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Clare Martin Clare Martin
Recommendations: 12

Pain Is Pain

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She had a friend.

A somewhat brief summary of my feelings towards the discussion of pain. It isn't a choice, nor is it a scale.

Pain comes in many forms. It’s as versatile as happiness, as varied as the reactions it can cause. Few words can describe its intensity, but we’ve all felt it. Descriptions aren’t often needed. A broken bone sears like a hot needle weaving its thread of fire around the chipped particles. A headache is the constant throb of an elastic band against the skull. Depression is that same, horrible cloud of darkness hanging over you. A wound is as hot as salt, and as cold as frozen water. Simple.

But pain is pain. Suffering is suffering. While the forms of the agony differ, the pain is always as it should be; painful. There is not, and can never be, a scale in which the pain is measured. As someone suffers, they suffer the same. They scream, they cry, they sink into the dark lair of their bed, wishing for sleep to come until death mercifully claims them. There is no differentiation between the intensity of pain. There cannot be. Because while someone suffers for different reasons, burdened by a variation of agonies, they all long for but one thing; mercy. They want nothing but for the pain to stop. They scream out to their tormentors, whisper silent prayers in their head, talk reasonably with their doctors, but ask for the same freedom.

For the children, when you suffer, don’t listen to any of those foolish adults saying that people in distant, far-off countries suffer more. They don’t. You suffer every bit as much as they. As I’ve said, there’s no scale. I, of all people, understand this. I know that all you want is sympathy. I know that you want people to recognize your pain for what it really is. Eventually, they’ll see that their pathetic attempts to guilt you out of feeling pain don’t work.

For the adults, I beg you, cease this foolish act. A suffering child, or adolescent, cannot bear to think of this. As they suffer, they need your arms, your sympathy, some kind words, some understanding. If you believe that telling a child some starving, depraved body is suffering in lesser places will help them realize they’re not suffering, then you’re the fools, not the children. That child is suffering in his or her own way, and nothing you say will make them suffer less. If anything, when somebody suffers, the last thing they want to even imagine is someone suffering more. Look at that child, with their depression, or their broken limbs, or their uncontrollable, inflamed eczema or hives, and just accept that they need either your help or your arms as their cradle and comfort.

Me? I can deal with physical pain. I’ve suffered for a long time, and while it never changes and my reactions are always the same, I can still smile through it with a little comfort, and press through with a few painkillers. But mental pain is different. It hangs over me like the moon does the sun during a solar eclipse, blocks off my light and shrouds me in only darkness. If I could endure all the physical pain in the world to stop somebody from feeling it, I would. I really, truly would. But as I mentally suffer, the only thing that grants me peace is sleep. And often, sleep is more exhausting than waking. It shows me all I was, all that could’ve been, all I could’ve done if I’d put my mind to it. Sometimes, as I wake, I wonder “Imagine how much simpler life would be if I remained this way?”

Pain has bizarre effects. But at the end of the day, we all suffer in the same way.

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