I am writing this post at gunpoint. Knifepoint. Somethingpoint. My new therapist says to write something, stream-of-consciousness, no editing. My new therapist says to take action, to just engage in the act of writing, ego and outcome be damned. Many other people, of course, have given me the very same advice. But I'm not paying THEM an arm and a leg to tell me the obvious, am I?
I react well to financial investment in self-improvement, apparently. In other words, I'm afraid of going broke, so I need to feel I'm getting something concrete out of therapy.
I don't want to write about what I've been eating lately, for which I'm certain some of you will be grateful. It's not that I'm eating horrendously. Nor am I sticking to my food plan 100%. I'm firmly entrenched in the process of figuring it all out and I am bored, bored, bored of talking about it.
I keep asking myself what to write about here and the answer that keeps coming is: pain, pain, pain. It's not that I want to write about it. It's just that it's so bad right now I can't really see past it. It's like an annoying, distracting flashing neon sign so bright in my eyes I can't see anything else.
A couple of months ago, I went to see a pain management specialist. I have a rich history with pain management specialists - largely that I have a tremendous fear of them. So many times I've been told that I don't have fibromyalgia, that it doesn't exist, only to then be diagnosed with it. So many times I've been trotted off to the ineffective eight sessions of PT my insurance covers or pushed out the door with muttered instructions to eat better and put heat/ice on whatever ails me.
Doctors, in general, hate it when they cannot help you. Writers, in general, hate it when they cannot edit their own writing. This stream-of-consciousness directive is killing me.
But I digress. I went to the new pain management people. No one told me I didn't have fibromyalgia. No one told me I didn't have damage from two car accidents. No one said I can't help you. They said: here are four or five things that we can try and I wept with hope.
Now I'm two months into the process and feeling more cynical than before. I understand the goal is to keep going, keep moving forward, keep trying. But so far, the efforts to improve my pain seem to be falling flat. I did a horrendous six-week dance with Cymbalta, which I am still withdrawing from. I wasn't even on it long enough to see if it helped my pain.
I had an MRI, which showed two bulging cervical disks on top of everything else. I had a cervical epidural injection of steroids, which didn't do a thing except relieve my bank account of $600. Today I get to have another and feel like if I could have a stern talk with the injection about just what it's costing me, maybe it would endeavor to be more effective?
And then there was the psychiatrist they sent me to, who wrote about me for 15 minutes in large, childish letters on a legal pads. He handed me the name of a nutritionist and another doctor, who believes the body holds repressed rage as pain and who, he says, may be able to cure me of fibromyalgia in four, three-hour lectures. I scoffed. Internally, of course, because I'm polite like that.
But now? After the new meds and the epidural have failed me? Let's just say I'm inching closer to thinking about considering thinking about the possibility that that particular brand of voodoo might work.
And then there's the new therapist, who I saw once out of obligation, marching into her office with the intent to tell her I wasn't coming back. I already have a relationship with a therapist who I see when I need to. I don't need to start from scratch with the exhausting process of paying to tell a stranger who I am.
The universe, of course, had other plans. Because the new therapist says things that hit me where I live. The new therapist is coming at me from a different angle. She knows pain. She knows 12-step recovery. And, I'm slightly sheepish to admit, I knew in my gut she could help me.
She says to write, so here it is. My babbling. She says that we have to work on the idea that I have pain, it doesn't have me. It sounds like an awful, awful bumper sticker.
It seems like I have no choice but to try it out.