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On Living with Pain
by Noctir (May 2014)

Pain is an ever-present part of existence. Some experience it from time to time, only on occasion, while others of us suffer with it at every moment. When severe, it limits the things that we can do, whether they be for pleasure or survival itself. Intense pain can hinder us from working in order to make a living, thus depriving us of the ability to take care of ourselves. As well, such physical agony can destroy us mentally. All the while, ruining our relationships with others as a nasty byproduct. Others may feel sympathetic, at times, but they never truly understand unless they experience it themselves. (If a person falls down, everyone gets worried, but when he remains there for a long time, they get used to it, or even bothered.)

Life was extremely difficult for me, from the very beginning, but since accumulating various injuries, it has become nearly unbearable and impossible to maintain any sense of what others would consider normal. While working on my degree, I took a fair number of mindless physical labour jobs, since nothing else was available. Each of these consisted of a good amount of heavy lifting and constant movement and intense effort, usually anywhere from ten to fifteen hours a night and, often, for stretches of two weeks at a time with no days off. whenever injuries did occur, the shady management (illegally) avoided following procedures that would have allowed me to seek medical treatment immediately. Instead, I continued working through the injuries, unaware of my rights. In addition to the harsh labour, I was also involved in a series of car accidents that increased in severity with each one (seemingly, I had a target on my back). By the end of 2008, I was no longer able to even attempt working. My back was a wreck, my knee was in such pain that even walking for a short while caused me to limp, and the nerve pains in my arms left me unable to grasp objects much of the time. The excessive pain even kept me from being able to sleep for more than an hour or so at a time. The result of all of this meant that I no longer had a home, since I was unable to work and thus considered useless. (Equally worthless was the degree that I'd earned, in medieval European history). The economic recession did nothing to help matters, either.

In the years since this all reached its peak, I have suffered endlessly. Being unable to climb out of this hole all on my own, I have been forced to give the benefit of the doubt and trust those that have come along and promised to at least throw down a rope so that I could pull myself out. At some point or another, everyone needs help. Yet, when it became apparent that I was in need of assistance, no one was there for me. "Friends" disappeared and new acquaintances only lied and took advantage of me, for one sick reason or another. After finally seeking government assistance, I was rejected for being the wrong colour, initially. After struggling for quite some time, I was finally thrown a few scraps in the form of barely enough money to keep fuel in my car and a bit of food in my stomach, and health care that was so lousy only the worst doctors accepted it. Of course, repairing my many injuries was not worth their time, so I remained in pain. Those that genuinely did try to become close with me were either tired out from the strain of being around someone in total and complete misery, or just became desensitized to it after a while, as if constant suffering was somehow normal for me. I had only one friend that was there for me during recent years, one who was cursed with a very similar existence and knew all too well what a life of pain was like, but he passed away a little over one year ago.

The pain has even affected me creatively, as I am often unable to write much at all. This has had a drastic effect on the content of this website, as well as a few attempts to pursue writing as a career. As well, the injuries have left me unable to pick up instruments anymore, so I am forced to rely on others to record the music for my various bands and projects, only being able to perform vocals. Naturally, this means that long periods of time pass where I would have written and recorded the music in no time, were I able to.

After some years, it became possible to get a bit of medical coverage and to begin taking a medication that was able to make some of the nerve pain more bearable, at least. However, this medication is very expensive and the various times that the soulless government has randomly cut me off, with no reason given, I have either had to struggle to find a way to keep up with the meds or ended up extremely sick for lengthy periods of time, with massive dizziness and nausea, electric shocks in my head and up and down my arms, increased thoughts of suicide, hysterical mood swings that came with no warning and almost no sleep at all. It was pure hell, to say the least.

As for my mental state, anyone with severe depression knows how difficult the simplest of things can be, already. Add multiple injuries on top of it, and life can become nearly impossible. There have been times where I was in such pain that I had to be physically helped up in the mornings and dragged to the bathroom, for example. This takes its toll on the one helping, but even moreso for the person that has been reduced to such a nothing that he cannot even manage to get himself up out of bed without assistance. In this modern age, a man can hardly be a man anymore as it is, due to the various laws and customs and just the overall shift in culture that has taken place in the past twenty years or so. But when you are physically unable to do things that you should be capable of, it is really damaging to the psyche. Imagine being a man, going to pick up some groceries with your girlfriend, and then having to let her carry the heavier bags despite her being half your size, because it would cause you a lot of extra pain to do so. Or trying to find a somewhat less-painful position to sit in and then having to ask for someone to prepare your food (when there is any to begin with) because it is too tiring to manage and moving would be too agonizing. This is entirely depressive for a man to have to go through, unable to even feel like a real man anymore.

Depression, alone, makes it hard to manage even simple things. Injuries and endless pain make those activities more difficult than some might imagine. Then the circle continues, as this deepens the depression and makes the person suffering from such pain feel absolutely worthless in every possible way. To go from trying to remain honourable in a dishonourable world, striving to improve myself and crippling myself to pay for an education and then end up living in my car for stretches of time, occasionally having to steal food to survive and all for nothing, as the immense pain and misery never go away... I have no idea why I am not yet dead. Even more discouraging is the fact that I know there are plenty of people out there that have it just the same or even far worse. So, I know that there is no help coming, just like there is none for most of them. Life is not a Disney movie. People have existed for no reason, suffered horribly and died alone for thousands of years. I am neither the first nor the last.

Perhaps, this is all pointless. There is no solution for my situation. I am on my own and doomed to a fate that I cannot escape. However, if you are close to a person that is struggling against similar circumstances, make an effort to be more understanding and sympathetic. Stop scrolling through pointless things on your smartphones for a little while and be considerate of those in your life. Never assume that their condition is "normal" just because it has persisted for a long time. If you actually care, do what you can to make their lives better, not worse, and be glad that you get to live your life without immense debilitating pain.

Copyright 2006-2020, Noctir