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I struggle with low self-esteem because of using narcotics!! Do you?

Disabled-DoctorDDisabled-Doctor Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Pain Medications
As my screen name implies I am a disabled doctor. On one hand I was blessed with a very good brain. I was always Valedictorian, Highest this, of best of that, etc. I resigned from my last job as an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at University of Colorado at 42. On the other hand I suffered from neck pain since I was 27 years old. It gradually progressed to unbearable pain in 1999. I was crying myself to sleep every night for 5 years, because I did not want to take any pain medicine. In 2004 I had C5,6,7 Ant fusion, and a revision of that in 2005 and finally, removal of all ant. Hardware and Post. Fusion.
I spent all my adult life hearing, “Narc. Seeker”, and I still sense the Villain-ization by the Medical Community.
I struggle with low self-esteem even though, I know how much it hurts without the medication. Where do we draw the line between tolerance to medications and the psychological addiction.

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13

Comments

  • Iam fused c4-c7 with hard ware and herniated above and below my fusion... I do have chronic pain and if I don't stay on top of my medication the pain gets out of control. But, I find myself hiding the fact that I have to take all of these pain meds because Iam afraid of what people will say, So, I find myself hiding in the bath room or somewhere if Iam at a function when it's med time. I think it's sad that we have to feel this way, after all we didn't ask for this, I would much rather live a normal life. I also find myself hiding the fact that Iam on SSD because of the way people feel about that. I feel some people would think Iam just lazy and don't want to work, which is totally oposite of how Iam!!!My first job was when I was 14 years old and i had worked since, I actually loved the job I had when I had to quit, I worked for a home care company as the home care coordinator, I loved helping others. But, there were also those few clients that you could tell were taking advantage of the system, I do not want to be labled as one of those people.
    It sounds like your really down on yourself and I know how you feel but like I said before, we didn't ask for this!!! I still have nights where I cry myself to sleep in pain even with all of the meds Iam on. I wish there were a medical cure for chronic pain, wouldn't that be awesome. Besides being hard on us it is really hard on our families, I feel terrible most of the time. I feel like a failure as a wife and sometimes like the worst mom in the word because I can't do the things I would like to do.
    If you ever want to talk or just vent PM me I would love to be there for you...
    Jeanette
  • I too feel the same way at times. I know that I would feel so much worse though if I didn't take my meds. I just wrote in another post about how my family is against me taking pain meds especially my husband. Until they have to live the pain I do 24/7 they have no right to make any assumptions or opinions.

    There are a couple of reasons why I don't like people to know that I take pain meds. #1 as soon as they find out it seems they have some terrible tooth ache or headache and was wondering if I could "help" them out. Which I do not hand out my pain meds for the simple fact they are for my condition only and I'm only allowed so many and I have to go through monthly appts, pill counts etc to get them. #2 is the same reason as mentioned above. I often wonder what people would say or what they think. I don't want to be labeled as a drug addict or seeker. I'm sure I wouldn't feel this way if I had to take meds to control diabetes or a heart condition, why is this any different? It's a medical condition too.

    I know quite a few people in my area that take advantage of SSDI and workers comp. They are out cutting down trees, 4wheeling, playing darts and horseshoes, basketball etc. I would love to take pics and turn them in. They have gotten their houses redone by our town due to their disabilities and get a lot of benefits that I can't even get. I sit and stare at my brand new 4wheeler that I only got about 3-4 months of riding out of it before my back got really bad. Now I watch my husband and all his friends take it out riding even though I make the payments. I can't imagine going 4wheeling or any of the other things I see these other people doing.

