depression

Suicide and Chronic Pain: The Facts, Risk Factors, and Warning Signs

Christina Lasich, MD Health Pro May 09, 2011
  • The possibility of someone taking his/her own life is real. Every year, people commit suicide when least expected. Unfortunately, denial allows the warning signs to go unnoticed and the facts to be buried six feet under.  When someone does commit suicide, a community, family or circle of friends...

13 Comments
  • Anonymous
    done
    May. 14, 2013

    I agree with others above who say that after so many years of struggling, you just get so tired of it. I am not sure it's worth it to continue.  If I take enough medicine to be almost pain free, then I am so out of it mentally that I might as well be dead.  If I take less, then I am still mentally altered - but no as badly, but also still in pain,...

    RHMLucky777

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    I agree with others above who say that after so many years of struggling, you just get so tired of it. I am not sure it's worth it to continue.  If I take enough medicine to be almost pain free, then I am so out of it mentally that I might as well be dead.  If I take less, then I am still mentally altered - but no as badly, but also still in pain, but less than I would be without medicine. If I take no pain medicine, then I have my mental and emotional faculties in tact, but can't do anything with them because the pain is too bad. I do EVERYTHING else possible for pain: meditation, breathing techniques, biofeedback, vitamins/herbs, anti-inflammatory diet, patches, creams, ice, magnets, support garments, you name it.  I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome with multiple effected joints, especially my sacro-iliac that is excruciating and, although fused, still hurts a ton. No doctor can tell me why, and they don't even seem to care about the fact that I have NO life! I got in so much pain as of January that I had to quit almost everything that was bringing me joy: exercise, volunteering, Bible study, and being involved in my daughter's life. So I am in pain all the time, and I'm just a drain to my family. I don't accomplish anything, I don't even look the same as I used to. It just doesn't seem worth it to me right now. I'm tired of fighting. Tired of looking for a doctor who might give a damn about how well I was doing before plummeting in January. They just don't seem to care - they just say they don't know and send me on my way. I am too tired of fighting this - of fighting insurance companies to pay for it all, and of being an unaccomplished wife and mother.  I'm just totally average or below average in terms of humanity, and I'm sick of being in pain 24/7. It doesn't seem worth it, and I if I didn't have a daughter I'm pretty sure I'd just die because this will never get better. They told me that, and I'm sure they're right.

  • gbbgrandma
    Nov. 01, 2012

    I saw this for the first time today....11/1/12.  I've had fibro DX'd since 1988 and had symptoms for years and years before that.  I'm tired....just plain tired of the pain.  Yes, I have a plan.  No, I've never talked to anyone about it.  But there is one thing stopping me.  In 1989, my oldest daughter was killed in an auto accident...

    RHMLucky777

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    I saw this for the first time today....11/1/12.  I've had fibro DX'd since 1988 and had symptoms for years and years before that.  I'm tired....just plain tired of the pain.  Yes, I have a plan.  No, I've never talked to anyone about it.  But there is one thing stopping me.  In 1989, my oldest daughter was killed in an auto accident and the pain from that is unbelievable....worse than any physical pain I could ever suffer.  I could never leave my other 2 children in that great of pain.  So I will continue to hurt and cry and beg not to wake up in the morning.  I'm very upset about this whole opiate thing.  My meds are the only things that allow me to work day after day.  If I didn't have them, I would be bed-ridden.  I hate being treated like a druggie.  I take my meds on a schedule and only as directed.  Luckily I have a great rheumatologist who knows that some people are helped by opiates.  The media attention is distressing.  Anyway, I am coping now even if it's just sitting and crying sometimes.  I have my son and daughter and 5 wonderful grandchildren and they keep me going.....they are the only reason I'm alive.

    • Christina Lasich, MD
      Health Pro
      Nov. 02, 2012

      Yes, you can live through some very painful moments especially when you have work to do, people to love and a purpose to focus on.

       

      Thanks for sharing your story.

       

      Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

  • Anonymous
    Kim M
    Jan. 20, 2012

    I know it's been months since anyone posted to this article.  But I hope you guys are still reading this.  I am not a chronic pain sufferer; however, four days ago a close friend who suffered neck pain killed herself.  She had plans in place to have surgery which has a high success rate and other friends we know have had the same surgery with...

