Pain and the Mental Effects
Pain makes it difficult to concentrate and causes memory issues. Don't believe me? I'm a walking case. Plus, the medications I'm on don't help matters either.
Have you ever looked up the side effects of Gabapentin? According to Rxlist.com, last reviewed on October 2018, "Neurontin (gabapentin) is an anti-epileptic medication used to treat seizures. Neurontin is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat seizures caused by epilepsy in adults and children who are at least 12 years old. Neurontin is also used to treat nerve pain caused by shingles (herpes zoster). Common side effects of Neurontin include: dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness, memory loss, lack of coordination, difficulty speaking, viral infections, tremors, double vision, fever, unusual eye movements, and jerky movements. Other side effects of Neurontin include mood or behavior changes, depression, or anxiety."
I'm 30 years old and I have been dealing with pain in varying degrees for 9 years, from slipping on ice while trying to get to a class in college.
On May 31, 2019, I underwent my third back surgery. This one for a Spinal Fusion Redo. After the last surgery my body decided not to grow bone, so there was nothing holding the screws and plates in place except vertebra, which wasn’t enough to keep me from breaking a screw.
For most of the past 9 years, I've been employed and it’s rarely easy. Currently, I am a transcriptionist, which means I spend my days listening to audio and typing it out. Even though it is not a physically demanding job, it still hurts. When I am able to get to the office, I can stand or sit at my desk, and I’ve discovered I can also sit on the floor. When I work from home, I have similar options, plus lying in bed or on the couch, which is the most comfortable for my body, but not always the most ideal working condition. I try to do everything and anything I can to accommodate what my body needs.
In additional to physical restrictions, I have mental distress from the pain.
Recently, I was out, trying to pretend I'm a normal, able-bodied person. But the pain became too much and I sat in a corner of a crowded event with tears streaming down my face. When I finally got home, I cried myself to a restless sleep that lasted until I moved and woke up screaming. Afterwards, my body shut down and I passed out for almost 24 hours. Fun night, right? And all it cost me was missing a full day of work, being with my family, and doing anything productive.
The pain is growing worse each day and the medication isn't working as well. I can’t walk without pain. I am trying to cope with something most people can’t relate to I try to explain how exhausted I am, and the effects it has on me, my work, and my life. Without fail, I am told, "You work on a computer in bed; it can't be that hard," "Why do you need to take off? You're not doing physical work," and "It can't be that hard to type out words." It isn’t as easy as they seem to think. There are days I can't find the right words to form sentences, I can't remember if I took my medication or if I fed the dog. I spend hours staring at the wall because the brain-fog is so bad. My job isn’t easy. When I need a break, it’s not because I don't want to work; it’s because I don't want to mess up and tarnish my professional reputation because I couldn't focus and missed something important.
When someone says their pain is making it so they can't concentrate, don't dismiss it. They're trying the best they can with the energy and ability they have at the moment.