Life Testimony:

A Chronic pain sufferer

My standard of life..., effectively, I exist, I don’t live at the moment. I just exist.

The Experience

And effectively the last two years, my back’s been really really bad. I’ve had back problems since the age of 11; about the last two years, my back has been really bad, and effectively I’ve been stuck, to a greater level, in the flat. Which of course has had a terrible impact on my mental health and I’ve been at the end of my rope.

t’s just so frustrating, to say the least, just really really frustrating, because I have so much that I want to do, so many interests that I have, and basically you’re just stuck not being able to do anything. It’s like being in a prison. Thankfully, I get day-releases, but then basically I get put back inside to be in solitary confinement, and, er, that’s it.

The lower back, I think, but it may not be, that, but when I was 11 I was on a bench and the bench collapsed under me, and I hit my lower spine on the bench. So that’s where I think the lower back problems [began], and then the neck problems… well, I’ve had three whiplashes, major whiplashes….

The Treatment

 Probably ‘round about 18-19 that I was starting to get medical help for my back. I effectively had tried everything, both with the NHS and private means:  I’ve had physio, and acupuncture, and reiki, and Chinese medicine, and… you name it, I’ve had it! The only one that’s really been any good, that’s sort of got any relief is Thai massage. That sort of gave me about three months of about half the pain that I’m normally in. Which is pretty good. The problem is, of course, that being unemployed, you can’t continue with treatments because they’re very expensive. And that’s not even touching how it has affected my mental health and how I need support with that.

Future and Frustration 

 It’s like my father, who was in his eighties, and you’re thinking, “God, you’re only forty, and you’re doing that, when you were so active before and you’re now with a stick all the time, and you’re limping up the road”, you’re going, “Oh, great!”, and then another forty years like this.

I feel that I exist, I don’t live, I exist. I don’t have a life, I have an existence, and I don’t want to just exist. I don’t want to just exist. You asked about my mental health, and it’s not mental health. It’s a crisis. I might as well just rob a bank and go into jail, I would have a better time in jail, and they would probably give me more money in jail than they do here! And if they said, well we’re going to put you in solitary confinement, well I’d go ‘well I’ve already done that, I’ve already been there, thank you very much’. There’s no difference. The only thing is that I would never do it, because I’m not that sort of person, no matter how much I in the struggle, I would never go out and do these things. The only thing that I would probably do is harming myself. I’m not going to go out and rob a bank, that’s just not me, that’s everything that I hate. You know?


I’ve got to fill out another form for some more counselling, and was thinking maybe of going to Mind, to see what they can do. But, no, there is very little. And certainly…, if you’re over 50, there’s loads of social groups out there; if you’re under 25, there’s loads of social groups out there; if you’re a mum with a child, you can go to groups out there. But, if you’re a male between the ages of 25 and 50, there’s nothing out there for you, there’s absolutely nothing out there. I mean, I’ve looked on the Internet, I’ve up into Brentwood, in the Library, and all sorts of things, trying to get groups that I could affiliate with, that effectively would get me out of here. And, there’s nothing, there’s absolutely nothing.