Hit a sudden wall of depression/something that I cannot move past.

I'm in bed, feeling Very Sorry for myself. I am not sure what I want from this really, other than reaching out, knowing there are people here who get it. I have used this site over the years for medical advice and guidance (not the forum, the articles here) and have read a lot of the forum posts and got a lot of helpful tips from them. Just not posted here as felt I got what I needed from reading. Now, I am not sure. it's all become too complex and difficult to bear now.

History: 2010 - had an accident involving amongst other things, a large shower glass (those over the bath ones that can be pulled away from the bath) being knocked out of it's brackets (by my head) upwards then and falling forward and to the side, smacking my L5/S1 area with the corner. It cut and bruised my back, I felt a little dent where it hit, but as I also broke my nose and cut my head I didn't consider it again. I walked into ER, I walked out again, I am, not even sure I mentioned my back got hit. 10 days later (i recall as I was about to go for surgery to straighten my nose), my back 'went' over a period of about 2 hours, got stiffer and stiffer, then suddenly, I couldn't move. I was stuck, bent over, unable to move without screaming. After much fuss and my daughter helping me to bed and then calling out of hours doctors (it always happens at the weekend right?), I was diagnosed, over the phone, with a pulled muscle. I again didn't connect it with my back being hits there was no pain until that point, bruise was gone etc. Given codeine, told to rest. I went to the loo on a potty as I couldn't move to the toilet. Within 2 weeks, I was back at work as if nothing had happened. 3-4 months later, it went again. Similar, but walking up a hill. Similar recovery period. Happened two more times, before my back 'went' and never recovered. A long journey since then, including diagnoses of Degenerative disc disease, end plate oedema, disc bulge(s), tears, retrolesthesis. All put down to the smack on my back by neurosurgeon and physio.

I've had discectomy (2013) for disc prolapse at L5/S1 lumbar level, affecting my left leg. This helped. but then the pain was full force on right side - diagnosed with stenosis at two levels - L5/S1 and L4/L5 - and facet joint problems. Had a two level laminectomy. Fusion ruled out as not having good enough odds of significant success. This helped a small amount, for a small amount of time, but my pain has just ramped up and up and up. A while of to-ing and fro-ing from pain clinic, being suggested the pain is more that my nerves are misfiring. Eventually had another MRI - showed degenerative disc disease has execrated - at L5/S1 in particular the oedema at two end plates is quite significant and there are two disc bulges, evidence of continued stenosis. Pain clinic doc said it's not going to fix itself soon, and pain is probably coming from the oedema in the end-plates.

Along with all this I get unwell a lot - feel flu-like a lot, vomit a lot (think this is pain related as I tend to have a flare up immediately after vomiting). I have issues with temp regulation, and often feel generally unwell. Doc says this is probably meds related. Had bloods, no obvious sign of infection or anything. Finally got GP to refer to rheumatology to rule out something more sinister than 'simple' back problems.

During this time I have held down a professional job. Part time (25 hours), but it's an emotionally demanding job. Lots of support from work in terms of adjustments, but a few issues here that I'm working on. reduced hours on advise of pain clinic doc and GP as struggling to manage job. Hanging on by the skin of my teeth. But aware I will lose this in time if things don't improve.

I have two children. 6 and 10. they were 8 months and 4 when I had my injury. I cannot parent properly. I cannot be a partner properly. I cannot do the things in my life that I used to do (active person, kayaking, bodyboarding, sea swimming, running). I have spent a lot of time hoping I will recover, then coming to terms with my life changing. Then it changing more, then more. I have always waited for a time when I get a little bit better than this. But it's got worse. I have managed. I have low dose antidepressants. I am wading through treacle. I have survived on a rollercoaster of flare-ups and pain management, hopes and dreams being dashed but coping nevertheless.

I have had 3 weeks off work again. Yesterday my back 'went' properly again and I'm paid up. To top to off I think my nerve is now trapped in my left leg again, and I have trouble with my neck/upper back muscles going into spasm, and my thumb has gone numb. I suddenly am crying at the drop of a hat. I cannot face work at all, I don't want to socialise, I am sleeping a lot. I cannot bear that this is my life and I cannot see past this to a time when I will be happy again. I guess I need to see my GP again to up my anti-depressents, but really, it's just more medication on top of other medication to put a plaster over a wound that won't heal.

How do people here cope? How do manage getting worse and worse, and not knowing what the future will hold for you, or your family? How do you cope with being a parent? A partner? Hope do you cope with being you? A you that you were never meant to be? It's just too much to bear all of a sudden.

I am sorry for the epic post. It might be too long. Thanks for getting through it if you make it to the end.


