Totally humiliated at the DMV

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 3/17/2011 1:04 AM (GMT -6)   
I went today to renew my drivers license, as I do every four years. No big deal right? Wrong. I gave them the old ID told them what I needed, and they did not believe it was me. Old ID 126 pounds my hair was done blond, curly, very nice. Makeup done looking good. Big bright blue eyes and a cute smile if I do say so myself. Me, now, after illness and chronic pain. My teeth all fell out, lost most of my hair, gained 40 pounds, eyes dark swollen and lifeless, no makeup on and I look 74 instead of 44. I had to prove that it was me with more documentation. I could hear them whispering to each other," omg what happened to her? I would never believe that was the same person as on her ID." I know they didn't mean to hurt me but it did. I was humiliated. My self esteem dropped through the floor. I knew this had taken a toll on me but did not realize the extent of it. I took out some pictures of what I used to look like and stared at my new ID and I just wanted to cry. I am in so much pain and agony that I do not even care what I look like. Most days I just sit around in my pajamas because it is too much effort to get dressed. Does anyone have any tips on how I can boost my care factor, and is this a common thing to happen with chronic pain and illness. I am not depressed or on any meds for that. I just am so sick and hurting all the time, that I quit doing a lot of things I used to do. Thank you for listening

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 1276
   Posted 3/17/2011 2:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Chatters, just want to offer some very gentle hugs.

It doesn't make it better, but I think this is a very common thing - it doesn't matter what the cause of our pain is, it really messes about with our bodies and that's before you even consider the side effects of the various medications we take. My weight problem is/was the opposite - I'm doing better now, but I lost close to 30kg (60lb), which was more than 1/2 my bodyweight. I lost most of my hair - I actually ended up having to shave my head because what hair was left was so horrible, and people would whisper wherever I went. It hurts.

I haven't had any success with them personally, but I wonder if a pain psych would be any use to you - to see if you can find different strategies for coping with your pain, illness and all the secondary mess that it brings with it. Do you have a nutritionist on board? I know you said in your introduction post that you have a lot of problems with vitamin levels and the like...

Sending healing thoughts
CRPS since 1999, diagnosed in 2005 and since spread to full body, spasms, dystonia & contractures, gastroparesis, orthostatic hypotension.

On Oxycontin/Endone, Topamax, Mobic, Magnesium, Florinef, Somac, Cipramil. Have a spinal cord stimulator, intrathecal pump with baclofen & bupivacaine and doing physio.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 3/17/2011 3:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Ah, I'm so sorry for your experience, I really am.... my health issues have taken a toll, too... and I know how it can affect how you feel.... I'm sorry for your experience at the DMV.
Re: your question of "is this a common thing to happen w/ chronic pain/illness" .... I would answer 100% yes. 
I've gone through cycles of living in my PJ's... especially when I was at my worst health-wise.  Even now, it's a HUGE push physically just to take a shower.  Now, though, on most days - I at least slap on minimal make-up, run a brush through my hair...even if I'm just putting on sweats and a t-shirt.  It really does help how I feel about myself. 
My only advice would be to pick the time of day where you feel the best (relatively speaking)... and just do what you can.  Put on lipstick if that's all you can do... run a brush through your hair... even if it's just to put on clean pajamas or other comfortable clothes.  Maybe trying to make small changes would be easier than trying to say - each day I'm going to get dressed, put on makeup, fix my hair, etc.
Hopefully there will be others along w/ more suggestions.  Regardless, though, remember you are a wonderful, worthy person who just is suffering from chronic health issues/pain...despite what changes are on the outside.  That's what I tell myself on the bad days. :) 
Take good care.... --Tina
Main Health Issues: Dysautonomia/POTS; CFS/Fibro; Chronic Pain (back issues, migraines, carpal tunnel, among other things); Chronic Hypertension; Hypothyroidism and Hypoadrenalism; Mixed Sleep Apnea (on BiPap); Depression/Anxiety; Vitamin D Deficiency.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4970
   Posted 3/17/2011 5:59 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm no way in as bad shape, but I sympathize and empathize. I've lost 40 lbs making my face look older than I am, my hair went gray and thin, and the pain when I get up is bad enough to be depressing. I also do NOT consider myself depressed!

I take a tramadol when I drag out to the kitchen and sit with my heating pad on the couch and watch morning news for a distraction. 45 minutes later the tramadol's kicking the serotonin level up, which elevates my mood, and I feel I can tackle another day, maybe. The noon pill gives me enough energy to get a couple of hours of something done - clean something, a doctor visit, or iron 2 shirts. The 4PM pill makes me feel good enough to eat a little. But I can't take any more or I get clonus twitches and can't sleep. But there's the 7AM pill to look forward to.

