Friday, 30 March 2012

Today's therapy session has triggered something awful, I just don't know what yet.

The pain started off bad and has only got worse throughout the day. On top of that, I feel very strange and I don't know why. I can't work out what it is I'm feeling, but it's not good and not being able to deal with it is causing the pain to ramp up more and more.

Getting electrocuted by a light switch when I got home didn't help much either...

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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Better pill news

I've had a bit more luck with pills today.

Since the awfulness of last weekend, I've kept testing the pills, always as a last resort when the mental stuff fails. Objectively, I've judged that I'm getting at best 20% efficiency from the pills, and often 0%.

Today, the pain has been flaring more than since the weekend, and I could tell it was going to go big. So I had to take two top-up doses (6 hours apart though), plus two increased slow-release doses. The last two days I had to take one slow release and one top-up dose.

Yesterday, though, I focused heavily on the fact that I was taking the pills as a way to take care of myself - a loving, caring act, not one of punishment. Because as I mentioned last week, I think it's the idea of the pills being another way to punish myself that causes them to be so freakin' useless.

This new approach helped some yesterday; today even more so. Today I'd say I got 30% effectiveness out of the pills I took at 3pm, and as much as 50% from those at 9.

This is a massive improvement, and if I can keep it up, it means that I do have something to fall back on when the mental approach fails. Which it does, a lot. I can't even begin to tell you how important this could be. It will go some way to assuage the fear of the pain, and hopefully give me a tiny bit of confidence that I'll be able to cope with all this.

It might also mean I can put off thinking about coming off the pills till the pain is more consistently controlled by mental techniques (or has just gone down a lot). In other words, to when I wanted it to be in the first place.

The downside is that it means even the efficacy of the pills is dependant on me being able to adopt and maintain the right mental attitude. Which is unbelievably difficult when you're in blinding agony. It may require more preventative pill-taking, so my mind is clearer and I can better focus on those mental techniques.

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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

I've tested the pills twice more since the awfulness of Saturday night. Both times they did next to nothing. But the pain is as bad as ever.

I'm trying really hard to tackle the pain mentally, but it's so exhausting, and when my resources run out before the pain does - like today - I'm fucked. Then, there's no respite from the pain, and nothing I can do about it.

I don't know what to do. I can't live like this. It's worse than the past few weeks, and they were worse than everything that's gone before. What's the answer? What am I supposed to do? I'm tearing my hair out here. God, I only see one end to this and it's not a good one.

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Saturday, 24 March 2012

I managed to control the pain mentally all day. Each time it flared, I addressed the issue of self-punishment, thinking about what I might be angry about, what I feel needs punishing. (I carried on with the basic slow-release dose, I just didn't take extras or take quick-release pills.)

It worked all day, but at 8pm a new level of pain started and nothing worked on it. I couldn't find what I might be angry about, I couldn't find what I might be punishing myself for.

So I had no choice but to take a pill - the pain was just too unbearable. This is where the real questions arrive with the pills, and with the question of stopping them.

It's been a good thing to address things mentally all day, and I do always try and do that, it's just that mental approaches tend to only work for a day or two, before the pain takes over again. But if I didn't have the pills to fall back on when the pain gets as bad as it is now, christ knows what I'd do.

Of course I still don't know if it's going to work, and if it doesn't, I'll be no better off than I was before. Worse, in fact, because I'll have nothing to fall back on.

The 15mg OxyNorm at 9.15pm did absolutely nothing, so I took 4 OxyContin at 10.15 instead of the usual 2. That did nothing either. I considered calling an ambulance, but what are they gonna do? If morphine's not helping, they won't be able to do anything. I've just taken another 20mg OxyNorm at 11.15pm.

If that doesn't work (75mg Oxy in 2 hours), I'm out of options. I'm left with paramedics who can't do anything, or suicide.

It's 4am. The extra pills made no difference whatsoever. The agony continued unabated. The only reason I'm still here (breathing, and not in hospital) is that I suddenly got really really angry.

I was utterly furious, beside myself with rage, screaming and beating the living shit out of my pillows. Unfortunately, it was 2am, so apart from the initial one, which kind of got away from me, the screaming was very muted - clenched jaws, that kind of thing.

I was furious with my mother and I've just spent 2 hours writing her a very long, very detailed letter about everything she's done to me, and why I never want to see her again.

It's the kind of letter you don't actually plan on sending (though a version of it will need to form the basis of whatever conversation we ultimately have about why I will no longer see her).

At first, all this seemed to help - the pain finally eased and the writing soothed the fury. But now I've stopped, I'm getting angry all over again, and the pain is coming back. I can't express my rage all the time, so what am I supposed to do?

I do think that the time has come to stop the pills though. The medication did absolutely nothing for the pain; it didn't go down till I expressed the anger I wasn't even aware I was feeling. If that's the case, then taking the pills has just become redundant.

