• martinwrbaker

Lessons of A Pain

I write this as a cocktail of painkillers and herbal supplements kick in, relieving myself from the recent brink of an undignified break down. This is not a new challenge, and I'm grateful of what knowledge and recourses I can turn to when everything gets unbearable.

Pain of varying degrees has become the familiar norm now, and what I would consider a good day would by most be considered fairly restrictive, but no less appreciated. On a good day: I can make some manner of positive engagement in the outside world, a chance to exercise, and take every precise measure I can to function best, while I then spend the remainder of the day very much left to my own devises, a little spaced out from painkillers, but feeling in good health and nursing my exaggerated lethargy on my own terms.

A bad day, I may be at work, speaking online to a student, when the dull pain creeps up on me and ignites a raging headache, making me forget what Im saying mid sentence then not so subtly asking the student what they're assignment is, (because I can't process the ambiguous waffle written on the project brief in-font of me). A bad work day ends in me twitching in restless paranoia wondering how the hell I got through that without a chronic episode. One could perhaps put some of it down to a lockdown madness, but I don't even want to imagine how I'd bare up on campus.

However, these occasional windows of reflection bring some catharsis, knowing I might set the record straight publicly, on what presents as an invisible mencance to those I've communicated with these past two months. I'm all too aware even if I mention the brace, most peoples understanding of that, (or indeed own experience,) is a considerably watered down version of what this is. This is more than tooth realignment, (I've had plenty of that stuff already) this phase of treatment is literally skull expansion, and it's impact permeates down every physiological recess of my body and mind.

"Surely the brace isn't causing your back pain.?" someone said the other day when I remarked on the post osteopathy blow back of Thoracic back pain last week that crippled me for 4 days and restricted my breathing. To that I simply say, try altering the width of your skull and see what happens. You may find the body reacts to this intervention in a very hostile way.

I haven't (incidentally) been able to drink alcohol the past two months, any cautious attempts have resulting in instantly feeling very unwell. This, like the whole treatment, is of course a temporary, and necessary affliction. But I can say with confidence after the dental migraines I've been getting, that when normality resumes for me again, I shall never complain about hangovers again.

For now I take more elaborate measures to keep going, awaiting my next appointment and hopefully an encouraging forecast for the remainder of this treatment, it is digging deeper into my psych at this stage, and my mental health gets pulled on for the ride, nothing that a bit of biohacking can't patch up for now, but it is the next noteworthy layer in which its chipping away at the components of me. Never the less worse things have happened to people, I can only be authentic in my own personal accounts of presently existing.

So why must I write all this? My lifelong paranoia is to be miss interpreted, or to miss represent myself. It gives me peace of mind clarifying my own experience, and offering the though:

While many of us await anxiously the chance to return to the pub, or gather or some way or another, I can't begin to tell you how good its going to feel, post brace, to be doing just about anything at all.

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For whom it might ever be of relevance, my Artist Journal entires are now kept on my instagram/Facebook videos section, and the usual podcast platforms. Under either 'Martin Baker Art' or 'Passive Cha