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Thursday, January 12, 2012


My first doctor wrote this line in my chart, "She is becoming psychologically victimized by her pain."

That seemed like such an odd thing to say. I had never heard of that concept; it did not make much sense to me.

It was within a year of when the pain started. I was virtually housebound. I had pain all day long, absent when I slept, and the spontaneous and triggered pain, caused by any and all touch as well. I was a mess. But a victim?

"...a person or thing that suffers harm...from some adverse act, circumstance, etc. e.g. victims of tyranny." The pain was a tyrant. It did have "Absolute power." It was "exercised unjustly (and) cruelly:" (The Free Dictionary)

The pain singled me out, coming after me with a vengeance. A definition of victimization: "Unwarranted singling out of an individual ... for unfair treatment..."

"Unfair treatment"? It was a lot more then that. It was in control, it held all the cards, controlling me, forcing me to bend to its will. It was torturer, bully, devil. It imprisoned me. The tower named PAIN, the chains called trigeminal neuralgia. It held me, squeezed me, deflated me, deformed me.

The treatments and tests were a rack, pulling me in 20 different directions. Surgeries making me worse, medications befuddling my mind, filling my mouth with the feel of cotton, drying me out like an old raisin. Tests causing more pain, more questions, more need to defend myself. Hope seeping out like helium in a pin pricked balloon as it folds into itself, sinking to the ground.

How to stop it from strangling me, tying me in knots, chaining me to the feeling?

Sometimes I think it just happens.

I know that is the easy way out.

But honestly, once the rhythm sets in, doctor, medication, surgery, whatever it is for this day, this week, this month, it becomes habit I think: just a part of your life, your routine. It is pain but it is also the brushing of your teeth or the Monday morning ironing of your clothes each week. Time to take the pills, to go to physical therapy, to sit in the dark and wait for the worst part of it to pass so you can come out into the light, be a part of life again, at least for the time you can get by without it screaming inside of you, without the pain raising a ruckus.

It starts out running roughshod - over you, your life, your plans, your dreams. Slowly it becomes a part of them as they change, as you change, accomodating it, bringing it into who you are, who you have morphed into being because it is there.

If and when we are lucky, when karma comes our way or the stars align just right, we get better, the pain releasing us, going away, evaporating into the air, letting us breathe freely again. And even if some of the pain refuses to go, the lessening of it makes its presence more bearable, more tolerable.

As the time passes, no matter what else there is to do, the pain must be tamed: to take away its status of giant, proprietress, dictator.

We have the ability, the strength, the tenacity. I know you do, even I do, because we are still here. We struggle, we fight, we are vicous in our effort to kill it, to diminsh it, and its hold on us.

"Victimized" by the pain? No, you say to it. I say to it. I am the one in control here.

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