Disclaimer: This pamphlet is not intended for chronic painful patients. Another blog is dedicated to the medical. This is a philosophical reflection on pain. Fibromyalgia is cited here as a paragon of chronic pain, but the article is aimed at pain in general. It targets philosophers and caregivers, not fibromyalgia, who can be harmed by the text.
- 1 Sensational, pain, really?
- 2 The existential pain of fibromyalgia1I use here ‘she’ as a neutral pronoun including the masculine, because there are male fibromyalgia patients. However, they are in small proportion (10%).
- 3 The existential pleasure of sybarites
- 4 At the root of contentment
- 5 There is no need to heal from one’s suffering!
Sensational, pain, really?
By this provocative title I do not mean that pain is the best of our sensations but simply that it is a sensation, and that all our sensations are sensational. This truism hides the idea that all experience is an existence, all existence is more than nothingness.
When I think I am only suffering, depression, unhappiness incarnate, and they associate in a terrible disappointment, I am actually quite the opposite. I am a happiness, a desire, a pleasure, plunged into an abyss of frustration and unable to cope with it. Ready to eradicate everything in spite of not having been realized. Until suicide if necessary. It is pleasure that commits suicide and not suffering. Pleasure denies suffering the right to exist.
The existential pain of fibromyalgia1I use here ‘she’ as a neutral pronoun including the masculine, because there are male fibromyalgia patients. However, they are in small proportion (10%).
Pain thus separates two categories of sufferers: those, typically represented by ‘fibromyalgia’, which are, existentially, their pain. As this is their main identity, they do not feel any intimate disappointment. To be disappointed in yourself you have to be mainly something else. The disappointment of this category of sufferers comes from their difficulty in being recognized as pain, not pain per se. The caregiver quickly realizes that by wanting to reduce this pain, she threatens the very existence of the sufferer. She is rejected. Therapeutic failures follow one another. Removing pain is not the right goal. It must be replaced by another reason for existing.
Fibromyalgia have no suicidal urge. They even have an above-average life expectancy. Existential pain excites more than existential pleasure and takes longer to fade. The life of fibromyalgia is entirely organized to confront pain, highlight it, make it a spectacular personal achievement.
While the state of existential pleasure ignites forbidden desires and frequents dark rooms, attracting rather social opprobrium, the state of existential pain takes from immaculate medical office to illuminated examination room, to make a dramatic narrative, and then garner congratulations for this heroically endured suffering.
The existential pleasure of sybarites
We are all, deep down, a reward that searches for itself. It can be realized through identity-pain as much as identity-pleasure. This same imperative of reward connects fibromyalgia to the other category of sufferers, with which I identified at the beginning: I am a pleasure, a happiness, a specific range of sensations that want to awaken. Most pleasant sensations, and if my consciousness is restricted to desire only those, it is because I have a good opinion of myself. I want the best. Reward exclusively in the pleasant because I feel I can choose it. And pouting in front of the rest. I’m addicted to pleasure. My spite can become abysmal if I do not meet it, to the point of suppressing myself, to suppress what I could be other than a pleasure.
At the root of contentment
If I had a bad opinion of myself, on the contrary, if, for example, father or mother had told me that I would be unable to find happiness, or that I did not deserve it, I would probably have sought my reward in pain, in inconvenience. To validate their opinion. Uneradicable are the words of parents in the mind of a child. Who accesses the roots of contentment, to what formed the circuits of reward? Memories are not enough. The highlights are memorized, not the usual ones, which probably program us more. At the root of our thinking, neurons tell forgotten stories. We spend our time, adults, bringing our parents’ opinions, the best and the worst, to life.
If I had an idea of suicide, with the wrong opinion, it would be very different from the previous one. It would be to push the inconvenience to the limit of the possible, to attack my own body, but without any real desire to end with existence. A failed suicide is a success. An event on which I can bounce back. Improve the rest through the experience of this serious inconvenience. And who knows, if I was really scared, look for other rewards?
There is no need to heal from one’s suffering!
These high points are life!! There is no need to heal from one’s suffering. This is certainly the most scandalous point of an article full of inconveniences. Suffering is a sensation. It is an existence. Far superior to nothingness. The sensation of existence replaces pain as a stimulus for reward. It is not contradictory to pain. Pleasure is contradictory to pain. Difficult for a fibromyalgia to experience reward with pleasure, much more difficult than in those trained since childhood to go through this channel. It is impossible to completely eradicate the words of mom and dad. A fibromyalgia earns more reward through suffering and that is why she undergoes so many therapeutic aggressions with inexhaustible enthusiasm.
Yet she can replace suffering with existence. To say to oneself, with each pain felt: “I exist!». To be there, to propagate the dark side of existence, without which the light side would not exist anyway. Pain is a symbol of life as much as pleasure, and more lasting in fact. The sybarites go to bed tired, the painful still excited. In front of the ultimate bed rest, we see the peaceful but extinct air of the hedonist that it is over. While fibromyalgia still wiggles her toes in her coffin.
When you never finish suffering, you are never done with life.