Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Hard to know what constitutes "cutting," but I suppose I just mean to say "self-mutilation."  Which also has some particular nuances.

Anyway, going a bit more personal, to the point of where I'm pretty embarrassed, I must say that I do do a wee bit of it.  I'm inclined to believe that most people do to some extent, such as the pulling off of scabs, the ripping away of hangnails, the pressing down on bruises.  There is such power in the creation of pain in oneself.  Of course, I mean not to exclude bdsm, it's just that there is a separation of reason behind bdsm-related pain-making(i.e. orgasm) and pain-making in the self for the sole purpose of pain making (or stress relief.  I'm not sure what all the psychological reasons actually are).

In any case, I've gotten into this terrible habit, for many years now, of scratching at my scalp until it bleeds.  Then I pull of the scabs.  I used to do it with my eyebrows, but it was pretty obvious.  People can't really see the top of your head though.  Well, sometimes they can.

I wish I knew why I did this or how I could stop or whether or not it was really a sign of something terribly sick in my head, but I'm really inclined to think it must be related to the pain.  There's just such a need to create pain-- take charge of pain-making.  There's just a certain degree of peace in it.

Okay now, please no hateful comments.  This is a big share for me- I have much guilt.  Mean comments will be deleted.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pain Spreading-ness

Well, maybe acupuncture isn't so much helping as changing the way the pain is happening.  My neck has definitely been feeling a wee bit better in general, but I'm not so sure the pain has actually gone away.

It seems more like the pain is just spreading itself around more.  Lately, my hands have been hurting quite badly, as well as my knees and hips.  I still have pretty bad pain in my neck and shoulders as well, so it's all very annoying.

Really all that there's been is the lack of migraine, but I don't really get them that often anyway.  I'm hoping that sticking with the acupuncture will make it suddenly start working better.  I've also been a bit sick, so that might be to blame too. 

It is all very strange.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spoke too soon?

Massive headache today.  Have been super nauseous all day.  Hoping that it's just from the flu thing going around, but I'm worried I might've had a bad reaction to acupuncture yesterday.  We'll see how it is tomorrow.

Of course, I also didn't work out today, which never helps.  Also haven't stretched.  Or done any of my other neck fixing things.

Additionally, I still haven't called the doctor.  Am pretty well a failure at caring for my neck at the moment.  Suppose that is just how it goes when things are busy.  That, and dropping my subjects sentence-wise.

Well, I'm sure I'll pay for it next week, 'cause I have a lot of sitting to do.  Lectures and classes and meetings galore.  Am going to have to make sure to work out a lot.  Good plan.

Also, can't forget to give list of medications to my acupuncturist!  Must remember!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Acupuncture and Migraines

I think that acupuncture may have stopped my migraines.

... hope I'm not jinxing it or anything, but I really haven't had a bad headache even in a week or so. Actually, I think the acupuncture has been helping a lot.  Well, I guess by that I mean, helping at all.  There is a slight improvement in general, but any improvement is pretty exciting.

These needles do not hurt.  Which kinda leads me to believe my previous acupuncturist may not have been terribly adept.  Also, my current acupuncturist takes care that I'm warm, and plays music that isn't "Pure Moods."  Thank goodness.

Also, interestingly, she has me going in twice a week.  This happened with my last PT as well.  Is this a new trend?  I'm used to going in once a week for appointments-- this is time consuming!  Do need to schedule with new PT as well.  Hrm.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Keep forgetting to call dr.

I'm pretty sure that must mean something, psychologically speaking.  But seriously, I've forgotten to call my pain doctor to check when our next appointment is and to fix my medication error for the past two days.  Oh.  It felt like longer before I wrote it out.

Still.  It's kinda a big deal, since I need to fix my medication and all.  Have been sans p.m. pain meds for a bit-- almost a week.  Plus, I need to get my trigger point injections.  And schedule PT. 

It is pretty irritating to forget such things. 

Monday, January 17, 2011


I think acupuncture went pretty well today.  It got sore and all afterward with dehydration and all that fun-ness, but it is feeling a bit better now.  She has told me that sometimes it takes longer for people to start reaction to the treatments-- in my case a few days, it seems.

