[Note: This post and the next one (#SensoryIssues: Interoception & Psychosomatism) are linked in theme, so they will be posted closely together. Same day, at least.]
I don’t complain a lot about pain.
I’m sure some people (*cough* my family *cough*) will disagree, but… I don’t. Not when compared to what I actually feel, at least. I tend to feel a fair bit more pain than I talk about to people, partly because I don’t know how to say things, and partly because… well, see my hypochondria posts (links are below) for the details on how I feel about that.
Oh, if I have a nasty headache, or bad cramps, or I get a sensory “spike” (like when cutlery clashes together, or a child squeals in excitement, etc.)… then I complain. Or at least mention it.
Sometimes very obviously (aka covering my ears with my hands, holding my stomach), because I’m never sure how to convey the information and words don’t seem to be enough. I’m not always listened to (especially by my siblings; my parents are a lot more understanding, particularly lately, as we learn new stuff about the sensory sensitivities of autistics), so broad, sometimes exaggerated gestures have become my main effort to get across to people that I’m hurting. (Of course, this then results in people – *cough* my brother *cough* – telling me that there’s no need to do that, it’s not like it’s an issue. [Said after I covered my ears to try to deal with my niece’s excited squealing. I wasn’t trying to make her feel bad or anything; I just could not tolerate the pitch of her voice, and no one was listening to my requests to please be a bit quieter. </rant over>])
Anyway, the main point is, just like some autistics have different hypo- and hypersensitivities to taste, or smell, etc., I seem to have different ones in relation to types of pain.
I’m pretty sure that if someone else were to visit my body for a while, they’d find themselves with a constant headache. I’m fairly sure that medically speaking, I’ve probably had a constant headache since I was in my teens, at least. But I don’t feel it all the time, just when it gets bad. I’m not sure if this is adaptive – AKA an increased pain threshold developed as the pain continued on and on – or a hyposensitivity; but what makes me think it may be a hyposensitivity is that other things that cause me pain I feel.
Imber – the darling cat who adorns my avatar – latched one claw into my left index finger three days ago. That really hurt! Sharp stab of pain that took forever to fade from the forefront of my mind. (*sighs* The alliteration was absolutely accidental.)
Cramps and sensory spikes also tend to be sharp stabs of pain… which is interesting. Maybe it’s usually “blunt” pain (aka dull, or throbbing, etc.) that I’m more blind to? (See, this is why writing things out is good. I make new connections this way!)
Ever since I had my drive out to Clarenville two weeks ago (just went for the drive itself – yes, that post about stims that I still haven’t gotten around to finishing will give details), I’ve had the occasional sharp pain next to the inside of my right shoulder blade, and numbness, changing to the occasional dull, throbbing pain over the course of several days, at my right ring finger tip. (Yes, that’s very specific.) I don’t know if they’re linked. I don’t know if there’s a nerve issue with my hand (sometimes I have numbness in my right little and ring fingers).
And I have no real idea how to talk to the doctor about it. (Yes, this is where the link to the subsequent post and Musings’ post re Interoception comes in.) I sometimes get the feeling (which may or may not be accurate, and probably stems from my feelings about hypochondria from my childhood) that my doctor is listening to some of the issues I raise just to humour me. (When I complained about walking in the heat, her response was: “There’s clothes for that.” My internal – I couldn’t say it, I certainly wasn’t fast enough to come up with it while still in her office – response? “Okay, so in summer, I’m supposed to walk around naked just to make sure that I get exercise?” I don’t think she gets how serious an issue heat is for me.)
Which, actually, brings me back to the subject of this post, pain. If it gets bad enough – AKA I’ve been exercising in 16°C (60.8°F) weather, or I’m just outside in 20°C (68°F) weather, I end up with itchy palms and fingers sporting a blotchy rash, swelled fingers, and, if it gets worse or hotter, sharp stabbing pains, as though my fingers are being constantly stabbed by very thin needles. (Again, a stabbing pain. Hm.)
Okay, this post turned into a bit of a venting post. Didn’t originally mean for it to, but there you are… sometimes what happens is not what we plan. (And in the case of writing things out, I usually take that as either a creative exercise – AKA the characters are pulling the strings, which makes the story better – or a learning exercise.)
The main point of the post really was that there can be differing degrees of hypo- and hypersensitivity to pain even for one person, and that can present issues when people need to know whether something hurts or not. Generally, I seek out the sensation of touch. But pain, which is a touch-related signal, is unpleasant… if I recognize it.
Okay, long post, sort of touched on some of what I wanted to mention. *shrugs* Thoughts.