The Suffering of Not Feeling Pain

Sometimes my heart contracts and closes. I picture a hollow metal sphere divided into segments. Sometimes it opens like the petals of a flower.

My being is designed to find the things that give it nourishment, pleasure, wellbeing. Having located them – grasp for more of them. Meanwhile ignoring or rejecting sources of pain.

Opening myself up to be vulnerable to the pain of rejection or failure or shame actually is an experience that brings me great nourishment for the soul. To risk and be vulnerable is truly exhilarating. To connect with someone completely and be present for them is like peeling off my skin and letting the wind hurt the raw sensitivity underneath. The risk of such pain or rather the risk of really really feeling any pain is high. The thing that changes is my ability to feel. Then I realise that so much of the time I have chosen to not feel.

When I close down it can happen like a gradual grinding of rock slowly eroding definition of the world to a Henry Moore esque view of life. Rounded pebbles where there were sharp defined edges, missing details and the uniqueness that every thing and moment possesses. Or, my heart can snap shut, fast and reactive, closed against the possibility of hurt, reacting to anger or threat or rejection.

But the very act of closing withers my soul. The mistaken act of keeping out threat hurts. Each tiny closing of my heart twists an exquisite pain into my psyche, a snapping shut hurts so much that I just go numb. Too much pain to bear too fast.

I repeat the closing despite the hurt. My psychological reflexes shut my heart fast to keep out the pain.

Sensations keep me alive, but I shut them out. Closing down is like poison but I keep drinking it. When something makes me shut down I think I am frightened of pain. But actually I am frightened of being alive.

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What I fear is fear itself

Writing101 prompt

One of my worst fears
In a style distinct from my own.

I’m not quite sure what my style is, so to deliberately do something different is difficult.
But here goes.


I am afraid of fear itself, the chest tightening sensation that travels to my gut and makes me feel sick with presentiment.

So I avoid it. I’m a coward, choosing to turn away from looking people in the eye if I feel their disapproval and hesitate before speaking the truth in a meeting hoping the other will change the subject or say it for me.

The anxiety that I experience is the fear of fear. Anticipation of something that has not yet and may not happen ever. I live in the future. And fear it.
As I write this I realise how useless it is to expend my energies thus.
Does that mean I can stop it and be useful, probably not.

But, maybe if I have an awareness of my actions then there is a possibility of changing them.

THE CONSTANT STREAM OF NOWS

The future is a strange and distant place
Can’t picture me so travelled and a stranger
It happens in my sleep before I notice
Urban dictionary slang is parlance then passé

The past hurt so I prejudge the future
Already guilty of crimes uncommitted
Knowingly I fear the bad unhappened
The good to be is out of reach, unlikely

In the process I miss the now
The elusive Shrodinger’s eel that slips between my fingers
Changed present to past by mere observation

The measuring of some things changes their wait
Unmeasurables defy the analysts but everybody buys
Better to feel the constant stream of nows

THE ANIMAL KNOWS BEST

The human ignores the stiffening of the back under threat,
Tightening of the chest at unkindness
The urge to run at the distant rumble
The animal raises its hackles, growls and crawls to its den staying safe
The human hears only judgement
Believes the world is perfect and itself damaged
The animal knows the world is dangerous
The animal knows best

This is for Writing201:Poetry

Years of the Invisible

This is from guest blogger iridescent spirits, and her blog is Iridescent Spirits. I am honoured that she took that time to share this here.

‘Ah, okay, just stop whining already!’

‘It’s just your imagination!’

‘You are thinking too much!’

That’s what they all said ever since I was little. Maybe I do think too much but not in the way they meant. I had problems no one around me realised or understood as they never went through the things I did. I knew I had problems, but when every people says the same you start to think maybe they are right, even if you may know really deep inside that they have absolutely no idea. I hid my pain because I didn’t want anyone to tell me I’m whining anymore. It hurt too much. I hid it and hid it so deep in myself that after a while even I thought that there’s no problem anymore. I was sure there was no problem at all. I was happy, on the surface. I thought I couldn’t feel the pain anymore. I was glad because I thought I became stronger. And they told me I got stronger, they even praised me for not whining anymore. Even when my father died, despite the painful feeling in my chest and throat, I couldn’t shed a single tear up until the funeral.  No matter how hard I tried nothing made me cry, but the pain in the chest was still there. At one point, I even felt some kind of pride, thinking that ‘Oh! A year ago or two, how broken I would have been by something like this, but now I’m so strong! I am an adult finally!’ I wasn’t whining anymore. Nor was I smiling, talking or doing anything passionately. And for a very long time I didn’t notice that this was a real problem. Panic attacks became my regular visitors day and night. Yet, I really thought I was strong. But you know what they say, those are the strong who can face their weaknesses and brave enough to show their feelings, brave enough to cry when they need to. Despite the pain, I continued my life as if nothing had happened. I never talked about my panic attacks anymore as I knew ‘whining’ would come back right away. Instead of strong, as I believed, I became invisible, even to myself. I became one of those ignorants towards my inner self. Not only the pain went so hidden that I couldn’t find the reason of it but with that my real self. But only until another almost-tragedy. Panic attacks became my only friends, the most frightening and invisible friends, yet they were real, more than those who were made of flesh and bone. They were standing steadily by my side not willing to let me go. They knew more about me than anyone else, than me. Unlike real people, friends, doctors and so on. Everyone said I was fine, it’s just imagination or everyday stress. I’m just way too sensitive. True. But is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. Is that a weakness? No, it’s not. Can it be the reason of the pain? Yes, but not solely. People realised the problem and took my words for granted only after proper diagnosis. I felt I was still invisible, and it was still hard to talk about my illness. I often said, I allegedly have panic disorder, yet it was proven. Still, that’s it and I have to face it. It is still hard talking about it as I was misled for years that talking or thinking about it is a mere waste of time and only increases pain. But you know what? I realised as a result of this is really cruel lesson that hiding it won’t solve the problem, it only increases it. I have to fight and I intend to win, not willing to hide it anymore especially for the sake of pleasing others.

The sharp edge of reality cuts

Noise in my head – terrible making me do terrible things.
Medication – drowns out the terror and calms me down.

When the terror recedes the white noise of the medication becomes a torture all its own.
I need to turn down the white noise or I’ll go mad, a different mad.

On reduced medication the sharp edge of reality cuts.
The undulating sea of life becomes a jagged path.

Choice
– undulating side effects
– jagged cliff edge

I know
No brainer – life / danger to life

I think
No brainer – fog / clarity of thought

I need to feel alive. I’m tired of feeling dead.
I do want to live but it’s dangerous.