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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Literal Pain of Caring

Caring hurts. On every possible level. It hurts to care about what's happening in the world, and it hurts to care about individual people. Caring makes you vulnerable, on every possible level. If you love someone they have infinite power to hurt you. Not just by being hurtful, but by opening you up to the risk of losing them one day. People die, people leave, people take their hearts back. When you care about someone their opinion matters to you, so when they express an opinion that's negative in any way, it's painful.

Today, however, I'm not thinking of that kind of pain really. I'm thinking more about caring in a general sense. Today I wrote an article for SearchWarp about the recent developments in rape culture. You can read it here if you wish, but I'm not going to go on my usual rant here in my blog because I've said as much as I can stand saying at this point.

This is where the pain comes in. I care a great deal about women's rights, which would seem logical since I'm a woman, although not all women agree with my stance. Caring this much comes at a price, and despite the fact that I willingly pay it, sometimes it's a lot to handle. I have to say it's a very good thing I have a high pain tolerance. I'm not talking about the emotional pain, or the rage I feel every time I see yet another woman get raped. I don't mean the livid anger that comes when I read the words, "She was asking for it," or some disgusting derivative.

The pain I'm talking about is the actual physical manifestation of all of these emotions coalescing in my body. I already deal with more physical pain every day than what I experienced during childbirth. Now on top of that I'm experiencing pain in every part of my body, which also has the effect of exacerbating the pain I already had.

After spending so many hours being angry, it finally occurs to me that I've been physically tense this whole time. My shoulders are in knots, my back, my neck, even my arms and legs. I have the worst possible headache that now seems to have triggered an episode of my occipital neuralgia, which is massive nerve pain caused by nerve damage. It's also called C2 neuralgia. I can't crack my neck to ease it, either - it's too tense.

Once pain signals get going, they're very hard to turn off again. This isn't metaphorical, it's an anatomical thing. The pain centres of the brain are a pain in the ass quite frankly. Preventive steps are more effective than treatment after-the-fact.

Anyway, the point is, I've managed to tie myself in knots over the issues I've been researching. The issues are extremely upsetting, and do not bode well for humanity if something isn't done to change things. Seeing as I'm one of the people who care enough to step up and try, I do what I'm able to do. I can't fight every single battle, or win every war. I will not see enough change in my lifetime to satisfy me. I will never actually know about all of the injustices in the world. Frankly, it would probably kill me if I did. Still, I do what I can.

I care about everything, and really can't help myself. I'd be far more miserable if I knew I wasn't doing anything about it, though, so I keep doing. It would hurt me far more to look at myself in the mirror and feel like I was a useless excuse for a human being because I wasn't at least trying to change things. I'm damned if I do, but I'm even more damned if I don't.

People tell me I have to relax and calm down, lighten up and chill out. Oddly, the more people say it, the less likely it is to happen. Not just from sheer stubbornness, but also from the confirmation that there is yet another person that I have to make up for in this world. It's one more person that's not fighting, and who places the burden on the ones that do. The more apathy there is, the more passion is needed to counteract it.

Writing is a way to vent some of the anger and frustration, but sometimes, when a topic is simply too important and too painful, it's not longer venting the anger, it's fueling it. Writing a piece about rape culture certainly had that effect on me. My consolation there is that it probably makes my writing a lot better when it's written passionately. Maybe that might make a difference to someone and make a small change in the way they view the problem.

Seeing as I'm no longer taking any kind of pain medication, and don't even have any, my only solution is to try to get some sleep at this point. Sleep deprivation makes it worse, too. I can only hope that now that I've spent the last couple of days spewing my vituperative hatred for rapists and their enablers, and yapping about some of my fears yesterday, maybe my head is cleared out enough that I can sleep more than four hours.

Whatever the case, I have to try, so I bid you adieu for the day and run off to my cave to slide into the arms of Morpheus. Maybe he has a cure for what ails me today.