  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,636
    Pavlov, I've read both of your post and will comment on the other one too.
    You've got a lot going on mentally, and yes, very overwhelming. But first things first.
    Are you in pain management? And are you seeking professional help for the depression? You mentioned you are on antidepressants.
    Sounds like (from your other post) we are in the same shape. Depression, anxiety, even anger goes with chronic pain. I started seeing a psychologist about 2 yrs ago and was the best thing I ever did. No meds, he just worked with changing my way of thinking about all of this.
    I had to slowly start giving up the things I loved to do also. My Harley, yard work, 4 wheeling, fishing, even quilting. Even cooking and baking, my passion. But it's ok, I still have faith and hope that some day some of it will return.
    How do I cope? I'm still working with my doctors to find a solution, never give up.

    How do I manage getting worse and worse? No one knows the future, can't change it or predict it. But you can work on trying to find answers as to what is wrong and a possible solution. My husband and I talk about the "if's", gives us a sense of planning. In my case, I have no other options. I know I'll be in a wheelchair soon so we've discussed it. It is what it is. Am I angry, you bet. But I let it go.
    How does a partner cope? I'm lucky. My husband has always gone to my doctors appointments so he knows what's going on. He reads articles and stays informed. But mostly we talk.
    Being a parent? I don't see how you do it. Being a mom is the most important job in the world, add this and it makes it harder. Be honest with them and let them know what's going on with you. Kids are more understanding than you think.
    Never meant to be you? You are still you. I'm sure you are a kind, loving mom and partner. So what's changed? It's all in attitude. You know you are in pain, it can make you irritable. Don't let it. I learned to let so many things go. Know, I'm at peace at where I am. You just have to work at getting there.
    Every day be thankful for 3 things, write them down. After several months go back and read them, you will find you are very blessed.
    To quote my favorite author, Viktor Frankl, "one can make a victory of experiences, turning life into an inner triumph, or one could ignore the challenge and simply vegetative".
    Hope to hear from you again.
  • PavlovPPavlov PlymouthPosts: 10
    Thank you for replying Memeraimbolt. I really appreciate you taking the time. I have had up and down times, days, a week even, but it's always been periods that I can work through, know at the back of my down times that it's a phase that I will work through. In the first years, I felt very angry, felt like I was grieving and it was red raw, that emotional pain. But it subsided, as I expected it would, without much need for intervention from medical professionals. But then, these last few weeks, the brick wall that I have hit has been unexpected, and has been full speed. I have not so far felt such dark despair. Not to say I have not felt anger, frustration, loss, but I feel utterly floored all of a sudden.

    There is other stuff happening, in particular my partner has just been made redundant, but that's happened before and we have worked through it. I have suddenly lost all ability to rationally work through my feelings and I am wondering what the heck I have done in my life to deserve this heap of stuff piled on me. And I know, logically, it's not personal, there is no bigger picture in all this. It is as it is, like you say. Largely that's what I feel, have felt up until now. Now, for some reason it all feels hopeless in a way it hasn't before.

    Re depression, the only treatment to date is low level antidepressants due to starting to get some anxiety last year. My GPs attitude was he would be surprised if I was not suffering from depression given how much chronic pain I am in. He also doesn't want to up my dose if he can help it as I'm on other meds that increase serotonin (the usual), and I am 'slight'. I have not had counselling/therapy. The wait on the NHS is huge, and only able to get 6-8 sessions. So, what happens at the end of those sessions? I will have to pay, and at the moment I can't go private.

    The pain is relentless. There is no let-up. I cannot plan a thing. Everything I plan has to be altered. Meant to be doing a halloween party tomorrow. So much to do, back has given up. My partner bears the brunt of physical stuff, but even he has reached the end of his sympathy now. He gets frustrated that I have to lay down when there is stuff to do. Like, it should be better now. He continues to do things, but where at the beginning it was all done with tenderness, now it's just done. Like a job. And I hate that.

    My children are also very understanding, as far as a 6yr old can be. My 10yr old takes a lot of burden on, she looks out for me, and understands there are lots I can't do. She helps me with my sticks, when we walk takes my arm. We talk about it sometimes when she goes to bed 'girlie time', and I have explained to her that all mummies have things they are better at and not so good at, no different for me, some things I can do great, some I can't. But she sees me crying, which I hate, as it makes her cry too. My son strokes my back, hoping/thinking it will make it all better. Of course I tell him it does! I try not to hide my disability and pain, but neither do I go on about it. I hate that it forms such a heavy part of our lives.

    I like the idea of trying to write 3 things which I am thankful for. I will try that today. Hopefully it won't make me cry, as everything is at the moment!

