A little on suicide and migraines

Been there, tried that but no one gave me a T-shirt. I was reading a point about this topic and obviously I have already written some on it given I tried to commit suicide last year. (http://flywithhope.blogspot.com/2011/07/migraine-and-suicide.html)

I am completely willing to talk about it because I refuse to be ashamed about it. I also refuse to be labelled as anything. When it involves chronic pain and suididial thoughts or actions the so not very suprising thing is it is all about the pain. It is losing hope that the pain will ever end. When I get depressed it is because I stop and think about another decade or two being just like the decade I passed. I cannot bear the load of all that suffering, which is why I no longer think about the future at all. Day by day. No goals, ambitions or dreams. Getting to work is a victory.

It is perfectly natural to have suicidal ideation or thinking about it when we are alwasy suffering. I had years of times like that where I would think about it and just the fact the possibility exsited, an exit strategy would make me feel better.

What changed to bring me from thought to action was a bad situation. A situation that broke the camels back. One: I was suffering a five day status migraine, ran out of ways to treat it and was not sleeping at all or very little. That made me emotionally vulnerable. It made me wish I would have a stroke so I did not have to go to work, a stroke would surely get me a couple of days off? That was a normal thought to have, I'd often wished for a stroke or heart attack to give me a break from working with migraines. That set the mood. What set the scene was an employer who would not compramises, no matter how many suggestions I made, they threaten to fire me, suggested I resign and in this case said they would demonte me to a position that would be harder for me to work, but easier to fire me for other reasons. So I promised I would come in every day no matter what until my neuro appointment. Well, that status migraine ruined that idea. I was incapable of coming in to work, I could not comprehend of going to work in that much agony. I could not bear the thought of the consequences of not going to work, the guilt the work demotion. So I took forty sleeping pills aiming for a coma. That did not work so I sliced up my wrists.

I survived, they stiched up my wrists, sent me to a useless shrink then back to work. Work was just as uncompramising, so same situation. My doctor and neuro still would not put me on long term leave, so same situation there. So really everything changed and yet everything remained the same.

I thought suicide was reasonable choice. Firstly, If I worked I suffered, if I did not work I was always being threatened with losing my job. I had no life after work because I was incaple of anything after enduring that. Considering I have optimistically thirty or more years to live, it seemed reasonable a person would not want to endure thirty more years of all that suffering. I knew my family would mourn and I wrote a suicide note telling them they could not blame themselves because this was about pain not life. I also thought it was ressonable because I am functionally useless. Eventually I will lose my job and be a liability to my spouse, whereas if I died he would get life insurance which would provide for him more than I'd be able to. Also I have a non-life. It is about getting through the pain so I can get home. It would be a benifit to my spouse because he could find someone who was not dependant on him, that could go out and do things. And honestly I thought I was a liability not an asset. My existence of pain was useless. I did nothing, it was insignificant and there would be no differece in the world if I was gone.

Afterwards I rememeber I was more upset I hurt my family than glad I survived. now I survive so I won't hurt them, but really I am ambivelent about my survival. Going from thought to action only takes on bad pain day and one bad situation. It is easy. Far too easy. I worried after that I could lose myself in the pain again and make the same choices, because I am in exactly the same situation. I remember thinking how horrific it was that someone tries to kill themselves and still the work place will my not compramises, still my doctors offer no better ways to manage pain so I can get to work, still my doctors do not think I am sick enough to go on long term leave. It literally changed nothing. It reminded me of sleep paralysis dreams: no matter how much I struggled I could not move, no matter how loud I screamed I could not be heard.

It is a crime that we lose so many people from suicide, far more than those of us who have strokes because of migraines. We are literally killing ourselves off because we are not getting adequate pain managment. Or working when we should not be. No one seems to understand the price we pay for enduring our pain and the cost it has to our emoltional and mental stability. I often say I would rather have something like cancer where either I die, problem solved, or I am cured, problem solved. The issue is treatment that is effective is hard to find, effective medications do not stay effective and there is no end. How I was treated by my employer disgusts me and now they are all happy I am making it to work most of the time (one day a month for sick days)... but I am doing it because people want me to, does not mean the suffering is not horrific. I so so because I know they do not have my back when things get worse, so I have to suffer more to keep my job.

So I survived. Yay me. Hopefully I will continue to survive. It is a long, drawn out war and I can't win every battle. I think we have to be open and honest about the cost of chronic pain, because we do not need any more casualties in this war. Too many have died already. We need to bring awareness whenever we can however we can.

Pain is such a barrier

Obviously trying to do anything with a migraine is stupid, necessary, but stupid. However, struggling to get through the day with that sort of pain makes me rather forget how painful the fibromyalgia pain can be. Today was an extra special pain day where I got both. The migraine was consistent but not bad enough to seriously disrupt my thinking. Some would find that statement hard to believe knowing what a migraine is... but you get used to what you have to get used to. Such is the life, eh? Put that on your resume...'super human pain tolerance', 'won't call in sick for severe pain or run of the mill illness, only for mind blowing scary ass nasty pain'... but don't mention how often that occurs or you'll never land a job!

The FMS pain had to be triggered by the storm we had, but who knows? Sometimes a flare is just a flare, with no reason to be named for it. It started mid morning with an ache in my knees and a sort of stiffness in my legs. Like zombified. Call me lurch. That sort of level of pain is normal. FMS pain shifts around to different muscles and ranges from mild to moderate on a daily bases, excluding days when I do my intense work out (12 minutes of yoga). It got significantly worse until my knees and ankles were in severe pain and my legs felt like the current running between them. Now it is at that level where it is hard to walk and it damn well hurts enough without moving. Seriously, it is insane how intensely FMS pain can hit for no reason. I get that if I walk to far, do exercise or whatnot I can expect there to be consequences, but man, does it suck when it just comes out of the blue like that. There is just something about spring and early summer that my body loathes and so I get more FMS flares and migraines as a result. Seriously is there somewhere in the world where the temperate is always moderate with lows are -10 and highs are +20 and it is always cloudy? Let me know. I was to move there.

