1. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Why do we fall down?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Justin Rocket 2, Feb 1, 2016.

    Most authors have been through dark periods in their lives. I'm going through one now. I fear the chronic spinal pain I live with is getting the better of me. Since 2012 (when I stopped working professionally due to my disability, I've completed no stories. The pain and depression seem to have strangled my creativity and passion.

    But, then I look at my role models. My mom raised myself and my three brothers largely by herself. My dad had schizophrenia which made him more of a burden than an aid in helping her. Did I ever mention that she was blind and deaf? All of her sons became professionals outstanding in their fields. One of my brothers led the team in one of the US military camps in Afghanistan ensuring that US soldiers never had to worry about any computer networking issues. Another brother is a top-level consultant on water flow (I tease him that he's a "plumber," but he's so much more than that) at the big nuclear plant in Tennessee. We owe so much of who we are today to the example my mom set for us.

    It is for that reason that it is tearing me apart that I might not be able to move towards becoming a professional author.

    So, once more unto the breach. I fling my body once more upon the machine (the effort to become an author) which has chewed and torn me and spat me out in the past. I'm not sure when obstinance becomes insanity. I hope I've not moved past that point. But, I cannot walk this path alone. I need someone to hash ideas out with. My spinal injury has largely left me house-bound. Once or twice a week, I gather sufficient resolve to do grocery shopping. I desperately need a writers' group, but one which meets online - one in which I can discuss the progress I've made and what I'm stuck on.

    This thread will be that place.
     
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  2. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Well that was quite dramatically written. <wry grin> Your Mom sounds like a force of nature, of which I commend her!

    Honestly, everything you've mentioned just gives me all the reasons you should write. You have a story, and a means of which of telling it. I'm wheelchair-bound, so I feel your struggle. Luckily, I am able to leave the house.

    Are you the one who made the post about dealing with chronic pain a while back?
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I am so sorry to hear you're experiencing chronic pain. I have a friend with fibromyalgia, and I know how much it affects her life. I think chronic pain can be more difficult to deal with than many other disabilities. Even blindness and deafness are static things that can be worked around. Pain is something else. It's constant, and usually overwhelming. It's no damn wonder you're not feeling very productive.

    Is there any chance you can get pain relief? I suppose you've tried just about everything, haven't you? I'm so sorry.

    I'm particularly sorry because I looked back over your workshop entries and remembered them both, especially the one with the red snowmobile. I think you have the makings of an excellent writer, and you certainly have a fertile imagination. I do hope you can either work on your 'good days' if you have them, or are able to focus over and above the pain you're in, and feel that you've accomplished something a lot of other people never do. Become a writer. If there is anything we can do to help, please ask.
     
  4. Jeff Countryman
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    Jeff Countryman Living the dream Supporter

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    Not biting on this one. Love ya lots and wish you the best.

    Cheers,
    Jeff
     
  5. lastresort
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    lastresort Banned

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    Sounds like you feel the pressure of living up to the success of your siblings. I don't think you have anything to prove with or without your disability. Just go easy on yourself and work on medical advice for that pain management.
     
  6. C. Alexander
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    C. Alexander New Member

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    Yeah man! Forge on! It may be cliche, it may be bull****, but a lot of writers use their state of mind, and their depression or rough spot to make something truly beautiful. Harness it. Make your state of mind your fuel. Write on!
     
  7. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Thank you, all of you, for the kind words of encouragement. They mean a lot. This kind of support is what I need. I'm not proud to admit that I'm going through some Hemingway-level depression. (Depression is a common side-effect of chronic pain.)



    I was on pain relief through a pain specialist clinic up until the middle of December. They closed for business in November as the doctor moved to a different state. I ran into all kinds of barriers trying to get my records from that old clinic. No new clinic would accept me as a patient without first reviewing my records. So, I went for a while without pain relief. While I restarted pain management about a week ago and my pain level has dropped from incapacitating to inhibiting, I think I've still got an abundance of stress hormones. Can someone get PTSD from chronic pain?



    There's some of that, I'm sure. But, I think the pressure of not being who I used to be plays a bigger role. Before I had my accident, I was doing very well professionally. Now, I'm pinching pennies while I wait for approval for SSD. I'm frustrated that my financial investments will soon all be gone. Everything I try to do to stretch my financial resources (such as studying extreme couponing or selling stories) overwhelms me.


    But, I'm not going to set up camp in this dark pit. Tomorrow, I swear that I will complete at least the rough draft of one scene (about 750 words) in my WIP.
     
