Burnout

I’m starting to feel burned out from writing this blog.

Every morning I dread what I’m going to see when I look at my Twitter feed, which is 100% focused on pain and healthcare. I follow many of the outspoken advocates and doctors working in pain management and/or advocacy, and my feed has become a relentless stream of bad news.

The only positive news seems to be coming from scientific research. Every few days I’ll come across some promising results of studies that are pertinent to this blog.

But even the most effective discoveries will not be available on the market for years (up to a decade) and that won’t save us from the ongoing opioid witch hunt.

The anti-opioid folks are using a well-known psychological tactic: if you repeat a falsehood enough times, it is perceived as true and then vigorously defended. It’s been proven that believers will react to any questioning of their new views by doubling down, digging in their heels, and closing their minds.

We all become defensive when we feel attacked, but it’s even worse when a belief has no rational basis, like:

  1. everyone who chronically takes opioids is addicted,
  2. we can solve the heroin overdose problem by restricting the supply of opioids prescribed for patients,
  3. a daily dose of more than 80mg morphine equivalent will cause certain addiction and death,

It’s sickening how the US government has taken sides against pain patients. The CDC allowed the PROP anti-opioid group to practically dictate policy by using their opinionated arguments throughout the CDC guidelines, even without scientific evidence.

The PROP folks are wily – they started feeding the media their opioid addiction propaganda many years ago. It’s almost as though they were planning on this “opioid epidemic” because they are now so perfectly positioned to profit.

As more and more people are forced to stop taking opioids, PROP members are poised to reap financial benefit from their suffering. In this time of desperate need of so many, they just happen to have two lucrative solutions to the problem they have created:

  1. For pain patients, they offer much more expensive and dangerous invasive treatments (PROP doctors are mostly interventional pain specialists).
  2. For addicts, they provide recovery facilities (the PROP president is the leader of the notorious Phoenix House).

These PROP fellows are now trying to make money from my suffering, and that infuriates me.

This whole debate is sickening. Many healthy people have the idea that almost any pain can eventually be tolerated and that anyone taking opioids will become addicted. This simplistic black and white thinking has taken over many policy debates lately.

The anti-opioid propaganda has seeped deep into the public consciousness. When even a doctor spouts unscientific hype and tells me “opioids are bad” it breaks my heart for all of us pain patients.

And it’s this heartbreak, over and over, that makes writing about it so painful.

Yet, even though I’ve intended to stop, I’m compelled to continue.

I believe I must in some way protest this huge injustice. As little influence my insignificant blog has, for my own sake, like with any other work, I have to keep going even when I don’t enjoy it.

At least then I get a positive feeling of accomplishment.

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Burnout

  1. LadyGrateful

    I have mentioned before, but I think it bares repeating. Your blog is by far the most thorough and well written EDS blog (no offense to any other bloggers) I have read. For me the information is so pertinent and always followed by or include facts and sources. For me that is very important. I actually have went away from things like team inspire, not because its not a wonderful site, it is. It’s wonderful to connect with other people who are dealing with similar things to yourself. But what I came across was everybody complaining and focusing on their individual issues as opposed to bringing us together as a whole collective . Though it was nice to feel validated by speaking with these wonderful people who are dealing with so much I couldn’t take the focus of so many feeling sorry for themselves and not all of the things that were happening as a collective and how we could band together to make those things better for all of us who deal with these things on a daily basis. It became clear to me from what I saw at least to be a very depressing bitch fest. (Please note I believe everyone has the right to do so especially with what they are going through its just not for me)…. Here things are presented in a different manner a factual matter it’s never a pity party. You give the facts, they might suck but here they are the facts and if people feel passionate about these things you have given us the resources to make a difference. That holds so much more depth and you give us the tools to actually make a difference. In my past several years I have went away from anything negative blogs, television, books, etc…if they are negative I won’t partake. I just want you to know what you do is a huge service to us all BUT more than anything you have to take care of yourself and that means beyond your physical health but your emotional health. You need to do whatever you need to do and if something is bringing you down due to the negativity then you do what’s best for you. I thank you for all that you’ve done writing your blog you are amazing thank you so very much!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      Thank you so much for such thorough compliments! You’ve articulated exactly what I want this blog to be.

