I am posting this in the “man only” area because I feel and have felt like less of a man. I am sure that more than one of you understands exactly how alone I have felt until I found this site. When diagnosed the picture given to me was pretty grim and I have to admit my brain kind of shut down with the words “fused spine.”
I had given up. I have lost family, jobs, and even my own business because of a combination of self pity, and ignorance.
Although diagnosed only 9 years ago I know my symptoms to have begun and have been mis-diagnosed nearly 15 years ago while in the military. Due to whatever reason my military records seem to have been lost in the great void known as St Louis, as well as my home of record. I have tried for many years to fix this problem but as I am sure you can imagine it has not been easy.
To be totally honest I had lost everything that I lived for. One by one every reason I had for waking up, when I can sleep was not there in the morning. I have had to do ‘contract work” since my ETS, and as such have never been able to afford insurance, and could only barely support my family after leaving the military. Coming from working class West Virginia I expected pain to be part of a fathers life. I always told myself that there would be time, after my daughter was taken care of.
She and her mother are gone now. Another man is taking care of them. I would be lying if I said that I did not hate my wife for leaving, but that hate does not make me feel better and I try to be a better man. She left after I was diagnosed, and has admitted since that my diagnoses was the straw that broke the camels back. We had other problems, but this did not help.
I currently have no insurance, no money, no job, no car, or no doctor, but now at least I have hope.
I am in what I think is a good relationship. She knows about the condition and its supposed limitations, but has assured me that I can do better. I know I should have the strength to do it myself, but knowing that I can share her strength has made my life bearable. I do not tell her how she motivates me. I am scared that she would stay with me only out of pity if I were to do that. That pity would negate the trust. She pushes me to be better where others had given up on me. I had given up on myself.
I am now a “recovering” alcoholic. Alcohol being the only pain reliever I can afford. As I am sure you know anything that involves a complete night of sleep seems like a good idea regardless of whatever effects it might have. Waking up with a hangover is still better than just normally waking up. I have not stopped drinking altogether but I have started being honest with myself for the reasons why I do it.
Now I find you. I know she sees my pain, but we all know that there is no true way to explain it in a way she can understand.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for understanding.