physical pain and suicide

Physical pain and suicide


Past two weeks I have had two episodes of really bad physical pain that had me in tears and wanting to end my life. I didn’t do anything to spark this pain, such as dropping a brick on my foot or stubbing my toe. The pain went deeper than that. And despite taking pain medication, I still was in agony. People think that all you have to do is take a pill to make pain go away and most times it works. But what do you do when you have a condition that doesn’t allow for that?

I have what is known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, CRPS for short, in my left foot. I got it because of another long name diagnosis called Cauda Equina Syndrome, CES for short. I got this former condition as a result of a ruptured disc when I was twenty-five. I didn’t know that it would result in the CRPS until now. Since I was twenty-five, I never learned how to walk correctly and pulled muscles that were not meant for walking. Because of this overuse, I developed CRPS after eleven years of dealing with CES. I have been suffering with CRPS for the past 2 years and it sucks. Every pain flare up feels like it is going to last forever. I am on disability because I can no longer work as a lab assistant. I can’t walk long distances, or stand too long on my feet, which working in the lab you do all the time. You are constantly getting up and down going to the different areas of the lab for the different testing that we do.

The pain started after I sprained my ankle on some ice in the winter of 2011. I went to several different doctors but no one could tell me what was wrong. All the x-rays, MRI’s, and physical condition of my ankle were normal except for some minor swelling near my peroneous muscles and tendons. It is when these get really swollen that I am in agony. As I am typing this, my foot feels really cold, like it is soaking in ice water. But to the touch, it is warm. I have a sock on it to prevent it from cramping. I have to protect my foot at all times from the cold to prevent cramps that are eye popping and then my foot becomes really sore. I don’t have any physical discoloration like typical CRPS. I think if I did I would have an easier diagnosis.

This pain drives me to suicidal crises every single time it flares up. The last time this happened was last week. I didn’t do anything, but I really wanted to die. I am almost out of my pain pills as I have been gobbling them up like candy to try and take control of my pain. I see my PCP next week to get something for flare ups. If he doesn’t do anything for me then I am afraid that things do not look good for me, at least mentally. I wrote a letter to my psychiatrist when I had this pain flare up. She understands the only time lately I become suicidal is when my physical pain becomes unbearable. And my pain is never during normal business hours. It is during the after hours, wee hours of the morning. I can be up all night because of pain. And no matter what I take, once it starts it seems never ending until exhaustion comes into play and I get some relief. Only then do I become a “different person mentally.” The events of the night before seem remote, like they happened to someone else. I guess you can say I dissociate from the pain and what is killing me.

Pain flare ups are hard to predict. Sometimes they come up when I do too much. Making cookies one time caused a flare up. Washing dishes will cause another. Standing more than a half hour for the bus will cause another. I never know what to do when I feel the pain coming on. My first instinct is to pop a pill and try and relax. After a bit I will take a muscle relaxer to prevent anxiety and spasms/cramps. Sometimes this will work, sometimes it won’t. It’s when it won’t that the suicidal self goes into play and all I can think about is death. I often play my fantasy of what the doctor will say if he doesn’t give me pain medication. That truly terrifies me. I often come up with me telling him to sign my death certificate, because that is what will happen. I can’t live with this level of pain every day. Right now it is not so bad. I have restarted another mood stabilizer and it seems to be helping but I still feel I need a longer acting medication that I can use for flare ups and to get me to sleep better. Because without the benefit of sleep, nothing is worth a dime.

10 thoughts on “physical pain and suicide

  1. I have had three neck surgeries and still have terrible pain from pinched nerves in my neck. This has been going on four years. In my opinion, the last cervical fusion worsened my condition. Every time I get pain I contemplate suicide. And it’s often. Oh…and I have to work full time as well. This isn’t my only physical problem. Lung problems, a withering left hand (due to the nerve impairment in my neck), sciatica, migraines. I’m 64 and wish for death. But then I’m a Christian. I know I’d be going to a better place where pain is no more.


  2. Hey,

    Sorry to hear about this. I know how you feel. I had insane foot pain. couldn’t walk for 6 months.

    You should get tested for Lyme disease. After all CRPS is a description of symptoms doctors use when they don’t know what’s wrong.

    Feel free to email me.
    Feel free to email me, Lyme disease wrought hell into my life, but it’s treatable with antibiotics over an extended period of find.


  3. I know exactly how you feel. I have been trying to tell my girlfriend (who is a doctor), my family and my co-works how my day actually feels. They don’t really understand how I have turned into a shell – I feel suicidal often. I am bitter and resentful, angry and very lonely. I have chronic foot pain, major neck issues which can be operated on, and should impingement syndrome. I have tried EVERYTHING. I don’t even know who I am any more. I have my pain, and all the things I do every day to combat the issues.

    When I fantasize about suicide, I feel some power or control over my life.

    I make my living on my feet and was once in the shape of an pro athlete. I laughed, sang, enjoyed my friends, family, career and playing the guitar. All gone now… I am gonna stick around a little longer… but not as the living dead……


  4. My husband has CES and has had 7 spinal surgeries.He is very depressed also. I’m so worried about him. He sees a pain specialist and has been on meds for many yrs. This CES began about 11 mos ago and has really beaten him down mentally. I hope he can find some help before he does anything drastic.


  5. awesome blog. i enjoyed reading your articles. this is truly a great read for me. i have bookmarked it and i am looking forward to reading new articles. cheers.


  6. It is immoral but as long as there are addicts there will be no right pain care for people like us. I have to fight to what I want. I just hope next week when I see my PCP I can tell him what I need and not back down. Maybe I will have my psychiatrist send him a note informing him of my pain flare ups. He is a good guy. I just sometimes am afraid of asking what I need, which is also a problem.


  7. Every time I read posts like this, I get angry. Angry, because there is medication available, which may have the potential to address the pain that you experience. As you know, I survive on some fairly hefty medication, which mostly breaks the pain cycle I experience of CES & Arachnoiditis. You ought to have access to the same. To withhold medication that could help you, merely because of the misuse of others is immoral.


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