10 October 2015

Pain and fear, fear and pain. #WMHD2015 #WorldMentalHealthDay

Trigger warning: This post contains discussions of fear and anxiety, medical negligence, animal illness, accidental injuries, suicidal ideation and general panickyness.

This post was originally written on another social media and filtered only to friends who I knew had taken opiates and opioids like tramadol, buprenorphine, oramorph, fentanyl, pethidine, or even just very high doses of codeine, etc. Whether because they have a chronic pain condition or whether they'd just taken it once post injury or surgery. But when lots of people said they knew someone that had experienced anxiety or terror caused by taking painkillers I thought I should make this public.

Lately I've been dealing with really bad anxiety. Last night I was about 1 degree of anxiety away from having a panic attack and ended up calling the Samaritans just to calm down. Because I don't have anyone at all in real life to support me and hold me and tell me it's OK if I do have a panic attack.

I know I've got things to panic about: What happened last Christmas really shook me. That I can have such a bad accident and be so injured and get kicked out of not just one A&E, but two. It's left me with the knowledge that if I have a bad accident again, I know A&E can't be trusted to help any more. So I'm scared of having another accident bad enough to need A&E help in case I don't get it again.

Betty being ill really shook me up too. Kidney failure is so common in older cats that when she started pissing blood I thought "this is it, I'm losing her and she's basically the only being on earth that cares about me." She's fine now, it was just an E coli bladder infection and she's had antibiotics, but it scared the living shit out of me.

And then there's the risk of my dad's social care package being cut to shreds because of the ILF closure. I don't even know what's going on because he doesn't care enough to pay enough attention to know himself what they're doing. (Not that he care's about me, of course. But I at least lose sleep over him.)

So why am I telling my crazy lady woes to people who take painkillers?

Because my anxiety attacks seem to be linked with taking oramorph.

I'll be fine all day and after I've been standing too long on my fucked up swollen knees I'll be like "right, I can't take this any more, I'm having a small dose of oramorph"

(FYI, 2.5ml of oramorph is equivalent to 1 tramadol tablet.)

And that's when the fear begins. Like I'm not terrified of using scissors in case they slip and I accidentally stab myself in the opposite hand until I take painkillers. I'm not terrified of having to go throw out rubbish in case I fall down the stairs until I take painkillers. I'm able to snuggle Betty without flashbacks to her bleeding and me being terrified until I take pain relief.

Painkillers are supposed to be a serious *anti-anxiety* med. That's why people take them recreationally. And I used to feel that until about 3 weeks ago. It was a brilliant bonus, like "hey, the pain's better and now I feel as mellow as hell." And now I get a migraine, take something for it, and feel like the world is going to end.

Honestly; I've felt suicidal in the past and it's a better feeling than feeling like you're going to panic yourself to death. Not just for a brief panic attack, but for a whole day.

So I googled it to see if I was just weird; considering they're supposed to relieve anxiety, not cause it.

Most links are about withdrawal causing anxiety, not taking the drug being the cause. Or about morphine relieving anxiety. But there are several references to morphine causing anxiety. So I'm not completely alone.

So, yeah. I've basically got to put up with pain because the alternative - painkillers - is worse. I think I'm going to be spending a lot of time in bed in the foreseeable future because keeping my knees elevated is the only thing to reduce the swelling enough to stop the pain. Seeing as painkillers to mute the pain is impossible.

I can't believe this is happening. I mean; I've had some shit drug side effects in my time. But absolute terror? Jesus.

My shoulder is throbbing. My knees ache. And I can't take anything other than paracetamol for it.

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