Pain without Cause

Diana Rose Newby // …if the only external sign of the felt-experience of pain (for which there is no alteration in the blood count, no shadow on the X ray, no pattern on the CAT scan) is the patient’s verbal report (however itself inadequate), then to bypass the voice is to bypass the bodily event,…

The Apperception of Pain

Gabi Schaffzin // I’ve been staring at faces lately. Of course, as a grad student in the throes of dissertation writing, that must mean these are not live faces—no one has time for that anymore. No, these are drawn and photographed faces. These faces were all illustrated or captured in an effort to create a…

Painful Memories and Memorable Pain

Gabi Schaffzin // The following contains spoilers for Amazon’s Homecoming series. Proceed with caution. I’ve been thinking a lot about memory. This started after I recently finished bingeing on the Amazon series, Homecoming, a quick but worthwhile watch for the psychological-thriller fan in all of us. Briefly, the show, directed by Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail,…

The Complicated History of the Visual Analog Scale: Part 1

Gabi Schaffzin // A few hours after knee surgery, a nurse or doctor might come into your room and ask how you’re feeling. They might show you a scale of 6 faces like this: Maybe a notched line like this: Or, they might show you this line. It will probably have two phrases on it:…

Towards a Meditation on Pain

How do people talk about and understand lived experiences of pain? For the past year, I have immersed myself in the world of qualitative research into lived experiences of trauma, including in relation to amputation, a large part of which is the experience, management and understanding of pain. Some of this research has been motivated…

Crying Until You Laugh: Finding Humor in Personal Tragedy

James Belarde “The more one suffers, the more, I believe, has one a sense for the comic.” -Søren Kierkegaard In June of 1980, comedy star Richard Pryor covered himself in rum and lit himself on fire after days of cocaine freebasing in what he would later admit was a suicide attempt. During a four-month span…