A POEM: Solutions & Survival

July 4, 2011

Back to the up all night and no sleep routine. It’s an old act I developed in high school or was it college? Not a stand-up comedy routine. Could be at this point because if I don’t laugh I’ll cry.

 

Cry. Soft whimpering cries. Loud screaming cries.

 

No dies. Not yet.

 

Tired wired eyes. I doze off then wake up. I wake up I doze off.

 

I tried to eat my worries last night and I couldn’t keep them down.

 

I’m hungry then I can’t eat. Can’t sleep. What can I do?

 

My body rejects my denial and forces me to think. Think. Think

 

I slept earlier yesterday after a panic attack. Anxiety attack. Anxiety went into cruise control and got into an accident with my insides and outsides. I was inside. Inside.

 

I slept yesterday. It was a dream. Not the sleep. It was dream to sleep. The day before I slept. Slept early. Awoke early.

 

Productive. Creative. Happy. Happy.

 

Today and last night and some other nights the pains in my face drove me to a painkiller. Kill the pain. Kill pain.

 

Kills pain. I can’t sleep. Can’t sleep. I dream of sleep. Dream sleep.

 

Remember the night owl I once was? I wanted to be? Proud to be?

No worries.

 

Worries. Problems. Dilemmas. Solutions.

Solutions.  Think. Think man, think. A Solution. Solutions.

 

Solution? Not there yet. Not sure I’m anywhere yet. Had one or two or three or more. Solutions. Each solution is kicked out of the way by a bigger worry. Bigger problem. Bigger dilemma.

 

I cry. I laugh. I get outraged. I am sensitive. Sensitive artist. Bah.. Starving artist. Bah..

 

I go away for a minute. Two maybe three. Minutes. I am surrounded by love and sex and fantasies I make up as they float through my dreams.

 

I get home to an empty fridge and a coffee table cluttered with reminders of my worries. I scramble for solutions. I do what I can to solve the worries, problems and dilemmas.

 

Productive. Creative. Happy?

 

Not sure. Doubt. Hope. In between.

 

Go forward. Move ahead. Back to the taxi. Whip it.

 

Maybe I will. Whip it. Whip it good.

 

I win even If I lose.

I survive. Survive.

 


Epiphany Shmiphany

June 20, 2011

 

I’ve been waiting to sit down and write about an “epiphany” I had a little over a week ago. Epiphany. For such a soft word that is almost pretty as it rolls through my mouth it is a powerful word. I’ve had these changes in attitude and  realizations ( a harsher sounding word that’s way less powerful). I was basically going to tell you about the “epiphany” that I have told you about and have experiences over and over. I guess I should mention it briefly then move on, huh?

 

I was watching a documentary about Hubert Selby Jr, author of classic novels like Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream that were made into fantastic movies, about a week and a half ago. Learning about the struggles of the life of an artist is just rehashing what I already knew. An artist is born that way. Born to struggle through life so he can create art. That is his purpose and contribution to life. In a world of money oriented and materialistic people, we the artists, are giving instead of taking. As soon as we share our creations with at least one other person our art is art.

 

Ok, I’m not going to go on on and on about my purpose in life and your role in it. Basically I was just reminded of what I need to remember and keep forgetting. The struggle is the burden and consistency and I have to comment, react and create from it then give t away.

 

“I am an American artist I have no shame.” Patti Smith

 

The past few weeks have been terrifying, incredible, amusing, and on and off weird.

 

I’ll start with right now. At this moment I am sitting inside a coffee shop in Collingswood, NJ. I just finished talking to a friend I’ve hung out with only a few times but when we see each other there is this bond we have and we end up in deep conversations about art, music, addiction and sometimes the meaning of life itself. Ha. He’s in a similar situation as me and we always get along.

 

I went to the welfare office at 7 am this morning and spent over 2 hours trying to get some kind of assistance. I followed it up with a visit to unemployment to waste another hour or 2. It wasn’t a complete waste. My unemployment is back on. I just had to fight for the weeks they held back. This is fantastic news after waiting almost a month without the money and bills are adding up.

 

When you’re broke. Really broke. You start thinking about every coffee, donut, dinner out, pizza delivered, soda, etc and you over analyze what you wasted money in the past while still spending the same money on the same things. Oh yeah, the air conditioning is killing my roommate and me. Both he and my landlord suggested I turn it off and leave the house each day and hang at a coffee shop or somewhere with internet connections. These days that’s pretty much every coffee shop and eve restaurants and bars.

