My experience of pain seems to be somewhat different from that of other people. For instance, for much of the day I wrote this I thought I was probably in pain, though I was unsure exactly where, or how bad it was, or if it was really pain instead of something else. To be clear, it was still unpleasant and fairly distracting.
Sometimes I feel like everything is terrible for five minutes or so before figuring out that the problem is that I’m in physical pain. I even explicitly wonder whether the problem is pain, and decide probably not, before later realizing I was wrong. In such cases I infer that I was in pain all along because it feels more like a picture emerging after staring at a bunch of dots for long enough, rather than something in the world changing. Also, I don’t have any other good explanation for what was so bad earlier.
I point this out because I think the usual folk theory of pain says that pain is a kind of direct experience that you can’t really be confused about. If you don’t know if you are in pain, you aren’t. Pain is a conscious experience, so being in pain implies being aware that you are in pain. Also knowing what the pain is like. I think I kind of assumed something like this until I paid more attention to my own experiences, or until my own experiences became more incomprehensible on this model. I don’t have a well worked out alternative model (maybe others do), but I expect it should the possibility of being consciously confused about basically everything.
I’m also curious about whether I am especially unusual in this regard, or just tend to hear from people who are surprised by this. Are you ever unsure whether you are in pain? Are you ever unsure about its characteristics?