What is pain?

I often talk about “my pain” and I know people probably wonder what I mean. What sort of pain? Where? What does it feel like? These are difficult questions to answer.

Pain is amorphous. It belies being named and described. Arbitrary scales don’t do the complexities justice. The same ‘sort’ of pain might be felt completely differently by different people. And it’s not just about the pain itself, but the experience of it. The effect it has on your life.


It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.

I don’t remember what it feels like to not be trapped by pain. To not have to make all my decisions based on how much they will help or exacerbate it. It’s an inescapable part of me, an endless hum.

I asked people on Twitter to tell me what their pain is like. I got a lot of responses. Here are some of them. Thank you to everyone who shared.

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2 Replies to “What is pain?”

  1. 4625KHz_UVB76

    relate to everyone else’s feelings about pain so much, as well as the picture.
    ‘trapped’ describes it all too well.

  2. Polly

    Thanks for this Sarah, feeling a lot of pain today and needed to share in the universality of it as a way of coping. Ngā mihi nui xxx


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