Next day
I finally got some sleep after what has to be the worst night I've ever had. I guess I'll have to test the theory again, to be certain, but if it happens repeatedly that the meds do nothing like they did last night, then I'm coming off them - I'm not putting myself through the side effects if I'm still getting pain like that.

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Friday, 23 March 2012

The problem with my ears has been getting worse and worse. As I told the therapist, this was one of the first somatic conditions I ever figured out, and I know it's all about anger.

When I'm angry but can't express it, the eczema I always get in my ear canal becomes acute; the whole area swells up until its completely closed up and I can't hear a thing. Sometimes the whole of that side of my face also swells up like a cricket ball, I can't open or close my jaw, can't chew and am left drinking my meals through a straw.

The therapist suggested the anger was about not wanting to hear something - since I wind up temporarily deaf. I couldn't think of anything. Then she said that somatic conditions can represent something about you, or it can be something about others that affects you. So she asked if I felt someone wasn't listening to me.

That made much more sense; I've been concerned for ages about how I'm ever going to get my mother to understand any of this. How am I ever going to get her to see what it is she's done wrong, when she can't even admit that she favours my middle sister over me and L? I know it's going to be one of those conversations where I feel like I'm talking to a brick walk. She won't hear a word I'm saying, and instead will blame me for being overly dramatic and demanding. She'll turn herself into the victim and once again force me into the role of the 'adult' in this relationship.

My concern over this also explains the terrible sore throat I've had for the past four weeks. When there's something you need to say out loud to someone specific, but for whatever reason you can't, the words get 'stuck' in your throat and cause pain. It's happened before, and I've also read about it in various books on somatic illness.

It's all shaping up to be a very uncomfortable, unsatisfying - and, ultimately fruitless - conversation. Yet if I don't go through with it, I'm likely to be stuck with these symptoms ad infinitum

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Punishing myself

I confirmed to the therapist today that she's right, punishing myself does trigger the pain.

I was able to definitively prove it yesterday; for the first time in a week the pain was bearable, I'd been able to lift the laptop; things were looking up. Then out of the blue, I suddenly realised that I'd forgotten to pay my credit card bill a couple of days earlier. This is very rare for me - normally I'm Mrs Über-Organised - and would mean a late payment fee and interest charges.

I was really annoyed with myself. I called the company to find out what my error was going to cost me (after first paying the offending bill). By the time I'd done all that, I was in raging agony, none of the mental approaches would work and I had to resort to pills. They were bloody useless too, and I had to take multiple doses and go back to bed before I got any relief.

At first, I figured it was just the stress of if all that had kicked off the pain, but the more I thought about it, the more certain I was that actually the problem was that I was really annoyed at myself for being so careless. And I was punishing myself with pain.

Unfortunately, working that out does nothing to stop the agony. I came back from therapy today all chuffed with myself for having worked out such a key trigger for the pain, but within a couple of hours, I was in the same situation again. This time the cause was less clear - I think something I saw on TV triggered memories that then made me angry with myself.

The pain has been out of control ever since and the pills are doing next to nothing about it. I desperately need to find a way to turn the pain off, once it's been triggered, and how to not set it off in the first place. And of course I can't be sure there aren't other triggers too.

I'm convinced the reason the pills have been doing nothing / actively making the pain worse lately is that I'm punishing myself for needing / taking this stuff that I hate so much. If that's true, I'd be better off without them.

I spoke to the therapist a few weeks ago about coming off the morphine. I felt (and still do) that if the pain is a construct of my mind, then every time I take a pill, I'm feeding the delusion. I didn't see how I could possibly get rid of the pain whilst I was taking the meds.

She said that although she felt that if anyone could come off the morphine and manage without, it would be me, because I'm so determined, it would make things unnecessarily difficult for me. Given how bad the pain was with the meds, she felt it would be too unbearable without them; she convinced me to stay on them.

All of that is still true, but now I'm regularly finding that the pills either do nothing unless the dosage is ridiculously high (and even then it doesn't last long) or they actually seem to make the pain worse. I haven't taken a pill and had relief FROM THAT SINGLE DOSE in a least a week.

I think I need to do a day with no top-ups and see if things are any more bearable than recent days where I'm constantly chasing an effective dosage.

I still don't know if coming off it would be feasible, but things have been so bad lately on the stuff, it's hard to imagine how much worse it could be without it. That said, several times in the past week it's been bad enough that I've seriously contemplated ending it all, because I simply couldn't bear the pain anymore.

I don't want to do anything that might tip me over that edge, and I feel frighteningly close to it already. But if the pain is me punishing myself, then half of it could just disappear if I no longer had 'morphine' to punish myself for.

I wish there was someone who could tell me what to do.

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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

At last

Finally managed to get out the house and get petrol and a couple things in Tesco.

