11: Open - Nov 2021

Layers of Torment

Someone said, “chronic pain is psychological torment.”
Truer words were never written; 
the layers upon layers are like a beast eating away at itself until its end.

Isn’t the body a mere shell, to keep your mind and soul?
Isn’t pain a mere discomfort tarnishing the body--independent, detached, and trivial?
Torment is reserved for inward troubles. 
To be tormented by pain of the body is to be a baby, crying to its mother.

Whether these are the thoughts of those observing is unknowable, 
and therein lies the second layer of torment.
The first is the thoughts themselves, torturing those suffering. 

The mind; a mind to be tormented.
The soul; a soul to be troubled.
The body; only a body.

The third layer of torment comes from the first two when self-awareness starts 
pushing its way through; 
“self-awareness: the first step!” they say, but to you, it is a layer deeper; further down.
To know these thoughts are untrue, 
but unable to catch them,
unable to stop them.

“Physical pain is not the worst,” someone must have said. 
But chronic pain, 
everyday pain, 
inexplicable pain, 
incurable pain,
relentless pain; 
pain that is too consistent to stop living for a while, to rest for a while;
pain that people get bored of hearing about;
pain that people stop blaming for your torment; 
pain that is all-consuming:
The fourth layer.

And the fifth layer is final.
To be won over by people’s betrayal.
To believe all of that. 
To despise yourself. 
To stop getting angry with pain, and start getting angry with yourself.
It is larger than anger, isn’t it?
To have to explain once more to those who were once on your side, 
that you can’t do what they ask of you. 
The possibility that they could be thinking, you are making excuses; 
using pain for your own gain; 
it makes you shake with contempt for yourself. 
Pain has taken over. 
Tormented your mind. 
Pushed your soul to its furthest, darkest depths. 
Betrays your thoughts.
Twists your perceptions of everything once good, once kind. 

Pain became attached to you in a way that people became resentful of, 
and they walked into the trap, pain laid out for them.

The falling layer is past the final. 
You fall through, into the pit of the beast. 
For as long as you can know, it was and will forever be your closest friend.

Someone said, “chronic pain is psychological torment.”
Someone was right.  

-Abi Heinrichs

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