Living at a 2 or 3.

I've come to understand that we see through the filter of our experiences.  The other day it struck me that I can't imagine what it's like to live in a healthy body any better than those around me comprehend what it's like to live in mine.

My body exists in a constant state of discomfort.  I resist labeling it pain.  Pain suggests a sharpness or a specicifity.  No one body part can be pointed to as the place of my pain.  My skin and muscles and joints ache in chorus.  But, if I were to put this discomfort in the terms of pain, I would say that I live somewhere between a two and a three. 

At a young age I learned that sharing my experience was not rewarded. When there wasnt a clear infection to treat, doctors and therapists suggested a psychosomatic cause to my ill health.  While the therapy of having a positive attitude has improved my mood and I use this therapy regularly it has done little to change my health.

I am not lucky enough to have a clear diagnosis.  I know some of whats wrong with me, I am constantly allergic and in a battle with the swelling and fatigue that follow my allergic response.  Sadly, allergic to the world is not a diagnosis.

In my youth I didn't know about my food allergies. I didn't know that exposure to dust or mold came with consequences.  I tried to live my life in the same context as those around me and regularly paid for my ignorance through ear aches and bronchitis and other oportunistic infections.

My body betrays me to this day but I have learned how to live within the boundaries of my health.  l work hard to avoid triggers and rigorously treat the symptoms that follow that which I cannot avoid.  This is the part of my experience I struggle most to explain to a healthy person.

No one has ever tried to explain what it's like to be healthy because the assumption is that I understand.  I hear the people around me share these common experiences and I've come to have an outsiders understanding of what it must be like.

But I don't live with the privilege of health. I can't imagine going for a run before work.  Or going dancing after work.  Or, really, doing any energetc activity without suffering the consequences for days after.

Doctors ask what your pain level is, from zero to ten.  Much like the disbelief I see when I try to express what it's like to live in my body, a part of me feels like  zero level of pain is some great myth or conspiracy.  I just can't imagine what it must be like to live at a level zero. 

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