Based on the past three days, I went out first thing, before the pain had chance to really ramp up. Even so, it kicked off shortly after I got there, I had to take pills, and I was worried I wouldn't get back.

It was a real struggle, but I did it, and I beat the pain this time. I'm scared to do anything else, though, because I need to be able to drive to therapy on Friday. It's hard to feel great about managing to do something so mundane and ordinary but the therapist keeps telling me I have to reward myself for the victories.

So I'm trying to feel good about it, rather than feeling shit about the fact that I now can't do anything else all day.

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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The pain's been so bad for the past two days, I've been stuck in bed.

I've got a list of things I need to do this week (as every other week!), and I sat down on Sunday and carefully spread them out across the week, so no one day would be overloaded. We're not talking big jobs here, it's your basic put-the-washing-on, fuel-up-the-car, buy-bagels-and-tomatoes type stuff, plus the less common sort, arrange-car-insurance.

I haven't been able to do any of it though, so each day's jobs get pushed back to the next day, giving me twice as much to do, then three times, and so on.

It's a nightmare. So far, over the past two days, the best I've managed is toasting and buttering a bagel - I can't even cook chips because that means standing too long in the kitchen, plus lifting the grill pan. The reason I can't sort my insurance is that I can't lift the laptop.

I'm taking massive amounts of morphine and all it's doing is occasionally taking the edge off the pain so I can rest if I stay still. I can't move, and the rest of the time, all of that medication doesn't even touch the pain. But i daren't not take it, for fear that the pain would go even higher without it.

When things eased slightly a little while ago, I tried to get something done - buying the bagels is most urgent, but I didn't even make it out of the bedroom before the pain started again. As much as it infuriated me, I knew it would be stupid to try and go any further, so I quit. And now the pain is ramping up again, and even lying totally still, I'm in agony.

This two-day episode comes on the back of the longest-highest pain episode to date. Previously, once a week I had to take around 175mg of morphine. Of the past 10 days, 8 of them have been 180-190mg days. And there's no end in sight.

It's all because of the therapy. I don't know what I'm supposed to do now.

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Monday, 19 March 2012

Unbelievable pain all day, morphine is fucking useless. The only way out I can see is suicide. The therapy is all well and good but it's making the pain so much worse and I can't take it anymore

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I'm too scared to go to bed because I know that's when the worst of the feelings come up. So each night I sit up later and later, avoiding trying to sleep and avoiding the drowning feelings.

I've been upset all day about my mum. It's been over a year since her last abandonment of me; afterwards, when she apologised, she asked if we were ok and I said we would be. It upsets me that, despite such a long time having passed, she's never asked again. She's never checked how things are going on that score, she's never tried to convince me to let her back in, she's never asked when she can come back over.

My sister says she wants to see me, and part of me is glad that she's never pushed it, because it's saved me having to tell her how I really feel. But it breaks my heart that she accepts being pushed away without a fight. She'll lay her life down in front of a bus for L, but she won't fight to see to me.

It was Mother's Day yesterday. I thought long and hard about whether to send her a card, and finally did. She texted thank you and later put a thank you up in L's Facebook page. It upset me that I was last in the list though. She thanked both my sisters first.

In every way I come last to her. I want to not care, I want it not to hurt, but I do and it does. It breaks my heart. And at the same time, I blame myself; I can't help thinking there must be something wrong with me, for her to treat me that way.

I guess it's because I can't conceive of a mother not loving their child, not putting that child first. It seems to me that it's a natural instinct; I feel it to my pets, for gods sake! Even in agony, I make sure they get fed - I may not be able to feed myself, but I won't let them go hungry. So why can't she do that for me? The only answer I can find is that there's something wrong with me, something that makes me inherently unloveable. I don't know what it is, and I'd fix it if I could. But there's nothing I can do.

The therapist keeps telling me I have to stop believing it's my fault; it's hers, and there's nothing wrong with me. She says the pain won't go away till I stop blaming myself. I'm sure she's right, but I don't know how to do that.

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Saturday, 17 March 2012

Making pain worse

The morphine is now not only not helping, it's actively making things worse.

For a week now I've been getting just 30-60 minutes' relief out of 40, 60 even 75mg of morphine. That's a ridiculously bad return, when you consider all the side effects I have to put up with.

The last two days though, I've taken top-up pills because the pain has been ramping up, and within half an hour it's actually been twice as bad! It happened last night going to bed, both on the quick- and the slow-release pills. I take them an hour apart, which meant an hour and a half after I started, I was in bloody agony.

Then today it happened with both the slow- and quick-release pills, at both lunch and tea. So four doses each made the pain worse, plus the dose I took an hour ago - same thing.

When that's happened, I'm stuck - it's the meds that have made the pain worse, so there's nothing I can take to try and ease it.

