I’m glad that I was able to attend the 2019 Pain Management Conference. Every day, people encounter a problem that causes pain to the body. Through it, I have known that there are different types of physical pain; acute pain, chronic pain, breakthrough pain, bone pain, soft tissue pain, nerve pain, referred pain, phantom pain, and total pain.
For so long, spinal cord injury patients have been wallowing in depression and devastation over not being able to walk again, as they know that these injuries are pretty serious and can even be life-threatening. There have only been very limited options for treating or helping patients cope with their disabilities, including anti-inflammatory drugs and spinal decompression. Sadly, these have not addressed the issue of recovering from the injury in terms of mobility and return to function. The neurologic deficits that these SCI patients have incurred have remained, leaving them debilitated.
However, current studies tireless research have been promising, and some technological developments have been introduced, which will help SCI patients realize their dream of returning to function and ultimately be able to walk again.
Stem Cell Therapy
These are undifferentiated cells that can change into specific cell types. They are also capable of renewing and multiplying themselves at the same time retaining their ability to transform into other cells. Because of this ability, stem cells are now being studied as to how they can replace nerve cells, as neurons have a limited capacity to regenerate.
Researchers are continually finding the correct chemical equations that will stimulate the stem cells to grow and regenerate like the neurons. They are now doing this by injecting stem cells from the bone marrow and into the cerebrospinal fluid to see if it can stimulate the proteins that are required to grow nerves and proliferate nerve impulses. Results that are currently released are quite promising.
Functional Electrical Stimulation
FES utilizes electrodes that are connected to a computer and attached to the paralyzed or weakened muscles to give bursts of electricity and elicit muscle contraction. In spinal cord injury, this is used to try and regain the function of muscles that are affected below the level of the spinal cord. When this was attempted, SCI patients showed mild to moderate improvement in the muscles of their hands and feet, the return of mild bowel and bladder control, and the return of muscle tone in the respiratory muscles, which enabled the patients to breathe without a ventilator. There were positive results for SCI as well as stroke patients.
Neurotherapy Through Virtual Reality
Virtual therapy has been revolutionized further to treat spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, patients. Studies have proven that VR can persuade the brain into thinking that it is efficiently functioning and performing the actions being asked to follow in the virtual reality environment. This can cause vertigo in people who do not have any brain abnormalities, but for those with traumatic brain injuries, this inspires the brain to activate neurological pathways that became ‘useless’ following the injury.
Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)
The BCI works by evading the damaged nerve cells from the SCI. They are implanted and function to regain control of muscle movement to the patients’ weakened musculature. In SCI patients where cognitive function is unaffected, clinicians have successfully used the signals from the brain to control the BCI. Hand and arm orthotics also use the BCI to produce hand and arm function to once paralyzed extremities. The BCI is among the most important innovations of today, enabling patients to experience partial or complete normalcy after SCI.
Wearing robotic devices has been providing SCI patients the opportunity to be able to walk again. According to researchers, repetition helps the brain and the spinal cord coordinate with each other in reestablishing the lost synapses that were due to the spinal cord injury. These exoskeletons are quite heavy, and they require assistance from therapists or people from home, but patients don’t seem to mind. What’s important for them is the fact that they can walk again. These robotic devices have been seen first in physical therapy but have a very promising future in spinal cord injury.
The recent stroke rehabilitation tools remain focused on the concept of neuroplasticity, which has been used by caregivers and therapists for years. It’s old knowledge that the brain is capable of retraining itself, but researchers now know how critical it is to start the recovery process at an early phase, as brain tissue damage during stroke is a transient trigger for complete brain damage.
In the aftermath of a stroke, the healthy brain deteriorates within three months. Neuroplasticity makes it possible for the healthy parts of the brain to form new connections leading to the affected nerves and muscles. It is during this stage; however when stroke patients form contractures and other circumstances that cause further limitations, which will prevent them from utilizing their healthy brain tissue.
But with modern technology, stroke patients can now have more options for recovery, most of which are designed to focus on the early stage of stroke rehab. Some of these recovery tools help doctors and therapists to monitor their patients’ progress while preventing further complications as they move towards partial or full recovery.
