3 Emotions of Pain
Pain is a danger signal, but it’s also a beastly bad twisty signal. Whack your elbow on a door or stub a toe on the stair and that sharp nasty pain may be a sign of a broken bone.
But what of all the millions of people who have pain, sharp pain, deep pain, throbbing pain, burning pain, aches and pain, but severe damaged tissues seem healed?
When pain just doesn’t clear, doesn’t go, keeps you awake every night. When people tell you there is nothing wrong in the tissues, but the pain’s real, it’s there, you feel it!
There are 3 emotions of pain that everybody feels:
Fear is natural. When you break a bone, the pain message is protective. An automatic set of protective responses kick in. To keep the injured area still, to avoid putting pressure on it. To stop other people coming too close, to avoid more damage. To find a safe space. Brain focus on the injured area expands, pain feelings from the place of injury become the main feeling. A human with a damaged body is at risk, primitive instincts of freeze kick in.
Anger is natural. One minute everything is fine, next minute damaged, anger and disbelief can mingle together. A thousands thoughts race through a mind. If only the clock could go back again to just before the accident. If only the other driver had looked, if only I had looked. Can it really be I’m injured? Why didn’t I check the equipment ? This cant be true I cant have hurt myself? Angry, angry angry at self and others, blaming self or blaming others.
Worry in natural. Life is going normally and then in a few seconds everything changes. Suddenly things out of control. Time cant be put back, reality starts to hit home and worry kicks in. That’s when the mind really starts to go into overdrive. What have I done? What’s going to happen? How am I going to get home, pick up the kids, go to work? Suddenly that control over life you thought you had is gone in a puff of pain. Other people start to take control, check you over, you enter another world.
FEAR, ANGER & WORRY
Fear, anger and worry are natural when we are damaged with acute nasty pain. But what if the fear anger and worry doesn’t go? What if there is already some fear, then more fear on top and then somebody in the medical team says something which you hear. That hearing gets twisty and their innocent words slip into your unconscious and fan the fear. Maybe they say something reassuring, but your mind hears it as a sign your damage is severe.
What if the anger gets supressed? What if everyone around blames the other driver and your anger grows. What if, in your minds eye you remember a slight voice tone or face expression and imagine them mocking, then the anger grows. Injustice, unfair, unreasonable, their fault, anger anger grows, thoughts become rumination.
What if worry about the injury, family, life the universe doesn’t go? If the injury landed you in hospital other people are in charge, you are asked to make decisions, sign forms maybe have surgery. Simple things like making a cuppa or choosing what to eat, how to use the toilet all can become a huge worry. Things you took for granted a few hours earlier.
EMOTION AFTER THE DAMAGE MENDS
Bones, tissues, and skin all mend, there is a natural process. But not the same with emotions. Fear anger and worry don’t heal & mend the same way. No two people have the same emotional response after an accident, no two people have the same history and no two manage their emotions the same way. What is to one person the most catastrophic event that leaves an emotional scar forever. To another is something they appear to manage.
But at that first stage of initial damage and injury we can never easily test who will suffer lingering emotional impact. We can never exactly know who may be at risk of going on to develop persisting emotional upset and persisting pain, but we know there is some complex relationship between the two.
In the early stage of tissue damage there can be big input to helping mending. Maybe not so much attention and support for the mind. Stabilizing the body systems to keep someone alive, repair damage is a first priority. However once that is done and body is on a healing path, then due attention must be paid to the mind system.
Psychotherapy, coaching, hypnosis, active talking therapies provided by specialists, help people to mend their mind.
If you or someone you know, had an accident, pain persists, flashbacks, anger, worry, rumination then take some action and ask for some help.
Mind treatment is as important as body treatment to help people fully heal.