Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dunbar on social grooming in primates and humans

The social role of touch in humans and primates: Behavioural function and neurobiological mechanisms

This is a (free access, download 9-page pdf) paper by RIM Dunbar of primatologist fame. Along with Robert Sapolsky I've learned more about human nervous systems from him than I ever knew from studying PT.

Studying PT is being trained in how to use a toy pail and shovel. A lot of effort goes into explaining what shovels do and what pails are for, and how to scoop and dump, but almost no emphasis is placed on the vision of the huge expanse of beach one has been set loose to tackle, or what kind of castle to build, or the nature of sand itself, or how long one can expect to have to dig, or how easy it is for the sand castles to be washed back out to sea. 

Once out on the beach, one generally heads over to where other castles are already under construction, and gets a job helping. Sometimes PTs head off to a secluded part of the beach and figure out how to make their own castle. Some PTs go into the business of making and selling ever more attractive pails and shovels, pointing out the inadequacies of the ones that exist. Many never ever get that building castles is futile altogether. 

Long ago I threw away the pail and shovel, walked down the beach to the water, went into it, and figured out how to swim. I took all the time needed to learn properties of water, learn to float, swim, with and without goggles, learn to avoid sharks and other predators, and how to stay warm even as water sucks at my core temperature. It's been a very engaging life; even if it doesn't look like it has amounted to much from the outside, on the inside I'm very contented and feel fulfilled, all that. I love being a human primate social groomer, swimming around in other peoples' nervous systems, most of the time, most days.

Dunbar points out that (abstract) "Grooming is a widespread activity throughout the animal kingdom, but in primates (including humans) social grooming, or allo-grooming (the grooming of others), plays a particularly important role in social bonding which, in turn, has a major impact on an individual’s lifetime reproductive fitness. New evidence from comparative brain analyses suggests that primates have social relationships of a qualitatively different kind to those found in other animal species, and I suggest that, in primates, social grooming has acquired a new function of supporting these. I review the evidence for a neuropeptide basis for social bonding, and draw attention to the fact that the neuroendrocrine pathways involved are quite unresolved. Despite recent claims for the central importance of oxytocin, there is equally good, but invariably ignored, evidence for a role for endorphins. I suggest that these two neuropeptide families may play different roles in the processes of social bonding in primates and non-primates, and that more experimental work will be needed to tease them apart."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Killing Pain Part VI

Almost back to normal. I can now sleep comfortably on all sides.

I am including a picture of a slide I made for a presentation in June - it contains a very intriguing cylindrical 3-D image of how convoluted a nerve (which just happens to be musculocutaneous) is, inside its tunnel. They really do look like roots.

It's important to bear in mind these are comprised of neurons, each one of which, if its soma were the size of a tennis ball the axon would be a half mile long and the size of a garden hose, according to Jack Nolte, a neuroanatomist. Well, OK, he was talking about a motor neuron, from the spine to the big toe, but you can see the proportion. Maybe in the arm we'd be talking a quarter-mile long. That would still be a pretty long garden hose.

One can imagine that unrelenting stress on a noodle-y system like that would affect its vascular supply adversely. Eventually. One can think of adaptation, I think, as a bunch of nested buckets. The mechanical stress would be like a slow drip into the center smallest bucket; after a time it would overflow and the next bucket would start to fill. It might take a long time, but eventually, the last and largest bucket would fill and spill - then the system would mount an alarm strong enough to get one's attention. I think that's how it went down in my case.

I managed to find somebody to help me empty out the buckets again. Whew.

Killing Pain Part V
Killing Pain Part IV
Killing Pain Part III
Killing Pain Part II
Killing Pain
Somasimple discussion thread about this post series.  
Scientific American: Anger Gives You a Creative Boost
This article is about interpersonal confrontation, however, I see no difference, from the perspective of the "I"-illusion, whether the perceived "foe" is external or internal.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Killing Pain Part V

This is the latest entry regarding my recent adventure on the other side of the mirror, being an acute pain patient with something that I would have instantly recognized in another person as "frozen shoulder".

I hate pain so much that I refuse to put up with it. That's really all there is to say.

