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Hard Time Holding It Together

I am sinking into depression and for the first time, I understand the cryptic trappings that everyone describes...
I never thought I had depression, just depressing circumstances.

Apathy is intense.
I can not convince myself to shake it off.
My normal coping skills are laughable, and I am having a hard time keeping it together when my spouse gets home from work.

I have been dealing with severe nerve damage for years, since a 4 level PLIF in 2007 to correct spondy (grade 4) of 96% at L5/S1. (Discectomies, and laminectomies as well.)

I am 28, and all of this began right before my 21st birthday, and 3 weeks before my first marathon.
(I was running on a broken back for YEARS and assumed my pain was normal or overtraining, as did my GPs at the time.)

I have prided myself on keeping composure, pushing through the pain, knowing that the day would come, when my body gave out again. Typically, when falling into sadness, I pull myself up by my boot straps with a, "I will not let this ruin me."

But honestly, it has.

I became an expert at hiding the struggle, and it has worked well for years.
I have been pulled from work, indefinitely and this time it feels real. I worked so hard for my career. Worked two jobs while completing college to remain competitive in the field and live without loan debt and now, after 16 months of medical leave, I have been terminated. My employer held my position for nearly two years.

I feel like I have no sense of self left.
I was an athlete.
Now I can't walk around the block.
I was a District Supervisor, with nearly 400 people under my supervision, and now I can barely manage my own care.
I was a magnetic speaker,
Now all I can handle in social interactions is talking AT people.
Reciprocal communication is so challenging when you are constantly on the edge of tears.

I know that I am trapped in a dark place, and that recognition is what is terrifying. I know damn well that I am lost, and sinking and even after personal pep talks, I can do nothing about it.

I am afraid to tell my chronic pain psychologist that I am this sad, because I have put up a farce version of myself and my coping skills for years. But I am lost, and scared that I will only get worse. I am always battling being honest in our sessions. I am sure that she knows this, but it attacks my character to be vulnerable.

Just looking for some tips on how to stop falling into this rabbit hole.

Thanks for your time.
Jenn (San Francisco, CA)

27 Year Old, suffering with several spinal conditions since 2007...

Spondylolisthesis grade 4, PLIF 2007 corrected to grade 2,
Nerve Damage and all of the fun that comes along with it.


  • They will not be the Be all End all of your life
    it will get easier
    but you will have to want it.

    you take all the toughness and knowledge you have of your body..of your mind and turn it once more to the task,
    Pain IS inevitable
    Suffering IS optional

    Your Attitude toward this will determine outcome
    you got to find the will to fight the darkness
    the pain and suffering

    that is a no compromise attitude you must take to win back to yourself
    this is a low time for you
    I cant see the things that cause you pain
    but i can relate

    Many members of this family can
    and more.

    this is a hard time for you
    it is ok to talk to someone for this
    let your guard down and let loose some fear..ime pretty sure he has seen the brave face many times..its true honesty when you show them whats inside, without the brave face to mask it
    this will be the next step toward coming to terms with yourself.

    You can and will beat this..that is a given
    only if you want it bad enough

    you have to want, to grasp at this new brass ring
    one day, one battle at a time
    it will get better

    Dont give up
    Dont give in

    it is still your life
    in the eye of storms, there is always calm
    your still agile of mind and spirit
    the body is worn out
    but you still can do

    learn to walk again
    ohh, i don't mean literally
    i mean, there are limits to everyone, no matter how much we don't like them..they are there nonetheless...
    learn the new parameters
    inside your still the same wonderful, mentally agile, strong willed person you always have been
    pain, cannot take that away...
    you have to give it away.

    do you want to go there?

    I thought not.

    everything that makes up the essential.. you, is still all there

    its all in there

    the body
    the mind
    the spirit

    all work together to make us whole and at peace within our skin
    pain will throw the balance out with the kitty

    you have come this far
    why not come a little further down the road
    find out your new limits
    find your new strength

    bend, to not break

    be at Peace, this will pass into the darkness, to be cast away someday
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    There also comes a time when it is time to seek help for the depression. It is hard to accept the new you. Trust me ive been there. Seeking help can help find new avenues for your life to take. It may or may not require meds but there is nothing wrong with seeking a mental check up. My PM doc requires 2 visits per year to make sure that our mental needs are being met along with physical needs. Hang in there. Just by writing this , you know what you need to do'

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  • Jenn, after reading your thoughts and feelings, i couldn't help but to think where i was a year ago after my first multi-level fusion. i was an avid motocross racer/woods racer all my life- it was my escape from stress etc...I was even told by my first surgeon that id be riding again in a few months. I held onto his words, believing that i was a tough ole bird who raced with broken collar bones and I could get back on the saddle soon. By winter, reality set in as I felt as far from just riding-not racing as i could have been. My pain was constant and felt myself headed to depression fast. Luckily, I have a dear friend who is a psychiatrist who spent the next few months meeting with me on a professional level. These meetings were difficult because he began to paint a picture of reality. Even though I felt 30 my body was 48 years old which was put through the wringer with my lifestyle. I knew then, that change was a comin and it was going to require me to sacrifice some things in my life.
    I have slowly found my "new" me and I believe you can find the "new" you Jenn! You sound like me in so many ways who does it "all" on her own. Let your loved ones in on how you really feel-especially your spouse. If you do help will be on the way quickly as I have witnessed this myself. If you don't get anything at all out of this rambling of mine :)) please remember this:
    Character is who YOU are when no one is watching. There is no one you have to impress and theres no amount of "change" in your life that will change your character. My advice- REREAD over and over what Ranchhand posted-its worth it:))
    Here's to a good fusion :)
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