Staying Alive – Living With Chronic Pain and Depression

I left intensive outpatient therapy one day early. I was told my insurance had approved me for ten days, but after nine days I felt I’d gotten all I could from the experience, and I could already tell from my pain level that I wouldn’t be able to make it in the next day, anyway. I went home with lofty goals about improving communication with everyone in my life, structuring my day, decreasing my isolation, and following up with an outpatient therapist, my psychiatrist, and a chronic pain support group. Yeah, right.

My pain is too unpredictable for a structured schedule – trying to do that only led to disappointment. I have improved communication with my husband, but he and my youngest son have their own issues to deal with since they found me after my attempted overdose. I’m a bit less isolated, because a couple of the women who were in my therapy group come over every Wednesday and we talk. I’ve made it to my therapist and psychiatrist appointments, but I have yet to go to a chronic pain support group meeting.

One thing I have realized (during therapy) is that I am horribly afraid that I am weak, and that my life will never be more productive than it is right now. I went to confession for the first time in twenty years, and found it very healing. The priest I spoke with was very understanding and supportive. He told me not to “waste my pain” – that’s what gave me the idea to write these posts, and perhaps provide support for others who suffered from chronic pain and/or depression. Unfortunately, the crisis that made me feel a greater need for a higher power has caused everyone else in my house to be “angry at God”.

My husband is working seven days a week, trying to afford groceries and gas is a struggle, and my phone rings every fifteen minutes all day long with people who want money. I’ve had an MRI of my thoracic and lumbar spine, but even now, two weeks later, I can’t get results. In other words, the chronic pain, depression, and feeling that I am a burden to my family are still issues that need attention in my life.

But I’m not giving up. I will savor my happy moments when I can, and stay strong through the crappy times with the help of my wonderful friends and family. If there is one thing this experience has taught me it’s that I have a better support system than 90% of the rest of the world. Count your blessings – there are more of them than you realize. All the visualization and letter-writing and treatments with acronyms I can’t remember later that’s what my outpatient therapy has boiled down to: counting your blessings.

This is the last in a series of seven posts about my recent attempt to end my life. Here are links to the firstsecond, third,   fourth, fifth, and sixth. I’m sharing details and insights from my inpatient and outpatient experiences as well as my ongoing care. Please feel free to comment, but realize I reserve the right to delete anything malicious. And while Michael and I have chosen to be open about the incident I’d prefer anyone who knows my children “in real life” to respect their privacy and let them process this experience their own way, in their own time.  I’ll be linking up each Wednesday to Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can’t Say.

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6 thoughts on “Staying Alive – Living With Chronic Pain and Depression”

  1. I am actually going to miss these posts. I admire you and your family so much for having the willingness to share about your experience. You write beautifully and I’m sure your family is thankful every day that you’re still around. You have been blessed with the love of family and friends. I hope someday the medical community can come up with something that will relieve your pain. God bless, and thank you for sharing.

  2. I think it’s wonderful that you shared this experience, since there are so many of us who can relate. Thanks for reminding us all to enjoy the happy moments and count our blessings. 🙂

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