sciatica

It’s alive, it’s alive!

At this point I can only laugh. I was chopping up my dinner (salad) when I felt a strange sensation. My bum cheek had a heartbeat! Well, if you want to be technical, my glute had a heartbeat.

Sciatica occurs when a disc between the vertebrae slips or herniates and presses against the sciatic nerve – also known as a slipped disk or a pinched nerve. The brain is a drama queen and goes all like – ohmygod ohmygod something’s pinching something important! And the body goes all – never fear, muscle spasms are here. So, like a Game of Thrones episode, the muscles join forces and launch a siege against the pinching of something important. They surround the sciatic nerve and bunch together to support this cry-baby, which quite frankly is getting on my last nerve….

14-12-2016-its-alive-its-alive-pic1

I can only presume that these armies of muscles are taking a bit of strain. Getting a bit wobbly? Twitchy? Well the poor things have been in spasm for over three months so I don’t blame their fluttering of failure. So I grabbed my trusty bag of frozen veggies – and sat my ass down on that shit! Alas, two hours later, and my ass is still doing its tap dance – thumpety, thump-thump, thumpety thump

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Ho Hummmm

I’ve had a rough week. I couldn’t log into WordPress. I began a meltdown but managed to talk myself out of my emotional mind and into my rational mind (new skill I learned from a fellow blogger). So I dragged my laptop into work the clever IT guys got it working. Some security… firewall….. coding…. blah, blah, blah, thingy-majiggy. I’m clueless, but grateful they got my baby up and running again.

Pain has beaten me this week. I categorise my sciatica as –

-painful

-almost unbearable

-unbearable

-screaming

Last week was screammmmmmming. I even left work at lunchtime on Tuesday because I just COULD. NOT. SIT. ANY. LONGERRRRRR. I stayed in bed the whole weekend. Today…. its painful. So that’s good.

My depression has settled into that apathetic, couldn’t-give-a-fuck, ho-hum, miserable human being type of drowning. Think of this depression as quicksand and I’m sucked in it, I can’t move, I stop fighting, just exist. You can’t fight quick sand. So, resigned, I sit. In that mud. Ho-hummm. No more thoughts of suicide. Ironically, this is not a good sign. It means the depression has stepped to a lower level , lacking the impetus to actually commit the act. Suicide is only a real threat going into or coming out of depression. Both stages contain the energy this embedded depression doesn’t have – the energy to follow through. Thank god I don’t give a shit anymore ‘cos I’m enjoying not wanting to die.

I scribble little notes everywhere and leave them ‘for later’. A concept, an idea, a two line rhyme that floats through my mind. I want to catch it before it becomes forgotten, so notes, notes, notes everywhere. I discovered this one under a wooden chest while cleaning. The wind must have blown it there. I see it’s been a multi-purpose note – a short rhyme, a bit of a shopping list, a coffee coaster……

sometimes it high, sometimes its low, you never really now, which way it will go

sometimes it high, sometimes its low, you never really now, which way it will go

 

There is nothing normal about stigma

There’s her and then there’s me. We work in the same department. She’s an outcast like me and we are both talked about behind our backs for different reasons.

The facts

In June I fell. A side effect from bipolar meds – loss of balance. I was alone. No one to help me. The pain? I sucked it up. I had to. I’m alone. What else must I do? I went for physio and endured this pain for 2 months without anyone giving a shit. They were intolerant, annoyed with me. I presume a lot of eye rolling. After no improvement 2 months later, I was put into hospital. I drove myself there and I drove myself home. Despite the pain. I was in hospital for 5 days. No one from work messaged me, phone or visited. No one gave a shit. Diagnosis – a herniated disc and sciatica. Treatment – drugs, physio, and an epidural. None of the treatments worked and I was sent home in exactly the same pain with no information on pain management for sciatica. I did this alone and have no one at home to help me with everyday tasks.

She also fell. Granted a far more dramatic fall than mine – she fell down some stairs. But there are parallels in our injuries because both have resulted in pain. Her – a broken rib and a compressed vertebrae. The difference? She has a husband and a teenage son. They helped her, phoned an ambulance. Everyone one of us at work was more than concerned. The people I work with had a busy day, sending text messages and phone calls to her, to family members and involved themselves in her crisis. Concern was expressed, we talked amongst ourselves with compassion. No judgement or criticism; sending good wishes, getting updates. There was no eye rolling involved. They’re all going to visit her over the weekend.

The difference

As far as our ‘work friends’, in her crisis, she mattered. In my crisis, I didn’t. The difference? I have bipolar. She doesn’t. I was long ago labelled ‘drama queen’, over sensitive, too emotional. So everyone rolls their eyes and I am dismissed, overlooked and invisible. No one believes me. Fuck, I feel so alienated. This does not feel normal. I’ve tried to find the normal in this but realised stigma is not normal. At least, it shouldn’t be.

Ignorance is not a good look. Don’t they realise how ugly it makes them. I am also going to visit her this weekend because I know how important it is to have visitors when you’re in hospital. I’m going because I genuinely care, not because I’m just fucking curious.

Empty

My bipolar meds make my balance wonky and I’m clumsy. It was how I came to have sciatica in the first place. I fell over doing yoga. So I’m officially calling sciatica a co-morbid condition of my bipolar.

Friday was a good day. I had contacted my psychiatrist. He advised me on what I could and couldn’t take making allowance for my depression. Having had pain from my waist down to my ankle for 8 weeks, on Friday I only had pain in my lower back, the source. I could sit and walk pain free. What a joyous moment. I was healing.