In any case, the treatments are relaxing.  The last place I went was quite painful, and this one hurts none at all.  And the music is not the dreaded "Pure Moods" (played by every pain care provider from here to Tuscany).  That is always a plus.

It isn't terribly convenient to get there, but isn't so bad as it could be.  My pain dr. is pretty durned inconvenient to reach. 

The real trouble is trying to sleep better.  Silly pain keeps keeping me up!  Grr!


Just realized that I have been getting some comments, but didn't have settings set up so that I can see them.  Please do keep commenting-- I will now receive emails letting me know what you've said :)  Thanks for all the well-wishing.  It is nice to feel a part of a community (as opposed to apart from a community).

Mood Swings

Well, I am feeling much better at the moment.  Possibly because I just chowed down on some more pain pills and took my second daily antidepressant.  Let's chalk it up to philosophizing though.

It is January, and soon the spring will come.  It is already warming up here in Seattle.  The heat always helps so much with many pain conditions.  Possible plusses for not getting into PhD school in Seattle-- I could end up in the much warmer Southern California. 

Am working hard to see things as plus-plusses versus minus-minusses (or is it win-wins versus lose-loses?  Either way, it looks silly in plural).  Big example= If my pain never gets any better, I will at least get to stay in this supportive chronic pain community and meet lots of people via seeing a million health care professionals.  It is also good for my research. 

So... even though the last PT went very badly in the end, I will not regret meeting folks there, especially the very kind therapy dog :)

With me luck on trying to keep positive!!!

(also, am going to be less strict about use of emoticons and "..."'s and exclamation points.  They make me happy, so I'm going to just do it!)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


That is the truth.  Totally overwhelmed by everything right now, and most of it, I'm sure, is just because the pain has been so bad.  Plus, I'm going to have to start committing time to go to acupuncture twice a week, and it isn't so close by.  And I'm going to have to start PT again-- what if they want me to go in twice a week as well?  Plus, I should start yoga because my dr says so.  And I really think massage would help.


The worst I suppose is just that the pain can bring such depression.  I've been feeling pretty confident the last few years in general, and all of a sudden I feel so terrible about myself.  Stupid things are stressing me out, and I feel like a complete idiot and failure. 

And then I get these thoughts like, "Oh, I may as well drop out of school and just work on supporting myself because who knows how it's going to be with the pain?"  With this thought behind it as though I can work on making a real life for myself next time.  Except, it isn't any kind of next life thought but the idea that I'll be better eventually.  But I probably won't be.

This post is completely useless.  Ah, another low self-esteem-y thought.  Stupid pain!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Weeping Brain

The pain today has become unbearable.  I don't much know what else I can do but hope that acupuncture will be more effective tomorrow than it was on Saturday.  The pain has gotten to that annoying point where it is constantly distracting me with self-pitying thoughts.  I constantly have a scrunched up face.

I'd really like to pen something pretty right about now.  Something that captures the true essence of pain.  But the truth is, the pain slips into all my work but never allows itself to be purposefully captured.  It is a sneaky concept.

Anyway, I go to bed in hopes of waking up in a better state tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heart Attack... almost

I went to the pharmacy today to pick up my prescription refills, and the pharmacist told me that my nighttime pain meds hadn't come in.  Of course, the dosage was recently increased, and I told them that it must be the case that the doctor had forgotten to call in the change.  Easy mistake, easy to fix.

So the lady went to check, then came back and told me my insurance wouldn't pay for the medication anymore. 

Well, I almost broke down right there.  These are pretty necessary pills, you see, as my doctor has stressed to me how awful it would be to stop them all.  But I decided to see the damage first, and asked the cost without insurance.

The lady rang it up, which took quite a long while, then said, "Thirty-eight dollars."

Well, it obviously could have been much worse.  So I said, "I'd like to buy it please."

"Your insurance won't pay."

"Yes, I know."  Perhaps a little too overtly annoyed, but I tried anyway. "But this is a pain medication.  May I buy it?"