    RHMLucky777

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    I know it's been months since anyone posted to this article.  But I hope you guys are still reading this.  I am not a chronic pain sufferer; however, four days ago a close friend who suffered neck pain killed herself.  She had plans in place to have surgery which has a high success rate and other friends we know have had the same surgery with great success.  I know she was in constant pain, but for some reason she stopped the things that helped to manage it like accupuncture and physical therapy.  I asked many, many times how she was doing and she always just said ok.  I wish she would have been more open and shared exactly what she needed and how she felt.  If I had known she was not ok, I would have done more to be there for her.  But her choice was made and acted upon and there is nothing that I can do but cry, ask why, and ask what I miss.  I can't even be mad that she made that choice because it was hers to make.  I just wish she would have reached out for help because while she said she was frustrated, she never told me what she was contemplating.  As a loved one left behind, I can tell you it's devastating to lose someone because of this.  Keep reaching out to your loved ones......some may not be able to handle it and may not be there for you, but others WILL.  Keep fighting because your family and friends want you to whether they are able to tell that or not.  Whether they can find the right words or do the right actions to help you, your loved ones do care what happens to you.........please keep fighting.  I can no longer help my friend but I hope I can help someone else make a different choice.

    • JRH
      JRH
      Feb. 02, 2012

      I have been experiencing chronic pain since 1998 from multiple medical conditions.  Up until 2009 I was managing ok with my treatments and diet.

      However, in 2009 I needed a surgery for an additional problem somewhat

      related to the first and it has been a living hell since.  There were problems with

      the first surgery which the surgeon, as well-respected...

      RHMLucky777

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      I have been experiencing chronic pain since 1998 from multiple medical conditions.  Up until 2009 I was managing ok with my treatments and diet.

      However, in 2009 I needed a surgery for an additional problem somewhat

      related to the first and it has been a living hell since.  There were problems with

      the first surgery which the surgeon, as well-respected as he was, failed to act upon.  This required three more surgeries in the next several years.  The up-shot

      of it all was I was now in severe chronic pain, my stomach paralyzed, unable to

      work and now on disability, short of breath frequently because of the stomach

      paralysis and unable to exercise regularly which before I had loved and as expected an incredibly now-strained marriage.  I attempted suicide last year by

      taking an overdose of sleeping pills but all it got me was an DUI.  Praise God I

      didn't hurt anybody else.  Pain management is not so easy for me.

      Methadone gave me horrible bladder pain and insomnia and Oxycontin gave me

      severe itching even at low doses.  I take lorcet but it really doesn't give me full

      relief and sometimes I admit I take it a little early just to try to get some relief.

      I've also taken lyrica and anti-depressants which really haven't helped my pain

      much either.  I still have some things to do to put my affairs in order such as

      pay this years taxes which are incredibly complicated for us since we sold my

      business and some land last year due to my illness.  But I constantly think about ending my life once these things are straightened out.  I honestly believe

      that my options of obtaining adequate pain control are very slim and I hate my

      life now since almost everything I used to do for pleasure previously I can no 

      longer do. I am a religious person but right now I feel my body's broken and it

      seems to me a form of torture to keep trying to make it go on.  But when it

      comes right down to it, I don't know if I will have the guts or fortitude to stop

      eating, which I've decided is the way I will try if I try again.  I do not own a gun

      and I just can't seem to go that way.  I stopped eating for several days before

      and its not very much fun.  My wife gets pretty mad at me and usually yells at

      me enough to start eating again.  I think everybody has their own limits of the

      amount of pain; physical, emotional, psychological that they can handle.  I hope

      I'm an outlier.  I hope most people will get some relief of their pain and

      depression with proper medical treatment, It just hasn't worked very well for me.  I just hate everything about this.  I hate the pain.  I hate not being able

      to work.  I hate not going on trips.  I hate not being physically active.  I really

      don't want to bum everyone out.  I haven't thrown in the towel just yet.  I'm

      going to talk to my pain doc soon about another med to try.  Sometimes I think

      this might be easier doing this alone.  I hate the stress I'm giving my poor wife.

      For those of you that are also struggling with chonic pain, I pray that you will

      find kind, compassionate,and knowlegible caregivers and I pray that God will

      give your families strength and patience, for  we are not always an easy lot to

      deal with.

    • hurting 24 /7
      Jun. 08, 2012

      jhr i am very sorry about you staying in so much pain.i know what you going through with pain.i hurt my back ,ankle,and feet and both my knee caps broke in 1984. i never know what severe pain was till then.but i know now.i live in severe pain every day.i have to take pain meds 24 hours a day just to get by.in 1984 the doctors told me i never be able to move...