I wanted to drop in here to say that I'm doing stuff today which 3 days ago would have been unthinkable:

1. Sleeping on that right shoulder*, my back, my front when I want, all comfortably, without waking up in pain.
2. Using my arm for anything, almost everything. E.g., did a couple loads of laundry, including sheets, made the bed
3. Used the iron (!) no problem
4. Lift heavy objects down out of the microwave.
5. Even carrying a cup of coffee.
6. Still can't get my arm behind my back for those annoying bra clips. Oh well. No pain. I'll get the range back after the neural tunnel syndrome is better and the CNS stops guarding it with movement restriction. Hey, I can actively abduct and elevate the arm, almost fully, and easily.. It feels weird, like I have the shoulder of a diving suit glued on and am painlessly restricted by it. But Kirsten will attend to that sensory delusion, no prob.
7. Personal hygiene behaviour no longer a problem. 

I think there was likely vascular involvement. Coderre talks about mini-compartment syndrome in cases of CRPS. My presentation didn't manage to get that bad, but when one thinks about the complicated twists in the brachial plexus, how the vascular and neural bundles are intertwined, I can see how they could bother each other a lot, just mechanically. I suspect that acute "frozen shoulder" has nothing whatsoever to do with any "capsule" or "joint" issue, whatsoever - that would amount to conceptual hallucination, endlessly perpetrated/sold/taught by who knows who for who knows what reason.

*still can't sleep on the unaffected side - it's still too uncomfortable. Something happens to the nerves in my arm - some sort of adverse tension, so I know they need another go with Kirsten.

Killing Pain
Killing Pain Part II
Killing Pain Part III
Killing Pain Part IV
Killing Pain Part VI 
Somasimple discussion thread about this post series.  
Scientific American: Anger Gives You a Creative Boost
This article is about interpersonal confrontation, however, I see no difference, from the perspective of the "I"-illusion, whether the perceived "foe" is external or internal.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Killing Pain Part IV

In Killing Pain Part III,  I added visual study notes to do with afferent pathways. In this post I'll add visual study notes on descending modulation pathways, made from Ossipov's diagram, found in his chapter in his book chapter, Ossipov MH; Pain Pathways: Descending Modulation. Ed. Larry R Squire; Encyclopedia of Neuroscience 2009 Elsevier Ltd. It's a book I could read for the next hundred years, along with Ramachandran's Encyclopedia of the Human Brain, all four volumes. At the rate I learn, it would take another thousand years to absorb it, probably. Oh well. I don't have that long, so I tear along as best I can visually taking things apart and putting them back together.

(I think what happened with me had something to do with neural inhibition.*)

The first image is straight out of the book. It's nice, but I couldn't follow it as well as I wanted.
The other three are my own deconstructive line diagrams.

Click to embiggen.

Killing Pain

Killing Pain Part II

Killing Pain Part III

Killing Pain Part V 

Killing Pain Part VI

*I was pleased to see the Scholarpedia article on Neural Inhibition was written by Dr. Gyorgy Buzsaki, Rutgers University, whose book, Rhythms of the Brain, I read and absolutely loved a few years ago. I blogged about it in Brain Oscillations: Ten part series.

Somasimple discussion thread about this post series.  

Scientific American: Anger Gives You a Creative Boost
This article is about interpersonal confrontation, however, I see no difference, from the perspective of the "I"-illusion, whether the perceived "foe" is external or internal.

Killing Pain Part III

We're going to drill a bit deeper into some science relating back to the previous post, Killing Pain Part II. I'm a visual learner, so I like to make pictures in PPT and examine them closely, so that I can visualize pathways instead of trying to memorize them. Here are a set of notes I made from DD Price's 2002 paper, Sensory and Affective Dimensions of Pain, on pathways in the brain that are involved with pain production. These are not "pain" centers - really, there is no such thing as a "pain" center. There are, however, pathways associated with pain production and processing. The verb is not the noun. And this is one of the best papers on pain processing I've found so far.

Clinical and experimental studies show serial interactions between the intensity of pain sensation, pain unpleasantness, and secondary emotions associated with reflection and future implications (i.e., suffering). These pain dimensions and their interactions relate to ascending spinal pathways and a central network of brain structures that process nociceptive information both in series and in parallel. Spinal pathways to the amygdala, hypothalamus, reticular formation, medial thalamic nuclei, and limbic cortical structures provide direct inputs to brain areas involved in arousal, bodily regulation, and hence, affect. Another major input to these same structures is from spinal pathways to somatosensory thalamic [ventroposterior lateral (VPL) and ventroposterior medial (VPM)] and cortical areas (S1, S2, and the posterior parietal cortex) and from these areas to cortical limbic structures (insular cortex, anterior cingulate cortex). This indirect cortico-limbic pathway integrates pain-perceptive (nociceptive) input with information about overall status of the body and self to provide cognitive mediation of pain affect. Both direct and cortico-limbic pathways converge on the same anterior cingulate cortical and subcortical structures whose function may be to establish emotional valence and response priorities. This entire brain network is under dynamic top-down (neural effects from higher-to- lower levels) modulation by brain mechanisms that are associated with anticipation, expectation, and other cognitive factors.