Then she disappeared again to look at the computer.  When she finally came back she told me, "No.  You can't buy."

She must have noticed my confusion, for she added, "It is too soon to refill prescription."

How irritating!  I was really angry, but also relieved.  So I just told her I'd call the doctor to have her call in the increased dosage.

But honestly, they should be more careful about that sort of thing.  There's really no reason my insurance wouldn't pay a large portion of it, especially since I've got the two.  But they can be right bastards sometimes, can't they?

Taking a big gulp of air.

Getting Used to It

My back has been a mess these past few days, but I think I must be getting used to the new pain levels because I've managed to make it through working at both work and school.  I've been drinking tea almost nonstop like that must help-- maybe it really does because of the heat on my throat reaching my neck.  But I think it's become more of a defense mechanism.

The weather seems to really upset my body.  Whenever it gets really cold and particularly when it snows, I seem to have bad ache days.  But it definitely is worth it to see all that prettiness outside.  You ever notice how the snow seems to glow? 

Anyway, I suppose it is a good thing that I've become more resistant to the pain.  Or, I guess more attuned to it.  But then again, in many other ways it is a bad thing.  If the pain is to be cured, then where will I be?

The entirety of my body's rhythm will be thrown off.  I know that you can go into shock and die from too much pain, but can a similar thing happen as a result of a sudden absence of pain? 

Maybe it will instead feel like the relief of cracking a knuckle.  Or when I crack my neck and the stiffness and ache from stiffness is gone.  Like this whole thing has just been the hydrogen peroxide coming down on the infected cut for a long while, and the healing will be a pure bliss.

Who can say?  Maybe it will never go away anyway.  So, I suppose it isn't worth worrying over.

Friday, January 7, 2011

PTSD Attack

Ugh.  My neck hurts like crazy now.  Not because of anything other than tension.

This evening, my mom accidentally drove over a lane divider (wouldn't have hit anyone) and we had to ride on it for a few feet before we could get off.  You know those things right before left turn lanes where it goes up in a long bump about six inches high. 

Anyway, it scared me to death.  We weren't in any real danger, but it felt like a real car accident, you know?  My car could've been really hurt, but it seems to be alright. 

Well, my neck can't tell.  It tensed up like mad and it hurts terribly now.  Still really stressed.  It is ridiculous.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pain Attack!

Massive pains today.  I can only imagine it is from having class again for four hours.  Or the stress of starting up school again.

Anyway, I am going to acupuncture on Saturday morning, starting up again.  Should be starting with a new PT soon too. 

..short entry.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I've gotten in the habit lately of wearing cheap earrings in the two upper holes in my left ear.  I'm actually allergic to cheap metals, have a bad reaction to them where my ear puffs up and hurts, then bleeds when I remove the earring. 

It probably isn't a healthy practice, not in any sense, but it makes me feel so powerful.  It reminds me of something Bob Flanagan said in his poem "Why," which respond to all the questions of why he practiced bdsm (he also had cf). I'm including particular excerpts below-- I encourage you to read the poem, which is linked above:


Because it feels good;[...]

because I'm sick;

because there was so much sickness;[...]

because of what's inside me;[...]

because of doctors and nurses;[...]

because my parents loved me even more when I was suffering;[...]

because I'm addicted to it;

I don't know.  In the film Sick that documents the last years of Flanagan's life, there's a piece with a young (very ill) gal named Sara who gets to meet Bob through the Make-a-Wish program.  When asked about her interest in Flanagan and bdsm, Sara responds, "I guess it's just the same thing, I think, with Bob- being able to control your body for a change, being able to control something" (191).

I mentioned in an earlier post how all sex acts as a person with chronic pain (particularly in the neck) become masochistic.  Perhaps this creation of additional, smaller, controlled pain is similar. 

I also like to think that it decreases the general pain elsewhere.  Like there's only so much pain my body can produce, and if I force some of it into my ear, the pain that can go to my neck is lessened.

