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Recovery & Depression



  • Good grief, you are not a "freak", you sound like a normal Spiney! There's anothe thread out there about chronic pain and anger. Lots of emotions come into play.

    Getting the OK to drive again will be a big mood-lifter. Keep us posted on how you are doing,

  • Saw doctor Thursday night. He said that the type of depression I am telling him about is directly releated to the surgery and long recovery. He prescribed Clonazepam (Klonopin). I took first dose this morning. Within an hour I could tell me heartrate had increased. My heartrate was 108 and normally is 60. I looked it up and some of the less-common problems is "Increase or irregular heartbeat" and that I should let the doctor know immedietly. I called him and he said I was the first time a patient complained of that. I am now off it and will see him again Monday AM.

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  • I had major depression and several suicide attempts long before my chronic pain and surgery. I have found that having back problems that are proven real with mri's, emg's, and surgery has been a good reminder of how invisible depression is and how little help or compassion you recieve unless you are vocal about it and not ashamed. Even with serious physical pain, few people are understanding or helpful. I would be careful about who you talk to about depression, it is a very scary thing for most people because, just like us, they have no easy answers or quick fixes. Remember, with most superficial relationships people do not want to suffer through it with you, they want to fix the problem for you or simply ignore it. When there is no easy answer, they do not want to help because that would imply that they have to consider themselves in that powerless situation, which no one wants to do. I think we have an unspoken idea that people who are suffering greatly somehow deserve their predicament, and that with hard work and good choices one can avoid all suffering. People don't want to accept that they are powrerless or vulnerable, and your problems remind them of that. I open up mostly to family or others who also have depression. However, once you start talking you'll find that more than you think are suffering with the same things you are.
    A thought that has helped me immensely is that I never had a choice about either my depression or my pain. I have always put incredible effort into getting better, but even then it does not come easily or quickly. Get rid of any guilt or shame by reminding yourself that this is not your fault nor the inevitable result of being a bad person. This is something that is happening to you and no one could sit in your chair and think their way out of it anymore than you can. I think long-suffering is an important part of life that shouldn't be avoided at all costs. Often it tells you that your life is lacking meaning, or that you're valuing things of this world too highly. You may say, well it's important to be healthy, but remember, everyone ends up old and 'unhealthy'. We all have to come to terms with losing our physical strength, and finding something more important than food, shelter and so on.
    I think depression can be more painful than physical pain, especially if you blame yourself or hate yourself because you are ashamed. I have good self-esteem nowadays, I like myself and have loving caring relationships that make life worth living. Even with a good head on your shoulders and lots of help, depression can be debilitating. Maybe you are considering that what you want in life can only be acquired with a healthy body, and so the happiness you seek seems out of reach. I would suggest that you change your criteria for being happy, let go of old attachments to hedonistic self-destructive crap and learn about what's really valuable to you and what you can be a part of, even as a 'gimp'. It's not easy, and very scary to start over, but something as stupid as given extra garden tomatoes to the neighbor, random kindness and true relationship with others, can give you immense joy that easily replaces the pleasures that were once so necessary. It's hard, but finding a new way to be happy can leave you happy and strong even in a horrible place. Imagine what would make life worth living in a road warrior scenario where everyone is suffering; loving relationships with others.
    I think people with depression are simply getting rid of there mid-life crises earlier than expected. Existential desperateness happens to everyone eventually, be good to yourself there is nothing wrong with you. Learn to love yourself even if you can't meet your ridiculous expectations. Consider that what you think you need to achieve might be either impossible or unhealthy, and take every opportunity to simply do what you can and be proud. I have gotten a lot of joy out of buying a bread machine. I make bread for the family and feel very proud about it, even though a year ago I would've thought it is gay and stupid. Like Yoda says, it's more about unlearning than it is learning. Be easy on yourself and just do the best you can. Learn to value yourself, not by good looks or something equally unimportant, but by who you are and what you're trying to be. Love yourself, no one else can do that for you. Okay I'll stop ranting, good luck life isn't easy for anyone.
  • for nearly 4 year now ..you tend to start to be able to be comfy with your own self .what i do is a little something every day .even if its just cleaning the Cristal vases or cleaning out a draw in the kitchen .its rewarding to do something .and with it being only little jobs ..you should not find them over taxing..there is always things to do and tv to watch ..the trap is to think too much about your circumstances.don't dwell it wont help you ..i do understand you but i am one of those people that likes my own company ..so maybe its easier for me to be on my own {until kath comes home}
  • For me the reality hit about 6 weeks ago when I was almost 7.5 months postop fusion. This is not going away. After feeling very sad about my future, I made a decision to look for options.

    I went to a PhD pain psychologist yesterday. We talked for 2 hours, and not only is he published, taken care of patients for 25 years, but he has severe back pain himself. HE GETS IT!!! No one else that I know, including family and close friends, understand what I'm going thru, and how life changing this is.

    Reach out for help...it is there, just take your time finding the right match for you.

    Good luck,


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  • I wish I could figue out what you are saying
  • EXCELLENT! You stated that so well and it's all so true. I had been suffering major depression long before the surgery and my life is now so topsy turvy it really can be depressing. I have to agree also that often there is a more spiritual reason for our suffering but it's hard to believe that could be so. I know in my case it has led me to a better understanding of myself and what (and especially WHO) is meaningful in my life. During this time I have come back to appreciate the love I have from family, not worrying about finding it elsewhere. Thanks Pepe for a great response.
  • I hope that you are doing well today. I have also suffered from depression, before and after my surgery. I take meds to help with it. The meds help, but it doesn't give you that feeling that you can get back out there, and do everything :(. I miss not having back problems. I am here for you if you ever want to talk!!!!! ((Hugs)))
  • Matt,

    I had a 2 level fusion in 2008, and in June 2010 I had a 4 level fusion. (this time posterior which is tougher in my mind) I've been locked in the house now for 2 months with restrictions where I can't even pick up a gallon of milk to help around the house. What makes it worse is I'm one of these people that likes to be on the go all the time doing something. I can tell you it gets quite depressing and I'm afraid I've put a strain on my wife and kids due to my bouts or irritability. My wife just tells me it's male PMS and lets it go over her head. Take the advice of straker as he's dead right. Pick anything you can do and do it. But don't do too much; just what you can manage. Like he said, if it's nothing but cleaning out a drawer, at least you mattered that day. Before you know it, you'll be getting better and accomplishing a little more each day. And believe me, a little prayer never hurts either.
  • I agree with Tony(Straker) I try to relax and enjoy doing little things around the house like washing down the computer screen and keyboard and little things to make me feel like I've accomplished something. I haven't had spinal surgery but have had chronic pain for years and feel down sometimes but hopefully you'll start to start feeling better soon when you can do more things. Good luck with your Dr. appointment tomorrow, 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
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