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Personality Changes

SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Depression and Coping
Man..after all this time I still get confused with posting so sorry if this shows up somewhere else. I'm goofy. :)
So appropriate for my question for you guys.

I had f/u appt with therapist today from last week. I brought good friend who is best support with me because I know something is wrong and I want to get better.

Therapist kept bringing up, for the first time today..and friend agreed.. I seem to have a personality change. I will be setting up appt for evaluation as therapist wants..as she thinks it may be related to post stroke..1/2011.

I don't really feel it..but I do see like quizzical looks on my friends faces at times..like I feel like their feedback is that something is wrong..but they don't use words to say anything to me. I have been aware that I am increasinly more forgetful of conversations and events.
And aware that I struggle with understanding words coming in or words I'm trying to express.

However, when I was looking into it online.. personality changes from meds for chronic pain kept coming up.

As many of you guys, my pain meds take the edge off. I'm never totally pain free. And on days when not going to be around people, I don't take as much..prefer to control suffer and not get to used to the meds. My PM doc agreed with that.

So, just wondering if any of you or you know someone who had similiar experience?

Thanks a lot for any feedback!
Spine-Health Moderator
Please read my medical history at: Medical History



  • First off, *HUGZ*...yeah, needed to toss ya one!!! :)

    Oh-kan-dokey.... I do think to some degree our personalities DO modify/change/suffer due to chronic pain - meds or not. 'Joe normal' can still hit the pick-nick and smile, have a brew...etc... where as a lot us, limit our brews (meds interaction) , and too are just down, and our friends (maybe family) don't get it.

    So, (me) have I seen a personality change since I moved to the chronic side of the house, sadly.....yeppers, you betcha.

    What bums... is our family and friends "get it" ( still not sure about that ) if we had say...cancer. They really DON'T get it with spine injuries.

    When questioned, I never have a 'bad back, or bad neck' because EVERYONE is an expert on treatment...!!!! "Me"... I have (no lie) spine issues... That shuts em down! Again, sound like a mutt, but soooo many people have the classic (overdid at golf, yard work, at work....) bad back, neck. Most of us on here, sure.... ours too, but nerve affected by disks, vertebral bodies (spondy etc....) and the list can go on.

    Don't tell anybody you have a bad neck/back... they just figuratively tie that picture to "Ouch... I overdid it on golf course..." Eg... They don't get it. Your true, close friends and family, will understand the true depth of what you're going through... "Joe casual friends" won't get it - not worth clarifying...

    There is (search here) a "Letter to Normals" and too you can do a search on the net, "Spoon story" which might help friends and family get it too. If after these (excellent letters) they don't get it, they probably will NEVER get it....

    Off I fade back to my corner... :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • personality change .its no surprise to me that any one suffering pain and not being able to take part in life .as they would like too and all the other unpleasant things that constant pain give us ..is it any wonder that we change ..i was a happy pleasant person with limitless amounts of energy and would do anyhting for any one type of man ..now i am a miserable and feel sad most of the time and i have developed anxiety syndrome ...
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    I knew there would be understanding here :) Thanks
    Trying not to even think about it 'til evaluation happens... but yeah.. the pain..how can one expect not to be worn down and "different"?

    I read a post, probably yours, Brenda, and I did change my words.. to spinal issues. Very good idea!
    And I did the "Letter to Normals". I attempted different ways of trying to get through, esp my kids, but, they truly do not get it at all. Kids didn't even acknowledge receiving "Letter".
    When I just asked if they read it.. "Yeah"..that was it.

    My two main support friends loved the "Letter" & said it helped them understand. So you're right, Tony, my life so limited, not just physical activity, but friends have become few.

    So. proving once again that this is the place for true understanding and helpful perspectives. Thanks!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I too want to send you a big >:D< . Glad to see that you have some close friends that are standing by you and go to your appointments with you. Of course, you also always have all of us.

    I think for us spineys there can definately be changes in our personalities. It can come from all different reasons. Meds of course, depending what they are and how they affect the specific person.

    Chronic pain in general can affect our personalities, just as we battle through day to day living. We will have our good days as well as our bad days.

    Yes, strokes also can effect personality. Depending where the stroke affects the brain, as well as how bad the stroke was. It just depends on the individual, stroke affects all people differently.Where it may change some people's personalities, others are not changed by it at all.

