PAIN. Stabbing, shooting, burning. My back, my knees, my ankles. The body is screaming at me to stop this morning. It is like it is saying, “No more, let me rest.”
The only problem is that I cannot rest. I have therapy this morning, followed by a presentation. The exhaustion has already set in. I just need to get through one piece at a time.
Once this is all over today, I just want to come home and rest. I already know that I am going to need something for pain tonight, esp.after standing for an hour.
I am wiped out, yet still need to go on. Once again pushing through the pain and exhaustion!!
I can still remember when my dance teacher told us that we would be able to go out and buy our first pair of point shoes. What an exciting and scary time! Going to the dance store, trying on shoes, and going up on point for the first time. Eventually, I would learn how to tie the ribbons and which point shoes fit me the best!
Then came the pain in my knee and the news that after knee surgery, I would not be able to dance any longer. That day was one of the hardest in my life. Dancing was everything to me. I loved the music, the shoes, the smell of the studio. At this point, I walked out of the studio where I had spent so many years and was not able to look back until recently. I am glad that I have reconnected after all of these years.
Fast forward to today. I had my second physical therapy appointment. Today’s appointment went well. I was able to learn a little more about my back and knee brace. The doctor seemed really interested in the service dog and my reasons for getting one. By the time I explained what all he could do, even he agreed that the service dog was the best choice for my situation.
I clearly cannot go back to nursing school when I cannot even stand straight. There are days that I wish that I already had my RN and could just take more classes, yet that is not going to happen at this point.
For right now, I know that I need to focus on my physical strength. Hopefully with the PT and the braces, I will be able to be a little more independent. I am not sure where my life is going to go. Then again, I think back to my first day on point shoes. My ankles felt like jello and my feet were bleeding. I pushed on though. I kept up and soon my feet were used to the blisters and pain.
Maybe this is the same way. It is going to take time and one day, my body will get used to how it is feeling right now. I will go through physical therapy as well as therapy for my mental illness. Hopefully, before this time next year, I will have a service dog.
Maybe in all of that time, I can figure out what I want to do with my life. Nursing is out, lifting heavy objects is out. I just need to start looking at what is in!
Today was my first physical therapy appointment. I was there for over 2 hours!! I’m tired of the questions that every doctor asks. Why ask me questions that I have already answered on all of the paperwork before I arrived. I do not want to talk about my abuse or what else caused my PTSD. How does that even relate to PT?
Then, I had to get dressed in a gown and shorts. Talk about uncomfortable. I like to be covered up and I do not like my body. A gown and shorts just amped up my anxiety. Note to self: take PRN prior to next appointment.
The doctor did give me a few exercises to do before I got out of bed. He also helped me learn how to get in and out of bed without having to put pressure on my back. I realize somewhere in my head that all of this will help. It will help with the pain and with having to live life with fibromyalgia everyday.
Part of me wants to stomp my feet and tell fibro and pain to get away. I am tired of what they have done to my life. Right now, if I did not have Fibro and pain, I would most likely be a nurse working with patients, helping them feel better, and making a difference. My husband and I could still take walks by the water at night. I could still run around and play with my kids.
PTSD and the other mental illnesses that I have are hard. They changed my life. I lost a house, my kids, and friends because of them. I felt like I was just getting my life back when I was diagnosed with fibro. I had gotten remarried, I was enjoying spending the time that I had with my kids, I had a job as a nursing student, and I was getting ready to graduate school and become an RN. Not that there were not challenging days.
Now, my days are filled with pain. I wonder where I am going from here. I look at want ads and wonder if I am ever going to be able to do anything with my life. The most upsetting part of the day was when the doctor made sure that I was on disability. He said if I was not, he knew of people who could help. I am happy to have such a nice doctor, I guess I just want my life back.
So what now? I have thought about going back to school to become a child psychologist. That would be a lot of work, yet mental health is something that I am passionate about. I have also thought about starting a foundation. I am sure that it would be a great deal of work. I at least have time. That is something that I have plenty of now that I have fibro. I would also like to advocate for those with mental illness. I want to be able to make sure that patients are getting the treatment they need, in facilities that are staffed and designed to provide an environment that encourages healing.
I guess I do have some hopes, right now it is hard to see them when other aspects of my life feel as if they are falling apart.
In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that I purchased a dot to dot book that was full of pictures all containing over 300 dots.
My kids are here this weekend. They saw the book and all of them wanted different pictures out of it. They worked so hard on each of their pages and I was impressed by how well they did.
Last night and today we are coloring some of our finished work. It is awesome that we can spend time as a family doing something that makes all of us feel good.
I was worried when I woke up in pain yesterday and knew that I could not run around with them, yet the weekend has turned out to be great!!
Art therapy and time with the kids. A two for one! Life does not get much better!
I had therapy today. I like my therapist. He has helped me to get through some of the most difficult times in my life and has been there through some of the greatest times. I usually go into therapy with something to talk about, present or past. Today I had absolutely no clue where to even begin.
In some ways, The PTSD and DID do not seem so bad compared to the Fibromyalgia. With a mental illness, I could talk about what happened to me and I could try to go back to school to pursue my dreams. My Fibromyalgia diagnosis has succeeded in squashing those dreams. The mental illness, makes the physical seem harder. I wonder sometimes if I could take some of the medications if I could feel well enough to go back to school.
