I was planning to write a post today about holiday gift-giving and how we're all under so much pressure to buy presents that we forget what it's like to be generous. Except on Saturday I started to feel pain around my right eye. I thought it was probably from grinding my teeth (I have TMJ) but by Sunday afternoon the pain had increased and redness appeared underneath my bottom eyelid.
Over the last few years, I’ve been hatching a book, tentatively titled, Don’t Get Better. I will periodically share excerpts such as today's installment (which includes a brief exercise at the end). This is from a chapter called, “Healing the Underlying Condition: Ourselves.”
“Pain is like a truffle hunting pig, which with its blunt snout digs up uncomfortable emotions.”
I suspect I may never forget the details of this last week, seared into my memory through shock and mass anxiety. Yesterday morning on my commute, the disappointment of several passengers was palpable. Their expressions were downcast, and their bodies were quiet without the usual manic smartphoning. There’s a sense that as our world rearranged itself Tuesday night based on the number of votes, our bodies and heads are slowly rearranging themselves to catch up.
Like many people, I have been wishing for more balance in my life recently. The political and social worlds seem chaotic and heartbreaking. I spend many days chasing after deadlines that I am not sure I care much about. I would like to spend my time in other ways, ways that feel more refreshing and energizing rather than draining and worrisome.
Last week I had my first MRI. I’ve been having back and neck pain since December and had tried a number of treatments to no significant avail, so this was the next course of action in finding out the cause.
I am lying in bed, and I want to stay here. It's warm. I'm comfortable. I feel the weight of the comforter, the cat pressed against my leg. And yet I'm not happy. I think about people who greet the day with smiles. I am not one of them. I think about what I have to do today -- nothing much. And I remember this blog post.
Seven years ago, I developed a mysterious chronic pain in my upper body that had me unable to type, hold a piece of paper, and relegated to the cool wooden floor of my girlfriend’s apartment for hours a day.
I was 26, unable to work, and learning to dial a phone with my toes.