Stories from The Front – What Chronic Pain Patients Are Saying About Suicide

Stories from The Front – What Chronic Pain Patients Are Saying About Suicide

When our friend, Terri Lewis Ph.D., announced she was looking for data about people with chronic pain who either have considered suicide or whose family member took their own life, we thought we’d help.

She is trying to create a subset of the largest chronic pain survey yet taken to help government regulators and others understand the desperation that the chronic pain community is enduring.

We knew—just knew—that the stories would be painful.

Here are two that we saw:

Kathleen Kaiser

On February 4th, 2019 I attempted suicide by taking a total of 170 opiate tablets. Surprisingly enough I lived. I had my medication reduced from 120 mme to 90 mme about a year ago. During that year I broke a total of eight bones, five of which were vertebrae. The most they would allow me to take while these bones were healing was an extra 15 mme. (two morphine ER and five 10 mg oxycodone) it was all more than I could take and that’s why I finally tried to kill myself. And to be perfectly honest I had been planning this for 6 months. I went through a lot of prep and I did a lot of research.\And I don’t have any opiates now because of what I did.

A reader identified only as Jess: My Brother & I both have/had chronic pain, I guess you could say we have bad genes. After the CDC guidelines was released my brother was abruptly taken off his pain medication in 2016. That same year he tried to commit suicide & was taken to the hospital put in the ICU. Thankfully he didn’t succeed that day. I remember going to the hospital & completely understanding why he wanted so bad not to live anymore. He was alone, abandoned & no Dr or hospital would help his pain. He told me that he felt that there wasn’t a reason to go on, that the pain was just too much. He felt alone! I’m not sure why he was taken off his medications, but I do know that he was doing so much better when he was on his pain medication. My brother was only 35 & he loved helping others, especially the elderly. In fact he would take care of some in his apartment building, that couldn’t help themselves. My brother had a huge heart. On November 2017 the day before Thanksgiving, I got that call. Zack died last night one of my sisters told me, I instantly thought he did it, he committed suicide, but I was wrong. He overdosed on illicit fentanyl & a mix of other drugs were found in his system. This was thus far the worst day of my life! I can’t even imagine what my mom was feeling, having kids myself I just can’t bear to think about losing one of my kids, it’s devastating! I feel my brother would be with us today if he still had his pain medication that gave him a better quality of life. He is missed so very much; my life hasn’t been the same without him. I really hope that something is done to help those of in the chronic pain community & honestly anyone that does have an addiction because they have a illness to it’s just not the same as us chronic pain patients who have been stable for years on pain medication. Who tried every therapy or alternative out there before trying pain medication? Chronic Pain Patients are not the problem!

Editor’s Note: Have you thought about suicide due to chronic pain? Has a loved one? If so, contact Dr. Lewis via email : tal7291@yahoo.com or leave a comment after this story.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Tobi

I have approximately 15 degenerative conditions that cause various levels of pain, have limited mobility/dexterity in both hands and am losing the ability to grasp. I was pulled off my pain pills when my doctor retired and no one else would prescribe. Then told to choose between, pain, anxiety, insomnia and ADD meds. Only one can be treated now. I’m so thankful for laser spine surgery last summer. I did consider suicide and on some days still do. I am in a state were medicinal marijuana isn’t legal but I use it anyway. Has made life fairly comfortable once I found the right strains.

Loyal Kuhn

I suffer from chronic pain due to a cervical spine stenosis as a result of an injury. In addition, I also have degenerative disc disease which is a considerable source of pain in itself. I daily battle with pain levels varying from 7 to 9, and find partial relief with Hydrocodone and anti-inflammatories. I have wondered about the number of suicides resulting from the “War on Chronic Pain Patients”. May I please have a copy of your list of suicides due to the war on opioids? I intend to publish the list on social media to point out the unfair and cruel treatment that chronic pain patients have received due to the CDC and Dr. Kolodky’s attack on prescription opioid patients.

Thank you for your consideration in my effort to introduce moderation and battle hysteria against the treatment of chronic pain patients

Part two:

I’m still battling this stupid infection (after a year and a half, he finally did a culture!), so I’m cautiously hopeful that my pain levels will go down once this crud is out of my system. Very cautiously hopeful. In the current opioiphobic climate, I don’t know if I’ll be able to find another doctor who prescribes, much less at the levels I need, unless I’m able to get palliative care. My current doctor has refused to try to get me certified.

I have lots of appointments that I need to get to after this infection is done with me, if we can find the right antibiotic. My immune system isn’t kicking back in though, and my lymph system seems to be on vacation.

