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Earliest memory of pain

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

A Body Story #4

"My earliest memory of physical pain, was a first real injury that I had when I fell off my bike on the way home from school when I was around 8 years old. I went straight over the handle bars and landed on my chin. It pumped blood and I got a real shock.

I remember putting my hand on my chin to stop the bleeding, but it was just gushing everywhere. I remember the sharp pain of it, but even mores being freaked out by all the blood. Two people stopped in cars passing by to check if I was okay, and offered to to bring me home or to a doctor, but I just remember being so shy at the time, and hating attention so much that I kept saying ‘ No no, I’m fine I’m fine’ and holding my chin, trying to cover up the wound and the blood.

So I dragged by bike off the road and tried to get over to my auntie who worked nearby in the library. I was in the care of m older brother at the time as my mother was away, so already I was worried about getting ‘in trouble’ for having the accident. So I tried to tiptoe into the library, quietly to not draw any attention to myself, but my auntie saw me and got a fright when she saw all the blood pumping out. She rushed over with some tissues to mop up the blood. I remember the pain of that. I wanted help, but I didn’t want anyone to touch my chin, or even to look at me.

Ultimately I had to go get stitches. It is a real stand out bodily memory for me. I recall feeling so embarrassed, and upset to be out of control of my body or something like that.

I kicked out at the doctor who was trying to do the stitches. It hurt so much. My automatic reaction was a to fight the doctor because the pain was so much. My brother had to almost hold me down.

I remember this combination of feeling pain, fear and awkwardness in my body.

I just wanted it to stop, wanted to get out of there.

There is still a small scar there, which became a habit to try to cover up with my hand.

I still subconsciously hold my chin like that sometimes, I think maybe when I’m feeling a bit awkward - awkward with my body, or in myself.

This was my earliest experience of feeling pain, and I think maybe there was shame at my body betraying me, embarrassing me."

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