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Chronic Pain Therapist


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I have started to see a therapist, who deals with chronic pain, for my headaches. This Winter has been extremely hard because of the weather. I've kept close track of my triggers and pressure drops seem to make it way worse, and pressure rises make it kind of worse. Well we get three days of rain, then about day three I'm getting used to the drop and we get three days of cold and clear. Just when I'm starting to feel like life is awesome again, the pressure drops and I want to jump off a bridge.

When I started having "Maybe it would have been better if I hadn't made it..." thoughts I knew it was time to talk to someone. First I tried my husband, and while he's a great and supportive man, this topic really freaked him out. As a friend said "Don't go to the bakery to buy a hammer." I realized I needed someone who was more qualified to deal with my depression.

 

What I "want" and what is reality are two different things. I want my old life back where I got up at 4:45, went to the gym, then off to work, came home ran 5 miles, then taught bootcamp. My days were full of activity and I was full of energy. I had no desire to slow down or change my life at all. I had a business that was growing every year, and the best teaching job in the world!

 

What I have is headaches every day. I rarely work out every day of the week, but I am still very blessed that I'm back to running marathons. While my business has fallen to an embarrassing level, I still run it and I love the people in it, and cherish the friends I make through it. I am starting back at the gym with weight lifting and am averaging one day a week. Hopefully I can go today.

 

So it isn't what I want, but it isn't bad. I want to want what I have and I want to stop being angry at what I lost, and depressed over the pain. The pain wears me down...just wears.me.down. I'm sure some of you can relate.  

 

My therapist suggested two activities:

 

1. Take a specific time to mourn my old life and then let it go. Say to the people in my life, "I am going to be sad/angry for two weeks" (or a weekend, or five days, whatever I decide) and then take that time to cry or rail or whatever I need to finally say "That life is gone" to allow me to move on.

 

2. Write a letter to my body telling it how angry or disappointed I am in it. I did tell her that I almost felt betrayed because my healthy lifestyle was purposeful.  I chose to exercise every day with a goal of keeping lifestyle related illness at bay. 

 

For some reason I am finding I can't do these things. I don't know why. I know this is all a process, but I really feel like I should be ready to move on by now. All you all seem like you are so much more accepting. Part of me feels, I think, like if I do that I'm giving up.Then even as I think that, a little voice says "Giving up what? It isn't like if you learn to accept your limitations that these are your limitations forever! These are just your limitations for now! 

 

So it's like I have all the right words in my head, but my heart isn't following along like it "should" and then every time I say "should" I hear my therapist say "There is nothing you 'should' do right now. You suffered a loss and you can take as much time as you need to mourn it."

 

AIGH! Being an adult is hard!

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Teechur. I am not sure any of us are more accepting than you or that we don't rail at the changes just as much but I look on my enforced lifestyle change differently that's all. For me it didn't matter how much I hated what had changed, what I had lost, I just had to face up to the reality of my today and what I can do and manage without burning out otherwise I was no good to my kids, my family but more importantly to myself. I needed to try and work within my new limits so that I could enjoy what I could actually do more. Does that even make sense? The key I think which your therapist maybe didn't say is be kind to yourself, it's ok not to be able to do everything you want to do.

I'm not going to tell you to write the letter, to mourn the old you , you have to do what is right for you but I do know this; part of our brains got damaged in the bleed and from that moment things had to change in how we do things. It can't go back only forward from that point . It's no different As you get older, you have to change and adapt as you age, grow, learn. It's not about giving up or not being strong enough, it's about being able to accept what you can't change and work with the best of that.

Teechur , my advice as always is to try and find joy and achievement in what you can do now and are doing well and pat yourself on the back rather than constantly looking back . Hey I used to be able to drink all night and fit in a size 8. (Us4) and still do a full day's work but I know bleed or no bleed there's no going back to those days!! :) I don't mean to be flippant, I don't belittle how you feel at all as the loss of our 'known' is hardest of all but there is a way through and if you can maybe stop pushing and slow a little you may be surprised at the relief you may get headache wise.

Best wishes Teechur.

PS the weather pressure change wreaks havoc with me also, low pressure rain is the worse, I have no answers or advice for you there other than at least we know it happens and it does always pass once the weather changes again.

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So, well said, Daffodil that I may print and frame this for daily reading.

 

And Teechur - I don't get a headache every day and the "deficits" I experience are relatively small considering what could have been.  Even so, I have had days when I thought "maybe it would have been better if ......".  Sometimes we just have to work a little harder to find the joy.  I truly hope your pain management therapist helps you.  You just sound like you have so much to give and God has a purpose in keeping you around awhile longer.