I’ve already dealt with the pain for 20 years, although while I had the proper therapeutic dosages, I was still able to do most of what I needed to (grocery and other shopping, driving, etc.). Now I’m lucky to be upright for a few hours. My view on suicide has changed because I refuse to get worse. I refuse to lay in bed writhing in pain with no relief in sight. So, despite wanting to be around for everything, if I can’t find a doctor to go over my diagnoses and prescribe accordingly (being a rapid metabolizer sucks), then I choose to release my family from my burden.

I have had three prior attempts at suicide when I was 17-21 years old. I got medication, therapy, and had mostly left it in the past even after my intractable pain began. I have two kids, one adult and one current sophomore in high school, and always thought that even though I had suicidal ideations, I would never act upon them.

I’ve rather changed my view on suicide since my meds were cut back last year. Yes, I still want to get my son through high school, possibly college, and beyond. I want to see my daughter get better and watch my granddaughter grow up. However, I refuse to be tortured any more than I already am. Enduring a 50% decrease in my main pain med while trying to recover from MRSA has been hellish enough.

After a talk and after talking with my patient advocate, he agreed that I wasn’t on enough of the main medication. I was hopeful going in for my next appointment. I was a fool. He has willing to increase my main pain medication back to its previous pre-2014 level, but I would have had to give up my breakthrough opiate medication and another med. I asked him to meet me in the middle – he cut me off and said I could stay where I was or accept the offer, and those were my choices. Period.

I went without breakthrough pain meds for 4 years. Since I suffer from migraines, cervicogenic headaches, and occipital and trigeminal neuralgia, it was like I was on the sixth level of hell. It would take two and sometimes three days to get over the migraine/cervicogenic combo. I wasn’t functioning.

Now, even though I have more constant pain, I do have a med for breakthrough pain and it HELPS. The longest I go with a severe headache now is a day, most often 8 hrs or so. I had to tell my doctor that I would keep my meds as they are now, because even though I may be in bed, my mind still works and I’m able to help others.

Continued in part 2 (I hit the character limit for responses lol)

Dee

I am a chronic pain patient and have been for 15 years. As I played the gin pig till Drs found what would work best to give some quality of life. Then 2 years ago, I was suddenly taken off due to the changes being made. (So they said) Then I find out they are just trying to get people on Suboxone. Yup that’s right so guess we’re all addicted now right. Guess what Suboxone is not ment to treat REAL pain. It is to help Addiction. So left abandoned like so many of us. My days get harder to go thru. So many times I think I just want it to stop. I am a mom, wife, Daughter. Sister and Aunt. I am blessed to have a supportive family. God only knows where I would be today. I know so many who are going through the same type of struggle, some with family some alone. This is a very sad day n time when Drs are so afraid of losing their license that they have forgotten part of their oath. Patients Quality of Life. So many left with nothing but pain, depression, street drugs, loneliness ALL labeled the same. Guess what we are not same God made us each different. And different things work for each of us. So please tell me Doctor’s when will you care about your patients Quality of life again? When it’s to late. You so worried about losing your license. Let’s see you stand the hell up. N say enough is enough we have abandoned so many…….n for what for what. Cause the big man in his sute said so. One who has Never had a day in a chronic pain patient world. The only ones that get it are those dealing with it, or have friends and family who are going through it. TIME to TAKE BACK CHARGE Of YOUR PATIENTS……DOCTORS

Molly K Canfield

To Issadora,
I know very well your description of “suicide fantasies!” It’s the knowing that if the pain gets too bad, becomes overwhelming, and the ensuing depression eats most of your soul that you have planned a way out. I’m blessed with a loving family and 2wonderful, amazing daughters so I can’t follow through with it. But just that knowing if things get too terrible, it can be stopped…my life that is. So, suicidal fantasies is a very apt term. I know because I’ve had them too.

anonymous

Each month when I run out early because my dose was cut I think about suicide. Some months more than others. I’m tired of being accused of being an addict when other substances are found in my pee simply because I’m trying to deal with untreated pain. I’m told I can’t use kratom, even though it is legal. I was making a tea from dried poppy flowers but that showed up as morphine! Even though I was not taking someone else’s meds, I explained that I legally bought the flowers at market and only drank it because my dose was not enough. So now I have to go through another CD eval…..all due to trying to address pain from EDS hypermobility, severe DDD, fused from L2-S1 and both SI joints, painful schmorl nodes in my thoracic spine so that I can function and have some quality of life. I have a plan, I have the means, and it would be fatal. It actually gives me some comfort with a feeling of control if it just ever gets to be too much. And someday it might and I’ll be ready. I will also leave a public note that also names those in the medical field who failed me.

F.S.T.

