I live with physical pain everyday of my life. It’s kind of like depression in that you develop coping skills. I’ve lived with “Memory Pain” since I was 11. I’ve gotten very good at ignoring physical pain. The Movie RAMBO comes to mind when Russians are electrocuting Stallone. The Russian Col. Podovskop says: “I see you’re no stranger to pain”. Sure it hurts, but there exists in the back of your mind a switch that gives you a small out of body experience. It doesn’t stop the pain, but it puts you into a “rope-a-dope” frame of mind.
Did you ever wonder why people faint when they see something frightening? That’s a form of neurogenic shock. It’s actually a mental defense mechanism, a “circuit breaker”, (if I may), for your brain.
Neuro-Physiologists believe that our mind retains everything we witness or experience. (The Good as well as the Painful) The only good thing about it is God has given us a wonderful gift of buffering the physical pain, yet lets us remember the truly pleasurable (to a degree). Unlike the pleasurable, the physical pain often leaves visual scars. That’s why we have long pants, turtle neck shirts and Sun glasses.
Unfortunately, there is another type of pain and pleasure that God allows you to live with. It’s called (To use a blues term) “Memory Pain”. That’s musician talk for Psychological pain. Just as the memory of physical pain never really goes away; Psychological pain is a much more powerful factor in your “recall” mechanism. Since the pain is “All in your head”. When the recollection of a painful memory is recalled; the pain is almost as painful as feeling it for the first time. Unfortunately, just as God buffers the recall of physical pain; memory pain is as real as if it were happening again. Paradoxically, the good Psychological memories seem to get buffered or sometimes “buried” by the memory pain.
So modern man or counselors have given this data in your memory banks a name. It’s called “Baggage”.
Todd Rundgren wrote a song called: “Time Heals”. The title verse reads: “Time heals the wounds that no one can see”. I contend that time doesn’t heal memory pain; it only creates a mental scar. It’s amazing how a song, or a smell (especially a smell) can rip open that scab. Quantum physicists claim that the mind cannot tell the difference between a memory and reality, especially if the memory is based on reality and not a dream.
THE SUPPOSED CURE
Modern Psychiatry says that externalizing emotional pain is the answer to dealing with it. From a more pragmatic approach, I reference Todd again. In his song, “Parallel Lines”, Todd writes: “Understanding won’t satisfy the hunger”. I guess with any 12 step program, understanding you have a problem is the first step (and only the first step) to dealing with it. The problem is, only a severe case of amnesia can get rid of memory pain. I’ve come to disbelieve in the concept of “Closure”. If closure is defined as “Coping with a painful memory” then perhaps.
A person with a severe case of memory pain will be sitting in a 5 star restaurant and a the guy at the piano next to the waterfall will start playing a certain song and you immediately have to get up and excuse yourself to the restroom. Wait til the tears stop, pull out your visine, compose yourself and make up an excuse about how you’re fighting a stomach bug. It’s amazing what can trigger memory pain. The worst part is that most of the time you can’t see it coming. Here’s a tip: “The longer you internalize your pain, the harder it hits you when it decides to manifest.
MEN IN BLACK
In the original movie “MEN IN BLACK” Tommy Lee Jones’ “covert” character is only able to see his former “loved one” from a satellite view. He’s interrupted by his partner (Played by Will Smith) who uses the worn out cliché: “Well you know what they say? It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never have loved at all”.
Tommy Lee responds: “TRY IT”!
If the above doesn’t resonate to some degree with you; then you’re probably one of those self-centered, materialistic individuals that can shit on others then go onto ruin another person’s life.
Given the choice between the two? I’ll take the physical pain. I’ve lived with severe upper extremity pain since 1996. In 2009 the pain escalated to a new level. I say this with more than a grain of salt, but, you learn to live with physical pain. You “manage” your physical pain. Sometimes you’re no fun to be around, but you have no choice.
Emotional pain is not as persistent as the physical. It hides its’ ugly head for months or years. But just when you think you’re over it; it shows its’ self. Emotional pain is much more pernicious than physical pain.
ONE LAST OBSERVATION
As I said earlier, my mom died when I was 11. That made 6th grade miserable. I was acting out before I even knew what acting out was. I apologize to my 6th grade teachers. But I recall being sent to the office for being an asshole. I had a destiny with the “Board” of education often know as corporal punishment. What hurt the most was sitting in the secretary’s office waiting for my “ass whooping”. But the secretary asked me if my Mom was a home, and boy was I in trouble. I responded almost tearfully: “No mam, my mom is dead”. Her paradigm shifted into apology mode. That’s what hurt really bad. It was public humiliation. I can remember being struck on the ass with a fungo stick with holes in it, but it was nothing compared to the humiliation in the lobby. I came out of the spanking with my dignity. No tears. But having to confess I had no mother? That hurt.