What you realise about pain is just how seductive it is. When you are in abject pain, total misery; when you feel like you are dying, is also when you are really alive. And it is your doing. The feeling is in you. Without effort, without even intent, you allow yourself to die. And so you live. Lose the pain, and sure, there is relief. Transient as everything else. But there is also loss. That feeling has gone. That impassioned, often mute, suffering has gone. Now there is just the normalcy of life to be experienced. You can no longer set yourself apart.
When I am healthy, I am just like you. But when I am ill, I am uniquely me. You don’t know the suffering I go through.
For nearly three years now, I have been through all kinds of pain and suffering. Each disease is related to the other; all of them have repercussions that often creates a new disorder. A simple common cold or fever sends me into a tizzy of anxiety. Will I get the herpes now? Again?
In all these days, there hasn’t been a single day when I could say, ‘Oh today, my body feels healthy, normal, fabulous. There is absolutely no pain.’ No. There is always some pain; there is always some niggling discomfort. A headache, the joints hurting, stiff neck, bloated abdomen, nausea, something all the time. So much so that I can no longer imagine or remember what living without bodily discomfort feels like.
There is a proverb in Kannada that says, ‘dinna sayiyorige aloruyaaru?‘ which translates to, ‘Who will cry for those who die everyday?’ So no one cares. If the pain or the panic of being ill all over again, of picking pieces again, overwhelms me, I cry. Helplessly. No one understands. No one really cares. And no one, really, can help. It is just to be endured. So there is pain in that realisation too. To know that one is always alone, especially in our distress. There is not even any reassurance to be had. And my body poisons itself promptly when I learn that I am truly alone and that life is really so hopeless and meaningless.
It’s no surprise then that every kind of relationship in my life must accrue some new disorder. It’s not to suggest, at least this time, that any relationship or any person is responsible for my pain. All it means is that roles, responsibilities, people, and my relationships with them stress me out more than they would the average person. It is true that I have more drama in my life than the average person and most of it, for once, is not my doing. Outwardly, I thrive on drama. On the inside, I am craving the normalcy of existence. The bliss of just being, not doing. To have things happen to you and not make things happen for you. Doing involves action. So much action. So much drama. Drama is stressful. Even when you resolve to treat it lightly. I have been so tremendously stressed now for years, that even the stress of a traffic jam is something my body reacts to. The only way my body has learnt to deal with stress is to turn it inwards and poison itself.
So now I have a new disorder. I cannot keep food in. Eating out – no matter how clean, healthy, or posh the restaurant is – is hell. All the symptoms seem to suggest IBS. I am yet to get it confirmed by a physician. But now I feel doctors are redundant except perhaps, when it comes to surgery because they don’t know why something happens. No disease has a cure.
Today at work I was asked if I was a hypochondriac. I smiled. Wouldn’t that be so simple? You just worry you have every disease and discomfort under the sun. Try counselling, and realise that you don’t. What joy!
I, however, stand apart. I am an entire body of pain. A little distress and my body attacks me for not caring for it properly, for not keeping it happy or stress-free.
Exercise will be the panacea. From the doctors to the neighbour’s dog, everyone tells me that losing weight is all I have to do to get healthy. Once I lose weight, I will lose the pain, I will become better. Better even as a person. And when I don’t, they tell me how I am addicted to my pain. How I really don’t want to change. If I did, I would have.
That is when I realise how seductive pain must be if it keeps me from leading a normal life. If it tempts me away from being healthy and peaceful, from being a good person, a better daughter, a less hysterical/moody girlfriend, an equable friend, a regular employee, a focussed businesswoman. The pain poison is verily so bloody seductive. I really don’t want to break its chains.
P. S. Yes, there just might be a trace of sarcasm in this post.