Dear Dr. Lewis,

As a professional Registered Nurse (retired on disability due to Fibromyalgia, chronic Lymes Disease, Degenerative Disc and Joint Diseases), I have cared for suicidal patients ranging from the forgotten and marginalized dank depths of homelessness or prison cell throwaways to high-profile professionals with six-figure incomes and live in mansions. The intricate tapestries of their lives are linked by a common thread throughout, and that is suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

Some saw it all the way through, so nothing is left but broken-hearted families trying to cope and reason. Others, maybe found soon enough for medical help to respond before their heart beat for the last time, barely escaped becoming part of a sad statistic.

In holistic practice of caring for my patients over the years, the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual realms cannot be ignored because by their very nature, they’re intertwined with the physical in God’s awesome creation, the human being.

So, professionally, I’ve given all of myself to the conflicted nature of said patients over a quarter century before chronic illness took me out. Then I had time to reflect on my strength, made perfect in weakness.
Because all body systems are linked together, woven by this one thread that I think of as “The Bread of life sustains our thread of life” By this I’m sure you know I’m referring to Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Christian Faith is of great comfort when suffering is at its worst, because His suffering bought and paid for our very lives that we hold so dear.

But, no matter how bad it got (oh, make no mistake, it’s been baaaad), I would not take my own life. However, for the first time in my life, I realized I fully understand why people in chronic pain do it. I may not know why the caged bird sings (a shout-out to Maya Angelou; your book forty-some years out is on my bucket list); but I know why suicide. And I finally understand.

Caregiver 24/7/365

Cancer may be the answer.

In recent years the subject of suicide enters conversation in our home about once a week because of my wife’s incurable pain. Waking up is at best a mixed blessing, she says, and sometimes is a disappointment. Her pain is treated with opioids via a wonderful pain management doctor, but that helps only a bit for a short while after each dose. She’s had no ill effects from the opioids, and her system will not tolerate anything tried as a substitute for opiods; THEY screw up her mind and trigger suicidal ideations. We know better than to ask for a larger prescription of oxycodone, although I suspect a 50% stronger dose would enable her to get closer to “having a life”.

My bright and productive wife’s “barely existing” life has gone on for about a decade now because her central nervous system is haywire, following 2 weeks in an induced coma and 9 hours of surgery to rebuild her upper spine after a tragic fall.

She has had a plan to end her life, which she will not share with me. I keep the opioids under lock and key. Our psychiatrist is in the loop and on the case, but he knows that after all she has accomplished and overcome in her life, she would be fully capable of ending it.

Why did I mention cancer up at the top of this?

In recent weeks she got a cancer diagnosis and consented to surgery. But there will be no chemotherapy. She has completely ruled it out for two reasons. First, it is terrifying to contemplate the likely chemo side effects on TOP of nearly unbearable pain throughout her entire being. And, second, getting palliative care and passing away from cancer is something she can now see as her potential escape route from the chronic pain.

For a normal person, life-threatening cancer is a horrible diagnosis, and sets off troubled end-of-life thoughts. But for one who has lost hope of escaping from a lifetime of pain, cancer can give death a different meaning; a way to escape.

Ron

Yes, l.am a 22 year chronic pain patient who was destroyed by a drunk driver. Previous l was an executive who provided for family, loved the outdoors and having fun socially. Just prior to be cutting off l was training, beginning to play a little tennis as college and working. Now l spend days in bed and have no future. I have sig. Skills in corp. Finance and looking at return. Now all chance has been removed as even low dose pain meds gone. What the hell is left when the Gov. treats me like a druggie and my doctor’s know me but afraid to help. Nothing left for me

Allison

I attempted suicide in 2017 because of the pain and the condition I was left in after my surgery in 2016 for Cauda Equina Syndrome. The Dr said I should be healed after the fourth month, when I couldn’t even walk and was still in a wheelchair, sent home to get better.
My husband found me and he is the reason I am here today. I have had no pain management, much less a Dr to treat my condition, though the ones I have seen all said I need pain management and there is nothing left to do. The pain management Dr I was sent to told me that I will just become an addict and need more and more drugs, so he wanted to do a spinal cord stimulator, injections or cauterize my nerves. I told him he’s not the Dr for me.
After the lack of treatment I have had and considering the severity of my condition, I refuse any such treatment which can cause more harm and abandoned a 2nd time.

Laurie Yost

A year ago, my friend attempted suicide. She has Lupus, stenosis, and RA. Her skin hurts so much that she can’t wear a bra or socks. Her SA came after she was reduced and reduced on her opiate pain medication. Her doctor no longer prescribes pain meds out of fear for his license. There’s also a list sent to doctors that contains all physicians and how many opiate RX that each doctor prescribes. No doctor wants to be the top prescriber on that list. Now, my friend has to go to a pain management clinic, which comes with a higher co-payment. She’s on disability, making less than half the money she made when she was working.
All of these changes makes SI a daily thought for her.
I think it’s incomprehensible that people who have chronic pain are being treated criminally. Something needs to change..fast.