I'm putting my notes here for anyone who is interested. Click on image to embiggen.
Lateral pathways


Others (slower)


Killing Pain

Killing Pain Part II

Killing Pain Part IV

Killing Pain Part V

Killing Pain Part VI 

Somasimple discussion thread about this post series.  

Scientific American: Anger Gives You a Creative Boost
This article is about interpersonal confrontation, however, I see no difference, from the perspective of the "I"-illusion, whether the perceived "foe" is external or internal.

Killing Pain Part II

Yesterday I wrote a florid limbic account of my episode of "frozen shoulder", experiencing the crippling, spreading sort of pain for the first time in my life, how I coped with it, and managed to get my brain back on track, so it could defend properly and not give me a lot of pain noise I didn't need, that no one needs. 

Today, I thought I'd deconstruct it all.
Here is what I've got so far:

This is a slide I made a few months ago for a presentation on the Neuromatrix model of pain. The overall gist of the presentation was rostral mechanisms and how they are involved in pain production and reduction. The subtopic for which this slide (and the next) was used, was Sensory-Discriminative; Descending Modulation.

Here we see flight/fight reponse, whereby an animal, or any vertebrate for that matter, including human, can defend itself to the death by deliberately ignoring cuts/bites/scrapes, with resolve fueled by noradrenaline. I really don't know that it's completely analgesic, but it likely allows the animal to ignore all the nociception with which it is being flooded in the moment. If it's being attacked (e.g., for food), it will try to escape. It still needs its wits to do that.

This descending modulation is activated by the hypothalamus based on input from more rostral centers which are reporting to the animal's brain about the direct context, what's going on in the environment in the moment - the dorsolateral portion of the periaqueductal grey is activated. 

Here, we see a different kind of response, passing out completely.
This is activated when all hope is lost. Much more conserving of the organism's energy.

The ventrolateral part of the PAG is activated instead. The animal "escapes" by going unconscious. I guess enough possums have lived on to reproduce by doing this, that they've evolved this tactic as their primary defense.

Here are the thoughts about the encounter with pain that I've entertained today.

1. I needed a fight/flight response to kick in ("Kill" or "be killed"). My dorsolateral prefrontal cortex knew that I wasn't in any actual danger. It had to access this system however, even in the absence of any real danger.

2. I was in complete control of the process. I had complete locus of control of the event. I directed my therapist and she adapted herself to me.

3. I had a lot of pain education - i.e., I knew pain wouldn't actually kill me, regardless of how threatening it felt.

4. It was, actually, a novel experience to have this magnitude of pain. I'd never experienced anything like it in severity and pain restriction, especially this awful spreading quality. I think the spreading quality concerned/scared me the most.

5. I managed to take fear and change it to fighting fury (elicited a noradrenergic response). I asked the therapist to treat what I figured was the core of the physical bit of the whole problem (exerted locus of control). The pain spread like wildfire - I could feel it but I did not let it deter me (noradrenergic resolve). Then, but only then, I let the part of the threat detector/pain production system that is part of the frontal lobes (anterior cingulate cortex) take over and "run away" immediately following (permitted ideomotor movement), but only after "I" (my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) showed it who was really boss, by controlling the timing.

6. Although I didn't collapse in an unconscious heap, some part of my brain might have, because the opioids finally kicked in. Perhaps the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex got mean enough (in a controlled environment) that both the dorsolateral part of periaqueductal grey AND the ventrolateral part of PAG were activated simultaneously: the DLPAG fought and snarled and ran, the VLPAG felt sufficiently attacked that it "fainted" and let go of a big gob of all the necessary opioids such that I got the much needed relief I wanted.

7. It all felt very life-and-death dramatic, but I entered the encounter knowing that these centers were the ones that respond to actual life and death stuff, so I didn't mind the heavy emotional powering up that occurred.

