Jacopo Fo English Blog

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There are cases in which not even self-massage can pull you out of trouble.
For example, toothache. An abscess is a mechanical process of painful swelling caused by an infection that only an incision can solve. If it's night, you have no painkillers or a dentist nearby, the only thing that you can do is to bear the pain. In similar cases, the only thing is to approach the pain in the right way. First of all, one has to separate the pain from the fear of pain. Often, in fact, psychological tension acts a multiplier of pain. It must be at once stated that suffering has a physiological roof. There isn't much difference in crushing a finger or mangling an arm. Moreover, beyond a certain degree, the body decides that the pain is too much, and therefore one falls into a state of mental confusion. One faints or dies.
Therefore there is nothing to fear. Heartened by the existence of this fantastic mechanism of pain cessation, you can therefore confront it with calm and determination. What to do?
The strategy should aim to provoke a state of mental abandon as soon as possible. The more you resist pain, the more you activate the rational mind and the will, and the longer you will suffer. On the contrary, one needs to cease every resistance. Habitually, we tend to surround the pain with an area of contraction. Try instead not to interfere. Let the pain expand. For an instant, the pain will increase in intensity, until having reached its peak, something snaps and the brain enters into a state of torpor that leads you quickly to sleep (or in coma... but hey, let's try to be optimistic!)

Another technique to numb oneself to pain was suggested to me by Cinzia Lenzi. It consists in relaxing oneself by imagining that the body expands and that the boundaries between you and the bed, the air and the all the rest cease to exist. One night, in which a good four wisdom teeth tormented my gums, I tried another extremely effective figuration to KNOCK OUT the rational mind and not register the pain. I said to myself, "O.K., I'm dying, I can't take it anymore, I'm dying! Goodbye sunsets, fabulous women, colossal companies. I've lived enough. I've been immensely fortunate almost everyday. Now I die. Click". And I carried on as if I was dying. I curled up into a ball between the sheets, and I went "click" inside me, turning off the light and trying to accept with a half-smile whatever happened to me.
In short, I mimed the best death that I could have imagined. It wasn't difficult, even because I knew that one rarely dies for something like that. In fact, I didn't die.
To make up for it, the pain became an event that I understood, but beyond the dimension in which I lived. I don't now know to explain it better. Then I fell asleep. The day after, the wisdom teeth finally perforated their respective gums, and I had a very normal pain that felt like hell.


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