• Michael McMahon


Updated: 2 days ago

Yes I support efforts to help people stay positive and hopeful. But it’s still the case that suicide is an acceptable response to pain. By far the main victim of suicide is the suicide victim themselves. They’ll inevitably be the ones who’ll have to grieve the most for the imminent loss of their own life, past experiences and memories of friends before their suicide. It’s not the business of other people to judge them. We don’t know what their final thoughts and feelings were like.

I agree that it’d always be better for their own good if they managed not to die. The conscious sensation of pain is never permanent no matter what the source of it is. However at the end of the day there are another 7 billion people alive on the planet so suicide cannot be claimed to be immoral. It’s logically possible for an action to be bad and hurtful in terms of oneself without being harmful or unethical towards other people.

Mental pain can cause uncertainty because without visible physical symptoms there’s no clear prognosis on when precisely the pain will dissipate. As you can see there’s two aspects to that statement. The lack of a physical source means that the pain is bound to heal eventually. But one has to have hope and trust that the pain isn’t long-term which might be difficult in a crisis situation.

Suicide by definition refers back to the self and is therefore intrinsically consensual. Arguments of vulnerable people being pressured to die by suicide are inconsistent: if a supposed friend encourages you to do something you don’t want to do then they obviously weren’t ever a friend to begin with. Euthanasia isn’t necessarily required for people who are physically capable of self-inflicting their own death and so that is a slightly separate debate.

I felt suicidal so I started praying a lot with short mantras even though a staff member asked me what denomination I was and said that the church would actually be opposed to my potential suicide. I underwent a silent conversion from agnostic atheism to general Christianity when death felt imminent. This confused some people who thought I might have been radicalised into dying! I think it's a bit of a balancing act where I'd never advise anyone to die of suicide but we can't persuade people out of suicide if they don't say they're suicidal. In order to coax suicidal people out of suicide we first have to acknowledge that suicidal ideation can be a symptom of severe mental illness. There's little point pretending an extremely depressed person is very sad but never suicidal even if it's only momentary. Thinking about suicide does not mean you're going to act on it. It will be hard to get mentally ill individuals to admit that they're suicidal if we try to shame the act of suicide. To shame suicide is to shame suicidal ideation even if it's to a lesser extent. In other words it'd be an immoral and embarrassing thought though not an immoral action.

For me it wasn't a gradual build-up of pain or stress that lead to me getting overwhelmed. It was actually the opposite where it existed immediately as a reflexive thought when my anxiety began. My unconscious mind gave me no indication of what was happening and I couldn't control my visceral sensation of pain. I was caught off-guard and it shook me. It almost felt like I was opposing my own intuition by living on. As the days went by I was seriously contemplating whether my own subconscious was against me and if I was going to be in pain forever. From the get go the sheer intensity of the pain made me suspect that the anxiety would last for a very long time. I thought about euthanasia and dying in my sleep but the fine print about your organs exploding kept dissuading me! Eventually I became more resistant to suicidal feelings by continuously procrastinating and always hoping that the anxiety would be gone the following day until it actually disappeared weeks later.

I benefited from 3 years of subsidised accommodation and also community activities like walking, bowling and soccer so I don’t want to come across as overly critical of the mental health service. They’re obviously doing a huge amount of good. They've also lots of mindfulness classes, group discussions, pleasant meal times and games sessions in psychiatric hospitals. Seeing fellow patients overcoming their symptoms in a hospital setting can increase your motivation compared to battling a mental illness at home or by yourself. My mystic Celts t-shirts amused one or two patients. I’m merely of the view that if someone is intent on suicide, they shouldn’t be in some way restrained from personally doing so in a hospital setting or psychiatric ward. I wouldn't try to live solely for my antagonistic parents but also out of the pleasure of life itself! I don’t see a contradiction in saying that we can try to prevent and reduce suicide as much as possible without unrealistically attempting to stop all suicides.


(I'd to blank out the coarse language!)

Time for some downbeat music!

Nightcore Disturbia - DevonFarren

There's a complex interplay between over-protectiveness and autonomy!

(Mr Incredible saves suicide jumper, then gets sued.)

Suicide is sometimes linked into the complex issue of masculinity. I think I'd be quite brave in a warzone but of course I'd be fighting for the opposing side!


The maintenance of walking stamina becomes an increasingly important function for the body as we get older. If we viewed daily exercise accumatively then an elderly person would start off each day with tens of thousands of miles already completed. That is to say the body has less ability to recover when we're older such that sleep doesn't set the mileage back to 0. Running until you’re out of breath will eventually depend on quicker but shallower chest breathing rather than diaphragm belly breathing. Otherwise if the body were somehow capable of 100% efficient breathing while running, you’d actually be able to effortlessly sprint non-stop all day long. Our inability to do so is a reflection of why extended, challenging physical exertion is an intrinsic source of stress even though it feels rewarding and refreshing to try to overcome it. So I imagine the fact that our muscular sprinting ability declines with age inevitably means that our fast chest breathing also becomes less efficient. Thus these systems of subtle breathing patterns and body postures are inter-related and might be a contributing factor in chronic pain conditions.

There’s many small hip flexors and other involuntary muscles in the spinal engine that we aren’t always conscious of even though they play a big role in our movement. They’re like cruise control muscles! I’m not a biomechanics expert but notice the suboptimal location of the largest and smallest leg muscles: the glutes are powerful but very far away while the tibialis anterior is closest to the feet but it’s a weak and elastic muscle. So being overly dependent on these sorts of muscles will likely slow you down considerably. The way it can feel harder to simply stand still than it is to walk is a little reminder that to keep upright our bodies are always under the stress of time and ageing. The hip flexors are like stabilisers that resist excess motion in one leg to elastically transfer energy to the next leg back and forth. If our body were somehow capable of walking 100% elastically then it'd be like we'd be gliding unconsciously. Our spinal engine can work in reverse through the kinetic chain. That way we can transfer some of the weight of passive objects from our shoulders through the back and onto our hips when we're carrying a heavy object by our sides or on top of our back.