    I sometimes get embarrassed when I run into friends I haven't seen in a long time and they ask what I do and I tell them I'm disabled and then they ask well what are the docs doing and I have to explain they are just trying to keep me comfortable with meds for right now.
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  • I know it's hard to be on narcotics as being on the other side now being a patient. You're not addicted. You're dependent on these meds to keep you from the pain just like insulin for a diabetic or any other condition. There's bad stigma about narcotics and it's only because there are some who abuse narcs but you need to take them to overall live. I take ms contin 120 mg a day and I feel no emotional high just less pain and that's the purpose of medications. I noticed certain meds like percocet for me brings a personality change and not too fond of those but the slow release meds help especially to tide me over through the night to get a good sleep. Once I know that the meds help me function it's all "about me" not what anyone else thinks especially the medical community. Take care.
    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 feel so blessed to have family and friends that don’t judge me for taking pain meds. I have a doctor that doesn’t judge me or feel that I am over dramatizing when I tell her how I am doing with my health and coping with my pain (for the last year I have dealing with repeated sinus infection and migraines on top of the pain). If I am showing signs of pain my wife will always ask if I have forgotten to take my pain meds, or if I need to take a breakthrough pill. Even with all the support I get I still have issues with being labeled as a chronic pain sufferer that is dependent on pain medication.
    On the days where I take my daily pain medications and life goes on as my new norm (working part time as a painting contractor and doing the best I can as a husband and a father), I do fairly well mentally. I enjoy life and have a positive outlook on my future. But when I do something to aggravate my back, which is often because it doesn’t take much at all, I have a hard time balancing the pain. I will try not to take pain meds when I probably should, and then end up having to take extra because I am playing catch up with the pain. On these days it is hard to think of anything else but pain and it’s very easy to get down on life.
    I’m sure that most people think that when chronic pain sufferers take pain meds, their pain goes away and they are in happy land. Of course all of us know this is far from the truth, when the pain is bad enough for most of us to take break though meds, getting out of pain is not possible. We may get to a tolerable dazed level, but the pain never goes away.
    I don’t know if it’s low self esteem due to taking the meds as much as low confidence in my ability regulates anything in my life. I went to the zoo with my wife and 2 year old daughter a couple of weeks ago and have been in pain ever since. When it takes so little to drastically alter your pain level for days or weeks you get a bit shell shocked over time. Meds may compound this because it may alter your judgment and dictate if you can do certain things, but with or without the meds there is the pain. I honestly don’t know if there is much difference in the mental state of a chronic pain sufferer with or without pain meds, they both are impaired mentally and physically and both are going to have to live a life much differently than a person in good health.
  • No- I dont have low-self esteem about taking meds.
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  • I think this is such an important sentence especially for those who don't feel our pain (literally). Neednewback made such a great point when he said......."I’m sure that most people think that when chronic pain sufferers take pain meds, their pain goes away and they are in happy land. Of course all of us know this is far from the truth, when the pain is bad enough for most of us to take break though meds, getting out of pain is not possible. We may get to a tolerable dazed level, but the pain never goes away."
  • I understand how you are feeling. I had a problem taking meds because I did not want to become dependant on them. But then, I realiazed that the only way I was going to have any kind of life is to use pain medications. If I dont, I will miss my grandchildren growing up, my relationship with my husband , my childrens lifes and everything else. I was not able to function without them, so they are a necessary part of my life. Do I like it, NO. But I also want to be able to do some things, and that means taking them to be able. Dont feel bad, no one understands more than you and the people here. I just got to the point that I didnt care. People can see it in the way I walk, the look in my eyes. They know that we take them because of necessity. Good Luck and God Bless.
  • Duplicate post removed by moderator paulgla (10/1/09). Please refer to forum rules regarding duplicate posting.
  • It bothers me when there is such stigma attached to narc pain meds. At best these medications make my pain tolerable. it never truly goes away. And I am starting to suspect it never will and that scares the hell out of me. I am 43 years old with no life. I cannot currently do my job that requires sitting for extended periods. I wish everyone (family, friends, co-workers) understood how chronic pain effects someone mentally and physically. That might lessen the stigma we all feel at some time.

    Dis Doctor, Have you seen a therapist? It might help you deal with some of this. It has helped me some, when I go. My co-pays make that difficult.

    Best of luck to all. I wish us all a pain free existence.
  • It's something 99% of us deal with. Mine was more feeling like a burden when I had to stop working and couldn't contribute to the family ad I did before.
    It's been a long road to get over it.
    I don't feel that way now with the support of my parents who are now feeling the wear and tear on there bodies with age, now they can't imagine my pain compared to the pain they have and can now understand better what I'm dealing with.
    My kids have seen the tears and pain i've had so long that they are very protective of momma and are such great support, I never have to ask them to do a thing. They just do it cuz they don't want me to hurt myself. It all caused my divorce from hubby, the depression was too much for him, but now we are back together, not remarried yet but working at it. I had to get my mind right, and I have.
    I accept now this is my life and it us better than the alternative.
    I don't give a crap what someone else may think of me. I may not look crippled but they don't have xray vision! The only thing that matters is how I feel and how my family feels.
    Without them I wouldn't survive it all!
    Good luck to you! And I know talking bout it helps more than anything! Whether her with us who understand or a proffessional, what ever it takes!
    Take care of YOU!!!
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