Back Surgery and needing help


I guess it's time for me to probably start a thread. I have had back problems for decades. Had one back surgery already. In October my back went out. And things were bad. Got an MRI which showed a herniated disc, two compressed nerves and some scar tissue. Been doing non-invasive stuff like PT and steroid injections. Was improving for a time but never got well. Then things started getting worse again. And lately have been getting much worse. It's felt like a very long haul. I am tired of this and want to be better. Next step should be surgery. I see the surgeon who did my last surgery next Wednesday.

And I live alone and have 4 animals and l will need all sorts of help. (Probably already need help in some ways). And I hate, hate, hate needing help. It sends my spiraling into self-hate. And my therapist says my friends will want to help. But I've already had several surgeries in my life. And my friends have helped. And I am sure I've used up my quota of needing help. And I know people here try and make me believe there is no quota but I think there is. There's a point where someone just becomes a burden and I must have reached that point.

And while I'm talking about how I'm failing, there's work. I am on light duty. I can't work a full shift. I'm struggling with half-days. I'm struggling to not be grumpy and stay focused when I'm at work. I think I'm mostly succeeding but I should be better. And I'm going through training to be a lead, meanwhile I'm letting everyone down.

And then of course there's the money stress. And the uncertainty stress. While I know that surgery is an option, part of me is terrified that the doctor will say "no" for some reason or insurance will be evil and I'll be left like this. Constant pain. Physically limited... and that's me being whiny which is another reason to hate myself. I should be able to cope.

And of course, there's another part of my brain telling me I'm exaggerating. That my back isn't really that bad. That I could work a full shift. Could maybe work full duty. Could be coping and getting things done and am going to waste the doctor's time. I'm getting better at ignoring that voice, but it's still there.

And I said I don't like needing things but here I am making a post. I'm stuck in "I'm sorry" mode. And the thing is, no matter how much I apologize it won't be enough. It's an endless trap.


It sounds like to me you need a hug! So, here's a hug for you if you accept. I'm sorry you're in pain...pain takes you out of logical thinking and lands you right into emotional thinking which can spiral rather quickly. Yay that you are seeing your surgeon. All that you described has to have will get worse if not.

Where is the proof that you have reached your quota for asking for help from your friends? Has anyone willing to help made comments, politely declined, or outright said hell no? Or, is this emotional thinking gone south? Take a step back and think of it this're saying that asking for help causes you to have self-hatred, but is there any part of you that realizes that asking for help (when you really, truly, actually have to have help) is a sign of self-love, self-care and healing? And your worth it, and you deserve to be pain free? If there is even a small part of you that realizes that and believes it, use it to challenge the self-hatred feelings. Easy to say, hard to do, but worthwhile. Your people would not tell you they are willing to help if they weren't. Accept their help with gratitude if you can.

About work, your "should"-ing all over yourself which is the same as shitting all over yourself. Don't do that to yourslef, you don't deserve it. When you have surgery and the pain subsides, you'll be able to perform at the level and expectations you hold for yourself.

About money and insurance, those are real and valid fears so take them one step at a time. From the sound of what you describe, surgery is the only option for pain relief. "I should be able to cope", well, that is a lie we tell ourselves. You are coping the best you can, right now. Posting about your struggles is excellent coping. Don't hate hat is off to you for it.

I have that same part that tells me I'm exaggerating, it isn't/wasn't that bad, etc. That part is trying to protect you/itself from the fears you have about money, insurance, work, etc. Rather than ignoring that voice, thank it/him/her for the feedback and ask it to be quiet now.

Everytime you hear yourself say I'm sorry either internally or outloud, immediately tell yourself "I deserve to be well and pain free". Because that is the real and actual truth.

Now, I don't know you and you don't know me, but I like the posts you make so I felt compelled to reply. And, I have a very passionate response to your post because I can only imagine where you are coming from as I don't have chronic pain, therefore from my point of view, I can see that your pain is the root of the emotional thinking gone South. I want to challenge some of your negative thinking toward yourself because you ARE in constant pain right now. So, Please, Please take anything I've posted that will help you to heart and ditch anything that doesn't.

I truly hope you get some relief soon.


Yup. Lived with low back pain for a lot of years from cartilage damage in my SI. It affected work and everything. Funny part was when I started caring more for me than my job, people would help. I just got to where - no that makes my back worse so help me or it doesn't get done.
I did spinal decompression for a few years and it really helped in a lot of ways. I did get relief and stopped having to sleep on the floor (It was the only way to get relief and sleep). PTSD therapy did the rest. Back spasms stopped, my lats aren't pulled so tight my chest is sore, etc.

It seems to me that the single hardest thing for people who don't live with PTSD to understand is all the physical stuff, and how much your PTSD symptoms affect that. Pain? Top of the "affects PTSD more than we realize" list. The second problem is we don't tell anyone about any of it or connect the dots between anxiety and physical pain. The more affected the more we shut up. So explain what you need now to your boss. Work, pain, and stress are all conspiring to make everything worse.

