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And finally Part 3, with my very sincere apologies for such a rambling post...please don't feel obligated to read through all my meandering thoughts (though I was thinking of you Hiya, hint hint, so I'd be really happy if you humored me):

All I really know is that the more I work toward not feeling powerless, like a victim of the botched surgery thatís caused my pain and the more I focus on even the smallest unexpected, the more optimistic I am about my future and the more positively and affectionately people respond to me. I never ever thought Iíd say this, because I am not an emotional person and I hate talking about my feelings, but seeing a good psychiatrist (who I got roped into because my regular doctor thought he might help me better cope with the pain and its effects) really helps tooÖI feel better after I walk out of there and now that Iím going through significant periods where Iím really sad/anxious/despondent for the first time in my life, Iím realizing for the first time just how much of an impact oneís attitude. For example, just yesterday I gave up my stubborn, miserable, and losing battle go get along without medication, and already my attitude has improved significantly, especially about the future and potentially helpful treatments I plan on trying.

I want to start another thread on this too, but because Iíd been feeling much too sick and down on myself to do even the littlest things, much less date, Iíd been ignoring a lot of promising dating prospects. Now that Iím feeling a bit better, even though Iím usually a very happy homebody, Iím itching to get out of the house and do something sociable, so I started writing some of the guys I was most interested in and who had been the most patient about me being even flakier than usual back, and already Iím feeling almost giddy from the kind and positive response Iíve gotten. It really is amazing how wonderfully many people will respond if you reach out to them with an optimistic outlook. Iím still trying not to give up thoughÖyes, my pain heavily contributed to my losing Patrick, but his family would probably have ensured that happened at some point anyway and yes, itís been awfully painful and taxing on my body, but at least my life isnít in danger or anything, and yes, itís definitely put my educational and career plans on hold, but itís also kept me from rushing into a graduate program I wasnít sure about just because everyone, including me, expected me to go charging ahead into some superstar career when in actuality I desperately needed a break from 16 years of an incredibly rigorous education. I guess what Iím getting at, as Opie has mentioned several times, that while you canít control what happens to you in some aspects of life, you DO have the power to change the way you think about and focus on your life. Most of the time I see my pain condition as a horrible, miserable condition that has taken away almost everything that I treasured and wanted. But as diehard an atheist as I am, Iíve found that deliberately trying to change that thought pattern and instead see aspects of my condition as blessings in disguise has made a considerable difference in how I view my future prospects. Iím blabbing on and on about this because the more I think about it, the more I see the similarities between my chronic pain and your frustration with not finding marriage and a family. And I really am sorry for boring you and rambling on so much, Nini, it's only that I care so much and want the best for you and am willing to try just about anything to show you and the other amazing but lonely ladies here how much of an impact making the choice to be optimistic can boost your chances of ending up happily ever after in love.

Please believe that I completely and totally understand where you are coming from in feeling like you have given that route a fair try alreadyóever since my pain started, about 10 different doctors have prescribed dozens of medications that have had awful side effects and havenít alleviated my pain (only pain meds have been at all effective). These arrogant, condescending, and stupid neurologists I saw for what can't even be conclusively diagnosed as neuropathic pain :rolleyes: have all been completely fixated on the idea that the right anti-seizure medication would be a panacea for me when in fact I react horribly to them. Naturally, while none of them did, the half dozen that I did try--increasingly reluctantly--all told accomplished the following: they (temporarily but very seriously) screwed up my liver, made my vision blur to the point of blindness, made me throw up constantly, made it nearly impossible for me to eat or sleep for months, gave me heatstroke made me sleep 18-20 hours each day, and made me forget how to speak, read, or even concentrate before I finally refused to try any others. Insanely, one of my docs got irritated, so I tried to stop taking all my meds to see if I could get by without regular doctor visits, which is why I've been extra sick and in significantly more pain lately :confused:

The reason I suggested the shrink idea is because my regular doc brought it up for me and all his chronic pain patients, and fortunately, I grudgingly agreed that might help to see a shrink for all the anxiety I was experiencing and for the possibility that he might be able to help with my pain. He gave me an anti-anxiety medicine for the short term, which calmed me down and helped alleviate my sadness, worry, and uncertainty, and might help you too. Then against my better judgment he wanted to give me Celexa, a new anti-depressant that supposedly also helped with anxiety and sometimes with chronic pain too, but that completely eliminated my sex drive, which was shocking and as you might have guessed, absolutely unacceptable to me. I agreed to try one more antidepressant, Effexor, because like all medications, each individualís response is different even to very similar drugs, which is especially true when it comes to SSRI antidepressants, and surprise surprise, it actually helped! While I know youíve given some drugs a shot and believe me, I can understand if those reactions donít make you want to give any more meds a chance, itís just not right for you to be suffering so much for so long when thereís a decent chance that itís a chemical issue in your brain that could be greatly alleviated with a little experimenting to find the right medication. I donít mean to pushy, but I just really hate the idea that you might be able to eliminate much of the sadness and despair thatís plaguing you, and I especially worry that if you could be feeling better and arenít, it could cause you to miss out on a wonderful friendship or maybe even something more.

Iíve been much too stubborn, as usual, and got stuck in the mindset that nothing was going to help (most likely a self-fulfilling prophecy), but once I proved to myself that I couldnít get by on my own, Iíve mended fences with my doctors and resolved to be open to trying any therapies that wonít have negative effects in the event they donít help wuith my pain (such as a topical ointment, acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, chiropracture, and a 3 week ďpain rehabĒ program intended not to reduce or eliminate pain but instead teach people how to better cope, still be able to achieve). Iím feeling more positive, empowered, and in control of my future than I have in quite some timeÖknowing how strong a placebo effect can be, Iím determined to do all I can to convince myself that these are promising or at least potentially helpful treatments, and I really truly wouldnít be boring you with all this if I didnít think a similar approach could help you be even just a little bit.

Please at least consider whether trying to gain more of a sense of control over your life might break the cycle of negativity and open a bunch of new and promising doors for you. Just talking to a professional therapist you click with might really boost your faith in your ability to effect positive changes and find more ways to experience pleasure in your life as an individual. Even an occasional massage, facial (they do cheap ones at beauty schools), tai chi lessons, or working with someone who can teach you to meditate might help. And like the things Iím going to try, even if they donít, at least weíll feel like weíre actively seeking out means to feel better and more committed to pursuing the things that are important to us and that make us happy. Iím realizing that just trying different things gives you back some sense of control, like youíre taking charge, being strong, and trying to help yourself rather than let obstacles make you feel like a helpless, passive victim of fate/circumstances/god etc. My experiences have definitely confirmed my belief in the existence and power of self-fulfilling prophecies and negative (or positive) cycles of thinking. As several wise posters have pointed out on this thread, when you start with hypotheses like ďIím just not meant to be loved; itís not in the cards for me,Ē no matter how much your past experiences seem to support that postulate, every thing that happens which can be interpreted to support your prediction will reinforce it and do more and more harm to the hope and love you need to have for yourself somewhere deep down. You just canít depend on anyone else to love you in order to feel happy and good about yourself because in the end, all we can truly rely on is ourselves, and the better friend you are to yourself, the more other people will recognize you for the great friend you can be to them as well.

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