Is pain universal?

by Claudia Ravaldi
Anne Robin Calligraphy

Anne Robin Calligraphy

Although this statement has a grain of truth, there are still too many misunderstandings and misunderstandings around “pain” in our country. A country, it is worth remembering, where pain finds increasingly narrow and increasingly ghettoized spaces. Pain can not sit in the square. Pain, a guest disliked by most, should be experienced privately. Or at least, if one just can’t make it with a therapist. Pain, therefore, far from having to be treated , should rather be treated, as is done with diseases. Without however being.

Pain in our country cannot be free to circulate as such, but must preferably be held inside, waiting for it to pass (does it pass, so managed?). Because the people, the “strong” ones, are able to overcome it alone, in the orderly intimacy of their despair. If there was a diary of misunderstandings about pain, there would certainly be the ancient misunderstanding of “fortitude” in the first places, whereby the pain felt is inversely proportional to the strength of mind: the more pain you feel, the less strong you are. Dozens of academic works on this misunderstanding tell us things very far from this axiom, but the force-pain combination resists, pompous, in our culture. Let us think for a moment of grieving fathers and their struggle to be grieving and strong at the same time. Let’s think about how unnatural (and sadistic) this request sounds. Let’s think about how suffering a society is that asks an orphaned father to “take strength” and go back to what it was before, perhaps for his wife.

These cultural misunderstandings, until about twenty years ago, that is, before the internet was all around us, were whispered through gritted teeth in the square, in the church or at the bar, when we “took” confidences with the mourners and bestowed on them. , often quietly but almost always eye to eye, “strategies” for reacting to pain. As if to say, these beliefs existed, they were already there as beautiful as they were active, but they moved by contiguity, from person to person, with a reassuring slowness. In any case, there was the possibility of running into people with very different beliefs about pain on the same day. It was possible to have individual experiences about it, both positive and negative, and in some way have the time, the way and the strength to be able to filter, re-elaborate, even treasure the “advice” received, even when not completely requested.

Not today.

In the last ten years the social epidemic has exploded: misunderstandings today are shouted, declared, reinforced, staked and strenuously defended, by hordes of Gine-Pine-Line and Gini-Pini-Lini often completely unknown to the mourner, in a ” all against all“demeaning and demeaning. All ready to tell you if your pain is right. All ready to tell you how long it must last. All ready to give you the advice of the century to” get over “. All ready to ask you why” you were already so fond “, or because “you suffer, since you already knew how it would end” – Some even ready to exploit your pain and ride it, for personal ends. So much hype, so much judgment, few tools available to mourn. Being in the middle of one shitstorm (I borrow this definition, which indicates another kind of social attacks, because in my opinion storm of shit fits perfectly on the quality of what emerges from certain polyphonic Greek choirs on pain and mourning) is a traumatizing experience: to become the object of criticism and discredit for one’s own personal experience of pain, which often comes bullied by the army of Gine-Pine-Line always at the forefront of the web, it confuses the mourners and adds another pain, authentic and genuine, to the pain they already bring.

The Gine-Pine-Line army reduces trust not only in the social medium, but also in the human race, represented here in one of its worst faces, those of the authors of so many and ferocious attacks.

The mourners, when they manage to defend themselves, retreat from facebook, groups, forums, pages, chats and confine themselves to a real middle ground. Sometimes, when they have more resources, they go to look for other groups, other forums, other places for their pain, places where the army of the Junin-Pine-Line cannot reach them. When this happens, mourners can rely on resources appropriate to their needs and focus on the grieving experience.

Many painful in the long run (for the times of the web, the long one can be even a few months, at most a year) are convinced, again thanks to the Gine-Pine-Line that like the weeds infest the web and the square, that their pain and their way of living it and expressing it, is wrong. Hence the uncertain recourse to therapists, for a “disease” that is largely social (e).

The painful person, in these cases, is like the designated patient of systemic theories: he comes to be treated, but the real patient is the system. In mourning, the real patient is often the (real and virtual) community of the grieving person, who simply refuses to let go of the cultural misunderstandings that our society is so fond of and offers them to our unfortunate, as if they were absolute truths. (Miscarriage is not true grief) How the pain was unitary and uniform. As if it were not a mix of subjective and objective experiences.