Nancy Wilson

I apologize for my earlier post. I am putting my life in God’s hands. I pray that God helps every chronic pain patient who is suffering. I am not strong enough to handle this on my own. God bless!

Jamie

I was one of the very first to be affected by a forced taper . Mine started in July of 2015 when there was just a faint whiff of cdc guidelines . It then snowballed rapidly when the guidelines were released on March of 2016. My name is Jamie. I’m a 37 year old wife and mother of one. I’ve had pain since I was about 11 years old , and was diagnosed with endometriosis. I had several surgeries, hormone replacements , birth controls , You name it! from the time I was twelve until I was 23. At 23 I was hit by a drunk driver that rolled my car a minimum of eight times . I have multiple levels of veritable fractures . Kyphosis caused by those fractures collapsing my spine. I have multiple levels of herniated and bulging disks. Stenosis, spinal Cord and nerve root compression. I also have two rare diseases , Dercums disease and Lymphedema . ALL OF THE ABOVE CAUSE HORRIFIC PAIN!!!
I went through hell and every type of non opioid medication and wrong diagnoses for years before opioids . Then for the past 14 years opioids alone saves my life! Allowed me to marry, buy a home, have a child . Live the American dream. That’s all been shattered since the cdc guidelines! I’ve been forced tapered over 75% of my dose from what worked for me! I’ve had dcf called on me because I haven’t been able to properly care for my 12 year old autistic daughter. We’ve almost gone through foreclosure three times in three years because I could
No longer contribute to the income! My life has been I shambles because of this. The days go by , they get worse and worse and my hope wains . The ONLY thing that has me holding on by a thread is my child! Even that might not be enough someday soon. The pain I suffer on a daily bases is relentless 24/7 pain. I would rather go through childbirth every day ! I’ve gotten my will ready and plans made . I don’t want to have to do this. All I want is my quality of life back and some pain relief !!! I don’t think that’s to much to ask for ! I didn’t ask for this!

Current Resident

I wanted to shared this on this article as because I think it applies here as well.
Two years have passed since sixteen of our favorite democrat senators ordered the DEA to stop the manufacture of all injectable medications. Jeff Sessions approved the senators’ move and President Trump signed the order. This was included in the current anti-drug bill that pain patients have been enduring or haven’t survived. After some months passed the time came that the drug companies could get an increase on prices, and with advocate pleas some drugs were ordered to begin limited manufacture with most medications only going to hospitals. Since this move didn’t help our nation’s ill, this looks to be an erroneous political move that may have left many of us wondering why our elected representatives have done this thing that is not in the best interest of the people. The answer may be just as simple as the usual which is money but it involves much more than dollars. As someone else pointed out, there is entire shift in demographic being engineered right in front of us that is leaving behind our sick, elderly, veterans, and other groups that may no longer contribute in the way needed by our elected. Not only is this happening in the good old USA but in Europe as well. There are many theories as to what this shift will accomplish and for whom but whatever that is means a deadly demise for the nations ill and other citizens living on the last of their dignity and whatever crumbs allowed to be thrown to them by the wayside.

I suffer chronic pain from severe blockages in my lower spine. I also have had to teat an aggressive cancer twice. Notice how they are leaving cancer patients alone ( maybe because many will die anyway), and refer to spinal injuries as back aches? Socialist Communist countries are known for basically euthanizing people not useful to them, I can’t help but wonder if this is not happening right here, right now? Why else inflict intolerable pain on the group of people whose only chrime was to live in severe pain. If they really cared about the number of opoid deaths they would go after the major offender, illegal opoids. This is inhuman and disgusting!

I am part of a support group My Chronic Pain. We all share in trying to support each other through bad days and provide any thoughts on alternatives to the pain medications that the government ripped away from them. We all share in our suffering , some were born with very painful conditions, others have spinal injuries, many have undergone several surgeries and still have severe pain. I am upset to find some have already taken their lives. The government admits that being taken off opoids can lead to suicide, but the withdraw alone can kill people from heart attacks, blood pressure spikes strokes. Doctors have been doing a great time treating patients with countless health issues. The government had absolutely no business interfering with the doctor/ patient relationship. Look at the statistics, most opoid deaths are caused by illegal opoids made in China that contain fentynal. 1mg of fentynal can kill. These illegal opoids are pouring across our border with the help of drug cartels. The government can look up statistics as I can and they know what is causing most opoid deaths. So why go after chronic pain patients? Are we just the soft target? Are they afraid to go after the cartels handling illegal opoids? I fear this inhumane assault on chronic may be a firm of depopulation. If not why not go after the major problem and reduce the death rate? What they did will spike the death rate of people suffering chronic pain. Of course they will not take responsibility for their actions and claim they all died of natural causes or suicide. The left talks about becoming a Socialist Society. When the government denies people the medical treatment they need to live, well they are already Socialist. I was always so proud of this country. Not I am ashamed of it for treating people worse than animals.