But sometimes I wonder about the normal baseline FMS pain. I think to myself I live a sedentary lifestyle and weak muscles will hurt. So maybe some level of pain is just normal. That is until I have a chat with someone and realize, nope, so not normal. A co-worker of mine is on this diet which is doing wonders for her and she routinely exercises as well. I jokes about my yoga efforts and my pathetic limits and muscle pain. She said she had bad muscle pain after a workout (of good cardio by the way, as if I could do that!) but that she was told to stretch before and after the work out which eliminated that pain. I did not say anything about my FMS situation because why bother when it would take too long to explain and make me sound more of a cripple that my chronic migraines do. But it made me think about what I do and the level of pain. I know FMS makes it so my body has a low threshold to feel pain, with more intensity and for longer durations... but what she is able to do (and seriously I am impressed with her willpower and determination) is nothing compared to what I can do and I really feel the consequences. But exercise is something I know will cause pain and I do a minimal amount when I can just because I think I should. Not enough that I can shed the weight I gained. Not enough to give me any more muscle endurance. So pain is a barrier to creating routine in that aspect, but I don't let it be a barrier to stop me from trying.

Nonetheless, realizing how crippled I am today, body pain is just as much of a barrier as migraine pain but in a different way. Body pain when it gets severe limits my mobility, my ability to be comfortable, to sleep and is also a distraction. While I can push through work, mental stuff, with a nasty ass migraine I cannot force my body to do anything when in a FMS flare. The pain just explodes in intensity when I do. Of course, this is why I knew at a very young age I was destined for a desk job. I have had flares that made a ten minute walk to school take a very long forty minutes. I vividly remember most of those worst ones. I do not remember much about the situation, all that is vague and hazy, but I remember the single-mindedness of needing to get through what obstacle was directly in front of me so that I could get home. I remember that intense focus of 'just a little farther. Just a little longer'. Then there were times when the pain get so insane your body simply says nope, no further, and gives out. That happened sometimes when i had summer jobs where I stood for eight hours, the moment I would sit down I was screwed because my legs would not let me stand after. This is also by the way why I prefer not to hold babies... I'm just saying, my arms can't hold much weight either before they tremble, ache and then just give out. And dropping babies is never a good idea. So 'just muscle pain' does not quite define how nasty FMS can be. In some ways it might be less invisible than migraine pain because while I can mask both quite well, when FMS gets to the crippling point I cannot walk well at all, just shuffle very slowly (I need a scooter or an old lady walker). Can't hide that and damned hard to find a reason for those not in the know.

What doesn't kill me....

I love the lyrics to this song. 'Whatever doesn't kill me does not make me stronger... but I'm not going to give up yet.' Totally get that, since I hate that saying what does not kill you makes you stronger, because we all know plenty of things do not kill us and we don't feel stronger, but that does not mean we don't have a bit of fight in us. We don't exactly roll over and play dead, even if we feel like hiding from reality we tend to keep on going. So the walls do weaken but we are strong enough to build them up again. So cool song.

Canada Day

Me and my man went out to see the Canada Day concert and Fireworks.  I was determined to do so despite the migraine I had that morning.  One of those times where I simply demand I do something I want for a change and not let my fricken head make the choice.  Migraine basically was kept at a low level so that is all good.  Loved the fireworks... and some of them remind me so much a my migraine visual aura that I have to point it out, 'There! That one!  Just like a migraine aura!'.  Not like anyone can understand what that looks like unless you find something that does.

Now here is the thing.  Where they do the fireworks is about a fifteen minute walk to our place.  The first year we moved here me and my man just walked there and back.  I remember it well because the walk there was not too bad but the walk back was extremely painful.  I had that fibromyalgia pain flare up in my hips as I was walking and it got worse and worse until I was walking very slow and shuffling at that.  FMS pain does not stop me from working a desk job (stops me from working shift work or repetitive lifting) so sometimes it is a surprise how fast the pain can flare and get worse.  With Lyrica sometimes I can walk hours, at a very moderate pace, without too much pain.  Just depends on the day I guess.

This year we drove there and once we had a few beers walked home.  So I thought one way is not going to kill me.  I was wrong but it was not the tendons in my hips that flared up it was the ones in my feet.  Specifically the one in the arch that attaches the heel to the front and the one in my ankle that goes up from the heel.  We had barely covered a third of the way when the pain hit, but better to keep going.  Halfway home and my feet were a constant fiery pain.  The whole damn foot.  But we could not slow down because someone had to pee... and it was not me.  I would have slowed down to a very slow walk.  Point is as we continued it got progressively worse until I was stumbling cause I could not lift my feet properly.  I tend to fist my hands and squeeze when I am in a boatload of pain as the only outward sign of it and my bf was holding my hand at the time... eventually he asked me not to squeeze so hard and I had not even realized I was doing it.  Thankfully when I was home and off my feet the pain dropped almost completely, just to an ache that did not inhibit my walking.  Thank God because that arch pain can flare up for long periods of time making it difficult to walk.

So even though I have been stretching and periodically exercising it makes very little difference in my ability to do anything... like walk for short periods of time.  Because while my muscles are in better shape, the pain from FMS is felt in the tendons and ligaments but comes from the brain.  So that sucks... but it would suck way more without the Lyrica.  Now, that being said, I can walk long distances if I walk at my own slow pace.  Usually anyway. It seems so random when it flares up quickly and when it doesn't.

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