I have dealt with chronic pain since 1993 when I tore a muscle in my back. Combined with an innate ability to lift "incorrectly" no matter how often people would try to correct it...it was foreign to me and I just couldn't grasp it. I should probably say early on so the reader has an understanding as they read the history that I smoked pot, pretty much daily, from 1989 to 2008. In retrospect that may explain a lot about me ;-) Or I will argue more about the medicinal qualities of it :-)
In 1993 they tried several opiates on me. Vicodin being one. They neither really addressed the pain or were good for me. I would become a bear and attack anyone. At the time I was living at home (age 27) and my parents ran a household containing 12+ people in a beautiful 3 story home in a poor part of a rich suburb. That church is an entirely different component of my life...but suffice it to say as the only person not "participating" in household it wasn't so great when I had conflict...which was more frequent than I would like.
Eventually I recovered and just used marijuana for the pain. It would probably shock some people that know me and employed me. I was always quickly promoted and excelled at my professional jobs between 1998-2006. I would only smoke a little in the evenings. They began prescribing me 500 mg of Naproxen which worked great for me. As an anti-inflammatory it was non addictive...a little rough on the tummy.
When I stopped smoking in 2008 all I had was the anti-inflammatory. It helped "some" but the back began to get worse and worse. It's led to a bunch of other issues, neck/shoulder/hip...each with varying levels and frequency of pain. I've probably had 15 MRI's of various parts of my body. The back continues to be a big part of my pain.
About 2 years ago my kidneys began to go bad so they took me off Naproxen. I can not even take alleve. My kidneys are in CKD at level 3b which basically is not good. I see a nephrologist in a month.
So 3 weeks ago I accepted a prescription for Tramadol. An opiate like medicine with a fair chance of addiction but currently classified "benefit outweighs the risk" It's helped quite a bit. I've not been this pain free since 2008 when I quit smoking pot.
But its pills. I saw pills kill my sister, severely adversely affect my Mom and Dad's relationship. The Dr. told me yesterday to cut down on them and he only had 4 months in mind. Since he and I know after PT, it helped some but the part of my lower back that has the most issues. So then what do I do? Is this how people start down the rabbit hole? I can neither afford pot nor am I comfortable with the illegality of it so that's out. Do I beg for more pain meds? Start hitting ER's?
Moving to a state that allows it is unfortunately not an option at this point in my life. My father is about all my family has and we won't leave him. Truth is he may out live me.
The other day I was talking to my daughter about looking at some churches....I figured it could give her some social connections which she is really lacking in. I realize these kids aren't necessarily better than any others but maybe a smidge and probably easier to monitor.
She replied "I don't believe in religion." Initially I was a little taken back. I haven't done a great job as the spiritual leader of this family. I have my own strong love of God and dislike of religions and churches so I said "Well, I don't like religion either." I went on to explain that I felt the key was to believe in Jesus and his salvation...realize he was about the poor and the sinners...the little guys who had no one to speak for them...and knowing she identify's with that group I think she softened a little.
My daughter and I have each been diagnosed with personality disorders. Her's not yet specified as she is young and mine as borderline w/possibility of bi-polar. For me, this blog was a real time look at the early days of my diagnosis which came after the final destruction of my professional career. One littered with snipets of my borderline, I offer that not as an excuse but as an explanation. Read my blog...I was pretty tough on me. I'm doing much better since Dec 2017.
If you mentioned the word DBT to me early on I would bristle. That is an acronym for Dialectical Behavior therapy. It's sort of the new Cadillac of treatments for personality disorders and various other types of Mental health issues. It's had some success so its the new "go to" treatment as well.
I have railed against DBT most of my blog, for it some of the time and a final understanding as it applies to me. I realized it really was safe. It was simply a collection of several techniques. Mindfulness, Radical acceptance and others. Mindfulness is a major part of Zen and was a component of the old Bull's coach during their championship run (Phil Jackson) and currently used by Steve Kerr, the coach of the Warriors in the NBA.
My daughter still bristles. Doesn't want to talk about "DBT" but does use some mindfulness and good self care. But why the bristle...why the automatic statement "I don't believe in religion"
Then it hit me. They are both presented (often) so strongly that he recipient isn't really able to absorb the content as they are sorta off guard on the strong presentation. This turns people off. Some had no interest to begin with and others lose theirs again, off the strong presentation.
But Why? I think it's because it invalidates the person's "story". It's so important to remember that everyone has a story. That story needs to be heard. That person needs to feel safe before they can heal...whether its through God's peace and love or Zen or whatever.
I've come to believe a lot in a few components of DBT. I try to go real slow when I talk about it. I talk a lot about mindfulness and being present. That has helped me a lot. I do believe in God but I don't view myself as an evangelist but will share that part of my story with anyone interested and its a part of my blog.
I think my goal today is mostly just to get people to think. To try and look at subjects that make them "bristle" with a little less mistrust. Just remember we do all have a story, all stories need to be heard in a safe environment. We need to look at things with bigger glasses that aren't so narrow. We are all in this together. I sure don't have all the answers. I don't know what I will do when the pain meds run out/don't work. I'd like to think I won't keep taking pills and that the PT helps.