Today I have been thinking about something that I find fascinating, which started when I went back to my local tattoo studio this morning to get another piece of ink. I know that tattoos aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but all of my tattoos have a very special meaning to me. I really enjoy getting them and I actually find them quite relaxing. This may come as a shock to you guys, but I don’t think they hurt at all; in fact, I enjoy the feeling of the needle on my skin, This was one of the things I started to wonder about.
First of all, I’ve come to think that there are at least three, but maybe more, different types of pain. Emotional pain aside, as that’s a whole other subject, for me there’s physical pain and sensory system pain. I’m somewhat sensitive to the latter. When something assaults my sensory system, it can really hurt. On that front, the only issue with my love of tattoos is the noise. If you have ever had one, or been to a tattoo studio, you will know how noisy the tattoo machines are. This was not really an issue today, as this one was on my forearm. While it was slightly noisy, it wasn’t an assault on my ears. However, the one before this was a cover-up on the top of my arm, right next to my ear and it lasted for an hour or so. I hardly felt the needle, but the pain from the noise was almost unbearable. If it had gone on any longer, I would have had to stop.
I have begun to wonder whether this high tolerance to physical pain is just an individual thing that I have been gifted with, or if it’s a common aspie trait? I have looked into this and it seems that there is a link between ASD sufferers and pain thresholds. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be in a world without physical pain? Everyone feels pain to some degree, including us aspies. It doesn’t have to be a huge pain to be felt, So where does the “no-pain” idea fit in? Aspies are very good at ignoring pain, particularly if they’re engaged in their special interest. The sorts of pain most commonly “ignored” by aspies are things such as muscular nerve pain, rather than wounds. This does not mean that every aspie is a superhuman when subjected to pain, although it does raise the interesting paradox: That some people with autism can tolerate extreme heat, cold or pressure and seem relatively insensitive to certain forms of physical pain. Paradoxically, they may experience intense pain from the most obscure of sources, but they may struggle to be able to communicate it properly. What do you think?
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