    Everyone is different, we all, I am sure have changed in some way or another, since we have had chronic pain. I know that I am not the "same" person I was before this journey all began.

    Wishing you all the best at your evaluation. Know that we are all here for you. Please keep us updated on how you are doing.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Savage,

    Try and remember when you were say...under 21 years old. Short of experiencing some nasty trauma, or almost dying, this stuff won't register with the younger ones! Sure, they know people get cancer, injured or even die, but to them "they still live in the eternal mode" most times. Hell, hehehe when I was a teen, someone 30 was over the hill to me! (G)

    When my neck and back would hurt forever ago, but would settle down with rest, chiro, massage etc., nodding, yeah I "had a bad back, neck." Once nerves got involved, pain went chronic, and surgery started getting put on the menu, I then developed spine issues! Even with doctors, I don't use the term "I have a bad neck." I really think they too (they are human too!)instantly lump us with most of "normal bad back America" when we say that....

    The family and friends that truly care about us will try to get it! Those same folks will be there for us "warts and all." You already know you're stuck with us, cuz we get it, and you!!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    ...an thanks for the reminder about the thinking of a young person, Brenda! My brain thinks of that at times but my emotions sometimes just grieve without thought.

    And thanks, Karen, and all for the reminder that just the chronic pain can change someone. I'm taking notes from you guys for the evaluation so I can show more awareness of my situation. :)

    I feel so good "being stuck with you guys"!! ..as you are with me!
    I'm truly blessed! Thanks guys!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Yeah, nothing "Kills" us as kids and teens!!! So, yeah we took tons of risks and didn't think twice about it! Most of our friends were within a year of our age, else they were too old or too young for us! As we age the spread of ages in our friends change.... :)

    Yep, you are for sure stuck with us darlin!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    ...for neuroscience to eval my "personality changes."

    I do wish docs would focus on what I want... like..umm...pain control. But no..we are now going into yet another area and I have no say in the matter.

    It's not like I can refuse anything or... they refuse me..and then finding a new doc or therapist.. who would want to gladly add me on?

    And I so don't even care..probably got me into this eval in the first place...but I just want to be.

    Just be..and keep a handle on my pain..just be in my limited lifestyle. I don't even care about missing out on anything...been there..done that.. got a tee shirt.(I stole that from someone!)
    Thanks for permission to vent.

    So, appt mid Oct...I may have to come back here to b...., I mean, work it through with you guys later.

    Hope your days are managable!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I have had a major personality change, anger, crying, frustration, play a huge role in my life lately. I to just want pain control, I will live and function with limitations or whatever need be, but man get rid of the pain. Especially when my screws pinch something in there and the instant pain isn't something I can hide. I make a big scene even when I try so hard not to, my kids get upset and cry cuz moms in pain and all I can say to them is I am fine leave me alone get away, any touch hurts during these spouts. Then comes the crying cuz they were so scared, but yet tell the doctors this they don't care not one bit what your family is going through while they play their games. Well mine don't anyway I know there are doctors out there who do and I will find one.
  • It does change who we are , I was once a out going person had lots of friends, loved to camp, fish, climb cliffs but now the big weekend for me is to get done what I can do in the house and lay on the couch and figure out what lifetime movies I want to watch, I used to hate tv loved being outdoors riding my horses, I have become a recluse sometimes I feel like a wild injured animal backed up in a corner waiting to snap someones head off lol I dont like who I am but constant pain makes us that way.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    I'll have some evaluation in a couple of weeks.. looking forward to it now. If nothing else, my depression is in a free fall..hoping for doc to have better insight and management.

    So many my relationships in disrepair. Initially when I tried to explain and wasn't understood about my physical pain, changes..etc.. I tried to ingnore.. fake it and be okay best I could in front of my family.But I felt distancing and dismissing.. kind of felt disrespected as a parent...begging for relationship.

    Then I just didn't care back...too much work with one sided relationship while my body is screaming at me.

    I actually told my sons to lose my number. What parent does that???
    I grieve that everyday. Today I left my tearful messages of apologies...and I long for reconciliation, but don't even know what to do.

    My one son already responded that he will call me this afternoon! I still don't know what to do..but there's hope...always hope.