For instance if you didn’t move your legs as much and tried to use the hips more to passively swing your legs then you’ll have a decreased stride length seeing as the hips have a very limited forward range of motion and it’s largely rotation. Fully rotated hips can increase stride length during a full exertion static lunge. Although flexible hips would then deflect elastic energy away from the opposite leg towards the shoulder during the backswing phase of lunge walking which would make “lunge running” terribly inefficient. When the heaviness in the calf muscles began I was never unstable but I became much more subtly attuned to my posture and arm swing than I was previously. I could often do an intermittent jog or short run but I could never prolong it to run consistently. Either the heaviness fatigued me or I’d begin to run inefficiently. If I increased my stride length my stride frequency would eventually decrease and vice versa. Eventually my running speed would be equivalent to a walking pace such that it was futile to maintain a running posture for long distances. For tennis I could still do a small jog to the ball and turn quickly for some agility.

In my own case I used to do a lot of running training when I was a teenager. Perhaps I didn’t warm up sufficiently or didn’t allow myself enough recovery time between sessions. I also did some intense middle-distance running in 12-minute sessions on a treadmill where it can sometimes be tempting to mentally overexert yourself. Doing an 11 minute run and a twelfth minute sprint might have been a bit too uneven. Treadmills are healthy but the tempo is different than an outdoor run where the backswing of the strides are assisted by the belt. We can run as fast as we like until we push the stop button which makes it easier to resist fatigue. Consequently it might be better to mix in both outdoor and treadmill runs instead of using the treadmill exclusively. Music is great to pump you up during a workout but sometimes it might give you more energy and adrenaline than your body is physically able for. I trained to failure in most running sessions where I should have taken a longer rest period afterwards. Furthermore my training was often unplanned where I overtrained at attempting too many physiologically contradictory disciplines like sprinting, middle-distance and long distance running along with various weightlifting exercises. I used highly irregular repetitions for my upper body sessions. There were the odd high-rep stamina days while the majority were mid-rep hypertrophy training. If I ran out of steam I might have just done lower rep max strength lifts. I used to run every second day and do weights on the day in-between where switching the exercise probably didn't serve as enough of a rest. Another training mistake was that I used the calories burned during running to justify eating an awful lot afterwards. Bodybuilders might eat a lot to build muscle but running is different to weightlifting in being catabolic by reducing muscle mass. There's a limit to how toned our muscles can be or else they'd tear. So overeating by 1000s of calories like Michael Phelps is unsustainable for cardiovascular exercise. I used to do a small bit of running for hurling training when I was a child. Then I started doing small laps around the park around age 10. However I seriously upped the tempo when I was 14 which may have been a bit too sudden.

In 2015 just before I was 20 it became difficult to run fast. My lower legs were always heavy and ached sometimes in what resembled shin splints except that it has never fully went away since that time. Occasionally there’d be a friction rash between my upper legs as if my stride had narrowed too much and my legs were gliding past each other. If I sat down too long my calf muscles would feel tight and I often had to stroll around in order to relieve it. My legs often felt slightly warm so I’d wear shorts a lot even when it was cold outside. This also helped to lighten the weight on my body if I was walking for many hours. One night a person on the street commended me for my "solidarity" in embracing the cold with shorts! I wouldn’t really feel out of breath when I ran simply because I couldn’t reach the speed to get to that point. I went to the doctor when it first began where I couldn’t run even though the doctor couldn’t discern any muscle tension. I didn’t think much about it at the time because the heaviness occurred for two months previously before temporarily disappearing for a few weeks so I suspected something similar would happen where it’d be gone in a few months.

It was frustrating as I’d still full mobility in my legs, joints and muscles but I was never able to really accelerate. I just had this slow walking stamina. During the first few years I'd be out walking and I frequently hoped that the shin splints had went away whenever I was able to jog. However my legs would quickly feel heavy again because I was only using spare energy from my upper body. For instance I could turn both of my feet inwards while I jogged but the new lease of life would disappear after a few minutes. I often found that when I slightly altered my stride into a new posture to incorporate underused muscles that I could jog temporarily until those muscles fatigued which is quite common in shin splints. One time I even experimented with a "scream" run where I opened my mouth to breathe as fast as I could. I turned the corner past a petrol station where a load of boy racers were much amused by my expression! Rarely I might hold my breath as much as I can and temporarily hypo-ventilate in order to increase my jogging concentration. I missed the old running routine on the treadmill when the fatigue first began but after a long period of time I began to appreciate the slow treks. I used to view shin splints as harmful for my walking because my maximum walking speed decreased. In the early stages I didn't interpret my extra walking motivation as stamina because it arose through restlessness. I think the accumulative effect of a slightly reduced stride length and width in your walking stride can gradually cause a slowdown of momentum over a long period of time. So even a minor change could cause problems for the body as it has to be able to always function efficiently with whatever the adverse effect is for many years to come and not just the short-term.

The heavy sensation in my lower legs eventually disappeared after 5 years. I thought I would regain my speed once the aching feeling had left my calf muscles. But I’d become so used to moving my hips and overall posture at this slower speed such that I’m still actually moving no faster than I was when the leg fatigue left. My legs had already become accustomed to a certain pace of movement. The initial ache and apparent weight in my shins used to make me walk an awful lot to relieve it but now I no longer have that same sensation to stop me accelerating. It has given way to a kind of inertia in my hips, knees and ankles that undermines my steady balance if I try to run continuously. Running requires a simultaneous and irregular movement pattern of all the joints with stable hips. It's a lot harder to concentrate on a triple-pendulum of the ankle, knee and hip rather than just the knee and ankle. Everyone has a unique style of running that's formed over a lifetime. Thus if you break your rhythym it's going to be hard to ever find a new gait. You can build muscle but you can't build a different skeleton.

