Some days pain consumes me - it is my entire being. Even when I take my emergency pain medication (fairly heavy duty opiates) it's still my main thought, there is little to nothing else. Even when my attention switches to something other than pain it doesn't happen spontaneously I have to really deliberately focus on something, even the smallest thing takes a lot of energy to focus on enough to actually do it; whether that is watching the TV, changing clothes, eating (which is difficult enough anyway) or finding a somewhat comfortable position. When I'm in that state sleep is still not an escape from pain, assuming I manage to fall asleep at all, I feel the pain in my sleep. Pain permeates throughout all of me. The pain in my sleep feels much worse than when I am awake, a testament perhaps to my brain's ability push aside & hide the full extent of my pain, it is scary - more than scary. When it happens I usually wake up crying out and too afraid to go back to sleep in case it happens again. Sleep used to be a refuge, the only time when pain was not a problem, but now it's something to be feared and to worry over every night.
Pain changes your thought patterns, it reduces your ability to think logically, it can stop you thinking of anything but pain at all. Right now for me it feels like swimming in a pool full of treacle; it's slow, it's hard work, it uses a lot of energy and there's no way I'm going to get to the edge right. It's taking me a long time to work out what I want to say, a long time to work out how to phrase it and an even longer time to actually sort out the mechanics of speech (and typing) then once I actually start talking I might find myself saying "umbrella" instead of "cup" because someone just walked past carrying an umbrella. Sometimes I just can't think at all. When I can't think I start to panic, some might think it's a strange reaction but really imagine you're trying to reach for something but neither of your arms will move in fact imagine that they're not there at all and this is all a surprise. Suddenly your arms are gone and you can't do anything; wouldn't you panic? Well, there in my head there are no thoughts no movement of the arms of my brain I can't reach the information I need at all. And this starts the panic, I can't communicate anything, can't communicate what's wrong or how people can help. I'm locked inside my own head with everything I know just out of reach behind an impenetrable mud wall. So yes I panic, sometimes just rapid breathing other times it's huge panic attacks that leave me curled up in a ball until it recedes and then flat on my back for the next 3 or 4 days.
In these minutes, hours and days I lose myself. I can't find who I am, I don't know what I like, I don't know what I want to do, what I want to eat, if I need the loo, I lose everything. I think this is the most terrifying thing. All because of the effect pain has on my brain; on my mind. Pain is nasty, pain is all consuming, pain is punishing it pushes you to the limit and yet you continue on. You fight; you find yourself again; you try to live. Then you do it all again.