LOCAL author Derek Skinner recently introduced Standard readers to the Cotswold Writers Circle and the joys of writing in a group.

He mentioned that like so many clubs in and around the district the group fulfils another vital function.

He said: "For so many it is the highlight of the week; a place where members can relax and share, or forget for a time worries, anxieties and perhaps any sadness in their lives."

This week, Derek has sent us a piece by group member Jan Neill, entitled Pain.

He said: "Jan Neill is a long-standing member of the Cotswold Writers Circle.

"She says that writing is a lonely business and support and encouragement from other is invaluable, but being a member of the group has given her so much more.

"Jan’s article on pain will I am sure resonate with so many who have endured its cruel and icy touch."

Pain, by Jan Neill

I’m so angry about the pain. It’s in my left foot. It dominates my life. I cannot sleep. I have no drive. I watch repeat TV dramas. I cannot start to do anything. The pain stops me. I suppose I am depressed as well. It is a conundrum really, because when I’m with those I love and care about I can still be happy. That’s why time at the Cotswold Writers is such a joy.

Let’s look at my health. I’m a type 2 diabetic. Managing that irritates me. I know I can. I usually do, but I have succumbed to a chocolate addiction and a laziness to cook in the last few months. It’s all because of the pain.

I heard that the part of the brain that processes pain is the same part that processes colour. If a person can think about colours, then they cannot feel pain at the same time. I have tried this. It does work, but it is hard to achieve. I tried thinking of red but failed. However, I remembered two bright pink dresses I had years ago and visualising them. I got the colour. The pain went. I later managed to see blue and green. A friend suggested thinking of a rainbow. This was a brilliant idea because I always feel joy when I see a rainbow.

I recently read that writing about your illness can help you heal. That’s what I’m doing now. I have tried all manner of pain killers. Most don’t work. Tramadol makes me very ill and morphine has unfortunate side effects. I only take morphine when I’m at my wits end.

It’s nearly 1a.m. I’m going to try and sleep now. Time to see colours. No success. The pain in my foot is stab-stab-stab-stabbing. I’m going to take two Neurofen, not advised for diabetics. I almost saw purple and green together, but it wouldn’t stay. 3 a.m. I’m going to the bathroom for a comfort break and to put my foot in a bowl of cold water. It helped a bit. I dozed off. It woke me at 5.15a.m. The pain in my foot, a simmering pain with sudden violent stabs. My dog wanted to go out into the garden. I’m back in bed after ten minutes. No chance of sleeping. Foot stabbing relentlessly.

If you are interested joining the Cotswold Writers Circle, ring Derek on 01793 750598.