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Anxiety and Depression Support
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Pain = depression, sleep deprivation, and suicidal ideation

Hello, everyone. I'm new here and hope to find similar stories to glean encouragement and motivation via others' stories. I'm on pain meds, but they rarely help and when they do, it's minimally. I had onset of sciatica in the summer of 2017 and Piriformis Syndrome in the fall of 2017. By January 2018, both were at a pain level of 9/10 and I could no longer sleep through the pain. Since then, I've averaged 0-2 hours of sleep a night, so being exhausted and having terrible brain fog along with the pain have caused me to become depressed, and I think of suicide every day, pretty much all the time. I know I need help, but I have no insurance. I have paid for chiropractic care, PT, massage, injections, MRI, and all meds out of pocket and am out of money. I am pretty much disabled: can't walk, sit, lie down, etc. Nothing has helped. I just started going to counseling for depression at a clinic, but I am at a dead end regarding my pain because of lack of money and insurance. Does anyone have any success stories that might help me? I have no quality of life and don't want to go on like this.

Thank you!

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Hi Linnea1. I’m new here as well and I can relate regarding the pain. I have had spinal stenosis since 2004 and since then have had three spine surgeries, but still have chronic pain. I am also on three pain meds as well as meds for anxiety and depression. I just got out of inpatient psych and it literally saved my life. I know how financially taxing all of the issues can be and that just adds on to an already big pile. It’s great that you started going to group therapy. I find some group therapies to be better than individual therapy (sometimes). First off, I would recommend connecting with a social worker. They can help you navigate treatments and finances. The social worker I had in the hospital was phenomenal and they can really help get through the red tape as far as your state’s assistance programs and other things WHILE you are being treated. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS YOU!! Secondly, pain makes underlying conditions much worse. And sometimes the meds can even make things worse (in my experience). Your brain is constantly getting flooded with pain signals and you can’t even focus on anything else. But, the good news is (and I’m a living breathing example), you CAN get through this. It’s not going to be easy, but if you focus on what matters to you, you will find the determination to go through the process of finding out what works best for you. Unfortunately it’s a process and it sucks, but once you find the solution that DOES work, you will be amazed and be thankful that you didn’t use suicide as a coping mechanism. So, there is hope and hopefully you can find the light at the end of this tunnel. In the meantime, I’m here if there’s anything I can help with!

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Thank you for replying. I'm so glad that inpatient help saved your life. If I did that, I'd spend the time worrying about how I was going to pay for it.

I'm not in group therapy as you mentioned, but my counselor suggested group therapy. Since I couldn't find one locally that fit around my work schedule, she suggested an online group. That's how I ended up here. I also had spinal surgeries, due to spinal stenosis, and my first bout with sciatica (on the other side), in addition to other issues. The surgeries made me feel good as new and I thought that was that, but now, 15 years later, I'm having issues again. The sciatica I had before is nothing compared to this. My recent MRI showed issues all along the lumbar and SI areas. I have called many agencies and places for help, but there doesn't seem to be anyone who actually does free surgery for people without insurance or Medicaid. I am to the point where my only option seems to be taking out a bank loan and paying for surgery myself. However, as you suggest, I will try to connect with a social worker. Would that be through Child and Family Services?

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If I may ask, at this point are you more concerned about your physical health (pain) or mental health? I know it’s very hard to choose one over the other, but it may change what resources you might need right now.

I know my county (Montgomery County in PA) has a TON of resources and help for mental health, but help at that level for physical health may be harder and it may come to having apply for medical assistance, Medicaid, or even Medicare. From reading your first post, I would just think that you are “in crisis” and that is what needs to be addressed and that’s what may have more resources available. I know it can be very overwhelming and there’s no one-stop-shop (unless someone thinks you require an involuntary commitment or 302). If you want to contact me privately with your state and county or city, etc I may be able to find a number to call.

Finally, the national suicide prevention hotline is 855-634-HOPE. As you mentioned that you think about it daily, it may be a place that could get you help fast. I pray that you get everything you need and deserve. No one deserves to be in that condition and be denied help because of insurance or financial situation or have to worry about that while getting treated. It definitely prevents full healing and overall wellbeing. 🙏

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TJLinPA, I apologize for not replying sooner. My issues are too overwhelming most of the time to actually respond to anything. In answer to your question, I'm more concerned about my physical health, as that is what's created my mental health issues. No amount of antidepressant, therapy, or suicide hotline use (tried them many times, but I felt pushed off the phone very soon into the call) makes the pain go away. I can't sleep, work, or take care of myself or my pets like I should. I've been waiting for a determination from disability for about 6 months. Every day is like a nightmare, and I have no family or friends. It's been absolute hell going through this alone for 1.5 years with no one to talk to and with thousands of dollars of medical bills. The pain (8 or 9/10) is always there and nothing has helped.

