Steven Paul

@steve-diehl | contributor
After 12 years of intractable chronic lower back pain I was diagnosed as bipolar NOS/mixed states. The Might has become a great comfort for me.
Community Voices
Community Voices
Community Voices

Drinking too much

Lately I'm going to the gym lass #ChronicPain which has been my main combatant vs. my pain, with the endorphins produced in resistance training killing the pain for a few hours and relaxing me. Replacing it with drinking almost every evening, and sometimes earlier in the day.  Putting on weight a depressing side effect.  I don't think I'm an alcoholic (yet), but anyone have advice for cutting back?  By mid afternoon at work, the thought of that little self medication is what get's me through.

2 people are talking about this
Community Voices

What music do you listen to when you need to cope?

We all have songs and artists we relate to. I’m looking for more to help me through the hard times because I need some new music. #Depression #MentalHealth #Anxiety

11 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Faking it too well? #Depression #Disabililty

Does anyone else do too good of a job of seeming okay?
I have crippling mental health problems latterly resulting from childhood trauma #CEN #Childhoodemotionalneglect . I used to be a banker, then a teacher, then I had to leave teaching due to my symptoms. I stayed home for about 9 months in various forms of treatment. Now I’m receiving disability and working very part time at a library. I seem to everyone like I’m totally fine, but I am so so sick. Am I the only one who gets mad that they can seem fine but feel terrible?

9 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Guilt

I called out of work today. I needed a “mental health day.” I am starting to feel guilt about it though. I feel like I am being weak. I just don’t know anymore....

2 people are talking about this
Community Voices

DYING INSIDE

DYING INSIDE
Fifteen years of this and I carry on, but what for?
I’ve cried out for help, but nothing more, nothing more,
Thoughts that torment, an anxiety that paralyzes,
A conflicted pain in my heart that nobody realizes,
Night terrors in my head rob me of sleep and dreams,
And now I’m fading fast, or that’s how my life seems,
I cannot run from this monster and all that it steals,
I cannot stave off this illness and the mess of me it reveals,
I haven’t heard “I am with you” throughout these years,
And I’ve spent plenty of nights shedding many tears,
When will this come to an end and finally set me free?
When will I look into the mirror and again recognize me?
Because not to be dramatic here, but I’m dying inside,
And I’m running out of places to take my life to go hide…

-brad
#MightyPoets #MentalHealth #MightyTogether #BipolarDisorder #Anxiety #Depression #ChronicPain

4 people are talking about this
Renee Collett

Things People Don't Realize You Do Because of 'Depression Fatigue'

Clouded thoughts, restlessness, overwhelming emotions, difficulty concentrating, total exhaustion of the body and mind. These are some of the things people with fatigue from depression experience. Coping with this fatigue can be difficult, but explaining to others why you’re so tired can be even harder. Unfortunately, not everyone will realize or understand how exhausting depression can be. Oftentimes, the “depression fatigue” comes unannounced, can’t be easily explained and can have major impacts on your everyday life. To get a better understanding of what depression fatigue is actually like, we asked people in our mental health community to share one thing people don’t realize they’re doing because of their exhaustion. Here’s what our community shared: 1. Isolating “Self-isolating. Socializing in any form is just too tiring.” — Sara K. “I cut people off. I feel it’s too exhausting to continuously explain why I don’t hang out or why I have trouble keeping up with conversations, so I cut it off at the source once I convince myself that they don’t need such a negative person in their life.” — Madison S. “Avoiding calls and texts because I’m just too drained to hold a conversation.” — Brittany S. “ Not wanting to talk or participate in any kind of communication… just being silent.” — Sophia S. “Not reaching out. It somehow drains me in a way that I don’t really have energy to initiate contact or keep it.” — Eva T. 2. Experiencing ‘Clouded Thinking’ “Not processing information, needing things to be repeated and explained.”– Cheryl W. “Calling myself ‘blonde’ or ‘air-headed’ to make light of my mistakes. I am literally always tired and I constantly make silly mistakes, whether it be verbally or physically. I’ll demean myself to make light of the mistakes that fuel my insecurities.” –Katie V. “I’m always asking someone to repeat themselves because I am having a harder time processing audio information, then that makes me feel like I’m being inconsiderate and rude, as if I don’t care about what they have to say, which I completely do! I’m just really consumed in my own thoughts at the moment to fully process someone else’s the first time.” — Ashleigh B. 3. Not Showering “Not showering. I’d tell myself, ‘I didn’t go anywhere today, so I don’t need to shower,’ but then it would turn to days.” — Devyn T. “Not showering or changing out of pajamas for a week.” — Louise J. 3. Oversleeping “Exhaustion: constantly sleeping and when I say that, I mean literally so tired I can sleep all night and all day for days.” — Brittany E. “Sleeping all day, then up all night.” — Shawna-leigh M. “Always in bed once an activity is done, sleeping for long periods, falling asleep easily.” — Whaheeda I. “I stay in bed all day and I’m extremely irritable. I’m not lazy. I’m not isolating myself on purpose. I’m just tired mentally and physically.” — Holly B. “Napping during the day and getting irritated when I can’t.” — Sbonny S. 4. Lack of Motivation “I procrastinate at my college classes, this has got to be the symptom I struggle with the most. I’m not lazy; I have been exceptionally successful in my education. I have always been on the dean’s list, but lately I’ve been making up excuses to get extensions.” — Samantha B. “I’m tired all the time and have no motivation or energy to do anything.” — Jemma S. “ As a college student, I tend to start skipping my classes. My friends and family think it’s because I’m lazy or not dedicated to my schoolwork, but in reality my depression makes it difficult to get out of bed, let alone pay attention and participate during three hour classes.” — Lisbet F. “I become agitated when some mentions the things I should be doing. I know I should be doing them but can’t find the want to actually do them and it frustrates me.” — Amanda C. 5. Skipping Chores “Not cleaning the house. My boyfriend thinks I’m lazy, which makes it worse and harder for me.” — Lex F. “Not cleaning my bedroom. It is a complete and total train-wreck and honestly it’s so embarrassing.” — Alexis D. “ I have a hard time getting daily chores done, especially dishes.” — RaeAnn S. 6. Planning Ahead “Planning slow cooker meals. I just dump all ingredients in it in the morning and turn it on so I don’t have to worry about having the energy to cook in the evenings.” — Lauren L. “ I write myself lists/notes to remind myself of things that have to get done. If I don’t write things down that are important I tend to forget them quickly.” — Alyssa H. “People don’t realize that I’ve made sure my work life is structured to work in the afternoons/early evenings so I no longer have to worry about not sleeping; I now can stay up really late at night and sleep late every morning no matter what. I can spend hours gearing up for my day.” — Jody M. What would you add? Let us know in the comments below.