Robotic exoskeletons and other robotic devices are among the newest innovations made for the benefit of stroke victims. They are directly connected to the patient’s affected part to assist or permit movement. Robotic arms slings and supports are equipped with sensors that keep track of the extremities’ movements.
According to The Wall Street Journal, robotic exoskeletons are specifically beneficial because of their adjustable features. Support can be reduced as the patient slowly gains more muscle control and balance. When caregivers or therapists want to observe the patient, they do not have to move the patient’s limbs but instead, monitor the patient’s movements from afar because of the device.
Video Games For Stroke Patients
Through the years, doctors and therapists have been utilizing conventional low-tech therapy options for stroke patients, which can be quite hard, not to mention boring for the patient. Now, with the advent of modern rehabilitation technology comes stroke-specific video games that are more engaging and very easy to integrate into the home healthcare program. Bandit’s Shark Showdown is an exciting interactive video game that engages players to play as a dolphin controlling its movements. For the stroke patient, he wears a robotic sling and uses this sling to control the movements of the shark. This video game coordinates the dolphin’s jumps and dives with his muscular movements, activating his body and his brain synchronously.
One of the creators of the video game, John Krakauer, states that a simple muscular movement would need an exceptionally complicated set of algorithms. His video game is built to “break down the physical and mental distinction” and regain function to the weakened extremities.
Another equally useful therapeutic tool is the interactive canoe trip that the NYU Langone Medical Center has developed. Though still at its early stages of testing, the creators claim that their patients are more determined and are more compliant with their current regimens. This tool has also proven to be another encouraging option for stroke victims who are too impaired to go through conventional physical therapy.
Through the continuous progress and improvement in modern technology, stroke victims have a higher likelihood of getting quick and efficient treatment the earliest time possible, increasing their family and the patient’s hopes of recovering and living life as normally as they possibly can.
In life, there is practically a myriad of ways you can get stressed: deadlines in work or school, worrying about the kids, a fear of losing a job or scholarship, among others. All of these can produce an avalanche stress hormone, in turn, produce timely physiological changes. When in stress, the heart pounds and breathing goes quicker.
“There are so many ways stress creeps into our lives, yet if we take control of our time and make proactive and healthy decisions, we can stop these negative cycles and truly take care of our mental health.” That is according to Sonja Seglin, LCPC. This sequence of reactions called the “fight or flight” reaction, which is an evolved survival mechanism. This mechanism initially developed as a way to fend off the dangers primitive man faced, growing over time to sense threats and determine whether one can fight it or not. An unfortunate side-effect of this evolution, however, is that this also works on things such as a traffic jam, workplace pressure, household difficulties.
Throughout time, research has learned only not about the why and how of stress, but at the same time, gain information to effects, one can face physically and mentally. Research indicates chronic stress leads to spiking blood pressures, promoting the artery-clogging formation deposits, which lead to depression, anxiety, and addiction. Other effects of stress include obesity, by direct methods (eating more) or indirect methods (decreased exercise and sleep).
Ringing The Bell
It all begins with the human brain when the stress response starts. When someone faces imminent danger, such as a car crash or a weapon poised at you, your senses send the details to the amygdala, the part of the human brain responsible for emotional processing. It interprets sound and sight, and upon the perception of danger, it sends a distress sign to the hypothalamus part. “Neuroscientists have found that brain structure is altered by chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, which can be a major contributing factor to anxiety and depression. Feelings of calm arise from time away from work and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure.” Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP also adds.
When in a stressful event, the amygdala, which serves as a brain’s headquarters. It’s like a command center, because it communicates with all of the nerves throughout the body, to ready for either fight or flight. After the amygdala has already sent the distress signal to the hypothalamus, it activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is one part of the autonomic nervous system. It is the “go” part, while its companion, the parasympathetic nervous system, is the “stop” part.
