Some of you may know me on spine health. I started coming here before my acdf c4-5 in June 2011. I am 26 and I had episodes of severe pain from the time i was 18-23 becoming more and more frequent until it was nonstop excruciating pain 24/7. I had the surgery, and ever since the initial recovery I have still been in pain. A different pain, but pain none the less. Before my surgery I was very depressed for about 6-8 months. I wasn't really depressed after, I was very hopeful, but for about the last year I have gotten more and more depressed until now where I am really depressed. I worked at the same place since I was 17, a well known fast casual chain restaurant, working my way through many positions. When I was promoted to supervisor at 18 I was the youngest supervisor in the area. Currently I am the youngest area training manager. Things at work got really rough over the last 6 months. I was put in charge of the training for a new store opening about 1.5 hours drive away from my house. I was also to work at that store 2 days a week to help them get on their feet and make sure training was going as planned. Well, between working in the store and my regular job I was working nearly 80 hours a week not including the drive time. The shifts were long and some days I would be in at 12pm and not leave until 3 or 4 am and have to be back at 10 or 11 the next day. The company I work for is becoming more and more greedy as they grow and they did not give enough time for the training, moved the store opening 2 weeks ahead, and then the building wasn't even ready we had to keep calling all the new hires and telling them actually we are going to start training the next day... and had to do this 3 times. The training before we opened went ok but after we opened it was a huge disaster. You can only prepare so much but we were so busy even if we had a crew of all the best employees from the best locations it would have been a struggle. We also didn't have enough managers. I was working every day (salaried- same pay regardless of hours worked!), and told my manager multiple times, I am sorry I can't physically do this.... I even told her I can't physically or mentally do this. All she would say is I know and continue to have me do it. I see my pain doctor.... I had gotten home at 4 am and went to bed about 5 am. Slept a few hours and slept through my alarm and got up about 12:30 when my appt was at 1pm about 30 minutes away. I was in so much pain all over my body but if you miss an appt there its impossible to get another quickly. I quickly washed up and changed and put my hair up and ended being about 15 min late. The dr was really behind so it was ok. I waited in the exam room for quite some time and actually fell alseep on the exam table. I normally have a hard time sleeping too! My doctor came in and of course i was out of it from falling alseep and she asked if i was ok, I said yes just been working a lot of hours and driving a lot and in a lot more pain. I asked her to give me 7.5 mg norco instead of 5... she has offered this many times and also offered much stronger meds and I always say no because i know I'll probably need them in the future and want to take the least amount as possible. She thought that was strange and said i needed to slow down with the working. I said i wish I could. She said she wasn't just going to up my pain meds so i can continue to kill my self at work. Specifically those words. She wanted to take me off work for a few weeks and I said no I can't do that to my co workers. She wanted to see me back in a month... Usually its 3 months. After this I left, yes she upped the meds, but she wasn't happy. The next month goes by and I am supposed to be going back to 2 days per week in the store and 3 for my other responsibilities and of course I get told we need you at "far away store" for at least 3-4 days per week", that is the most important. I told her that I physically and mentally can't do it and it really means I am working 24/7. I have other responsibilities besides work not to mention my body. I may look like a healthy 26 year old but I am dying inside much of the time. My boss knows of my neck surgery and my ongoing pain. So it just got worse and I spent much of my time home crying literally. I was also forgetting responsibilities because I had so many of them and then getting in trouble for that. (that's what having 3 different bosses pulling you in 3 directions does). I tried to reason with all 3 but they all were so busy themselves they were not really listening. So I went on my companies website, printed off all the LOA paperwork and short term disability information and saw my doctor. She was happy I decided to take some time off and it is currently 9/29. I have been off since 8/14. I am really stressing because I am trying to find a new job with not much luck. I have a bachelors degree in Human Resources, I graduated with honors in 2010. I know so many people but no one knows of jobs right now. Im stressing because I need a non restaurant job.... One that I am not running my butt off literally all day and one that I don't have to take work home. Home should be home... not a second office. My 12 weeks is up early Nov. I only have a month left to find something and it's freaking me out. I will have a mental break down if I have to go back to work there. I can't do it. Physically or mentally. I used to love working there but the company has gotten so greedy. It really is sad. Nearly 9 years of my life.... So that's where I am at. I live in Michigan and I need a job. It needs to pay 40k so I can pay my bills. I am already going into deeper debt with my family because of this LOA. Disability is only part of my pay and Physical therapy costs money.
Since being off I am still in a lot of pain but not as bad as when I was working all those hours. I was hesitant to do PT again but I found a new place that actually seems to be caring and knows what they are doing. I only went 2 times so far, I go this coming m,w,f.
I just am sad and super emotional all the time. I used to never cry... I do almost every day now. Disability has been a constant struggle with the provider. Worries over the near future and the far future consume me. I look at others doing activities I used to enjoy like biking, skiing, skating, skateboarding, hiking, running, having boyfriends/girlfriends, doing fun things people my age are supposed to be doing. And here is me..........................
Trying to avoid adding another level to my fusion and suffering with constant neck, shoulders especially left sided, and left arm and pinkie numbness. Severe mid back pain.
I know it could be so much worse and that makes me feel bad too. I know there are others out there even my age or younger that can't even walk or drive. This sounds ridiculous but I sometimes find myself envious of someone with an obvious disability like someone in a wheelchair or with crutches. You wouldn't ask them to lift something for you.... I get it all the time, no im sorry I can't I have neck and back problems. Oh you are too young for neck and back problems. If only i had a penny for every time I hear that. Not like I chose it.
I also take pills all day long. In the am right when I wake up I take gabapenten, adderall and norco. Around lunch time more of the same, Later on in the afternoon before dinner same thing usually. Then bed time I take more gabapenten and I take cymbalta and sometimes ambien. I also take xanax as needed for anxiety. I spend about 150 a month on meds. I take the adderall for adhd, and i really do have adhd, but it really is to counter the side effects of the other meds and help keep me stay awake.
Sorry for the long post.... I am just feeling really low. Like no one understands. I am sure people think I exaggerate. I can't find a job that's not in the restaurant industry even though I spent 5 years and 60 grand going to school. You would think it would look good that I stayed working at the same place for almost 9 years and got promoted every other year. Hard work and hard work that's what i have been taught is the key to life. Well what is the key to happiness because I haven't found it.
What is the point of even going on. What is the point of torturing myself for years to come while I just continue to get worse and worse. Eventually become homeless. I am alone.