Chronic Pain Patients and Suicide
I was reading my tweets on Twitter. One of the chronic pain people that I follow retweeted something from a pain doctor. It was about suicides and the CDC guidelines that want to cut opioid prescriptions or limited them to only certain doctors. The article was badly editing as there were plenty of typos and I did not like the use of the word “committed” for every suicide he listed. It is sad and I know that more suicides are going to happen as the government tries to control doctors due to basically peer pressure. They have no idea what kind of havoc they are doing to those suffering from chronic pain and lead good lives because their pain is controlled.
Most of you all know I suffer from chronic pain and suicidal thoughts. My only saving grace at times is that I know after taking my meds, even though it takes a while to work, my pain will go away and be better in the morning. My suicidal thoughts will also be better when I wake up. If I no longer have my meds, I am as good as dead. There will be no point in living. I can see what all those people mentioned in the article go through. They died within weeks of being either taken off their meds or having them reduced. Some docs just stopped prescribing out of fear of losing their medical license. Some pain clinics closed their doors, leaving the patients to find other docs to just turn them down and having no where to go. This isn’t right. Taking away pain meds from patients who are not addicted and have adequate control is doing harm and causing deaths by suicide. Here is the article if you want to read it: https://medium.com/@ThomasKlineMD/here-is-a-list-of-suicides-as-of-9-9-17-caused-by-governmental-recommendations-to-educe-opioid-903c460abbc
Sometimes I think I need to end my life before my meds are taken away from me. I don’t know if my state will pressure docs to reduce their opioid prescribing privileges or number of scripts they write a year. I’m not on a lot of pain meds and I don’t abuse what I take. I take my meds in the manner they are prescribed to the letter. The sad thing is, even though my pain is somewhat managed, I still am disabled because I can’t walk that far or stand for any length of time. Just waiting for the bus or standing on the train is enough to cause me wicked bad pain at night. I remember what my pain was like when I was working. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night and then would only have a few hours to start my next shift. It would be a really long day and then half way through my shift, I would start feeling excruciating pain that would sometimes land me in the ED. It was terrible. I know now that I will never be able to work again because my pain is just becoming unpredictable and too severe. There are some nights where all I can think about is ending my life because the pain is so severe I don’t think it’s ever going to go away or lessen. I am lucky, in a sense, that I can’t walk to where I want to die in these moments. Hell, sometimes I can’t even go to the bathroom.
Living with chronic pain is terrible and if people without a medical degree continue to dictate what a person with a medical degree does with their patients, the suicide rate is going to go up. There is no way it can go down, even with the best suicide prevention out there. There will be no stopping someone from taking their life because of untreated chronic pain. I am not talking about psychache, but I know those with chronic pain also have that too and can contribute to their suicidal thinking. I also know that if a chronic pain patient starts thinking about suicide, they should be referred to a mental health counselor or treatment center. Their pain meds should not be reduced or played with because of suicide risk. I know in my situation I was fortunate to have doctors that knew me well enough and knew that I would get help should my depression or suicidal thoughts got worse. Some patients don’t have that luxury. Always take suicidal thinking seriously. If that person owns a firearm, ask to hold it for them until their suicidal crisis is over. Make sure they get the mental health help they need. Also makes sure their pain is being properly treated or it’s not going to matter if they get that mental health help or not.
If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text START to 741741, if in the US. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to other countries hotlines but they are available. I know Austrailia has a bunch and the UK has Samaritans 116 123 is their number off the top of my head. You matter and are important and enough, always!