8. I was determined to come out the other end feeling better - so the dopamine was clearly flowing from the expectation, probably was a factor, may have helped via various pathways.

9. The therapist was great. No nocebo from her at all - no cholecystokinin was triggered, which would have interfered big time.

10. I was free, and felt free, to manage my PAG and stimulate it from rostral centers using
  • emotions (HATING pain, determination, focus, no-nonsense, I WON'T put up with this, I WILL construct a boundary between me and this Pain) as fuel
  • information (I won't die if I try this, pain is just my brain being freaked out about something, it's not likely any big deal, it's only pain, I didn't injure anything lately) as message containers
  • social context/therapeutic contact (I'm appalled by so much of what I see in the world, and my own body is where I should have the right to feel safe (dammit)/ my therapist is here to help me, I have locus of control) as delivery chutes
11. Even though I'd never done such a thing before, it worked. So I guess it can be done. Sample of one. Now that I've done it once, next time (should there be a next time - there may not ever have to be a next time) it should be easier. (Optimistic thought)

 I've also learned that help is there when I need it.

 Other posts on the topic:

Killing Pain

Killing Pain Part III

Killing Pain Part IV

Killing Pain Part V 

Killing Pain Part VI

Somasimple discussion thread about this post series.  

Scientific American: Anger Gives You a Creative Boost
This article is about interpersonal confrontation, however, I see no difference, from the perspective of the "I"-illusion, whether the perceived "foe" is external or internal. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Killing Pain

OK.  So now, finally, at the ripe old age of 60, I've finally joined the ranks of those who have had a visit from the horrid monster who produces, directs and stars in the horrid movie known as Pain.

Before, I'd only ever seen him only from a distance, across a crowded room, fleeting eye contact. I'd watched him, had tracked him, had stalked him, had found him, had assisted others as they fought him, but had never been formally introduced to or personally invaded by him.

Now I know how he feels.
Now I really, really know how Pain feels. To me. Raped by Pain. In the shoulder.

About 4 days ago I developed hideous pain in my right upper quadrant. Hideous to me, at least. Completely invisible to others.

I'd been noticing crankiness at the shoulder but hey, what shoulder wouldn't be cranky given the amount of typing and mousing I do, and have done daily for the last couple years almost full time, and not much else? I kept going. I should mention that I type completely one-handedly, right hand.

About 4 days ago I found myself suddenly dealing with serious lack of range in the shoulder and acute pain on movement.

Um, I wonder where this is going to go, I wondered to myself. Where it went was into a full-fledged acute Pain experience, with no way to get comfortable, no position to sleep in*, no way to escape, really. I started taking aspirin, which made me feel like I was doing something to help myself, but didn't really seem to change the Pain much.

What does it feel like to be raped by Pain in the shoulder? It feels like hot lava sploots and shoots in every part of the entire upper limb, with every move or breath or change in position. There are moments when it's possible to function and distract oneself, but he's always there, maybe a bit distant, but never not there. When a shift of awareness or focus occurs, bam, he's right there, inside every neuron, every molecule, taking up every bit of virtual space he can in the whole cortex,  spreading inexorably, steadily capturing and controlling more and more of the meat puppet of the body each day. In deliberate fashion, he moves along raping successive nerves and muscles, twisting a spiral point into them, skewering them into submission, leaving them helpless and frozen in agonized contraction.

When I say, entire upper limb, I mean upper quadrant, including the right back, front and side of the neck (superficial cervical plexus) including upper chest and upper back, shoulder (front, back side), and entire arm (front, back, side) and all the major parts (shoulder, elbow, and hand).

He wasn't about to go away by himself. I realized I needed back up and moved as swiftly as I could to get some help.

This is the story as well as I can recall it:
About twenty years ago I had a severe (to me at least) whiplash episode, with major headache and pain on movement and point tenderness, which all went away, brilliantly, in one session of manual treatment by another therapist, inside about 15 minutes. The therapist had taken a workshop in a type of handling which included passively positioning the body part into a painfree, tenderness-free position, and holding it there for a few minutes, then carefully moving the part back out into a normal position again.

This impressed me so much that I built a whole manual therapy practice around doing just that with patients, which sustained me for years.

Details of the crash
I was driving along a Saskatchewan highway, August 1989. About 3 PM, bright daylight, good weather. I'd just gassed up and was driving along, doing the posted speed limit, holding a coke in my right hand, steering with the left.