As a consequence of all this, I've taken less tonight than normally - if it's not going to help, I'm not taking the bloody stuff. So I've taken at least 30mg less than I usually do going to bed. The pain isn't great, but I'm sure if I took something, it would just get worse. And I can do without that.

Woke up with bad back and shoulder pain at 2am. Left it for half hour but no good and was keeping me awake do finally risked quick-release pills. It worked - the pain eased. So it's not that the morph always makes it worse, just sometimes. Maybe because of what's going on in my head. Which of course makes it way more complicated - I can't just go 'fuck it, I'll stop taking it'. Typical.

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Empty road

I know why the pain happened when it did. The therapist raised the question a while ago why the car accident left me with chronic pain, but the bike accident, only 15 months earlier and causing arguably more 'identifiable' injuries, didn't.

The reason is nothing to do with the accident itself; it's all about what happened next, coupled with what was already going on elsewhere in my life.

Immediately after the crash, there was a line of traffic coming the other way, headed by a gravel truck. Coincidentally, it was exactly the type of truck my father drives. And the driver seemed just like him: he got really stroppy that he couldn't get past. He was yelling and cursing that he was being inconvenienced, apparently oblivious to the two wrecked cars in front of him, or the injuries afflicting their drivers. All he cared about was himself.

I remember after the first guy came to see if I was OK, and stabilised my neck, after the ambulance arrived, before the fire brigade started smashing windows and chopping off the roof, there was a moment when I looked out down the road.

The stroppy truck driver was gone, and so was the line of traffic. The paramedic said something about 'that helicopter' being for me, and the road having been cleared for it to land. I could hear an engine somewhere up above.

Looking down that empty road, even then, in that confusing, terrifying situation, it felt like I was looking into an abyss. Like I was peering back through time, and seeing the years stretch back before me. Like that empty road somehow WAS the endless, all-encompassing emptiness I felt inside me.

I felt an incredible sense of loneliness and abandonment and betrayal looking down that empty stretch of asphalt. I'd never felt anything like it before, and it terrified me. I desperately wanted it to stop, and the relief that washed over me when the helicopter landed and filled up that space had nothing whatsoever to do with being rescued.

The emptiness I felt looking out at that road, although I didn't know it at the time, connected on a deep subconscious level to feelings I was having - but hadn't yet registered - my mother. In fact, it would take another four years, and a new abandonment - last March - before those feelings started to surface.

My relationship with my mum was on my mind because I was now back in a work environment which meant we couldn't chat on a Tuesday morning any more. And that meant we couldn't talk at all, because I refused to chat with her when he was in the house overhearing her phone call; the fact that she had stayed with him, despite what he did, angered me. I didn't realise then how much it also hurt me, how betrayed and abandoned and re-abused it made me feel. It's only over the past year that those feelings have crystallised, but they were clearly there long before.

There was also the fact that I was now back in an office situation - something I had found unbearably claustrophobic the last time I'd been in that position - 5 years earlier - and which I'd run away from when I quit my job and went to Uni. I was worried nothing had changed and I still wouldn't be able to cope with those feelings. And there was the fact that for the first time in years, I was back living close enough to my family to see them regularly. And close enough to risk getting pulled back into the ridiculous, hurtful family politics. To be reminded of what they'd done before, and to risk it happening again.

So although I didn't know it, my father's abuse and my mother's neglect were very front-of-mind when the accident happened. That empty road, with everyone having gone off and left me (even the gobby truck driver who reminded me of my even-gobbier father) - it was just a very graphic, very real representation of my family.

Tie that in to the worldview I'd come out of childhood with - that the only time people will love and care for you is if you're ill, and suddenly, developing a chronic pain condition is not at all surprising.

Everything I was seeing and thinking and feeling about my family was too much to bear. There was already too much pain and hurt and fear, and there was the sense that there was so so much more to come - that I'd barely even scratched the surface so far.

It was all just too much, my mind couldn't cope with it; it needed a distraction, something to hide behind. So it retreated to that skewed worldview - illness=love - and came up with the perfect 'solution'. Fill me with pain so that I won't have the time or the energy of the capacity to look at the scary feelings. Fill me with pain, so people will love and care for me. Fill me with pain to make me pay for all the terrible things that have happened, because surely they must be my fault - what other explanation could there be?

The accident had left me with whiplash, including torn tendons in my shoulder and clavicle: the perfect vehicle for the pain.

Job done, and suddenly my life is over.

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Friday, 16 March 2012

The therapist told me today that I'm doing really well and making big progress.

I can't see it myself. All I can see is that the pain is significantly worse; the morphine is much less effective and hence I'm having to take a LOT more of it just to get a tiny bit of relief; and the emotional turmoil is more painful, more out of control, and more unbearable than I could ever have imagined.