So is pain universal? It is, we all try it on, but the hooded coat we put on it is exquisitely personal.

The heart of pain is universal. How we dress it is personal. If we want to talk about pain among equals, we must therefore perform this mental “striptease”, take off the layers of clothing in which we dress the pain, and then put them all in a row in order, possibly in view. We may find, for example, that we have been wearing an inside out shirt for years, or that our stockings have holes in them, that the skirt that suited us so well in adolescence is now uncomfortable. Or that our crotch pants, which have served us so much for our pain, disgust our patient, so disgusting that they don’t even fit. Or how nice it would be, to be able to periodically do this striptease of all the junk that we put on, often in bulk, or that they put on us, at night, while we were distracted or asleep or in turn too mourning to be able to choose the clothes of the pain independently.

Why does pain divide so much? Why does pain, which is universal, isolate us?

Why is it impossible today to be able to discuss pain, both one’s own and that of others, with amiable respect and knowledge of the facts?

Why does everyone seem to have an understanding of the pain of others , to the point of being able to afford real incursions into the lives of others?

Why in the face of pain not ours , we all become elephants (very very deaf) in glassware, unaware and heedless of the damage we do?

There is a substantial part of our brain predisposed to the relationship with the other.

To the “mirroring” relationship, focused on empathy, and attunement.

This function is a bit like the volume of the car stereo: some have very effective car radios that adjust the volume automatically (blessed). Some have a volume key locked to maximum and hear “the radio” always and only at high volume. Others have the knob locked to the minimum: the volume is so low that it always seems to be off, as if everything came from very far away, as if it were not really saying to them.

Those who travel too loudly are also noisy in their reactions to the pain of others: they want to say, they want to do, they want to solve, they want to console, they want to speed up time, mindful of “that time it happened to him”.

Those who travel at low volumes, on the other hand, often don’t even want to see the pain. He prefers to concentrate on something else, on bureaucracy, on possible practical solutions, on a cure, perhaps pharmacological, or on a trip, here, a nice vacation and then ready to leave again. He prefers to be absent from the sight of the painful person, to stay at a safe distance.

Having the volume wheel unregulated is socially very common. Often a little unregulated “you are born”, and life (read: relatives / snakes, school teachers, friends, boyfriends, etc.) is committed and puts its nineties load on top of the recklessness, to complete the work. Often we are born unregulated and by virtue of this unruliness we choose “ad hoc” professions: almost always they have to do with others, almost always with care, almost always in a way that is not completely clear “who cares who”, and how we face the inevitable tons of pain that come to us from others. Often we are unregulated, but we don’t know. We still travel with the lucky shirt they put on us as babies, and over the kindergarten apron, and over the ski suit from the Eighties Bormio holiday, and over the wedding dress, and over the nightgown with we gave birth to, but we do not know it consciously: “That’s how I am, I take my patients to heart and I have no peace until they smile again”, a colleague could tell me (he told me), and another, instead he could tell me (she told me) “There is certainly worse in life, if the lady can’t get over this road accident , then it means that there are other problems underneath , for sure “.

Often, those who travel at high volume end up becoming deaf. It is a side effect known as burnout .

This is what happens to those who mourn others every time like the megaphone of their own. This is what happens to those who focus on the mourning of others in order not to feel their own inner pain that bites, screams and scratches and gives themselves to others even when they do not have an ounce of residual energy for themselves.

Often, however, those who travel at a low volume end up becoming hypersensitive to each slightly higher note, and end up also becoming intolerant to the pain of others. It is another side effect known as burnout .

Professionals (nurses, midwives, doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists, teachers and school professors) are certainly more affected, but caregivers of people with chronic and disabling disabilities are equally affected. Our society, which is certainly not entirely composed of these professional categories and caregivers, is a society so unwelcoming towards pain in general and those who wear it as to be inappropriate in its containing but also creative function, both for the painful and for the various caregivers / caregivers.

How can we then favor the re-emergence of the universality of pain?

How to help people, especially carers and caregivers, to tune in to the pain of others and to their own at the right volume?

How to help people themselves to mentally strip off their useless and counterproductive superstructures?

We will deal with it in 2018, with specific training, with informative articles and with some more practical tools, to promote the non-judgmental welcome to one’s own pains and those of others among operators and in society.

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