 

I went home after the unemployment office. It was about noon. 5 hours spent on trying to get help and it was semi successful. I still had the entire day ahead of me. I still do. I rubbed one off watching Judge Pierno or whatever her name is to relax. Not long after I got a phone call from the lady I spoke with at the unemployment office to tell me that all of the past money owed to me will come through. I was more floored by the fact that the woman called me back as soon as she found out than I was about the money. That was just really nice. I was ready to get out again and head to the pharmacy and then relax at the coffee shop. I am relaxed despite the caffeine.

 

I just ran into a girl I knew from a group I used to attend. Young, beautiful and great body and she is a fellow writer. A talented writer. I had such a crush on her a while back. I had so many fantasies about her in the past few years. I haven’t seen her since this past winter when I fist grew my beard and hair long and she called me a Wooly Mammoth and I was embarrassed and I was already anxious borderline agoraphobic. Weird. It was just a cute little name-calling and borderline flirtation that helped speed up my already progressing reclusiveness.

 

Irony. Now that I am leaving the house I run into the girl that I not only had a crush on but made me not want to go out anymore. I have to admit when I first laid eyes on her I got a little anxious and I pretended not to see her. I wanted to hide and jump up and call her name. I didn’t. I went back to writing what you just read. What I just wrote. I felt comfortable when she approached me on her way out. She was actually working, looking for a story to cover for one of the publications she writes for.

 

We talked a little bit about writing and how good it was to see each other then she left and here I am. This is the message of my writing today. Random events that mean nothing and mean everything to me.

 

When I got here I randomly started talking to a guy I never met before about misery versus happiness. I happen to be learning and relearning that life is a struggle and it’s what you put into it. This is before I met the others here today.

 

Last week I went to Philly to sell my cds to a shop where I’ve known the owner for a while. We had a great talk and he gave me a great price and I left a happy man. I wandered to a coffee shop I’d never been to greeted by 3  barista angels that worked the registers and coffee machines. People talked to me and greeted me like I was someone. I grabbed my drink and tipped then sat right outside so I could smoke. Huh… I haven’t had a cigarette yet since I entered the coffee shop. Usually I jump right out side and smoke. If I did that I wouldn’t have run into my friends. Shit. Now I want a cigarette. . .  .

 

*Dramatic pause for Rich Hillen Jr’s cigarette break*

 

Great smoke break. I’m texting my friend maybe girlfriend that lives in New Orleans all about my day. She’s another story. We’ve been talking about moving in for a while but we can’t afford it yet. A long drive and she has a pooch.

 

Just 3 weeks ago (maybe 2 and a half weeks) I was so desperate and stressed about my financial condition and it’s slowly pulling itself together.

 

Once I had my “epiphany”, I felt better over all and knew things will work out if I make the effort and try not to feel or come off desperate. I was ready.

 

My roommate told me about a music shop in Collingswood that would probably give me a good deal on my amp I’ve wanted to sell. I headed out one night to sell the amp and I ran out of gas within 4 blocks from the store. I laughed. My gas gage isn’t always working right and it says that there is less gas than is in there. I was on empty and was planning to get gas after I sold the amp.

 

This teenager appeared out of nowhere and started pushing my car. We couldn’t budge it for some reason. I was a foot from the corner street wedged on the curb. I called my close friend that lived in Collingswood and he was on the road going to a show and couldn’t help. I was pretty far from a gas station. I racked my brain finding someone in the area that could and would help me out.

 

I called my filmmaker friend who I’ve worked with on a few projects and he came through for me. I was still in a decent mood. I was also lucky enough to have had a gas container. So my friend picked me up, took me to the gas station and back to my car. It worked out because he wanted to talk to me about his upcoming projects. Just as we pulled up near my abandoned giant red beat-up 1994 Lincoln Towncar there was a Mini-Cooper in front of it and my cell phone rang with an unrecognized number. I just said to my friend that it looks like my mom’s friend’s car and it was my mom on his cell phone. I laughed again. My mom and her friend were parked there checking to see if I was ok. I was. They left. It was starting to get windy and a storm was on the way. I gassed the car up, thanked my friend and drove off to get gas.

