I recently wrote about disability, and ended the post thinking that being disabled has probably made me a better person. Pain, on the other hand, has brought out my dark side.
Pain has taught me pessimism and paranoia, I'm always looking for the next trigger or preparing for the next big migraine takedown. It's made me fearful, and every new ache and pain now has the potential to last forever. I had a crick in my neck last month and it was terrifying. Part of me knew it was just a crick, it'd clear up on its own in a week, on the outside. But there was a little voice telling me that my head had started hurting in a similar way. It began like an oddly persistent headache. At first. That little voice pipes up way too often.
Pain has twisted my once cheerful, easygoing personality into one that is sometimes dour, sometimes angry, and sometimes depressed. I've had suicidal thoughts. I've been mean to my boyfriend. This part of me is shameful, embarrassing, and horrifying. I want to like people, and be liked in return. I don't want to destroy my relationships, and I want to have a happy life. But it can be a constant struggle against the pain.
On the lighter side, pain tends to increase my profanity usage. Not that my language is squeaky clean when I'm pain free, but I do have a modicum of control. Unfortunately, when I'm under stress, the curses come flying forth despite time, place, or company. I'm sure a lot of people experience this, the occasional expletive when injured or unpleasantly surprised. But with the chronic pain, can come a chronic potty mouth.
But lo, I can defend my salty tongue with science! I've read about how profanity, and vocalizations in general, can be soothing to those in pain, whether emotional or physical. Like while birthing or grieving. So, see? It's not just me.
I've been working on it, and I'd say I've gotten myself about 75% PG rated. Sometimes, I start to slip, and try to catch myself with a so-graceful "fuuuuuuuu- ...dge" or "son of a monkey". I don't normally condone those types of watered down profanities, I feel like if you are going to pretend-swear, just fucking swear, okay? Everyone knows what you mean. But, at those times when I'm already halfway into a really good curse and I suddenly realize I am about to be extremely inappropriate, a panicky "mothercracker" is completely understandable. I do allow myself the freedom of totally unrestrained speech, but I try to keep it in my own home. It's just me, the man, and the dog. No one is offended here.
And because I can't resist pointing out the silver lining, there are a few good things pain has given me. Meditation for one thing, and an appreciation of quiet. Empathy. My pain is giving me experience, and it's added another layer or two to my personality, for better or worse. I can't help but appreciate the entirely different life experience I am having because of chronic migraines. I had no idea this world existed until I was submerged in it. That's the naivete of the healthy, I suppose.
Before pain, I'd always wanted to write. I've been writing, in some form, since I could read. I'm the proud author of scads of mostly bad poetry, a few short stories, a big emotional vomit of a terrible book, and a scattered, ridiculous livejournal that had all left me thinking I was proficient, but maybe not too talented. It wasn't until I couldn't do anything else that I finally found a voice.
"There is no coming to consciousness without pain."
"Pain is no evil unless it conquers us."