Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Psychological pain

Emotional pain has no regard for race, gender or social status.  It's strikes the famous and the homeless, young and old.  Many of you will recognize the description below:

You wake up before the sun, not with the sleepy urge to press the snooze button, but with a jolt of dread, or angst, or deep sadness.  It's physical and acute.  When you feel it, it's unmistakable and seems inescapable.  You're sure no one would understand or care.  All you want is for the pain to go away.  The worst part is that it's invisible to the rest of the world.  If you're lucky someone in your life is tuned in to you enough to see the strain on your face or the distraction.  But most won't, because it hides itself well, deep in your gut, in the lump in your throat or the invisible vice around your head.  You go through the motions of living, but it feels like you're operating on 2 cylinders instead of 4... or maybe even 1 cylinder.   Thoughts of running away, going back to bed, or even "checking out" float through your consciousness.

We've all felt this way some time.  For many it's a recurring misery.  For an unlucky number it's almost constant. It can be triggered by awful life situations, or almost nothing.  Either way, it's just as real and painful.

The way out is slow and counterintuitive.  Move, get out from under the covers, out of your isolation.  This requires incredible will power because the pain has it's own muscles fighting you.  Exercise can help.  Therapy can help.  Medication can help.  Support groups, DBT, yoga, mindful meditation can help.  Coffee with a friend can help.  Mostly, there's no magic, instant cure, but some relief from the acuteness.  The road to recovery seems possible.   Staying alone in your pain may make it fester and grow.  Sharing it can be a huge relief.  It takes time and hard work to manage or overcome these feelings.  It is a sign of strength to seek help, not weakness!

Then, miraculously, the pain subsides, for an hour or a day.  And when it's gone for even a day, you forget how bad it can get, and you laugh at someone's joke, or marvel at the stars on a clear night.

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