Should I Start Self Medicating?

There is no escape from the pain!! For nearly 5 years I have had a constant throbbing, stabbing and pulsing pain in my right temple extending to my whole head frequently. It does not stop. Every waking moment is accompanied by this sensation.

Sitting on the couch this morning I realized I have tried all the usual ways of combatting it. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, amitriptyline, beta blockers, calcium inhibitors, magnesium, epilepsy drugs, antidepressants and a strict diet avoiding inflammatory foods such as wheat, tomatoes and beans. In this time I learned to meditate at least 5 days of the week and have a daily journal which helps me keep life in perspective. Nothing has helped the pain. Opioids are not an option as the medication I take for my multiple sclerosis (this has become worse since the pain started) is an opioid inhibitor, and my neurologist informed me it would probably make the pain worse.

Chronic pain has taken away my ability to concentrate on anything. The light coming through the window, standing up, noise, having an important conversation, are all ways of making the daily pain, worse. It is unavoidable. By evening it is always worse, and my mood can be volatile. The most minor of setbacks can be catastrophic. I cannot even go for a brisk walk to burn away my frustration as my mobility has also been reduced dramatically. Only the shortest walk is possible.

Decision Time

The medical system has no solution for my pain other than medicines which sedate me. Pills can dull the sensation, but they also take away your soul, your personality. Making me hollow, empty of anything, and eventually, dependent on their ability to numb, I would be a shell. Empty of life.

Maybe the time has come for me to try self medication. This could be alcohol, chocolate, food in vast quantities, or illicit drugs like marijuana or stronger, to change my perception of the world. I wonder if they could stomp the pain out of existence? Imagine a day of painlessness. Being able to think again without me flinching from the tsunami of pain which will inevitably arrive.

Then I think, will I be replacing my physical pain with something else? What are the consequences of following the path of temptation?

I don’t know.

The people around me would suffer, this happens, especially with alcohol, and stronger drugs. Would food hurt anyone but me? Would it work to mask the pain? I doubt it. Marijuana might, it is reputed to help many chronic pain patients, but it isn’t available, medically, in Ireland, yet. When it will be available I will need my neurologist to prescribe it, and maybe the script won’t be written. In the situation where I try it, and it fails, will I be addicted to its psychotropic effects? Would it be bad if it happened? I might have some respite?

Loss

My medical situation has stolen from me the ability to work, read, engage and live life normally. I fear I will lose all utility and become a burden. Would self medication help while the medical system tries to find a solution? It is very tempting. As every day passes, the thought gets bigger, the draw – stronger, and I would be like light trying to escape a black hole. Being sucked into the vortex with no hope of escape.

What should I do?

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11 thoughts on “Should I Start Self Medicating?

  1. I think it’s a type of cognitive distortion, fueled by pain. I’m ‘guilty’ of many of these distortions too: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/cognitive-distortions/

    I’m not sure of what you should do, but I hope you get more good than bad days soon. Sending good thoughts!

  2. Robert, I can certainly relate to your situation. I suffer from many sources of pain with the main 3 being fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and chronic migraines. I, too, am limited to what types of medication I can take and none of them help. I did try cannabis (it is now legal here in Canada); however, it did nothing to relieve my pain and worked against my anxiety. Like Sheryl, I don’t have any suggestions to offer but I do hope you get some relief soon. I wish I had more to offer.

  3. I am so sorry that your pain relief options are so limited!!! I for one had no choice but to self medicate when it comes to chronic pain from fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and more…. I am allergic to NSAIDS and have reactions to most prescription pain medications. Not to mention that drs stopped prescribing the amount of the ones I could tolerate…. For me self medicating for pain was the best decision I have ever made. I use cannabis, CBD, (both in the forms of vape, flower, edibles, and isolates) PEMF therapy, eliminated food triggers, and made lifestyle changes…. The daily pain I experience from my chronic illnesses is no longer debilitating. When not nursing an injury (currently have a few broken ribs), I am able to walk anywhere from 4-12 miles a day without needing days or weeks after to recover. Before self medicating I couldn’t even walk across the house… A little FYI with cannabis, so many people try one or two strains and give up. There are thousands of strains and each will have a different effect. And because it effects some differently, it takes a lot of experimentation to find the strains that work best for you… I am glad that I took the time to test strains and I continue to do so, because it has made such a difference.

    1. Thank you very much for your information about the different strains. I also have made many changes to my lifestyle and diet. The option of self-medication is scary as I don’t want to make my situation worse. Hopefully, cannabis will be available in Ireland soon, otherwise, I might need to migrate to a more compassionate country.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear that you are not able to find pain relief. It is so exhausting and demoralizing to be in constant pain. I wouldn’t suggest self-medicating with food. 1. It doesn’t work, I tried it, and 2. it just adds to pain when increasing weight causes stress on joints, and causes digestive distress. I wonder if PEMF therapy would help you? Here’s a link: https://www.oskawellness.com/pages/how-it-works I have been using an Oska Pulse for over a year and it helps my fibromyalgia pain.

  5. I am so sorry to hear of your continued struggles with chronic pain, I wish I could offer some useful insight or help but unfortunately, it is something that I have also been struggling with. Still, despite it, you have written an eloquent post about the struggles that it can cause. I wish that you can find something to help you soon. Take care, and by the way, I have nominated you for the Disability Blogger Award:

    https://www.brainlesionandme.com/disability-blogger-award-x2/

    Congratulations!

    1. It is a struggle many people have, as you understand. How we navigate our way is different for everyone.

      Thank you very much for the nomination. ?

  6. Robert, I understand what you are feeling. The loss of who you are, the everlasting pain, the isolation, everything. I’m so sorry that you are getting no relief from your pain, but know that this community is standing behind you, supporting you. We are here for you in the good and bad times. I also wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Disability Blogger’s Award. I just noticed that someone else nominated you right above me, so I apologize! Feel free to ignore my nomination if you want to, but know that it is doesn’t matter who nominated you. You clearly deserve it. https://thechronicallyunimaginable.blog/2019/04/29/disability-blogger-award/

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