Pain

The pain makes you crazy so much quicker than you think it would.

I still think about suicide all the time.

Like every single day really.

It’s hard. To be in pain every minute of every day.

This morning was especially bad. I had a hard time getting out of bed, and the pain was wretched, and my mom just laid on the bed with me and talked to me while I waited in vain for the pain pills to kick in.

But they never really did.

And so I ended up taking more than the recommended dose of hydrocodone so that I could stand upright long enough to get through a shower.

I hadn’t showered since Monday, and today was Thursday and four days is really the longest an adult should go between washing themselves regardless of how bad their right ribs hurt. Plus, my little sister had a very important doctor’s appointment in the afternoon that she really wanted me to go to with her, and when I see people I’m not related to I like to be semi-clean. So, I summoned all my strength and cleaned my hair and washed my body and put clean underwear on and went to the appointment.

But the pain pills only last so long. And I’m getting to the end of my monthly supply, which means I have to make each dose stretch as long as possible, lest I run out and have to go through crazy withdrawal symptoms on top of my insane amounts of rib pain.

And so, I spent more of the day in pain than I did not in pain.

And I thought about suicide a lot.

At one point, my mom and sister and I were in a department store and the two of them went to the bathroom and I waited on a uncomfortable wooden bench and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even hold myself upright long enough to wait for them so I had to lay down on the bench and all I could think was, “I just want this to be over. I just want to be dead.”

And I was thinking, “I’m here, in a department store, with probably at least a hundred other people, and I feel so alone, so sad. And with all these people around me, I have no idea how to ask for help.”

We walked the aisles of a Barnes and Noble and I searched and searched for a book about pain. I wanted to find something, anything by someone who had endured what I was going through. Something real, about what it’s like to live this way.

But nothing. I couldn’t find anything.

I looked at every single book in the health section and the medical section and the women’s health section and the self-improvement section and I couldn’t find anything real. No memoirs about people dealing with pain day in and day out and surviving it.

And I started crying.

Because I feel alone. Because I feel like maybe nobody understands how hard this is. Because I feel like the doctors maybe don’t believe me. Because I feel like I have a broken rib that just doesn’t show up on any X-rays or MRIs.

And I pray for God to give me relief. But he never answers.

So I just pray to die.

But God never answers that one either.

I know, in my head, things that make me not kill myself. I know that it would devastate my family. I know that I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t needed. I know that it would be really dumb to kill myself.

But the pain. It just messes with your head.

It makes you crazy so much quicker than you ever think it would.

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How are you?

Everyone is always asking me, “How are you?”

And not like in the, “How are you doing today on the glorious sunny Saturday afternoon” sort of way, but more of the, “How are you feeling because you’re always posting on Facebook that you’re in pain and stuff?” sort of way.

And if they ask me in person, they always have this weird look in their eye, like they’re confused by the fact that I don’t really look sick.

Well, I feel like I’m dying pretty much all the time, that’s how I’m doing.

I feel like hell.

I wake everyday feeling like a butcher knife is in my right ribs. And the pain is so horrible that it literally wakes me up in the middle of the night, like a demon that has entered my body.

It’s awful.

I feel like sh*t.

And that’s usually what I tell people.

“I fell like hell.”

When the pain pills are working, my answer shifts to, “I’m doing alright, but it’s only because of the hydrocodone.”

I think that response kind of embaresses my boyfriend though. He’s always hushing me. Telling me to stop telling everyone I’m on drugs.

I feel like it’s important to note that though. I feel like people should understand that the only reason I’m currently able to stand upright and have a conversation with them is because I’m on a constant stream of opioids.

Lest they think I’m cured. Or they think I’m not that sick.

Or I don’t know.

I guess it doesn’t really matter what they think.

But I feel the need to tell people. To put it out there: I’m in pain. All the time. And if I’m not, it’s only because I’m on drugs.

I suppose maybe it makes people uncomfortable when I respond that way.

But maybe, one day, someone will say, “How are you?” and I will finally be able to smile and say, “Good.”

And when I say it, I will be able to mean it. And they will know I mean it.

Because I wouldn’t say “Good” if it wasn’t true.

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5 people, 1 bathroom: Why I love living with my family.

My pain psychiatrist used to tell me that pain signals have to travel along your nervous system up to your brain, and that if you send other signals through your nervous system to your brain at the same time, sometimes they can sort of act blockade and by extension lessen your pain.

Like, for example, if your brain is focusing on a really intense episode of Burn Notice, where Michael has to blow up a building and all he has at his disposal is a paper clip and an electric toothbrush, then your brain is probably not nearly as focused on the excruciating stab wound feeling in your right ribs.

It’s not a 100 percent cure or anything like. Even Dr. Samsi admitted that at best the refocused brain could probably only take a level 9 pain down to a level 6.

It’s three little notches, but it’s three notches I’ll take.

And it’s why I spend hours and hours and hours watching old episodes of Burn Notice, tuning into HGTV even though I don’t own a home, and why I love makeup tutorial videos on YouTube.

It’s also one of the best things about living with my family.

Yes, I did technically live with one family member before I moved in with my mom. But, my brother Steve and I would often go days without seeing each other because of opposite work schedules  and because we shared a rather large two-bedroom for just two people. I mean, it wasn’t a mansion or anything, but we each had our own full-size bathroom, and we would often joke about having our own “wings” in the apartment.

Now though. Well, now I share a bed with my 14-year-old sister.

Yes, a bed. Not a bedroom.  A bed.

Five of us are currently sharing a two-bedroom apartment with one bathroom.

My clothes, which used to breathe in a gigantic walk-in closet, are now hanging precariously on a rack in the laundry room. My poor brother’s bedroom is actually just one of the couches in the living room. And everything I’ve collected over the last 11 years of living on my own is now in boxes in my mom’s one-car garage.

But I love it.

I love that when I’m in pain there is always someone around to talk to me. I love that I when I’m feeling hopeless or sad or in despair, there is literally nowhere I can go to be alone. I love that I am always with people I love.

I love it when my mom comes in the and wakes me up in the morning because she knows that the combination of the sleeping pill I’m on the fact that my pain pills have usually worn off by 8 a.m. make it incredibly difficult to get out of bed.

I love it when we have lunch together and eat dinner as a a family and have ice cream nights.

I love it when my brother and my mom and I go for a three-mile walk and pretty much do a full-circle around the entire town of Byron, because it’s actually that small. And I love that they never complain about going super slow so they can keep pace with me.

And I really, really love it at night, when my little sister lays in bed with me and we turn on some horrible junk TV, like Obsessed with the Dress reruns on the Style Network, and then we talk about how crazy Beau is to the staff, and for a few minutes my pain signals are blocked off by sisterly love.

There is  big difference between laying in bed alone, in the dark, in pain, wanting to die; and laying in bed in the dark, next to your sister, in pain and not wanting to die.

It’s three little letters. But it’s three letters I’ll take.

Crystal Camera Aug 2013 006

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