Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Declaration of Suffering

I suffer.

My sense of this is no greater than anyone else’s, but not all suffer as I do.

Most miserably, it tires me, and sleep offers scarce little relief. Falling asleep is challenging, and the more tired I become – the more taxed my body – the harder it becomes to relax or to sleep. Yet it makes sleep therefore ever more desirable. It’s like something Shakespeare once said about drink and sex – in Macbeth, I think: that drunkenness increases desire, but makes the act impossible.

There is no solution to this and there seems to be no relief, but I think it should be known. I have no true release. The nearest I have comes when I have let go all hope, then I find that I can let go of things, gradually I drift off into the comfortable amnesia, if not always the physical comfort, of sleep. Otherwise it’s briefest moments of bliss, which expire as soon as they’ve been realized. Orgasms of good feelings, in a sense, most of which are bittersweet experiences.

My pain is a burden which none can share and which cannot be set down. Perhaps drugs could solve the symptoms, but I so despise chemical dependency of any sort that I would almost rather not take even my heart medicines, although this might someday affect my health.

Despite this dismal picture, my life is better than it had been for some time. Much more of my life used to feel this way – stressful and anxiety ridden – even in the simplest of its aspects.

The misanthropy and disdain for the world I sometimes feel is an unsurprising consequence of the suffering. Sometimes it seems impossible to avoid, and the focus needed to block out such feelings eludes me. The energy often eludes me, and I would not wish to simply forget ill feelings, as doing so has had destructive results in the past, and I’ve finally recovered from it after several years of self-improvement.

Another thing that troubles me sometimes is the agony of explanation. Why I have a cane, what muscular dystrophy is, in addition to many other things, related and unrelated. Perhaps this is one of the most isolating factors in my life. I tire of having to tell people such things, so I become less interested in meeting new people.

And communication in a relationship? The gulf between myself and another person can appear wide indeed. Such a thing as a relationship is riddled with gaps in shared experience, a problem I have experienced extensively due to other reasons – to the point that I felt dishonest, twofaced, disgusting – on top of still having been pervaded by a sort of loneliness despite not having been alone, because what was inside of my mind was so different from how it appeared on the outside. Certainly the worst is behind me and this need not be the case in the future – and I hope it never will be again – but it urges me to caution. And I still find myself having an entirely different experience, because things others take for granted I take for suffering.

Perhaps this is why I sometimes take things too seriously; in fact it may explain much about me. It’s a story from my childhood: work harder to keep up with others, get left behind, left only with a pain that that is not grasped by those who do not share my experience. Until fairly recently this sometimes affected me any time I was literally left behind by others walking faster.

This is my life. I have my reasons, my ups and downs, my strengths and faults. What I lack is an out. It drives me a bit mad, even. Most of what I have described is based upon my physical suffering, the sensation of bodily misery to which I am subjected.

Other, lesser things shadow my every move. Every time I do or don’t do something on account of a disease which is fundamentally a part of me, every time I plan or don’t plan or do something because of this condition, I lose a little indefinable something. I have to admit that I am not a whole and healthy person, no matter what else I might do in spite of my disability.

Perhaps it’s pride that I lose, which perhaps makes it fortunate that I don’t have much of it – it has been eroded and I no longer consider it important. What is pride to someone who is struggling ridiculously to stand up after an apparently causeless fall?

For the most part I can brush all of this off, but not always – which is to say, I can’t stand it forever. Something must give, but what first? My mind or my body?

Written at midnight after two hours in bed failing to sleep. It is perhaps a bit more tripe than I'd like to be posting, but I considered not posting it at all.

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