      It always helps to know my work is benefiting folks, because there’d be no reason to do it otherwise. I’ll just ease up on myself and see how it goes.

      Thanks for your support!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Kurt W.G. Matthies

    Hello My Friend and Colleague. I understand you completely. In my own language, I am picking up what you are putting down.

    Although I’ve written a few pieces during the past 6 months, It has been difficult for me to publish them.

    And I want to be perfectly clear, to quote a man once known to people of my generation as “Tricky Dick;” I would have no problem publishing using my existing publishers, including the National Pain Report, and other pain journals.

    To the contrary, editors of these blogs have been most supportive, and very patient with this burned out pain writer.

    I too am discouraged by the ignorance in America, and the “spin” placed upon the use of opioids in a medical setting.

    Many of my friends are physicians who have had the audacity to treat pain, and are now facing suspension of their licenses and their ability to earn a living in a skill they’ve spent a major portion of their adult lives acquiring. These are qualified, compassionate pain physicians who put their patient’s health concerns above their own concerns. They need our support and our protection, as well as the support of the 100 million who do not blog or speak out for fear of reprisal, or because they do not feel qualified to have a voice.

    To those folks, I say that suffering gives one an insight into the problems of people living with intractable pain sorely lacking in a typical medical education, and that the rudiments of chronic pain that related to the human nervous system can be acquired through study, where as a heart that understand suffering cannot.

    I encourage all who suffer to begin their own medical education into the mysteries of chronic pain, and to find their own voice in writing, speaking, teaching, or just talking to others about your life, your struggle, and how your country would rather that we all just go away.

    The American medical establishment has taken the ostrich’s path in dealing with the pain epidemic, finding problems that are unrelated to our plight, and in solving those problems, claiming to have solved major portion of America’s pain epidemic. Their logic is flawed, so is their science, and their so-called solutions will cause more problems in the country’s public health than they address.

    I am not only discouraged by this situation, but am disgusted by my own country’s cruel attitude towards those of us who suffer daily pain and get the best relief with natures #1 pain treatment — pharmaceuticals based on alkaloids that are derived from the opium poppy.

    This is not to say that my own physicians have been anything be supportive and continue to treat me with whatever treatments are appropriate. I am blessed with a team of intelligent, highly trained, compassionate, and empathetic medical professionals who want to treat my long-standing chronic pain conditions, and will not be deferred by political solutions to an age old problem of substance abuse that will always be with 5% of the population, disguised as “guidelines” to reduce “harm” to pain suffers.

    I also have the benefit of excellent pain psychologists, pain specialists, and a PCP who is interested in my overall health, and not the latest fad in the treatment of addiction when he knows that addiction is not my problem. Perhaps his best quality is a humble acknowledgement that he does not know everything there is to know about pain treatment and is willing to learn from a patient who has spent a good many years in study and discovery of the best treatment of his pain, as we who suffer and have tried many treatment alternatives, do discover what works the best in the many painful situations in which we find ourselves.

    I am indeed a fortunate pain patient.

    Yet burnout is a side effect of my diseases, as well as the struggle that many patients and practitioners face in pursuing treatment and their profession.

    And I am troubled by the burning question that bother’s us all — if I remain silent, who will speak for me, for people like me, as well as the enlightened men and women who chose to treat us, because it is the right thing to do, medically and ethically.

    I have begun my annual series of 6 or more nerve ablation procedures, that require 2-3 months each year of increased pain, but which give me 9-12 months of back and neck pain reductions that allow me to use a minimum of opioid analgesics to get through my days, and enjoy spring, summer, and fall each year.

