Visual Gallery Assignment

At the first glance of this image, you can already sense the immense level of discomfort or even pain that is construed on this man’s face. Whether it be from the forces strewn by the dark weaves of paint that hampers his body or the abnormal position he is in, you can tell he is suffering or at the beginning of an episode. As a PT student we are taught the intricacies of proper body mechanics such as good posture and from our education, it is why I believe the individual is in physical pain. The expression of his face also is telling of how this man is not in a good state at least in the captured moment.

My interpretation of this piece helped me brain storm and ruminate on the many causes of pain whether it is as conspicuous as this image or as subtle as insidious as hidden pathologies. These thoughts brought me to see a strange perspective of pain. At least in my mind, the human pain experience is one that can seem long and never ending as we are placed in a painful position or predicament; however, the memory of pain is always fleeting. Once an illness or disorder has been cured, we barely even ruminate on the suffering we have felt until sometime later as if we had stepped out of the state as a brand new individual. This thought is not for all states of pain or illnesses though as severe diseases such as cancer or large changes to one’s physical self such as amputation can lead to long lasting change of state. I have this thought in my mind due to the numerous minor injuries and sicknesses I have suffered and how in the bat of an eye, I no longer cared once the ailment disappeared.

Besides the position the individual is in, what could be other causes of this man’s suffering?

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My interpretation of this picture is that he’s feeling pain throughout his body with the black lines representing pain. Perhaps he’s been dealing with chronic or acute pain and his position is one of agony. His facial expression along with clenched fists also adds to the imagery of pain.

Kevin,

Great insight on the complexity of the human pain experience. Something that stuck out to me about what you said was the memory of pain and how that is a fleeting experience for you. Do you think that everyone else experiences the memory of pain as fleeting? At least to me, it seems like the experience of pain can be a long, ongoing experience that persists even after the physical ailment is gone, and perhaps that has something to do with how everyone deals with pain differently. It seems facing the pure physiological foundation of pain is one half of the battle, and the other half is how it affects someone from a mental and/or emotional point of view. Perhaps another cause of this man’s suffering is something hidden behind him that we can’t see.

Kevin, I love your comment about how we often forget how painful experiences can be. As an athlete, I absolutely know this to be true! Races and challenging outdoor endeavors are always painful, and I always swear I’ll never put myself through something like it again. But as soon as it’s over, I forget how horrible it was and somehow find myself doing the same thing over and over again. This can certainly be problematic for a patient with an actual injury/illness – as clinicians, we don’t want them doing the same thing over and over that aggravates their problem! Maybe remembering pain more acutely could be beneficial and protective against hurting ourselves more in the future.

For this piece of art, it seems that his physical pain is a result of emotional or psychological distress, and I think the art is more of a metaphor or representation for that pain rather than a realistic depiction of physical agony. The unnatural body positon and strokes of black paint show something deeper is going on, rather than simply a physical trauma.

Besides the position the individual is in, what could be other causes of this man’s suffering?

He looks miserable.You’re right pain could be just in that moment or chronic. He could be dying from the inside out and only the outside or directly asking could we know. He could have just been dumped by a long time significant other. He might have been (just before this) that he was a senior in college and his team was doing great and about to go to play offs; when COVID-19 turned up and ruined his last chances to do what he loved at that level (because he won’t be playing professionally). That look on his face makes me think of some kind of internal discomfort.

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