Friday, September 3, 2010

On chronic pain & suicide

I'm still reading the book Fibromyalgia & Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survivor Guide by Devin Starlanyl and Mary Ellen Copeland.  The chapter I just finished was on chronic pain and the chapter ended with a blip on suicide.  I think most people don't think about this.  I don't want to think about it.  I will come forward, though, and admit to having thought about suicide more than once on high pain days.  I never got closer than thinking about it, and I can understand why and how it could happen.  Chronic pain is scary.  Living with chronic pain is often a lonely existence.  I couldn't take care of myself if I didn't have Jim and it isn't something I like to think about. I would like to share an excerpt from the book.
"I had the sad honor of facilitating a memorial service over the Internet for one woman who could no longer bear her suffering.  She was not getting the symptom relief she needed, and she took her own life.  Her own minister refused to do that service.  He insisted that because of the manner of her death, she went to hell.  It is my own belief that this minister may be very surprised when he arrives at that destination and she isn't there.  She had already served her time in hell.  I believe that religion is about healing and compassion, not about judgement.
"At about the same time, I heard about a woman living near Chicago who was suffering from unbearable pain.  Her doctor had examined her and had diagnosed myofascial pain.  Then he told her she'd have to "learn to live with it," because there was nothing she could do.  Her husband could not stand to see her in so much pain, so he shot her and then he killed himself.  Does her doctor understand what he has done?"
In answer to the author's question, I think her doctor just doesn't give a damn either way.  I've learned the hard way that doctors do not become doctors to help people, they become doctors so they can make money.  There is no beating around the bush.  Most doctors don't give a flying crap about the patient while she is in the exam room, much less once she leaves.  When it comes down to living with chronic pain, you really are alone.  If you are very lucky you may have one or two people there who really support you, but most people don't have that.  I am lucky to have my Jim, but it is still me, and me alone, suffering in this state of chronic pain. 

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