They say pain is the body’s defensive mechanism against further damage. Must be true. But sometimes the pain itself can be quite damaging.
Pain comes in all shapes and sizes – the dull ache, the niggling pain, stabbing pain, the burning, searing kind, the throbbing pain, the radiating kind and the one that washes over you in waves, leaving you nauseated in its wake.
Each person has his or her own ways to deal with pain. Me? I usually isolate the pain. Or rather segregate it from my body. Treat it like something separate from me. I look upon the pain like a spectator. Yea, it is pretty tough being a detached and objective observer of your own pain. That was a lesson learnt by a fifteen year old after an appendectomy. And that’s how I survive with minimal dependence on painkillers. Those are anathema to me. But believe me, it works. Worked enough to get me through two childbirths the good old-fashioned way – sans epidurals or painkillers of any sort.
But sometimes, it gets too much. And you know when it comes upon you. The signs of the approaching pain can be terrifying and although you know in some rational corner of your mind what it is, the rest of your brain refuses to accept its nightmarish truth. “No, it can’t be,” you repeat to yourself futilely. But the fact is that it already has you in its grip.
It is the kind that refuses to detach itself from me and comes to roost in my heart as an all-consuming force. Like a demanding lover, it craves for single point attention and would have me wait on it hand and foot. And as a jealous lover, pain will not even allow me the liberty of another thought. It has to fill my body, mind and soul, with no room for another. Seducing with a hypnotic pull, pain brings me down to my knees, helpless as it takes total control of my being. Sucking up all my energies into one point of concentration, it lets loose in a dance of agony that drives every other thought from my mind. Such is its absolute power that I am fully in its thrall! In its throes, I am but dully aware of the flame of life licking at me.
Trust me I am no masochist, and I am not here to celebrate pain. But writing about it helps. As far as I see, words seem to be my most effective painkillers. When I give shape to that pain, call it names and round it off with character, I can feel it retreating, slowly relaxing its grip over my befuddled mind. I can breathe again and I can feel its crushing fingers loosen their grip on my senses – till pain is just another word for me to work into a sentence.