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Got my head shrunk today

Yep, I talked to a shrink over the phone, as a preliminary interview. It rather surprised me, since in my experience shrinks tend to blame everything on depression rather than considering the underlying physical disease and the cost of chronic pain. Why would that be helpful? It wouldn't. But I was willing to go through the motions. You do the act and you havta pay the consequences. However, this dude talked more about my migraines, how I cope and how it affects my work situation. He himself gets nasty migraines and he discussed some ways he copes and some methods people use. Naturally this is a familiar topic, since I have developed several ways to cope. He talked about my work situation, which is not ideal and how to change it. He basically said if they were not willing to compromise, which they are not, then it would be beneficial to apply for long term leave and then possibly AISH assistance after. Since if it is impossible for me to work there 9-5 then it would be impossible anywhere else, assuming anyone would be insane enough to hire me. I told him of all the career compromises my health has made me do to which he said it is difficult for well educated people to give up their career goals and to not feel damned guilty as well. He said it would make a huge difference if I was on assistance and did a part time job or volunteer work... which would give me something to do, a distraction and help with my self worth. And when he put it that way, well, then yeah I guess literally killing myself over my job was not working so well from me, nor the guilt I got when I missed work and nor am I capable of working all the time. So while I thought I couldn't make any other work related compromises, that a desk job was the ideal job and nothing would be better than that for me, it turns out I have yet another compromise to make. Every such compromise takes a little something out of you. For example when I could not go for my Phd and my ideal job I had to accept that but I felt I could find something I enjoyed and was meaningful. With the bank I found something I could easily do, when with migraines (just not all the time), I could distract myself from the pain while they were willing to put up with my increase in absences and I thought yeah here is something I rather like to do and is a career and makes half decent money. But they ended up demanded more than I am capable of giving and made me feel worthless while they were doing it. They totally f-ed up my balance, because working with chronic pain takes a certain mindset and one that does not dwell on the pain, even when you have it. But when you take away my ability to miss a day, or half a day or whatever and expect perfection, well then I immediately felt angry and trapped and frustrated. Changed my mindset and that made every day worse and those status migraines became a tormenting nightmare with no possibility of relief. So then that spirals into negative thinking... like, well, if a status migraine that could potentially kill me is not a good enough reason to miss work then what is? A stroke? A self induced coma? Or can I just call in dead.

People may wonder why I would let work drive me to that extreme, but it is all too easy. A lot of our self worth is tied up in work and being a functional part of society. A lot of guilt is a product of chronic pain and what we can't do. So while we are coping well we have done our compromises, adjusted our work environment and maintain a healthy facade, handle minor stresses well and we distract ourselves from the pain, not brood on it. And damn we are proud of ourselves for being able to work under those conditions. Of course sometimes we are literally incapable to doing so, or driving or moving. And such absences can make management get into a huff. They can put additional pressure on us to tow the party line. They can misunderstand our ability to function with pain as not having pain all the time and worse at other times. They can make threats to our job itself, promotions or demotions. And that immediately causes a huge stress factor we cannot escape because we are limited by our pain, we can cope but we cannot completely deny it. This makes us more emotional. More frustrated and angry. More trapped by the pain, with no escape clause to be seen. And yet when confronted with this situation most people do exactly what I have done time and time again. We don't fight the job, cause we can't win and they won't compromise, we fight the pain. We try to 'push' through it. To not distract ourselves, but to completely deny it. All in order to hold down our job. We all have awesome pain tolerances, well earned ones, but forcing ourselves to power through even severe pain fails. Because it is impossible. Mentally, emotionally and physically we get battered by doing this and when we know we are failing we feel that much worse. Something has to give. Something has to snap. usually I go on leave from work, but what has that done? Nothing. Pain is still there, still chronic and will be there on my return. All it does is give me a break from it, give the the will to fight again. And then it starts all over.

Here is the clincher. He may be right. Hell, I'll admit he is right on the mark. That does not mean I will be able to get on long term leave or AISH. That is out of my hands and partly in my doctors hands. The reason I have never considered those options is because they were never presented to me by my various doctors, ergo, I assumed they were not options and I simply had to continue my struggle and hope for a preventative that worked even better than the best expected results of a fifty percent reduction in migraine frequency.
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