    And by the way, that minimum dose is higher that the CDC’s 80mg of morphine daily equivalent analgesic because of opioid tolerance, not opioid addiction.

    Perhaps I’ll be back on track after this 2-3 month period. Writing is all I have left — my only chance to earn some semblance of my daily bread. I cannot allow burnout to take me down to that dark place where I cannot contribute to the benefit of my family and my own self-discipline.

    I must work, I will work, as burnout does not last forever, and the alternative is unthinkable for me.

    So, as you consider taking up a place beside me in temporary limbo, I support you in your decision to back off for a while and heal your emotional pain while you get some rest. Still, I know that we both need to continue our work in speaking out against what we know to be wrong, and what we know is so right for us and for many others like us.

    Zyp, we’ve had this conversation before, in public and in private, and will continue to do so long into the future, I imagine.

    Yet, my conclusion never varies — I believe in our need to keep moving forward in our fight against ignorance, profits over people, and the big lie — especially when millions are suffering because of it.

    We will win our struggle — not necessarily because we’re right, and not necessarily in our lifetimes, but because we understand the math, the medicine, and the simple truth that reducing human suffering is a moral imperative that will always (if you’ll excuse the expression) out-trump any argument based obfuscation of the truth in preference for limiting liability and maximizing profits.

    I could continue to be redundant, but here I’ll stop. Please stay in touch. Thanks for giving us a some insight into how you are feeling. We must be open to the mental state of our fellow chronic pain sufferers, and offer support when called upon. Likewise, we must be willing, as people living with chronic illness, to ask for help when needed.

    So, I’ll see you on the bench, or perhaps better described as, “sitting on the dock of the bay.” We have our moments over here — yesterday I spent the morning reviewing the creative output of Otis Redding and the Stax artists of “Soulsville USA”.

    Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
    I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes
    Watchin’ the ships roll in
    Then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah
    I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
    Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooo
    I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
    Wastin’ time…

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    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      Thanks for your book-length reply, Kurt. You always seem to know just where I’m at (even if I don’t know myself). You make me feel perfectly normal to be such a wreck :-)

      Thank goodness I can schedule posts in advance to get me through these dark intervals.

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      1. Kurt W.G. Matthies

        Sorry for the length. Systems theory demonstrates that positive feedback in resonant systems can cause this kind of instability, hence I sometimes become the ‘Galloping Gertie’ of pain advocates.

        Live in beauty, friend.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  3. Elizabeth StJohn

    you are doing magnificent work but take a break, ok!!!

    On 6 March 2016 at 04:00, EDS Info (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) wrote:

    > Zyp Czyk posted: “I’m starting to feel burned out from writing this blog. > Every morning I dread what I’m going to see when I look at my Twitter feed, > which is 100% focused on pain and healthcare. I follow many of the > outspoken advocates and doctors working in pain manag” >

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. AddictionMyth

    I’ve seen lots of positive developments on decriminalization and harm reduction. These will serve to de-demonize opiates in the long run. If you really want to accelerate progress, then I’d suggest attending your local AA/NA meeting and you can see in person the people that these restrictions are supposed to protect. Yes this means going into the ‘belly of the beast’ but your presence can help break the spell, and in my experience people find that refreshing. (You don’t have to call yourself ‘addict’.) FYI much of the inertia comes from industries that will be out of work if opiates are legal, though their influence is hidden.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      I have to trust that scientific rationale will prevail… eventually. These are just bad times and I’m sure they’ll pass… eventually.

      I really only have a problem with right now, so I’m just gonna wait it out.

