I’m not currently having a flare-up, but pain is frequently on my mind both during and away from those episodes. It is one of my constant companions, regardless of the intensity. I find it interesting that acute pain can often eliminate the chronic perception of pain; e.g. when getting a tattoo, my chronic pain subsides as my mind focuses on the acute pain. In fact, I’ve argued in the past that I think I understand now why a tattooist told me of a client that regularly came in to get tattoos without ink, which he thought was absolutely bonkers, but did it anyway because the pay was good.
I’m not sure if his client was suffering from emotional pain or chronic physical pain (probably the former), but I suspect that one of those reasons is what drove him to do as he did. Maybe both.
My chronic pain is apparently not bad enough to warrant stronger medication, but I’m not sure how they decide that. Maybe not — I’m still mobile and I can pretend it doesn’t hurt to do almost anything, including sleep. I can pretend really well that I am not in pain, but the constant nature of it wears on me some days, which is why I snap at the kids as much as I regret my words and tone as soon as it leaves me. If only I could feel rested and not wake up multiple times each night because some joint or muscle decides to announce its presence. Sometimes I dream in pain.
And, there is the added emotional pain. I don’t want to get into that because I’ve tried a number of things and I don’t like the analytical nonsense or the fugue from medication. I’d rather deal with the emotional shit than feel like the fluff of a dandelion floating on the wind, unable to write, compose or feel anything except for the nagging sadness that the drugs or therapy are supposed to assuage.
I know: tough American guys don’t admit to pain. Or emotions.
Last night, as I was trying to find an elusive position to sleep in that was relatively free from pain, I got to thinking and wondered if I was going about it all wrong. It may sound mad (and I make no promises that it is not), but I started toying the idea of embracing the pain, treating pain as it is my personal Zen koan. Like a koan, is a problem without a logical solution (at least none has been presented to me that is a real solution). I’m not sure what embracing pain really means yet, because it is an infant idea that may be discarded when I find it unworkable. But the medications I am allowed do not relieve my pain, nor do the exercises I am repeatedly given when I seek professional help (mental or physical). I can’t go around, can’t go over, can’t go underneath. I haven’t tried going through, so maybe that’s the next step.
Or maybe I have indeed gone crazy.