It's July 4th. There's a flask of Jim Beam at my hip that I'm trying not to feel guilty about. I'm out of Rx muscle relaxers. I'm working to get my ass into physical therapy, but a) finding a decent medicare/medicaid facility is not easy, because b) waitlists.
In the fall, I'd been seeing a massage therapist 1 or 2 times a months to help work out the insane muscle tension I have from PTSD, and help deal with the fallout of pain from degenerative disc disease and palletofemoral osteoarthritis. I turned 41 this year. Both of these issues were accellerated by PTSD, which can have painful ramifications for the musculoskeletal system and some physical work I did last summer.
I'm 41. I don't look it or "feel" it. My body, on the other hand, feels like it aged 20 years in the last three. It's really bumming me out.
I have low back pain and knee pain nearly every day. It hurts a lot. Sometimes I cry from it. Last fall I was taking ridiculous amounts of ibuprofen (1600 mg/day) - my doctor prescribed me Diclofenac. It doesn't touch the pain either. The disc disease can cause nerve pain, which NSAIDS cannot touch. I experienced that this past winter, and I hope I never go through it again. I may have to move somewhere warmer to avoid the hellish pain Chicago's winter brought me.
My option has been physical therapy, but well, I've talked about that. I'm working on it. Oh, the muscle tension - yes, well, in addition to early hardcore arthritis, PTSD causes severe stiffness and muscle tension because, well, being onguard 24-7 wreaks havoc on your body. I weaned off of Rx antidepressants in January and back onto the supplement routine (under supervision of my psychiatrist). I was doing well, I'd made huge strides in therapy and with my doc. getting of of Rx antidepressants is hell. Hell. Especially considering my history. After 15 years on meds (with no doctor ever once suggesting I wean off), the risk of Tardive Dysphoria for me is huge. And yes, it is real, and incredibly terrifying.
Many nights it's difficult to sleep. My neck, shoulders, and head are so tight with tension that I chronically feel like my head is "asleep", without circulation. I wake up in pain, I toss and turn. i've been through two 10 day rounds of muscle relaxers, which helped, but the symptoms keep returning.
I want to be active. I have a beautiful bike I am afraid to ride for fear of making my symptoms worse. Housecleaning makes my symptoms worse right now. I want to get the cheapie gym membership and do some weight training, but I can't yet. I'm afraid I might not be able to. I'm afraid I'll need back surgery, knee surgery, knee replacements. The pain is bad. I can't get away from it. Sitting makes it hurt. Lying down makes it hurt. Walking makes it hurt. If there was any kind of NASA strings I could pull from dad working there, I'd willingly spend a month or seven on the ISS just to get away from the pain gravity causes. I'm scared.
I'm scared, and I hurt, and I'm out of muscle relaxers.
I'm sober now. It was a conscious choice I made. In 2013 I was a heavy, heavy, daily drinker. Since the trauma time, I've not been a regular or heavy drinker in any way, but I do know it can get away from me very easily. I was never a fall down, sloppy, "in the gutter" drunk, but I have problems with alcohol, and self-medicated with it and weed for far too long. Three years ago, before the trauma phase, I would come home from work, drink 4-6 beers and a few shots and smoke a bowl without a thought. I know now how unhealthy that was for me, self-medicating on top of Rx meds, so unhappy and drowning in substance every day. I chose sobriety because healing necessitated it, because being present necessitated it, because working through hardass shitty feelings necessitated it, because it has been one of the best choices I made for myself, ever. Choice - this was a choice. My therapist and I have discussed my issues with alcohol at length. J and I were both heavy drinkers/smokers. I'm pretty sure he still does. I simply cant.
Yet here I am tonight nursing a flask of Jim Beam because of the pain I've been in for the last two weeks. Because it's a muscle relaxant. Already my neck, shoulders, and head feel noticeable relief, but I feel guilty about drinking. Very guilty. It feels wrong. It's already making me more emotional, which I hate, but there's noticeable relief here that I can't ignore.
I am conscious. I am conscious of everything I have written before now, which is why I feel so guilty about drinking. And shitty. I have felt SO SHITTY about choosing sobriety, because NO ONE ELSE I KNOW HAS CHOSEN SOBRIETY. For me, that has meant staying away from bars, staying away from parties where I know there will be alcohol or other substance. It's been isolating. I'm extremely isolated. and i'm not sure how to change that.
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