Treatment Burnout

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the ‘shoulds’ that come with adding new treatments to your pain management plan?
Do you ever wish there was a willpower booster to get you through treatment fatigue, information overload, and the frustration of feeling like you’ve tried everything, but nothing has worked?

This past month I’ve had a patch of insomnia that has prevented me from making any headway in the various treatments I had been trying. In the spring I started meditating, I have physio exercises, recommended supplements, a capsaicin application regimen for pelvic pain, prescription pills, weekly acupuncture … I also need to do something everyday that has nothing to do with my health conditions, or I go crazy (online courses, going to the museum, audiobooks etc.).

Mary Shomon, in her book ‘Living Well with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia’, says “You probably feel confused, as I was, by all the conflicting. Information, and overwhelmed by all the options you have and the choices you have to make” (p. 3). After a year of trying to get better, this about sums up how I feel.

In addition, my Mom has recently expressed an interest in getting involved in my treatment, and wants to help pay for me to try Dr. Teitelbaum’s SHIN protocol (pay for supplements like d-ribose and so on). This seems like a good idea in theory, but she has all of the enthusiasm and none of the experience of treating chronic pain. That is, she’s looking for a cure and not a management plan; a magic bullet rather than a balance of different approaches. We’ve been on hold about starting because of summer vacations, but I find I’m nervous about discussing it further. I already feel overwhelmed by all the things I should be doing, and can’t imagine starting a whole new protocol on top of it all. But there’s the seduction of ‘but what if this is what finally works!’. And the SHIN (sleep, hormones, infections, nutrition) protocol is an exhaustive list of every naturopathic and mainstream medical supplement or drug you can incorporate to address the different domains. I went to see a naturopath to help implement it, but she has a lot of experience, and of course has her own ideas about what to try.

I think I’m going to take a 2 week treatment vacation. I need to focus on having fun for a little bit. Before that, I’m going to work on making a list of the different treatments that I feel help me most. I’ll work on incorporating them back in one week at a time – or longer – until I have a workable routine that makes me feel I have some control over my situation again, rather than feeling overwhelmed. I’ll have to think about how to incorporate the new ideas and protocols, but I feel they will have to get to the back of the line in some cases (or bud in front in some cases)!

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2 thoughts on “Treatment Burnout

    • Katarina says:

      I remember looking up ‘treatment vacations’ or treatment burnout and not finding much in the way of resources. It’s an under-reported ‘side effect’ of all chronic pain treatments!

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