When I am in the throws of a really bad pain period, a week or more usually, I begin to feel less able to cope with life than I am when my pain is well managed. I get irritable, more depressed, and less desirous of activity and company. I also begin to feel anxious and desperate, certain that I’ve hit that point when the pain isn’t going to ebb and I’m going to descend deeper into the depths of pain induced despair.
This past week has been really bad. It might even have been really bad for longer than a week, I’m not sure, I have a tendency to lost track of time as my symptoms worsen. There’s been a hell of a series of weather fronts fucking around in my area and that usually sends me into a downward spiral.
This time, as I sank down into the sea of pain I normally float of top of throughout my day I found an unusual coping mechanism.
It started with this guy:
I was lying in my room for yet another endless day and getting really down on myself for not being productive at anything so I grabbed an old copy of the Colorado Revised Statutes, ripped a page out of it, and began drawing. Soon I was painting over the drawing. As I painted I entered that state of “mental flow” where the world withdrew to the background and all that remained was me and this slightly sad, slightly desperate denizen of the deep. The pain receded into the back of my mind and I felt real relief for the first time in days.
So a few hours later I drew this:
He’s a funny guy, all swirls and thorns and angry red eyes. He’s trotting along, doing his thing, despite having no evolutionary tools that would make things easier. Once again I felt better. As I painted I was able to set aside my pain again, as I normally do. Only this time I was able to do it when I hurt too much to do it the way I normally do.
The next day, being no easier than the last rendered several sketches and this lovely lady:
Finally late last night I created this fish after I dreamed about him:
He’s worried. Worried I’ll run out of paper, or paints, or creativity, or maybe he’s worried that the world is going to end. Whichever, he has consumed my worries and taken them as his own, so I can go and sleep.
So apparently painting is one of my new coping skills. Do you have a non-medical coping skill you use during times of high pain levels?