How To Counter Chronic Stress
“When stress becomes chronic, this narrow focus continues for a long time and we have difficulty paying attention to other things.” Dr. David Ballard, PsyD said. Most people are unable to put a stop on stress. Chronic low-level stress eats away at your energy, much like a motor left idle on high for too long. Persisting epinephrine surges may damage blood vessels and arteries, which leads to the spiking of blood pressure, and a raised risk of a heart attack.
Among the techniques found best to counter chronic stress are:
Relaxation response. This has a variety of methods to choose from, from simple deep breathing to yoga, and many other forms of relaxation. Most studies conducted were on hypertension and other heart disease patients. It did show that later on in the test, at least one medication was dropped.
Exercise can be another way to stifle the buildup of stress in several ways. It can be just a mere brisk walk after being stressed out does wonders if stressed, relieving muscle tension, as well as eased breathing. Other recommended movement activities are yoga, tai chi, and qi gong.
The pure company of friends also alleviates too chronic stress. Whether be it friends or family, or just acquaintances from an interest club, they all form life-enhancing nets and can lead to longevity. There is no clear evidence, but it is said that people who have close support with family and friends live longer, due to the support network they have. After all, as they say, no man is an island.
Often, decisions made at a knee-jerk situation end up in regret once the panic and anxiety subside. When experiencing anxiety, your typical thought process gets messed up due to the adrenaline the situation gives you. This is the “fight or flight” response, which happens when one perceives danger or harm to them.
Researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, notes that humans have an ingrained negative bias. It is the reason why negative emotions are felt harder than positive ones, which have a more subtle approach. Below are steps to make your brain have a break, and prevent you from making decisions that you may regret later.
Look Out For Your Stress Signals.
An anxiety attack, depending on the person experiencing it, always starts with any of the following: rapid heart rate, tightening in the chest, breathing difficulties, dizziness, and nausea. You may feel your body getting all tense and worked up, and the more you take notice of it, the fewer chances your brain will go with it. “Use your strengths of critical thinking and hope to look at any negative situation in a fresh way. You might tap into hope to see how there are benefits to the stressor. ” Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D. advises.
Take Deep Breaths Or Do Some Physical Activity.
This to divert your mind from going awry and making poor decisions based on your current state. The goal to keep in mind is to tell your mind and body to not overreact to the situation, and you aren’t in imminent danger. Diffusing the situation inside you by being present helps loads, and is the key to getting out of the panic state and back into a more rational one. “Rest time is essential to recover from the burden of stressors in our day to day lives. Rest can include sleep, relaxing, time doing something that you enjoy doing such as reading, fishing, calling a good friend.” Gretchen Flores, MA LPC LCPC also advises.
Suppress, If Not Eliminate All Negativity.
Be swift to shoot down any negativity that comes knocking at your brain’s door. Don’t let those voices say anything negative, silence them. Be vigilant with those kinds of thinking; the unrealistic, catastrophic, and downright unhealthy ideas. Anxiety feeds on over-dramatization, starve it, and be better off.
Be A River, Not A Rock.
What does it mean by this? Let your thoughts be flowing ones, adapting to every day, much like a river does. A rock is unmovable, which is also true of those rundown and stubborn thoughts. Adapting this mantra means you’re on to thinking rationally.
Do Things Differently.
Look for different ways to do things. According to Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC “Happy people do things differently. They make their emotional wellbeing a priority and practice daily and weekly habits that help them create joy, happiness and satisfaction in their lives.” Anxiety originated from a “fight to flight to freeze” response; hence, your mind cannot distinguish as clearly a threat from a perceived one. Often, it is tempting just to let go and be carried away by emotions. You can be giving in to your impulses (fight), runoff due to the immense emotional flood (flight), or be immobile altogether. The moment you get to know your unhealthy behavior patterns, it becomes easier to make more informed decisions and actions.
Repeat these tips 1-5. There is no timetable for this, and it can take, however long or short that you may need. However long it takes, it is ok so long as you can reason afterward. Do remember that the goal here is to put the thought to the nervous system, so it becomes more resistant to these types of mental attacks.
Hang in there. Don’t quit! Surely, anxiety can be very overwhelming, devouring, and endless. Whenever under attack, here are words to circulate in your brain.