(That video was taken in April 2020 when the shin fatigue had finally went away. I compensate a small bit by using a tight inward arm rotation. To me it consciously felt like I was running as fast as I was when I was a teenager but as you can see I was physically significantly slowed down. I think our movement can be so complex that if you’ve paid too much attention to it then it’s like analysis paralysis and you can’t accelerate. My stride length was a bit smaller while my increased stride frequency made me think I should've been accelerating faster. A few times during the month I'd be out walking and suddenly I'd feel the energy to sprint all-out for a minute or two until I lose the momentum. It might make me walk slightly slower afterwards. If we walk up a hill at the same pace as level ground then we're actually walking faster in terms of absolute displacement and so our bodies will have some leeway to alter our pace. Walking down a hill is equivalent to walking on even ground and then abseiling vertically downwards at the end. Some weeks I'd have no jogging energy and I might occasionally dash a few quick steps on a walk to keep energised. Rarely I'd be caught out on my way back to the house from a looped walk when I'd feel an overwhelming fatigue in my legs to walk at a snail's pace. After 20 minutes to half-hour my motivation would increase again and I'd be back walking at my normal pace. I'd listen to music sometimes while I was out walking for extra incentives. However other times I might cut down on the music in order to preserve my mental energy for the entire walk. I gained a small bit of weight since the shin splints began because I was relatively thin as a teenager. Although the extra abdominal weight only came after my inability to run rather than it being a direct source of the heavy leg sensation. I'd a gym mentality where I always harboured a belief that not only would I recover but that I'd end up being faster and stronger than when the shin splints first began. So it took me a long time to accept that I was going to be a champion merely in the strolling around category!)

Excessive walking can have a disorienting effect on the mind!

The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be 500 Miles

Perhaps we should be wary of listening too much to songs that have long distance walking as their central theme. Otherwise many of us would find ourselves walking all night long!

Vanessa Carlton: A 1000 Miles

An indirect way to approach the problem might be through mental focus and mood. Exercise can have mental effects like a “runner’s high” of adrenaline. I often found a run after school can refresh your concentration before beginning homework. Perhaps I was a little too dependent on running to compensate for the mental fatigue of studying. Conversely walking at an extremely slow pace is often used as a form of mindfulness. Walking with weightless, anaesthecised legs would be like you were meandering around in a dream. Fast breathing is associated with anxiety while slow breathing is a meditation technique. So in some instances perhaps chronic pain is working backwards to achieve a certain frame of mind in the context of mental illness. The resting state of sleep is associated with variations in muscle tone and irregular breathing. Breathing problems are occasionally reported in instances of sleep paralysis. Perhaps the sense of pain in that particular example is to prevent disorientation and to ensure the mind has the ability to concentrate to a degree that’s enough to prevent the threat of psychosis. We often can't think as fast when we're in physical pain because we're so distracted by it. For example if you've a very sore foot then you'll struggle to hold a conversation. Yet we can invert that statement by saying if we can't think properly then the body might interpret this as physical pain. In other words chronic pain might conceal psychotic thoughts, emotions or sensations. Body pain would present the sufferer with an alternative challenge so to speak. For instance people often joke about breaking a foot to distract them from other less painful injuries. Chronic pain might appear imaginary but hallucinations are real to the people who perceive them. If it's possible to hallucinate sensory input then it stands to reason that the body can "hallucinate" physical pain.

Breathing has both voluntary and involuntary components so an alteration in that ratio where we direct more of our attention on breathing might cause distress. Anaerobic sprinting is more about muscle strength which doesn't rely on faster breathing as much as slower aerobic running. Even though we breathe faster when we sprint we're still hypo-ventilating relative to the amount of oxygen needed to idealistically sprint effortlessly. Subconscious pain that’s perceived physically might gradually give you mental resilience and coping skills to deal with future stress and worry by making it pale in comparison. Then chronic pain would be a way to reify and personify your mental problems. There are many indirect muscle synergists and accessory inspiratory muscles that help the breathing mechanism in the back for instance or the abdominals. Intense running is very healthy and invigorating and it can make you feel focused afterwards but it's temporarily mentally fatiguing which might be distracting or disorienting if you'd certain mental illnesses. Physical fatigue can eventually cause anxiety. An unusual approach to chronic pain is to view it as a rugged form of spirituality. Extreme pain can be a reminder of our mortality and it often helps to look past ourselves in order to overcome it; whether it's through meditation or prayers.

A neurological way to approach chronic pain is to say that a lot of the brain is extremely complex where a single miswired neuron might go unnoticed. I'd a brain scan where no anomalies were found. Yet seeing as neurons can't repair themselves it's possible to say that overcoming one faulty neuron alone could cause a lot of pain. I temporarily tried dieting to see if it reduced the leg pain and it failed to do so. Needless to say there are other health benefits of a healthy diet besides leg weight. An obese person can't run and neither can I and yet my body isn't too overweight. The initial ache of shin splints resembled a heavier bodyweight than I actually had.

