lid off the pot on the stove to see if it is close to boiling yet. How many times do we check and check and check and it seems like forever before we "find out it's boiling". whereas if we just leave it alone and not worry about it, we will see the steam and hear the lid rattle and go over and turn down the heat.

    That's how I see it.
  • Thank you for your reply. That makes me feel so much better and I will take your suggestions to heart. Yes, I have learned in the "real" world to keep my issues to myself but others are always asking me questions and then I get attacked. I've been going through this for 8 years so it's old hat to me. But as I said, because of "others" I have become very defensive and angry. I've had some horrible things said to me. Whew, ok, on here I get to be me! Thank you everyone!
  • Hi Jewels,
    I was referring predominantly to some of my colleagues at work and some only know my situation as I have told them, over time I am more cautious in who I tell and the depth of information I divulge and as with everyone my judgement has been wrong on occasions.

    The actual measurement of pain is difficult and the collective nature of chronic pain make that individuality of how we respond vary, based on past experience and many other things. It can be how we behave and describe our pain that are clearer indicators of the impact of pain. As you have found and have been recommended by others, the objective is to find what works for you and that disclosure to those who will never fully understand cannot be retracted once in the public domain. That is a learning experience of who to tell and never an easy judgment having once expressed your perceived vulnerability.

    We all have a spectrum of coping and nobody here is judging your specific need for disclosure, or the amplitude of its expression, we are here to help, we have individual needs and will be treated as such, this is a place of support and encouragement.

    It was perceptive of you to notice the impact this could have and an element of the “normal’s” will always use this as an additional opportunity to diminish your stature on the basis of inequality, we all have to manage the presentation of ourselves to a less than supportive group, even if we misrepresent ourselves in the process, that is sometime the price of our secret and unseen existence.

    We have learned to behave more normally than normal itself and any chink of perceived improvement or competence is disproportionately view as progression wrongly questions the validity of our integrity by others. It is an anathema to ourselves that we are able to do things and this site is testament to the tenacity of spirit and sheer determination to achieve irrespective and despite of the chronic pain we continually endure. We all have had uncaring things said and experience provides ways of commutation just the minimal information needed, historically some words we used have been used against us, and for the wrong reasons.

    It is not easy suppressing your plight while some get more recognition, our efforts are equally if not more difficult and this balancing act comes with time and experience. Behind our wry smile is a thousand painful moments that most here understand, we do a fantastic job and should acknowledge this in equal status to whatever is possible.

    Take care and be kind to yourself, we are all learning.

    John =D>
  • One thing you said John that is oh so very true in many aspects of life and that is having to perform or be better than the rest, just to be accepted as one of the gang.

    The cool part about that though, is it drives us to become better. We don't just stop at being equal. People tend to be like chameleons and if they hang with those who always perform under par, then they will rarely perform any better. However if you stick us with a squad of sharp dressed, crisp, tall standing individuals, in no time we will be out performing the rest.

    It's kind of like these pain forums. If the forum focus is on making things "soft and easy", then the results are always going to be soft and easy. If the forum is really hard core "do this or else" ... then the members will become quite bitter and their pain levels will probably go up.

    Fortunately Spine Health seems to have a good balance.

  • I love this board and am so incredibly happy that I found it. It's like a lifeline when I needed it the most. The sad part for me about disclosure though is the fact that some of the most critical comments have come from family members. They "have" to know in what shape I'm in because they assume I'm still my old self and think that I can still do everything that they can. I no longer visit with them, why? Because it's too hard. Why can't I paint moms living room for her? Because I can't! When my sister who happens to be a nurse found out that I'm on Oxycontin, and I didn't reveal the dosage, her reply to me was "I would rather be dead then to take that sh#t!" She said that every patient that comes into the ER that uses oxy is an addict and that they are just drug seekers or overdosing and it makes her sick. Well, I tried to explain that she is seeing the 5% of people that do abuse the oxy, and not the other 95% who don't. I have never wound up in the ER from an overdose because I use it responsibly. She refused to believe me. I'm going to print out a bunch of info from my research and send it to her. That's just a hint of what I've been through. Well, she may change her mind about wanting to be dead if there ever comes a time when she needs this drug! That comment really hurt because I was very suicidal at that particular time. I actually had thought like "I'll make her happy and just blow my head off". I was serious too. The only thing that has really kept me going is my husband, mother, and my cat. I can't begin to imagine what it would do to them. As for wanting to outdo someone on the pain deal, I don't even care about that. If someone else wants to play the pity party for themself in public or at work, go for it. You can have the limelight! I don't want it. I always hated it when my customers would ask questions about it, which of course they knew because I dragged my left leg behind me and I had to wear a huge brace for awhile. It was obvious and unavoidable. Sorry to write so much here! Thank you again everyone! You're like Angels on my shoulders. Jewels
  • :H Do you feel any better after reading the responses here? It helps doesn't it? Yes, just allow your coworker to be the host of her own pity party and claim the limelight for herself. I never wanted it! All I want is "Empathy". Not sympathy or pity. Best of luck to you!
  • :/ May I ask what the picture is next to your name?
  • Been wondering that myself, Jewels.
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