Individuals with eye conditions that may become severe may experience stress due to anxiety or depression. But there are several ways that ophthalmologists can use to help their patients reduce these depressive symptoms, and it can start simply with the doctor’s tone of voice.
- Be Mindful Of Your Words. When you are talking with your patient, be aware of the words that come out of your mouth. As much as you can, try to be positive in explaining to him the course of his condition and the corresponding treatment. Eye conditions like glaucoma or macular degeneration can undeniably lead to blindness, but the doctor can focus on the compliance of the patient, that if he religiously takes his medications and other instructions, the prognosis can be positive and treatment is possible.
A seasoned ophthalmologist says that he tells his patients that if they comply with their medicines daily, it will remind them that what they have might be blinding, but it might not be blinding for them. There is nothing wrong with giving hope and alleviating their depression, and you can help patients cope. He also recalls having patients who are extremely anxious and worried about their eye condition and him comforting them by saying that as far as he can remember, anxiety and worry have never healed someone of any disease. “It’s normal to go through grief, but staying there doesn’t help.”
- Conceal Your Anxieties. No matter how much doctors deny it, they do experience anxiety over their patients’ conditions, and often if they are unable to hide them, they somehow transmit these to their patients, further aggravating the way they feel about themselves. A wiser and more practical thing to do is to feel hopeful and to stick to the facts when explaining to their patients about their glaucoma, optic neuropathy, or other eye diseases. You have that power, so use it.
- Tell Your Patient that He Is Part Of The Team. This is true, and it must be communicated to the patient. Controlling and treating glaucoma cannot be done solely by the patient’s ophthalmologist, but rather, it is a team effort that includes the patient himself. It is the patient’s responsibility to follow the given treatment regimen so that there are fewer chances of functional loss. By expressing this to your patient, you are giving him the power to have control over his eye condition. Additionally, you can explain to him that there are also other physicians, resident doctors, and technicians who are working with you to help make him as comfortable as possible.
- Encourage Them To Learn About Their Condition. Patients can feel more in control if they are well educated about their eye condition. Encourage them to read or research about glaucoma or other eye problems. This will also help reduce his depression, knowing that there are many ways that he can do at home to alleviate his condition in case he feels pain or discomfort. Some patients are more eager than others, so their doctors teach them how to monitor their IOPs.
- Referral To A Mental Health Professional Is Necessary. Sometimes, patients tend to become too anxious and worried that they are unable to cope and even monitor their disease. These patients may benefit from therapy, and physicians recommend that they consult with a mental health professional to help themselves deal with their condition better. You must be able to clearly explain to the patient and his family the reason why their loved one may need therapy. Some families are offended by this recommendation, but in most cases, they would cooperate.
Lastly, instill patience and understanding in your patient – patience in himself and a thorough understanding of his disease. Be with your patient as he journeys through alleviation and recovery, which should be done one day at a time.
CNS (Central Nervous System) depression occurs if there is a slowdown in the normal neurological functions of an individual’s body. This can be caused by certain medical conditions, by poisoning or by an overdose of certain substances. Substances that cause CNS depression are referred to as CNS depressants.
Using the correct dosage of CNS depressants can provide medical benefits. However, very high doses of CNS depressants may lower the activity of the central nervous system to hazardous levels.
The central nervous system comprises the spinal cord and the brain. Many bodily functions, such as breathing and the beating of the heart, are controlled by the central nervous system. The central nervous system uses the spinal cord to send messages between the nerves and the brain.
Symptoms of CNS depressant overdose or CNS depression varies between individuals depending on their medical history, their size, how severe is their injury or illness, the type of substance they took, the dosage of the substance and the cause of the CNS depression.
“Depression is a serious and tricky illness. Unfortunately, it can also go unrecognized for a long period of time” Dr. Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC said. Individuals suffering from CNS depression may experience mild symptoms such as double vision, altered or blurred vision, euphoria, agitation and restlessness, dry mouth, constipation, slightly lowered heart rate, shallow breathing, stuttering or slurred speech, disorientation, dizziness, lethargy, muscle weakness, impairment in their sense of space and lack of coordination.