10 Things I've Learned After Living With Back Pain for 15 Years

Aside from family and a couple of friends, I don’t often talk publicly about my back pain (resulting from a freak car accident in 2003) because: 1. I don’t want sympathy. 2. Nor do I want to be a chronic complainer or killjoy. 3. Sometimes people treat you differently 4. I’m trying to live the best life despite it. I don’t want it to define me. And, while it’s important I talk to professionals, talking about it constantly “in general” isn’t going to help. However I’ve recently thought that maybe it’s important to share my thoughts on it because if I do, I might just help someone else who is going through something similar. Here’s what I’ve learned while living with chronic back pain for 15 years: 1. Back pain doesn’t care. It doesn’t care if you feel guilty for being a sub-par mother, wife, or friend because pain affects your mood. It doesn’t care if you want to watch your daughter’s dance concert, but the pain of sitting for too long is excruciating. It doesn’t care if you push through the pain, just to appear “normal.” It doesn’t care if you get through the day, or even do a good deed. It doesn’t care if it’s your birthday or anniversary, or you want to work a job. It doesn’t care if you tirelessly try treatments such as surgeries, physical therapy, natural and alternative remedies, injections, tests, imaging and endless medications – only to find you are still in pain. It’s here and it doesn’t care. 2. Feeling judged for trying some of the aforementioned treatments (in particular, medication) is futile, but extremely hard to avoid given the amount of unwanted and/or unnecessary opinions out there. 3. Pretending to be OK is exhausting – physically, mentally and emotionally. 4. “Normal” day-to-day tasks like hanging out the washing, vacuuming or helping to prevent bullying are an accomplishment. 5. Not being able to do said normal day-to-day task” without pain is beyond frustrating. 6. Pain makes another injury, stress, upset, life-change, or worry much harder to deal with. 7. People who don’t have chronic pain can never fully understand and I’m so happy for them, but also damn jealous. 8. I know if I let too much negativity in, I won’t be able to deal with it. 9. I’m still hopeful I will find a remedy. 10. Even on my worst days, I am always thankful to be alive and have people in my life supporting me and loving me. Getty Image by dobok

Gabbie Jerrit

When There's Nothing More Doctors Can Do for Your Pain

A great deal of time with chronic illness is spent looking for that something. We might have gotten past looking for a complete cure, but we may still think there will something that makes it better: the right specialist, the right physical therapist, the right drug. The right crystal. The right astrological alignment. After a few years, you try everything. I had a bit of nice progress earlier this year, when I finally saw a pain management specialist who made the base of my spine hurt less, so I can sit more easily. The progress has worn off now, but I saw him again yesterday and he can zap some nerve endings and hopefully repeat the trick. The big question I had for him, however, was about the rest of my spine. It hurts a great deal higher up too where metal rods have been used to straighten it. I calmly asked him for honesty: is the upper back and shoulder pain treatable? We are looking at how on earth we can afford to run the next couple of decades of family life, and if I can’t return to classroom teaching, we need to try to plan around that. He looked straight at me and explained that it’s very difficult. He can treat specific areas of pain, but not widespread ones. There’s always hope for a little improvement, of course, especially if the base of my spine improving allows a bit more mobility, but he was “right out of magic wands.” This man has been of much more help to me than the various surgeons I have seen, and he has written guidelines for the UK government on treatment of back pain, so I am reasonably convinced that his answer is definitive. It was also crushing. It wasn’t a total surprise – I was told when I had the rods inserted that there would always be some pain – but this man has been so helpful and so nice and so not patronizing that I was rather hoping that he was the mythical Right Doctor For Me who would sort it all out. If he isn’t, then I’m pretty sure there isn’t one. I was, surprisingly, mildly relieved on one level. The search for the solution to chronic pain is exhausting and those of us with a pain condition often feel guilty for not managing to stumble over our Holy Grail, even though we want to more than anyone. It is better to have a clear picture, too, in terms of what kind of job we need my husband to pursue and the limits on how much I can contribute. It is still very disappointing, however. I don’t like being in pain, obviously, and I don’t like the limits it is going to place on my family as well as on me. Every mother wants to give her kids everything and no wife wants to feel as if she’s leaving her lovely husband to carry the whole load. I will get my head around it, but today I seem to be stuck under my duvet, grateful for a short pause before I get up and start getting on with it again tomorrow.