The getting-worse-before-it-gets-better thing hasn't been a surprise - I expected it to happen - but the degree of the physical deterioration, the extent of the emotional trauma - that I never expected.

I just hope I can keep going, and it's worth it in the end. The doctor was very keen that I carry on, when I saw him earlier in the week. I was expecting a bollocking for how much morphine I've been taking, but the fact that I'm taking it because of all the fallout from the therapy seemed to satisfy him. It won't last forever though.

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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

More 'new' memories

Hideous revelations tonight - more new memories I'd suppressed because they were too awful to acknowledge.

Being offered around like a plate of hors d'oeuvres. The disgust and humiliation of someone else doing those terrible things to me. The confusion of knowing I always have to do what grownups tell me, yet surely I'm not supposed to be doing this? Then the blind terror that dad will blame me for letting someone else 'play' with his 'special possession' - me - never knowing it was his idea all along. And the ever-present fear of being banished to the empty desert of mum's 'affections' if I don't get it 'right' for him. But what's 'right'?

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Saturday, 10 March 2012

The punishment is continuing at breakneck speed. I've taken more morphine today than ever before and I'm in freaking agony. If I take more, will it even make any difference? What else can I do?

My doctor's going to kill me on Tuesday as it is, I've gone through the damn stuff so fast. But this therapy is making things so so much worse.

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Friday, 9 March 2012

What I'm up against

The therapist was very good today. She helped me to better understand my reaction to the show last night, as well as decoding my current obsession with certain songs, and why music in general is so important at the moment. Oh, and she helped me to crystallise exactly what it is that's going on in my head, and why.

One of the songs I can't stop listening to is Jar of Hearts, by Christina Perri. Whilst some say the song is just about a relationship breakup, I think there's much more to it than that; to me, it's about a woman who has escaped an abusive relationship, her ex has found her and she's telling him that she's found her strength and self esteem, and she'll never let him hurt her - physically or emotionally - again.

The therapist commented  that I have suffered a number of abusive relationships (my mum, my dad, my ex-boyfriend, my ex-best mate at uni), but that the worst one at the moment is with the pain. She said the pain is acting like an abuser, dominating my life, trying to control me, trying to keep me down, cutting me off from outside influences and support. (NB when reading this, keep in mind my 13th Feb post about the pain being a separate, parasitic entity.)

If I was in an abusive relationship, I would leave - I've done it before. I left my parents and later outed and rejected my father. I left my ex-boyfriend, I ended the friendship with that particular 'best' mate. But with the abuser being internal, I don't have the option of leaving; I have to find a way to make it leave. And that feels much harder.

People like me, who were abused as children, often wind up in abusive relationships later in life. It's because that's the only template for 'love' you had during your vital formative years. In order to feel 'normal', you're compelled to be in the same type of relationship, with the same dynamics at play. That's why I ended up with R for 11 years, letting him bully and emotionally abuse me, and why I developed certain friendships like that one at uni. The therapist believes the pain is serving the same function; it's giving me all the feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, inability to cope etc, that an abuser would.

The other thing some abuse victims do, is become abusers themselves. It's frighteningly common. They repeat the pattern they experienced as children on others - because it felt 'normal' to them, or because they're trying to the blank out the powerlessness they felt then. I've never done that and I never would. To anyone else, at least. But apparently I'm doing it to myself, through the pain.

The difference lies in the conscious/subconscious divide. Abusing someone else requires conscious action, and there's nothing that could ever make me do that. You can consciously abuse yourself through addictive behaviour - drink, drugs, etc, but I've never had a problem with any of that, despite being on such strong medication for so long. You can abuse yourself subconsciously, though, through somatic illness; like chronic pain. And that's what she says is happening. I am being 'abused' by chronic pain which I have subconsciously 'created'.

The therapist believes that of all the reasons we've unearthed for 'creating' the pain, the most important, most telling, most destructive, and most influential one, is self-punishment. I've 'created' the pain because I believe I am a terrible person who needs to be punished. I think this, because my mother taught me every day through her rejection and refusal/inability to love me, that I am simply unloveable. This was reinforced by the boyfriend who used to taunt me with the phrase 'I love you', then go on to clarify that he meant the wood, Yew, and think the pain and upset it caused me was hysterically funny. My father told me every day that I was too stupid and too worthless to be loved. Then he punished me for that fact by sexually violating me, physically striking and emotionally traumatising me. And she just sat there and let him. Subsequent rape by someone I thought was my friend, and by that same boyfriend, plus his years of 'stealth bullying', all cemented the belief that this was precisely what I deserved.

