In the Land of Pain
I wrote because I was drowning. I was drowning in physical pain with no end in sight. I looked around my tiny house and it seemed that my whole life had shrunk to that lilliputian size. I had given up almost everything because my condition demanded it. I had contracted my life, shrunk down within it, and withdrawn out of necessity since almost every activity other than walking made it worse.
I sat in my house and felt the fear of disappearing forever inside my own house of pain. I can't let this happen, I thought. I cannot become this pain. And yet, it seemed that in many ways I already had. Pain and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome dictated everything about my life.
I was losing myself.
No Known Exit Code
Some people have said to me Oh, how great to have all that free time! Um. No. If you have a body that works well and isn't in pain, more time to do nothing would doubtless be a blessing. But all that "free time" in which to sit or lie or walk slowly in intense pain...not so much.
I write to throw a voice out from the submerged world of pain. Not to bring pain out into the world, but to allow myself a way to reconnect, to feel less invisible, to cast a line out from the depths. If it catches somewhere, or if someone connects with it, maybe I can use it to haul myself back out again because there is no obvious door out of the inner wells of chronic pain.
But we must find ways to re-include ourselves in the world somehow. Maybe only in small ways at first, and according to our physical limitations, but it is something I feel we must do. We are part of the collective, a community within a community, and it is important to give voice to our experiences.
It is important not to let the invisibility of our pain become the invisibility of ourselves.