So, like putting out a fire, start taking things that make it worse away. Start asking about support programs for injured workers. Find help with your pets. Take away some of the work stress. It's not like if you pause your program you can;t go back. But you can screw up a lot and its not because you are incompetent, its that you have an anxiety based mental illness that affects everything you do and when there is too much stress you can't function properly.


And I am sure I've used up my quota of needing help. And I know people here try and make me believe there is no quota but I think there is
Yeah, no. No quotas! Do you have quotas for your friends? No! So there aren't quotas for you.

If I lived near you: I would be there walking the pets or getting food in for you. Because friends do that. It makes friends feel good to help out. It's a win win all round.

What will help you feel able to ask for the help?

Glad you started this thread. I see that as you knowing and seeing your worth and finding a way through to get the support you need with all this.


Not much help but I get that, same for me, to ask for help leads to a spiral of shame, and pretty sure I used up my quota too. Also had pain since I can remember, 2 severe back injuries as a child and more injuries as an adult, and early onset arthritis proabably due to EDS, as my siblings all tested positive and I'm more severe phenotypically than some of them though younger.

I never thought pain leads to emotional reasoning?

If nothing else, it gives your friends a chance to be friends. You need the help, so don't think about it, just ask. Hopefully they can and will.

Take care of yourself.


ETA above, I'm sorry @Muttly I had to cut off abrupty. Meant hope you take care of yourself, that is be kind to yourself, don't allow the thoughts of minimizing and be gentle and give yourself a break and let others take some of the load off as I am sure you would for them. Hugs to you. 🫂


Thank you everyone. Sorry I don't have the energy to reply to everyone individually.

My original appointment with the surgeon was a few weeks out but things have maybe gotten bad. So, I actually called to see if I could get in sooner and will be seeing the surgeon next Wednesday. And I reached out to a friend who will go with me. I tend to freeze at doctor's appointments and not ask questions and not remember everything. I told the friend I need help with this. So I guess that's the start of reaching out for help. Blah

Working even a half shift is so hard. And it's lame. All but one coworker are super supportive. But the one coworker is getting to me. She's having to take up the slack from me working less. It just reinforces the idea that I'm a burden.... and at the same time. Part of me is mad? Things aren't good but I'm dragging myself in, so she has help. When I'm there I'm offering to do the things she doesn't like to do. But I'm getting back a cold shoulder. And I'm mad at myself that I care.

I just wish Wednesday would come. Not knowing what is going to happen is hard.

Now, I don't know you and you don't know me, but I like the posts you make so I felt compelled to reply. A
This was very sweet. Thank you


But the one coworker is getting to me. She's having to take up the slack from me working less.
Abelist's. They are the people who think making the world better for someone else means it makes it worse for them.

Those people - are what they are. Usually, nothing you do will change anything there. They are put out having to do anything more than they have to and they can never figure out why they get nowhere at work. They never realize their attitude is whats holding them back.

I have had several epiphanies on needing help. I have always been the same as you @Muttly . But at several points I have been smacked down to where help is the only way back up. I re-framed that. Sometimes I need a help. I just look for ways to help others in any way I can to pay it forward.


I really feel like I should be managing this better. I have had surgery before. So I know what to expect (in a general sort of way) and don't need to be freaking out. I'm frustrated with myself.

I found out that the intermittent leave I am currently on only got approved for a total of 4 hours a month. That's a huge blow since I've only been working half days. And I will have to reapply once surgery is scheduled. And because of the way we are set up I will have to apply through the state and through work. Blah.

And I keep talking like it's for sure that I am having surgery, but until I talk to the surgeon I have this fear that he's going to deny surgery and I'll be stuck like this forever. Yeah, yeah, I know that's black/white thinking. And I know I will have to wait until insurance approves it and that's always a nightmare.

I'm sort of regretting inviting my friend to come. I am worried I will understate things because I don't want to seem like a whiner in front of her. I mean, I should be able to handle it on my own anyway.


I mean, I should be able to handle it on my own anyway.
Would it help to diffuse this thought?

Your trauma brain loooooves to beat you up with the "I should be able to" story. It's one of your brain's favourites.

Thanks brain - but, right or wrong, I don't need to do this alone.

There's no one that you need to prove your independence to. Your survival isn't at stake anymore, you're safe now. And you have a friend that's willing to be there for you.

So, thanks brain, but that "I should be able to" story isn't relevant here.


Appointment is tomorrow. I should (yes, more shoulds) come up with a list of questions but my brain just keeps skittering away

There's no one that you need to prove your independence to

Oh. This is super helpful and kind of big. I think there's layers in there that I need to dig into when I can think. My brain sort of went "Aha! That's what I've been doing.".