Current Resident

These stories are as many stories I have heard. Not long ago a patient that was legitimate and well documented could receive whatever form and type of opiate that worked to reduce pain. Now these patients are being denied medication and told it’s a psychological addiction only to be treated with opiate withdraw medication and psychiatric therapy. These patients need strong opiate medications for severe nerve pain and cancer pain along with many other painful conditions that will never improve. Most of these patients are too ill to go to street for real opiates or to self advocate. Without these medications the patients are left with no options, they will end their suffering by death. The government officials are well aware of this. It is by their own design that this entire drug situation exist. Their motivation is wealth and power not compassion or understanding for the suffering.

Jess

Hello! Thank you for sharing my brother & my story! I opened up my email to find our story posted on Steve Ariens blog & National Pain Report ( where my comment was 1st posted ) I just can’t thank you enough! These stories have to be herd!
It is so weird seeing my family & I’s personal story on Pharmacist Steve’s blog ( someone I look up too) & on the National Pain Reports blog. But I had to tell my story because my brother James Zachary Fisher ( Zack ) isn’t with us to tell his story & his story is one that will keep happening to the ones we love! If you ( the Government, CDC, & DEA ) think this is quietly going away ..it’s not! People are going to continue to either end their lives or move on to do harmful illegal Street drugs! Wake up CDC, FDA, DEA & our Government that’s supposed to protect us! This is going to continue to end with tragedy! So let’s band together & continue this fight together & hopefully one day they’ll listen to us CPP! Jess ( Jessica Agee ) Brandica_jessy on Twitter

Holly

All I can do is cry….I just know everyone who is hurting, has been cut off , reduced , is feeling what I’m feeling. I also know there are many who are still in disbelief that our rights and our Dr’s rights have been taken. This is America? The worst thing is THEY KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING! Their motto is wealth before health. God help them!

Dian

I think many times dead would feel better….have EDS, pain Dr doesn’t think I need a formal diagnosis, he says the treatment won’t change…but it involves so much more than he can help with, internal problems gastrointestinal misery, I bleed under my skin, it tears. I’m so tired

Voakley

Yes, I know the feeling of thinking about the tournament of being alive but not living, really living a life of quality. The lives we were being able to live. Included in that one word are thousands of others. Like working, maintaining a job, football, softball, cheerleading, tennis, playing with your children, enjoying activities with grandchildren, not being put in the position to have to say no to your family when they invite you to events, concerts, every type of racing on foot or motor operated, hiking, camping, most fishing, hunting, going for walks with our spouses on the beach, swimming in the ocean and beautiful crystal springs here in Florida, golf, raising and caring for livestock, gardening that is being used to assist the community with fresh fruits and vegetables, at times affection due to the way we feel and look from a constant flow of pain, building tents with the kids while sitting inside with them playing or hanging out, getting to the restroom in time, I can go on but the character limit stops me. One of the most important to me is fitness. Lack of being able to exercise does too much damage on it’s own for me. Causing depression and weight gain on a competitive activity that I have been able to do and enjoy from grade 7 on to adulthood makes me complete. That is gone. My family does every activity that I just mentioned, I am having to sit out. So what is the use? To sit here and wait for loved ones to pop in say hi and leave? That is a miserable burden, that is increasing the, not wanting to stay around just to be a spectator. It is NOT LIVING only existing.

Steve Abbey

I think about it a lot! I don’t like to but I am so miserable since the cdc did there crackdown. I have been taking opiates for years with no problem of getting addicted. I stayed safe from addiction by controlling how much I took at once. I would split in to the total days amount and take as needed through the day my pain level was good and I never needed to upgrade to a higher mg. I did that for years to stay safe and happy that I was doing a good thing!.. I have been miserable for two years at least. The doctors should know by my records I am not at risk of abusing. But the new guidelines have got me feeling worthless…

Heather

FYI, I started seeing a counselor because of the problems I had with doctors who were unprofessional, bordering on abusive. I continued, because I wanted to set small goals, learn to pace myself and learn to adjust to life with a life-changing chronic illness. I am diagnosed with dysthymia. I have good doctors now, and so far, I have not had my medications reduced but I am sure it’s only because I just take Tramadol. Yet, I have a migraine specialist who says my headaches started when I started Tramadol, despite me telling her I think they started with my pituitary cyst and worsened after that surgery (I now have medical records backing that up but have a feeling she won’t listen.)