Individuals suffering from CNS depression may experience severe symptoms such as slow reflexes, intense and sudden mood swings, cold or clammy skin, aggression and irritability, blue fingertips, blue lips, poor judgment, vomiting, nausea, memory loss, extreme confusion, a breathing rate lower than ten breaths per minute and lowered heart rate.
“Depression symptoms are particularly troubling if someone displays more than one, or if they persist for more than two weeks.” Simon Rego, PsyD, associate professor of clinical psychiatry said. Individuals should immediately seek medical help if they exhibit any of these symptoms. Severe symptoms of CNS depression may result in coma and even death.
Long-term harm can result from the continued use of certain CNS depressants. Long-term use may result in the body no longer being able to flush out the CNS depressants. Long-term use of CNS depressants may produce slurred speech, loss of coordination, muscle weakness, confusion and disorientation, and problems with judgment, memory, and thought. Moreover, the person may require ever-increasing doses to gain the same medical benefits. The ever-growing doses may result in drug dependency. Some individuals may need therapy and rehabilitation to stop using the medication.
Certain substances, ranging from recreational drugs like heroin to sleep and anti-anxiety medication, can cause CNS depression. The primary substances that may depress the central nervous system are opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and alcohol. These substances may result in anxiety reduction, muscle relaxation, and drowsiness. When properly used, CNS depressants are safe. However, there is always a risk of becoming addicted to a CNS depressant. Many CNS depressants that doctors prescribe are used recreationally by some individuals.
The use of medications and certain other substances is not the only possible cause of CNS depression. A depression of the central nervous system can also be caused by an aneurysm, a tumor, an infection, a stroke, and a severe trauma or injury to the brain. “Knowing your risk factors for depression and other mental-health diagnoses, and how your mental health may be impacted by the medications you take is a crucial part of taking control of your mental and physical health.” A reminder from Julia Hogan, LCPC
Individuals with thyroid disorders, diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, lung disease, or kidney disease have an increased risk of suffering from CNS depression. These individuals should first consult a doctor before taking a CNS depressant.
Recent clinical trials and analyses have revealed that stress is not only a consequence but also a cause of vision loss as well. This discovery has led experts to suggest that clinicians must not add any more stress to their eye patients. Instead, they can help them find ways to reduce their anxiety and worry so that their vision is restored or alleviated. Ultimately, long periods of stress may result in a gamut of eye conditions or the worsening of the patient’s existing eye conditions.
Stress And Eyesight
“Some stress is unavoidable but if you can keep perspective then it can be a whole lot easier.” Gretchen Flores, MA LPC LCPC said. When an individual’s eyesight is lost, he will most likely experience stress from too much anxiety or worrying about his situation. For others, in more extreme conditions, the individual may present with depression or anti-social behaviors. This is the natural course of stress – that it is a consequence of an unpleasant experience. But what if the reverse happens? Is it possible? Can stress result in vision loss? The EPMA Journal recently published an article supporting this claim.
In the article, a group of psychologists explains how continuous stress can lead to vascular and sympathetic reactions in the nervous system due to the heightened levels of the hormone cortisol. Eventually, this will progress to affect the eyes and the brain, leading to eye conditions like optic neuropathy and glaucoma and, consequently, vision loss.
Stress As A Cause Of Eye Problems
“Long-term stress is linked to weight problems and cardiovascular issues,” says Jessica Harris, LCPC, LPC. But that is not all. Other studies and clinical trials have also come to conclude that indeed, stress does not only result in vision loss, but it also exacerbates an individual’s eye condition as well. Thus, it is not only a consequence but can also be an important cause of vision abnormalities that may result in macular degeneration, optic neuropathy, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
Ways To Help Restore Vision
- Reducing the causes of stress through exercise can certainly help. Some patients have communicated with their ophthalmologists that there were lesser strain and pain in their eyes after doing a series of light exercises that helped them relax after the sessions. Other strategies, including meditation, massage, relaxation techniques, and psychological counseling, have also proven to improve eye health in many patients. All these should be used preventively and in conjunction with medications.