 

I debated going to the music shop because of the gas problem and the storm brewing. I went anyway. It was a great decision. There were 2 women sitting in there with a guy that worked there. I jumped right to business and didn’t even check out the ladies. I wanted money. I knew exactly how much I wanted for it and the guy looked at and tested it. He left to get the owner to look at it and appraise it. While he was gone I looked at one of the now noticeably pretty women and she said “Hi Rich.” I knew those eyes of hers. It’s been over 20 years but you don’t forget her eyes. I said hi and I was a little uncomfortable yet happy. Memories rushed through my head of all of the nights I hung out with her, her friend and my weirdo friend. Many drinks and many other things. I tripped on acid with this girl at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was at my college graduation party. One night we got really stoned and went back to her place to look at her art (she was an incredible artist). We had a most memorable passionate night that we agreed not to tell anyone about. I wonder if it made it special because it was a one-time deal. It doesn’t matter. Here she was face to face 20 years later and looked the same.

 

I knew she lived in the area for years and heard about her musician boyfriend/fiancé through a friend of mine. I did run into her once 10-12 years ago and it was a brief conversation because we both had somewhere to go. So you can probably guess who owned the music shop I was standing in hoping to make a buck from. It was the infamous boyfriend/fiancé or whatever. Then I talked to him about the people we had in common. We talked after he paid me righteously for the amp of course. I left feeling good.

 

Then came the storm as I was leaving. A physical storm followed that Sunday afternoon after “helping” out my uncle who is really my great aunt’s live in boyfriend clean offices. I pulled muscles in my arms and shoulders. This triggered my infamous Trigeminal Disorder. The pain was at its’ worst since I was first diagnosed with it in 2005. I was running out of pain meds and I couldn’t refill them for a week. I took migraine aspirin and sleep aids. I spent most of the next 3 days away to escape the explosions in my face. I was in extreme pain for 3 days then the recovery took a day or 2. I was finally back in the world and that’s when I sold my cds and hung out in Philly.

 

This past Saturday I did my usual “helping” out my uncle whose not my uncle. Afterward, I met up with my adopted mother, the one that raised me, to have lunch in honor of my adopted father whose 2nd year death anniversary that also fell on Father’s Day. We were supposed to meet up the next day but she changed her mind and we had a great dinner and conversation.

 

On my way out I ran into another friend I’ve known for years sitting on a bench and I voluntarily joined him. This is a big step for me to be social and I hung out with him for an hour in the hot sun drinking an iced coffee from Starbucks. I was in a good mood. I headed home and watched some movies and did a little writing.

 

Sunday was Father’s day and my adopted father’s death anniversary. It was an awkward day. Having 2 dads can be difficult. My focus was on the dead one who raised me and not my biological father who came back in my life as an adult and has been there for my for over 20 years now. I called him and text him. We decided we will celebrate when I can afford it. It ended nicely.

 

Shit. This was a random bit of writing that went on forever. If you’re still reading, God bless you and thank you for sharing my life as it’s still spinning in and out of Epiphanies, pain, poverty, good memories and hopes of tomorrow, meanwhile, living in the moment no mater how good or bad it gets.

 

Ride on.

 

Right on.

 

Write on.

 

 


Echoes of Pain: A Poem

June 15, 2011

Echoes of pain.

 

The sweet sensation.

 

Ohh . . .

 

The comforting echoes of pain.

 

The aftermath of a storm in my face.

 

A tornado disconnecting the wiring in my face.

 

Waves of electricity stabbing me.

 

Agony. Welcome home extreme agony.

 

Just before it goes away.

 

Just before the pain goes away there’s a feeling.

 

A feeling that echoes through my face.

 

Telling me it’s going to pass.

 

The sweet sensation.

 

Ohhh.

 

Echoes of pain.


Broken

June 6, 2011

Never say, “it can’t get any worse than this.” It always does. Maybe it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe it’s self-sabotage. Maybe it’s fate. Maybe it’s a “jinx”. Whatever it is, it can and most of the time gets worse.

I’ve been writing through it. I can’t seem to finish anything to post. I’m afraid to post certain things about my life. I am breaking my entire life’s goal to hold nothing back in my writing. I find myself holding many things back for various reasons. I don’t want certain people to know certain things about me. I am embarrassed and ashamed of my life conditions at times. I am afraid of letting you in.

