What I Know

They say you should write about what you know. I know about chronic pain and I feel alone with it
every day. There’s a date I don’t want to remember in February 2003, more than
half my life ago now and most of my adult life, which changed everything. Few
friends knew me before then and not many truly know the me of today who looks
out of this body that hurts.

Strangely, as it gets worse I become less afraid of it and by naming it take away some of it’s power.
I spend less energy pretending it’s not there and more getting on with managing
it. It is my Voldemort and I name it ‘Pain’ for you today. I name it for me today.

My doctor says this is the standard trajectory of a whiplash injury like mine. A masseuse told me
the same many years ago; others have been more optimistic and see life in general and my mobility in particular as not fated at all, despite what the data says.

I used to hope that the pain would rise up out of my head one day, since it seems to have crept
ever higher up my neck and head, resting often in the heavy throbbing knobs under the hairline at the base of my skull where my neck muscles meet my head. A hopeful fantasy that is never likely to materialize.

By the feel of it, tomorrow will be one of those days when I’ll look under-dressed for the
coolness of winter. But on days like this I don’t need layers to feel warm. I’ll revel in the brisk winter chill to stem the heat radiating from my head and neck and shoulders. I will be a steaming bulbous-headed alien amidst the incognizant humans.

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