I have suffered from low back pain for over 10 years, off and on, but over the past few years it had become much worse with severe spasms which were agonising. Before this I began suffering with depression 20 years ago after my nephew died tragically. Sadly my other two sister’s also lost their sons all in quite a short space of time and I found I couldn’t deal with it very well. I actually felt guilty that I had my own children and I became increasingly depressed and have been on and off medication since then.
On top of this I had to deal with a number of other family traumas and was present during a robbery of a Post Office I worked in. During all this time I just had to cope as best I could. Because I tend to be a good listener friends would pour their hearts out to me about their own problems and I took on all their worries. In the end I began to feel I couldn’t cope and became very anxious. I found myself withdrawing from people, not going out socially at all and due to my back pain I found I was able to do less and less actively.
Other symptoms of stress that I’ve suffered with over the years are piriformis syndrome, vaginiitis, rectal spasms and tendonitis. I have also suffered from tinnitus ever since I had measles when I was 9 years old and developed a perforated ear drum and then a diseased mastoid. I constantly have buzzing and ringing and I can feel my heart pulsing in my ear and regularly have to have my ear scraped to keep it clear.
Various tests over the years have never shown anything seriously wrong, yet even with all the medication, including anti-depressants and Diazepam, I wasn’t able to live my life as I wanted to.
I have had counselling over the years and my GP said she would refer me again, but when I went for the initial assessment I was told I would have to wait 18 months before I could begin my course!
I already knew about Georgie’s Pain Relief Centre and that she was specialising in pain, so I thought I would ask her if she could help with my back pain. I popped in at first to see if she thought she could help me and just ended up in tears because I felt I didn’t know what else to do.
Georgie suggested I listen to the SIRPA Recovery CD to see whether this work was something I would be open to. I listened to it a few times until it began to sink in and then I decided to make an appointment for a full assessment and to do a full stress check up with Georgie. Georgie explained really clearly about Stress Illness and said that as I hadn’t had any injury and that there was no sign of anything serious going on with my back then the pain had to be caused by stress. The more she explained, the more I began to realise just how bottling up how I felt over the years could have resulted in not only the pain, but the anxiety and depression.
I also began to understand how having negative thoughts running through my mind all the time were just making things so much worse.
The most useful technique I found was the journaling. I’m not good at writing usually, but this was a great way to offload everything in my head onto paper without worrying about how it looked. The other thing that helped most was recognising just how much pressure I was putting on myself by the way I spoke to myself. Learning how to stop this and change it was a big step in being able to improve. I found Georgie’s positive self talk tapes brilliant and used them every morning on waking and I would also speak out loud to myself to motivate me.
It’s so nice to feel normal again and wake up each morning without my head spinning with thoughts of cancer and me dying. I am much more active and back to my normal sociable self again. In the past few months I have felt like I’ve got my life back in all ways and feel like I can get up in a morning and I feel positive and clear headed.
I used to spend each day always thinking bad thoughts and feeling guilty about how all this was affecting my husband. Now I feel in charge of my life again and not the victim I felt for so long. Even my tinnitus is probably about 80% better and sometimes I don’t even notice it! It will take a bit longer to wean myself off my anti-depressants, but now I know I can do it and I can’t believe how much better I feel. My daughter got married recently and I coped with all the pressure leading up to it and managed to really enjoy the whole event, whereas before this I would have been dreading it.