The more down hill my life seems to go I am les inclined to write and post about it anywhere. Fuck it. I’m going to start letting things out. I am helpless and feel hopeless on and off through this past year. It’s mostly due to my Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) and Bipolar Disorder and related depressions and anxiety. These conditions led me to my financial condition and create more stress, which is the key activator of my conditions.

At first when I was fired last year I was devastated but I had things under control financially because I was living with my mother and had a lot of money in the bank. I didn’t want to work right away. I wanted the summer off to publish my novel and promote it to minimum prevail and create videos and more books to sell. It was the ideal life of a single artist from my viewpoint. By August and September 2010 I noticed that my mother was increasingly unhappy with me around the house all day with the exception of my AA meeting attendance. I was less and less interested in socializing and I even started getting anxiety when I did socialize followed by depression when it was over. Since I was fired I lost my health insurance and stopped seeing a psychiatrist and therapist. My family doctor kept up my prescriptions.

I started looking for ways to make money and jobs and made a little bit here and there. My savings started dwindling by September 2010. I knew my mom and I wouldn’t get along without my getting a job. At the same time I was talking to my friend from meetings and he mentioned in passing that he was getting a house he owned ready to be rented out. I asked how much and how many bedrooms. The price was cheap and it had 2 bedrooms so I immediately jumped on it mostly to save my relationship with my mother. I didn’t want to move. I had no ego about living with my mother at my age like I would have at one time due to the circumstances. I had a friend in mind to move in with me that I’ve known for years and we’ve talked about living together despite our similarities and differences.

I admit I was excited about the house when my friend told me about it and the first time I took the tour. The day I drove to the house to sign the lease and pay our deposit and rent I got a really bad feeling that it was a bad idea. My blinders were down and I looked around the bad neighborhood I was about to move into. Camden. Camden, NJ has the highest crime rate in the country. My new neighborhood id the nicer part of Camden. I grew up here years ago before it got so bad. My friend now landlord assured me that he has had no problems in the 30 years he lived here. My roommate and I went out to celebrate the house at a big steak house and chowed down and I repressed my feelings pretending to be happy.

I moved in reluctantly October 1st 2010 and I have yet to be entirely comfortable in the house, the neighborhood or with my roommate since. Once in a while I would be ok. At first I couldn’t find my creative inspiration. After living in the house I grew up in with parents that were successful artists supplying me with inspiration on a daily basis it was a huge adjustment.

I was set financially to cover the first couple of months or so. I was collecting little unemployment. My great aunt’s boyfriend who I consider an uncle threw me a little work here and there with his business but not enough. My bills were barely getting paid but there were getting paid. I cashed out my 3 401ks to help pay bills. Each month something would come up to cover my bills. From little jobs here and there to selling my serial killer collectables and my personal artwork online.

In November 2010 another friend said he could get me a job doing phone collections. At first I was hesitant but I eventually got excited. He set me up with an interview in November 2010. I fell in love with the job and I was hired on the spot due to my experience in phone sales. I was given the runaround with a start date. I was told I’d start the middle of December 2010 and didn’t get my start date until the middle of January 2011.

After a 2 year remission my TN came back a week before my training date. I went back on painkillers and increased my anti-seizure meds. I made it to my first day of training and it went well. That night I had a major TN attack and had to take pain meds and was up all night. I woke up at 12 pm and I was supposed to be there at 10am. I blew it. I tried calling. I thought about going in anyway but didn’t want to waste the long drive. I eventually talked to the boss and he fired me. I was devastated. My pain got worse and my depression kicked in. I was in shell shock. This hasn’t happened since I was an active drug user and alcoholic 20 years ago but I was sober.

I was a wreck. I had such high hopes for the job and the money. I had started a social network called Novaboon with my roommate and I was going to out money into that and many other internet projects. I had goals and reams again before I started the job. It all came crashing down in one event as a result of my TN and Bipolar.

I got through the following months selling things and spending less. It was barely enough. I was coming to the conclusion that perhaps I am one of those people that needs to be on Disability. I’ve always viewed people on disability as copping out unless they were seriously and visibly disabled. I was also worried about my mom’s opinion. She always said she would disown me if I were on disability. Maybe not that extreme but she would be unhappy. The day came months ago that even my mom suggested I apply for disability. I did. I am. I used a service that a friend recommended to do the work for me.