The neurosurgeon’s resident told me at an annual follow-up that I should prepare myself to be taken off Tramadol. I never asked him for his thoughts on my pain management.

A dentist read my chart and lectured me about this book he was reading where people in a small town in Ohio were addicted to opioids, and he has a buddy who prescribes medical marijuana and I should take that instead. Mind you, I never asked for ANY pain medication and didn’t need it for a filling. Never brought up the subject.

My doctor hasn’t taken me off the medication or mentioned taking me off. I am very grateful. Other people on stronger meds lose access, but can you see why I worry about my access, too? I’m being pressured from doctors I’m not even consulting with for pain.

Heather

It’s so hard, but I have thought about how I felt before I was getting help from doctors. I was in pain, my sleep was disrupted, and my PCP had mocked me for my “little list” that I brought to the appointment to try to keep my thoughts straight. Do you know what I was worried about? I was worried about not being able to continue to work.

My medications help me to work. When a gastroenterologist later asked me how I was still working, I felt tears come to my eyes and said, “My medications. They help me.” I have widespread osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, cervical spondylosis and other health issues. It’s the pain that threatens my sleep, my cognition (it’s distracting, to say the least.) My work, my ability to express myself – those are central to my sense of identity. I’m fighting.

If I lost my medications, I would stop fighting. I feel awful for people who are unable to work. What people who don’t have chronic pain don’t know is that we’ve ALREADY lost a lot. We’re hanging onto what’s left of our former lives, to try to find meaning and purpose in that.

It’s awful that there isn’t more support for chronic pain patients. Not at the doctor’s office, with families that don’t understand, having to hide it from friends or coworkers. We are a population at risk already. I’ve been to counseling and I did NOT tell the counselor I thought about suicide. If I lost access to my medications, I couldn’t financially support myself. The doctor who was to help will have turned their back on me. I would be fighting against the world instead of just fighting the pain. That’s too much, when the pain has stolen a lot of my identity and pleasures in life. I do my best, but if I have no tools to help myself and no support, I will quit. At that point, it is a rational choice of avoiding the pain.

I am crying. This is the hardest thing I’ve admitted, even to myself. I am not suicidal. I don’t want to die. I just don’t want to live with the pain. I am 39 and have a lot to live for.

J. Sellers

Dido to all that has been posted i’m sick of being treated like an addict we all know that someone who is addicted will get pain meds regardless what the government does to try to curb there belief that they can stop someone from addiction. I have been on pain meds since 2007 & have never abused it in fact I don’t even like it however, without it I can do nothing & I don’t want the alternative of being housebound or the thought of dying quite the opposite I choose life. Furthermore & this is harsh but I know firsthand that no one can force an addict to get clean they have to want it & they know that there is always the possibility of dying. My own son is an addict & I have come to accept it I suggest that the United States government accept it as well & stop punishing those of us who take our medication as responsible adults.

LYNDA LUTZ

I am so upset when I hear these stories. Just to let you know. I am Lynda, Erika’s mom and I have her permission to use her email. Erika and I live together and we are both chronic pain patients. We have watched each other suffer over the years. It is not pretty to watch your daughter suffer. She almost died 3 years ago. She also had her medications stopped abruptly three years ago. First. she detoxed because it took over a year to find another pain doctor. Then, she went septic, had a heart attack, got pneumonia, and got a PE, pulmonary embolism. To top everything off she bled in her stomach and had to have that cauterized through an EGD( a scope put through your mouth and down into a stomach). Her blood work did not indicate she was bleeding until after the procedure. The last thing to go wrong was a fungal blood infection. We already knew she had a bacterial blood infection, but this is really bad news because not all fungal infections respond to the IV antifungal meds. Her chance to live was less than 50 percent. Oh yes, and her weight was plummeting. This all occurred on the week that was the anniversary of my son’s, her bother’s birth and death. She was so weak and helpless. Her MS decided to act up; she could no longer move from the waist down. It was a nightmare for both of us, but she did make it. She had a PA that did not like pain medicine so that was a battle everyday. She stayed in pain most of the time because of him. That in itself did not help her survive. The doctors’s and nurses’ good care is why she made it through. Of course, a lot of praying and faith was going on. Erika is also very strong willed. Chronic pain patients need help right now. So do addicts as that is a brain disease and can be treated. Of course, the appropriate counseling is needed also. I am a retired psych and med/surgery RN. It is doubly hard to sit there and not only as a mother, but as a nurse watching what could be the last days of your child’s life. But she triumphed.

Anonymous

I have several chronic illnesses as well as panic disorder. I take a few medications to manage it all, including a low dose opioid.

