When You Know You’re Being an Asshole and Can’t Stop, or What Happens When I’m Paingry
I am not always an easy person to live with. I know, I know. Crazy, right? Stick with me.
I am normally a very loving, kind person. I may say things super bluntly (especially for southerners) and I definitely say “fuck” a whole lot, but I’m kind.
My friends actually call me the Love Terrorist. It started with my friend Lisa and I owned it and now it’s just a thing. It’s a fairly accurate representation of who I am.
I love to send my friends and family cards that I have colored or created myself. Random small gifts, things I found by accident when shopping for something else and i saw it and thought, “So-and-so would love that.” I have come to call these little surprises, “Love Bombs.”
All of that being said, sometimes I can be a real asshole. It’s one of the side effects of chronic pain and medication to treat chronic pain that I haven’t seen many people talk about.
Let’s talk about Prednisone. Prednisone is an oral steroid that is used in cases like mine, where discs are bulging and herniated, to reduce inflammation and hopefully help get those discs back to where they should be. There are lots of other uses for Prednisone as well, but I’m going to focus on this because it’s what I know.
Back in May, when my symptoms increased and it became clear that my spine was imploding, doctors gave me prescriptions for prednisone packs on a couple of different occasions. Usually what a doctor will say when he’s writing you a prescription for prednisone is, “It will help you get through this flare.”
They’re not wrong. But that’s not everything.
Prednisone makes you feel like evil spider monkeys with rabies are hopping around inside of your veins and coursing through your body.
You get the shakes, which presents really well in situations like, oh I don’t know, work meetings.
You’re hungry. Like you’ve never been hungry before. You will literally eat anything you can get your hands on. All day. Every day.
Pro tip: Stock your fridge full of foods and vegetables before you fill the prescription. Don’t have cookies or anything resembling cookies in your house for the duration of the prescription.
Finally, Prednisone makes you a ragey rage monster with basically zero control over your emotions. Google “prednisone meme” and see how many of them refer to your family hating your guts because you act like a total jerk.
The good news is, it usually does really do its job. If you’re dealing with multiple bulging and herniated discs at once, like I was, along with some ferocious sciatica, it probably really will help.
Just try to make it through the prescription without catching a case and landing yourself in jail.
Outside of taking medications like Prednisone that may impact your mood, pain itself can be a serious mood ruiner.
Chronic pain can be crazy-making, especially when it’s up high on the pain scale day in and day out for prolonged periods. It starts to effect who you are as a person.
I know that pain effects how I interact with the world, especially with my super amazing and loving boyfriend, our dogs, and the general public full of people who say really dumb things.
For instance, on a low pain day, someone could say something slightly ignorant but not intentionally shitty to me like, “I wish I could just lay around on the couch all day and take naps whenever I want,” and I might get annoyed but after a couple of minutes I won’t even be thinking about it.
On a high pain day someone could say the same thing to me and I’m most likely texting my mom something along the lines of, “If one more person says some dumb shit to me about how great my life is because I can nap whenever I want to, I’m going to throat punch them and go to jail.” (Sidenote, for the record, naps aren’t an option so much as a forced requirement because of the meds I’m taking. See more on that, here.)
Thank goodness for my mom by the way, who happens to be a clinical administrator RN at a spine clinic back in Michigan. She totally gets what I’m going through in ways that most can’t, and forgives me for swearing and threatening to throat punch people.
In addition to being an all-around amazing mom and Super Nurse, she’s also an awesome artist. I’m going to shamelessly plug her mosaic website right here.
On a low pain day, I might get slightly annoyed when my super amazing and loving boyfriend tries to convince or my friend that we really would like some food on the menu that neither of us wants to eat, and he’ll insist, and I’ll laugh it off and order what I want.
On a high pain day, I might snap at him and yell, “You don’t know her life!,” in the middle of the restaurant. (This may or may not have happened once…)
One night several weeks ago, the super amazing and loving boyfriend and I were watching TV in the living room and my dog, Rosebud, needed to go out or something. She was throwing a fit and yelling at me in a way only a deaf dog who is spoiled rotten can do.
I snapped at her, then I snapped at him. Bad.
I was defensive.
Something about, “You know I can’t take her out!”
I can’t really remember exactly what it was. I just remember it revolved around the dog, and I was an asshole.
I could feel myself being an asshole. I wanted to stop it, but I couldn’t.
Shit just came flying out of my mouth.
He took the dog out and I burst into tears.
Not like, oh, hey, I’m crying a little and have a tear or two rolling down my face.
I was full on, ugly cry face sobbing, snot running out of my nose and tears running down my face like rivers by the time they walked back in from outside.
Under normal circumstances my boyfriend could have and should have been annoyed with me at the very least, and maybe a little bit mad at me. But what the Hell was he supposed to do with this blubbering mess on the couch?
He walked over, bewildered, and asked, “Baby what’s wrong? What happened?”
(Sob) I was such an asshole. (Sob) You’re so good to me and you take such good care of me all the time and I was mean to you and I yelled at the dog and I’m sorry! (Sob.)
“Baby it’s ok, I know you didn’t mean it. Rosebud knows you didn’t mean it. She’s deaf, she couldn’t even hear you.”
(Sob) I know but I just feel like a total jerk and I just love you so much and I feel like a crazy person because of the pain. (Sob) I’m so sorry!
You get the idea.
I know I’m not alone in this because I’ve talked to my friend Natasha about it. She’s also in quite a bit of pain because of her spine and we have leaned on each other a lot the past few months. She jokes all the time about how her husband and kids might be ready to send her packing by now and if they aren’t, they should be.
So, paingry. It’s a thing.
It sucks, and it’s just one of the many things about all of this that sucks. But it doesn’t have to be Earth shattering.
If you’re lucky, like I am, you have a partner who is really good at recognizing when they’re interacting with the real you versus the paingry version of you.
I think I’ve gotten better at recognizing when my emotions are running hot and/or out of control and warning people, but I’m sure I slip up when I don’t even realize it.
So, I’d like to apologize in advance for anything I might say or do when I’m paingry. It’s another one of those, “If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry,” things. Luckily the super amazing and loving boyfriend and I are good at keeping the laughter going.
For anyone who may be reading this who knows him, know that I appreciate him more than I’ll ever be able to put into words and also that you should probably offer to take him for a beer. I bet he could use one.
Thanks for indulging me.