Thursday, October 23, 2014

Research into Pain

Not many people take the time to research pain.  I did.  I lived without it for about a third of my living.  I dissociated so completely that I could stop pain.  I didn't feel it.  I didn't feel anything else either.  Did you know that it is dangerous to live without pain?  One of the problems with leprosy is the victim loses feeling from their extremities.  The people studying the disease realized that lepers couldn't feel a rat chewing off their fingers or toes at night.  Without pain, they would hurt themselves severely without pulling back from the source of pain.  I still hurt myself because I don't realize how much damage I am doing at the time.  Pain reminds us, we are human and have limitations.  The threat of pain can be a deterrent to doing things like jumping off of buildings or cliffs.  We may override that fear.  A runner pushing past the fear to finish a race.  A gymnast running on a broken foot to finish a competition.

Olympians are hailed as heroes when they push through their pain.  Abuse victims are viewed as pathetic losers for staying in their painful situations.  Here's the strangeness.  I didn't know anything different.  I didn't know my life was anything but pain.  One of the conversations that visibly shook my counselor was the day he was trying to convince me to tolerate discomfort to move past the hard parts.  I looked at him puzzled. I responded bluntly, "I can take pain.  There is nothing new in that.  It is living without it that is difficult to understand."  Without pain demanding all my attention, I paid attention to other stuff life threw at me; loneliness in a crowd, regret, feeling guilty, and a whole host of other feelings.  Pain rules life like a two year old having a temper tantrum.  When pain subsides, I have to pay attention to the quieter emotions and events.  Life is tough.  Pain is a warning sign, a deterrent, a task master, a friend.  Stop the pain and extensive damage may occur. Tomorrow is another day.  Good night. 

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