    I'm sure I'll screw up again...but I'll take a day at a time.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Sorry to hear about the relationships with your sons. I find if you let them know specifically your needs they may be better able to help like, meet me one day for lunch or come over once a month if they are able to may help. Chronic pain can affect our relationships but the stroke may have affected you.

    I hope your family sticks with you and gives you support. One day at a time is the best way to do it as the worrying about it can cause more issues. You're doing well here with your friends who 'get it' some people may never understand.

    I only have my Mother and brother who are close to me as my husband offers limited support. It can be a lonely time, feeling good in yourself and do what feels good for yourself helps. Try to be gentle with yourself and hoping your Therapist will help you through this. Hug. 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
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    I find your counsel and caring very comforting.

    This site has been such a blessing...the aloneness..
    well..I feel not alone any more.
    Thank you
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • With the pain and frustration we lash out at the people we love the most. I have done that oh so often.We are the mothers not for nothing but usually we are a one sided relationship with us.
    We take care of everything, clean , cook , taxi, just last night i put lotion and cut my 14 year old toenails.
    We do not expect anything, we do not want anything from any of them. Then there comes a time and please do not laugh :)
    My 21 year old and his gf were staying in our finished basement with the 2 grandkids, I was in pain having a heck of a day, and he came upstairs with a 2 litter of pepsi... oh no momma flipped. I said why are you hiding the pop downstairs you can't share with me after all I do for you, blah blah more stupid stuff came outta my mouth, and he retaliated. I said get out he said I will, then he said mom I know you are gonna say your sorry tomorrow and I love you but we are moving anyway. So when I woke up in the morning him his gf and the babies were gone, just as he said they would be.
    I felt like dirt, he txt me and said he knows I just wasnt feelin good, but he doesnt want to fight with me and it seems like I wanted to fight alot ...
    SO Savage, it will come as it comes the depression, the ignorance we feel from the pain and act on.
    Our family will be there when it is all over I guarantee, our true friends will be there to and to the rest .... oh well who cares ... because they obviously didnt care enough to take us with a grain of salt with our chronic pain rearing its ugly head.
    Have a great night and you are not alone.... My kids have walked up to me and hugged me said I love you mom , but your having a bad day, so we are gonna hide in our room we are there if you need us .... lol jerks but I can not blame them
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Yes! You so totally nailed it!
    So happy to read your story...as I'm relating, I am just cracking up!
    That's exactly how it goes!

    I so needed that story! Thanks beyond words!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    I believe that chronic pain is one really strong reason why so many of us experience personality changes.

    In life, we all have ups/downs.... Jobs made, jobs lost, new marriages, divorced situations, etc, etc

    But there are so many factors that are involved when you are dealing with chronic pain.

    - The pain itself
    - All the medications
    - Feeling you are not contributing
    - Lack of support or too much support
    - etc

    For me, the two biggest reasons for personality changes are: 1-Medications and 2-Feeling I can't put my full value in.

    What I have always tried to do, is to keep those personality changes inside of me and not to let others know about this. As much as I can go on and on with my posts here and talk about everything, I am generally a quiet person. So that helps me and allows me to keep most of those changes to myself.

    Those that know and love you normally understand any personality change we may have from time to time.
    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
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    The very factors I live with and think I need to have a handle on.
    It seems like conflicting messages...like some friends want me to keep trying this and that and try to be better.

    Docs are like..get used to it. This is it. They barely want to hear anything. "That's your life now."

    So, since depression and anxiety are playing more of a role in my situation than I care to admit...I'm am going to start shift my attitude to acceptance.

    Just go along and get along and be as happy as any given day will allow. And try to keep my neg thoughts in check...change them to gratitude for something before they take hold.

    You hit one of my biggest obstacles is feeling useless and a waste of space. I am now giving myself permission to just be. Who can grade what I still may contribute to those in my circle.?

    Thanks everyone for your support!There's relief in being listened to and understood. I feel lighter!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    So often we fight and resist what we really can not fight. There are ways that the medical field can help us move along, but then there are things that are the way they are and there is not much we can do.

    Years ago, I tried to fight everything. I know I could overcome any medical condition. Now as I am much smarter, I know I can overcome any obstacle, but not within the scope of my medical condition.

    Not sure if that even makes sense. But for me, I've accepted what I have, I am not going to cry over it, feel sorry for it, but instead move ahead the best, no, even better than I could before. Is that different? Sure, but I know where I am going.

