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Pain, Anxiety and Helplessness

The students' voices move in and out of the room. i can hear some thuds and clacks from the shoes of those walking students. Sweat starts to threaten to poor down my face, but thankfully it holds off. The next omynous sign is the horrible feeling of losing control, in other words, feeling entirely helpless. As the proverbial lump in the throat, quiver to my lip and difficulty forming words join this odious party, the invisible horse begins its crazy ride through my chest and back. When the horse is through with me, I will have some back pain, but for now I just have a very hard time breathing and some pretty intense pain despite the Beta Blockers and another med which can double as sympathetic block to the leg and blood pressure drug, the pain continues to increase.

If you're not familiar with what is happening in this situation, your first question might be aren't you scared and why aren't you at the hospital yet? The answer to the first question is yes, of course I am scared. I feel helpless to stop this awful feeling and know that there is little I can do to make it any better. There's medication, but in the best of circumstances there will be at least 15 more minutes to tolerate the worst of the symptoms. The second answer is that there's no need to go to the hospital, I already know that it's an anxiety/panic attack. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder which is secondary to my Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS.) My fear contains no rationality. It can be sparked by any number of things, severe pain, the fear of sever pain or a flare, embarrassment and not knowing if someone is upset, challenges when I work Julio, going to lunch, waking up, anything can spark one of thes horrible, painful, raging, burning, explosive, imprisoning attacks.

These attacks are only one piece of how anxiety has messed with my life (to put it nicely). we know two things about it, it was probably caused by the pain and it's not good for someone with RSD. Stress management is vital for people with RSD and having Generalized Anxiety (GAD) is not a good way of managing stress. I've seen this a few different ways, mostly since my psychiatrist (who is incredibly smart about treating anxiety and pain issues) has prescribed a medication for rescue situations when these intense attacks happening. When I do take that med for an anxiety attack which I just can't handle myself (few real anxiety attacks can be managed without meds right now since we're adjusting other more long-acting meds to try to deal with the second part of GAD). Anyway, when I take that quick-acting anxiety med, I'll sometimes feel my pain drop along with the anxiety. I have seen that relaxation exercises can do this, well they used to do it for me but lately not so much which is why I'm trying to continue to learn and manage my health. Anyway, seeing the connection and exactly what that "fight or flight" response is doing to me has been helpful.

The other part of dealing with GAD is that constant anxiety. The "you'll-never-be-good-enough-for-this!" Irrational anxiety which I so often let silence my voice as a human as a writer or stop me from trying to do the things I love because one mistake proves, in my mind, that I shouldn't even try and that someone smarter, better and more skilled should take the spot. It also wears me out. The fatigue of carrying this burden, the fear, the anxiety, the helplessness and the hopelessness which I can feel because of the anxiety (crying for four hours straight), takes a huge chunk of energy.


In my creative writing class we read an incredibly graphic poem which talks about fear. It may not be a work-safe poem, depending on where you work so you might prefer to read it somewhere where you have privacy. It's moving, thought-provoking and if I don't stop writing about it, my commentary about it will be longer than the poem is
I Give You Back (PDF File)

The good thing is that I do feel better that I am starting to recognize the problems anxiety is causing, I'm starting to find people who are slowly, gently and respectively leading me to a new way of dealing with anxiety. While I deeply wish for a reprieve from the pain and the anxiety, I am also somewhat excited to see how my own narrative and my work with the clients whom I will one day serve in my future career and those I will serve this year at my internship could benefit. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow from this challenging set of circumstances. But to grow, I need help.

The Challenge



My challenge to you, my wonderful readers, is simply a question. What do you know, or can you find (link, accessible book I can buy, piece of advice you can share) that will help me and others on our journeys to deal with pain and anxiety? Feel free to post that in the comments or in any other way from the many choices of contacting me listed on my blog. I'll also set up a poll with a few text fields so you can send stuff you don't want identified or shared at all. That said, if you can use the comments link with this post and post anything publicly,, that would be great too.