I have a friend that has been on SSD for the past 15 years or so and I used to watch him having to jump through hoops and go crazy to meet the requirements to stay on it. I remember thinking that it’s easier just to get a job because it’s less work and aggravation than trying to get SSD. It’s a catch 22. Most people that are disabled whether it be mental or physical have trouble making appointments, filing paperwork, meeting deadlines, following through with things and functioning on any “normal level” therefore it’s a fight for us to get the disability. That’s why I used a service. I still had to follow through with paper work and phone calls. When I get depressed I can become immobilized. I am literally unable to move or do anything. I used to think that I was a lazy person. I’ve come to realize that it’s depression that keeps me from doing things. Most people don’t see the difference.

The last week of May I was committed to traveling to Indianapolis, IN for a true crime convention called The Crime Scene to sell my art, my books and perform my songs about serial killers. One of the guys in charge who I call friend now, took care of my flight and a place to stay. I was taking a big chance buying a bunch of my books to sell there when I barely had enough to pay my rent. My car broke down the week before. I had major bills due as well. The travel was a pain but the event was a nice escape and I sold out of my books and sold some art. My agoraphobia disappeared for the weekend. It was like a fantasy escape. No thoughts of my problems for a few days. I came home and I was worse. More pain. More anxiety. I was short paying the rent.  Owe my cousin money for helping me with the rent. I owe my roommate money for my car because he got it fixed since he was driving it at the time. My registration expired and my insurance payment is over due. I have barely enough money in my pocket to buy food and smokes for the next couple of days.

To top the problems of the month off, my unemployment is being held and reviewed and will not be settled until June 15th 2011 on a phone interview. I was informed it’s because I was fired. I might lose the little unemployment payments I was getting.

I am planning on going to Welfare and apply for food stamps and see about rental assistance. My depression is getting so bad combined with my fear and agoraphobia I am having trouble getting out to the office. I ried calling and the phone system hung up on me several times after 20-30 minutes of waiting.

My roommate suggested I try and get a job yesterday and work the minimum hours allowed when on disability. He went on line to find out the minimum etc. I’m afraid if I get a job I will be rejected on the disability. Not to mention that I might not be able to handle working which is why I applied for disability in the first place. I called the company handling my case and asked them about working. I can work 10-15 hours a week and I can’t make more than $800 a month. I have to call them if I get a job and fill out more paper work. I asked the representative to be honest with me off the record. I asked if I worked on record would it affect my case and are the chances good that I will be turned down if I am working. She said yes it would look bad if I worked.

So here I am. Depressed. Afraid. In pain. No income. I am selling nothing and falling into more debt. I have projects in the works but no motivation to get them going. I’m living in a house and neighborhood I hate with an unpredictable roommate that I like but I am uncomfortable living with him.

Through my life I have always survived. I know I will survive again. I am an artist, writer and a creative mad man. I am a Bipolar, agoraphobic, anxious artist with the worst pain known to man and as hopeless as I feel I know this will pass and I will come out alive.


I Lost a Day

February 3, 2011

I lost a day. An entire day went by and I missed it. I slept 24 hour straight. I don’t remember the last time I did this if ever. It makes sense because the past few weeks I’ve been having days and nights of no sleep at all. My body is changing and changing. My mind is sharp at times and then dull as a board as they say. Whoever they are. I went to bed Tuesday night. Actually it was Wednesday morning at 4:30 am, which used to be the average time to go to bed. I woke up 3 time between then and 4:30 am today, Thursday. Each time I woke up I couldn’t stay awake. I feel ok now. I am not going to fret over missing a day of life but I acknowledge that it happened.

I’m adjusting to life in my new mental and physical condition. Sometimes I am able to fight it and other times I have to surrender to it. I never know when the depression, mania, anxiety or my face pain from the Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is going to act up. It seems I’ve been suffering from one or another every single day for months. Some of my conditions worsen with age and I am getting older. Nothing I have has a cure. All I can do is band-aid it and try to move on. I move on.

There are some things I should be doing and hopefully I’ll get to them. I know should quit smoking, cut my caffeine, exercise and eat better. I need to see the doctor more often. In time I’m sure these things are going to happen for health or financial reasons.

