I have been in survival mode before. For years in fact. I am not at this moment, thankfully, but this poster struck me.
When you are in survival mode it is very much a life by inches. You are living moment to moment just trying to get through the pain. Time ceases to flow in a proper manner and it is hard to remember events clearly as it all gets tangled up in the pain. You do things all the while thinking ‘Just have to do this, and this, so I can get home and suffer in peace. Just in peace.’ It has a quiet desperation to it. A silent scream.
It is not meant to be how you live. No one can survive like that. Or want to. And I should put that distinction in there… you don’t want to survive like that and really are just making up excuses to live at all day to day, or reasons not to.
At this point, it should be of utmost importance for medical professions to really, Really put some significant effort into improving your quality of life. They ought to know that pain itself is a suicide risk after all. Yet, time and time again, I have had and others I know… ‘Sorry, nothing more I can do for you.’ Or they ran out of ideas. Or they don’t know what to do. Or maybe they will send you to a specialist that will take a year to see and He will not have any idea what to do. No one has a clue so no one does anything and you just have to grin and bear it. Just push through the pain. Until you can’t. I remember one time when I was immersed in this survival mode a neuro I had seen for a few years told me he ran out of ideas and there was nothing more he could do for me. I cried when I left his office. Just felt consumed by a sense of hopelessness. And we need hope. Even a sliver to get us by. We need something to aim for. Sometimes all that Got me through was knowing I had a neuro appointment coming up, even if it was a year away… thought if I could just get to that he would do Something.
It sort of ticks me off when I think of how many years I lost to that level of pain. And at any moment could again, but let’s hope not. Think of all the things you simply are not capable fighting high levels of pain every day. The level of fatigue that comes with that. You just become incapable of socializing of pretty much anything beyond the essential and necessary. Mind you, I wasn’t doing so good with the essential and necessary either. That is because the whole ‘push through the pain’ only actually works for short durations, or durations with a pain break and not for long extended periods of time. It takes too much of a toll.
It should not be acceptable. I think about this opiate pain crisis and what I think about is all the pain patients that will be denied treatment because their doctors are now afraid to prescribe medications. People seem to forget that pain needs to be treated. Treatment is complex and more than just medication, yes, but it is also medication. To allow people to just suffer and fall into this survival mode is horrific. It is saying that as a society we find it acceptable for people to suffer. For pain patients to kill themselves because they were in too much pain for too long with no hope of treatment.
Maybe survival mode should be instead that point where you get aggressive treatment from medical professionals. Multidisciplinary treatment that covers all aspects of chronic pain treatment. That helps people survive. Helps to save lives. That would require, of course, more doctors being educated about pain. More pain clinics. More pain clinics with well planned Multidisciplinary treatment programs for pain patients. Specialists at those pain clinics who understand the role of medication and do not have a fear of painkillers.