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How do you want to be handled?

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,587
edited 12/08/2014 - 6:22 PM in Depression and Coping
Puppy Love


Tough Love

It might be the sign of different eras. When I joined Spine-Health in 2006, it was all about tough love. If you even came close to trying to feel sorry for yourself, you would get a dozen people all over you telling you how much you should be grateful for

So, I came aboard knowing the tough love. Which really has helped me. Not that I needed that on the outside, because I am the type that doesn't say a lot about my condition, in fact, I would just rather pass when someone asks me how I feel.

But just by reading the forums the past year or so, there is so much more of a gentle approach, the I feel sorry for you, poor you, etc. Now, I am not saying that is a bad thing. It can be a bad thing for a person that only wants to feel sorry for themselves.

Overall, how do you feel you want to be treated? With the Soft touch or the Hard approach?
Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 


  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    I force my way thru each day, saying to myself i made it yesterday and I can make it today, Maybe tomorrow will be better.Dont get me wrong I think each and every one of us at one point needs someone who understands, Family or friends that are not in our position could never get it. Nor they never will. Maybe we are looking for some validation of our conditions versus pity ole me. As chronic pain patients our jobs and livelihood are put at risk on a daily basis. Many of us face losing everything we own due to our health issues. Comforting words can bring some relief of thse roller coaster ride we all face daily., Yep tough love for me but every once in a while you just need some kindness from those that understand.
  • I've thought a lot about this over the last year. Going from being staunchly independent from needing help to roll over or have someone dry my hair... That was an adjustment. I was raised not to complain. My father, who grew up on a farm, has never taken a sick day in his life. When I was ten, I had a very upset stomach. But I was supposed to be working with my dad and siblings, in his wood shop, pulling doors off a conveyor sander. When I asked him if I could go in to lay down, he read me the riot act. I eventually did get to go inside and lay down. I had a ruptured appendix and nearly died. I am only telling this to show
    how the attitude in my family has been. Emotional support is unheard of. When I had my 360 fusion, my father left town. He didn't know how to deal with it. He came back on day four of my hospital stay.

    On the other hand, my mother is a carer and incredibly emotionally supportive. So much so, that I often struggle with feeling lazy or over coddled. It's a strange line I feel I am going back and forth over, depending on who I am talking to. I find it incredibly difficult to find the spot where I don't feel like a whiny child, but also can be emotionally supported by those that offer that support.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
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  • ddubov67dddubov67 Posts: 28
    edited 12/09/2014 - 5:31 PM
    I can totally relate. I was raised by inconsistent caregiving where I was second guessing my own illness and pain when i was ill...it got better as I got older but I am not one to complain, pre surgery I worked 12 -14 hours a day in pain, gotta pay the mortgage, yanno? I'm also in the helping profession so I am trained to care for others and help them ask for support. I tried to prepare my myself to ask for help and had a long talk with the significant other about surgery about what I may need emotionally and physically post surgery basically...I learned to be creative to get things done without compromising my recovery. Having to ask someone to help you roll over or to help shower you is very humbling experience when you are used to doing this on your own. Some people get it and others don't and they may not. Surgery has been very humbling for me. I have learned to ask for what I need and want because very few have asked how are you, how is your recovery going? I have also learned who in my life i can count on and who I can't. People hear that you can walk a mile a day and think then why cant she do xyz.....what they dont understand that it takes so much out of you to get up, get your self ready to do the walk and then you need to rest after....I learned to to what I have to do for me and my recovery even when it is not popular for others. I'm glad I had surgery as my pain has lessened and for the experiences that I have had since even though I may not have liked them in the moment...I hate the rollercoaster ride but i know it is temorary (i hope) and that this site is here to chat with others who are going thru similiar issues.


    L4/5 S1 Decompression PSF with TLIF 11/5/14
    Spondylolithesis (congenital)
  • I can identify with something everyone has said. I was also raised in a home where illness equalled weakness and I still catch myself beating myself up for catching a cold. I hear what you are saying that we do have so much to be grateful for but I've learned (or am still trying to learn) that comparisons to others don't change the situation you are in or really do anything positive for you. I'm a newbie here and I signed up because I wanted support from people who really understood. Not just the pain, but the fear of not being able to support myself, making the wrong decisions, insurance, etc.

    I did read somewhere on here that pity parties are ok, in moderation, and I agree with this idea. For one, we are on such a roller coaster and it feels very good to know I can come here and find someone who's been there before me and made it through, is at the same place, or needs support from me. The latter can really help me turn my attitude around. However, an endless "pity me" attitude can be dangerous hole to dig out of, so I think it's ok to give someone a nudge to look around and find something, anything, to feel good about and give you hope for the future.

