Well, I got some good sleep today. Woke up about dawn (not what I wanted to do), with my joints — especially my left hip — just screaming with tightness and burning. I lay there for a while, willing it to go away… but it didn’t. I thought about getting up and just getting into my day… posting to my blog, or typing up my follow-up questions for the neuropsych. But I was soooo tired.
So, I did what I had done back about 15 years ago, when I was having a lot of pain issues — I found that acupressure point between my thumb and forefinger — in the soft webbing at the base of both fingers, near where they meet — and I applied pressure on that point. I had been told about this point, back in the early 1990′s, and I had used it pretty regularly to help alleviate pain and inflammation.
I used to use this point religiously, when I was having trouble. Then, I stopped… I think because it worked so well, I didn’t have the degree of troubles I once had. I literally was all but pain-free for a number of years, tho’ recently that’s changed.
Another thing I did this morning, that I had done for years, was stretched. I stretched my hamstrings and my glutes and my hips and my lower back… under the covers, as I was cold and lazy and didn’t feel like getting out of bed.
After a little while of doing that, I got a lot of relief, and I was able to go back to sleep — till 8:00 a.m., which is unheard of!
So, when I got up, I was still a little creaky, but that’s to be expected from all the yard work I did yesterday, not to mention splitting the firewood. I can give my body that.
I’ve been thinking a lot about pain, lately, since it’s come up with me so much. Thinking about what it means, what it’s like to be in pain all the time, how hard it is on your system, how easy it is to slip into feeling like you’re being punished for something. I’ve read that pain is symbolically associated with rejection and isolation, so when I’m in pain, it would make sense that I feel like the world is against me, and I’m all alone. Intellectually, I know that isn’t true, but my body feels like it is. So, I feel even more forlorn than I already do… for emotional reasons. And I withdraw… which makes me less likely to have contact with others — the very thing that can relieve my pain and sense of isolation.
I wonder if this is widespread — especially amongst folks who have neuropathic pain or chronic pain that comes from tbi or car accident or some other sort of injury. Or people who have a history of child abuse or some other sort of abuse that results in a lot of memories of pain. I wonder if there isn’t a whole invisible nation of people in physically-generated psychic pain, whose sense of isolation is so overwhelming, yet so unexplicable, to them, that they are just shells of who they could be. I wonder if physical pain — and our ability to ignore or mask it with other things, like addictions or hyper-activities or just plain blocking it out — might not be contributing to our collective woes in ways we don’t understand… because it’s literally too painful for us to think about it.
When I think about my pain, when it’s really, really bad, I get so upset. I get angry. I get frustrated. I get furious. I act out. And I feel like I’m being punished — for no good reason.
I think that perhaps this condition got me used to the idea that I was unfairly punished for a lot of things in life, so I lowered my expectations, and became all the more antagonistic to the world around me.
And I wonder about the vets who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, who sustained tbi’s in the line of duty… getting back to a country that is already foreign to them (tho’ they put their lives on the line for it/us)… dealing with the difficulties of tbi… the twice-hidden disability… and having to deal with pain that has neurological origins. I wonder about them feeling more and more isolated, less and less integrated into society, more and more uncomfortable and angry and, well, in pain… because their brains were changed the day(s) the IED(s) went off near them.
I think of us all… this “tbi nation” of individuals struggling alone and separately, unable to cope effectively because the very thing we need to use to figure out our situation — our brain — is the thing that’s been injured. I think of us all, alone in our rooms in the wee hours of the dawning day, writhing in pain that doesn’t seem to have an origin and won’t let go of us… I think of us struggling with the psychological and emotional impacts of a brain that fails us at the worst possible moments, without our realizing it, and a body that can’t quite seem to get it right, since the accident/injury/attack. I think of us all, lying awake, hurting, angry, confused, desperate, in the wee dawning hours of the day…
And I thank Heaven Above for the point between my thumb and forefinger.
It works for me… and I hope it works for you too.
It hurts like a bitch, the first time I press it, but the pain throughout my body magically subsides, when I do.
I press the point on the side that hurts the most, then I press the other. And I do it again and again throughout the day. I try to stretch. And I drink plenty of water. And I pray. I pray that the relief will continue — at least in part.
Yes, today is better.
And I hope tomorrow will be, too.