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Writing From the Depths of Pain

Pain. Chronic pain.

Unrelenting, all-encompassing, world-altering agony.

What is pain?

Pain is my constant companion. It clings to my body and my mind, at one with every cell in my body. It’s a heavy layer of grit that claws away at my clarity. Sometimes it’s a slow, seeping fog. Layer upon layer. A hazy, unrelenting blur upon my thoughts and reflexes. At other times it is a sharp knife that slashes into my soul, causing my thoughts and my mind to bleed.

painting of a dragon labelled "pain"

There’s no way to escape the cognitive effects of pain. I’m in the midst of excruciating kidney pain right now and I’m writing, despite how difficult it is, because I want to fully capture this. To truly convey how it kidnaps your thoughts and your life, when in the midst of it. It is taking me hours to write a paragraph that would normally take me a minute or two. But I want this to be real. So I’m doing it. It will take as long as it takes.

The pain puts my body, my adrenaline, my heart rate and my blood pressure into hyperdrive. My thoughts are a mile a minute, racing along with the beat of my rapid heart, yet my thoughts are also smothered, dampened by globs of heavy, molten tar.

Acute yet dulled by the persistent, heavy pulsing of agony. Rapid yet distorted. Deep yet distracted. Disoriented.

Pain is not a choice. Pain like this can’t be controlled. There is no mind over matter when pain is at this level. You have to accept the pain and lower yourself into it. It can’t be fought. It won’t be ignored. If it could be, my mind would do that. The best my mind can do is just continue to survive. To cope. To somehow make it through the onslaught. The battle. To keep trudging along. To not give in to the tiny voice that whispers through sobs of agony and fear, that it wants to give up. That voice that feels like it simply cannot do this any longer.

I am powerful. Not because I have pain. Not because I can power through pain. I am powerful because I can remain myself, at my core. I am powerful because I can retain my will to live, when the heightened pain and deadened brain could overtake me. Break me. I am powerful because I am still here, living my life to the fullest extent I can. Finding joy. Feeling love. Spreading hope. Feeding friendships.

On my worst days I do very little, but it’s still doing all I can. That is what matters. That is strength. I am strong because although my mind may sometimes feel it can’t go on, I always manage to somehow make it through.

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