by Annalise

I feel worthless and lonely because of my back pain

I feel worthless and lonely because of my back pain

Hi all, I am a 44 yr old woman, who most of the time is lonely and feels worthless. I am married to a man I adore. Last year I was medically retired from work with severe back problems. Since then I have slowly but surely had feelings I cannot control. I feel desperate, lonely and abandoned whenever my husband goes out to work, but particularity when he is on night shift. Tonight I begged him not to go, but off he went.. then he calls constantly telling me he loves me, but if he did he would be here, right? I am now panicking and upset, very anxious, and a little angry. I take lots of medication for my back, and have been on antidepressants for years.. What is wrong with me? I should feel happy that I have a husband who goes to work, but I can't be.. I end up convincing myself he's gone even though I've begged him because he doesn't love me, and he wants to be with some other woman at work.. After all why would he want me love me? I've put a lot of weight on since being ill, I'm no longer pleasant company, all I do is moan about pain.. I am now often getting feelings I had a very long time ago.. that is why go on... what have I got to live for... no one would miss me as I'm a moaning nuisance. Can anyone help me please..?

Editor's response:

Hello Annalise, I am sorry to hear about your health situation, and what you are going through. Back problems can be devastating, not just to a person's mobility, but to a person's sense of self worth as well. When one cannot move around as one pleases, one's whole sense of identity gets shaken up. So, much of what you are feeling is understandable, and almost anyone in your situation would end up feeling that way at some point in time or another.

But here is where your post is probably different from someone else who may be in a similar situation as yours.. it points to possible solutions as well. Your phrase "I'm no longer pleasant company, all I do is moan about pain" gives you an indication as to where to look, to start fixing at least the non-physical aspects of your problem. While this is easier said than done, see if you can find a way to refrain from talking about pain all the time, and ask yourself what you can do to make yourself a more pleasant company. Simply because, while talking a bit about pain does provide a sense of momentary relief, talking continually and ONLY about pain reinforces your pain and makes it worse in the long run; and not doing so can have the opposite effect.

Additionally, as you pointed out, it's certainly a good thing that you have a husband who's earning, and who seems to care for you. If he has to work night shifts, he's probably doing it because that choice may not be entirely in his control. In order for you to reduce your emotional dependence on your husband, it'll help if you can try to find activities to engage yourself in, which do not necessarily require you to be highly mobile. Doing so can not only kill time, but also make you less susceptible to being lonely, and additionally, being productive can also help restore your sense of self worth over time.

These can range from any hobbies such as reading for pleasure, to any activities or skills that you can use, such as, writing, teaching, painting, or some combination of these. Activities which let you relate with other people can be particularly helpful - like home tutoring, for instance. Or you may even learn new skills, either online, or better yet, if you can find someone willing to come to your home and coach you for an hour or two. Try to establish your own schedule within your physical limits, and try to stick to it to the best of your ability.

I hope these suggestions help you in at least providing a direction, and I wish you the very best in finding your new self. Please do browse around our site for more thoughts on being positive, improving motivation and the art of being happy. Thank you so much for posting here. -Shan

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