Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans


Last night, I couldn’t sleep again due to a feeling of relentless pain. I rarely use medicine but killing that pain was no longer an option. The word “pain killer” finally made sense. To some extent, I felt that I could control the level of pain but repeating that successfully was too hard. The pain demanded my attention. This week I also felt another type of pain as I’m about to lose my BFF who is about to emigrate. Perhaps these two types of pains are even interconnected. I wouldn’t be surprised.

I can rationalise my mental pain away by convincing myself that a reconciliation is still quite premature. We are both not ready for a reconciliation. The pain – and tears – were caused by the sudden realisation that our – unrivalled – communication is very likely to end after this week. I encourage, support and respect her choice but not without challenging it. It’s over now.

Although my physical pain feels like torture, others are perfectly able to feel pleasure from giving or receiving pain. The difference is the STOP word. My STOP word is paracetamol and it takes a while before the pain obeys. I prefer not taking medicine in order to listen to what my body says rather than to numb it. Once my body starts screaming than playing deaf is favoured over listening.

Hopefully I’m already treating the root cause. For some, treating the root cause is insufficient for removing their chronic pain. They need to wait for medical breakthroughs. Frankly, I have no clue how they cope with that given my own mild sense of desperation during this feeling of torture. I do remember seeing a Dutch TV experiment (BNN video) in which 2 men felt the pain that women feel while giving birth. Both men thought they would be able to handle that pain level. One failed half way. One succeeded by laughing at his pain. Marquis de Sade would have been proud.

So far I omitted to mention a 3rd type of pain which relates to the matters of the heart. It reminds me of the classic Nazareth song “Love hurts”. In fact, this type of pain is well covered in music history.

Although I’m not quite sure (by lack of personal experience), any serious addiction probably also causes severe pain. The addicted brain demands the addict to score again in order to remove this feeling of pain. Watching someone go “cold turkey” removes any doubt about whether the addict is feeling pain. Even John Lennon’s song “Cold Turkey” feels like listening to desperation.

Even compassion may bring (mental) pain. The current exodus from countries in Africa and the Middle East and the lack of a European response, is a source of heart breaking stories. Guilt and shame are also likely to cause (mental) pain.

I’m not even sure whether I covered all of them as a simple Google search gives such a variety of results. The subject of pain appears to be far less defined than I had ever imagined.

After considering all of the above, I doubt there is a ranking of pain. The duration may give an indication but some types of pain fit into Belief systems and may give rise to the ultimate human response (“to die for”). For some, chronic pain may even be easier to cope with than a broken heart.

There is no coming to consciousness without pain. Carl Jung


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