I don't know how relevant lucid dreaming and anti-realism are to chronic pain. For example I had the sense that my vision genuinely changed during the late 2017 panic attack mentioned in the anti-realism thread. Later in the same day I felt my visual perception was almost back to normal when I recovered except that I was slightly more attuned to the contrast between colours. When the breathlessness occurred in 2016 I experienced infrequent though troubling lucid dreams. One time it felt like there was a cartoonish person sitting beside my bed. Another night it seemed like my dream character was describing a scene in which I was floating around a crevasse in a mountain with a lot of people swinging around me. Physical pain might help you to distinguish between the real world and the numbness of the dream world. I don't think alcohol played any role in the anxiety because I consumed it very rarely and only binge drank on perhaps two occasions well before the shin splints. If I'm particularly tired after a long day outside then I might appear to be walking a tiny bit tipsy to an outsider.

I had a month of this peculiar sort of anxiety in 2016 when I was 21. I became hyper-focused on my breathing where it would sometimes feel that I was breathing too fast or too slow. I don't know how to describe it; it was like my nostrils felt constricted when I nose-breathed and my throat felt tight when I switched to mouth-breathing. There could occasionally be cycles of feeling too hot or a sore type of sensation around my chest. The way the source of the pain changed every few hours gave me extra motivation to withstand it. Breathlessness is the diametrical opposite of hyperventilation and so this might have been a sign that the pain was sourced internally rather than physically. There was never any break from it as whenever the breathlessness stopped I just felt pure anxiety and fear for when the next round would begin. It felt like I was running on a treadmill with the stop button broken where there was also a wall of knives inconveniently left behind me and pointing towards me should I fall. When it first started it was so severe and bewildering that I actually thought I was getting a heart attack and asked to go on a ventilator. The moment it began I asked a nurse if I could go to a hospital in the sense of a physical checkup but she replied that this was a hospital too with reference to it being a psychiatric ward. She encouraged me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth but unfortunately this wasn't going to relieve the soreness. Indeed I could feel the air going in and out of my nose but I'd to compensate by overwhelming effort to inhale with my breathing muscles. A metaphorical analogy would be like you were struggling to breathe in air that had no oxygen. One more comparison would be as if you were breathing in cold air that went right to the back of your nose and made you feel sensitive. Alternatively I could describe it as if it were a headache that made your breathing nerves really tender.

It was fierce painful but of course the psychiatric staff couldn’t physically detect any problem at all; “the machine doesn’t lie”! If you're ever stuck for describing pain then just say you're in unspeakable pain! I lay down in my bed where a nurse came to see how I was doing. I told her I was dying but she seemed confused and said that I looked calm and relaxed. She mentioned that she was elderly and that if anyone was dying around here it'd be herself! A few hours later I came to realise that it wasn't a typical heart or breathing problem by the mere fact I was still alive. I didn't know what was going on and I suspected the tired breathing was out of some kind of recovery process. I was almost begging for my previous problems to come back just to get rid of the breathlessness. I was in hospital voluntarily at first but after an appeal and a court tribunal I was made an involuntary patient. I didn't want to sound confrontational so I referred to it as a second opinion rather than as a tribunal! When I told a fellow patient that I was made an involuntarily patient he looked bemused and joked, "you mean to tell me you've just been here voluntarily up to this point?"! The nurses were saying that if I was able to physically talk about it then I must be breathing perfectly fine. Catch-22! (Perhaps if I’d went to a private psychiatric ward! More one on one tutorials?!) I suppose initially I said I couldn’t breathe when it’d have been more accurate to say it was highly stressful and exhausting to breathe. It was like expending my lifetime’s worth of breathing pain! I'd the shin splints for approximately a year before the breathlessness began. When the breathlessness began I didn't think it was inherently connected to the shin splints because the shin splints seemed far easier and milder in comparison. But these type of low-level aches can have a spiral effect in the long-term where it gets progressively more tiring due to a lack of rest. So now I think the breathlessness may have been a passive and unconscious reaction to the prolonged shin splints. The staff frequently asked me to have a shower even though I don't sweat excessively; I only got overheated sometimes with tired muscles.

Some people thought I was overreacting a small bit and actually to some extent I could be as confused as they were. The only caveat is that it wasn't my immediate mind that was initiating the pain but rather my subconscious mind. After all why would I want to be in pain? I'd ask myself why am I so breathless despite being physically healthy and my frustration would be to no avail. One way to think of the pain response is that it's a very blunt mechanism where the biological body often overreacts to pathogens like we see in allergies and autoimmune disorders. Evolution cares far more about your survival than your happiness. From the body's perspective it can be better to overreact than to under-react so as to err on the side of caution. Likewise a contributing factor to a few mental illnesses might be the subconscious mind recursively double-checking our motivation.

Evidence was cited of me walking around town without shoes or socks at 5am in the morning. I told them I was just experimenting with the barefoot running trend but they didn’t understand! There was eyewitness testimony of me spending too long looking into a mirror as if I was seeing things. That was actually me thinking about the mirror experiment in the antirealism thread! I found the unusualness of ringing for a takeaway pizza to the psychiatric ward a bit fun. There were other reports where I was acting suspiciously around my phone as if I might have been paranoid. I had hid my phone just as a nurse was walking by. What really happened was that I was giving out to some relatives and I simply didn’t want the nurse to overhear! The art therapist reported that my drawings gave an impression of anarchy and inner uncertainty. To be honest I was really never good at art! A nurse asked me about my hobbies and I told her I liked the tennis. She was happy but reminded me if I wanted to be a professional that it might be counted as a delusion! Yet another accusation was that I recklessly discharged an airgun in my room back home. Unfortunately I don’t have any comeback to that one! I was messing around aiming it at a wall and just didn’t know it was loaded. I was a bit frustrated sometimes but I tried to act pleasant even though they perceived it as if I was smiling to myself! I had initially asked for a painkiller or a heart tablet and was handed anti-psychotics! For a while I was moved from oral medication to injections. Any injections of anti-psychotics into the gluteal muscles were usually administered by a female member of staff to reduce the awkwardness!

