“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
— Philip K. Dick, VALIS
I think it is hard to understand ‘normal’ when you have chronic pain. I think your perspective on reality changes too much to fit into the realm of normal quite so well. Which is fine, normal people don’t fit into normal as well as they want to or think. I think normal is an ‘average’ not a thing in itself. However, people with chronic pain are far from the average.
Why do I think that? Because pain can be a real torment. And people who suffer a real torment think a great deal about suffering. Suffering and life. Life and suffering. This is not to say we get any profound wisdom from it. Some perhaps do. But the fact we think about it a great deal means we are just more reflective than the average person. We are reflecting a great deal on what this life means. Sometimes it seems all the pain drives a person mad and that is the appropriate response to existing in such a state… insanity. Or sometimes I think we must be the sane ones in an insane world. Sometimes depression comes from the failure to find meaning in this existence. Sometimes we get out of depression by finding meaning in places others do not because we must find meaning somewhere to survive.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to turn off our thought process because we cannot turn off the pain. That is something that is a constant part of our existence that we must come to terms with. And our thought process is part of coming to terms with it.
I know I am my worst enemy when it comes to my thoughts. Maybe that is because the pain is a special sort of madness. One that makes you realize the insanity of the situation you are in. And the insanity of the world around you. And how no one, but you, can seem to grasp this fact.
But fine. We are wise, mad, eccentric hermits who wear our sunglasses at night. People don’t get our chronic pain because they don’t have chronic pain. Makes sense. They don’t get how we feel about the entire experience of living with chronic pain because it is so far beyond their comprehension they need to experience it to earn the madness and wisdom a decade or so will get you before they ‘get’ the philosophical angst of it, the lived experience of it and the existential being in it. Then we can share a tale or two. Because when we are all old pain pals, we all know what it is like on all the levels of our existence.