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  8. lastresort
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    lastresort Banned

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    [QUOTE="Justin Rocket, post: 1410768, member: 54841"


    There's some of that, I'm sure. But, I think the pressure of not being who I used to be plays a bigger role. Before I had my accident, I was doing very well professionally. Now, I'm pinching pennies while I wait for approval for SSD. I'm frustrated that my financial investments will soon all be gone. Everything I try to do to stretch my financial resources (such as studying extreme couponing or selling stories) overwhelms me.

    [/QUOTE]
    I can relate to that definitely. I was earning big bucks with a certain amount of social status. Now I watch my savings diminish, dwindle, disappear daily and other "d" words away, as I sit here jobless, friendless and humourless. But my misfortune is nowhere near yours.
     
  9. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's bittersweet to see a fellow chronic back pain sufferer.

    @Justin Rocket , your story sounds eerily familiar: I've wrestled with chronic back pain for about 7-8 years now and I can relate to the despair, fear, and frustration of watching your life, everything you've worked so hard to build, slowly crumble around you.

    Seriously, to quote Steve Vai, I have been so fucked by my spine and medical bills that my asshole is the size of Beverly Hills. Especially the pain medication is costly; every year I have to pay about 700e before the public health system starts pitching in on any helpful level, but even then I easily top 1000e on meds and medical bills every year.

    In addition to the back problems, the pain medication is doing a number on my health, and so far the prescription drugs have almost killed me twice (and would have hadn't @KaTrian been there to notice and call an ambulance).
    It's been years since I derived any pleasure at all from my daily doses of tramadol and pregabalin. Already years ago I grew to loathe the way the drugs make me feel, but it's very difficult to quit taking them because honestly speaking, sometimes the pain is so bad, all I can do is stay prone (which helps my lower back pain, but also makes my upper back pain worse) and try my best not to lose my mind.

    There's no end in sight which is very demoralizing. Possibly the worst part has been my inability to work and finish my almost finished degree, both of which effectively prevent me from pitching in monetarily as much as I'd want. It also sucks so hard when I have to let go of my dearest hobbies one by one: first went self-defense and combat sports (which I trained over 25 years; they were a lifestyle to me), then weight lifting, then running, then swimming (which helps with the pain but with my current dosages, it's possible my heart couldn't take the strain).
    It's been devastating to go from the fittest guy in my social circles, having a six-pack, having a resting heart rate of 40bpm, and training approximately twice a day with only the occasional day off. Now I get winded just by walking up a single set of stairs to our 2nd floor apartment, gone is the six-pack, and my resting heart rate has almost doubled. It's pathetic.

    I'm also mostly home-bound and usually only head outside when I have to, i.e. to go do the groceries or whatever mostly because simply put, moving, including walking, hurts.
    I definitely don't feel like I'm giving the best version of myself to my wife; I frequently catch myself thinking she'd deserve so much better. At least I'm damn lucky that she disagrees.

    This also affects our writing: when I was better, we'd regularly pull 6-12h writing binges almost every day despite (part-time) work and university. It's no wonder our ridiculous pace of producing a few 100-150k manuscripts per year has died down to a crawl. Now we're lucky if we write/edit 2-6h a few days a week.

    Needless to say, I do my best to hold on to the hope that it's possible for me to get back into the shape I was in before all this shit. If I lost that hope, I don't know if I could go on.

    So yeah, I'm sorry about your situation. I don't really have any advice on how to get better. What I can do is explain how we try to maintain at least some kind of regularity with writing, and in my case it's mostly tied to two things: 1. Whether my back is having a good or bad day and 2. Whether my morning or evening dose has kicked in yet.

    On those all too few days when I'm not in maddening pain and the meds are coursing through my veins en masse, we get the chance to once more lose ourselves into the magical worlds we've created together. Those writing sessions give me hope that maybe it's still possible to regain my previous level of health (or at least get close), that maybe I can still get well enough that I could start bringing more money into our household, that maybe it could be possible to adopt a kid or two one day.

    Until then I can only take one day at a time and do my best to make each day slightly better than the last, even if only in some minute way because what may seem trivial (like doing the laundry, going for a walk etc.) to most can be like a huge victory in a situation like this.

    Hope things get better for you. If nothing else, it can help to set surmountable goals, even just making it to the next day.
     
  10. Greyditch
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    Greyditch Member

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    I hear what you're saying mate. I've got a bad back myself from labouring in construction and it's terrible when it flares up. I hope I never have to go back to that caper. And I'm sorry to hear about your mom but she sounds like she raised some good boys. Don't give up.
     
  11. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I'm so sorry, I couldn't resist. "And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."
    I definitely agree harness the emotion. But don't wallow too much. Also deal with the problems. Practical or emotional.
     

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