- Eye doctors are encouraged to instill optimism and positivity in their patients while they are consulting with them and providing them as much information that they need to be aware of their condition. Ophthalmologists from across the world agree to this suggestion, stating that the attitude and the approach of the consulting physician are critical in the improvement of the patient’s vision problem. A lot of doctors quickly conclude and inform their patients that they have a poor prognosis and that they only have to wait until they finally lose their vision soon.
“Neuroscientists have found that brain structure is altered by chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, which can be a major contributing factor to anxiety and depression. Feelings of calm arise from time away from work and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure.” –Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP
Researchers, clinicians, and doctors admit that there should be more studies that need to be done to evaluate the efficiency of the specific stress reduction techniques that will help alleviate patients’ eye conditions or prevent complete vision loss if possible. About psychosomatic ophthalmology, more clinical trials are necessary to present a strong foundation in this field.
CNS (Central Nervous System) depression usually happens if an individual abuses a substance that causes a slowdown of the brain’s activity. Such substances are referred to as CNS depressants. Sedatives, hypnotics, and tranquilizers are some examples of CNS depressants.
Recently, opioid painkillers have been prescribed by doctors for certain conditions. However, opioid painkillers are sometimes overused by patients. This overuse of opioid painkillers can lead to complications.
CNS depressants are also sometimes used as recreational drugs. Recreational use of CNS depressants is usually hazardous and is often illegal. The greatest danger lies in individuals not understanding the risks involved in the misuse of CNS depressants.
Some individuals combine various CNS depressants. For example, they may take alcohol and painkillers at the same time. This often leads to a life-threatening situation.
Hazards of using CNS depressants include long-term adverse effects, overdose, withdrawal symptoms (when their use is ended), and dependency.
Misuse of CNS depressants may also occur if an individual takes drugs that have not been prescribed by a doctor. Also, if an individual intakes more than the prescribed dosage, or if an individual consumes medication that was prescribed for someone else, this is also considered misuse.
“There are many effective treatments for depression that are available to you when you make the decision to get help for your depression.” –Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC
Opioids And Opiates
Opioids and opiates are potent drugs used to relieve pain. They are derived from opium. Opium is derived from poppy seeds.
The active ingredients of codeine, morphine, heroin, and opium are opiates. Opioids come from opiates like heroin, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.
Opioids and opiates that are commonly prescribed by doctors are hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone, fentanyl (Duragesic), codeine, morphine (Avinza, Kadian), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (OxyContin).
Opioids and opiates are commonly prescribed by doctors to relieve pain. But because they are addictive and very strong, they are only prescribed to individuals who suffer from severe pain.
Some opioids and opiates, such as codeine, can be found in medications for diarrhea and cough. Doctors will sometimes prescribe these medications but only for short-term use.
Opiates and opioids, like heroin, are also used as recreational drugs by many individuals. They are frequently referred to as China white, oxy, smack, and H.
Sleep medications are chemically different. However, they work in the same manner as other CNS depressants. They stimulate the inhibitory neurotransmitter called GABA.
Sleep medications that are commonly prescribed by doctors are eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata), and zolpidem (Ambien).
Sleep medications are frequently referred to as tictacs, sleep easy, and zombie pills.
“Patients who experience continued insomnia are less likely to respond to medication and psychotherapy treatment than those without sleep problems.” –Staci Lee Schnell, MS, CS, LMFT
Benzodiazepines are used to treat convulsions, sleep disorders, panic attacks, and stress reactions.
Benzodiazepines that doctors may prescribe are estazolam (ProSom), lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin) and alprazolam (Xanax).
Some individuals abuse benzodiazepines. They are frequently referred to as chill pills, downers, and benzos.
Barbiturates are used to treat anxiety and seizure disorders. However, they are rarely prescribed by doctors nowadays. They may also be used to promote relaxation and sleep before surgery.
Barbiturates that doctors may prescribe are sodium phenobarbital (Nembutal) and mephobarbital (Mebaral).
Barbiturates are also used as recreational drugs. They are frequently referred to as phennies, downers, and barbs.
