Pain and Somatization Disorder

Dealing with emotional pain on a daily basis is tiring. It eats away at your strength using up every last drop until there is nothing left. Not only is there the actual pain itself but if you are one of those people who fronts it out to those who surround them, you have the double whammy of the energy that uses up too.

Mental illness is draining not only on the mind but the body too. We all know how stress affects us emotionally, mood swings, crying, low mood, lack of motivation to do anything, guilt and suicidal thoughts to name but a few.

But depression can affect us physically in a dramatic way, sometimes more than we know. Several years ago I was diagnosed with Somatization disorder. Whilst a large proportion of my physical symptoms can be attributed to know Clinical illnesses, there are others which cannot be directly linked to known medical conditions.

For example for as long as  I can remember I have suffered from numbness from the waist down; I can stick pins in my legs or run forks down them (not recommended), but I feel nothing, not a thing. On occasion I have even broken bones and not known about it until months or even years down the line. The answer lies in the early development of my brain, more importantly, the emotional stems.

Imagine your brain is a computer and whilst it is being built, it gets wired incorrectly. When as a child you are subjected to traumatic events, your brain, (your computer), gets wired incorrectly too. This then means that stress and unhappiness manifest themselves as physical pain. In Somatization disorder depression is converted into physical symptoms, which in clinical terms have no solid explanation. Yet the symptoms are REAL, they are not in your head.  It is hard for us to understand this when it is happening to us but just as hard for those around us who accuse us of hypochondria or tell us it is all in our minds.

If this is happening to you know that you are not going mad, you are not ‘nuts’ and you are certainly not a hypochondriac.  Your symptoms are REAL otherwise how  would medication work on them.   They are yet another reminder of a past we are forced to carry with us into our future, one we would sooner forget but refuses to be forgotten.

3 thoughts on “Pain and Somatization Disorder

  1. Thank you for writing this. I got diagnosed at age of 17 with this and unfortunately there’s not a lot of material online that talks about it. Recently got to learn more about it and how trauma affects a child’s brain. It sucks that now that I’m much older I still have to deal with it. I have been on anti-depressants and it has helped with somatization and depression a bit. But today I just got a devastating news and I’ve made logical peace with it but my body hurts so bad. I know why, so I’m not going to the doctor. But it’s just so sad that this is my default coping mechanism now. Numb feelings, logically at peace, but my body is screaming in pain 😶

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    1. The thing about Somatization disorder is the stigma surrounding unexplained pain. As human beings we are taught there is an answer to everything and sometimes there just isn’t. I have spent a long time researching it and the sad thing is your brain cannot ever be rewired as such. So we are stuck with this illness that no one understands or excepts is real. But it is not our duty to get others to understand. The trick is learning to accept that this is just the way we are now. It is a long hard journey we are on. I sound so calm don’t I but believe me I’m not. I’m a right mess honestly. I try to take every hour at a time.

      Much love.

      Liked by 1 person

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