Thank you for caring!

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I too have been where you are with Sciatica. And the lack of sleep and brain fog.

I am figuring you are in the United States? Because if you look around you can find all sorts of medical help for people that are financially struggling. I did this when I had found out I was pregnant 8 years ago. I was having severe pain at the beginning of my pregnancy and started bleeding. A friend of mine rushed me to the ER and there are so many government assistance programs. You should be able to qualify for something. Turned out I was hemorrhaging by the way. But everything turned out well.

As for sciatica caused by Piriformis Syndrome they did the sonogram thing on me and its supposed to warm you from the inside outward and loosen things. They also gave me different exercises to help strengthen my hips because that was what was causing it for me. They also gave stretches to do. The muscle deep in the glute was straining because of weakness and as it knotted up it pinched the sciatica.

I can understand being depressed and tired of being in pain but norhing is worth your life. Somehow, things will get better. Suicide is so permanent a d there is no turning back. You are loved, believe me on this. I will pray for you.

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Yes, I'm in the US. I'm glad everything turned out fine for you.

Actually, my sciatica showed up before my PS, but the fact that the Piriformis muscle is sitting on the sciatic nerve makes it even worse. All exercises and stretches made it worse. I did several months of therapy and it was excruciating.

Thank you for replying and for your prayers.

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Mine started up beforehand to but later I ended up with the same problem as you. I can actually dig deep and find the muscle and massage to make it feel better. I would see what kind of assistance you can find and get it resolved or a second opinion even.

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Massage hurts too much. It increases the pain. I've tried to get assistance for almost a year now, but I don't seem to qualify for anything.

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I think you’ve gotten some good suggestions from others. I don’t have much to add around how to get financial assistance , but felt drawn to the fact that you contemplate suicide daily. My heart goes out to you. Glad to hear you’ve found a counselor. Have you mention your suicidal thoughts to her/him. Seeking Professional help with those thoughts may lead to help with your pain and other issues that you’re unable to afford. You may also want to consult with your church. I will keep you in my prayers for God’s provision, guidance and healing. Your life is special please know that. *hugs*

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Careyon, After hiding all of this from my church for months, I finally shared it with my pastor, then a few people in church. Since then, no one has bothered to ask me how I'm doing. So, I confided in a few people, including the pastor, that I was suicidal, daily, sleep 0-2 hours a night, am beyond exhausted, have no insurance, etc., yet no one checks up on me. That's my church.

Yes, I shared my suicidal ideation with my counselor. I'm not very fond of her, but she's free and she's all I've got.

Sorry to sound so negative and hopeless, but I have tried everything I could thus far, but the pain and lack of sleep have taken my will to live.

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Hi. Just checking in. How are you doing? Hope all is well.

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Thank you so much for checking on me, Careyon. Things are the same. I must be stronger than I thought, since I have hung in there for several hundred days and nights, but I don't know how much longer I can do this. With the physical and emotional issues and trying to pay bills while working part-time, with no family or friends (feeling completely alone), something's got to give.

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You are stronger than you think. Know that you’re not alone. God is with you and I’ve been prayer for you. God’s word says he he is near to the broken-hearted (Psalms 34:18) and His power is strong when you are weak. (2 Cor 12:9) This is a season in your life that may seem never ending. But you must turn to Him for grace, mercy, strength, with mustard seed faith that He hears, cares and has the power to heal you physically and emotionally. Your church may have failed you, but I would recommend you find another one. One that has a grief ministry and counseling. Don’t try to do this alone, find God in the people around you and in His word. I pray God shows Himself to be so real in your life in this season. Look for Him, see Him, trust Him. He’s there. I know what you’re going through is tough but it seems you’re also a tough one. Fight this with all the strength you have ( even if it’s just mustard seed sized faith and strength). Take good care and see the sunshine in everyday.

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I'm sorry for replying to you so late. Thank you for writing and for your concern. Regarding my church, my job is through the church, so I would be losing my income if I left.