The anxiety just seemed to be out of the blue and it appeared very disproportionate to any other stressful thoughts I might have had at the time. To me the pain seemed systematic and external while the staff were saying it was the other way round and I was just too anxious. I felt the anxiety was more an unconscious result of the painful breathing. I wasn't trying to shy away from the fact I was anxious but it seemed to me that I was anxious about my immediate breathing. It didn't feel like I was rationally worried about thoughts in my mind or possible stresses in the future but instead I just perceived it as an emotional and instinctive form of anxiety. It was almost self-referential in being anxious about being anxious! I couldn't tell myself to stop being anxious. Occasionally I shook my hand slowly to help me focus on each breath. In retrospect it felt like no matter how briefly I could have calmed down I still would have had trouble and panic symptoms for many weeks. I was actually in hospital for several days a few weeks beforehand after feeling worried and generally anxious. I was discharged and then later asked to come back in to check-up on how I was doing. Although my experience and sensations during the second visit were entirely different and much more intense and longer than the first visit as I spontaneously felt it hard to catch my breath as I walked down the corridor.

I've come up with various ways to interpret the pain I once felt but truth be told I still don't fully comprehend the source of it or why precisely it happened. There's still a bit of mystery to chronic pain even though I've attempted a spectrum of answers. The following guess might be a bit far-fetched but it could be possible that chronic pain is a paradoxical defence against latent suicidality. I'm uncertain of this perspective because the anxiety of chronic pain can itself cause suicidality. The first time I went in hospital was after a very brief spell of quasi-suicidal feelings but by the time I arrived at the hospital I was no longer suicidal. I never felt suicidal in the intervening period but perhaps the physical body could pick up on previous fears of mortality. Then it'd be like the breathlessness forces the issue by ensuring that you've the long-term willpower to resist an unconscious spiralling of suicidal thoughts. To be honest I felt exponentially more suicidal during the panic of chronic pain than I ever did beforehand. Anyway who knows if I'd still have been afflicted by a resurrection of suicidal thoughts even if the breathlessness were never to have happened. I don't really know how my body could ever know if my mind was once suicidal unless the breathless sensation was akin to the amount of breaths I would have missed out on had I actually acted on my initial thoughts of suicide.

It seemed to last from morning till night. Thankfully I managed to get a few hours sleep each night but it always restarted as soon as I woke up. I tried to pass the time by strolling around the corridor and garden or else sitting and lying down. After it ended my memory of it just slowly faded away as if it was all meaningless. I spent so long trying to ignore the previous day's pain in order to focus only on the present pain that when it finished I passively lost my memory of it over many months. I thought the pain would traumatise me forever and instead the memory just became increasingly distant and hazy. I couldn't recreate the intensity of the breathlessness which would have reminded me of the mindset I had during that period. While I had the breathlessness the pain was so overpowering that I couldn't remember myself breathing normally before the episode started. By the end of it I felt like my body had run out of its supply of chest pain! A technical way of describing the sensation though not the physical process would be like my ribs felt paralysed and I'd to interchangeably use other breathing muscles like the diaphragm.

I thought in retrospect that somehow the initial inconvenience of shin splints and the way that heavy sensation eventually disappeared was indirectly connected to the episode of anxiety I had when I was 21. An extreme analogy would be if you were out of breath and trying to run for just one more minute, then forgetting about the previous minute straight afterwards means you can possibly keep running forever one more minute at a time! That is to say continuously ignoring previous physical stress can prolong your focus and stamina. So our mental energy and motivation can affect our physical energy. A runner's high can be described as a rush of endorphins but we might also be able to interpret it as a very mild form of temporary amnesia. For example no one gets PTSD after running a marathon because the mind is better at recovering from physical pain than it is at emotional pain. A synonym for ignoring pain is forgetting pain.

Thankfully I made a full recovery but it was such an ordeal that it caused a lot of demotivation and confusion in the months afterwards that disrupted my ambitions and long-term planning. I thought that as soon as the breathlessness ended the shin splints would go away simultaneously. That didn't occur and so I felt it'd only be a matter of time for the shin splints to disappear. I waited around a long time but it gradually dawned on me the tiredness in the legs were there for the long haul. It fatigued me when I was doing courses. I was always telling myself that once I overcome the breathlessness that everything will be sorted and so it felt almost absurd to have to worry again about training and careers when I finally recovered. Incidentally I saw an ex-patient with his brother and asked him if he was going to continue with his plans to move to Boston. Apparently I put him in an awkward position and he was desperately trying to convince us that I was thinking of a different patient that was absconding to America! I was never officially diagnosed with chronic pain. I was initially diagnosed with prodromal psychosis and it later changed to autistic spectrum disorder. (Prodromal means "in the early stages".) I didn't dispute the diagnosis because they all share anxiety as a symptom. I knew I'd a few deficits in social skills and so it'd be helpful to work on that area too. Non-physical fear could theoretically cause a self-induced heart attack. Although this usually only occurs when the heart is already weak such as when an elderly person is frightened to death by a burglar.

A speculative idea is to connect short-term anxiety with longer-term depression. Some of the staff thought I was depressed when I told them about the breathlessness. Although the pain never consciously arose from thoughts about the meaningless of life. For me the anxiety was solely caused by the apparent lack of inhalations. However I mentioned in my patheism thread that I experienced a very brief spell of nihilism. This was about two or so years after the breathlessness. I never used to link the two because they were so far apart from each other. The sadness resembled depression in its intensity. However I never fully identified myself as depressed to others simply because it only lasted for 20 to 30 minutes while reports from other patients are often for over a day or a week. My mind went on a sudden tangent about the purpose of my life given that any path I choose will still end in a possible oblivion after natural death. I thought to myself that if death is ineluctable then why waste time on this life. It was like I was so afraid of dying in the distant future that I almost wanted to die there and then just to get it over with. This isn't strictly an atheistic viewpoint by the way. An agnostic fear of the simple notion of eternal oblivion got to me. So it wasn't a certainty that there wouldn't be an afterlife. After all eternity is so long that even a momentary and hazy visualisation of such emptiness can evoke panic. Perhaps the way I got the anxiety out of my system in previous years meant the depression didn't have to last too long. I'm not definite about this specific interpretation because it's highly indirect. Nonetheless it might be handy to brainstorm all possible causes in case anyone else ever had similar experiences.

