Chronic Pain, Trying, Dissociating and Failing

I’m getting really upset because I’m trying so hard to help myself but my mental health difficulties keep getting in the way. I struggle with chronic pain and have recently had scans and tests which have highlighted a number of problems. Today I went to my first specialist physiotherapy appointment. I’m determined to reduce my pain without getting addicted to Tramadol again. 

However my anxiety was high and I felt dissociated throughout, so even though I tried my absolute hardest, I can barely remember what the physiotherapist asked me to do. I asked her to write everything she said down for me as I anticipated this happening. But now I am looking at this piece of paper as though her instructions are in another language – and I really have no clue what I’m supposed to be doing at all. 

I feel as though this isn’t going to work without someone (my mum) coming with me to my appointments. I need her for her brain because I can never recall what I’m supposed to be doing alone. 

Also, the fact that I am so out of touch with my body in the ways the physiotherapist wants me to be means that I cannot physically remember the postures or positions either. My body just shrinks back to its default. (E.g. How am I supposed to breathe normally if I don’t even know what “normal breathing” entails? I naturally hold my breathe, and I don’t even realise I’m doing it.)

I hate having to ask my Mum to come to all these appointments with me as I am 22 and it’s humiliating. But otherwise it’s like I lose my brain and am unable to retain any information and the entire session gets wasted. I don’t want to waste any time nor resources by getting the exercises wrong and messing up. I’m making such a fool of myself looking in this fucking mirror trying to get these exercises right without the faintest idea of what I am trying to achieve. 

I feel like crying because I’m trying so fucking hard with so many things but anxiety and dissociation keep getting in the way of me doing simple things to help myself (whether physically or mentally) get better. I feel utterly incapable of navigating life independently because there are just so many small things I am unable to do on my own. 

So here I am desperately googling images of “physiotherapy exercises against wall” to try and jog my memory, whilst I’m sat in a contorted mess of physical pain with tears of emotional pain streaming down my face.

Trying to fix my faulty brain and body by relying on my faulty brain and body is the most fucking upsetting and ironic thing right now.


23 thoughts on “Chronic Pain, Trying, Dissociating and Failing

  1. 😦 This is sad…I’m sorry you feel so shitty. I completely relate. I have a lot of pain too, plus mental health difficulties (trauma caused it) I’m quitting my job because of it which sucks. Don’t feel bad for not going to the appts alone-you’re just being sensible. I’m 35 and don’t always go alone *hugs*

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  2. Don’t feel ashamed of having someone go with you to appointments. I often get a friend or family member to go with me.
    Don’t worry Hun. Just try to relax, don’t try and do any exercises until you know what you need to do. You defiantly don’t want to cause yourself more physical pain. Just look after yourself for now. Don’t frustrate yourself trying to jog your memory.
    Email me if needed. Always here xxx

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  3. This sounds so frustrating! Of course you are trying! And it makes sense that you would want to feel independent and do it without your mother. Don’t forget though, that human beings are social creatures, and we always rely on each other. It’s okay to get help when we need it, and then to give it to others when we are able. Your mom could help, or a friend you trust. Wouldn’t you return the favor to someone else, if it were the other way around? And you wouldn’t want that person to feel ashamed.

    You comment about searching for videos online gave me an idea. Could you ask your physiotherapist to record you doing the exercises on your phone? Then you would be able to see yourself doing what you need to do. Just a thought.

    It’s hard now, but it will get better, in time. This is a period in your life when you need assistance. There will be other periods when you don’t. How do I know this? Because life changes, that’s what it does. Nothing remains unchanging. It’s okay to be where you are now, and it will be okay later to be somewhere else. Sending you support and good wishes.

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  4. I have had support a few times in the past from someone close, whether my mum, or a friend for appointments, so you are not alone and as you have found from here that others have had support too. There’s certainly no shame to be felt and as suggested, which is a good idea, you can help the person who helped you when needed. Somewhere down the line, we all need support from time to time. Hope the physio exercises go well in time. Best wishes. X

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      • I am having good days thank you. Sometimes I feel I am not patient with myself at times, but I soon back off and distract myself with something else. This being inpatient with myself has been creeping in a lately with me at times.

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      • It seems as though we are all so much kinder and gentler with one another than with ourselves. Hopefully being aware of how you are with yourself is a first step in working on it, which it sounds like you are. I really relate, we are so touch on ourselves ‘ey. Maybe this weekend you could do something nice for YOU πŸ˜‰


      • Yes, I have been aware and it has been a battle at times with myself. I know if my impatience was to get worse, then my anger would creep back in too. I don’t want to go back there as I have come so far.

        It is so true that we are kinder to each other than ourselves. A reminder to myself that I am to treat myself as I would with someone else. Kindness. 😊

        Tomorrow I will be actually doing something nice, which was planned about a month ago, meeting up with a friend for a day. I last seen her about three months ago, so will be good to catch up.

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      • I’m happy to hear you say how far you have come, hold onto that, it’s so true. I hope you have a really enjoyable time tomorrow, you so deserve it. Here’s to hoping for a day or even a few hours of peace and joy πŸ’œ

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  5. I’m sorry you are having such a hard time. I can relate because I do the same damn thing. I ask them to write everything down and tell them I will forget otherwise. Then what do I do? I lose the damn paper and have absolutely no clue as to what I’m supposed to be doing and sometimes it’s more than just certain exercises. It’s sometimes some over the counter supplement or something I’m supposed to try or whatever, it could be a number of things. Then I’m too embarrassed to call and tell them I lost my paper like a first grader……..So, I just do nothing and play dumb. After my next appointment, I ask them to write it all down, again because there’s usually something different. I never confess that I’ve lost the paper. And, I lose the paper again, even though I took extra measures to assure that wouldn’t happen again……I have a very long list of invisible chronic illnesses of which include Fibromyalgia which causes that wonderful NOT Fibro Fog….then there’s the ADHD…self explanatory. Then there’s the insomnia. Lack of sleep helps nothing. Then there’s the drawer full of my daily medications I must take, morning, noon, and night……………………..and I’m supposed to be able to remember anything??? Are you fucking kidding me……………………………Don’t feel too bad….you are not the only one that has this issue. It’s ok. Just fake it when you can. I hope you have a “better” day. Peace out! πŸ™‚

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