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I have been where you are. I didn't seriously consider suicide, but I was sleep deprived and in constant pain. I found a psychiatrist who told me I had to sleep and prescribed a sleep aid. I used that for a good while. That did help. You need sleep is what the doc said. Now I use medical marijuana at night most of the time. I also take Gabepentin and 100 mg of Seroquil at night and both help with sleep. I do not use the sleep aid now. I am sorry you had such bad luck with your church family. I feel isolated at times since I hurt to sit long. That kinda leaves me home, and others kinda just forget about us since we aren't able to return visits or go out anywhere. Just know you need to get to a good doctor who can get you on your way. I wish I could say more or do more, but please know suicide is not the answer. No matter! I will send you a private message.

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Charlee4, I can't sleep through the pain, even with the strongest opioids. Nothing has helped. I don't have insurance and have no money left for anything.

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Go to a free clinic. You need something! You are going to have to sleep before you can heal. Please find help even for just some sleeping pills.

Come off the pain pills, but slowly. You say they do not help. They don't help neuropathic pain. I don't know how many times I tried them and they don't work! Can you get a prescription for sleeping pills?

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I have been to several free clinics. They're only able to write scripts for (non-narcotic) pain meds, nothing else. Sleeping pills don't help. I can't sleep through the pain.

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I had this for about 4 months once. My case wasn’t as bad as yours in that I was able to stand or lay down but sitting down was horrible. At the time I had taken a vacation and the flight home was maybe the worst 5 hours of my life. It literally felt like somebody stabbing me for 5 hours, which I know you can relate to. It went away away over time without any treatment, aside from the stretching, which I did a lot. I also switched to a stand up desk at work, instead of sitting in a chair all day, which I think caused it for me in the first place. I don’t have any answers for you, but I will say that I’ve had great success with the Graston technique on other unrelated injuries and that would be something I’d ask for, if you haven’t already. Active release, and needles did nothing for my tennis elbow, but graston ( along with stretching and strengthening ) fixed it. Perhaps there’s scar tissue in there keeping the muscle tight. And if that’s the case, massages might not be enough. Just a suggestion.

Good luck

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I just watched a video about the Graston technique. Very interesting. Unfortunately, I have no more money, so I can only hope a physical therapist knocks on my door tomorrow and says he's giving away treatments and I can have one right there in my house.

You mention scar tissue, but most of my issues are coming from my piriformis, which is impinging upon my sciatic nerve, and I don't know how I would have scar tissue at that site. You say you got it from sitting; I apparently got it from overuse, as I was very active beforehand. From what I understand, if the PS has not gone away by now (about 16 months), I will need surgery, and there's the possibility of permanent nerve damage after this length of time. Any kind of chiropractic work, therapy, exercises, and stretching have only made it worse. By the way, and maybe I'm wrong, but after going for massage therapy and chiropractic care for several months, wouldn't someone have mentioned the Graston technique if they thought it might help? Just wondering...

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I have very little faith in the healthcare system because TWICE now I’ve rehabbed my own nagging injuries, through my own research online. The interesting thing is that nowadays, you’re practically your own best source of information because you can learn as much as you want to read. Doctors, Chiro’s, physiotherapists etc all have routine treatments/exercises for each ailment and it’s more about booking you for in that 15 minutes to earn $$$. The last time they researched sciatica or piriformis syndrome was maybe in school 15, 20, 30, 40 years ago. There could be new theories in medical journals that they have no idea about. But what are they doing when they drive their BMW’s home? not reading about sciatica.

You could go to 100 different Chiro’s and maybe 90+ of them will not even suggest or practice Graston, yet it’s a very effective treatment for a lot of injuries. There’s no special technique involved. It’s basically just scraping a metal bar against the injury to breakup scar tissue. I’ve done it to myself with a butter knife. I have zero clue if it’s a an effective treatment for sciatica , and I’m not suggesting you do it. But all I’m saying is there’s nothing technical or special about a lot of the expensive treatments given for these types of soft tissue/ overuse injuries. Most of the time the time the stretches and exercises are things you can easily perform yourself at home.

Sorry I went on a rant there. I empathize because I’ve done the same thing as you, endlessly search out treatments. There’s a solution for you somewhere, whether it is in fact surgery, or whether it’s simply a muscle imbalance or muscle tightness, that requires a simple stretch, ( like how tight hip flexors lead to my sciatica). Don’t give up hope. You will eventually find relief.

Take care

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