One more far-out idea is to apply the anxiety to our analytical skills. I mentioned earlier that chronic pain could be working backwards to achieve a meditative state of mind. In fact I use this working backwards analogy throughout my blog. I do so directly in my dreaming and tennis threads and indirectly in other threads. For example if I think of a stressful event I could use a near impossible standard where the very fact that I'm thinking about it means that I don't fully understand it. This is a catch-22 where if I learned everything I could from the situation then the knowledge should be so intuitive that I should hardly need to recall it. I can use this working backwards technique by attempting to minimally mimic the all-out mindset I had during the breathlessness. For my militia thread I could tell myself that if the premise of the argument is correct then it should feel completely natural for people to agree with it. Yet to get to this level I'd have to describe it in such a manner that it conforms with people's pre-existing beliefs as much as possible. The only way this could happen is if I form as many new ideas as I can relating my cental idea with most of their old ideas. This isn't a full working backwards mechanism since it involves a progression of smaller ideas. Nonetheless the motivation I have stems to some extent from a futuristic ideal of a perfect explanation. For difficult personal relationships I sometimes think there's no smoke without fire. Thus if I feel stressed I'm tempted to think the problem must be worse than I first imagined it to be. I've an enhanced appreciation of my motor memory for tennis where I can interpret muscular fatigue in my arm as neurological fatigue. I could tell myself that if my technique were perfect then it should be so clean and efficient that my arm should barely ache even when I'm hitting a lot of fast swings. The way my shin splints stopped hurting after many years is like my unconscious mind worked backwards from a simulation of a painfully high muscle tone until it desensitised to a relaxed one even when the tension was always invisible and physically the same. A thought process that I sometimes find myself engaging in is if I was thinking of something bothersome I'll decide to ignore it. Although the strange thing is I often suspect I could easily resolve it if only I put more thought into it. It's like the way a negative event can force you to compensate by working harder except that I'd be overcompensating by artificially extending the thought line. I might put a stressor to the back of mind solely to use it as fuel to help my creativity. For example if I think about failed exams I get the impression I could interpret the situation better by analysing it more. Although I get so many serendipitous ideas by viewing myself as an underdog that it paradoxically feels as if I don't want to resolve the initial feeling of failure. So I'll commit to not overthink the failed exams until my spell of creativity runs dry. Indeed there could be additional benefits of pursuing this strategy of letting regrets hang behind you. You could multitask other topics and let the unconscious regret assimilate new information passively. The older you are the wiser you'll be and so procrastinating on a certain dilemma means you can deal with it when you'd have more skill. Then there's also a stoic notion of ignoring frustrations to prevent them interfering with your wellbeing. Of course the last option of stoicism has its limits if you never deal with your problems and allow them to build up until you implode. If this analytical interpretation of chronic pain is valid then it'd be like perfectionism were a neuroligical disorder rather than just a risky and ambitious strategy, obsessiveness or a personality flaw like vanity. In this scenario chronic pain would be like a stress test for mental stress instead of physical stress. The breathlessness would be like practice for all other negative emotions.

Yet another weird idea is to interpret walking impairments and memory deficits as the body's default response to ageing. So even if we solved many terminal illnesses like cancer, we'd still be psychologically mortal and eventually succumb to exhaustion. Thus chronic pain could be a way to guide our body through the ageing process. Through experience we could balance opposing mental and physical strengths.

There were one or two occasions where either my pulse was too fast or the heart monitor was slow to work. The staff thought at first that this might have been due to white coat syndrome or hypochondria. The brain can work recursively such that the fear of your symptoms worsening can add to the anxiety. Under this light an irrational fear of an imminent death would cause you to save your breath which in turn would only create more panic.

A slow pace of walking can seem monotonous relative to an outdoor run. It's when I'm in scenic areas that I can truly appreciate having a residual amount of energy that I can rely on. For example I was in Barcelona for a week-end holiday in 2020 and I was so refreshed after several multi-hour walking tours around the city. I didn't have to worry about timing my pace because I was going at a carefree speed and took an occasional tea break. It's reassuring to be able to plan for a day's worth of walking where you can absorb all of your surroundings far more than you would on a bus ride. It might even sound as if I'm advocating for people to get chronic pain when in truth I thoroughly resented the breathlessness. Despite hating the aching sensations I'm actually kind left to justify the same aches in order to explain it to others!

Dougal Almost Gives The Bishop A Heart Attack! | Father Ted

It looks like a silly march but while I was in my room I decided to do some exaggerated vertical hip stretches and elastic horizontal hip movements in order to emphasise the loose and indirect nature of our spinal engine:

To see how convenient our arm swing is we can check how awkward it’d be to walk with both arms swinging forward and back together or else having the same arm move ipsilaterally with the leg. It’s easier for us to stroll a tiny march with one foot continuously in front of the other than a bipedal galloping jog!

Some gallivanting postures!

I try not to crash or trip during my last few steps. Turn off your vestibulo-occular reflex to turn your head on each stride and walk like a monkey! Monkey is sometimes used as a racist insult even though there is actually a monkey for every skin colour!

