Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pain

Depression by sabine Sauermaul
{click on image for credit}
Pain is no stranger to this writer.  I wake up in the morning and just lie there taking inventory.  Which will it be:  my head, my lower back, the shin splint, the permanently broken foot?  As I have joked before, sometimes the only thing on my body that doesn’t hurt is my hair!

On rare occasions I am pain-free and I rejoice.  I hop out of bed and do a jig – which sometimes causes an abrupt change in my pain status.  You’d think I would learn.

Yesterday a new acquisition was added to the pain stock-- nerve pain in the second toe, the one next to the big toe that is moving westward, thanks to the bunion I inherited from my grandmother Muzz. Nerve pain is the worst, I’ve found, because the pill that soothes it also makes me very drowsy, so I can only take it at bedtime.

When I woke this morning and realized the pain in my toe was still there, I was compelled to call upon my highly developed skill of minimizing by way of comparison.

Last week I had the pre-Valentine’s Day blahs. They endured for several days straight.  I was in a different kind of pain, one for which there is no quick-acting medication.  It takes hold without warning, inhabits my being and my soul, and has its way with me every moment of my existence, even while asleep.

Carrying a pain in my essence is hard work.  It makes me unable to think straight.  Concentration on anything except my pain is barely possible.  Tears sting the backs of my eyes, ready to spring forth at the drop of a hat – literally.  I dropped my beret while trying to affix it to my head, and I cried.

I remember when I completely surrendered to this type of psychic pain and plunged deep into the cavern of clinical depression.  Not only was I virtually incapacitated, unable to function at any meaningful level; I was also feeling physical pain for which there was no medical explanation.  Once I climbed out of the abyss with the help of therapy and anti-depressants, I vowed never to return to that preview of hell. So when I have what has become a rare episode of overarching sadness, I take the steps I learned in therapy to slam on the brakes and stop my descent.

So far, any physical pain I have experienced has been manageable.  Unlike many I know, I have no aversion to medication that will take the pain away.  I do not have an addictive personality, thank God, so I never abuse the drugs, but I do take advantage of their ability to ease the pain.

So far, I haven’t suffered the kind of physical pain that ignores the medication, scoffing at the pills as it sidesteps their properties and manifests itself in some equally excruciating way.  I’ve never contemplated taking myself out of this world because of physical pain.

Thoughts of suicide during my bout with severe clinical depression spent each and every day with me back then.  The unrelenting pain of physic dysfunction  stripped me of hope and made the act of breathing too much to ask.

So, yes, the toe on my left foot is bothersome.  Ibuprofen takes the edge off, if I sit still and don’t curl my toes.  I never realized how often I unconsciously curl my toes until yesterday.  This kind of isolated, treatable pain I can handle.  This too, shall pass, probably by the end of the week.

The other?  It is deadly, and I am not a cat.  I only have one life and I’d like to keep it a good while longer.

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