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Teech,

 

I know you do not like my flippant way I handle my SAH but it is my was to my of dealing with what happened to me.

 

I love to laugh and sing as I got another chance and I will not waste it as my Family are so precious to me.

 

They deserve a medal for putting up with me, and I am happy for them and myself.   My Daughter has her Mum back and Hubby has me for life !! Ha !  

 

You get better at your pace and do things you like.  It is time to please us and enjoy life.

Sorry if this sounds a bit too happy but I am so happy with my life xx Not many of us get a 2nd chance.

 

You are correct being an adult is hard.  Now head up shoulders back and smile.

 

Good Luck

WinB143

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Hi Teechur,

 

I feel from reading your post that headache pain is dominating your focus everyday now.  Therapy is great but if pain is now such a problem that your business is suffering and it is underscoring everything that you do everyday, then it's time to re-appraise what is going on.  I think you are at a crossroads.

 

If you are driving a car and a wheel falls off, you don't keep driving and hope another wheel will grow back.  You go and get it fixed. No amount of therapy will cure your pain - all you will get is empathy and more pain knowing that someone understands.  What you need is more investigation, diagnosis and treatment, in my opinion.  You're not the kind of person to sit back, you're a get up and at 'em type.  

 

When I read your post, I felt for you because for you to complain, I know it must really be hurting.  That's why it is so important to cast your net further afield to try to find a solution - either correct diagnosis and cure or better pain management.

 

You've stuck with your current regime for such a long time now but are still suffering, perhaps it's time to look for a different answer.

 

Are there any teaching hospitals near you or universities with medical specialisms you could approach - or any other consultants who may have other approaches you haven't tried yet?

 

You don't say why your business has regressed, but if it is because you are trying to maintain your fitness levels, then I would suggest that you swap things around to stop it from going under.  Maybe because of the pain you haven't been able to sit down and rationalise what is going on and how to combat it.  Maybe it's time to sit down with your husband and talk about things or get a business consultant in to analyse what is going on and how to combat it ie; speculate to accumulate? Can you take a vacation while you think about things, where that is your primary focus with no distractions?

 

The way I look at things is that I am different now.  I try to do things not so much differently as smarter.  For instance, is there anything in your business you can delegate while you take an hour out to run or relax rather than go running after you have finished the day.

 

That way, your business still runs and you can relax after work rather than go running until you flop exhausted into your bed.  Your days seem so max'ed out that perhaps you need some proper chill time to recover fully the strength you have.  I don't know, I'm not there, only you can find solutions but carrying on as you are may only result in gradual decline.

 

So change something!  You are a positive person.  So, make a change, be positive, make your own luck, make something happen (with your health and your business)!

 

I wish you well and please let us know what you decide to do.

 

Best wishes

 

Macca

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The business has actually dropped because I have let parts of it go for now because I can't keep up with it. I know I will be able to at some point, or I won't. I'm okay with that. The part I let drop off is the part that was most emotionally draining; working one on one with weight loss clients. I love love LOVE them, but it did mean taking on other people's emotional problems and I find that kind of thing the most draining. The fitness aspect is actually the least draining. I can let my mind just go and exercise (although I've learned not to look over something and believe I will remember it when I get to class...good thing I can laugh at myself). One thing that is a total blessing is that my ability to stress is just gone. Is it all the meds I'm on? Did that part of my brain die? I don't know. It's probably a good thing I don't take care of the bills, though. Ha!

 

I am actually at a teaching hospital and have never stopped seeking out new junctions (that word doesn't feel right) for treatment. I'm currently being seen by some doctors at the University of Washington. I have some ideas to cast my net further afield once summer hits, so I'll start coordinating that soon. I guess if I ever do go on disability I won't lack for paperwork! 

 

Win I love you to pieces and will even put you back together again, on a good head day. On a  bad head day you're on your own. ;) I always tell my husband I plan to torture him until I'm 99 and then I'll stop and reevaluate my future so he's STUCK with me! Haha! I actually do have a sunny outlook, which is part of the reason why the depression is freaking me out! I've always been called Pollyanna (sometimes not in a nice way). You know, one of those people who is a morning person and whistles a happy tune at 5 a.m.? Yeah, that's me. Well, maybe 5:30...

 

Not sure about pain management. My neuro tells me that it will only cause more pain in the long run. On the one hand, everything I research says the same thing. On the other hand, sometimes it would be nice to take a pill and just feel good for a little while. The running is like a pill. I have a plan for the summer; run every morning for at least 10-20 miles to see if I can disrupt the pain signals and maybe "retrain" my pain neurons. At this point, it couldn't hurt, right?

