When the only person left to talk to, is a person you gave birth to; what kind of a burden do you place on them when your body and mind go through the hell that is chronic pain with prescription pain management?
I have had the honor to be allowed into the world of many young people
. I was given this gift AFTER I had already put my own children through a hell I am only beginning to understand.
So many people in this country alone have the challenge of coping with chronic pain on a daily basis to the point that it has unequivocally changed their lives. A large percentage have been forced to stop working at their “normal work environment,” while being treated with prescription opioids, antidepressants then, more times than not, end up applying for disability.
By this time, the people who you THOUGHT were your friends haven’t spoken to you in months. The only people, who will, came from your own body. Then there come the suicidal thoughts. Increased by the pain, and the medications you are taking to control the pain. But I will talk a bit about me, and my experiences.
When I was talking with one of my young adult friends, she (as MANY before her have) was expressing her frustration at her mother’s pain management by her doctor leading her to experience suicidal ideations
. Also that a mom shouldn’t say things like that to her child. I agreed with all my heart, then reluctantly admitted that I have done the same. Not something I have ever been proud of, but I try to be honest.
Our conversation had led down the road of the effects of chronic pain, and conventional narcotic pain management, on our families. I began thinking about how I have managed to not only stay alive, but started to WANT to live, since Facebook
came into my life.
First, a bit about suicide and my life: I have never been private about how it has affected my life, if you know me personally, but I guess I have never really written about it. It is time for me to do just that.
I grew up with the knowledge that my father’s father had killed himself. He was someone that wasn’t talked about, although I remember hearing the story out of my father’s mouth on several occasions about the act itself. I also remember both of my parents stating that my brother would have been named George if he would have been the kind of person you named a child after.
For the record, my grandfather, George, was injured by the butt of a rifle in the back of his head in battle in World War II
; and due to the deplorable and archaic types of medicine practiced on our vets, was in and out of mental hospitals for that injury.
When my father was 5, my aunt 3, my grandfather gave my father his watch, closed the door to his office, and removed the offending object by shooting himself in the head.
Suicide first crossed my mind when I was only 13. By the age of 15 I had attempted to kill myself a handful of times. The issues I have had with my own mental health have haunted me all my life, I will admit this freely. I am a multiple rape survivor having been abused from a very young age by both my father and my stepfather. I have challenges both physically and emotionally. Who doesn’t?
My savior was my grandmother; Margaret Ellen. I am her namesake. She was a woman anyone would name a baby after. I was that baby. Tomorrow would have been her birthday, but lung cancer
took her from this world 19 years ago. One year after her passing, I was in the hospital with a suicide attempt
while on antidepressants.
Daily, I wish that I could go back in time and make her a brownie. Her last words to my grandpa when he tried to kiss her were, “don’t, please, it hurts. Everything hurts.” While on morphine, dying of lung cancer.
In the summer of 2000, I was given the news that my father’s body was found shortly after my birthday the previous year, after he had killed himself by the side of the road.
I had ceased all communication with my father 16 years prior, upon becoming a parent myself. I felt a need to protect my children from him, even before I regained memories of the abuse I sustained at his hands. His widow discussed with me at lengths, his obsession with me, culminating in his suicide after my birthday.
Suicide has touched my life constantly. It is time I came out of the proverbial “closet” about it. From my first love, Vic, who hung himself after discovering I got married, to the young friend and babysitter of my sons who committed suicide in his truck only a few hours after I gave him a hug in the local gas station.
Suicide. I can’t count the numbers of times I have wanted to leave this earth. The number of times I have expressed that to my children, when they were the only people left that loved me enough to care to keep listening; embarrasses me. Being on prescription antidepressants most of my adult life before being prescribed pain medication, left my mind in a haze for most of their childhoods. I wasn’t me.
Before Facebook, I had been confined to bed for about 5 years, on and off, due to chronic pelvic pain and digestive issues which had required several surgeries.
I had been able to work until 2002 (with the exception of months off due to surgeries and the recoveries thereof). In 2002, I was being prescribed 120 vicodin 7.7/750s as well as 25mcg fentanyl patch. I could not get out of bed.
By 2009, before enduring sudden withdrawals, only using cannabis for the symptoms, I was on Percocet
& fentanyl had been raised to 100mcg for a year. Not controlling any pain at this point, but keeping withdrawals at bay. I prayed nightly that I wouldn’t awaken the next morning. But every night I would awaken, turn on my phone…and my friends were there to “snap me out of it.” I could do this.
When my daughter (my youngest child) was home from her first quarter at the University of Washington
for holiday break, she and I set upon creating me a Facebook account. Being a computer programmer and an interested mom, I had previously followed my children to MySpace
, so I figured this was not much different. I had no idea that it would LITERALLY save my life.
The first time I “friended” a stranger, I had no idea that those would be the people who I keep me alive from day to day until I was able to find a way out of prescription drug
Every night, the pain was at it’s worse in the dark, but on my tiny phone screen, my friends were awake somewhere. The opioids had their way with my mind, making the pain sensations worse, attempting to feed the drugs’ hold on my brain. I screamed out, in my sarcastic, or not so sarcastic, tone.
I was ANGRY at the world! It FUCKED me up! I felt the need to scream that out.
And they heard. My world expanded from 4 “stranger friends” to a few thousand. Every now and then I shout a bit more… some leave, some come back.
My Facebook friends have called 911 when my withdrawals had my blood pressure down to 55/30, while my then husband, unknowingly, opened the door to the paramedics before he noticed I was passed out.
They have been there EVERY time I needed to be reminded that I have a purpose in life.
I love them all. And I am pretty certain my children are very relieved I now have someone else to talk to.
This last summer; my 18 year old nephew took his life with a gun, after a rapid detox off of several prescription medications that were being given to him in foster care; this new suicide in our family is still being investigated. Tribal traditions require a waiting period of a year before we can really speak of it.
When I can, I will. Let peace be with his soul, and with those of his siblings; his family misses him terribly.