A truck pulled up to the highway on a side road, from the left side, slowed but didn't stop, even though there was a stop sign.

It was crossing the highway. Right in front of my car. I couldn't believe it hadn't seen me coming. I mean, it was broad daylight. I was driving a small car, white, and maybe the driver didn't spot me, maybe the sun was low enough to have forced him to squint, making my car indistinguishable, invisible.. anyway, he said he never saw me. This was in the days before running lights on cars. People were asked to use their headlights during the day, but it wasn't mandatory. I did not have my lights on - I hadn't turned them back on yet after getting gas, and my hands were full.

I turned left a bit, hoping I could swing around the back end of his truck: I couldn't avoid hitting him, however, so at the very last nanosecond I cranked the steering wheel to the right, so that the impact would be spread out along the side of the car rather than all at the front end.  Then the crash.

I wish now I'd dropped the coke, but instead, as the collision happened, my arm was jolted, still holding the damn coke can, still mostly full. I distinctly remember feeling the jolt in the shoulder. Biceps were contracted because I was holding a stupid coke. Musculocutaneous nerve got jerked. It has never really had enough space in there, ever since.

I ended up with a painless restriction in shoulder movement, specifically internal rotation with arm in 90 degrees of abduction, elbow bent to a right angle. Think of a stick through a straw scarecrow's shoulders, emerging at the elbows; hands pointing up toward the sky is external rotation, and the hands hanging down toward the ground is internal rotation. My left hand could point down, but my right hand stayed up in the air, pointing forward. It was as though it was stuck there.

It didn't bother me much: when I attended ortho school for a brief time in the early 90's, I was told by an instructor that my humeral head was anterior in the socket, and he shoved it back. Very perfunctory. It not only didn't hurt, I felt nothing. Nothing. My brain learned nothing. The restriction was not changed by his heroic.

It didn't bother me much: when it did, once, giving me some minor grief back in 2001 or thereabouts, I went to a friend who was a massage therapist and had him noodle around at the lateral edge of my shoulder blade until it felt like I could move it easily and comfortably again. I was left with the internal rotation restriction, but what the heck. It didn't bother me much.
In retrospect, this was the open window. This was the body bit, the body function, neglected by me, that Pain found, cased, then eventually climbed in through, to invade my personal existence.

Back to present time
So, for whatever reason, whatever the way the moon lined up this month with the planets and stars, the weather, stress from too much recent interpersonal activity, my inexorable aging process, maybe a brain fed-up with a steady diet of mono-movement, maybe a combination - who knows -  Pain found his way into my personal space and invaded my interoception, raped my shoulder, stole my movement, seemed to be threatening to set up permanent residence, was starting to use very creepy torture devices, ones that could only be interoceptively sensed, not seen or prepared for.

I knew I needed help ASAP. I contacted the PT who had contacted me when she moved to town in the winter, had organized the workshop I taught in June. She is quite keenly interested in pain and in helping people deal with it. She was a kindred spirit in that she had tasted ortho koolaid but hadn't gulped the whole glass. Both of us had instinctively known we didn't like the handling that was often involved, or the mindset, or the callous disregard, both interactively and conceptually, of the nervous system of the patients being handled, specifically their interoception and afferent capacities. Both of us were well aware of Pain.

She is also a midwife. She has had 4 children. She has conquered pain from all sorts of angles on several occasions, in herself and while helping others. I respect somebody who has given birth, endured the Pain of it, and lived. I never have. The very thought has always made me feel cognitively dissonant, as in, why would anyone ever willingly go through something like childbirth?, even as I noted that it's normal for Homo reproductus.

The shoulder
Weirdly, even though I realized this exact same presentation was labelled "frozen shoulder" and is common in women, especially older women, and I couldn't do anything with my arm, and pretty much everything hurt it, I continued working. Yes, believe it or not. As it turns out, I was reasonably comfortable while using my arm from the elbow down, and pressing on table tops or my bed or against peoples' bodies with that arm even felt a bit relieving. So I was able to fake my way along through Tuesday and Thursday fairly well. I was really anticipating my session though, yesterday after work.