MY POINT is maybe one of the many serotonin pills, SSRIs or SNRIs, would help with the pain. They're effective for more than depression! That's why they help fibromyalgia pain for some,

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 3/17/2011 8:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh Chatters, I so wish I coulda been there with you, if for no other reason to give those gossiping geese a very loud chastisement. You wanna talk about me behind my back, at the end of the day, when I'm not there, fine, but do it infront of my face where I can hear you and while my mind may have dulled from all the years of narcotics, my tongue is still sharp as ever. They had no right to treat you that way.
As everyone else has said: Yes, it does that to all of us. It seems hard to remember the days wehn I'd get up early, shower, makeup, hair, clothes... I'm only up early now to take my son to school. I try to make it a point to shower every other day ... hygenie reasons ya know. But I've also made it a point to buy some really cute, but comfy jammies as that is what I spend most of my time in when I'm home. The rule of thumb, no jammies past the front door.
When I would get depressed I used to shop, it gets hard on the budget, but I've become really good at hunting thrift stores, second hand stores, and great clearance sales. I found all it took was a new top to feel good about myself. Do you have someone that maybe could style your hair for you? Sometimes a new hair cut and a color can do wonders. The other thing I like to indulge in... and with good reason... is a pedicure. It's to hard for me to trim my toes, and especially with summer coming I know i'll be out of my slippers or my aloe socks soon enough. And pedicure's aren't that expensive. If I'm feeling "rich" I have a pedi-mani treatment done. Go do that on a day when I wear one of my favorite outfits, put the extra effort into doing something with my hair no matter how much it hurts... and I feel like a million bucks.
Also I cheat. I use a lipstick that's the new 24hr last, that way once it's on all I have to do for the rest of the day is use chapstick to keep my lips moistureized. I use Olay moisturizer, with sun screen, and foundation to keep my face looking decent.... I almost never wear eyeshadow or mascara unless I'm going somewhere special or having photos taken. I did make it a treat to buy a new pair of frames. I'd had the same frames for over 3 years .... got them just befor my accident that caused this mess ... so I went back to the optomistrists store in WalMart and found a cute pair of frames that were super cheap. Plus given I got just standard lenses without all the extra stuff my old glasses had, it let me get a new "look" really cheaply. A new color of hair dye a shade darker and I felt like a whole new woman.
Sometimes that's all it takes for us. I've watched myself, like everyone has, gain weight, have a hard time exercising, slow down, feel more and more unattractive, and all that does is add to the depression. I try to make it a point to have a girl's day with my Mom once a month, whether we go shopping together, the nail salon, or whatever. Something that requires me to leave the house and participate with the human race. Mind you I'm not fond of humans... they are mean, hurtful, selfish.... if I could live in a place where just all my Healing Well friends were I'd be a happier woman then having to deal with the day to day idiots at the store.
I hope you find something that works for you. Have you thought about volunterring somewhere? It'd force you to get out and get dressed, but volunteer somewhere like the animal shelter. I like to go in and play with the kittens and cats. Gives them socialization time, gets me out, and gets my fix of cute and cuddly. The toughest part is leaving without trying to smuggle any of my "friends" out with me. Find something though that'll make you smile, make you feel good about who you are. And remember the most important thing ... the package we're stuck with changes anyway; age takes over, gravity, all that wonderful stuff we never think about in our youth. You are still an incredible, wonderful, compassionate woman inside ... and no pain, no medication, no snide comments from DMV employees, not even age or time can ever take that from you.
*hugs* to you my beautiful friend.
Originally injured 10/26/2007 - Initial diagnosis; Tendonitis
Spent next year seeing specialist after specialist; Bone, Muscle, Hand, Neurologist, Chriopractor, Physical Therapist...
Went through a battery of tests, multiple MRI's
11/16/09 I was finally diagnosed CRPS - Stage 2
Permanently disabled, on Percoset.
February 2011 successful SCSU trial
No surgeon willing to do my SCSU Implant

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 3/17/2011 11:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chatters~

It's hard to write anything after the great advice and ideas you've already received. I would second the notion that this might be depression. Depression isn't easy to define if you're the one feeling it. But look back at your life before chronic pain. Did you stay in pajamas all day? Did you not care what you looked like? I'm guessing not. Those are classic signs of some depression going on.

I'm no doctor but I know because it happened to me. I didn't want to admit it or take any darn pills for it but I couldn't stand life the way it was any more and had to do something. It can be embarrassing to tell your doctor about how you're feeling but you can open up the conversation by asking him what depression feels like. Then he will probably take it from there. When your emotional level are closer to normal you have a much better chance at controlling the pain. Plus, just by dressing up or fixing your hair for the day (or for someone special) it can make you feel so much better and forget the pain.

Here's a link to a good site describing depression. It might help to check it out. I hope you do better soon.

Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums
Daily Donnybrook: Fibromyalgia, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Ulcerative Colitis, Rare form of Dermatitis, Collapsed Disk, Osteoarthritis (especially in right hand and neck) and a couple of other adjunct agitations.
Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
Mark Twain

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 17
   Posted Yesterday 1:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for your words of comfort and wisdom. You have given me some good ideas, and some insight as to why this may be happening. I have been working so hard at trying to fix the inside, that I have forgotten about the outside. I am going to push myself a little harder to do some of the things I used to that don't hurt or cause discomfort. Like getting my hair done or putting on a little makeup.That should be easy enough to do. I do not know why I let myself give up, it just kind of happened. My former employment history was in nursing. I miss my job and the people there so much. I felt so good about taking care of the patients, and I actually wanted to volunteer at a hospital or nursing home, but because I am wheelchair bound, no one was willing to transport me back and forth, because it was not medically necessary, and I do not have the money to pay a service to transport me. I currently do not have my own wheelchair accessible vehicle. Thank you so much for the support and the pep talk.
dx: Malabsorption disorder resulting in severe multiple vitamin deficiencies, causing osteoporosis, osteomalacia, 14 broken/fractured bones, anemia, hyperparathyroidism, hypertension,IBS,kidneystones,
Have had 23 surgeries to date.
Rx:all must be liquid or patch form massive vitamin doses, fentanyl,percocet,klonopin,clonidine,protonix,phenegran,synthroid,pain pump implant april 4th

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 62
   Posted Yesterday 4:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi. I am sorry for your I can relate to the outer and inner self esteem issues. A few thoughts I have which are all easier said then done and not always do I apply them to myself though I am trying. Set small goals. For me my body and mind get overwhelmed and in the long run doing too much too soon sets me back. When I take small steps it is easier to handle. Lets say today for ex you may not take a shower but at least you change out of the pjs. Are there any hobbies you think may interest you,chrochet,beading etc? I think there are some services that offer free help for example to drive you. A side note and I am not saying you are or not depressed but I remember my pain doctor saying you can't face pain and health conditions for such a long period of time and it not have an impact on you mentally. That is why it is good to have some support etc. Just a thoughts. Feel better

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 6706
   Posted Yesterday 4:57 AM (GMT -6)   
hugs to you, We all deal with this at one time or another I think as someone said this life of CP takes its toll on our entire body. CP can and does effect each aspect of who we were and are and many many times we tend to slack on the looks thing as it seems kind of trivial with all the other stuff we deal with.
  I have ran into someone from high school or someone I use to work with only to have them not recognize me sad . It use to bother me but not so much anymore.
I was already 40 yrs old when I had my youngest daughter but I cant count the times at school or her friends parents or whatever,someone has asked her if I am her gandmother!!! Vice versa I have had folks ask if she was my grandaughter as well.
I try to remember that I didnt ask for this life,would change it if I could for sure,and it really isnt a big thing when I look at the overall pics of my life and health. I have to save the good fights for the issues that count and thats getting and keeping adequate paiin relief so that I can function on a daily basis.
I feel better and I think we all do when we look better so thats not to say I just totally let myself go but I dont worry so much about it and when I feel like it and can afford it I take myself for a hair cut,my kids give me spa gift cards,pedicure treats and such at holidays and I use them. The spa thing really helps twofold as the massage and sauna are great for my pain!!!
Treat yourself to an hour when you feel like it,do something for yourself,this doesnt even have to cost money,the big department stores like Macey's have those nice girls at the make-up counter that would love to get you in their chair for a few minutes of make-up pointers and you would be surprised how better they can make you look in a few minutes!! I love it!
They love it as it certainly is a challenge they dont get alot!!! LOL

Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted Yesterday 9:56 AM (GMT -6)   


   Dear Chatters,

   I hope you are doing a bit better today. How are you feeling? Were you able to get some rest?

    It was terrible, I look so different in just 3 years time. When I went to Florida, jaws dropped. No one even recognized me. They ran to my husband and the kids, right past me. I am all of 5ft 5in now (was 5ft9in just 2 years ago!). My face, my eyes, my teeth, my body... then there was acceptance. I have odd reactions by everyone in my life. Even when I went to register my daughters at the school last august, the principal cried while introducing me to the new assistant principal. I often have to hug people and tell them it is OK. In her case I run into her often over the summer and she was crying when she saw my new smile.

    Those of us with more extreme illness and life changing medical problems all seem to have the same problem. The changes are drastic. The changes are shocking. It used to break my heart, it was most hard last year. Finally, I listened to my PS and my friends here at Healing Well. This IS the new me. It looks different, it shocks people, but it is ME. And if I don't stand tall (or stand crooked) and show how beautiful I am, then these moments will be lost. I will regret not embracing these moments later when my progression gets worse. Now, I show off my deformities. Why not? Today isn't going to come around again. Once I loose it, it is gone. Might as well make the best of it.

     I am sorry it was so hard to do. I am glad the experience is over now. It had to hurt your heart a lot. I wish you didn't have to run into that kind of situation. Try to push it out of your mind.

*warm hugg*

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

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