[Sober Living] Move Outside Pain

I have above-average motivation, if the 1437 essays, short stories, and et cetera I’ve published here and counting are any proof of that, and yet, when I wake up in pain, my motivation drains completely. How can I get outside that sensation in order to reclaim some aspects of my day? I’ve conditioned myself to overcome most minor malaises, which only works for so long until those malaises manifest majorly. How can I move outside that?

Videogames like Moving Out can help, whether for good or not.

I played the demo for 30 minutes after seeing a Steam advertisement that piqued my interest. Following fancies like that is fine, only really if you ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Here, I wanted a convenient escape to focus on something. If I were to write a formal review, it would start by saying it fully replicates the frustration of moving big objects through doors, not because of any narrative construction, but because of gameplay sloppiness.

I spent close to two minutes trying to get this bed through this door.

My understanding of pain was only two-fold until recently. When I’d exercise on my rowing machine, I was taught that if I felt any dull pain I could notice it and adjust my form to see if I could iron it out. Dull pain isn’t bad. What is bad is acute pain. If I’m doing a motion and get a sharp sensation, I should stop immediately to tend to that feeling. Fortunately, if you’re maintaining good form, taking care of yourself, and don’t overwhelm yourself, acute pain happens so seldomly that you might even forget it can happen.

I’ve had chronic pain since my headaches manifested in November.

It’s not every day or every hour, but there are some times where it becomes too overwhelming. I stop feeling like writing – far the easiest thing I can do since I enjoy this process so much, which is a sign that something major is wrong. When I don’t feel like writing after fulfilling a busy day’s worth of tasks, I can understand that fatigue, because if I write through that, I can find myself exhausted when I go to sleep and for hours after I wake up.

Let me give you an example of how this manifests.

Today, I was going to schedule an appointment for physical therapy to learn stretches to work on my lower back. I woke up without the motivation to do anything other than go back to sleep. I did and slept in for far too long. Sometimes, that’s good, to let the body heal, but when it gets to a point of interrupting even minor tasks like calling an office to schedule an appointment, where even now I should make a note to do that after I’m done writing, but I feel so exhausted and the pain actually is in my middle back currently, that all I feel like doing is distracting myself.

The problem with writing, which I love so much, is that it’s a full-sensation experience.

When I write essays like this, I might notice pangs like the one I had on the right side of my head above my ear, that middle back sensation, and can at least incorporate them into the writing. Those are two relevant examples of what I’m feeling that don’t make me feel interested in getting out and over to PT to get some stretches that may hurt more than those sensations. They’ll hurt in a good way, to relieve tension, but the effort for me to go through to get to that point – call them, talk to someone, schedule the appointment, drive over, practice the stretches through physical distancing – is a lot to ask of someone that woke up with half or even a quarter of their normal spoons so I get up and around as I can.

Yesterday, I tidied up my downsizing areas enough to feel happy with the results today.

Today, taking a bath and doing laundry was enough to exhaust me. I’ve switched over to sleeping at nights, rather than keeping my old night shift schedule, to see if that might be part of the problem. It’s been nearly a week since I’ve taken my medical leave and I would say it’s been a substantial improvement – particularly with my vision – so there is one area I can improve on. I suppose my adventures working night shift have concluded, then, so when I return to work, it should be day or evening shift.

I’m using this time to figure out the cause of my pain.

If it were directly psychosomatic, I would have noticed an immediate increase in my overall lifestyle after my leave began, but instead, waking up like I did implies there’s something deeper – whether it’s the mental stress of the job, the physical stress of having stood, still, throughout my shift, or the emotional stress of whatever – and so through essays like this, I should stand to gain enough of an understanding behind that to fix the problem. If the pain is purely physical, PT should fix that as handily as it did last time.

If not, then how long did the cortisol soak into my body?

If I did this to myself through accidentally abusing my body, then it’s my mistake to fix. If it’s an outward force that is being applied to me, I should move outside of that targeting window. I’ve made headway in understanding the subtleties of my situation, and I would encourage you to, similarly, figure out where your pain points are and work on repairing them. I have a suboptimal writing work area, so I have a minor pinch point with my left wrist that was a dull pain up until recently when it started to become acute. I can fix the ergonomics well enough by using a pillow, and folding it to laptop height, but the long-term solution is building a better desk.

When I have the energy.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: Playing this game then thinking about what to write for an essay.
Related: Other Sober Living essays.
Screenshots: Above was the moment where I shifted my pain from internal frustration over my situation to external frustration over the door being the exact same size as the bed I was trying to move, so it kept getting stuck. As a final note, though, I will say, major props to them for including a wheelchair model, which is what the below looks like, which was supposed to be a variation of Trishna but I guess the character model looks more masculine than feminine. Oh well, I have no reason to buy the game full price.
Written On: 2020 April 28 [3:29pm to 4:09pm]
Last Edited: 2020 April 28 [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.