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My battle to beat 'suicide disease'
A SIMPLE kiss on the cheek from his wife and kids can leave a Kidderminster father in excruciating agony as he suffers from a condition so painful it is known as ‘suicide disease’.
They are things we take for granted but for father-of-three Mark Steadman everyday tasks such as brushing his teeth, shaving or even going out into the cold can leave him in such intense pain that he is brought to his knees.
The 38-year-old suffers with Trigeminal Neuralgia – a disorder which causes episodes of intense pain in the face.
It is often referred to as ‘suicide disease’, as the pain is so excruciating sufferers are known to take their own lives.
Mr Steadman, who was diagnosed four years ago, considers himself one of the lucky ones, as he had an operation earlier this month that could reduce the pain for up to 10 years.
He first started getting pains in every tooth on the right side of his face, followed by shocks of pain, which felt like “someone had put an electric plug in” his head.
Doctors originally thought it was caused by grinding his teeth but he was finally diagnosed after a major attack.
“I felt like I was almost cracking up,”
said Mr Steadman. “I knew there was a problem but no-one seemed to know.”
He admitted he had contemplated suicide because of the pain and has credited his wife Louise, 36, children James,15, Emily,13, and Leon,4, for helping him get through the tough times.
“It’s been a real battle,” he explained. “You spend your whole life trying to avoid the pain. It could be the gentlest of breath or a kiss off my wife and kids.
“I would get up in the morning and look outside and see the trees blowing and stand there in absolute panic saying ‘Ican’t go out’,” he said.
“I’ve let family and friends down because I fee ltoo unwell to socialise.
It has stopped us from doing things most people take for granted, like popping in the car to go shopping as a family or going bowling or to the cinema.
“Sometimes the pain would drop me to my knees– other times it would feel like all of my teeth on the right hand side were just on fire.”
Following his operation, Mr Steadman said he was slowly getting back on his feet and hoped to get back to work and start driving again.
He added:“I’m not who I used to be.
I used to be a happy chappy. It’s changed who I am and it would be nice to get the old me back.”
Mr Steadman is supporting the first Neuralgia International Awareness Day on Monday, October 7, when international monuments will be lit up across the globe.
He wants to raise awareness of the condition and is urging people to sign a petition at tnnme.com for the World Health Organisation to fund research.
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