It's so hard to live a life through the constant filter of physical pain. It's so hard to explain it as well.

It's not even a bad day today, just having some nostalgic moments on a warm summer evening, and I know there was a time I lived and moved freely and without this thing tugging at me, in my back, my legs, and tonight, my arms and neck and head.

I once sat without any awareness of my body at all. I sat in the air and just *was*. I hear music or remember a moment and it surprises me how far from that I am.

Just putting the thought down on paper, not for any particular reason.


music: The Smashing Pumpkins - "Soma"

mood: nostalgic

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Message received.

Thank you for sharing this.

Thanks, Robert.
Karen 7/28
your response to pain is badass

you're not in pain
pain is a filter between you and the world
pain is happening to you
it's not you

that's varsity-level existential practice
talkers don't know how much maintenance that boundary requires
you know
you do it

thank you
You have an unusually accurate insight into this. I am humbled.
Karen 7/30edited
I've been thinking about physical pain a bunch, lately.

Recently, during a staycation with my spouse when all three of our kids were not home day and night for a couple of weeks, we chanced to have access to a pharmaceutical-grade drug that, while not categorized as any class of pain killer, nonetheless allows you experience a complete absence of physical pain for a few hours. Generally, that isn't the most remarkable aspect of this particular substance, though it makes perfect sense physiologically; it's rarely commented upon at all, except in cases where it's used therapeutically in end-of-life care.

By my reckoning, I'm about a decade older than you. I don't have high levels of chronic pain and fatigue as you do, but I do have an accumulation of aches and pains, both from general living of life and from specific traumas over the years. Although I do my best to fight entropy, I was finding myself increasingly sad and discouraged. Also—importantly—some pains were becoming more intense and more intractable, and the progression was frightening.

I wondered, after the effects of our staycation had worn off, if the pain and anxiety would be even greater after having such a complete break from it. In fact, the opposite has been true. And at the time, I also experienced a very strong connection to visceral memories of myself as a younger body.

So I'm spending a lot of time pondering that. Thinking about memory, about pain, how pain affects our brain function (which then affects our pain, which then affects our brains, which then...) and how that cycle affects our connection to memory. Thinking about how difficult-to-impossible it is to fully understand either the physical mechanisms for pain or the psychological ramifications. Or even, what is memory itself?
I had once somehow managed to take a combination of cold medicines (for an actual cold) in a such a way that they hit at the right peak for each, without the negative side effects I usually get from them, and I had this perfect feeling of contentment and low-pain. It lasted about 4-6 hours, and I was mostly just amazed. I spent much of the time drinking in the shift in perspective, wondering at the beauty of the mundane things in my room, and how everything that had plagued me just fell away for a moment. I could see the answers to everything, and it was simple: the energy all around us is connected.

It doesn't feel the same anymore, but for a long time after I could touch upon that memory and still feel the revelation.

I believe it's the closest I've come to an ecstasy or acid trip (not sure?) and it has stuck with me. It helped me seperate myself out from what was happening to me, at times. Maybe someday I'll get to do it again, this time on purpose.

I appreciate you sharing your experience.
Karen 7/28edited