Wednesday, November 13, 2019
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Dependent

One of the things I’ve noticed in all that I’ve read about Endometriosis, whether it be a    medical journal article or a blog from a fellow fighter, is the hard topic of  a struggle for  someone who lives in chronic pain, is the dependency that you develop of prescription pain  pills.

On a side note, being dependent and being addicted are two completely different things.  Being addicted is to use, in this case, pain pills in a non-prescribed way. To take them when they’re not needed, to use them abusively. To be dependent is to depend on these drugs to function normally – in our case, to take a pain pill to get through a day full of pain. Being a dependent can lead to addiction and if you feel like you may have an addiction I strongly urge you to seek medical help from a doctor you trust. They in turn may send you to a counselor, which I again strongly urge you to do.

I’ve been thinking about this topic lately because of something that happened to me a few weeks ago.

A few weeks ago was my bridal shower, I am getting married at the end of this month. The shower was on Saturday. Wednesday I started having a lot of very bad pain. I spent Thursday in a haze of pain and a slightly drugged feeling from the pain killers I had the night before. By Friday night when my fiancé got into town I was knocked out on the couch on pain pills. Saturday I spent the day taking pain pills every 4 hours and kind of being lead through my shower by my mom and fiancé. Not the way I had always pictured spending my wedding shower. I looked through the pictures and even though my mom assured me no one could tell I was struggling to make it through the shower I could see myself in those pictures and see the effect of the pain killers.

As the weekend went on Sunday was much of the same, taking pain pills till I spent more of the afternoon very much out of it. In that weekend I took more pain pills than I have since surgery because I had so much to do and it was things I had to be present for. I mean you can’t exactly skip out of your own wedding shower because you feel terrible. Then came Monday, I felt better. Very sore from the pain but not hurting like I had been. Then Tuesday, I felt weird that morning, very edgy and panicky. By that afternoon the withdrawals from the heavy doses of pain pills came hard. I was very sick at my stomach, I had panic attacks, my heart rate was extremely fast and my whole body shook. I’ve heard of withdrawals but I had never experienced  them myself. They are completely horrible. You feel like you are going crazy and at times you wonder if you already have.

I know I am not the only Endo fighter out there that has done this. Take pain pills around the clock to get through a big event. So that’s why I want to know why the dependency and the withdrawals of this kind of living is never discussed. I think maybe it’s because we feel like if we admit we’re dependent on something we feel weak. I know I talk a lot about how weak this disease can make you feel, and how you feel like you struggle to be strong, the reason I do is because I know it’s a huge battle when dealing with chronic illness. For me it’s a huge thing because feeling weak and dependent takes a huge punch on your self esteem. You can feel like your worthless and alone.

Being dependent on prescription pain pills does not make you weak. It means you are fighting a very real battle with your body and that sometimes you need some help to get through it.

That being said I think the hard part is when being dependent on pain killers to get through a bad day and the line of feeling like you have to have them everyday regardless if your having pain or not gets blurred.

This is hard for me to talk about because I don’t like admitting being dependent anymore then anyone else does. But after I went through the withdrawals I think it’s very important to talk about.

The thing I noticed during the withdrawals and for probably up to a week afterward is that my body was craving that medication. I wasn’t in enough pain to take anything but I knew if I did that the withdrawals would stop. I’m not happy about saying that I was very tempted. The withdrawals were terrible but I also knew that there was a line that could be crossed, and if I started taking that medication just because my body was craving it and feeling like it had to have it that I would cross the line into addiction.  This is where the hard part is. For me I hate taking pain medication. I hate the way it makes me feel and I hate knowing that if I don’t take something when the pain reaches a certain level that I will never make it through the day, but on the other side I hate withdrawals. So this is where the battle comes in. When you take a lot of pain medication to make it through a big event and now you’re going through the withdrawals and your body is craving, begging for the medication. This is a very very hard fight and I would never tell you its something simple and easy to deal with because it’s not. I can understand how you can become a prescription pain medication addict. I understand and for someone with Endo that lives in constant pain, I would never judge them because I know exactly how it feels.

But I know how prescription addiction can ruin your life and if you cross that line, eventually it will.

So what do you do during withdrawals? I prayed. A lot. I cried, I slept, I drank a lot of water and when my body was shaking my mom held me like I was a little girl again. At that moment I felt like I was. I felt like screaming “Someone please help me!” I felt like I was going crazy but I didn’t take the medication. I kept the bottles out of sight and stayed away from where I had hidden them. I know this sounds like extreme measures to take when I’m not an addict and have never been one but I want you to see how important it is for me to never cross that thin line between dependency and addiction.

Being dependent on prescription medications when you live with Endometriosis and you’re in pain almost every day of your life, this is not something to be ashamed of or to feel weak or embarrassed about. This is just another hard thing we learn to live with and it’s a part of our battle. Don’t ever feel that you’re not a brave, strong woman because you have to take a pain pill to get through a big day.