CNS depressants are also used by certain individuals during the commission of violent and sexual crimes. Xyrem is a sedative that is often used in sexual assaults. It is very easy to hide in drinks because it is tasteless, colorless, and odorless.
“A stressful change in life patterns can trigger a depressive episode. Such stressful events may include a serious loss, a difficult relationship, trauma, or financial problems.” Ben Martin, Psy.D.
As someone who loves her father dearly, it is hard for me to admit that my dad has had to get the services of psychologists to feel better mentally after his spinal surgery. A few months ago, he complained about being unable to walk and his lower back hurting. When we brought him to the hospital, the doctor diagnosed that one of the discs that were supposed to keep his spinal column from touching each other just got ruptured, and so the operation had to be done at once.
I can tell you now that the surgery has gone well. My old man is walking again, although there is a slightly noticeable limp now because his right foot has become a little numb post-operation. What has depressed him, though, is the fact that he cannot lift things and do heavy chores anymore either at home or at work. I cannot blame him for it; I can only imagine how difficult it must be to feel like you are incapable of doing the things that your family has relied on you to do before.
“Mental health struggles are real. They can be painful. You may feel alone. In some of the darkest times, you may feel like something is “wrong” with you to the core. ” –Erica Thompson, LMFT, LPCC
Nevertheless, thanks to the help of the psychologists that his surgeons have recommended, my father has managed to cope with his current situation now. The last few months have been tough for the entire family, but we have never doubted dad’s ability to get over his depression.
In case you are in the same rough patch as my father, you should know that you can stop feeling depressed over time. It is possible to live with the fact that there are some things that you cannot do anymore, and that’s okay. Here are some tips that I would like to share with you.
Assess Your Feelings
The first thing to ask yourself is, “Why do I feel so depressed?”
Chances are, if you are like my dad, the doctor will only discourage you from lifting heavy objects or bending down too much. It does not mean, though, that you cannot walk, drive, go to work, or play with your kids. It does not mean that you cannot bring your spouse out on a date or be the main man in the family. So, you should figure out what genuinely causes your depression so that you can understand where the issue is coming from. “Many people mistakenly believe that if you can’t see it like you can a broken bone, it must be less significant and therefore can be overcome by simply using willpower. If not, they mistakenly believe that people who suffer from depression are weak.” Simon Rego, PsyD said.
Avoid Alcoholic Beverages
Alcohol is not the best companion when you are trying to recover from surgery or depression. It will fog your mind more than clear it. Not to mention, it will make you assume that you can drown your hopelessness with bottles of whiskey or gin. Thus, you should not even touch any alcoholic beverage if you want to get over your problems sooner than later.
Don’t EVER Say You Can’t Do Something
What has hurt me and my family members the most is hearing my father say, “I am useless now.” He said that one time, when my mom needed help to fix the curtains, and we all stopped him from stepping on a stool chair to do it for her. “The worst thing we can do is say to ourselves, ‘I can’t handle it,’ while the best thing we can say is, ‘I may not like it, but I can handle it,” says Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist.
The truth is that being unable to fix the curtains does not make my dad useless. Not everyone can do everything, and it should not make anyone feel like they are inadequate because of that. You should remember that, too.
Despite the physical restrictions that come with your current condition, I am pretty certain that there are activities that can make you happy without having to move much. For instance, you can go to karaoke with your friends if that’s your jam. You can go on a short trip out of town with your grandkids and show them your favorite place. Furthermore, you can stop thinking that the surgery has taken a huge part of your identity. By doing all of that and more, you will be able to get over depression.
Stop Pulling People Into Your Depression
Often, when you’re feeling blue, the people around you can adapt your mood and then they’ll be depressed too. Instead of pulling people down to your depressed state, just pull yourself up so that you will not have to worry about anyone or anything in the future.
Read The Bible
Lastly, reacquainting yourself to the teachings of God might be the only thing that can move you out of your miserable state so if you haven’t started doing it or you’ve never even tried before, read the Bible now.
The people around you love you so much. You may be going through a tough situation now, but you are not alone. Let your family and friends in your life and follow the tips above to get over your depression post-surgery. Good luck!