Some all out, existential music(!):

(Red Hot Chilli Peppers: Dani California - Skipping and jumping through the verse!)

A slower beat can help for the lethargic walks!

(America: A Horse with no Name - It's only when you can't even remember your name that you can call yourself truly elderly!)

We’ve to keep on the move because our hearts will explode when it beats too slowly:

(Father Ted: Dougal the Milkman and the Booby Trap)

The shamanic pose!

I'm not very tall but that doesn't mean I can't try!

Whenever I do have extra speed to jog it often resembles a power-walk more than a light run.

Juggling different leg muscles:

Check my "Shin Splints Jogging" channel for extra videos: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCMJq0CvNOmi-95wokCkKcOQ/videos

(I got no reply.)

Yoga and stretching can help relieve tension!

Hot Naked Yoga - Playboy TV - YouTube (Clean)


I admit that I try to be an unceasing perfectionist. Except I’ve often failed to achieve any perfection. So I’m not sure if that makes me a perfect failure or a failed perfectionist! At least I’ll be self-critically humble about not being a true perfectionist! I remember watching a documentary about all of the different types of ants. I can only paraphrase it but the ants were descended from some type of wasp thing. Apparently these type of wasp flies were the most populous species on Earth for a small part of its geological history. So maybe we need spiders or the world would still be ruled by flies! They’re an enemy of an enemy. https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/121605-arachnophobia%C2%A0%C2%A0/

That’s one of the biggest ones I’ve caught. I put my tennis racket beside it to add some perspective to it; as if I was investigating a crime scene!

I’ve had a one or two of these fly into my room in the middle of the night. I’d be chasing it all over the place to capture it in a glass. I’d be jumping on and off my bed if it was on the ceiling. It must of sounded like a war-zone and everyone else would awaken. I was often left bemused when someone else would just walk in, catch it in their hands and release it outside.

They’re certainly not creepy. But maybe our pets find us creepy as they probably view humans as a superior species with ambivalent intentions. The labrador’s name is Toby. It wasn’t me that named him so I always assumed it was just a dog’s name. So you can imagine how awkward I felt when people started introducing themselves to me as Toby!

(John Wick: It wasn't just a dog scene)

I remember watching this movie and was thinking to myself that I know so many people who’ve had a pet killed by a car. Whatever I do I won’t get them this movie as a Christmas present!


Somehow I can’t see that sport taking off in Ireland: we’d have to choose between buying a car or a bird! Unless maybe we could train it as a sort of “security bird” to chase after trespassers😀. I was a spectator at a handball tournament in Qatar when I was allowed hold a cool bird in my arm.

They’re sly creatures who have a penchant for killing mice and ruining leather couches. Threatening but not creepy!

I always have to mentally prepare before eating shrimps and squid when they’re served uncut. I like pictures of crabs and octopuses so I try to think of them when I eat these fish. If you in any way think about their grasshopper appearance then I’m afraid you’ve already lost and will be unable to continue!

Random act of kindness: I pushed a beetle stuck on the footpath the right side up!

Who's more conscious?!

I tried to hit that stubborn fly away at least 5 times. I know they’re unfeeling but I do think some flies have a wry sense of amusement. I've improved my sparring against agile flies by slapping at top speed and often by aiming a bit above their position so that they'll jump into my swing! Other times I've to creep up behind them and launch an ambush! If there's a few them I might shiver every now and then like a pony! I'll be a trained boxer by the end of it!

At least this guy found my jokes funny.

(pdf on blog page)


