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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Feeling Pain

It was my goal to do this.

There's really no way to explain how one shuts out pain. It just sort of happens. I do it particularly well. There was a time, shortly after DJ was born, when I needed a tooth filled. I'd never had a cavity before, but had experienced Novocaine when I had a wisdom tooth extracted and I didn't like the stuff, so I opted not to have anything. The dentist suggested that when he drilled to the part of the tooth that hurt, I might flinch and cause him to make a mistake. I assured him I would not flinch. And I didn't. I don't remember feeling anything--just finding the drilling noisy and bothersome. Granted, I was distracted by flashbacks and those do cause pain, but the tooth filling itself, went smoothly.

Allowing myself to feel pain after many years of masking it took some practice. There are still times when I forget, but those are becoming rare. I have to say, I know this is a good thing--a NORMAL thing--to feel pain, but it's not very much fun. The thing that bothers me most is hunger. It's uncomfortable and insistent and I'm still trying to figure out how and when to eat. Hunger pangs get in the way. Darrin says to just eat when I feel them. The problem is, they feel so foreign I'm disconcerted by them and the last thing I want to do is eat. There's a lot of stress associated with hunger pangs and when stress kicks in I stop eating.

I knew the physical side of this would cause discomfort. I didn't realize it would leak into my emotional feelings, as well. I've been working on "feelings" for a few years now--accepting, acknowledging, allowing them. But everything seems to have deeper levels. Learning to feel physical pain also triggered a depth of emotional pain I didn't understand before. I still don't understand it. I've always been able to step back, analyze what's happening, and make necessary decisions concerning my emotional health. Now I find myself caught sometimes, immobilized by the intense feelings associated with emotional pain. Naturally, these are connected to interactions with another person. Formerly, if I sensed a problem or felt uncomfortable/hurt, I would seek out the person and try to talk through the difficulty. Now I find myself fearful of further hurt, or unable to find words to express myself, and definitely devoid of the ability to be rational.

Therapist says these are natural reactions felt by most people when they find themselves similarly hurt. If this is so, I have no idea how the human race continues to survive. He also tells me that, in time, everything will come into balance and I'll be able to temper the intensity of what I feel with the learned behaviors I put in place long ago to prevent those feelings. I hope he's right.

In the meantime, I'm becoming friends with Novocaine--no more non-deadened tooth drillings for me. Monday I had five teeth worked on (top and bottom). I was numb to the point of drooping facial muscles accompanied by copious drooling. And I was happy to wander around dabbing at my mouth with a tissue, grateful for the numerous injections which allowed the dentist to fix the cavities I've been harboring for a number of years and replace my defective crown (which broke!) with a lovely, temporary silver one. And next week I'll go back for more.

And I did not have a flashback. Tremors, yes, but those are just embarrassing and I'm used to embarrassing myself. I deal with it beautifully.

Also, after sub-zero temperatures, tons of snow, and wind chills approaching -35 degrees, yesterday dawned with no frost on the windshield of my car and a lovely warm southerly breeze. The roads are almost completely bare now, and the snow has melted off the small garden area in front of my house...and my pansies are still alive. The edges of the leaves are frost bitten, but by yesterday afternoon the blossoms were perky and vivid...still blooming on December first. Their tenacity is amazing.

As for the Christmas Carol giveaway--it's in danger of becoming a bust unless I can figure out why my iTunes won't load. Tabitha and I traded computers for a couple of months this year and I have a feeling this has something to do with that. I'll work on it today and see if I can get the first couple of carols out by this evening--any hints would be welcome.


  1. Wow, I'm impressed that you got that many cavities done.

  2. I know! I will soon be cavity free! Yay!