My journey with chronic pain has been fraught with denial and depression. I am 60 now and had to face the fact that my pain isn't going away and that I have to learn to live with it.
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 16 years ago after a shoulder injury. Before that diagnosis, I had lived with back problems and the results of severe whiplash - but it is Fibromyalgia that really changed my life. I was no longer able to be "Superwoman", or, as my doc put it, "not invincible anymore". That realization really didn't hit home until 7 years ago when I developed intense back and neck pain which sent me to an Orthopaedic surgeon. After conducting tests, he said that I required surgery on my back and four levels of my neck. I was also told I had spinal stenosis, arthritis, bone spurs, degenerative disk disease and possible multiple sclerosis. Immediately after my diagnosis, my insurance company raised my rates to the point where I was no longer able to keep my health insurance, leaving me few options - surgery wasn't one of them. I was really depressed at the thought of living with this additional pain and unable to work full time. Everything seemed to go downhill from that point.
A few years ago, my sister-in-law hinted that I should file for disability. I told her I would not do that while there was still hope of recovery. I wasn't ready to give up or admit it was that bad. I kept my denial close to me; it was my closest friend during those dark years, but my sister-in-law never stopped insisting that I face reality and deal with my pain. Last year it became obvious to me that I needed help.