19 May 2017

Seeking Pain and Finding Healing

Related imageWhy is pain so addictive? We live in fear of it, but simultaneously seek it out, dwell on it. We live in it, draw from it - heck, I'm drawing from it write now by writing this. Pain, particularly emotional pain, is a powerful thing.

I recently heard something that upset me, pained me. This wasn't a mental reaction. Mentally, I can reason my way out quite well. I know it isn't fair of me to feel upset about it; I know really I am happy for it to happen; I know really that it has to happen; yet my body told me otherwise. In a flare up of what I can only describe as a nauseous hot flash (yeah, great mental image, I know), my body reared against my mind in absolute emotional pain.

In the days that followed, I tried to process the information and my painful reaction. I tried to think positively, and train my body to not react vehemently, to not care. At the same time, though, I kept thinking about the information in order to feel the pain. The pain seemed to imply that it all meant something. I was almost relishing being upset. I wanted to make sure it was still there, that I hadn't forgotten.

I desperately want healing but I also desperately want feeling.

Does to be healed mean to feel nothing? To be numb? What is the emotion between joy and indifference? I want to say contentedness, but that seems so...boring? removed? incorrect? When our physical bodies heal from an injury, we know we are healed when we no longer feel pain. The normal state of the body is to feel nothing out of the ordinary. Can the same be said of the emotional self? We don't go around trying to break our arms again to feel the pain, to remember it was real. So why do we dwell on past experiences and emotions? Why do we seek that pain out?

Just like healing a broken bone, healing a broken heart/self/mind/spirit takes time. The pain doesn't immediately stop when the cast is put on, and a body isn't back to normal for months after the cast is taken off. Sometimes, it's hard to give bodies the time they need to recuperate. The same is true for our emotional selves. Addiction to the pain, addiction to the memory, is just one step in the healing process. It's like a canker sore on the inside of the cheek - awful but ever so tempting to keep licking to see if it's still there, if it still hurts. Soon, it won't hurt as much. Soon, it won't be some weird masochistic high. Soon, indifference won't seem like a mean emotion. Soon, healing will come. And what's more, soon you may not even notice that you've healed, because you have forgotten the pain, the sore, the injury, was ever there in the first place.


1 comment :

  1. Love this, Mary! Definitely good to hear. And I love your hopefulness.