The treatment
Kirsten allowed me the freedom to do whatever I needed to do in the moment. It was painful to lay on my back, but I knew I wanted her to take my arm off the edge of the table, into shoulder extension, lay it gently and slowly on a pillow, find the core of that monster, Pain, on the front of my shoulder, touch him with one hand, put her other hand behind my shoulder/upper arm, from underneath, at the bend, and press steadily up with the ends of her fingers using her lumbricals. Push him the hell out of me. As soon as she did that, I could feel a shifting going on.

Other nerves screamed as Pain ran around raping them, simultaneously, but I knew this place was his whole tap root, ground zero, the entrapment of the musculocutaneous nerve inside coracobrachialis, from 20 years ago, what the restriction had been all about, right from the beginning. This is what I'd neglected to go get treatment for lo, all these many years. This was all my own fault. This was my battle, not anyone else's. No one could rescue me but me.

I was up for mortal battle - I wanted to full-on murder that rapist bastard, Pain. I was angry, cold, calculating and not in a mood to take prisoners. This was between me and whatever my immune system had decided to dish me. If Pain was a movie, starring him, he was about to be vanquished, by Me, or at least by the "I"-illusion I call Me, because this is my body, my physical existence, my biological real estate, dammit. Life is crappy enough as it is, out there, and this my body is the only place I really ever have felt safe or at home. I own my own body, dammit. No matter what sorts of cultural ideas would try to deprive me of bodily sovereignty. I know them all in detail. E.g., "Right to Life" (whose fucking life? MINE!!)..  

So I endured/ignored all the screaming going on in all the other centrally sensitized nerves - superficial cervical plexus, distributed like the right half of a hijab. All the brachial plexus, the whole hand.

My goal was to keep Pain confined only to where it had already colonized me, not let it get any farther, fight hard to get back my body for me. I took the immediate increase in all the rest of the nerve distributions as confirmation that Pain was trying to fight back.

But I was relentless. I could still breathe. So I focused on deep breathing as the next couple minutes (that felt like hours) ticked by. I know the right length of time to spend on something, from decades of occupying the other end of the treatment dyad.

Kirtsten and I checked in with each other. She felt the softening happening at the front of my shoulder, and I knew that Pain had been stabbed in his heart, by her, by me, by our interaction; I knew that although he would not go down without a fight, or without trying to start more fires, he was eventually going to diediedie.

Finally I decided enough time had elapsed, that death of Pain was certain, and I needed to help the rest of my sensory cortex, indulge the anterior cingulate cortex by letting it express some escape behaviour. I got up on my feet, writhed about, wrestling with myself. Kirsten remarked that I looked like a woman in labour. I remarked that it felt like I was having a baby through my right upper quadrant. I said I was being an ideomotor moron. We both laughed. It was triumphant laughter, because I was letting my anterior cingulate cortex help my sensory cortex escape by giving it complete access to my motor cortex, and it was having me do some pretty remarkable moving. It felt a lot like contemporary dance might look, performed by a very inept and untrained dancer, kinda ugly-like; so, readers, best not to let your mirror neurons become too activated, because visualizing how this interior moving went down could be somewhat painful in and of itself.

But movement had to come out. Just like a baby comes out. Blood, gore (well, OK, no actual blood or gore), messy movement, biological and frighteningly primitive. But natural. And I killed Pain. I killed him with the help of my student, Kirsten, no stranger to any of this in that she has done movement like this herself while giving actual birth. Kind, steady, standing by, putting up with me, engaged, accompanying, permissive, calm, reassuring, letting me do what I needed to do, not interfering, accepting me in the heat of my battle no matter how ugly it was.

Right away, after about 5 minutes of this, the arm pain and superficial cervical plexus pain was much reduced. I could move the arm actively! A few degrees at least. We treated a few more places in a few more positions. I could now tolerate prone lying with the arm dangling. Kirsten sat on the floor and twisted the skin of my arm in slow snake-bite S's for delicious minutes and minutes and minutes. It felt like my arm relaxed and lengthened by inches. When I got back up it was truly better.

I had a great sleep. No more Pain. He's dead now, the miserable rapist bastard. At least for now. At least in me. But he still roams and assaults others, so I will hunt his sorry evil ass and help other people kill him for as long as I have breath.

I have my life back. I almost have my shoulder back. There is still restriction. I still have to use my non-dominant hand for certain personal hygiene which shall remain nameless, and I still have to put on a bra by doing it up at the front then twisting it around, and Kirsten will have at it again next week, but I doubt I'll have to gear up to go full-tilt psycho on whatever dregs still remain. It will be more just a mopping up process. I won't have to be the killer again - I'll be just the cleaner.