But clumsy on my feet, I took a tumble on Saturday night. I tripped and to break my fall I took the full impact on my sore leg. I just lay on the kitchen floor and cried. It’s now worse than the intial pain. And of course the first thing to follow is suicidal ideation. I decided I would do it. Then I’m scared to do it. So I haven’t done it. My meagre budget battles to cover the unexpected extra expense incured by sciatica. I really don’t see the point of living like this. I work and come home. That’s all my salary allows for. And now I’m doing that in constant pain. I had hope on Friday. I lost it on Saturday. I have cried so much I actually don’t know how my body generates this incessant liquid.

I just desperately want to die. Be dead. Kill myself. Whichever way you want to say it. But don’t worry I won’t kill myself. My belief is as long as I’m talking about, I won’t do it. Its when one is depressed and stops talking about suicide, they’re serious and planning and won’t mention it because their mind is made up and don’t want to be talked out of it.

So life goes on, despite the tears and the pain and the wanting to die. I am so fucked. I love you all, but please don’t comment. I wouldn’t know what to say.

Unfolding me

what’s mine

what’s me

what’s meant to be

will unfold naturally

no more sorries

no more worries

where I am and what I have

is just that

my life is a map

not a trap

I’ll explore

what I adore

and that’s all

not more force

or contort

try to control

what I hold

what I have is what is meant to be

so its perfectly enough for me

and who I am

is not damned

the me I’m getting to know

needs to go slow

to explore

exactly what it is I adore

Thank to everyone who lifted me up during a painful and vulnerable episode on Thursday. You each made a difference and I can’t express how comforting it was knowing I have friends who care, and make time to offer support and encouragement. You are all special to me

 

I have internet

In defiance of the pain in my back and down my leg, I medicated myself up to the eyeballs to tackle Mission Internet Connection. I chose a different service provider – one that wouldn’t ‘ intimidate’ and strongarm me, and …… I FINALLY HAVE INTERNET AT HOME!!!!!!!!!!! This journey has been a long haul and I’m exhausted. By the end of the process I barely registered what the salesman was telling me about about SSID’s, 2G, 3G, LTE, broadband, bolt speed fibre and WIFI? WIFI! WTF…?? but I’ll figure it out. Between pain and depression, this has been a big achievement for me. I have to say, I already feel a lightness within my depression – the anticipation of feeling less isolated and looking forward to slipping into my old routine.  I feel connected!

i-have-internet2

 

I want to feel good

It’s now my 5th week battling sciatica. It has proven to be debilitating, narrowing my access to the real world and destabilising my already unstable mental health. So my body and mind are not very happy places to be in right now.

Pain (any pain–emotional, physical, mental) has a message. The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific, but it usually falls into one of two categories: “We would be more alive if we did more of this,” and, “Life would be more lovely if we did less of that.” Once we get the pain’s message, and follow its advice, the pain goes away

– Peter McWilliams

I’ve always believed in the tie between the physical and the emotional. So I searched for the metaphysical meaning of sciatica:

Lower Back; The Lower Back represents support; financial support, emotional support of family and friends, and support of God or the Universe. The Kidneys are located in this area and Kidney dysfunction results in Fear/Fright/Phobias. A sore lower back may indicate that we have taken on more than we think we can handle. This is a dysfunction, only if it is not the Truth. If we have indeed taken on too much, that would be indicated by a physical trauma to the back and all we need to do is lighten the load [source

These past 12 months have been traumatic for this bipolar who feels everything so intensely. I need to lighten my load, my expectations and demands on myself. I need to stop, relax, let go, and learn to trust that I will always be safe and everything will be okay. I want to become unshackled from the past to make way for a better future. I have no plan except to gently roll with the punches. I suppose I’m going to let life happen, instead of always reacting and trying to control it. That’s the intent anyway.

In the words of our beloved Ulla – Healing is a long term investment in feeling good

I want to feel good! And when I feel weighed down by Life’s challenges, I’m going to let Mr Buble remind me – its a full world and I feel goooooood.

Its a new dawn
its a new day
its a new life
for me
and I’m feelin’ good
– Michael Buble

 

When it rains it pours

So I was out of order due to depression. That’s it’s own story reserved for another time, and I’m doing well now. But you know that saying ‘when it doesn’t rain it pours’? Well, I hurt my back again – sciatica.

Holy hell it hurt. At work, I was told to get it sorted out once and for all. I wanted to go the physio route, but that didn’t correspond with getting it sorted out on demand. So off I went to the doctor, who refered me to a neurosurgeon who booked me into hospital. And there I stayed for 5 days being poked, prodded and drugged while still in an enormous amout of pain.

A slipped disk at L5 was diagnosed. Xrays, an MRI scan, loads of morphine and three days later – I was still no better off. An operation with a 3 week recovery period was considered, but an epidural decided upon. But for all the pain, it didn’t take. Of course it didn’t take! Nothing with me is ever uncomplicated or easy.

I was discharged this past Sunday, a horrifying R4000 lighter in pocket, and in just as much pain as I started with. The lesson I will take from this is, never ever undertake a medical health decision in order to please, or appease, someone unrelated to your life. Since then I’ve been seeing a physio, as I’d originally intended, and I’m making good progress.

In keeping with the raining and pouring theory, my internet connection at home has finally breathed it’s last death-rattle. So I’m out of touch with the rest of the world for now. I need to wait until I move into my new place on 1 September to decide on a new service provider. So my lack of visits to your blogs are not intentional. In fact I miss you all very much. I can go top secret, undercover and covertly sneak in a few posts and catch up with my wordpress friends intermittently here at work. But shhhh, don’t tell anybody I’m using ‘work resources’.

So please bear with me for the next month or two. Love ya guys ‘n gals