Rolling in Pain


As I was rolling around on different sized Yamuna balls this morning, trying to find the spot(s) needing to be released so I can go back to the computer (the activity which undoubtedly caused this pain to begin with), I remembered I had promised to forward to a friend the link to a blog series called Portraits of Pain which I wrote for the University of New England in 2013.

The photographer and human extraordinaire Holly Haywood captured poignant photos of people who have lived with chronic pain all of their lives, age 10 to 70.  Kris Hall helped us set up the interviews, and we were working with Dr. Ed Bilsky (who has since moved on from UNE as well) to set the stage for a symposium for medical professionals in training.

Taking time to hear the stories of people’s pain–caused by arthritis, war wounds, botched surgery, dancing injuries, and myriad other reasons–was one of those points in time in which I just stopped. Listened. Learned.

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 11.28.32 AM
Photo by Holly Haywood. Screenshot

With the help of Michael Vickery quotes from the interviewees were overlayed on 3×4 foot photos. These were hung on stands in the entranceway to the symposium–to get inside one had to walk among Liam. Ernie. Sue. Robert. Patti.

Pain is an unseen challenge that, unlike a broken bone, can rule a life. Walking among the portraits was a powerful way to make pain, and the people who live with it, be acknowledged.

It’s a life worth living, and there are ways to cope.

I’m going back to rolling on the ball now.

Video link to Arts Talk with Cathy & Holly

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