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I feel like a shadow of who I was before......

Joey29JJoey29 Posts: 22
edited 04/18/2013 - 11:09 AM in Chronic Pain
Having a rough day cant seem to keep my mind from thinking about what it was like to be pain free and to be able to do what I wanted when I wanted to do it, I just feel like a shadow of myself.

I ll give you a little back ground on myself, I had an accident at work which lead to horrible back pain and even worse leg pain down my left side,I was given a MRI in which I was told I had herniating l4 l5 which put me on the road to a half dozen epidurals and then later on a discectomy, but the pain never changed or got any better...

The last few days I have made some calls to a mental health social worker, has anyone tried talking to someone?
I just feel really depressed lately, thinking back on how much this constant pain has changed my life, I just feel like it has taken away all the things that I loved to do and has left me stranded inside not wanting to do anything I used to do.
I feel forgotten by everyone I know and feel judged by anyone, I feel like this condition has taken over my life completely I need to know that there is gonna be a up side to this thing everything thus far has been negative, I just wish there was a switch I could flip and take a break from all this, its exhausting.

I guess there has to be a point where you except who you are now and try to move on with a life with constant pain it just seems like the most difficult thing I have ever had to do, I loved my life before all this happened. This non-living thing that I have going on I absolutly hate it.

I welcome any advice from someone in the same situation, Im thankful for finding this site it does feel better to be able to speak to someone and not be judged, thank-you all

I hope this gets easier someday....


  • I to struggle mentally with depression, and this was before chronic pain was added into my life. I was given the name of my mental health provider from my pain doctor. The woman I see is used to patients who struggle with this, pain and depression run hand in hand. I see her monthly but then am also on two antidepressants. I have also been sent to a chronic pain class, so I start that in May. Do you see a pain doctor? Who give you your meds?

    I'm sorry that your stuck in such a rut. Did you have any luck with your phone calls? If not, you should contact whomever prescribes you other medications and tell them you need to see someone asap.

    You will find many of us on this website and we are all in the same boat, pain is a huge part of our lives. Although we may not know each other very well, the fact that we can come here, vent, cry, scream and whine no one judges us, in fact is rather comforting because we all know how that feels. How we are treated in the real world doesn't apply here, just support and affirmations are the replies you'll see.
  • The last decade of my life has also been challenging. Starting with a horrible lawsuit where we ended up losing our home (later won suit but damage was done), a four year battle with an autoimmune disease/drug reaction that nearly killed me (lost 38 percent of my body weight and was so weak I could not walk), multiple job losses, reconstruction of my right foot, and now major spine surgery. I get it. Friends leave. Family is not understanding and even critical - the opposite of being supportive. People who care give up on us because they do not know what to say or what we CAN do. Many of my old friendships were built around sports (cycling, skiing, swimming, kayaking). Little by little I could no longer do those things and the friends just stopped calling. My exhaustion keeps me from going out to dance or "drink." Right now, I'm confined to my home (no cars) for six weeks. It does seem like it never ends. Even my husband has pretty much had it. I have found that being online in social networks and blogs is nice but not very rewarding. Today I was thinking about what kind of things I could do to enjoy myself and feel challenged while recovering and wondering what next. Here is what I came up with: cooking new recipes, reading used books I buy from Amazon and then reselling them, running an Ebay or Etsy business, trying to come up with my own blog and creat it, (Wordpress is not hard to learn), taking real good care of myself and quit my bad habits, journal, finish a book I wrote a long time ago, offer to do resumes for people or business plans, and walk. However, I am not in horrible pain anymore and I sure hope and pray it never comes back the way it was. Some other people I know with pain problems have taken up art, music or photography. I think the key is to not expect our "old self" to return. Instead, we need to invent a new normal. If you feel horribly depressed, you may want to see a counselor. I know I would. . . . hmmm, come to think of it. I do take medication at night that does help with depression also. Peace.
    Age 55
    Herniated L4-5 1992
    DDD diagnosed
    Hysterectomy 2005
    Steven Johnsons Syndrome 2008-09
    Gastroparesis 2009-10
    Right ankle and toe reconstruction 2012
    ACDF C6-7 surgery March 2013
    Stroke? Cancer? MS? Who knows! in inferior cerebellum 2013
  • Same thing here, everyone. First felt my back pop back in 1997 at the age of 26. I was a machinist by trade, making good money and getting lots of overtime hours. Here we are 16 years later and I am unable to work at all, I have a SSA Disability claim pending and awaiting a appeal hearing--and 5 spine fusion surgeries later (6 levels) between my neck and lower back. For quite awhile (11 years) after I had to quit heavy duty work, I worked as a school bus driver and really liked it. It became harder to turn my neck back/forth numerous times and losing arm strength and mobility made it too difficult to even do that.

    I feel absolutely useless and wondering what my identity is. The medicine I take for pain (Tramadol) and muscle relaxer (Flexiril) leaves me feeling mighty snowed and my short-term memory is just that--a MEMORY! It sucks living frustrated and wondering who the hell that person is on the other side of the mirror! I don't like what I see.......at all.

    Thanks for reading......you're not alone! Hang in there.

  • Thanks for your replies,
    I currently see a physiatrist for my pain management he and he has reffered me to a 4 week chronic pain management course the down side is that there is a 6 month wait list.
    I actually got ahold of a mental health councillor today I have a appointment for monday I hope it helps.