Life is painful. We try to keep at least one little corner of it, our own body, pain-free. No one should ever have to endure captivity by pain. People either kill it, or learn to live with it, adapt to its presence, peacefully.
I think people need to be encouraged to kill it anyway they can, if they can. People also have to know it will be entirely an inside job, requiring strategy, planning and often recruitment of someone to assist. They need to have picked somebody carefully, well in advance. It is a truly dorsolateral prefrontal cortex-led inner activity. They must know that they will need a story-line, starring them, that they will need to assume the lead role, and that it will be the role of assassin, if they want to have their life truly back again under their own auspice. They will be faced with win-or-lose, black-or-white, kill-or-be killed/raped/crippled/maimed/paralyzed by Pain. It's a choice, and by now I know, deeply know, emotionally know, that it must be made, can be made, by anyone, including peaceful 60 year-old women who love cats and don't ever try to hurt anyone. The urge to kill is inherent in all biology, all organisms, a birthright. It is the last and final defense for the "I"-illusion against any enemy, real or imaginary, physical and external or sensed, experienced, internal. It is socially forbidden unless sanctioned for use by army or law enforcement. At the personal level, one has the biological right to deploy it for a good reason such as this, engage it  - strictly internally, and fully, without doubt or hesitation.

P.S.: My Kill Pain story-line has specific feminist overtones and undertones running throughout. It's the story I've been angry about all my life - power over, violation of, domination of physical bodies of helpless men, women or children. It's the story that gave me fuel to make myself get mad enough to become capable of committing murder. You'll need to make up your own story: Think of the grossest violation of your own bodily human rights you can imagine, feel how enraged it makes you feel, then fight back with everything you've got. Every claw and every fang. It's your right as a vertebrate with a human nervous system.  

* I finally worked out a position in which I could sleep relatively comfortably, for a relatively long length of time; prone, on top of three stacked pillows, forelegs folded like a quadruped, head turned left. I had to wake up fully in order to move. I had to physically get up to rest from having been in that position for a few hours, then resume that position to get more sleep.

More posts on this topic:
Killing Pain Part II

Killing Pain Part III

Killing Pain Part IV

Killing Pain Part V

Killing Pain Part VI 

Somasimple discussion thread about this post series.  

Scientific American: Anger Gives You a Creative Boost
This article is about interpersonal confrontation, however, I see no difference, from the perspective of the "I"-illusion, whether the perceived "foe" is external or internal.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Back in my own life

I realize how addicted to my own life I am. July went by in a blur.

First there was a big chunk that evaporated by attending Congress. Five days shot right there, even though I liked it a lot, actually was stimulated enough to sign up to go to Winnipeg in November to attend Michael Sullivan's PGAP (Progressive Goal Attainment Program) workshop. 

Then there was another 5 day chunk spent in Saskatoon at a large family reunion.
Not that it wasn't enjoyable and interesting. Just that I had no time to be with myself and the internet.

Yesterday I was at work all day, not caught up with myself yet. This morning (day off) I feel like I'm finally getting there. I've been online since 6 AM. So rejuvenating. It's now nearly 11 AM.

I've posted many bits and dabs to the Facebook pages, my own, the Neuro and Pain science page, and the PSD page. Right now I'm watching Wolpert's interview/exposition on the Charlie Rose show from a couple years ago.  Here is his webpage. I love his succinct explanation of the brain:

"Movement is the only way we have of interacting with the world, whether foraging for food or attracting a waiter's attention. Indeed, all communication, including speech, sign language, gestures and writing, is mediated via the motor system. Taking this viewpoint, the purpose of the human brain is to use sensory signals to determine future actions."
 How brilliant is that?

Also, I watched all 50 minutes of this Youtube video of a presentation by Moshe Feldenkrais, from 1981, all black and white and grainy. Thank you yet again, to Carol Lynn Chevrier, a Quebec massage therapist who is also a jazz singer. What a combination. She probably knows all about interactive improv with patients, understands it in its deepest motor sense, probably. Music and singing is motor output making auditory contact, just as manual therapy makes physical contact. With both, basic talent should be present, then motivation, then practice, and maybe, some day, approaching perfection.  

Feels so good to be back to total immersion in all this. Not all "that".