Severe Central Sensitivity: What It Feels Like
It’s impossible to really express in words what it feels like to have have severely debilitating central sensitivity. In fact, it’s impossible to fully capture any severity of central sensitivity through words alone. So, since a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I would use images in an attempt to convey the pain.
While all sensation I experience is accompanied by a pain response (i.e. all sensation is painful), some pain is so severe it leads to the inability to do something due to reflex. Think of accidentally sitting on a tack. You don’t slowly stand back up, you jump up in reflex to the pain. Below are not only images of how I think things feel now in comparison to when I was very young, but also things that cannot be done due to pain reflexes. For instance, sitting on a hard wooden chair with no cushion I imagine feels a lot like I am sitting on a chair full of nails and pins sticking into my skin and/muscles.
The issue with explaining such things in words or even pictures make others recoil in disbelief, and in denial they accuse the survivor of exaggeration. But the fact is, the symptoms the survivor presents with do often coincide with the expected symptoms of such pain actually being experienced, such as loss of consciousness, inability to breath or make sound, loss of vision, and loss of emotional control, dangerous blood pressure spikes, etc. It’s impossible to imagine the pain, it’s impossible to explain the pain, and for most it’s impossible to accept that some people do live with such pain and are confined to their homes nearly 24/7 because of it. It’s heartbreaking knowledge that most are not equipped to possess.
Please be advised that some of these images and truths may be disturbing.
Sitting on a hard chair without a lot of foam cushion
I cannot lean back on or sit in a hard chair. It’s impossible, the pain is to sharp and severe. I have to have foam/padding between me and the surface of the chair.
Laying on a hard surface
Padding, padding, padding. With MRI’s I have to be put out.
Standing for too long
One of my very first pain symptoms. It’s doesn’t take long either and can take days to heal.
Hard flat shoes
Soft, cushioned, and well supportive sneakers only. Everything else, it’s nearly impossible to stand up in let alone walk in.
Wearing a fitted hat or headband
The only thing worse are earmuffs.
There is nothing gentle about stretching raw, tight muscles that result in micro-tearing. Even the vomiting from the pain isn’t gentle.
Wearing a bra correctly
Only really, really tight.
A bear hug
It would knock the wind out of me and when let go of I would collapse. I also imagine is a lot like being crashed by a giant snake coiled around me.
A hardy handshake
Rolling around naked on broken glass, that sounds about right.
Bumping into the corner of something blunt
Because there are always corners to bump into and always a lack of coordination to do it.
Stubbing my toe
Feels like it was just cut off.
A hardy pat on the back
Feels more like physical assault then a friendly gesture.
Sleeping in someones else’s bed
Because everyone I know likes hard beds.
Sitting directly on my tailbone without a cushion
Graphic, butt pretty darn accurate. *pun intended*