Even if you aren't comfortable with this challenge or don't feel like this is anything you want to talk about, I will understand. I'm grateful for those of you who got to the bottom, it helped me to write all of this down.

And just to be fair, I will try to figure out a way to collect any links or comments which I do have permission to add to either this or a future post to make it easier for all of us to review back to this if we need to from time to time.

Comments

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rangoon
Oct. 19th, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
I recently purchased this book which is accessible enough to be used. This guy's stuff is good and based in hard science, and while it doesn't offer any magic pills, it does offer a sound map out of anxiety.
puppybraille
Oct. 20th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
That looks very interesting in all sincerity, and yeah, it probably is a good deal given the costs of medical care. The frustrating part is meedical care is being paid for with insurance, but this is money I'd have to put down now. That said, I am grateful to you for linking to this and interested in hearing more.
____hejira
Oct. 20th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
I don't have too much to offer as far as the pain goes. I hesitate to even offer suggestions because I don't struggle with RSD/CRPS. I do struggle with intense depression though, as well as anxiety, so I can offer some help.

I find that stress is a huge trigger for me. Keeping a lighter class load may prolong graduation, and it may not sem possible, but cutting back helps. One stress reliever I've found recently seems simple, but during times of helplessness it seems virtually impossible; a clean home. A neat and orderly living environment can be the diference between a chaotic mood. Good smells and lots of light help to trigger good feelings, and create a peaceful environment. I am so busy often I really don't have time to clean, so I save up and pay someone to come in once a month. I know I am capable of doing so, but the stress of a dirty home being removed has been helpful. I'll think on this a little more and will write later.
Hope this helps.
puppybraille
Nov. 8th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
I'm sorry it took me forever and a day to reply to your comment, I do appreciate it. I do think that the whole clean environment thing is important. I don't ever have a clean room unless a friend or parent helps me, it's embarrassing, but the pain and exhaustion get in the way. I also think the smell thing is important, I use aromatherapy a lot, and am in the market for a good defuser to hopefully help me use the oils to their maximum benefit.

I also want to say that your friendship and suggestions do help and they do matter to me. You may not have RSD, but you do care and you do listen, that means a lot and it's a big part of why I'm glad you're my friend. Thanks.
rredhead
Oct. 20th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
I may have mentioned this before, but hypnosis worked wonders for me. I loved it. I would do it again if I had the time and inclination to find a professional hypnotherapist. If I haven't already told you my hypnosis story, comment back and I'll let you know.
My hypnotherapist was a regular medical practitioner, so insurance paid for it. I think she saw hypnotherapy as a secondary part of her counseling, but I sought her out for it.
puppybraille
Nov. 8th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
I can't remember if I've heard your story about how hypnosis helped you. I've done some research into it, and already am doing some things with imagery. I've been thinking about how we can customize those skills for my situation. I did have some success with biofeedback and am still working with that still to see what I can do. I'm finally starting to see some improvements.
rredhead
Jan. 14th, 2009 06:15 am (UTC)
Sorry I'm two months late on this reply.
When I lived in NH, I did theatre. I was in "Witness for the Prosecution" and my entire role consisted of me running onstage to hug a man, then the man gets shot and I have to support him as he crumples to the ground.
My pain is all in my knee.
One day, I came to the show just before it started (I was on at the end). I wore sunglasses in, because I had been crying all morning. I was at about a 9 on the pain scale. I finally got myself to the theater, got settled into a makeup chair and started playing my hypnosis tape. I got through it all, and my pain didn't go away, but it lessened.
One of the cast members was there watching me, and she was amazed. She used to say I was her hero. That was nice.
The weirdest thing, though, is that when I was onstage, I felt nothing. Pain didn't even occur to me.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 7th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
Chronic pain and anxiety
Hi Nickie,Wow,you are one of the first blogs I've read that really dealt with anxiety and chronic pain.
Thank-you,thank-you.I thought maybe it was just me and I usually do not open up about this particular part of my chronic pain.Although,I am too tired to go into it tonight,I am so relieved to have found someone else who I can tell understands.I will write more soon and in the mean time want to say thanks for being honest!-MM
puppybraille
Nov. 8th, 2008 03:46 am (UTC)
Re: Chronic pain and anxiety
Thanks for your comment! You are definitely not alone, I do see anxiety mentioned in some stuff I read about chronic pain, but have yet to master dealing with it. I think it's a valid topic which needs further exploration. There are a lot of us with challenges like this.
(Anonymous)
Nov. 7th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
Link to some CD's that helped me with Anxiety and Depression...
Check out www.thinkrightnow.com the direct link to the store is http://www.thinkrightnow.com/catalog.asp I bought the http://www.thinkrightnow.com/audios/audiopananx.asp and the http://www.thinkrightnow.com/audios/audiodepression.asp cd's ... you can listen while awake or asleep... they are not hypnosis but they are a lot of repeated "positive" ideas set to very calming music. I really didn't believe they would work... but I was at the end of my rope (metephorically speaking) ... I'll tell anyone... they did wonders for me! Really incredible changes.