    Love that you brought up this topic. Thank you for all the hard work you put into this space.
    Current dx:
    herniated c-2/3, c6-7
    bulging c-4/5
    2014 Dec
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 12/11/2014 - 6:55 PM
    I've always given myself more than enough tough love. I know that deep down inside I just want someone who truly understands to wrap their arms around me & say, "It's ok. I get it" & sob my heart out.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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  • Oh Suzanne. That is just a heartbreaking thing to hear you say. And I can completely, wholeheartedly understand it.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • EnglishGirlEEnglishGirl Posts: 1,825
    edited 12/15/2014 - 1:36 AM
    People come to spine health at different stages of their journey, wanting & needing different things & I think you can tell by the tone of the post what they need. We are not docs or therapists, just spineys who for our own reasons hang out here.

    You can tell from Sarah's post that we know eachother very well. In fact we got to know eachother when I first got the courage to write on Spine Health. I gave a new member some congratulations & soft words which were met with very harsh statements (anyone who's been here a while can remember our 'tell it like he sees it' old friend...he actually became my friend!). I was ready to never come here again, as was the OP!! Sarah stepped in & is the reason I'm still here a year later. ;-)

    I think many of us are very influenced by our spine-health past. Ron joined at a tough love stage. I feel I joined at the 'jump on any newby' stage & it has made me more 'puppy love' than I naturally am as a person.
    There was an old thread "What's the most important thing you've been told on your spine journey?". My answer was, "The TRUTH!" & it's very true. My surgeon is all about the tough love. On our first meeting he said "Your spine is xxxx & you're taking a lot of xxxx for it & it's always going to be that way!". I could of hugged him! The positive thinking, keep an optimistic outlook specialists had made me feel nothing but frustration over the years. He gave me exactly what I needed from a specialist.

    To me this has always been just a forum. A place where I can meet & talk to other people in the same boat as me. I guess it's because I didn't have a lot of technical questions left by the time I joined. As I said, I give myself tough love in abundance. Some members ask very clear spine questions, others pour their emotions on the screen. I've always thought that it takes a lot of courage to open-up like that despite the anonymity of the Internet. For me hiding my physical & even more my emotional pain in my life wasn't a good thing. My Dad is a spiney. I learnt you don't complain, you man-up & get on with it but deep down inside there have been times that I've felt completely lost & broken. I now know that he's no different. I think all spineys have those times & there shouldn't be shame attached. It's just part of the journey & the next path you take is the important one.

    I guess what I'm saying is there's a fine line between 'tough love' & kicking someone when they're down. Attitude is the most important thing for chronic pain 'lifers'. I don't doubt that for a moment. Accepting that the occasional pity party is natural & not my weakness was a huge part in my 'recovery' from chronic pain depression. Sometimes the long term members here seem to be so completely in control of their condition & attitude. That's very daunting to someone at the start of their journey who feels out of control in so many ways. Lack of compassion from the world around seems to be a major complaint. I can't withhold mine.

    A lot of people come here desperately searching for hope. Letting them know that we've been there & know what it's like & showing them that it does get better, even if you don't physically recover can be the best gift we can give...

    I do feel truly, deeply sorry for spineys at that stage of their journey. I remember exactly what it felt like when I started to realize I was going to be in pain for the rest of my life. Maybe if I'd shared those feelings I'd of got onto the next path of my journey a little quicker. I do think "poor you" when I think of the woman I was & I know she would of felt a little better if someone had said "I get it" & "I'm sorry".
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,587
    Well said! !!!!
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 1,033
    For me I just need to put up and shut up. Not saying I don't ever need someone to just listen as I'm more than willing to listen and try to be of support to anyone that needs help. I have a lot of separate medical issues and if I dig myself into a hole whining about it I even get more down on myself. My problems seem to be a challenge for me that I feel the need to fight and conquer.
    Over the years I have found that most people don't really want to hear about my problems, it probably gets old listening to so I just put on my game face every single day and act like I have no problems at all.
  • I am soft at times, and at others, I offer a kick in the derriere when I think it's needed. I try to educate, and encourage education about the world of spine issues, and I do tell it as I see it.......some love me, some don't, and that's okay.
    Quite honestly, I view the members in general as the ones who are here to offer the poor you, empathy aspect of dealing with spine pain, and I am the educator and a realist, and I do take a hard line with certain things, like the proper use of medications, and managing pain with other means, seeing the right doctor, trying conservative measures, and working hard at getting better.
    Not all people who come here are dealing with chronic pain, in fact most aren't......they are dealing with acute episodes of pain related to a spine condition. Getting into the right doctors, getting the right treatment can make the difference between those members treating their condition in a timely manner and not. I don't want to see people becoming chronic pain patients because they didn't do all they could to avoid becoming one.
    Those of us who have been dealing with not only spine issues, but the result of failed surgeries, having and living with chronic pain for several years are in a unique position of being able to show , educate and encourage those who are following us to learn to incorporate that CP into our lives and not allow it to consume it.
    I've always said that feeling sorry for yourself is okay, for a time, but sooner or later, you need to get on with it, and learn to incorporate a new normal, and I can be a bit tough when it comes to people with relatively minor conditions who come in, complaining that their lives are over, with no medical basis for that..and not doing much to get some treatment, other than persuing the medication route, or not seeing the right specialists to get the proper treatment.
    I do try to balance my input, and provide accurate information, and a push in the right direction.
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