This poor junky is jonesing bad. He's od'd and its screwed him up, so now he can't get the monkey off his back.
I am not bloody joking either.
Two Sundays ago, I came away from the crag having taken a load of big hits onto bouldering pads. A night in a tent and I could feel my back wasn't right, because with twelve years of a disc injury, I know the signs. I get back out to the crag, try and do as much as I can, because nothing wrecks you harder than slackening off on the exercise.
What I cannot get away from is the six hour drive home.
Driving is hands fucking down the worst activity humans do. Not just for the planet but for the effect it has on the driver- the anger, the isolation, the dangerous weight gain around the belly, the atrophy of essential core muscles, the mental illness, the money, the carbon, the fucking lot. Just look at those three champions of the car: Clarkson, May and Hammond? Case closed.
|Look at these happy bastards!|
By the time I am home, my back is as bad as its ever been, perhaps a new level of pain. I always reckon, when it is bad that it is between 1 and 4 on the Goulding 10-Point Chronic Pain Scale - 10 being Childbirth, 1 being a dead leg.
As I get out of the car I think 'Yep, that's a five.'
So climbing is out. The trigger for injury is crashing into the pads from height, so sensibly I need to avoid doing this. Thats okay. If I have a week off from the Bouldering Gym, I can convince myself that it is good for my fingers: all those little micro-tears and sub-injuries can get a healing bath of hormones and proteins without any more wear and tear.
The problem is- new Uni course, rural Norfolk and a holiday booked in North Norfolk - I can't stop fucking driving.
The recurring injury is normally over in three days as long as I keep walking the dog. Actually, the pain is worse in the top part of my back, which isn't damaged, but my sprinting muscles are doing the job my marathon-runners should be, getting tired and cramping up.
By the time I drive up to Gateshead and County Durham for my sister's Birthday, I have had the pain for fourteen days, with three of those days painkiller free. This is not good.
But if physically I am a wreck, then mentally the pain is far, far greater. Climbing is only 20% about physical aspects and 80% about your mental aspects. Correspondingly, if you think I am in pain physically - and you can tell, as I walk around like Tina Turner- then you should see the inside of my head.
|That could be me, cooling my fingers in the breeze...|
Whatever holes I have that climbing fills start to gape. My sleeping goes to total shit as I am not tiring myself out with all that beneficial exercise. When I do sleep, I get technicolour dreams of climbing on the grey, grey slate. Then I start to NOT dream about climbing and this is worse.
Antsy, I start checking social media a LOT more. It is a particularly fertile time for pictures from my friends. They are all at crags, taking lobs on ropes, crashing into mats, and hauling themselves up vertical rock faces. I have NEVER seen so many pictures of climbing. I feel so left out, when can I climb with my friends again? maybe its deliberate! maybe they hate me? I notice the slide into paranoia just in time before I start blocking social media accounts, and only befriending people who are in bands - I'm not even musical.
Get a grip, I think. Get a grip. But this only makes me wonder what KIND of grip: crimp? sloper? drag? gaston?
I sweat. There's nothing for it. Tomorrow, fucked back or not, I am going climbing.