The effect of all this on my psyche was catastrophic. By withholding her affection and attention, my mother made me desperate for love, and convinced me that I would never get it. My father made me certain that the lack of love and the inability to get it, were both fundamentally my fault. Then he taught me to punish myself for those failings - by attacking both my body and my mind - whilst she gave him the space and the opportunity to do it. As a child craving her mother's love and attention, I created fantasies about being loved and cared for. The only difference I could discern at that time between me and my sister was her disability, and so I became convinced that that was why my mother loved my sister and not me. I believed that to get love, you had to be ill. And so, years later, unbeknownst to me, my subconscious created something that would get me the love and attention I needed, and at the same time punish me for being so fundamentally unloveable. All those terrible lessons came together into the chronic pain that has destroyed my life. 

The pain is firmly entrenched now. It had 36 years to develop and it's been here, controlling everything, for five more; it doesn't want to leave, and every time I make progress towards ousting it, it fights back (again, see that 13th Feb post). That's what happened last night.

I defied the pain by going to the gig. All day, it was trying to stop me going - that's why it was flaring up so badly, why I had to take so many more pills, why I needed the sling when I haven't used it for weeks. It's also why I was feeling so scared about going out on my own, and why, all week, I'd been suffering feelings of foreboding and impending doom. I felt like I'd done something terribly, teerribly wrong, and that punishment was just around the corner. The therapist says that the 'impending doom' is the voice of the pain-as-abuser, keeping me down, convincing me it's all my fault. My recent certainty that my judgement is inherently flawed - why else would I have picked such a lousy boyfriend, such a terrible best mate in uni etc - is the same thing. I've internalized all of those negative childhood voices and their messages, and I'm continuing to beat myself with them.

So the feeling last night that going to the gig had been a huge mistake was just another manifestation of that. I have to find ways to shut off the negative voices and turn up the positive ones: my Nan, my friends, my baby sister - the people who love me and are there for me. I also have to concentrate on my achievements - however minor they might seem - and on rewarding myself for them.

So the fact that I took the decision to book tickets for last night, even though it was supposed to be something to do 'post-pain', is reason to celebrate. So is the way I successfully got the message across to the booking office of what I would need, so that they provided it; that I refused to let the fear stop me going out - or the hideous traffic jam on the way; that I thought ahead and took a cushion with me, to make an unbearable chair bearable (I'd never even have made it through the first half otherwise!); that I was able to enjoy the show and laughed non-stop for two hours; that I had half-time-ice-cream, just like everyone else, even though it meant accosting the seller when she was all cleared up and finished. (The therapist also repeated that she thinks the lactose-intolerance is a subconscious rejection of my mother, by my body treating milk products - inherently 'maternal' - as poison. I didn't really go for the theory last time, but the 'poison' analogy clinched it for me.)

I didn't let the pain win. But then it fought back later that night. It was basically saying, 'you can't have a good time like that without paying a price'. And it's a high one - feeling I got it wrong, feeling I've cheated by trying to rush the process, feeling it's my own fault it backfired, feeling I'm just getting what I deserve, feeling that going back to the status quo a year ago would be a bad thing.

But the reality is that yesterday, I went to the theatre for the first time since the accident. I beat the fear and the pain and the self-doubt and I did what I wanted to do. Getting back to that staus quo would allow me to get back to work and would be a stepping stone to full recovery - that has to be a good thing.

I have to keep on doing things like this, I have to keep on recognising the positives, rewarding myself for my achievements - like all the work I've done over the past few days on finding new speakers so I can continue to use and enjoy music. I have to grind and grind at that negative voice that's punishing me, until the pain just gives up and fucks off.
I can totally see why most people wouldn't want to go down the therapy route to try and resolve their pain.

The therapy is a gruelling, harrowing, horrifying experience and most people would much rather just stick with the pain and the pills. Especially when there's no guarantee the therapy will do any good.

I agree with them. The only reason I'm keeping going is the fact that I already know I have major issues, I know I have a history of somatic illness, so the link between pain and psychology is clear.

For someone who hasn't been through therapy before, and who doesn't realise or understand how fucked up they already are, it could be very difficult to see that link, and hence very difficult to find any justification for putting themselves through such a hellish psychological process.

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I went to see Dara O'Briain this evening. It was the comedy show that I booked a couple of months ago, to give me something tangible to be working towards.

It was supposed to be a mark of how well I'm doing, how much things have improved. It was meant to be the first thing I did off my list of post-pain goals. Going to see him was on the list, then I started researching some of things on the list, so I had them right there. But it turned out he was coming to town before I was ready - should I leave it and wait however-long for his next tour, or book it in the hope I'd be better by then?

So I booked it. I thought if I booked it now, I could force myself into being better. That I could somehow make the reality fit the fantasy, just by setting it up that way. That if I made everything else look like my dream, the pain would have no choice but to comply.

It didn't work. The show was good, he was very funny, but I'd been in pain all day, I had to wear the big sling and take a cushion for the bad seats. I was in the way of all the people wanting to squeeze past, but I couldn't stand up, so they had to go around. Unfortunately, all the laughing aggravated the pain, so I had to take a lot of pills there, I was in agony driving home and I've had to take another 60mg since.

