Hope you are all well and fellow chronic pain sufferers are as well as to be expected.
Mental illness cannot be fixed or at least cannot be helped until you say what is going on in your head. Now many of you don’t know me but, I was the guy who made everyone laugh was always upto harmless mischief. I was the guy that got drunk until he was sober and got drunk again, I was the guy that when anyone asked how I was I replied, “I’m good thanks” . I was the guy that wasn’t telling the truth, not because of a desire to be dishonest but because of a desire to protect and being completely truthful, I didn’t want anyone to think I was weak.
Now that I am in a wheelchair, spending a lot of my time at home, I find myself having too much time to think. I think a lot about my Mum who, when I was 2 years old, died of a brain hemorrhage. I think about all the good times I’ve had and experience guilt because she isn’t here to experience these times with me.
I struggle with lots of different feelings like guilt or replaying images in my mind of different things I’ve experienced. For example, I’ve seen a mate killed right before my eyes, I think of him, and how he died often, and I find it difficult to put into words the complex feelings I have surrounding it all. My mind constantly goes back and forth between things that happened when I was growing up or my experiences in the army and I get overwhelmed. All this baggage is making my life hell. I sometimes despair at this and hate myself for the life I have given my wife, a young woman who works her arse off and then has me to look after, and cook and clean for. On top of this she also has to listen to me moan about how hard life is with Chronic Pain.
I live each day with these complex feelings and find it difficult to identify the constant whirling emotions. I feel guilt, hopelessness, despair, fear, anguish, I am depressed and last month I finally asked for professional help. Asking for help was difficult and it has taken many years for me to do it. What was even more difficult to hear upon speaking out was them saying that if I didn’t get help, that would ultimately end up resulting in my death. Difficult because as I said, I am the guy that likes to say I am OK. Medication isn’t the only answer , but things should move forward soon, things can only get better?
Now I know some of you might read this and think I am writing this for attention, I’m not, it would be far easier for me to continue to just keep telling you all.. “I’m good thanks!” I wrote this in the hope someone reads it and says if he can admit he needs help then I can too. I recently met a guy a few months ago and we have become really good mates. Becoming friends with someone who has accessed mental health services and says it with no apologies made me realise that I too could do this. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, opening up and trusting a professional stranger to help you at your most vulnerable is difficult and by sharing my story I hope that someone, somewhere grows strength from this and reaches out for the help they too need.
Cheers for reading and soon I hope to tell you all how successful my treatment has been.