My pain psychiatrist used to tell me that pain signals have to travel along your nervous system up to your brain, and that if you send other signals through your nervous system to your brain at the same time, sometimes they can sort of act blockade and by extension lessen your pain.
Like, for example, if your brain is focusing on a really intense episode of Burn Notice, where Michael has to blow up a building and all he has at his disposal is a paper clip and an electric toothbrush, then your brain is probably not nearly as focused on the excruciating stab wound feeling in your right ribs.
It’s not a 100 percent cure or anything like. Even Dr. Samsi admitted that at best the refocused brain could probably only take a level 9 pain down to a level 6.
It’s three little notches, but it’s three notches I’ll take.
And it’s why I spend hours and hours and hours watching old episodes of Burn Notice, tuning into HGTV even though I don’t own a home, and why I love makeup tutorial videos on YouTube.
It’s also one of the best things about living with my family.
Yes, I did technically live with one family member before I moved in with my mom. But, my brother Steve and I would often go days without seeing each other because of opposite work schedules and because we shared a rather large two-bedroom for just two people. I mean, it wasn’t a mansion or anything, but we each had our own full-size bathroom, and we would often joke about having our own “wings” in the apartment.
Now though. Well, now I share a bed with my 14-year-old sister.
Yes, a bed. Not a bedroom. A bed.
Five of us are currently sharing a two-bedroom apartment with one bathroom.
My clothes, which used to breathe in a gigantic walk-in closet, are now hanging precariously on a rack in the laundry room. My poor brother’s bedroom is actually just one of the couches in the living room. And everything I’ve collected over the last 11 years of living on my own is now in boxes in my mom’s one-car garage.
But I love it.
I love that when I’m in pain there is always someone around to talk to me. I love that I when I’m feeling hopeless or sad or in despair, there is literally nowhere I can go to be alone. I love that I am always with people I love.
I love it when my mom comes in the and wakes me up in the morning because she knows that the combination of the sleeping pill I’m on the fact that my pain pills have usually worn off by 8 a.m. make it incredibly difficult to get out of bed.
I love it when we have lunch together and eat dinner as a a family and have ice cream nights.
I love it when my brother and my mom and I go for a three-mile walk and pretty much do a full-circle around the entire town of Byron, because it’s actually that small. And I love that they never complain about going super slow so they can keep pace with me.
And I really, really love it at night, when my little sister lays in bed with me and we turn on some horrible junk TV, like Obsessed with the Dress reruns on the Style Network, and then we talk about how crazy Beau is to the staff, and for a few minutes my pain signals are blocked off by sisterly love.
There is big difference between laying in bed alone, in the dark, in pain, wanting to die; and laying in bed in the dark, next to your sister, in pain and not wanting to die.
It’s three little letters. But it’s three letters I’ll take.