[Sober Living] Adapting To Pain

I’ve had physical difficulties so much over the past few weeks that I can’t even remember the last time I felt normal. My current new normal is to have any sort of physical issue, whether it’s an eye that won’t stop twitching for eight hours, a headache that just won’t let me concentrate, or, another headache that threatens me whenever I get the sensation of wanting to exercise. I’m used to these pains by now…

Is it good to develop such tolerances?

I think it’s important to not let every little cut or bruise take you down, so to that end, I think it’s good to develop tolerance. Just like we as addicts should be able to walk through a grocery store without being compelled to buy alcohol, despite the forceful and frightening amount of advertising seemingly aimed at our senses. I’ve developed such a high tolerance for these sorts of things, people think I have strong willpower, when really, that candy they’re giving out to people is just not my high of choice.

For me, pain tolerance is giving up with what shit you’re in.

I don’t know if I’ll ever feel normal again. Will I ever be able to use my vision without sunglasses without the concern over headaches of the migraine variety? Now that I know what eye strain and migraine look like for me, starting with closing my eyes and seeing fireworks then leading up to cigarette burns across my vision, leading into overwhelming headaches, I can work on them. Will I ever be able to exercise again? It’s been over two weeks since I last did anything more than just a brisk walk. I can’t row.

I should be able to do all of this again. It will just take time.

Unlike a cold or flu, I am still sick, but my mind is mostly functional. I’m just impatient. I just can’t fully concentrate for more than a few minutes without some ailment or another distracting me. If I stare at a screen for too long, then my head will hurt, but even waking up will give me a different headache. I might have to guide the headache troubleshooters through their simple solutions to popular problems then guide them along until we find the root cause of the issue.

Migraines are a sexy solution because they’re easy to “see.”

You can’t see the tension of the brain without a brain scan, and boy, oh, boy, let’s not do anything like that! Let’s not concern ourselves with your brain when we can give you medications! At least I’m getting more comfortable not feeling well. I’ve had to defer my major life plans, but hey, at least I’m on the waiting list. I wonder why I wasn’t on the waiting list weeks earlier? I wonder if anything can be done to help alleviate the pressure right now? The most I’m doing is just rolling with the punches.

Is that building tolerance to pain?

Let’s say we get everything sorted out in the next month or so. When my next headache occurs, depending on the symptoms, will it be easier to manage because I’ve developed a higher tolerance toward the worst of the headache or because I’ve learned more about where it’s hurting and how to heal it? If it’s a migraine, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of treatment plans from the top 40 grab bag of goodies. If it’s everything else, currently, I don’t know how to treat them effectively, but maybe the more I complain and the more I ask, the more I’ll learn and the more likely I can actually fix this issue?

Is it better to be thrown into the pool or jump in?

If I had never had these headaches, I wouldn’t have researched anything about them. They don’t help my fiction writing much at all. Even if I wrote a novel about a character’s experiences with headaches, well, that’d just be my own experiences because this is such a subjective journey. Sure, you’re following me along through this journey of pain, but, hopefully, we’ll both look back on this in the upcoming years and be glad that this essay serves as an abstraction for once was rather than what continues to plague me…

I guess it’s like building up a tolerance to nasty commenters.

When we learn that our friends and family are just as capable of giving us jabbing criticism, it’s just friends and family do it with mainly a sense of wanting to help you or at least help you quit annoying them, the anonymous public just does it because they’re frustrated over different aspects of their own lives. Maybe they want to inflict pain to deflect the pain they feel toward some kind of trama? No concern of mine. If the feedback is useful, I’ll use it, and if not, then I’ll ignore it.

Just like I’ve been learning to ignore the minor aspects of these headaches.

It will be nice when I can dedicate my full focus once again to writing. When things get too difficult, well, that’s why I’ve been writing about headaches in this essay series. I’ve overcome difficult sensations before. I don’t think the first six months of sobriety are any easier or harder than these weeks with headaches. After a while, you just learn to forget about your negative feelings, then you just put a smile on, whether true or fake, and think to yourself: there is so much more to life than letting something like this bother me. I will destroy it at its source. To do so, I must destroy the elements of myself that would become tempted toward insobriety or toward feeling sorry for myself. If I can look at my situation with as much information as possible, I can comment on it, and I can learn to deal with it, through my own efforts or through the help of others.

If these headaches never go away, I’ll adapt to the pain.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I’ve been writing many essays about my direct experiences with headaches so I figured I’d write about my indirect experiences, which is to say, how they’ve affected me long-term, rather than the short-term “in the moment” essays I’ve been writing.
Related: Other Sober Living essays.
Picture: The nice thing about a template like this is I can write with one eye open and the other eye with some tissue taped over it and still be able to finish a decent essay.
Written On: 2020 January 11 [22 minutes, from 10:19am to 10:41am, while listening to Broken Landscapes, written in WordPress]
Last Edited: 2020 January 11 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.