Who can say?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Visiting the Frye Art Museum

Implied Violence is a performance art group based in the Seattle area that work to depict violence and pain, exploring "ecstatic states produced by ether, sleep deprivation, blows to the body, extreme exertion, endurance, alcohol, or bloodletting by medicinal leeches" ("Frye...").  The way in which this group approaches pain as a potentially beautiful and interesting topic drew me in, and I had hoped that their current exhibit, depicting pieces from their performance of the same name through artifacts, video clips, and textual explanations, would offer some incite into the connections between the creative process, art-making, and pain.

The exhibition "Yes and More and Yes and Yes and Why" builds upon the eponymous quote from Gertrude Stein's "Business in Baltimore," supposedly thematically drawing upon the ways in which repetition affect the mind.  According to Robin Held, deputy director of the Frye Art Museum, where I visited this exhibit, IV's show “connotes a heady mix of human desire, avarice, pride, despair, and striving... Its verbal construction with a dense visual result, its breathless repetition-with-a-difference, its change-within-difference, is territory long occupied by IV” ("Frye...").  The real trouble, however, was that the exhibit, unlike Stein's poetry, was neither interesting, emotionally moving, or beautiful.

Implied Violence.  "The World Turned to Ashes in His Mouth." 2010. Art Direction: Ryan Mitchell and Steven Miller. Photo: Steven Miller. 

If anything, "Yes and More and Yes and Yes and Why" helped me to better understand what Artaud doesn't mean in his "theatre of cruelty."  While he may not have intended this presentation of emotion-producing drama to become the theoretical foundation for poetry-making, he certainly didn't mean it for unattractive, entirely abstract, displays of unrealistic violence.  I felt nothing communicated through these works, particularly not that which Artaud referred to as the "unique language halfway between gesture and thought" (89). 

Certain aspects of their show were interesting in theory, such as the binding of a great dancer in a painful corset to restrict her movements such that the dance itself became a dance of pain, but realistically, the dance was more a display of someone writhing unattractively (and a bit disturbingly) on the floor.  Another piece depicted various pictures in the stage of an IV actor who stayed up three days straight with fake blood plastered on his face-- the pictures depicted how the make up naturally left his face as time progressed and how the actor grew more and more haggard-looking.

The trouble, I think, is with the pain-inducing nature of these productions themselves.  While I'd like to think that much of these performances were lost in the translation to stills and clips, it seems unlikely that watching someone literally suffering (for the sake of art-production alone) could be anything but voyeuristic and, well... icky. 

Some of the sadomasochistic rituals of the players were interesting, such as the placing of leeches on the skin, yet I still would not feel inclined to watch these rituals.  Yet the images of these pain-inducing practices had no display of pleasure; the actors looked like they were simply gritting their teeth and bearing it for the purpose of entertainment-making.  As one who feels pain constantly and unintentionally, it almost felt as though these players were making a mockery of pain, flipping the bird at unwanted hurts and getting a power surge through the self-paining. 

On a more positive note, an exhibit called "Séance: Albert von Keller and the Occult" was showing at the museum as well, and considered themes of body, sexuality, death, the paranormal, and religion little explored elsewhere, such as the eroticism of a naked woman tied upon a cross, dying.  Perhaps the distinction lies in the manner in which von Keller seemed more to be musing upon the sexually-stimulating nature of such pained imagery, rather than condoning it, whether it existed in himself or not. 

Albert von Keller. Im Mondschein (In Moonlight). 1894.

Similar to Buddhist monks who are told to meditate upon the dead bodies of beautiful young women to control lust, von Keller sat with the dead bodies of the dead at a nearby morgue and drew them as they decomposed.  As time passed, von Keller expressed a sense of peace that overcame him, realizing that the corpses were not to be feared, simply accepted as the dead that had their own beauty.

Von Keller's work, versus that of Implied Violence, will further be considered in my poetry-making this week, as I explore the theme of fleeting beauty as related to our own fleeting beauty, that is, our lives.

Works Cited

Artaud, Antonin. Theatre and Its Double. Trans. Mary Caroline Richards. New York: Grove Press Inc., 1958.

"Frye Art Museum: Implied Violence: Yes and More and Yes and Yes and Why." Frye Art Museum. 2011. 2 Jan. 2011. Web.