      RHMLucky777

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      jhr i am very sorry about you staying in so much pain.i know what you going through with pain.i hurt my back ,ankle,and feet and both my knee caps broke in 1984. i never know what severe pain was till then.but i know now.i live in severe pain every day.i have to take pain meds 24 hours a day just to get by.in 1984 the doctors told me i never be able to move my lower part of my body again.the doctors keep telling me i never get out of the wheelchair ,but i kelp telling them i would .in two years i was out of the chair and walking.then i started having bad granmom seizures bad. so along with the pain meds i had to start taking seizure meds two.my pain was so bad that i pray to god to let me die so i could get out of pain.six months later i got so depressed one night i toke a overdose of pain meds. the next moning when i was found laying across my bed i was about dead .by the time thay got me to the hospltal i was dead the doctor told my family he could not save me.but by the grace of god i came back to life.i dont know but i think god sent me back to talk to people to try to help them in time of need.theres not much in my life i have not did from drugs to drinking in my life.its all behind me now.i have had so many surgerys on my back and ankle and feet i stoped counting them. i know the the stain that being disabled can put on a marrage.it was bad enought i was disabled.me and my wife been marred 24 years now. its been a hard road with bills and all .but we have each other and the good lord helping us. if it had not been for my wife and childen i would have give up .but when things get bad she say we may not have much but we got each other and love and we make it.im 54 years old now and in my wheelchair for good .last year my wife got cancer and friday the doctors told me its moved down into her lungsshe not able to do much stays sick all the time but she keeps telling me not to worry we have each other and the lord to hold our love togather.my wife keep telling me all the time the lord will not put know more on me than i can handel.

    • Anonymous
      mmytd
      Jun. 21, 2012

      I fear that suicide by patients in severe pain will become more common now with the shortage of pain meds being distributed. A person not only has to convince a medical professional that they are in chronic pain but now has to have a pharmacist be convinced also. Many patients are being made to feel like a criminal just to get their medicine filled, they are...

      RHMLucky777

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      I fear that suicide by patients in severe pain will become more common now with the shortage of pain meds being distributed. A person not only has to convince a medical professional that they are in chronic pain but now has to have a pharmacist be convinced also. Many patients are being made to feel like a criminal just to get their medicine filled, they are judged by appearance as to whether their condition(s) are real and then may be dismissed with "I don't feel comfortable filling this for you, you do not look like you need this drug." I have heard this many times in the past few months. Even worse is when the pharmacist says they are not allowed to fill that drug anymore and the store will not carry it, and you go from store to store and get the same reply. Managers do not know if they will get it in and can not tell you if they do. When the authorities are stopping trucks at the state border and seizing cargo meant for the pharmacy distribution centers just to stop the accidental overdose epidemic? I am sorry for all those who have lost a loved one from an overdose. My heart aches for your pain, however, many patients physical pain is so excruciating, they would consider suicide instead of life without pain medication. The well meaning family members that have "made it their mission" to put an end to this epidemic, have also created a monster for many more peoples lives. Just the thought of one patient I know with "RSD"(CRPS) who stated yesterday that if she has to go one more week not being able to fill her scripts, she will kill herself. Her pain is debilitating and severe, but does a pharmacist see it when she walks in the door? Who are all of these people to judge, I fear the worse.

    • Melanie
      Jun. 21, 2012

      I have been in chronic pain since 2007. I also have a brain tumour. I feel lucky as in England there is not such a problem getting pain meds. I pretty much get as much moraphine as I need. I take huge doses every day. Up to 240ml as well as oxycotin, valium and co-codamol. But sometimes the pain supercedes all that. I have had to give up work and my husband...

      RHMLucky777

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      I have been in chronic pain since 2007. I also have a brain tumour. I feel lucky as in England there is not such a problem getting pain meds. I pretty much get as much moraphine as I need. I take huge doses every day. Up to 240ml as well as oxycotin, valium and co-codamol. But sometimes the pain supercedes all that. I have had to give up work and my husband now works from home so he can be my carer. I am bored, lonely, isolated and miserable. I used to have a career, now I struggle to read the newspaper with my befuddled brain. I dream about suicide all the time. But realistically I know I couldn't leave my husband and children with that legacy. So I plod on. Getting dressed and putting make up on, just to sit in my house aloane & miserable. I feel like I carry suicide in my handbag, 'just in case'. Maybe one day....then this pathetic existence (I can't call it a life), will  be over. 

  • Skye
    Jun. 02, 2011

    I know that many people feel strongly against suicide but sometimes even after years of therapy and medications and counseling,when one disease after another attacks your body, making every bit of energy you have used against the last one seem usless and your family doesn't come around anymore because even they can't stand to see you in pain and the shell of...

