Pain can affect our concentration, our working memory, our short-term memory and mental clarity. It can also by itself be a risk factor for suicidal ideation and suicidal acts. Pain is difficult to cope with.

There are times we feel overwhelmed with all the things we have to do in order to maintain, to cope, to possibly feel a bit better.
I think it is natural to feel tired of this fight we are in. We all have days like this. I usually have a pity party day, snuggle in my bed with a good book and just rest for the day. I think we should be allowed that from time to time. Days of rest. And also the occasional pity party. That is not to say the next day we won’t get right back to it, but for that moment we just need a break from it.
There are times we wish for it all to go away. Some of these are passing thoughts that mean nothing. Wishful thinking. Sometimes it is suicidal ideation, but only of the idea. Sometimes suicidal ideation of the action, of the plan, of the consequences. And then it is getting serious. But you brush it off because everyone in that much pain must have such thoughts from time to time. Finally, one-night thought goes into action, just to get that pain to stop. Pain is a high-risk factor for suicide that a lot of doctors don’t quite take into account. It is something we should take into account. We should know when the pain is getting too bad when we are not getting effective treatment from doctors and we are having these sorts of thoughts regularly that this is dangerous.
Not to be ignored. I ignored it and it led to an attempt. Later I sought out a psychologist who specialized in people with chronic pain who has helped immensely. Pain is a complex problem and it needs complex solutions. When we have suicidal ideation we should seek help for it. Our care should be physical, mental and emotional. Just like the pain is. When the pain is greater than our capacity to cope with it, it is a serious problem that needs serious answers.

A) changes to your treatment of that pain even if it means a change of your doctors

B) reassessment by specialists if needed

C) seeing a psychologist, one who understands chronic pain to help with those issues.

It is important to understand the dangers of pain. When you are coping. When you are not coping. When we are not coping it just means we have pain that exceeds the coping strategies that we have and we need to refine them. And we need the resources to do so.
At this point it is very important we consider these factors:
  • we are clear with our doctors that our pain us unmanaged and we are unable to cope
  • If that doctor fails to help us or is disinterested in our suffering, it is important we find one that is willing to listen and help us manage our pain.
  • It is important we consider other resources like pain clinics and specialist in pain.
  • It is important we find a psychologist who understands chronic pain that we are comfortable with that can help us with alternative coping strategies.
  • It is important we have support somewhere. Our own support system we can depend on. Support groups that we attend. Online support groups that we go to.
  • On a final note for those of us working when the pain has exceeded the coping strategies we sometimes have to reevaluate our working situation and see if there are any alternative compromises to be made in the workforce that may relieve some of the situations. This can be difficult but some companies allow flex work, changes in hours, working from home partly, reducing hours, changing the work environment.

When pain increases and we are left floundering and trying to push through the pain… and not doing well at it. Just trying to survive it because it isn’t getting better. It is a very difficult position to be in and one we often have no way of figuring a way out of. That is what is dangerous because the pain itself at that level is dangerous when we are struggling to get through it. We have to attack it from all angles to see if we can get a handle on it once more and once again reach that level of being able to cope with it.

People in this position are very close to my mind at all times since I have been there. So I hope that my words help a little in thinking about how you might worth through that.

See more about chronic pain

Survival mode is not meant to be lived in

Chronic pain and suicide risk

Chronic pain: the impact on me
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