I’m over the fact that I missed a day but it kind of blew my mind at first. The concept of losing a day is baffling. I’m a short term Rip Van Winkle. My beard and hair is growing and I am a little unbalanced about what day it is sometimes. I’ll get over it or used to it. Maybe it will go away.

I have to wake up, whatever time that is, and accept what I am for the day whether that is. What I mean is accept the downs and the ups and the pain or whatever the above-mentioned disorders I have for the day. So far I’m doing an ok job accepting myself as is and changing what I can for the day. For today.


New Job. New Day. New Life.

January 18, 2011

Yay. Rich Hillen Jr is starting a real job. Close enough to a real job for a guy like me. After 7 months or so of unemployment I am going to be working. Not just any job but a job that I can potentially make a lot of money. I’ll be entering the world of collections. Phone collections. Hopefully it will start tomorrow.

To be honest I really don’t want to work. I don’t want to work for someone else that is. My friend suggested the possibility of working with his company as a phone collections agent when I first lost my job the end of May 2010. I had a lot of money stashed away and started getting a little bit from unemployment. I was living with my mom and had no interest in working I wanted to finish and publish my novel among other projects.

This lasted until the end of the summer and my mom was getting a little frustrated having me around the house all of the time. I did manage to get a once week gig working for my uncle cleaning offices. It wasn’t enough.

Then a friend of mine casually mentioned he was renting a house next door to him. When I found out how much it was a month and saw how huge it was I couldn’t resist. I knew my other friend needed a place and could afford it so we moved in October 1st 2010. To be honest, I didn’t want to move. I was happy where I was at but I thought it was best for my mom. I kind of thought it was best for me. You know be independent and all. Grow up etc. I rebelled mentally against the move. I thought it was force me to get a job because my unemployment wasn’t enough. I waited and lived frugally off of my little savings I had left.

I even started a “business” with my roommate. A new unrestricted social network called  (join right now folks) http://novaboon.com

We anticipated to make money eventually but not before my savings ran out.

My friend that offered me the phone collections job brought up that they are considering remote calling so I could do the job at home. I’ve been considering getting into collections on and off for years. I have over 10 years experience in telemarketing and collections seems more honorable and potentially more money to be made. My friend told me the possible money I could be making and I was in. I wanted this job. I need money. I can finance my other projects, pay off bills and live like a human again.

My friend set the interview up for me. All I needed was my resume and a suit even though it’s a casual dress code. This was mid November 2010. I showed up early for my interview. My future employer and I hit it off. We barely had to sell each other to the other. We knew it was going to work. There was one glitch. He told me that the remote calling is an idea in the works. It may happen but I have to prove myself for at least 3 months. I guess I can deal with it. He told me he would call me the following week and I would start either the last week of December or the first week of January.

I waited a week and a half and no call. I called him. He said things are really busy and he’d call me the following week. He didn’t. I called again and left a message for him. No return call. I called a few more times the following week and no return call. My friend that got me in said that the boss told him to tell me that he will call.

So he never called me. Instead my friend forced him to set up a date and through email from my friend I was to finally start work today.

I got a phone call from the boss finally yesterday to postpone my start date to tomorrow due to the weather. Put off the excitement, fear and anxiety another day.

The other story of the week relevant to my new job is my physical, mental and anxiety issues. Anyone that knows me or reads this knows about some of my disorders like Bipolar disorder and my frequent anxiety attacks. I just wrote about my physical ailment called trigeminal Neuralgia. Read the post: https://richhillenjr.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/trigeminal-neuralgia-again/

After a 3-year remission I had my first Facial attack this past Thursday. This created anxiety. I went to the Doctor and got my medications. It presented me with a mental problem. What if it  acts up at work? The telephone is how this started years ago.

I have the extra pressure of possible anxiety and facial pain in addition to the usual fear and anxiety of a new job are all there. To top it off I’ve had trouble sleeping the past week. I’ve been either getting no sleep or staying up too late and sleeping to late.

We’ll see where my first day of work will lead me.


Trigeminal Neuralgia Again

January 14, 2011

“Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), tic douloureux (also known as prosopalgia, the Suicide Disease or Fothergill’s disease) is a neuropathic disorder characterized by episodes of intense pain in the face, originating from the trigeminal nerve. One, two, or all three branches of the nerve may be affected. It is, “one of the most painful conditions known to humans, yet remains an enigma to many health professionals.”