 

Low pressure front coming in tomorrow, and I have a 12 hour race which is a training run for me for my 50 miler. I refuse to let it stop me...

 

Daff I love what you have to say. I haven't, obviously, let what I have going on stop me from doing much of what I do. I still have to work every day and be there for my husband and my students. I just feel like if I could just get over this mental hump, maybe not spend so much time being mad at myself...I don't know. Maybe I am mad at myself for not accepting and moving forward. It just feels like there is this obstacle and I can't get over it or around it so maybe I need to wish it into the cornfield and run past it. 

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You'll find a way around it Teech, somehow.

 

I do wish you well and I really hope you make it through the pain barrier

 

Just wish I could walk a little further so one day !!

 

I am happy with me as I am

 

Take care Teech.

 

Winb143

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Hi Teechur

 

How are you?

 

I read your sincere heart searching post a few days ago and the most helpful support you received from your BTG friends- and I have been thinking about you since then-

 

As a carer I can`t make informed comments about how you should deal with the fall-out from your SAH- but I do know that with the active life you have lived-you have put yourself through the pain barrier in your exercises many times- You are not someone who will give in.

 

Are you doing anything special for your big day next week?  Whatever you do-enjoy

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Very positive replies from everyone on this....

 

Macca's right reading your post you need to change something in order to restore balance...

 

we've all morned our 'old' self but I'm much more happier with the 'new me' don't like the luggage it brought but like the person that I became through it all, and that only happened once I knew that the 'old me' was not returning I embraced who I was..

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You know Louise, I like the person I am too! I never thought about it that way. I may miss the life, but I do like the person. I'm way more chill and laid back. I don't sweat the small stuff because it's all just small stuff. I like that about me now. I do wish I didn't have to lay down in bed for two days a week sometimes (this week has not been good, but today is) but I like me. 

 

I'm going to hang onto that!

 

I do not know what we're doing. It's a surprise!

 

Oh, I am doing a race, not running it although I am running part of it. Every year for my birthday I organize a race. It started with 11 people and is now over 200 people. We raise money for someone in the community to change their life in some way. This year we're getting a racing wheelchair for one of my former students who is paralyzed from the waist down. I'm very excited for that!

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Hi Teechur,

 

What a great post that is! I like that and you sound much more positive than you did when I last posted.  Hang on to that too!

 

Don't forget to look after yourself and your business as well though.  You need to keep your business healthy as well as yourself but it's really great that you are finding time to help someone else.  You can only continue to do that if you are strong yourself.

 

As we Brits would say "Jolly good show!"  I'm impressed!

 

Macca

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Yes very positive that's good we all miss our old life sometimes but I think the things we gain out weighs what I miss personally that is.

You do that, wow! 200 that’s something positive and something to be very proud of, good for you.

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Teech,

 

I went through a mourning stage.  No one around me seemed to understand it because I hadn't lost anyone.  Yes I did, and it was the most important person...myself.  I do think you can go about your business like a pre-SAH person, but it doesn't compare to what you can do if you really take the time out to grieve your loss.  I feel so much better for it and I like the new me so much better than I did.

The only issue I had was grieving for something lost and then that function would miraculously return at some point.  It was just as hard to accept it back after grieving for its loss.  I know this sounds strange, but change is change and any of it is really hard when it is forced on you rather than you deciding it to better yourself.

 

When you say that you just have to snap out of this mental state...our brains produce our mental state and we sometimes have issues with this as well as physical issues or autonomic issues.  Mental processing is often not talked about on this site enough.  it's like we think if we just think hard enough, things will get better, but they don't always and sometimes it is our 'thinking' that screws with us periodically.

It is really hard when it is messed up at times and then other times it is grounded.  We FEEL our thoughts are good at all times, but they aren't always and they can berate us, impede our decision making, cause us to forget the stupidest things, make us believe that we can do such and such when we really can't, or I could go on and on.

The mind emanates from the brain and just as we notice things going awry with our bodies or pains, they also do with our mental abilities.  All of these combined cause stresses, not just the physical doing.  We all may be under way too much stress and not realize it because it is only thought stress...and of course, we could never be that person, could we?  Stigmas need to be broken down.

 

Another thought.  I used to be the tiger, but I learned to channel the tortoise.  He was hard to find because I didn't know him.  He seemed dumb and lazy.  He wasn't anything like the tiger that I always was.  He is your friend too and can be just as good as your old friend the tiger.

 

~Kris

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