Two days ago I quit alcohol. On day two I woke up and the niggling but mildish upper back and neck pain was much greater, and it really pinched when I turned my head. Despite this, I did not drink last night. This morning my beloved pet rat died in arms. I cried and cried until I got a throbbing headache- which I still have several hours later. Having learned recently about TMS and all its manifestations, I did not take a panadol to rid myself of said 'nuisance' headache. It is there for a reason. My sadness is deep and interminable, and I realised while I was craddling his still-warm body as he slipped away that I was not just crying over the loss of my beloved friend, that I was also crying that I feel this way about him - about all animals. And that life and death are such painful, hurtful, lonely events. And I was wishing that I didn't feel this way, wishing that those poor bunnies locked up and never let out of their cage at the nursing home are soon to become my charges, and that I feel some responsibility to them and for them. How can I go against ignorant humans who put animals in cages and keep them there just for their entertainment? How can I go there every day, as a volunteer, to take care of them, when I have to see them in such conditions, yet knowing I may have little power to change that for them? Why do I feel so weak and inept and unable to handle my weakness and ineptness? And so a part of me wants to not go, to not volunteer, to not have to see or think about those poor birds, constantly locked up, and those poor bunnies, constantly locked up, and to turn away, because the pain is so great that their needs, beyond food and clean cages, are almost extinct. They are pets for a nursing home, to keep the residents happy, to keep humans happy, and I darn well stuck my hand up and offered to take care of the animals twice a week. But what about what is best for the animals? Humans, it is always about the humans. It makes me angry and distraught. I volunteered, not knowing until I visited what I was getting myself into. The headache, clearly because I think too much. The neck and shoulder pain, because I feel I am bearing so much. I am inept and inadequate in so many ways, except as the voice for dumb beasts. I have lost my precious boy, whom I hope I gave a good and happy life, but the burden of pain in the world and the suffering of animals is eating at me, and I feel I too aware and not resilient enough, and utterly the wrong person to be in the field of their care. 'Too sensitive', I can hear them-someone-a voice from long ago, saying. This sense of wrongness, in everything, "who are you to think you can make a difference?" pervades and pervades. And I think I cried a lot about that, too. Perhaps crying and realising what is really going on, what you are reallyng crying about, all the things you are crying about, is enough to end the bodily hurt. I shall not drink it away today. Drinking will not bring back my beautiful small rattie friend, drinking will not let those bunnies have a run around, drinking will not make people who run nursing homes realise, and it will not get me away from me. Even if my body comes up with more ways to instill pain than the pinching neck and back and the crushing headache, I refuse to demur.