Calgon take me away

12 Sep

Preface: This blog is about me and my experience/feelings with regards to medications. It is not a judgement on or valuation of what anyone else does/feels with regards to their anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia, allergies…etc.

Monday morning I went to physical therapy for my shoulder. I’ve been going for close on to six weeks I think, but only once a week because they are so booked they can’t usually fit me in twice a week. This past Monday, I actually cried during the appointment because the pain was a) so bad and b) so frustrating. For the first three weeks or so, I was doing my exercises religiously at home. Then the therapist started adding in more and more exercises–without giving them to me in written or picture form–and I got overwhelmed and lost. I still try to do stuff daily, but it’s not everything I should be doing. Even so, I’m continuing to progress with my flexibility, but the pain continues. And I guess because the therapist is trying to push my range, the pain is…bad.

I am extremely sensitive to medications, and have been for most of my adult life. I don’t even take OTC pain killers like ibuprofin or acetaminophen or tylenol because they either screw up my stomach or they don’t work. I will take anti-biotics when prescribed, but I hate the experience and it’s mentally very challenging for me.

So last night I was in the shower and thinking about how much my shoulder still hurt, how sore it was, and I was under the hot spray of water and thinking…if I only took pain killers this would be a lot easier. And I knew…I KNEW part of the reason I don’t take pain killers or cold medication or antihistamines or sleeping pills or any other medication is that I would cause a bigger issue for myself. It’s NO LIE that I have medication sensitivities…I very much do have them. But maybe if I searched hard enough I could find things that work for me. I don’t do this…and here’s why.

About fifteen years ago I had a bad cold…a sore throat that was horrendously painful. I started using these OTC throat drops that had some kind of liquid medication in the middle. It was probably Haul’s brand, probably cherry flavored. I used them constantly in the beginning and they seemed to help. Then my throat started getting better but I literally got addicted to them and was continuing to suck on them like they were candy. I had to use them. I was addicted and I had to have one in my mouth almost all the time. It was vaguely terrifying when I finally realized what was happening (maybe like 3-4 weeks later). I quit them cold turkey and made Hub take the bag to work with him to throw away. I knew if they were in the trash in my house, I would dig them out and eat them. I don’t buy those kind of lozenges anymore, though in the last two or three years I have started buying honey-drops for sore throats.

I don’t do drugs and I don’t drink any alcohol and I don’t smoke. I never did any of those things. I feel like if I did or if I started using something like pain killers or anti-anxiety medication or sleeping pills, I would be using them constantly and for the wrong reason. I’d be in less pain, I’d probably have less anxiety, I might sleep more, but I’d also be zoned out and not living. I would just figure out the best way to shut myself off from everything and everyone in life by doping myself up on OTC or prescription medication. I would be gone, in every sense of the word. I’m not sure I’ve ever admitted this fear to anyone out loud, but in my heart I know that I’d use the medications to hide away. I’m not sure I’d be doing anything illegal or overdosing on the meds–or even overusing in any significant way–but I’d be using them in a way that would excuse me from life.

I feel like my anxiety over medications keeps me safe from all of this. Yes, I DID use some pain medication after my first surgery, but it was only a day or so (and so regimented!) and then I used tylenol. And then after a day or so I used nothing. The second surgery I didn’t use pain meds because I didn’t like the way they made me feel the first time, so I used tylenol as needed and I suffered through. I suffer through pain on a daily basis because I’m afraid of who I would become if I muted all the pain in my life…physical and mental.

Before I first got sick in 2001 (at 29yo), I’m not sure I ever really needed medications. Sure, I probably took cold meds on and off over the years, and never gave it another thought. Yes I did use Advil every month for cramps (which is how I ended up with stomach issues!) and probably occasionally for headaches. But after I got sick, everything changed, including who I really was. Who I really am.

The physical therapist said that I could go back to my Ortho doctor and ask to get a steroid injection to help with the pain as we continue with rehab, but I declined. I hate the pain I live with daily, and I hate the pain that reduces me to tears during PT, but the pain reminds me that I’m alive. I’m alive and I’m experiencing life.

This all sounds very fucked up. I guess I’m not surprised at that revelation.


