Pain is a distressing feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli. The International Association for the Study of Pain's widely used definition defines pain as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage".
In medical diagnosis, pain is regarded as a symptom of an underlying condition.
This definition of pain works perfectly on a physical level. But what happens on another level? That level which goes beyond the skin, deep into that invisible layer that no human eye can see.
Yes, we are talking about a psychological pain, mental pain, or also known as emotional pain. It is an unpleasant feeling (a suffering) of a psychological, non-physical origin.
A pioneer in the field of suicidology, Edwin S. Shneidman, described it as "how much you hurt as a human being. It is mental suffering; mental torment."
There is no shortage in the many ways psychological pain is referred to, and using a different word usually reflects an emphasis on a particular aspect of mind life. Technical terms include algopsychalia and psychalgia, but it may also be called mental pain, emotional pain, psychic pain, social pain, spiritual or soul pain, or suffering. While these clearly are not equivalent terms, one systematic comparison of theories and models of psychological pain, psychic pain, emotional pain, and suffering concluded that each describe the same profoundly unpleasant feeling.
Psychological pain is believed to be an inescapable aspect of human existence.
In those past few weeks I fully isolated myself. In my loft, about 15sqm², focusing solely on work, on my clients and keeping myself - and my, cat safe. I felt a pain I genuinely never felt I was capable of, and I lost a lot - if not all, trust in human race. But before rushing towards the end, let me recap what took me to write this statement.
I am a Londoner. I always wanted to be one. I will never forget the first time I visited the City. I was twelve years old and I was visiting my auntie Anna and my cousins in Bristol on a hot summer holiday. They took me one day to visit the capital, hitting spots like the London Eye and the beautiful Lion King show.
Since I walked my very first steps on the pavements of this chaotic town, I knew I wanted to call London my home. I wanted to be labelled as a 'Londoner'. Once the time was right and my education completed, not longer after completing my BA in Industrial Design, I packed a bag, threw it on my Volkswagen Golf rear seats and never looked back. London became my home at the age of 23 and, a decade after, here I am. Still in this town, yet many things have changed.
Despite the amounts of medals and trophies hanging up from my walls, I have no pictures. I have barely few friends, which I cannot really say they are friends either. I have lovely colleagues, I have copious contacts on my iPhone from people I have been dating in the past decade and that's about it.
This is the sad reality of living in London.
London can give you a lot - but equally, can take away a lot from you.
It is a very lonely place. And with a pandemic, it went incredibly lonely. I do have two successful business but, if something would happen to me, I wouldn't really know who to call. I give you a very simple example: my emergency contact number when I do Open Water swimming is an old phone number of mine. It is not even in use anymore. Sad isn't it? If something would happen to me I don't think people will realise it for at least a couple of weeks.
But this is not the story I urge to tell you today. So please - let me continue.
I have been blessed enough to have a lovely family which gifted me with a house in East London in 2015. Back in the days, I couldn't afford much in the West, so after 6 years of living in W, S/W I decided to move East. Also because I was, somehow, attracted by the multicultural opportunities, hipster vibes and all that creative jazz.
During the past five years living 'Here East' things got worst and worst. There was a migrations of specific group of populations moving in my area - E15, allowing posher and more cash buyers for residential areas in E20. As a result, my neighbourhood became a pool of dodgy Eastern Europeans drug dealers, mixed with Indians, Pakistanis, Black and Muslim communities.
I hear speak English no more, the majority of the women are fully faced covered and I am one of the minority British people resident in this area. The pandemic made things even worst and sooner I realised I was no longer welcomed.
As a disclaimer I also want to say that I am not racist, I don't judge people by the colour of their skins, by the language they speak or by the religion they do believe into. But I am a strong believer that, as an Italian Immigrant I moved this country and I adapted to live as a British citizen. I learnt to speak English and integrated myself within the culture of a population who welcomed me a decade ago, giving me life opportunities and experiences the unfortunately my country of origin could not gift me of.
It might be bad luck (even if I don't believe into it), pandemic, reverse gentrification but in the last few weeks I experienced a series of unfortunate events.
It was a Saturday morning of 5 weeks ago when someone stole my bike trespassing my property and simply walked away with my bike. I had that bike for 7 years.
Then someone tried to force their way in my premises by breaking my window door which leads to the back garden.
My car has been remotely opened twice. In the last occasion they removed all my car documentation.
In the meantime my home suffered of serious water damaged which forced me to undertake major renovation works. The builders I choose - from a very well known website (Which.com & trustatrader.com ) revelled to be criminals, with more than hundreds fake reviews. They extorted me about 8K before I was able to send them away.
I will never forget the last payment. After knocking at my door few hours earlier the agreed time, I opened the door with one hand and holding the last envelope containing the cash. They were man in front of my door. I could not call the police.
From that episode I stopped sleeping in my bedroom and I have been secluding myself in my loft, sleeping on a bunk bed with no mattress, with my cat, with a door closed. And every night I close the eyes praying to be able to wake up again tomorrow without anyone breaking in.
The darkest time was reached when I tried to call a local charity for 'safe neighbourhood' where I could keep my identity anonymous. After explaining what did happen to me they said I had to contact the police as my case was falling onto a proper criminal case.
I took the courage to report the matters to the police on the 2nd of July. I never received a call or an email back.
After another drug dealing episode at the back of my property, someone spitting on my wall and another one even pissing, and my car opened again, I decided to call the 999.
This was last Saturday. The lady on the line asked confused why I was ringing the 999 as it is an emergency dedicated number. I said to her: 'because this is an emergency now'.
Long story short, they closed the case on Monday due of lack of evidence.
That was the moment I felt the loneliness wrapping me around like a blanket, a black mist surrounding me, and I felt imprisoned within my own condition with no escape.
The amount of email pain and distress was so big that it translated to a physical level. I tried to drink the strongest drink I had in the house in such a rush and in such a copious amount that I prayed to fall asleep and to make the pain stop. Falling in that abyss I also prayed of not waking up again. I did want to face anything or anyone no more.
In that moment I realised for the very first time why people commit suicide.
And the answer to that is very simple. Death is actually the only escape from that pain. Of course we do have many if - is it going to hurt? Will I suffer? How long it will take? But let me tell you this. When the amount of pain felt is so big, is so devastating - there is no longer care about those ifs. The only thing you care is to stop that excruciating pain which leaves no physical marks, but a scar which will stay forever.
I found the strength - don't know where, to keep going and I do believe that my lifeline was my passion for sport & nature. Swimming in the nature, running in the forest has got something magical which helps me every day to keep going despite my condition.
And here, after the darkest moment up-to-date in my life, maybe I will find the seed for a project with CMS that will allow me to make a difference, for others, who actually decide to follow that path of trying and tying again until they win the fight against that pain rather than learn to live with it.
But not now. At the present I really lost hope and trust in human race. I egoistically do not care about my original project in plastic pollution because, as far as I am concerned, humans can pollute our poor Planet as much as they want and they will die I return of their own actions. Every action has a reaction after all.
Being victim of racial abuse, discrimination and mental health is a real thing.
You might don't see it but is real. And is brutal - as London during a pandemic.
And please - do give me a favour. Stop with all that b*llsh#it of #blackLivesMatter.