What It’s Like

I’ve been in school a long time. I’ve been missing out on things a long time. In 2004, I stopped taking martial arts. 2006, I had to drop out of an a capella group I was in because I couldn’t handle standing for rehearsals for two hours–too much pain. More recently, I had to cancel a study abroad trip on account of a combination of issues with both the pain and the depression that would’ve made the trip painful at best, and put me at risk of suicide at worst.

There’s a thing you learn that I think can only really be understood by people who’ve suffered from depression or chronic pain. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it put better than in naamah’s journal on suicide: “There’s an amount of pain that will buy anyone.”

Whether the pain is emotional or physical, there is a point beyond which the only thing you can think about is making it end. There’s no rationality to it. When you put your hand to a stove and it burns, you pull it away. With this kind of pain, the world is the stove.

Maybe it’s more accurate to say your body is the stove. Either way, there’s only one way to pull your hand away.

The world is made up of things I can’t do. Sex, computer games, martial arts, swimming, playing music, watching a movie, driving for too long, etc, etc. When you’ve been dealing with all of the things you can’t do for as long as I have, managing your life to fit in the few things that you can, for as long as I have, and things still don’t get better, you feel like giving up a lot. You feel like you’re doing everything you can, and you’ve been doing everything you can for as long as you can remember, and you still have the pain. On the worst days, it’s like your own body is a torture chamber. On the best days, where there isn’t too much pain, you have to be very careful to remember that if you do too many Normal People Things without thinking, it’ll be worse again tomorrow.

This is what it’s like a frighteningly large amount of the time.

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