Pain in the body serves a purpose. As a massage therapist, I work everyday with peoples pain. But what I think a lot of us don’t think about is that pain is a very important part of life. Physical pain serves as a signal to our brain that there is an injury. That there is something wrong or that something needs to be corrected. In order to stop the pain, you have to stop and assess the injury. This is no different for emotional pain. Emotional pain is there and now you must address it in order to heal from it.
It is natural for us to want to avoid the pain. Pretend it isn’t there or to down play it and not deal with it. But in order to heal you do have to address it. Sit with it. Allow yourself to feel the pain. If you need to take a day to just be sad and cry or to be angry and beat up a punching bag, take a day. Because avoiding and pushing down your emotions really does only make it worse. And emotions that are not dealt with can lead to physical manifestations that affect your whole life.
I myself do suffer from PTSD and a few years back I struggled with extreme fatigue, muscle pain, weight gain and irritability. I felt like I was dying from the inside out. I actually was afraid that I had cancer or some undiagnosed disease because I felt so terrible. I went from working out everyday and feeling happy and great to pure exhaustion over night. I knew something was really wrong. I went to several different doctors, all who ran different tests, and each one told me I was fine. Physically there was nothing wrong with me. It turns out, that it was undiagnosed PTSD that went untreated for 10 years. Once I started treating it and making necessary changes in my life, those symptoms went away.
This is another reason that the outdoors is so important for me. Just to have the energy to be able to go out and to find the strength to go on adventures, means I am healing and my life is better today than it was 4 years ago, 6 years ago and 10 years ago. I am moving on, healing and free. Free from the pain. Free from the scars. Free to make my life what I want it to be rather than being stuck with what I had.
I think that a lot of people don’t really believe that emotions can have an affect on you physically, but when it interferes with your daily needs it ends up affecting your body. Not getting enough sleep, or exercise. Maybe not eating the right food or eating at all. Or maybe over eating for that emotional comfort. Maybe it’s just working non-stop without breaks until you completely crash from exhaustion. Maybe it’s drinking alcohol to relax and you end up drinking every day and find that that is affecting your body physically. The way that we respond to emotional pain or stress is why it is able to affect you physically. All of these things I’ve listed are things I have done to myself to cope with emotional pain. So, I am speaking from my own experiences.
Stop letting the pain control you and your life. Stop what you are doing. Allow yourself to process what the pain is from. Take time to sit with it and acknowledge it. It is also a process, just like any injury, and it may not heal in a day. But each time you address it, it will heal a little more. After you acknowledge it, start to do things for yourself to help the healing process along. I started doing things I’ve always wanted to do. And taking my kids with me so we are spending time together, but I am also becoming the person I always was, but was hiding deep inside.
A very important part of healing is making sure you are trying to keep your life balanced. Anytime you are only focusing on one or two aspects of your life, you will feel drained and depleted. (See my earlier blog post about finding peace and balance.) Making sure that you are living within each part of your life will keep you from feeling burned out and unhappy.
So, if you have emotional pain right now that you have been ignoring, take some time to sit with it and address it. Look at what is causing you pain. Ignoring a wound will only cause it to get infected and fester with puss and necrotic tissue. Think of your emotional pain as a wound. That needs to be cleansed and redressed every day until it heals. It’s ok to feel pain. It’s ok to be sad or hurt or angry. But you need to address those feelings in order for them to heal properly. ( I do recommend having a trained professional to help you sort through this mess. They really can help you to see what is going on and how to keep it in perspective.)
I find being in nature helps me to remove myself from the picture and see it from the outside and to see what is really important. There is more to life than this. Go out and find it.
Be Empowered, find your inner Strength and Recover.