But if you ever feel like you’re starting to wobble on the line of dependency and addiction I’m begging you to seek help. If you are struggling with withdrawals please find someone you can talk to. It can be your spouse, your parents, a close friend, your doctor or the sisters here on Fight Like A Girl. We are all in this together and every single part of this battle is important and you should never have to go through any of it feeling alone. You are a brave, strong woman because you are still going. You haven’t let this disease beat you. You will get through today and tomorrow, I know this because I know that you are strong.

Much love and pain free wishes ♥

The informational content of this article is intended to convey general educational
information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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12 comments

  1. Thank you Rachel for sharing this with us. As a fellow endo sister I know the pain pill battle all to well. But I was also addicted to pain killers at a young age when drs refused to listen to my pain so I resorted to self medication just to have no pain. But I didnt know what I was dealing with at that time. Even now over 7 years later I find it hard to cave in and take pills. It makes me feel weak and like I’m giving up but you have helped remind me this is a very real battle we are facing and I have to listen to my body. I hope your wedding day was beautiful and pain free. Stay strong my endo sister
    Much love Julia

    • I know exactly what you mean. It’s so hard not to feel like your letting everyone and yourself down when you have to take something for pain. I think as women we feel the need to be strong and take care of the people around us and when we’re knocked out on pain pills we can’t do that. But we have to remember to take care of ourselves too. We can’t worry about what other people say about how we handle the pain because we know our bodies and we know what we need.
      My wedding day was perfect 🙂 Thank you so much!
      Love and hugs!♥

  2. I am fighting breast cancer with mestasis to my spine, pelvis & liver…I hate pain killers…After a year I am finally off all meds except Benadryl for allergies & a pain med which I try not to take except at night to lessen the pain enough to sleep but the pain is getting worse everyday so some days like you I have had to take them just to get thru the day…with 2 young boys I can’t just stop living! I am going to try something suggested by Dr. Ozmet…I am including the link if you or others would like to check it out…My heart goes out to all that suffer daily daily pain…
    http://z6mag.com/health/california-poppy-extract-touted-by-dr-oz-as-pain-reliever-166763.html

    • Oh Sherri my heart goes out to you! I know how hard it is with kids because they don’t understand. Until recently I was living with my parents and brothers. I have a 6 year old brother who just couldn’t understand why there were days Sissy couldn’t play with him. He knew there were a lot of days I didn’t feel good but trying to tell him I was hurting just confused him because on the outside I looked the same. It breaks your heart when you have to tell a little kid that doesn’t understand why you can’t do something that you don’t feel like it. I have found he just loves spending time with me. Kids just need someone to be close to. So on my bad days we watch movies together. 🙂 You’ll be in my prayers!
      Thank you for sharing the link!
      Love and hugs!♥

  3. I know this battle all to well. When I was younger whenever I would go to the design or ER cause the pain was so bad they would always just prescribe me painkillers and send me on my way, then I started asking them to stop masking the problem and fix it. To make a long story short years of surgeries, horomones, various medications and therapies I got a lot worse-never better. It became a nightmare of living (if you can call it that) with constant never ending pain. Instead of pain a week out of the month it was pain every day never able to function or move of the couch, so I gave up my quest for curing myself because I tried everything and decided the only way I could function somewhat like a normal human being was to be on pain killers, what made it worse is people treat you like you CHOOSE to be on them like your doing it to get high or your a drug addict. Its easy for someone who had never been in never ending incurable pain to look down at you, they can never understand unless they had to make that choice, lay forever on a couch in unimaginable pain helplessly watching your life go by or take a medication that can let you live SOME of it! I wish more people would understand the difference of dependent and addict! If it where any other type of medication people would have no problem with it, its like its hardwired in peoples brains when they hear the word painkiller they freak out!

    • Catlin, you are exactly right. I know what it’s like to deal with surgeries, hormones and everything else that is involved. It breaks my heart to know someone has to deal with this kind of pain. So many people today have been affected in their own personal lives by a drug addict, a family member, a friend, people are touched by the affects of drug abuse. Because of that when pain killers are mentioned it looks like a big bright blinking red light to them. A guard goes up to protect themselves, just like we as the ones dealing with the pain and the frustration of people’s attitudes put a guard up to protect ourselves. We have to make the effort to understand each other. The people that truly love you and care about you will do their best to understand and not judge. They are the ones that matter.
      Love and Hugs!♥

  4. Rachael Ik exactly what u mean. Endo is so unknown that most don’t know nor do they know it truely is 1 of the most Painful diseases out there. I too have been through this struggle & can say u r 100%right. There r so many that do Abuse the meds that it makes those whom Need it look bad. After yrs of over the counter self help I did huge damage to my kidneys & liver from the tylenol & advil. I had to come to grips that if I wanted to be an actual Part of my 2 lil miracles lives things Had to change. My kids r true miracles & I didn’t want them to suffer any more watching me, so I caved, & went on the pain meds. I take as lil as I can but I have to take them & as u know most look at u diff.just for that reason. Putting your body through such roller coaster of emotions isn’t good neither. Know u not alone & will pray that your wedding day is what you’ve dreamed it to be. Don’t 2nd guess for anyone else, if u need pain meds, take them, forget everyone else, they don’t live in your shoes!! Keep up the positivity, ik itse how I get through!:)

