Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chronic Pain

One of the hallmarks of chronic pain is feeling very alone; unfortunately, I would know.

You are alone with the pain.  Just you and the pain and no one else.

It speaks to you constantly, and only you.

When you hear people talk about things that might help, all you can really listen to is your pain.

It becomes an overwhelming part of your identity and everything you do.  You find yourself walking up stairs, with the pain.  Sitting on the subway, with the pain.  Having a conversation, with the pain.  Watching a movie, with the pain.  Eating (if and when you can), with the pain.

For me, it once was a chronic painful ache in my trapezius that persisted for years.  Then it was eczema, not just itching but the inflammation and fissures, and aches from brutally rubbing and contorting my fingers and scratching my skin.

I've attempted to meditate through the pain, to try and disconnect my consciousness from the physical sensation.

But for as much peace as I willed into my head, I still found myself thinking cynical and resentful thoughts towards the words of most yoga instructors, for instance.

How can I set an intention, when my skin is on fire?

How can I feel my muscles to my bones when I'm straining to just not scratch the most intense itch you could ever imagine?

I think most of us take for granted when we aren't in pain.  I don't.  I regularly stop to acknowledge and be grateful for feeling no pain at all, just at the moment.

It's an interesting practice, being thankful for the absence of something.  But it's important.  At least if and when the pain comes back, you won't be kicking yourself for not appreciating when it was gone.