    RHMLucky777

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    I know that many people feel strongly against suicide but sometimes even after years of therapy and medications and counseling,when one disease after another attacks your body, making every bit of energy you have used against the last one seem usless and your family doesn't come around anymore because even they can't stand to see you in pain and the shell of the person you used to be, and now you have been labled with "chronic pain" so you can't get narcotics when another pain diagnosis hits, and you work every day to get "better" and you know that you aren't and never will after so many years and your spouse sticks by you and you and you watch them get sucked down by the physical and financial burden of caring for you, you just get tired. Worn out, run down by a country that won't even allow heath care providers to prescribe effective pain medication for their pain suffering patients for fear of being raided or disbarred for doing their duty to help relieve suffering.

    And the pain marches on and on and you just keep getting more and more tired. So I guess all of you who feel so bad after we are gone, ought to get off your duffs and see us now, knowing we are still inside our pain racked bodies and waiting for some loving company or as it begins to feel, our friend death.

    Yes, I am in pain and very lonely and Crydepressed but I don't take my life because of the pain I would leave to those left behind feeling guilty.

    • Skye
      Jun. 07, 2011

      I was really hoping that someone else would contribute to this topic. I am keeping in close contact with my mental health providers, but my doc does't seem to understand that I have REAL documented new physical pain and am allowed just enough Vicodin that I have to play "catch up" with every dose.

      I have done everything my doc has suggested and discovered 2...

      RHMLucky777

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      I was really hoping that someone else would contribute to this topic. I am keeping in close contact with my mental health providers, but my doc does't seem to understand that I have REAL documented new physical pain and am allowed just enough Vicodin that I have to play "catch up" with every dose.

      I have done everything my doc has suggested and discovered 2 more significant health conditions. Our weather has been so changeable and that is my worst pain trigger. I know my depression is bad, but so is my pain.

       

      Anyone else struggling or , like for me, is it really hard to write about?

    • Anonymous
      tiny
      Aug. 04, 2011

       thank you skye for sharing. i found this site a few days ago and what you wrote helped me.

    • Christina Lasich, MD
      Health Pro
      Aug. 05, 2011

      I am listening and I hear you. Even though I have had some bad years of physical and mental anguish, I have never seriously contemplated suicide. Although, I do take comfort in the fact that we are all going to die someday. That fact does not give me a license for reckless abandon, but it helps to know that everything is temporary.

       

      Personally, I am not...

      RHMLucky777

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      I am listening and I hear you. Even though I have had some bad years of physical and mental anguish, I have never seriously contemplated suicide. Although, I do take comfort in the fact that we are all going to die someday. That fact does not give me a license for reckless abandon, but it helps to know that everything is temporary.

       

      Personally, I am not strongly agaist suicide. We all have the right to pursue life and life in its entirety includes death. Within that right is the God given freedom to make personal choices that effect your life. But yes others are usually effected by what you do and leaving loved ones behind to clean up an emotional mess is quite a burden to leave behind. Those consequences are not to be taken lightly. And I am sure you do not take life decisions lightly. Just remember, what you do in life echoes an eternity and life includes death. What will your life echo?

       

      Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

    • Janet48
      Aug. 07, 2011

      I understand how you feel and am so sorry for your suffering.  When my thoughts turn to suicide because of my pain, I remind myself that it's the pain I want to be free of not life.  It's not always helpful, especially when the pain is a 10, and I've had to miss so many important days in my kids lives because of the pain.  Then the guilt starts,...

      RHMLucky777

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      I understand how you feel and am so sorry for your suffering.  When my thoughts turn to suicide because of my pain, I remind myself that it's the pain I want to be free of not life.  It's not always helpful, especially when the pain is a 10, and I've had to miss so many important days in my kids lives because of the pain.  Then the guilt starts, and my brain starts it's self-abusive cycle.  While I appreciate the Doctor's response to you, it was a great guilt inducer and people with chronic pain already carry way to much guilt.  Buddhism has helped me.  The first Noble Truth is that life is suffering.  They also teach that no feeling is forever, which encourages me to know the really bad pain WILL pass, and then will come again.  You have a right to make the best decision you can for your life.  It might be good to find a counselor you can talk to, and a few low energy required hobbies that involve something you enjoy.  Just to get you out of your "self" so to speak.  Even reading to the blind.  My heart is with you, my hand is in yours.  Namaste', and may your pain be a memory rather than a daily battle soon. Love, J