Rapha Posted October 15, 2010 Report Share Posted October 15, 2010 (edited) Hi, this is my first post. In searching for information on transference, I stumbled upon mentalhelp.net. The first and only thread I've read so far has been this one (a long one) on Transference/Countertransference:My heart goes out to Chisholm, and I would like to chime in. But it looks like I'll have earn my wings to do that. So here I go.I'm late 40's, male, married close to 20 years and have several children. I lost my left leg above the knee in my mid-teens, so am pushing 3-1/2 decades now as an above-the-knee (AK) amputee.Here's my very long story...I grew up the youngest in a large, solid family. But I'm significantly younger than my next oldest sibling. So in some ways I'm a youngest child and in some ways I'm like an only child. My parents and many others encouraged me after my surgery, and though learning to use an AK prosthesis was difficult and painful, I did it. I picked up where I left off in HS, which was as an "A" student, and ended up co-valedictorian of my HS class as well as recipient of a number of awards and college scholarships.Went to college and was successful on the outside (more achievements, awards, high grades, even won four varsity letters as an athlete). But college was very difficult for me. Being on a large campus I had to walk three to four miles per day. I soon abandoned my prosthesis for crutches and ended up living that way for three-and-a-half years on campus (my final semester was off-campus).I was a shy kid from a relatively small town and always preferred having just a few friends to having many relationships. In college, however, I had just two friends... my first roommate and my girlfriend. My roommate left less than halfway through my four years. My girlfriend and I dated for over three years.Shortly after I graduated, she broke off the relationship. I was stunned. I had just lost my best friend, and really my only friend. Looking back, I'm sure I went into mild but very functional depression.I took my first full-time job in the fall and started wearing my prosthesis again, and wearing it all the time for that matter. I also started a second job (3-6 hours per week), and shortly thereafter took a third job playing keyboards in a band. The band rehearsed weekly and averaged 7-8 jobs a month. For several years I lifted two 81-pound keyboard amps and a 100-pound keyboard in and out of vehicles, on and off stages, up and down stairs... BY MYSELF. I am not a large guy (around 6', small-boned and skinny).Not only that, but I took up golf again, something I had done from age 8 or 9 until losing my leg. Since my primary job offered me summers off, for several seasons I played 90 to 100 rounds each season, usually carrying my clubs on my back.Do you know what it's like to lift 80 or 100 pounds repeatedly over the course of three years using only your back and arms (I couldn't really use my knees or legs)? That's what I did. Or to walk two-and-a-half or five miles (9 or 18 holes of golf) on an AK prosthesis that wasn't fitting right (when the back pain became excruciating I finally saw a chiropractor, who measured me over an inch short on the left side)? That's what I did.I killed my back, and myself. By my third year out of college I missed 26 days of work in four months. I suffered constant excruciating pain, severe depression and total exhaustion. And I didn't even know it was depression because back then depression wasn't something I'd ever heard about, so of course I wouldn't know to seek treatment.For some reason, though I was "killing" my body for over three years, I didn't care. It may have been simply pride. Perhaps I was too proud to fail, no matter what the cost. The problem with that mindset is that if the cost is too great, (which it certainly turned out to be here) you WILL fail. I found that out the hard way. Stupid bullheadedness. :mad:Or perhaps it's something else. I've never thought about it much until recently, but it seems like maybe I hated myself. I suppose this is possible, given the trauma of both the radical body image change and the radical functional change I experienced right in the middle of adolescence. And certainly having no close friends does not help matters. Was I choosing to isolate myself because I felt awkward, different, a misfit due to the loss of a limb and the inability to wear my prosthesis in college?Well, things got better for me. I quit all those jobs, stopped wearing my leg except when absolutely necessary for many years, started working one job only, and began to heal. In the late '80s I met the girl I would one day marry. About a year later I started waking up around 2:30 or 3:00 every morning and could not go back to sleep. After a month or so of that, I naturally became totally dysfunctional. I started an antidepressant and it worked well. I started sleeping again and soon felt better. Eventually I was able to wean almost all the way off of it, though I had to stay on at a very low dose or I would start waking up in the middle of the night again.Soon I married, had kids and life was much better than just a few years back. I still had constant back and neck pain, but it had subsided significantly from the peak years.Then about ten years ago my wife and I had a significant disagreement about something very important to me. I'll spare the details, but I was dumbfounded and distraught that she couldn't see things my way. Over the course of the next two or three years we butted heads until finally I became severely depressed. I felt like she didn't love me. In fact, I felt like she hated me and was out to make my life miserable. (She wasn't.)Ever since, I have been on antidepressants and have never gotten "above water". It improved some but would probably still have been considered moderate depression until about three years ago. That's when the chronic pain I had been experiencing for years in my back (25 yrs.), neck (25y), shoulders (25y) and foot (11y) worsened noticeably. By 2008 I became nearly incapacitated and severely depressed. I forced myself to work, but had absolutely no life outside of work, and was able to work very few hours per week at that point.Then I had neck fusion surgery in late 2008. I tried coming back to work in early 2009 and it was a total disaster. By April 2009 I was placed on temporary disability (TD). In June I came off TD and tried to work again. I could only work a few hours per week and finally in October 2009 I was put on TD again.(continued next post) Edited January 16, 2013 by Rapha malign 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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