    Savage, just reading your post, I see an inner strength in you that will endure whatever is thrown at you. And if sometimes you get hit with a curve-ball when you expected a fast ball, post away here, you have lots of friends.

    There is a song from Peter Paul and Mary, that I've listened to over and over. Believe it or not, it helped me in many ways:

    "In his eyes we're all the same Someday we'll all have perfect wings, Don't laugh at me."
    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 was/ am having a period of craziness in my life right now.. as my family says MOM you are going crazy..lol I made a counseling appointment I go today, to help me understand my personality changes due to the chronic pain... I don't think it will change anything but will help me understand until the pain is gone or controlled .. well my kids will still walk on egg shells and my husband ya he tries to stay clear as he says I just do not know what to do for you... I say I don't either...
    Anyway I am very excited about the appointment today:)
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    ...looking forward to your appointment, Sheryl!
    Let us know how it goes for you.

    I would imagine it to be helpful to your family, also. You know..like you are acknowledging that they are affected by your pain, also.

    My doc has me going to some memory evaluation thing.
    Interview..1hr..evaluation 4-5hrs..yikes.. then a feedback appt..1hr.

    I'm willingly jumping through whatever hoops..mostly need more of a handle of how I am effecting others and a short like mantra to have something to say in response. Explaining gets me no where... and my relationships a little shattered right now.

    But I still very hopeful! In fact, feel better about who I am more and more each day...in huge part thanks to all you guys!

    So, liking me..more than half the battle. Now just acceptance..even without understanding from my family would be..huge.

    I get off point.....Best of luck and cant't wait to hear how it goes!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • It went well, going back next week. Just a lot of history today about me and my spinal issues. It was nice talking to someone who has no idea and no judgements on me.
    I need to do the memory thing your doing I think because he was asking me questions that I had a hard time remembering either because I blocked them or just plain forgot. Funny how with chronic pain remembering decreases because it is what your life is focused around.
    I would rec counseling to anyone with chronic pain just to have someone to talk to.
    I am praying for you and your long (ouch) appointment
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    As is usual..good news..bad news.
    Good news..No dementia... and changes are not due to psychiatric reasons...not due to depression.

    Other news... My not being able to attend is due to cerebral vascular changes and although is not reversible...I just need to compensate.

    Mostly with being more open with family and friends.

    I'm not able to "attend" in usual situations..like everything so fast I just tune out.
    However, if emergency, I function better, but then may forget.

    Since one can't live at emergency status at all times...this is the new me. Ta-da!

    It also affects my thinking to be very disorganized, so when I do..say a project with the computer and try to do it again..it's like relearning. I can't just repeat what I previously did.

    Oh, well. I certainly have time to keep trying.

    My depression is very high and in need of new meds. But it is an additional situation not causing all this forgetfullness. Although, the docs say it's not forgetfulness, it's that I didn't "attend' in the first place.

    Whatever, it's not my fault. I can't try harder and make it better.I must say, that is a relief, because I can't try to be any better and that feeling a failure is gone now. It's permanent changes in my brain....all the strokes.

    Guess it doesn't matter how big the strokes..they leave their mark. And it wan't TIAs but indeed strokes.

    This does make communication about the pain a little more difficult..but now I'll just make sure all docs have this report and they should be a little more understanding.

    Thanks for being there, you guys! I appreciate you all so much!

    Here's to a not so aweful day for all of us!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I am sorry it was not so good news, but I am glad you found out what was going on. Strokes do cause so many different issues no matter how small they are they are related to the brain and that is big. I am glad the feeling of failing is diminishing because not one of us have failed we just have to change our ways and accept some terrible things. ( my counselor taught me that :)
    This evaluation hopefully will make the doctors much more understanding as well as you as to what your limits are. I to am very forgetful I am 39 my grand mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer when she was 53 and I sometimes think oh man am I the lucky one who got it now. My doctors say no it is the medications Cymbalta alone can make you feel fuzzy and not remember as much then the Morphine well that is another story. I am having a hard time dealing with it myself and is why I started counseling.
    Together we will all get through this and survive...That is why we are all lucky enough to be brought to this site so we can help each other. I am here for you and so is everyone else.
    Have a great great day today the sun is shining here and that always makes me feel better.
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