Pain embrace

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.

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“I’m tired, boss. Tired of being on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. I’m tired of never having me a buddy to be with to tell me where we’s going to, coming from, or why. Mostly, I’m tired of people being ugly to each other. I’m tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world…every day. There’s too much of it. It’s like pieces of glass in my head…all the time. Can you understand? …”

Stephen King, The Green Mile

I’m tired myself; bone-weary tired.

I remembered that quote just before I quit Facebook a while back. Mr. King was on my mind a lot at the time as I considered the parallels with his book, The Stand. Not the same, but close enough to raise my eyebrows. The quote above also came to mind as I realized I couldn’t handle all of the meanness in the world, even among “friends”, who nominally shared some of my views. And so I dropped out. The world is already hard enough without tube-feeding yourself hate.

Instead of pulling together in a crisis of epic proportions, the world has grown more conflicted and petty and spiteful. The grand-daddy of all modern apocalyptic tales, The Road, seems more what we humans are made of than even King’s vision of the world as end-times. Playing The Last of Us II isn’t so fantastic of an experience as it might have been — I see the seeds of those conflicts already, even without the survivalists and the cordyceps infected closing in.

Aside: I was checking my spelling of “cordyceps” and was utterly amazed and disgusted that people are taking the benign variant as a supplement. Perhaps they didn’t play the game, or didn’t hear of it, and don’t have the same nausea-horror the idea of consuming a bug-parasite produces in me.

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The pleasure of pain

There was a time that I was getting one of my tattoos — probably the celtic armband, although that is immaterial to this post — that the artist was joking with his co-worker about a regular who had just been earlier in the day who came in on a regular basis to get tattooed… without ink.

At the time, I was getting only my second tattoo. I was still a bit on the green side with respect to tattoos and the armband was hitting a very sensitive bundle of nerves on my inner arm while this information was being shared between artists. My only thought at the time was: How the f*ck could someone do this and not have anything but scar tissue to show for it?

At the time, I couldn’t imagine anyone getting tattoos for any other reason than there was an artistic result. Inconceivable! said the man who didn’t understand the word.

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In search of a pain-free life

After my wasted time trying to talk to a doctor about medical cannabis as a potential path towards a pain-reduced life (in which, Dear Reader, he promptly suggested something I had just minutes beforehand had said I was down on as a suggestion because of the multiple negative experiences I’ve had with antidepressants), I have decided to do a little science experiment with a test-subject of one (N=1).

Before I go into the experiment, a little background is probably in order.

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I’m not a criminal

I didn’t expect to be treated any different from any other time I went to the doctor to look into possible solutions to the chronic pain I have had to deal with over the years. Disbelief, fixation on the immediate and apparent (instead of the occasional, frequent and underlying), diminishing my suffering, “baby-stepping”, being talked down to, being told I don’t look like I’m in all that much pain… All of it.

Today was no different.

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