There is probably not a soul on this earth that has mastered self pity to the degree I have. This is not a proud statement by any means. It sickens me to admit it.
Running parallel to this depression has been 30-plus years of low back pain. The lumbar discs in my spine are wearing out before their time for unknown reasons. Degenerative disc disease as it's called. My back is never 100 percent pain free. There's always a dull stiffness at the very least. Around 11 years ago I suffered a pinched nerve which resulted in 6 months of agonizing pain that ran down the right leg into the knee. The most excruciating pain I've ever experienced. I live in fear it will happen again. It goes without saying when my back decides to "go out," it deepens my despair beyond words.
I recently had a flare-up that took me by surprise. It's usually prompted by either bending, twisting, lifting wrong, or simply exerting myself more than I should. This time it just crept up on me in a few days time until I could barely walk. When this happens it literally floors me. The only thing I can do is rest flat on my back on a firm surface and hope that it will subside quickly. It's usually several days before any normalcy returns.
There is nothing worse than idle time for someone who's depressed. I'm not a motivated person. I have no hobbies. Few things interest me. When my back wreaks havoc, I'm more than likely relegated to the floor in front of a television or just stranded in bed staring at the ceiling. Woe is me. Why me? Blah, blah, blah. This is when I'm at my pathetic worst. I don't know how my family stands my presence.
During these pitiful times, I can't help but to ruminate on how miserable I am. I fear the future and what it holds. I question how things will ever get done if I'm incapacitated for long periods. I wonder how many more flare-ups I can endure and will they recur more often as I age? At times, irrational thoughts and worries consume me to the point of tears. Physical and mental pain — hand in hand.
As with depression, I've run the gamut on seeking help for my back. I've seen countless doctors, taken powerful pain killers, used heat and ice, tried various conventional and alternative therapies, even a new mattress — to no avail. Surgery may be in my future but I've tried to avoid it at all costs as there are very few back surgery success stories. I've reached the point where I just literally lie down, close my eyes, and ride it out.
I realize this isn't a back pain blog but the physical pain and mental anguish seem to feed on each other reducing me to a self-pitying, slobbering blob. Some "experts" would say one causes the other. They certainly exacerbate one and other.
At this writing the pain has subsided to the point where I can function again. I should be grateful but I'm just plain afraid of the next time. There are so many people who endure so much greater pain for much longer periods. I despise what I become when afflicted. I hate the powerlessness of being unable to prevent pain. All pain.