I had been on my medication regimen for 10 years when the CDC guidelines came out in 2016.

After a series of humiliating incidents over 2 years brought upon me by doctors and pharmacists, one day in 2018 I decided I was done. I would always be sick and have a broken body and brain, and if I tried to treat it I would be humiliated by medical professionals and pharmacists. Not treating my diseases made me a useless burden to others and society, and seeking treatment would lead to a case of mistaken identity: I would be assumed to be a drug addict.

There was no way out.

I spent about 3 days trying to figure out how I would do it. I was in a fog.

I thought about slitting my wrists. If I had a gun I would have done it.

2 things kept me alive. 1) My husband’s father had committed suicide and I knew my suicide would be too much for him. Even if I was useless alive. 2)I had a friend whose mother tried to kill herself and failed. I was scared I would mess up and not die, and instead would end up with “suicide risk” forever on my medical charts, in addition to being scrutinized as an addict.

Today, I am glad I didn’t do it. I can’t believe I let our government and other individuals let me consider ending it all. Nobody has that kind of power over me.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will be guilty until proven innocent, and I will need to prove to every pharmacy and doctor I see that I am NOT a low life drug addict up front. It’s also given me hope that the media has started, slowly, to report the patient’s side.

I don’t think you can help it! I feel I am paying now to get worse being tapered down and it is torture.I had some functional life and I just can’t function anymore.It just little things here and there.Makes absolutely no sense to take a person’s life from them.

Norm

I think about suicide every time I have a bad pain day. It is just so frustrating to feel great one day and not be able to get out of bed the next. And the messed up thing is it is definitely not getting better. The pain in my ankle got so bad I could not walk. Thank got I was already scheduled for surgery when it finally gave out completely. I can walk today and barely have any pain in that ankle. But now a year later I had getting this very bad bone pain on the bottoms of both feet. And then there is my back. The main pain place Anybody who has this type of pain knows how bad it can get. Not being able to get up to use the bathroom. And god forbid I have to sit down. I told my wife the day I can’t get up off the toilet by myself is the day she needs to start to worry. Sometimes it is not even the amount of pain. It’s the fact that it does not ever subside. Weeks or months of the same constant pain just makes it not worth living sometimes. And how dare I complain. I still have my meds. Never mind I have had the same meds for over 5 years. I can’t complain as I am afraid of losing what I have. And I have asked to be upped just a little but get turned down every time. On a good day, I wake up at 4 AM and take a pill. Take more around 9 am so I can get out of bed. Then I do as much as I can and hold out as long as I can before I take my last pill. And usually sometime before 6 PM I have to stop for the day. As the pain is to much to do anything else. And if I push myself I chance being bed ridden for days afterwards up to a week. On a bad day I take the same pills but the best I get is feeding myself and using the bathroom. Oh and never mind the depression.

Marguerite

I tried to commit suicide on February 21, 2019 due to severe under treated pain. In January I had to decide which medication to drop either my 10mg benzo or my 10mg pain pill due to new regulations. I chose to keep my pain meds. That said I had been hoarding those benzos for a time I knew was coming based on how bad I hurt and how terribly it was effecting my mental health. I took a whole bottle sixty tablets. I don’t know why im still here but I’m grateful I survived because within a few weeks of that I was finally diagnosed after five long years of misdiagnosis being told it was all in my head I was a drug and attention seeker, I was diagnosed with sero negative rheumatoid arthritis. On top of that I have from birth up spina bifida occulta, congenital spondolylothesis, osteoarthritis bone and joint disease, fibromyalgia, broken back, spinal cord injury, failed multi level cervical spine fusion failure so I have my share of pain. I share my story in hopes to save another. Had I died my death would be attributed to either addiction blamed on benzos instead of the real truth and make it that much harder for others to obtain this very beneficial medication. I would have died without ever knowing the truth about having an auto immune illness that was crippling me mentally and physically. I wouldn’t have been able to fight with the other warriors in operation starburst and would have let a good many people who believe in me down. Im grateful to be alive today even tho I am still struggling with pain having a diagnosis now brings treatment. I am still struggling to get a shower get dressed or even keep my home but I see a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. Please don’t quit before the miracle happens. We have many battles to fight and we need everyone of you to help us win this war. I see change coming it should have happened already. The truth is out we know the CDC lied. We will persevere.

