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From David

Been working in construction all my life, now facing a fucking health issue – chronic back pain. It’s gotten so bad I had to cut down my hours, and with that, the money coming in. We’re struggling to make ends meet, and I feel useless. I can’t support my family like I used to. It’s affecting my mood, I’m irritable all the time, snapping at my wife and kids. The constant worry and pain are messing with my head. I just want to be the man I used to be, but that seems impossible now.

Working in construction has always been tough, but I loved it. Building things with my own hands, seeing the results of my hard work – it gave me a sense of pride. But now, every movement is painful. I’ve tried physiotherapy, painkillers, even acupuncture, but nothing really helps. I wake up in pain, go to bed in pain, and in between, I’m just trying to get through the day.

My wife, bless her, she’s been supportive. But I can see the strain it’s putting on her too. She’s taken on more hours at her job, and she’s always exhausted. Our kids, they’re too young to understand why Daddy can’t play with them like he used to. It breaks my heart when they ask me to kick a ball around or pick them up, and I have to say no. I feel like I’m failing them.

The money stress is a killer. We were never rich, but we managed. Now, with my reduced hours, we’re falling behind on bills. The mortgage, utilities, groceries – everything feels like it’s piling up. We’ve had to dip into our savings, and that’s running out fast. The worry keeps me up at night, and when I do sleep, I’m plagued by nightmares about losing our home.

I tried talking to my boss about light duties, but there’s not much available. Construction is physical work, and if you can’t pull your weight, you’re a liability. I’ve been with this company for over 20 years, and it feels like they’re just waiting for me to quit. The lads on site, they try to help, but there’s only so much they can do. I hate feeling like a burden.

I’ve started drinking more, just to numb the pain and the stress. A couple of pints after work turned into a few more, and now it’s every night. I know it’s not the answer, but for a few hours, I can forget how bad things are. My wife’s noticed, and we’ve had some rows about it. I can see the disappointment in her eyes, and that kills me.

I’ve been to the doctor more times than I can count, but all they do is prescribe more pills or refer me to specialists who can’t do much. Surgery is an option, but the waiting list is long, and there’s no guarantee it’ll work. I’m scared of going under the knife and ending up worse off.

The worst part is the feeling of helplessness. I’m a man who’s always provided for his family, and now I can’t. It sucks. I see my kid needing things, my wife trying to do everything, and I feel like I’m failing them. I’ve thought about ending it all, just to stop being a burden. But then I think about my family and how much they’d suffer, and I can’t do that to them.

I’m trying to take it one day at a time. Looking into retraining for a less physical job, but that takes time and money we don’t have. I’ve started going to a support group for chronic pain sufferers, and that helps a bit, just knowing I’m not alone. But it’s still hard. Every day is a struggle, and I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.

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