Unfortunately I happen to be an expert on the topic! She was very rebellious, talkative and resilient. Another quality she had was her independent-minded attitude where she wasn't afraid to pursue unusual hobbies like pole-dancing. Although this uniqueness and self-reliance had a downside in that she wasn't in any way dependent on my company! I always admired her sarcastic sense of humour even though it could occasionally be myself who'd be the butt of the joke! She asked me if I could help her find a boyfriend. I agreed because I thought she was just being coy and playful. But I was to later find out that she was serious! She was quite fond of practical jokes. She called me on the phone and said she wanted to kiss if I came to her house the following day. But lo and behold she'd a sudden change of mind when I arrived and she no longer felt comfortable. It was as if I was well-studied except for the most basic kiss and hesitated! Imagining about going on a date doesn’t count as a hallucination! I went to see her for coffee once where she was explaining how she had a brain injury but that she recovered and it's not visible that she had it. I misspoke when I agreed with her that it wasn't noticeable and she just looked normal. But then she picked it up wrong and felt that I was saying she wasn't normal. I've to be more careful with my words! She told me about two unusual ex-boyfriends where there was a guy who had become gay by the end of their relationship and then there was another who descended into drugs. So maybe I inadvertently avoided being the next altered ex-boyfriend on the list and escaped the curse! At first I thought she was playing hard to get only that the time became longer and longer! We went into a bar one time and I got an alcoholic drink. She asked for a sip and I obliged. However she wasn't meant to drink any alcohol due to her injury and I got into a small bit of trouble. I was in a no-win situation! I was put in a tricky situation where her friend would act nice to me while I was with her but anytime I saw him on the street he'd walk straight past me. She said hello to me years ago the first time when I was shopping in Dunnes Stores because she thought I was someone else! She initially seemed interested but once she got to know me she appeared to change her mind! She was frustrated at first that she'd to ask me to meet up when convention dictates that it's meant to be the other way round! On another one of our early meetings we went to see Fifty Shades of Grey at the cinema. Perhaps I shouldn't have recommended an explicit movie to start off with! She'd usually cancel every second meeting and we met once every two months. It was strange because it was usually her who asked to meet me where she'd cancel an hour beforehand or while I was en route. On one occasion she randomly asked me to see her and then immediately cancelled it and texted me to say she hopes I'm not annoyed but that she's sorry if I "felt" that way. Eventually we could only meet up if it was with other people! She asked me to write a Valentine's Day card only as friends! Having my own personal theory of gravitation didn't change her mind! In fairness she had playfully asked me a few weeks after we met if I was trying to "get something" from her before bluntly warning me that I "won't". Then she yawned and joked that she wanted to sleep in my bed because she was tired! I had bought her a cup of tea and a muffin beforehand but obviously she wasn't too pleased! I got the impression any potential romance or friendship was over when she didn't really say hello and appeared to ditch me once or twice at nightclubs after having invited me there with her friends. The first night I was asked to take a group photo of them and idly wandered around listening to music. I stayed there for a long time because they were friendly before we went inside the disco. The second night I detected I'd be by myself again so I left after 10 minutes. Beforehand I'd to wait for 15 minutes because they told me to meet them at another place when they were already inside. I remember trying to approach them where she appeared to be trying to push another fearful woman in my direction! One of her friends approached me looking sad and then walked away again. I initially said I didn't want to see them anymore. Eventually I couldn't resist and met up with her on other days just in case she ever changed her mind and became friendlier! She later said that it was my job to follow them around dancing rather than it being their job to come to me standing by the side! I was fascinated by her recovery from her injury but her and her friend sometimes seemed rather cynical towards me. Her friend had told me I should've followed them around at the disco like a normal person in an apparent distortion and gross exaggeration of what I had previously said. Sometimes I reduced contact with her not because she wasn't romantically interested in me where she claimed I was jealous but simply because she wasn't always friendly. There might be periods where she'd stop replying to my messages for several months or a few times she'd ask me to meet her in town only to leave after a few minutes. I went to one of her birthdays where was upset that some of her other friends didn't arrive in a slightly ungrateful way. Or maybe I was just overestimating my influence on her! She said once how she didn't mean to ignore me but that she was feeling down. It's a surreal feeling when the person you want to meet more often asks you for advice to help them overcome their loneliness without actually wanting more contact from you! I was always preoccupied with other challenges in life and so initially I didn't mind waiting to meet up with her and her friends even if they weren't reliable. It seems herself and her friend have unfriended me and haven't replied for a year as of May 2022. Or maybe they simply didn't like me writing a blog post about them and are wary of future reports! She once expressed her view that criminals should only be rehabilitated and that medical cannabis should be legalised. Needless to say I agreed with her but she may have found me contradicting myself in the blog. It's hard to know whether spending a lot of time with people who then choose to permanently avoid you is time wasted but at least it was some sort of social recreation and emotional practice. I was always hoping she'd come to her senses and change her mind which probably creeped her out a bit! Nonetheless I can try to learn from her humble attitude towards life. I always found her penchant for the odd curse word really amusing and endearing. On second thought she probably wasn't intending it as a joke!

Mabel - Thinking of You

(Unfortunately she must have been listening to her other song "Don't Call Me up"!)


The trouble with certain mental illnesses is that the stress blinds us from seeing the full spectrum and everything appears all-or-nothing: the world either has meaning or it doesn’t, the world is real or it’s a fake illusion. Ordinarily we can appreciate that there’s shades of meaninful and meaningless aspects of our lives while remaining confident that the scales tip in favour of the meaningful side. We can usually understand there’s non-real components of our existence like colours and death without becoming preoccupied by these matters. Mental illness are painful because they can force the issue. It might be easier to passively withstand involuntary pain than actively defeating voluntary pain. https://www.scienceforums.net/topic/119204-solipsism/

Maybe a cure for solipsism is to find ways to transcend yourself like fiction and music!

(Ian Van Dahl: Castles in the Sky)


The moderator didn’t understand what I was saying. I've no "dark" agenda! I was commenting on the slavery theory in athletics and not slavery itself. So if I sounded a little dismissive it was solely of the slavery gene theory and obviously not the harshness of slavery. From what I can gather, survival of the fittest in evolutionary terms is more about adapting to the environment. It doesn’t literally mean the stronger the better. For example, being physically weaker and therefore being able to live off less food means that your more efficient and better “adapted” to working with a limited food supply. Being the strongest bodybuilder yet needing to eat 8,000 calories a day means that you wouldn’t survive the likes of slavery. So it doesn’t follow that only the physically strongest survived slavery. There’s a limit to what our bodies can adapt to.

Even if I was wrong on which causes which the fitter you are the better your temperature regulation. Heat resilience is not only important for cardio but also to prevent dangerous heat illnesses and sun stroke. All colours have different heat properties and so the phenomenon isn't uniquely black. Radiation in this context is a synonym for heat and not uranium! It’d take a brave athlete to dope with nuclear fusion! And even if I were wrong on everything, I fail to see how it’s in any way racist to say people might look fit when fitness is very much appreciated in today’s society! For instance, being taller and muscular means that you can physically lift heavier weights than a thinner person. Nothing controversial there! But obviously it doesn’t make it psychologically less demanding to lift heavier weights for that bigger person. Of course the sole exception is the Schwarzenegger terminator robot! Anyway it’s simply that they wouldn’t be physically at risk if they attempted to exert themselves. That is to say the larger person still needs to endure much more psychological pain than a thin person when both of them are at their respective 1 rep max. Although a stronger person could reach a weaker person’s maximum with less effort but they can then go beyond that. Their physicality can make them capable of reaching more psychological pain for that discipline. There’d be negative feedback for a less muscular person where they’d be physically unable to endure an equivalent amount of psychological intensity solely in terms of lifting weights. Please note that I didn't say that a person's skin colour impinges on their empathy and conscious selves. I'm not sure if it's any consolation to hear that if I view anyone as non-human it's myself!


(My comment is towards the end of the first page in the above “du vide” thread.)






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