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:
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 : firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment after this story.