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    2. Kurt W.G. Matthies

      AddictionMyth,

      Another way to understand the difference between an addict’s concerns and the concerns of people living with chronic pain vis-à-vis opioid-based medication is to visit reddit.com/r/opiates and compare the thinking there with those who visit reddit.com/r/chronicpain

      I wish all Americans could so clearly see this distinction.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. Ingrid

    This is such a helpful blog , and I sure have been feeling frustrated by all the issues out there around pain care vs, addiction. You really nailed it ! Our family had a tradition of singing out their frustrations, so I just started writing out a silly ditty of serious stuff. Sometimes laughter helps the burnout! After reading another guideline coming through congress on top of the other CDC guidelines, and seeing the same language in all of it again in about three different texts I just had to write it out last week.
    I was stunned by the ridiculousness of it all, how the same thing is repeated over and over, and also concerned how it is and will have serious collateral damage on real people.

    Guidelines oh guidelines just give us a break ,
    we know this epidemic is all but a fake!
    Now dealing with addiction is a worthy cause,
    but excluding pain patients just gives us pause.
    Withholding of treatment for pain is condoned.
    Is it medical negligence or criminal intent?
    To cause someone’s suffering, when one can prevent?
    The condoning of torture,
    what will come next?

    Your data just doesn’t add up in a court of law.
    We hope that your numbers and false data
    will be cause for your fall.
    People are suffering , it’s not all in their heads.

    Guidelines, oh Guidelines,
    they just keep on coming,they keep writing more!
    Hundreds of pages
    our eyeballs are sore,
    from reading so many,
    they add to our plight,
    such ignorance is rampant they give us a fright!

    Well now my friends it’s the time to fight,
    for friends and for family, for country and all, to do what is right!
    People are suffering, afraid and alone.
    Don’t leave it up to bureaucrats to determine our fate.
    Better get moving the hour is late.

    To the doctor who thinks pain’s all in the head, and directors and heads of all alphabet organization’s to boot,
    we don’t think any of this is a hoot!
    People are suffering from ailments that are real. Let the truth be told loud and clear!
    The tales you are telling won’t be our doom,
    you can just kindly now leave the room.

    But they said shut up and go back to your couches, recliners and beds, cause we know you’re all faking,
    it’s all in your heads! Your voice doesn’t matter, you all are the same!
    It’s all in their heads there’s no room for pain, because with suboxone and lawsuits we gain, gain, gain!
    The treatments, the potions, the lawsuits galore!
    Because of the guidelines, we’ll just make more!
    The patients should suffer because we do not care,
    the treatments make money so there, there, there!

    Oh guidelines oh guidelines get out of my hair.
    We need some common sense and it needs to be fair!

    Let the doctors practice medicine the way they were taught.
    Compassion for the suffering, to relieve at all costs.
    Empathy is a quality, a valuable one at that.
    Pain patients will be happy and living again,
    their couches, recliners and beds a thing of the past!
    Put time, money and effort into research and fast.
    Get rid of the guidelines, they’ll be relics from the past!

    Come up with a cure, just remember the patients!
    There we have it.
    Come up with a cure!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  6. janeh2009

    Zyp Czyk – You are doing amazing work! I won’t reiterate all that has been said before other than to say that I appreciate every word, but if you need to take a break, go right ahead and do so. None of us would think badly of you for one minute!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      But how can I stop when the outrageous attacks on pain patients continue? I get so angry it makes me want to do something, and the only thing I can do is to publicize the injustice. I may not be helping anyone else, but it might be the only thing that keeps me sane :-)

      Our society has gone completely crazy over the drug war, even though it NEVER worked. That’s simply insanity.

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  7. Rose

    Hey…I’m sorry you’re feeling so despondent…just wanted you to know that I really value all the work you do on your blog. It’s truly not a good time for those of us who need opioids to function..,the U.K. Is not quite so bad but I’m still having a load of trouble.

    Your blog makes me feel much less alone…

    Thank you x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m so pleased you (and others) find this blog helpful, and that gives me the impetus to continue.

      I just hope the somehow our opioids get unlinked from heroin overdoses in an obvious way so that “the public” can finally see that pain patients are not just addicts.

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  8. Pingback: Burnout – National Pain Report | EDS Info (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome)

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