We Write About Pain To Know We Are Not Alone

Avoiding Writing, During Times of Pain

And Why We Shouldn’t

Pain; nobody likes it although it’s not that uncommon to hear people say that nothing good comes without some pain being involved, or that they really grew during times of pain. But then there is the kind of pain that seems good for nothing, except ruin and sorrow. It’s unpleasant and I long for a world where pain doesn’t exist, but pain does exist, and sharing it seems to help us heal. It lets us know that we are not alone.


I reflect on my own times of pain: childbirth, weight training at the gym (hey, that counts), surgeries, heartache over a broken friendship, a job loss, financial ruin, and lost love. Time slows down when pain comes to visit. I once had surgical procedure that was excruciating. I had been given pain medication but either it wasn’t enough or it wasn’t working. I had a pseudocyst on my pancreas and my gastro doc decided that I was a good candidate for a new procedure which involved puncturing my stomach on the right, with a surgical drainage tube, and punching it into the cyst on the left, leaving the tube hanging at my side for a month with a compression bulb attached. Now, that hurt. The whole process took less than half an hour but that half hour felt like half a day. By contrast, I once disembarked from a cruise ship, and lounged on the beach in St. Maarten for half a day, but that only felt like half an hour. During those stand-still times of pain, everything became more intense. Priorities shifted, my senses became more acute, simple tasks became arduous, relationships less frivolous, and humor non-existent.

I had a bad day today. Painful things touched my life; three separate incidences, to be exact. When I settled in for the night, I thought, “I should write because it’s time,” but then I quickly talked myself out it because I was afraid that my pain would influence my writing, in a bad way. Looking back on it, I think that was shortsighted and a poor attempt, on my part, at rearranging the universe so that I could fake my way to the idyllic world that I long for, but I would be alone in that world, for who would be able to relate to me there? Only someone who has never been touched by pain.

“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.” CS Lewis

So, when in pain, I will still write. I will write to know that I am not alone, because out of the myriads of people in the world, someone somewhere will read what I wrote and say to themselves, “I know just how she feels,” which oddly enough, helps me endure.


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