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My Nervous Breakdown

by Dr. David Fialk, Editor / Publisher

I have had episodes of lower back pain. These have always resolved with a hot water bottle and a day or two... until the last installment, which has been ongoing for five weeks now. The pain, focused where the back meets the hip bone, moves from side to side. Recently, it has confined itself to a left-sided sciatica. I measure its severity by how much my leg hurts when I squat down or bend over.

I was sitting way too much, for hours without rising, and slouching sometimes. Now, when I sit, I need to sit forward, with perfect posture, my feet flat on the floor, and sometimes, even then, I hurt. I have built myself a standing desk. The rebounder eliminates most of the leg fatigue, allowing me to stand for hours. It keeps me moving a bit and adds a dimension of fun.

That pain stopped me doing my yoga each morning, up on my sunny roof and, preventing my squatting, it interfered with my admirable bowel function.

The pain isn't constant. Getting up or setting down are problematic. Usually it is just a dull ache. Very recently, it is, not infrequently, entirely absent.

Then, to top it off, three weeks ago I got el Covid. I had two days of fever. The lingering symptoms have been a loss of appetite, fatigue and cough; the cough sometimes aggravating my back pain.

My workload is great and unrelenting. I do too much, recently much too much, as I am getting ready to launch Lokkal.

With back pain on top of work stress, and Covid on top of it all, I decompensated, broke down. The warning signs were there for months. Chief among them was my irritability. I wasn't so bad with people, but I was easily frustrated with work. I was yelling at my computer. With the back pain and the Covid, I just didn't have the strength to be irritable anymore. I collapsed. Scaling back my ambitions, measuring out my effort, I had to strategically invest whatever force was at my disposal to get the essentials of my business, and my recovery, done.

I never knew my maternal grandfather, Bill. He died before I was born. My mother told us, quite matter-of-factly, that he had had a "nervous breakdown," preventing his participation in the workforce.

Bill was always very good with animals. His homing pigeon won first place in a race back to Connecticut from upstate New York. The prize was a purebred Scottie dog. Grandpa started breeding and selling Scotties.

A lawyer in Bill's homing pigeon club one day suggested to Gramps, "You're so good with animals, why don't you take care of my farm?" Living on that farm greatly helped the family, including seven children, get through the Depression.

As part of my recovery, I took a dose of homeopathic Nux-vomica. Homeopathy is a typology. Nux-vomica is the remedy for the irritable-sensitive-business-person type, who suddenly breaks down.

I'm happy to report that I'm on the mend; appetite, cough and tiredness are much improved. Even as my strength has returned, I am not so irritable. I'm not getting angry at inanimate objects. I'm not as frustrated with people.

I'm doing some quick revisions on this article this morning, right before publishing it, after writing the bulk of it last night. You may not believe it, but after writing this article about my back pain, my back feels better. I haven't slept painlessly, nor rose from bed without a spasm, like I just did, in five weeks. We all, our dis-ease included, just want attention. My favorite bumper sticker is, "Art Saves Lives."

I've also noticed that often one is healthier after a disease than one was before it. I needed to change a few attitudes, to be nicer to myself and others, to be able to accept the coming success of Lokkal's launch.

I've never been sick like this before; never before felt so vulnerable, so much like the old man that I am. I've got more sympathy for Grandfather Bill's nervous breakdown now that I have suffered a small one of my own.


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