    How long have you been suffering from problems? Thanks again for replying.
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  • PavlovPPavlov PlymouthPosts: 10
    Sorry, meant to say, yes I have a pain management doctor, see him every 6 months or so. he has told me to slow down, stop doing so much. 're-invent myself'. Said I am determined, pro-active etc but too much so and I am not helping my pain by trying to pretend it's not there. He suggested I cut down my hours from 25 to 18. My GP has suggested there may come a time I won't be able to work, and I refuse to accept that for several reasons. My Pain Management doctor feels there is not much else that can be done for me, as I 'know it all'. Apart from a back pain management course, which I am unsure about. As, again, I know a lot as I've done a pain management course in the past.
  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,636
    Mine started over 20 yrs ago, diagnosed with fibromyalgia. But very little was know about then so the treatment was "deal with it". And I did.
    Several years later the back pain started, a tumor was wrapped around my spinal cord, L5-6, had that removed, no problems, it was benign. Still working, living my life as usual.
    Again, several years later severe back pain. Found I had spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease all the way up. But nothing was offered as an option. I just dealt with it and no meds. Was very active, stayed busy.
    About 8 yrs ago (I was 60) heard a loud pop and went to the floor. Had surgery on L4-5, rods, pins, screws, had ruptured disc.
    I did great after surgery, recovery was good, did rehab. A couple months later was back to my normal self, swimming, riding my Harley and 4 wheeler and working part time (pharmacy tech) .
    Four years ago the pain came back. We tried physical therapy, injections, trigger point injections, Botox, nothing worked. The neurosurgeon ordered a new MRI and said no surgery. My spine was so messed up from the neck down. At my age he didn't want to risk it. I absolutely regret settling for that answer.
    Finally 2 years ago I could not take the pain anymore, was losing more and more of my physical abilities and the anxiety, depression and anger set in. My GP sent me to pain management, best thing. And he sent me to my psychologist.
    Then scoliosis hit like a fast moving freight train, from my neck to lower lumbar. So now the meds don't work anymore and he suggested a pain pump. I'm waiting on a trial date, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.
    Hope you didn't mind the long post, got on another roll. And, this was the short version!! Lol Would love to tell you all I've learned thru my psychologist.
    I was offered surgery a couple of weeks ago by the neurosurgeon who will do the implant. But that's another story.
    Now you know my story, but I'd still like to help you with yours. Message me if you want, I don't mind.
  • Pavlov
    My comment will be to this end only.
    You are absolutly a wonderfull Mama.

    By not hiding your disabilty
    You are taking fear away from them
    And exchanging that for 2 things
    Well more


    All unparalleled absolutly good attributes to the world when they Step up.

    They will not fear pain
    They will seek to understand it
    They will know at a deeper level what the toll on a person is

    You...are creating a better set of people that will be assets unto the world.
    Thats what a good person does
    Thats what a great mama does.

    Be gentle with yourself
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  • PavlovPPavlov PlymouthPosts: 10
    I will post again later, as I am about to go buy pipe cleaners to make lolly pop spiders :D But, wanted to thank you both very much for your lovely, supportive and kind posts. Memerainbolt - thank you for sharing your very difficult journey with me. I take inspiration. William Garxa, thank you, you made me a little bit tearful!

    As I said, I will respond properly when I am crashed in bed again.
  • Ugh Spiders
    Pipe cleaner spiders are the worst...
    Just kidding!
  • PavlovPPavlov PlymouthPosts: 10
    we didnt get around to finishing the spiders, but you would have hated the place, it was COVERED in pretend spiders. And bats. the children had a great timing making most of them out of card. I don't usually bother with halloween, but my children insisted and i've been such a stick in the mud I decided to go for it. It absolutely wiped me out but it's amazing how much pain can be pushed to the background for short bursts, with adrenaline to help out. It's the aftermath that reminds me of how I can't do that every day!

    I went back to work today. it took ALL my will power, and lots of tramadol! to get there. I managed 3.5 hours out of my normal 6 hours, but no managers in and I work flexi hours, and no appointments in my diary so I caught up, did my priority list ready for tomorrow to do some proper work. I felt better mentally in some ways, geting up, dressed, out of the house, was good to talk to people about things other than my back, but, I spent a lot of time fighting back tears as I struggled to get myself in a comfy position (I have a hydraulic desk and decent specialist chair, so well provided for) and felt my back seizing up as the day went on.

    But, I did it, and I hope it's the start of moving out of this deep darkness, which I have not experienced like this before. I am just taking one day at a time and trying hard not to think about what might happen with my career if this continues, what happens if I take more time off sick, I am just trying to think 'today, I can make it to work' and see how it goes from there.

    I have a few health things going on along with my back pain (got the sweats a lot of time, numb thumb and now wrist is hurting some tightness around my chest and upper ribcage, which comes and goes with neck/mid shoulder blade pain, new sciatica down my left leg) but I cannot face another discussion with the GP. I made an appt today, then cancelled it (it's not really an appointment, it's a time slot, which means the earliest you will be seen. 10:40am means that the morning's delays already there, so I would be seen at 11:30 earliest!). GP then phoned saying they had a message to call me (I hadn't left a message for callback), and I said, stupidly, 'no, nothing particular I need to speak about right this second, a few things, but it can wait'. WTF?!

    Anyway. positive steps. I hope you are both as well as you can be today.

    *memerainbolt* how does the pain pump work? is it morphine or something else? It's inserted? Where? Will it give you enough relief that you can think about doing (some) things you enjoy again, or is it simply to stop you going crazy with pain?
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