    • Thank you so much Traci! Your exactly right, only you know how your body and what you need. My heart and prayers are with you!
      Thank you, my wedding day was perfect 🙂
      Love and Hugs!♥

  5. Patricia Armendariz-Tallon

    I understand completely with how you feel. It is hard to overcome the pain that goes with any disease. I am a breast cancer survivor and along with my chemo I was on IV antibiotics for a year due to a crazy infection I had. The joint pain is awful and I find it hard to stand up and walk at times. Therefore I am on Morphine and we are unsure how long I will have to be on it. Then I panic as to what will happen after that. Its sad how our bodies need certain things just so we can get through a day.

  6. i know what narcotic withdrawal is like I went from getting 2 mg morphine every 2 hours like clockwork to getting none. it was terrible but I was just a young girl I nd isn’t know what withdrawal was and my mon didn’t know the symptoms of withdrawal and so I went through withdrawal until the symptoms subsided .

  7. This story touched me so profoundly. I am one of those lucky women with this disease that has nonstop pain every day. I have to be on time release Oxycontin every day. With an Immediate release Oxycodone when the pain gets really bad. Even then I have days and weeks where Im laid out in bed from the unbearable pain. I have a high tolerance to ALL medications.I have been tolerant since childhood.. its in my genes. Everything from antibiotics to allergy pills. So of course pain medication was no different. So when I was put on pain medication from my OB/GYN of course it was a small dose. And after my surgery I was sent to pain management to deal with the pain from it being unsuccessful in treating my comdition. So now I am on much higher doses. But I dont feel the ” high” from my meds. Havent in a very long time. I need to take my meds just to get out of bed in the morning. And I can usually have a pretty productive day. But because of such high doses that if I take more to get through a big day and I run out before going back to the doctor.. I go through withdrawls so bad that I vomit anything and everything I put in my stomach. Cant sleep, cant move, cant sit still, too hot and too cold at the same time, cold sweats the whole shebang. I get looks from Pharmacy techs and nurses that you can just see the thoughts of contempt going through their minds.. Im young.. 25 and I happen to have many tattoos. Im thought of as a stereotypical “druggie” because Im not in a wheelchair or my hair hasnt fallen out. It really does make you want to crawl under a rock! Even ER doctors and nurses have asked me staright out if I was an addict. I sometimes have to go to the ER for a shot of medicine because my pills wont help the pain and Id rather not overdose.. Anyway. I just wanted women who are in the predicament that I am that its not that you are an addict. There is a fine line between dependent and addiction. But that you are sick, even if no one believes you. And when youre sick, you take medicine, we cant suffer and let the best things in life pass us. We need to have confidence in ourselves that we will be ok. And we have this thing under control. Even if that mean we need a little help from a pill or two. So thank you Rachel for putting this out there. More people do need to talk about pain medication in a positive light, its become taboo and that is not fair to me or the women and men that REALLY REALLY NEED this to live out our lives the best we can. So again thank you.

    • hi I understand how you are all feeling I also suffer from endo and i’m 100%sure but I think that I was additted to adivl … 5 months ago I was at work and had a lot of pain in my back and I had to pee about every 20 mins and I work on a production line so when I went pee not only did it hurt thier was also blood so I went home and went to the no appointment clique . did a pee test thier was no infection but thier was blood in my pee . then I went for a scan the doc saw 4 kidney stones after 3 weeks in being in very bad pain the doc decieded to operate . well they did not find any stones . 4 day later I had to wake up my husben at 1:00am because I could not pee . so we went to the er were they put a cafter ( was I ever happy any longer and I was going explode .lol I had an infection and at the er they also did a scan and saw 1 stone . went to back to see my uralogist (pee and kidney doc lol) he said that it could be my endo that was causing the pain in my kidney because during my period or ovolation I get so bolded that my female organs pust on my kidneys . so I went to see a new guyno and she said the same thing as the last guyno I.U.D with hormones . the pain has been so bad during all this that I have tryed and abudsed almost every pain killer out thier the reason the I turned to advil was because the pain killers would make have a very hard time with consapation just one other thing with endo/ lol . after I got my I.U.D put in I was in alot of pain I was taking about 4 advil every 2 to 3 hours and after about 2 days of this my kidneys were burning . I went looking for the effects of advil on the kidneys what I fount out was not good advil in large dosages and for long periodes of time . cause kidney damge I really think this is what the scan that i’m waiting for will conformer so what I did is just what the kidney assoiation said no prossed food and no more advil . the only think I’m still in pain from the endo . anyone have any other ways to ease the pain . and if anyone dose take alot of adivl please let your doc know . also dose anyone take medical weed for endo I have been looking at this as a pain management option . the pain is very overwelming and because I was talking so many advil to ease the pain I feel every little pain I have not fealt in years . sorry about the spelling it’s 3:11am and i’m up in pain . also I just can’t spell LOL.have a good night From Brenda

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