That is a lot of ifs. The known in all of this is that I am in pain whenever I do too much or push myself beyond what my body is ready for. So the question of the day seems what to do now? Where to go from here? One topic that I know that I am passionate about is mental health. Maybe it would not be such a bad idea to check out some psychology programs. At least it would get me out of the house. My therapist mentioned to me today that I had talked about joining a book club. Another possibility.
There are just so many loose ends right now. I guess that I am still in denial. I still hope that one day the pain will magically go away and I can go back to school. If I go back to school it will not be for nursing. Not that I do not want to.
So, it looks as if right now, I will start physical therapy or torture as I call it next week. I have a presentation about my mental illness and I see my kids this weekend. After that, I am not sure what I am going to do or where life is going to take me from here. I know that I need to talk about the traumas from my past. I wish that I could put them all into a nice little package and hand them over to my therapist. That is not going to work.
Since getting out of the hospital in November, I think that I have journaled a handful of times. normally, I am in too much pain or am to overwhelmed. I am pretty critical of myself and never seem to like what I write or think that it is not good enough.
I saw the pain management doctor for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain for the first time yesterday. One of the many items that he gave me was a brace for my back. Yesterday, it hurt. I really did not want to try to wear it again today and just wanted to tell him that it did not work and in two weeks, give it back to him. Like the good rule follower that I am, I used the brace again today. It is still not the most comfortable thing to wear. Yet, by the end of the day I actually felt better. The brace is supposed to help align my back and the discs in it.
So how does any of this even closely relate to journaling. Well, I finally felt well enough tonight to write in my journal. I was actually excited to sit down and write and did not feel that it was a chore or an assignment from my doctor.
One thing about my journals that I need to start to change is that I do not read what I write. I must have at least 10 journals down stairs. I want to change this. So, I am hoping that before I write again, I will read what I wrote tonight. That would at least be a change.
The brace working today has given me a little bit of hope. It was not the most comfortable, I could not move as freely as I would like, yet I finally felt a little better. Small steps forward are better than none!!
Today, I went to the pain management specialist for the first time. I have to admit, I was apprehensive. I was not sure if he was only going to give me a shot or only concentrate on my mental illness.
He was actually really nice. He listened to my input about medications and how they would react with my mental illness. I knew then that I could trust what he said. After a quick exam, he said he would see me in two to three weeks.
Before leaving, he gave me a TENS unit, a back brace, a knee brace, and a script for a pain cream. How to use everything was explained really well to me. I was even given phone numbers to call if I had any questions.
Tomorrow, I am going to call the physical therapist. Hopefully, I will be able to get a little more stamina.
I am wearing the back brace as I am writing this post. I guess that I need to get used to the brace. It just feels weird. Maybe it is like a pair of new shoes, I just need to break it in.
Luckily, I have insurance and was able to go to the doctor today. I feel bad for those people who are out there and do not have anyone to take care of them.
I will keep posting on how everything is working.
Thanks for all of the comments to the blog!!
Last night I went out with my husband. Nothing major, a surprise dinner for Valentine’s Day. I love that he thinks of me and is so supportive of me. I am lucky that he accepts me for who I am.
Today, I have slept most of the day. I did not wake up until noon, ate lunch, and then went back to sleep until about an hour ago. This is what I dislike about my illness. The way I am tired all the time, the way my joints ache, the way I have to scream into my pillow to change positions when I sleep at night.
As I am writing this, I feel like I can go back to sleep. Tomorrow I have an appointment with a pain doctor. Is the doctor going to worry about my pain or blame my pain on my mental illness. I will write more tomorrow with how the appointment went. Until then!!
Valentine’s Day. Cards, flowers, candy. That is what most of us this of. What about those that are alone on Valentine’s Day? Those who feel that they do not have anyone to turn to?
I woke up yesterday morning to the heading in the news about mental illness being rampant among college students. I was so angry when I saw that story. Why can’t the news report the true facts about mental illness? Statistics show that 1 in 4 people have some type of mental illness, with 1 in 17 being serious illnesses (bipolar, DID, PTSD). If that is the case there are many non-violent students, citizens, and even law makers who have a mental illness.
The news stories are not helping those with a mental illness to seek treatment. When I was a college student, I did not seek help because I was scared about what others would think. Add to that the fear of being thought of as violent.
The news should also report that there are many people with mental illness who are successful in their life. If the statistics are correct, there are professors on the campus who most likely have a mental illness. Maybe a student would feel more comfortable going to them?
Mental illness still carries so much stigma.That makes it hard to get treatment for so many people who want to remain anonymous. Stories of violence only add to the problem. It is important to remember that mental illness is about getting treatment and finding support, not about violence!!
In other news, I was able to spend a great Valentine’s afternoon with my kids. We went out for frozen yogurt. I feel so lucky that my kids open up to me about their lives and are close to me even though we do not see each other as often as I would like.
My husband is an amazing man. He married me knowing about my mental illness and since we have been married, I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and can barely get out of bed some days.
As a child, I loved Faerie Tale Theatre. Over the past year I was able to find the entire collection in one set. For Valentine’s Day he surprised me and got me the set. I started watching it yesterday. My parts were so excited. They love my husband as much as I do, just in their own way.
Last night was a painful night for me. I woke up screaming into my pillow, the pain was so bad. My husband went and got my pain meds and something to drink in the middle of the night. I am not sure what I would do without his support. I am so lucky to have him in my life!!
Needless to say Valentine’s Day was filled with ups and downs like any other day. What is important is that I was able to acknowledge those closest to me and make them feel special!