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9 responses to “Calgon take me away

  1. joey

    September 12, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    All I can really say is that you’re not alone. I rarely take anything and my pain level is pretty much constant discomfort, leading me to sometimes disregard it. I’ve lived like this for so long. I don’t know, may sound stupid, but sometimes Sassy holds my hand or my elbow to warm it, and I realize that alleviates some pain, but then it’s almost like I notice the rest of those joints more, like the pain goes elsewhere to get noticed. Or like, it doesn’t hurt in the tub, but then when I get out, it’s sorta all at once ow. If I did take meds, I’d be so far up in tolerance now, I’d be addicted, dependent on steroid injections.
    I don’t mind one or two now and again for a flare, but I don’t wanna live on steroids :/
    I dunno. Pain is better, I think. For me. We’re all different.
    Those NSAIDS though… kill all the goodness of tummy here, too. And give me hives, and oh, never mind, it’s too much! lol
    I’m just too sensitive to take pain meds as directed. Kinda like I can’t always drink with the same results. Or eat certain things at certain times. Ugh. I feel for you, cause I think you’ve got it worse when it comes to sensitivity to substances of all sorts.
    My mother constantly tells me it gets worse with age. I’m sure she’s not wrong, and I don’t judge her for the meds she takes, I don’t know how her pain feels to her, but I’ll hold out as long as I can.
    I’m so sorry your shoulder is bad.
    Alive, living, yep!

    • meANXIETYme

      September 12, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Yeah, I pretty much have pain somewhere everyday. I often wonder what it’s like to wake up without pain somewhere. Like, does that really exist out there for people? LOL

      Yes, I’ll be in bed and thinking “man my back hurts” and then I get up to go to the bathroom and my knee will shoot pain up my leg and I’ll try to fall down and I’m like WTF I thought It was my back that hurt…

      I don’t know worse or better, but sensitivities suck because sometimes you just don’t know what’s going to cause what or what is going to be worse than the original pain/ache/sniffle/sneeze/panic attack, etc.

      I know some people have low/high tolerances to pain. I know some people can’t deal with pain and some can. Everyone is individual and that’s why I wanted people reading to understand this was MY issue, not judging on anyone else’s.

      It sucks that you understand all this, but thanks for letting me know you understand my craziness.

      • joey

        September 12, 2017 at 1:12 pm

        NOTHING hurts me when I wake up. Part of the reason it’s hard to get out of bed. 😦

        It’s not your craziness, it’s just not like most of the humans. That, we’ll always share.

      • meANXIETYme

        September 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm

        Omg I’d never get out of bed!


      • joey

        September 12, 2017 at 7:53 pm


  2. April

    September 12, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    I have problems with pain medication and have a high tolerance to pain so I usually live with it and do what I can until I’m brought to my knees. Then I lie flat on my back until I return to a normal for me. I always feel I come across articles when I need them and yours is one of them today. I have been doing as much research I can regarding bipolar II. I know one thing… doctor is a quack and I am taking two medications that don’t interact well together for bipolar. Sometimes I wonder if I play tricks on myself. I feel sad and take the feelings of sadness further than necessary. I get stuck in a cycle. Medications have all but sucked my creativity dry and left me with a shell of who I used to be. Even with the severe depressive episodes and anxiety that kept me isolated…still does..I feel way over medicated. I hope you can work through your pain and your shoulder returns to a more manageable level.

    • meANXIETYme

      September 12, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      I hope you are able to figure out how to get your medications on the right track. I know cocktails are difficult to put together when it comes to that. I cannot even imagine having to figure that out and manage it (especially considering our trust of doctors) when not feeling well in the first place. I wish you a lot of luck on that venture.
      And I literally feel your pain. Sometimes I want to shut myself down because of the pain…and on occasion I do it because I feel like any other option is only going to make things worse. *sigh*

      • April

        September 13, 2017 at 9:27 am

        I recently went to help my mom with goodwill and purging stuff. The first 3 days I was mainly on my back on the floor. I would get up, do something, then back on the floor. As far as medication…..I’m working toward taking the least amount necessary. I know it may be just how my mind works, but I’m not so sure I need all that I’m taking. We shall see. With the doctors help I’m reducing.

      • meANXIETYme

        September 13, 2017 at 9:36 am

        It’s so difficult when you want to be helpful but you get held back by pain. 😦
        Sometimes following our instincts is all we can do to help ourselves. I hope you get where you want to be with the pills!


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