 

This pain may be felt in the ear, eye, lips, nose, scalp, forehead, cheeks, teeth, and/or jaw and side of the face; some patients also experience pain in their left index finger. Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is not easily controlled and there is no cure. It is estimated that 1 in 15,000 people suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, although the actual figure may be significantly higher due to frequent misdiagnosis. In a majority of cases, TN symptoms begin appearing after the age of 50, although there have been cases with patients being as young as three years of age. It is more common in females than males.”  Wikipedia

 

No. This isn’t a journalistic article about Trigeminal Neuralgia (TM). Not that I’m a journalist either. I just wanted to present you with a decent definition and understanding of yet another condition of which I suffer.

 

Those of you that don’t know me or know me well enough I have suffered TM on and off for almost 10 years. I was officially diagnosed 4 years ago. I used to do telemarketing for a living. Not only did I do the world’s most hated job I loved it and was the best. Then the TM hit me in the ear first. I thought it was massive earaches or an ear infection and of course never went to a doctor to confirm it. I eventually quit telemarketing as a result. I thought it was burn out So the pain went away for years.

 

It started to come back in 2005. Every day it got a little worse. The pain was the worst pain known to Rich. The shooting pain through the side of my face was excruciating. I kept popping any pain reliever I could find. I found this powdered aspirin that you put under your tongue and kept eating it. Nothing was taking the pain away. I couldn’t stand still. One night I went out side for a walk in my pajamas to try and walk it off. The police stopped me because I looked like a crazy man in his pajamas pacing the streets.

 

I couldn’t take it anymore and drove off to the emergency room. They took me in pretty fast but it was 4 or 5 am. The Doctor diagnosed me with TM that morning and gave me a prescription for Percocet and told me to see my family doctor. I sped off to the nearest all night pharmacy and waited. I grabbed the prescription and practically ate the pills. They finally kicked in around 6 am. My girlfriend got up at 7 and I told her. She feared for me taking the pain pills and this was the first of many fights about it. I was over 14 years soer at the time I took the pills as directed.

 

My family Doctor prescribed an anti-seizure medication and more pain killers. I took them as directed and spent the next couple of years taking both as directed. The TM came and went then came and went again. It’s unpredictable. Some people suffer every day and sometimes a person can go 10 -20 years or the rest of their lives without pain. Not me.

 

This went on and off until finally the line was unclear as to whether I had relapsed or not in 2008. I was also on meds for my other conditions and I was a walking zombie for a bit. My thinking was screwed up and I made the relapse official in 2008 by drinking. I lost my 16 years sober and came right back. I withdrew from the meds and haven’t had any TM pain to the extreme since October 2008. That is until today.

 

I was hoping that it would never come back. I ran out of my anti-seizure medication the other day and forgot to refill it. I started feeling it this afternoon and I was freaking. When I grabbed the pill bottle I noticed that I had no refills left. So I called my Doctor and asked the nurse to have him call in prescription. She said he would. The pain started getting worse and I was debating calling him back to get pain pills. I was afraid I might end up going to the hospital if I didn’t. I can’t afford that.  I called a bunch of my recovering friends for advice on it and no one was around. I finally got some one to answer and I explained my situation. He said I should get them from the Doctor and take them as prescribed. I went to call for the pain pills and the office was closed. I called the pharmacy to see if my prescription was ready. The doctor never called it in. The pain kept coming and going all afternoon and night. I took. Alieve then went to the drug store and got Excedrin migraine. It kept coming back.

 

I found a pill I had that is for migraines I got as a sample last year when I was having recurring headaches. I took over the counter back pain pills. I’m so loaded up on over the counter medications I’m dizzy and the pain comes and it goes. Just when I get distracted it comes back. I can’t think about anything but the pain then my anxiety flairs up and it makes it worse. Staying completely still seems to work for a bit.

 

Hopefully, I can wait until tomorrow and call the Doctor. I want to avoid the hospital.

 

The irony of it all is that I am supposed to start a new job this coming Tuesday and it’s phone collections. I can use the other ear but it still could be triggered. I’m going to work anyway you look at it. I’m going to deal with the pain one minute at a time. I know people that have I much worse than I do with TM and I admire their perseverance. They fight and try to live life one day and one moment at a time.


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