Luckily that pain has been either episodic or limited and I have been able to manage it with drugs, or crying or writing or wine or chips....or something.
This summer, a decade of holding my head the wrong way, typing, scrolling, stressing and driving all ganged up on my neck and said...we are holding you hostage until you address this. However, when it first started, the pain didn't explain it just attacked. And attacked. No position relieved it. No drug touched it. It went on and on. I could not sleep. I could not hold a book or type. I drove with difficulty. Swimming in the ocean gave me enough pleasure that I temporarily forgot it. I couldn't drink to forget it though or massage it enough. It just kept going.
I tackled the pain like I tackle everything, blindly and in a chaotically forceful way. This pain refused to be massaged away. It turns out this pain needed to be heard. Line by line by tedious line. The first thing that indicated I had a problem was my arm. It throbbed sharply, the nerves jabbed me in my dreams. My first lesson about pain delivered in this brutal way is that it had been created much like a ball of yarn gets tangled, through carelessness. As I was forced to stop and unravel that yarn....it led me to understand it had nothing to do with my arm, but my neck. And it had nothing to do with my neck, but how I cared for myself in the past years. Stop, it patiently and (longwindedly I might add) orated. Stop. Hold yourself. Pay attention. Your finger is connected to your neck, your shoulder and your elbow are intertwined. Your heart and lungs have something to tell you. Come down on your knees, beg us to explain it all to you.
Gradually, oh so gradually, the yarn's knots are getting loosened and the knitting, the thinking and the dreaming (and typing and driving) begin again.