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Jude's avatar

Someone is dealing with debilitating chronic pain and has thoughts of suicide, how do you step in to help them?

Asked by Jude (32112points) February 22nd, 2011

How do you deal with someone who is suffering from chronic (debilitating) pain and who’s health keeps on getting worse, and they say that they may want to “pack it all in”?

It’s a cry for help.

I am going through this now with a family member (some of you know what I am talking about) and it’s time to take the bull by the horns. Time to rid her of the mooching, asshole of a husband (file for divorce), help her with the selling of the house (and moving) since, she is in so much pain, some days she isn’t able to get out of bed. Time to get her back closer to home (with family and friends – support) because she is isolated where she is at…

When someone is in this desperate of a situation, you have to take action yourself, right? To fix things?

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15 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What a terribly difficult situation to be in. I happen to know exactly what you’re going through first hand. I’m not going through it with a family member, but it is with one of my closest and oldest friends.

This is what I’ve come up with: I can’t make decisions for the person. I can make blunt suggestions and offer my help in many different ways such as calling divorce lawyers, real estate agents, etc. I can even say I would be there to help with physical care if the person was closer instead of isolated.

I can do much, but I can’t make the final decisions. Only my friend can do that. It’s emotionally draining to be in this position, but I have to recognize my own powerlessness over the situation and do what I can.

Aster's avatar

MY GOD, What about a pain clinic? People should not have to live with constant pain! If there ‘s no pain clinic , how about an understanding doctor?

Jude's avatar

Very serious question.

Only serious, helpful replies. I appreciate your help.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It would hurt me to see them in such pain, I would understand the urge to kill themselves. I would probably be the wrong person for them to be around because I don’t think I can ‘talk them out of it’ since I don’t believe in doing so, especially when this is the kind of pain I can’t imagine.

dealrrr's avatar

it’s taking me a year to get help with chronic pain and i think about suicide too. i finally have a pain clinic scheduling me for my first appointment, it took a lot of pushing and making demands to get this far. i hope it works out for both of us. i wonder if i would have suffered for 12 years in another country? a neurologists discovered my cause of pain with a nerve conduction study.

Jude's avatar

My girlfriend is wonderful and wise. Her thinking:

This is what I think. That person who said that is right. L (my sister) is ultimately the one who has to make the decisions. It’s her life and it’s her choice to make to leave her husband or not or to go into rehab or to sell the house, etc. That doesn’t mean that we can’t annoyingly and forcibly provide help and persistent nudges to help her keep moving in a positive direction. She needs that. She needs to know that we will be there for her and that she doesn’t have to figure everything out or do everything alone. And we need to actually keep showing up at her doorstep so that she really knows and believes that she has help. If we just say that we will help she will still feel alone. She won’t believe it. She needs her family to physically be there to help her right now. She needs a break and she needs to know that no one is judging her and that it isn’t a burden to help her.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Has she tried a good Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, TENS unit? They are designed for blocking pain. Sometimes they work wonders.

faye's avatar

There are great pain clinics. I have severe arthritis and I have drugs so that I am not in debilitating pain. Her doctor needs a serious kick in the ass, possibly reported, if he is letting her suffer like that. I have morphine, it’s not expensive, considering her mooching husband, and gabapentin which turned my life around a couple of years ago. I know it’s expensive. I’m also going for nerve block injections which might be an option for her. I think you could certainly keep her aware of your willingness to help her, just, as a nurse, I think she should not have pain causing suicidal feelings.

blueiiznh's avatar

There are some major things going on and they are all building on one another.
I am unsure about the pain part, but maybe a second Dr opinion can find something that works better.
My suspect is the suicide thought part is because of all these things put together. Be a good friend and be there to do what is certainly needed and requested. Be a caregiver of sorts as she does not sound like she has one in spouse.
She ultimately has to make some life decisions. The stress of it all will certainly rob her of her health. If she can see clear to finding the strength to make some choices to remove some of these stress points. If she can determine that the years she has leftshould be spent in as best as possible a way, is a great start.
She needs to determine what he priorities and plans are. Once done, if she asks for help, be there with bells on.

snowberry's avatar

@Aster In a perfect world, a pain clinic works wonders. But actually getting into one is a difficult thing to accomplish, and sometimes you have to wait a long time while they eliminate all the possible options that DON’T work. In the meantime, you have to submit to a drug test every single time you go, and try all their stuff that you have already told them don’t work on you.

My mother would have been a candidate for this treatment, and after more than a year my next door neighbor has finally been approved for a Tens Unit.

The bottom line is that doctors cannot see pain-nobody can-and often people in pain are not beleived. Unless a doctor can find clear physical evidence that the patient IS actually in PAIN, they tend to disbelieve them. I have seen some real idiots doctors work over my friend in the year and a half I have known her. I actually witnessed one doctor promise to help her with her pain, and then smilingly, laughingly, DECREASED her medication!

faye's avatar

@snowberry then report him because that’s disgusting. 1½ years is not considered a long time in Canada if I’m anything to go by, and I’ve had no drug tests.

snowberry's avatar

@Faye Yeah, I know. I forgot to mention that my friend has been sick in excruciating pain for 6 years. She has Potts, Lyme Disease, Bartonella (a dog and cat disease brought on by ticks) and a few others. I have only known her for 1½ years…

My mother lived through 3 decades of this kind of pain. At one point she was addicted to morphine, but took herself off of it because she couldn’t function as a mother. Often she lived with the pain unregulated. I grew up with it. I know this subject pretty well.

As for reporting it, it’s not my place to report the jerk. My friend has learned from experience it does not pay to burn your bridges, because sometimes you have to go back to the bad doctors because sometimes they are the best option you’ve got. If all you have is a verbal promise, it’s the doctor’s word against the patient’s, and that wouldn’t fly in court anyway.

Summum's avatar

Boy can I relate to this. I am in constant 24/7 pain and it gets to you after a while. There are times I would love to just go and allow myself to pass on and then I experience something more in life and I am thankful I am not gone. I get some pain relief from a pain clinic but so far it has only been Percocet that has been offered. I had a block of injections given but to no avail. It is very difficult to live under these conditions and judgement should not come into play. Unless you have the pain the person does you cannot understand what they are going through.

snowberry's avatar

Good news about my friend. She gets a TENS unit installed tomorrow. It’s simply amazing how well it works.

Another thought about pain is that a great deal of coping with it has to do with your state of mind. She got on a lot better when she was searching for a cure than when she had given up looking.

My friend is an RN, and she has done a great deal of research regarding her diseases. Often she has discovered that she knew more about her diseases than the doc who was supposedly the expert. It’s disheartening when this happens.

Jude's avatar

She is taking steps to help herself.

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