When I hear about someone, especially a friend, trying to - or, worse, succeeding in the effort to - commit suicide, I try so hard to put myself in their shoes. It is so hard to understand what someone must have been going through to cause them to attempt suicide. Why didn't they talk to someone? Why didn't they talk to me?? What didn't we understand?? How could things have been that bad?? How could I not have known...?
It's so hard to understand...for most people. For some of us, though, it's so easy. Too easy... Way too easy... For many chronic migraine sufferers, especially for those of us who have been labeled "intractable," the "why" is very easily answered. We live at the maximum range of any pain scale you might imagine (and then some!)...day after day...week after week...with very little respite.
Add to that the idea that we have been to multiple doctors...in multiple disciplines...and each of them, after trying multiple things, has passed us on to another doctor, effectively washing their hands of us (why, I've even been told by a doctor that he was washing his hands of me!)
From there, understand that doctors, if their "on our side," are fighting a system that says that pain medication is bad. And it is, in so many ways, but...
What the system doesn't realize, or at least, doesn't acknowledge, is limiting pain medication because we might become addicted sounds very much, to us, like limiting breathing for the same reason.
We don't ask for pain medication without first being in pain. We are often (usually) on preventatives of one kind or another. Often of several kinds. We also take "abortives" - medication that is supposed to stop the migraine. All too often, it doesn't.
For us, chronic pain means that we always have some degree of pain. Always. And, as any normal person would, we will always want to be rid of it. Heck, we would often be more than satisfied just to get the pain somewhere in the realm of a normal level. The pain in our heads is like being stabbed in the head with the sharpest knife, over and over again. Our brains feel like they have expanded to at least twice the size and ought to explode from the pressure. Sometimes this pressure goes behind our eyes, making us wish they could pop out...and making us pretty darned sure that it's quite possible that could happen. All of this is just one aspect or layer of the things our bodies go through.
With each migraine there are symptoms that will alert us that the pain is coming, like the clouds rolling in. Often weather is a trigger so that storm that you see is what we are feeling. With every lightning strike there is that echo of pain in our head. When the storm has passed there is the damage left in its wake. Again this effects us physically. We are worn out, exhausted, spent, feeling like we've been hit by a Mac truck...feeling that the driver backed up and did it over and over again... But we can feel that next storm coming, and we have no time to recover from the onslaught of pain before it is here again. This is your life, day after day when you are an intractable migraine sufferer. No one listens. You are a prisoner of your own body. You are called names like lazy for not making more of an effort. If there were any way to not suffer without having to take meds, believe me, we would do it. We want nothing more than to be part of life, society, and our families rather than crying, in bed and isolated. Again.
There is no light at the end of the tunnel; there's just more tunnel. There is no relief, just a break, sometimes, before the next one hits. This is what drives people to end their lives, not because they want to die, they just want an end to their white-hot, searing pain. To know that they have some control in their lives, because it is regularly taken away from us by the very people we look to for help - uncaring, under-educated medical professionals. This isn't a paper cut, and it certainly isn't just a headache!! These are chronic, agonizing migraines, happening one on top of the other, lasting days and sometimes weeks long. Sleep doesn't relieve it, if it can be achieved at all. You are faced, day after day, with this bleakness. Here is the stupid thing... It really doesn't have to be this way!!!!!!!!
We need more education for the medical world, more understanding from the medical world.
There are some in the medical field that believe they are doing us a favor by not prescribing narcotics because of fear of addiction. There is a physical component to addiction...but there's an even bigger physical component to pain.
Doctor, heal thyself...then, please...heal us, too!