Ryan emailed me this article. I think it is really fascinating! Takes me back to freshman psychology class when we all of a sudden learned that the world wasn't so sunny after all.
But really, this is crazy.
- Pain Asymbolia:
Doctor: Are you experiencing any aches or pains?
Patient: Yes, there’s an extremely strong pain in my leg — the strongest I’ve ever felt in my life.
Doctor: Would you like some pain-killers then?
Patient: No. I feel the pain, but it doesn’t bother me.
It seems the notion that you have a pain and the distress that accompanies the pain are not identical, and you can keep the first whilst losing the latter. Maybe it’s a bit like having a throbbing pain while you’re asleep, where it just registers but doesn’t actually bother you? (Of course for most people once the pain becomes strong enough it probably spills into distress even if they’re asleep.)