Friday, September 23, 2011

Damned if you do, damned if you do.

I have a problem.  I care too much.

I guess that's what you'd call it. After a family member told me they wanted my help and I started making the effort to get the changes they wanted, they backed off and said that I should too.  They called my efforts on their behalf meddling. Helping people is really confusing.  Should be simple but it's not.

When someone tells me about a problem, I tend to want to help them fix it.  Sometimes, though, they don't want it fixed.  They just want to complain about it and do nothing about it and that's something that is hard for me to comprehend.  My way of thinking is, if you want to complain, then take the steps to fix it so you won't have a reason to complain anymore.  I don't understand why someone will complain about the same things over and over but never take the obvious steps to fix the problem.  For example, there was a woman I knew who constantly complained about how horribly her ex-husband was treating her and her child.  Then the next minute, she was allowing her child to spend extra time with the ex, outside of court recommendations.  I'd say, "Do you not remember what he did to you a few weeks ago?  What he made that child go through?"  And she'd say, "Oh, he's been good lately," as if she'd forgotten that just a few months before, he'd been "being good" then, too.  She'd cave and let him see the child for extra time and he'd start right back up with the horrible behavior.  However, me pointing that out made ME the bad person.  Things haven't quite been the same between us since.

Other times, I see someone mistreated or hear about someone being taken advantage of and it breaks my heart; whether I know them or not.  I want to step in and protect those who are unaware.  But when I say something, I tend to get a "Why should you care?" lecture.  "These people are adults and could figure it out themselves if they were smart enough."  As if that absolved me of any responsibility.  It's like saying that if people didn't want to be mistreated or taken advantage of, they wouldn't allow it to happen to them.  Isn't that like "victim blame"?

I guess it goes back to the days when I was being mistreated on a daily basis.  No one spoke up for me and I didn't know how to speak up for myself.  So when I see these things happen to others, I feel like I have to say something. 

But as much as people say that more people in the world need to help each other out, I find more often than not that it all backfires.  I start helping someone and halfway through, they back out and make me look like an idiot.  I tell someone who is complaining how to change the circumstance they are complaining about and suddenly I'm "judging" them.  I mention that I want to help people who don't know they are being taken advantage of and I am told, "Why should you care?  It doesn't affect you."  It's very depressing and doesn't bode well for my outlook on the world.

I really don't know how NOT to care.  I try not to let this deter me from... well, being ME.  I try not to let these things make me lose faith in humanity.  I try.  Sometimes, it doesn't work.

Today I've lost faith.  I'll eventually get it back and then sometime in the future, I'll go down the same road as I get burned again.  And again.  I keep trying to tell myself that if I've helped just ONE person, REALLY HELPED one person, then all these instances of feeling hopelessly defeated would be worth it.

But for today, I'm just lost.

Peace, happiness, and (eventual) faith,


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mystery of my back pain (almost) solved.

The pain in my back started when I was pregnant with my youngest son. The stabbing feeling in the middle of my lower back was so debilitating that I literally had to crawl where I needed to go (this was in my house, of course). From then on, the pain has been intermittent. A few months ago, though, the pain started to get worse.

Also over the last few years, since my family doctor had moved away, I had seen three doctors about my back pain. Each one of them would take one look at me, assume I was out of shape, and decide that what I was experiencing was muscle strain. They would throw a prescription of muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories at me and send me on my way. I would always give them the benefit of a doubt. They were doctors, after all, and what did I know? But the pills never worked. Granted I'm not in the best shape but in my defense, it's hard to rev up your exercise routine (and I do exercise several times a week) when your experiencing such horrid back pain.

I found out last year that my family doctor moved back and reopened his practice. So when my back started acting up again a few months ago, I went to him. What did he say? Muscle strain. He wrote me a prescription for -- you guessed it -- muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories. He could tell I was frustrated and I told him why. I knew there was more going on than muscle strain but I couldn't convince him, or apparently anyone else, of that. He said we'd wait a year and if the pain wasn't gone, then we'd take steps to check it out further. I knew I wouldn't be able to wait another year.

That was in May. Since then, I have been in constant pain and it just keeps getting worse. I held off going to the doctor as long as I could because I was so scared that he would simply say it was muscle strain again. But there was something about this time that was different. Maybe it was the rigid way I moved. Maybe it was the look of "Please help me!" on my face. The minute I told him it was even a struggle to tuck my kids into bed at night, did he finally say what I'd been hoping for all along. "Let's get a scan and see what's going on."

It was such a relief to finally have the sort of help I've been needing. I went yesterday for an MRI and the results should be back in the next few days. I admit I'm nervous. I'm terrified that I'll have to have some kind of surgery. I'm terrified of spending the rest of my life with this debilitating back pain. Most of all, I'm terrified that I might end up in a wheelchair. I realize that's the worst case scenario, but it is on my mind.

What saddens me the most, though, is the thought of my young children helping to take care of me. I was sent to live with my grandparents at a young age specifically for the purpose of helping take care of my handicapped grandmother. It was a big burden for such a young kid. I had a flashback of this when I asked my young son to pick things up off the floor for me. I never want to place that kind of burden on them. And today, there was a commercial for something that said "Back Pain Relief". My 5 year-old got very excited and said, "Look Momma! That will help your back pain!" I gave him big hugs for wanting to help me and when he wasn't looking, I cried because it has affected them more than I thought it had.

Part of me can't help but wonder if my pain would've gotten this bad if someone had really listened to me the first time.

I'll update when I get the results in.

Until then, peace, love, and (pain free) hugs,