I love your blog and look forward to reading your new entries. My Mom has RSDS/CRPS and I try and follow as many others online as I can that have it. I'm always looking to learn more or find that one small thing that can help. My Mom is just finishing round 2 of some Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments... they've been a great help to her... she's not cured...but pain is way down and she's taking less meds... I feel we are on a good path with this.

Kind regards...

Jason from www.rsds-crps-news.blogspot.com
(Anonymous)
Feb. 18th, 2009 10:37 am (UTC)
From an Anxiety Attack sufferer of 13 years.
My heart went out to you reading your journal - as the subject box says, I suffered from Panic Attacks, Anxiety attacks, and even head on the floor depression for over 12 years, getting on for 13.

I decided one day that enough was enough already - this thing was not going to beat me - it had almost cost me my family and those sufferers reading this will understand that comment.

One of the worst things I had to conquer was my feeling of worthlessness which was all pervasive - but I got there, and am still working on it - but have it beat now.

What rescued me is contained in this site - ANXIETY THERAPY (http://www.forgetanxietytherapy.com/)

No pills, no potions, no visits to anyone - and what swung it for me was to see all the 10s of thousands of other good folk it had helped around the world and some of their heartfelt testimonials.

You can but have a look - it certainly worked for me - there is ALWAYS a solution - ALWAYS - ANXIETY THERAPY (http://www.forgetanxietytherapy.com/)

Best of luck.
(Anonymous)
Feb. 23rd, 2009 10:03 am (UTC)
Anxiety, Panic, Stress
Sorry I am a bit late with my post on this subject, but really did want to contribute. Hopefully someone will pick it up and if it helps just one person, then this will have been of use. I was a 13 year sufferer of anxiety disorders, exverything from panic attacks to depression, the whole 9 yards. My studies told me that I could learn to master this and get back in control of my life again and I found my solution here - ANXIETY THERAPY (http://www.forgetanxietytherapy.com/) - which seems also to be doing the same for lots of other good folk from all over if you read the testimomials. You can learn to master things, there are really easy techniques you can practice - and knowledge IS power - this is strictly NO pills and NO potions, and NO visits to anyone - hope it is of help to someone else - ANXIETY THERAPY (http://www.forgetanxietytherapy.com/)
(Anonymous)
May. 19th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
Hope these articles can help you:
home remedies for anxiety (http://www.ezinearticles.com/?3-Simple-Yet-Powerful-Home-Remedies-For-Anxiety-Attacks&id=2289448)
overcoming anxiety (http://www.globalphuckery.com/blog/wordpress/overcoming-anxiety/)
(Anonymous)
Mar. 16th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
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(Anonymous)
Apr. 4th, 2011 06:47 am (UTC)
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