Life in Slow Motion

I have a theory about chronic pain. Life with chronic pain is like living in a parallel universe that alternates between slow motion and rewind, while the rest of the world passes by at regular speed. Moving quickly does not happen in this world, and progress happens over months and years, with setbacks occurring in the blink of an eye, rewinding you all the way back to the beginning. In this slow motion walk, those in chronic pain get left behind. Because life does not follow the same speed, it does not have the same potential for dream upon dream or more than one task or pursuit at a time. Progressing through normal stages of life, meeting goals, or accepting opportunities that arise may be vague dreams that never come to fruition, disappointments that must be dealt with on a daily basis.

This parallel universe is a place where suffering occurs at the hands of your own body. Your body does not work for you like it does on earth. No, at times your body becomes your worst enemy. It fights against you, plagues you, enslaves you, but unlike at the hands of an enemy, you can never escape your own ceaselessly present body.

And so you begin to lose your identity to this pain that plagues you, and you begin to forget that you ever once resided on earth. Every part of you that once was is no longer. And the burden begins to transform you in startling ways, altering you into someone or something that you do not even recognize. For so long you seek to hold on to that person you used to be, that healthy, vibrant, active person. But sometimes pain does not go away. And when this reality sets in, you begin to realize that if the pain will not go away, you must instead remake yourself into a new version of who you once were. Because if you do not do the hard work of remaking yourself and going with the pain, instead of against it, you will not like what you become. And letting go of the old you, the one from the universe next door where everyone walks forward at normal speed, may be the hardest part of this remaking journey.

This is the life I am currently living, surviving in a universe that after several years still feels foreign, confusing, and especially misunderstood by those healthy individuals on the outside. So why do I write? Perhaps writing will turn the confusing into truth and bring the misunderstood into light. I write for personal healing, I write for others following a similar path to know they are not alone, and I write for all those who observe on the outside, that you might better understand and walk alongside.

14 responses

  1. This is so true, and so eloquently described here. Thank you for sharing your experience, for speaking up about how different it is to live in the upside-down world of chronic pain. Chin up, gentle hugs. -TGA

    • Seemorrigan ,
      Eloquent Yourself . You words make me feel not quite so deformed like your also in the secret upside down world where all the incentives are perverse . When simple gentle sustained motion causes causes even more pain , what , how , where , what used to be up , I can no longer find . Another life in slow motion , maybe not so alone .

  2. The task of being in pain is complicated , there is the simple direct coping demands , then the social piece is “affected” , and ultimately you have to create meaning out of the experience . These three domains is where I struggle . Is god angry ? is this karma ? what is my obligation to self ? do I have value ? how do I create empathy in the unwilling whos help I need ? how do I keep my pain from causing others distress and still have loved ones ? how do I forgive the dr’s who could have helped and refused ? how do i bridge the gap of how i look and how i feel ?I feel to be a violent home invasion while my happiness requires calm and acceptance . The fatigue is the killing slow motion part for me . I stand at the open window of a burning building and my only choice is to jump or burn alive . The person down the street has no idea , my dr has no clue , I am totally alone in this pain experience no matter the effort to the contrary it seems

    • Wow, thanks so much for your honesty. I agree so much with how complicated it is to be in pain – really a full time job to manage, mentally process, and try to make progress. But I know you are not alone in this because my mind goes to the exact same questions as you. And I am sure many others can say the same.

      • Dying of pain just isn’t easy . It makes people uncomfortable and step back exactly when you need them most of all . Don’t let the person down the street suffer alone until they have to engineer there own egress to suffering no one should have to live . When opposing suffering can not interest the dr , to whom can one turn . This pain proves god is dead or sadistic . It’s not compassionate to my self to twist without help . I feel a little embarrassed contorted at your feet on oour path begging for help that looks like it does not exist for me .

        • Yes I can truly relate to people leaving my life as I began to experience pain and suffering. And I have had to search for new community, as it becomes unbearable in isolation. I want to respond more to your comment later when I have time. For now
          , I am sorry for your pain and that you are feeling so alone in that.

  3. Reading this post was like reading something I could have written, but didn’t know how to articulate. My journey of chronic pain has been lonely and difficult, triggering tremendous stages of grief as I learn to create a new identity for myself. I am so glad to have stumbled upon your blog.

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