But worse than that, is the way I feel now. I was really scared beforehand about the driving, the parking, the walking from the car. I was scared of being attacked on the way back afterwards. Yet I'm the one who used to regularly jet off abroad on my own. I went wandering around Mexico by myself. And there I was scared to go into town.

My friends said going to the show would be good for me, that it would give me a sense of achievement. It didn't. All I feel is incredibly lonely that all these years later, I'm still going to these things alone. And I feel empty, blank. Dead inside.

I cheated, by doing something off the post-pain list before the pain was gone. And I'm being punished for it. I I feel like things are never going to get properly better - that I'm never going to get back to the life I had before the accident. That the best I can hope for is a return to how things were before I was off sick for a whole year.

I don't want to go back to that life. I want my real life back. I want the life where I go jetting off abroad at the drop of a hat. Where I constantly do things that are scary - like deciding to start over in a new town, living abroad, trying out extreme sports. I want to be that me again, but the pain won't let me.

If the only improvement I can have is to go back to being the person in the room everyone had to look out for, the one needing special attention and special consideration, I don't want it. I'd rather be dead than go back to that half a life. And I'd rather be dead than carry on the phantom life that came that came afterwards.

If I can't have a whole, real, proper life - one where I get to be a full, functioning member of society - then I'm done.

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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A whole year

As of today, I've been off sick for a year. A whole bloody year.

It's also a year since my mother proved she'd learnt absolutely nothing over the last decade, and turned her back on me for what will be the last time. Not that she knows that yet.

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Monday, 5 March 2012

It's horrible at the moment - I can't trust my own reactions. I keep being overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and worry about punishment, yet I haven't done anything.

I was sitting down earlier, doing nothing, not emailing or blogging or talking on the phone. Then suddenly I felt like I'd done something really naughty and I was going to get in big trouble.

I knew logically that I hadn't done anything, but the feeling just wouldn't go away. It's just happened again after being in with the chins.

I know I've done nothing, I know I haven't hurt them or done anything to cause them harm, but I can't shake this feeling. It such a horrible feeling - so unsettling and upsetting

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60mg of morphine this afternoon and all it got me was half an hour's pain relief 4hrs after dose one, 2hrs after dose two and an hour after dose three.

And now the pain is ramping up again. I don't know why I bother. But I was scared if I didn't take anything at the beginning, it would get even worse. But it got worse anyway.

What am I going to do? I can't live like this. But I'm scared of the alternative

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Sunday, 4 March 2012

It's 5am and sleep is still nowhere in sight. I've had enough. I want out. Now

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My tolerance level for morphine is really high now. I take so much of it, and I have done for so long, my body is totally used to it. Which effectively takes it out of the running as a suicide option. Which is a shame, because if this doesn't stop soon, I'm going to need one.

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Linguistic shortage

I need more words.

There simply aren't enough negative adjectives to go around. 'Awful', 'hideous', 'terrible'. 'Mind-numbing', 'eye-watering', 'toe-curling'; I use them all, with such disturbing frequency that they begin to lose all meaning. Like when you're hunting for a number in the phone book (remember phone books, before the whole world was available on the Internet!), and the place name morphs into something totally alien, the more you look at it.

So many of my days and nights are so unbearably bad, that I've run out of words to describe them. Normal adverbs like 'very' and 'extremely' aren't good enough - they simply don't have the force I'm seeking. I need to find new words, ones that are strong enough to express the depth of 'badness' I so often experience, and varied enough to avoid repetition.

For most bloggers, it probably wouldn't matter, but I'm a writer by nature, and it matters enormously to me.

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Shit night, following shit day

I'm so itchy, I just can't stop scratching. It happens when I have to take a lot of morphine, and today's was a lot.

I took 70mg over the course of two hours (on top of the 115mg I'd already taken during the day). Another two hours later, I feel totally shit-faced - I can't see straight, I'm breathless, I'm having panic attacks and there's no strength in my muscles - yet I'm still in pain, and I have been throughout.

I'm getting eye-wateringly bad pain explosions every few minutes. And I can't sleep - the pain and the side effects are making it impossible. I keep sort of half dropping off as I lie here writing this, but that sensation of falling that we all get as we fall asleep is ten times worse because of the morphine, so it wakes me up each time.

And on top of that, I'm desperately struggling to hold on to each thought; as fast as I think something, the thought is gone again, leaving behind a niggling feeling that I've forgotten something really, really important.

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Saturday, 3 March 2012

I wish I could just die.

The pain started to go up a couple of hours ago, at the same time as my mood started to plummet. I felt incredibly sad, like a child desperate for a mother to come and give me love and cuddles. It was like the other day, and I couldn't stop crying. Finally I did, and was listening to my favourite songs.