Kelly-Anne Bryan, RN

(Continued) Desperate for any relief, I accepted an injection. By the next day, I developed symptoms of meningitis. My infections had gone wild. I didn’t want to go to an ER ever again, but finally was seen there. My headache was a 9, and I couldn’t stand any light. They brought me Tylenol. My work up was unimpressive to them, and I was sent home. A month later, with daily 9/10 pain, I was no better and returned to the ER. The exact same thing happened again. My PCP insisted I had a migraine. No treatment helped. A headache specialist saw me another month later. No help. None of these docs knew anything about Lyme.
Every day I wanted to die, and prayed each night that I wouldn’t wake up. I barely slept. In October I saw an Infectious Disease doc, who started 2 IV antibiotics for several months. My headache decreased.
I still have daily moderate to severe pain. I still have no pain control, and barely sleep. I still get suicidal thoughts, which I am able to suppress. But I no longer seek help. There is none.

Issadora Saeteng

I’ve definitely thought about it probably way to much…. many times when the pain is more intolerable then usual and thinking of the hoops I have to keep jumping through especially as a black female .. even before the opioid crisis war occurred and I was on long acting pain meds for over 12 years, never had any addiction issues and followed pain contracts to a tee, I was sometimes flagged and often pre judged as being on to much meds but then when I got off of them for theories and pressures, then I was treated bad because the same doctors who accused me of poly pharmacy couldn’t admit that they were wrong.

The pain game, as I call it, that darn 1-10 scale which is so subjective, not defined in any way and brings about judgement based on the one asking own perceptions and bias!

After many MANY years with multiple pain conditions, I’ve run into periods of significant depression but NOW it’s worse especially because I can’t work, my functioning I had before is rapidly leaving… I’m so so tired of fighting, advocating, and so on…

More recently, I have relished in Suicide fantasies which ironically is kinda comforting even though it also makes me feel the more like I’ve lost my senses! I’ve researched ideas, and even though I’m in therapy, I’ve been hiding Just how severe these feelings and impulses are…

The more that I face what seems like insurmountable obstacles tinged with the skewed media promoting the popular agenda and having friends, family.. Medical ‘care’ staff or sometimes my doctors treating me like a drug seeker, assuming the media and war on opioids is correct… feeling that the only people who need narcotics are terminal cancer patients….

So I’m quite fed up and feeling persecuted for something I can’t control.. and seems no end of it is in sight except to end my life.

Certain things hold me back and I try to think about them but the often intense and overwhelming pain definitely has me on a precipice…

Mike Daniels

I hate the doctors and hospitals. I have a TBI that shows up on a scan. I have
been in pain so long I registered as an Ohio DNRCC. I registered this with
medic alert and had this tattooed on my chest. I was on medication that
greatly increased the quality of my life. Now doctors and even pain management
wont write for this. There is no “Opiate” crisis, nobody can get the meds they need.The crisis is HEROIN AND FENTANYL.

Poloticians keep yelling about the opioid epidemic. Ot is so severe that every
doctor is afraid to write a prescription and hospitals are afraid to treat people
in pain with anything more that tylenol

The establishment needs to back off on doctors and hospitals NOW
And attack heroin and fentanyl furiously.

Vincent

Hello all! It dawned that, How many people’s lives have been saved from rx opiate dirivitives, what’s the number of patients that are on opiate medication that enables them to save other people as well, to the contrary the opposite effect is happening with alcohol and tobacco in my opinion. RX opiate medications save more lives, it’s natural so shouldn’t we try and find a number on how many people’s lives have been saved from opiate medications. Yes!

Please excuse me, I may be a little off topic but it this question is still relevant.

I’m 64 years old.I have worked the trades (construction) all my life.I was retired at 56 years with full disability. Many serious injuries,topped off with a heart-attack,led to this.
Life,light exercise and a little handyman work were possible with a minimum of opiate pain-killers ( I am a 19 year-sober recovering alcoholic…and well aware of the dangers of addiction…).
I have become relatively idle,and gained 40 lbs. since the cutbacks in my meds. I have begun therapy for anxiety and p.t.s.d., mostly for the noticeable change in my outlook on living.
The Eskimos allegedly put their elders out on the ice to move on to the Great Whatever.
I do not look forward to finishing my life in preventable pain,and have always wanted to visit the “Great White North”.
Love and Light… Billy

Dave

Why don’t you ask who hasn’t thought of suicide because of chronic pain. Knowing our pain will get worse as time goes on. At least we have some way of relief. Pain medication (not if politicians have their way) or Euthanasia.
Thanks.

Gary Raymond

Has anyone considered that opiate-based medication is beneficial for mental illness disease? Has anyone considered that addiction is only a problem when the addictive chemical is withheld? Has anyone considered that the people establishing and enforcing myriad opioid policies are not suffering from chronic pain disease? Has anyone considered that anesthesia and insulin are not available in the streets but manufactured opioids are by the ton? The source of today’s problem has not been the doctors, but the pharmaceutical companies who allow their merchandise to fall off the back of their trucks. If the CDC is not going to classify pain as a disease, then they should consider institutional suicide.