    Thanks again for the replys it helps alot knowing I have some people in the same situation to talk to. Thank-you
  • Hi! I am a 35yr old woman and have been fighting back problems since I was hit by a drunk driver when I was 18... it just deteriorated over the next 13 yrs and I have had 2 lumbar fusions since then... the last being last September. I am also where you are to some extent. I am in constant pain and trying to learn my limits on EVERYTHING! I am also a newlywed (we will be married 2 yrs in November) . My husband is AMAZING trying to help me with the pain, but he gets frustrated because he can't help me feel better. It is a HUGE adjustment and not just for the one which is suffering, but for our friends and family as well. I know it is said a lot, but you definitely learn who your true friends are by the ones who do still call or text just to check up or even say hi. I recently moved to another town to be with my husband and left all my friends 2 hours away! My husband works nights, so I am here in a somewhat strange town by myself and in pain. Not a good combination, but what can you do, right? I would love to say things get easier, and maybe to some extent they do. Just try not to think about what you used to be able to do and take pride in what you can do now. I used to be able to sit and crochet all day long... now I am doing good to be able to crochet for an hour a day... but I still try almost everyday! Hope this helps and you can find peace with your new life.
    2 more bulging discs; spinal stenosis; osteoarthritis; reverse lordosis at L3; degenerative disc disease; inflammatory joint disease; nerve root cysts at T1-T3; 2 level PLIF 4/9/09 and 3 level PLIF 9/6/12 with hardware both times
  • hi joey29. when i red your post it was like i had written it myself. i have had or am having all these thoughts and feelings. it is hard i must agree. i used to look after people like me never in my wildest nightmare did i see myself in this position. i keep hoping that it is just that, a nightmare but alas it is not. as you can tell i am having a hard time right now.
    i have 2 herniated discs in my lower back and have been on pain meds for 8 yrs. i have had most procedures except surgury because no 2 doctors can agree i what i need. some say my condition is not bad enough some say fusion some say disctomy. so i live day to day on these pills that i hate. i also have an 8yr old and a 16 yr old. my home is a mess. i dont sleep or eat, i have no friends left, i rarely leave the house and i am wondering what is the point? if it wasnt for my kids i dont think i would have lasted this long.
    i have obviously fallen into a depression but how to get out? everytime i make an app with a mental health worker, i cancel. why? not sure. i am only 43 and cant imagine living like this forever. but whats the point?
    i sat here alone tonight crying and wishing i had my old life back. i just typed in pain and depression and was sent here. i know others have it worse than myself and i have to snap outta this for my kids but i dont know how?
    i am only posting this in hopes that there is someone else out there that has been where i am now but managed to find hope somehow someway. if so, please help. i dont know how much longer i can live like this.
    thank you for your time.
  • I read your post and had to respond. I acknowledge that I don't know you or your situation and am only responding based on what you described in this post. I appreciate that surgeons often have conflicting views on exactly what type of survey is needed, however are you saying that they are all saying surgery is needed but that they have different options? It this is the case, I am not sure I would let this leave me in No Man's Land unable to decide how to proceed and hence continue to live in pain regardless, I think I would weigh up the options presented, determine which surgeon I feel most comfortable with, what procedure I feel at ease with (if you can feel at ease with any surgery I know), and then choose and move forward. Again, apologies if I have misread your post and not everyone is saying surgery is needed,

  • i feel you. i think anyone with chronic pain starts to hit the skids emotionally eventually. i see a therapist weekly whom i sought not due to my physical deterioration but as i began to discuss the issue, she began to help me figure out some answers.
    chronic pain is absolutely debilitating physically and psychologically. i urge you to continue pressing your doctor(s) for different treatment options. if you feel you have exhausted that avenue perhaps acupuncture, massage, yoga etc? i have found that there is also this happy medium with exercise meaning that if i don't do any form of movement my body atrophies and i am in pain and if i work my body too hard i am in pain but if i am moderate and keep my body strong, but not stressed i feel pretty good.
    keep moving forward and yes, see a professional to help you decompress. maybe as you discuss all that burdens you the weight of them will lift and you will feel some peace.
    p.s. a year ago i placed in the top .05 % out of 4000 women in the tuxedo mt spartan race... now i'm two weeks out from acdf surgery and confined to my home. but prior to surgery i bought hiking boots and intend to hike nice n easy with the eventual goal of one day hiking the appalachian trail...no more extreme nothin' lol... new goals that work with my new reality are my focus.
  • It happes in your own time..
    but in the mean time you have to 'own" your pain
    acceptance, denial, barganing, its all relative, nothing changes, until your attitude toward it changes.
    You have all the tools built in to fight and win this, the fact your still hanging in there is proof.

    Chronic pain is in my opinion directly linked to the emotive drive in a person. of course you get tired and frustrated, because day after unending day of the continual, subconcious stress, can, will and does wear a person out.
    your not superman, or some Spartan immune and innured to pain. yoru simply who you are, and tired of being under the gun.

    when I said own your pain, examin all the facets, physical, mental, emotional. there are many sides to each facet, so go slow.
    you will come out on the other side of this a stronger leaner fighter, it can happen if you WILL it, you can want all day, but putting want too practice is the first trick.

    do you want to get as better as you can?
    do you want to get on top of all the roiling emotion?
    do you want to take back a little control?

    you gotta want it.

    be gentle to and with yourself, your not the same person, your getting better!
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • Wow.......well put Ranchhand. It sure took me a long time to accept who I am now--a far different person that I was before I initially hurt myself. I wish everyone some much needed relief and hope you all can find your way.

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