Chronic pain kills.

May 4th, 2010by JTJ

I’m 27 years old. Very soon I’ll be advancing to the big two-eight, but my life has been over for almost five years.

I’ve never considered myself to be the suicidal type. I was an angst-riddled teenager once — it seems like it was a lifetime ago — and while I did suffer a minor stress-related nervous breakdown in 2002, I never seriously considered taking my life. I wanted to take the life of others — I abandoned high school when I was sixteen after an incident in which I almost beat a well-known, well-feared bully to death with a steel shopworks chair — but never myself.

I’d like to think I value my life.

But then there’s the injury. The Bastard Injury.

The doctor wasn’t sure what caused it: it could have been anything from the car wreck I was in during the winter of 2000, or it could have been received when I was still actively participating in martial arts and wrestling. However it happened, I was diagnosed with two herniated discs on September 11th, 2005. One of the discs was being obliterated, while the other was pressing on a nerve cluster. The pain was tremendous.

I was working a job with no health benefits at the time, and paying for the surgery out of pocket was out of the question. I lost my job, and the injury left me bedridden for a number of months. With no source of income and no way to afford a costly spinal operation, the injury has remained untreated for nearly 5 years. In that time I’ve put on a grotesque amount of weight, I am barely mobile, and the pain comes and goes. When it’s at its weakest, I’m just miserable. When it’s at its worst, I live in a pain riddled hell.

Three years ago, the pain got so bad that I often woke up in my bed screaming and thrashing. I once woke up with an ornamental knife pressed into my belly. I think I crawled out of bed, picked the knife up off the display shelf, crawled back to my bed, and attempted to kill myself. In my sleep. That disturbed me. I promptly removed all sharp object from the room.

Soon after, the pattern of self abuse started. Nothing serious, but enough to deflect the mind from thoughts of the major pain in my back, hip and leg. I was using a wooden cane to flog my thighs. The sting satisfied. I’m not sure how or why — maybe it released endorphins into the blood, I’m no doctor so I don’t know — but it dulled the more significant pain, made it feel like it was miles away. I also turned to booze and pills. All in the name of killing the pain.

As time wears on, my misery grows. I’ve isolated myself, vanished into my reading, writing, and self abuse. We moved house a year and a half ago, and since then I’ve been planning my death. I refuse to live the next five or ten years of my life in the broken, twisted, obese prison-cell that my body has become. On my 30th birthday, I do believe I’d like to bow out for good.

I sometimes think I can cope; I’ve read it’s all about figuring out how to raise your tolerance for the pain. But then other times, on those horrible nights when I look up from the book I’ve been reading and notice the wetness on my cheeks and realize I’ve been crying for the last hour and a half without even realizing it, the hopelessness settles in and I can’t help think, “Oblivion would be better than this. Anything would be better.”

I’m not a religious man. I’m spiritual, but my faith lies perched on a precipice. When it tumbles over, I will too.

God, just sitting here writing this is agony. My hip is burning, my back is aching. I’d like to think I can make it to 30, but some nights — like tonight — I’m not so sure.

I want to live, but I crave death.

Mind you, I think I’d probably settle for a couple of Vicodin. For now.

-JTJ

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