Them I started getting angry. I tried writing it out - that's been working a bit lately - but it was useless. I still want to rip my mother's face off, the pain is going up and up despite taking a load of pills. Now I feel furious and overwhelmed by sadness.

I just wish I could die - this all hurts too much. I'm in fucking agony, I feel bereft and abandoned and hopeless and I want to die.

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I'm not in pain this morning.

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Friday, 2 March 2012

Drowning feelings explain pain

I was talking to the therapist about how come this process is so much worse than any of the other times I've had counselling.

I told her about the feelings that keep overwhelming me, how huge they are and how awful. The unbearable sadness that seems to have replaced the anger and the terror (which she also says is possibly the natural progression through these emotions - we're angry over something first, then scared of the implications, then just sad). These feelings are like an endless ocean and it's drowning me and I really don't know if I can keep doing this. The therapy is bringing up so much awful stuff and I just don't know if I can keep going with it because it hurts so much.

She pointed out that it explains why I've got the pain and why it's so bad and why it won't stop. If the feelings are SO terrible, it's going to take something pretty bloody awful to mask them: and that's what the pain is. Which means that despite all the revolting, hideous things my dad did, the real problem, the most hurtful, upsetting, damaging influence on my childhood was my actually mum.

I still feel like shit, but it sort of helps to know that - to understand why I'm stuck with such hideous, unending pain. And to understand why things got so much worse, emotionally, the more the spotlight fell on her. It also explains why I often feel I would rather go back to the pain, than keep feeling this.

But I still don't know if I can keep going with the therapy.

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Die, bitch

If someone abused my child, I'd kill them. It's as simple as that. I'd take my punishment, but you hurt my baby, and you die. End of.

Yet my mother somehow manages to keep on living with him. Spending Christmas and birthdays, going on holidays.

She gives me all this bullshit about 'deserving' to live out her life in purgatory, but that's crap. She's a coward, and how ever much of a victim she may be herself, it's still no excuse.

But it turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg. I thought that was the worst of it, but it wasn't. She didn't just let him get away with it, she didn't just stick her head in the sand and pretend it hadn't happened. She laid the groundwork for the whole ugly thing.

She created a child so starved of love and attention, so lacking in basic emotional resources, that when he - and every other predatory, exploitative personality since - swooped in, I didn't have a chance. I was completely and utterly vulnerable - even more so than any other child.

I was the perfect target - desperate for love and attention, craving approval, unlikely ever to blow the whistle for fear of jeopardising what tiny chance I precieved of getting that. He could do whatever he wanted to me, I had no basis for comparison - I couldn't event even think 'mummy doesn't love me this way', because mummy didn't love me at all - I had no power to stop it, no-one to turn to to tell about it, and he could terrorise me into submission at a moment's notice, simply by the threat of a return to the invisibility offered by my mother. Not to mention the much more concrete threat of violence and harm.

A child so starved of love will accept even abusive, shameful, perverted 'love', in preference to the nothingness of being ignored. Especially if she has no way of knowing it's abusive and perverted, especially when what feels somehow wrong and squalid is insisted on as being normal and even 'special', especially when she's terrorised into silence and acceptance by threats both explicit and implied.

So you see, not only did my mother let him get away with it, she set me up for it in the first place. She probably welcomed his attentions on me, because it meant she didn't have to feel guilty about ignoring me; I was getting attention, after all.

If someone did any of that to my child, I'd kill the pair of them. no question, no vacillation, no remorse. Parents are supposed to protect their children; it's that simple.

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Thursday, 1 March 2012

The chins are very attached to me - it was obvious from the vet visit yesterday. They'd really miss me if I wasn't here. They need me.

I'm trying to convince myself not to just finish it all off. I'm trying really hard, I am. But I just don't know how to keep going. I especially can't bear the thought of yet more therapy tomorrow.

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Couldn't talk to Personnel this morning - had to cancel the phone meeting - because just feeling too upset and fragile. Can't stop crying half the time.

Got the long-awaited letter from that awful Pain Clinic appointment, but can't open it. Can't read the Personnel Manager's email about the cancelled meeting, and an email from a friend reduced me to a gibbering wreck.

I'm scared to go to bed tonight because of the feelings that keep bubbling up, and I don't know if I can take another therapy session tomorrow.

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It's never going to get any better.

The pain in my body represents all the pain in my soul. And that's never going to heal. There are no pills for that pain. I'm never going to be free of this. It was cruel to suggest I would. I can't live like this any more.

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I'm in agony. Absolute mind-blowing agony, and the pills are doing completely fuck-all. There's no point taking any more, so what do I do?

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That 'pulled muscle' in my back was actually a muscle spasm, I realise now. Doesn't help the agony it's caused, or the fact that it still has me bent double like an old crone, but I just thought I'd keep you up to date.

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