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Its time to see a counselor

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,858
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Depression and Coping
I believe that members on Spine-Health understand the physical impacts that spinal problems create.

This site has be used as a type of Support group helping members in overcoming certain obstacles. We
can understand the physical impacts, but what do we do about the emotional impacts?

Seeing a psychologist or other professional counselors can be the answer, however, you may feel by doing so you are not a stable person.

That is not true. Psychologist/Counselors can provide us with 'tools' to help us through difficult times.

We dont have problems seeing a medical doctor to help with our pain and discomfort, so why not also find support from a psychologist.

I have no problems saying that over the years, I have been to several counselors to discuss the emotional strains. They have given me the tools and understand to help me in dealing with various problems.

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • I think we give good support and advice to each other on this forum. I have asked for and received great advice. I read lots of posts to prepare for my surgery. One thing that I did not expect and was unprepared for was the depression that occured after my surgery. No one suggested I needed to see a psychologist. I asked my surgeon for a referral after my surgery. He referred me to a pain psychologist. I did not realize how depressed I was, or how much my mental state was impacting my recovery. At my first visit, after talking to the doctor for a while, he asked if I thought I was depressed. I said yes, quite emphatically. He suggested that I start taking an antidepressant.

    My mother works in the mental health field. Because I was familiar with treatments, and have been exposed to many doctors and counselors due to my mothers occupation, I know I had an advantage. I was also amazed at how my visits and treatments were following the same line as those used by my mother and her coworkers while I was growing up. I think because I was raised by a single parent, and had an interest in psychology, I was exposed to more mental health practices than most people.

    On my second visit with the psychologist, I told him about my background, and how similar his approach was to what my mother practised while I was living with her. I told him of a relaxation exercise recording that one of my mom's doctor friends had made, and how I wished I still had it. We talked about relaxation exercises and using visualization. He then produced a CD that he had made, and we laughed because he said it was the same technique. He then told me I was fine and he did not think I needed anymore sessions. He said if I felt that I needed to see him again I could always call and set up an appointment.

    Those two visits were so helpful. My asking for the help also impressed my PM doctor. I have come a long way. Some of it was due to the surgery, some because of finding a good blend of medications, but most of all coming to an understanding of my condition and accepting it has helped me. I still hurt and probably will always have issues with chronic back pain, but I feel so much better about my life.

  • Stigma.. Before I retired, I held and had to hold a Top Secret Clearance, and as such (kid you not) *ANY* visit to a Psychologist could result in loss of my clearance, and resultant loss of my job! People have lost their clearances for far less!

    On my last visit to my NS, he made the comment that I wasn't the same "happy Brenda" that he started treating years ago. Now while I consciously agree, he did NOT tie it to my issues with my spine...more so the daily pain and "what ifs" many of us (and me) have on a day to day basis. My respect for him however did go up, as he was confidant enough in our relationship to be brave enough without personal opinion to state why he felt I was "down", "sad", "not the old Brenda."

    I do agree Ron that we go to xx doctor for this and this issue, and emotions, moods, depression if you will *is* a health issue as well! The *stigma* is still heavily ingrained in all of us! By some of the commercials I see on TV, there is effort to show that "normal" people (post pregnancy, chronic pain, loss of loved ones, loss of job) = depression = NORMAL REACTION - but the stigma is still there - even amongst ourselves!!

    As part of my job, I took "Criminal Psychology", to further understand my "customer" for lack of a better term, and it also aided in future cases (DC Sniper) to close them. In that training, they did teach and lecture on 'issues' that cause some to go into depression '101' as they say. Yeah, some are born nuts, no question, but most of us 'acquire' it though constant pain, pain with loneliness, pain with and without support (feeling of letting loved ones down)...etc.,etc.,etc. I get more 'help' and understanding among my kind (fellow spineys) than I can with a doctor who has only stubbed their toe!!!

    Sorry, education is BOUGHT, experience is EARNED. Many on here have earned that aspect of it, and therefore in the few times I've been in my 'sniff' mode (and you helped me too Ron), I get 're-grounded' with spiney help. :) Okay, off my soap box. *HUGZ* all around!!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Ron,
    Seeking the help we need is a strength and those will great responsibility had “black dog days” as Ron mentioned nobody would not go to a physician for a medical problem and it is questionable is anyone can endure CP in isolation.

    The key is going at an appropriate time, prior to when those thoughts and decisions that we make impact on our behaviour, nobody knowingly descends into depression with all that attributed angst that could be thwarted had we sought some help sooner.

    Pain is a team event and anyone enduring Cp and imposed changes would statistically need some appropriate support, guidance and assistance. We should not see needing a counsellor as a failure in ourselves, although that stigma may well exist in some areas it is suggested that 1-5 will experience depression at some time; so many individuals are keeping that fact and helpful support to themselves. All those elements that CP infers, isolation segregation, loss of self or just surviving need improvement, we may well be the last to know that we need support and when that time arrives now or in the future we all are only delaying the inevitable in thinking we can deal with pain on our own.

    Anyone who lives with pain continually and many here do, already has the excess of capacity to survive and flourish, pain can be that internal element of survival and it is only natural when the expectation and reality of how our lives are evolving that we may need periodic and occasional assistance.

    As Factoryrat said, once we go we understand how and why this will benefit our situation, others still look to us for support and guidance and we have a responsibility to ourselves to seek help that is best suited, Cp is an amalgam of who we are, how we were nurtured, our personal experience, however strong we imagine we are, very few if any, can get through this ordeal without some proportionate support when necessary.

    We understand here that talking about our condition does help, and it is always beneficial in the long term to get it out, rather than let the pressure build up over time and be released in inappropriate behaviour or actions, although it is understandable we have some responsibility in the knowing that depression can occur to minimise its impact where possible, it is another tool in the box and the more the better, it gives us additional options, many having surmounted that initial apprehension have benefited from expressing how we feel to another.

    When my own time came it did help and provide that sounding board and some release of that internal struggle we all experience, anything that helps us dealing with pain has to be productive, we need to enter this stage with an open mind and that the objective is to empower us to help ourselves as best we can.

    Take care John


  • When I was first injured I talked with a counselor and although my work knows I've talked with a Counselor they don't know why. It's quite an adjustment emotionally when you can't do what you've done before. I was healthy, fit and happy working though my job was stressful at times. One day I got up and with this sore back and leg just wouldn't get better, it affected me emotionally, and not just emotions but also my intellect couldn't accept this. That's why I was so defensive when I said that I was depressed but not just in my heart but my intellect and I know I'm not a weak person and if you know what I've been through in my life you would know me differently. Yes getting help for the whole you, intellect and emotional you shouldn't be seen as a weakness. Thanks Ron. Charry

    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I know that some form of counseling is in my near future. I'm hoping in the next 2-3 months to get some clear answers on my condition. In the mean time I am going to talk to my pm doctor about adding an antidepressant and seeing a councelor. I'd really like to find someone who is more of a life coach who can help me figure out what I can do with these limitations.
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