Pain is Pain, There is No Judgement
Young Woman on the Shore by Edvard Munch 1896
This morning, I took the first step on the last leg of a journey that began in earnest two and a half years ago. It has been a journey that has kept me locked in a daily battle for recovery, not dissimilar from those fought by countless others for the same and different reasons. I am not deluded into thinking that my experience was particularly severe or difficult when compared to another’s, but, it is also my belief that one cannot compare one’s pain with another’s. Pain is pain. Suffering is suffering. It’s a deeply personal thing and unique in its own way. I am a writer, however, and a good bit of my healing comes through the process of writing. For better or worse, it is most often about difficult things that I find myself writing.
The most treacherous part of any personal war is that much of it is waged behind closed doors, out of sight and in solitude. It takes place within the quiet recesses of the individual’s body, mind and spirit. Like most Jungians, I believe that one of the best ways to heal is to bring our shadows out into the light of day. Circumstances are affording me that opportunity.
This week, my journey, or part of it anyway, will have its day in court. What was to me a deeply personal experience will be viewed and dissected by linear thinkers with myopic vision. The real truth will not be told. The most essential aspects will be avoided, overlooked and filtered. Therefore, I have decided to bring the parts of the truth that are missing into the light of day here, where it has, perhaps, a chance to be heard. I hope, in this way, to take one more step to end the war within me, or at least to call a truce and to begin the acceptance process, the final healing stage. Perhaps in doing so it will offer a little healing to someone else.
When I awoke this morning, Panic had a screaming match with me before I even opened my eyes, let alone had my coffee. I’ve learned not to let her win and so I forced myself to a seated position on the edge of the bed and focused my attention on my breathing…inhale…exhale….slowly…deeply…slower….deeper. With each breath I felt my heart slow its pace and, at last, my body began to relax. When I opened my eyes, I looked out of the window across the room and saw that it was raining. Of course. Everything about this had to do with the rain. It was only fitting.
I sipped my coffee as I dressed. I had about forty-five minutes to get to my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. As I applied my mascara, not really thinking about anything in particular, my body began to shake. My arms and my legs trembled and I had to set down the mascara and hold on to the counter. Once again I focused on breathing. This time, it was not enough. I walked to husband’s office across the hall. When I got there, I asked him to hold me. Without missing a beat, he stood up and wrapped me in his arms. As he held me tightly, he spoke quiet words of reassurance. We stood this way for some time. As I began to feel my body relax, he rubbed my arms and massaged my back while he continued to hold me. The shaking stopped. He went back to work and I got a second cup of coffee and started breakfast.
I continue to be surprised and perplexed by my body’s recent ability to recognize anxiety when my mind and emotions do not. It’s an odd experience for me. Throughout my life my feelings and emotions have been my constant guide, my compass, my means of interpreting and understanding the world and who I conceive myself to be. They no longer speak the same language within my body, nor are they present to direct my path in the same way. Since the accident my feelings and my thoughts seem to have constructed a wall of silence between them. Most of the time my feelings are absent.
More to come…