Have you ever had a real shock to your system? I mean something like a big scare. Or, as in my most recent experience, and I think anyone with so-called chronic pain issues can relate: the sudden return of 'the much-dreaded pain.'
Mine returned a couple of days ago. My first reaction? Total shock. 'WHAT??? No way, why? I thought I was way passed this!!!'
Now I know that this sudden pain in my back is a signal. It comes out of nowhere, or so it seems. It is caused by my brain, which gives me physical pain to divert my attention from emotional pain. My brain is actually trying to protect me.
I have turned this around for myself to make it work fór me. I see this pain as a sign from my body. It is telling me that there is stress or an emotion that I'm not aware of that needs my attention because it is ready to come to the surface.
Having worked through my hidden emotions for a couple of years now, I've got a little toolkit going with different tricks and options. So when the pain hit me again, I thought I knew exactly what to do: 'If I can just finish dressing, I will tap my ankle. This always takes me to the hidden emotion so I can feel through it and release it.' Easy, no problem. 'Weird, though, that it is this intense nerve pain again. Lately, it's been no more than just some little twitches. But ok, I can handle this.'
Sure enough, my ankle tapping helped me release some emotions. So I thought, 'cool, problem solved.' I sat down to eat my smoothie, but the same pain hit me again. I stood up like an arrow out of a bow, again shocked.
And, to be honest with you, now I was at a loss. My go-to solution, the ankle tapping, did not work, adding another shock.
I decided to do some EFT tapping. For those who do not know about EFT: it stands for 'Emotional Freedom Technique'. Basically, one taps one's meridian points to reduce stress and negative emotions, restoring the energy flow and balance in the body.
To my own surprise, almost as soon as I started tapping, I reached my emotional 'mother-of-all-shocks'. Suddenly, I felt like my 6 year old again, realizing my dad had left me behind.
You see, my parents got divorced when I was 6. As a grown-up, I know my mum wanted to divorce my dad. He had to leave. But that little girl did not experience it like that: she was never told he would go away or why, one morning he was just gone. The shock came in unfiltered, and all she knew was: 'He has left me. I trusted him.' I felt the enormity of her shock. It literally took my breath away.
Apparently, this was too much for that little girl to handle at the time. So the emotions were pushed away, hidden deep inside.
Back to the present moment. After tapping, I realized that the return of this intense back pain was the shock I needed to get to the emotional shock of my 6-year-old self. It takes a shock to release a shock, I guess it takes one to know one.
'Why am I sharing this with you?', you might ask.
Because this is my latest experience of how I am healing my body by healing my emotional pain. And I wish someone had told me about this sooner.
As I understand it, this is how it works, the short version:
Emotions are energy in motion; you've probably heard this before. But did you also know that unprocessed emotions are stuck energy? They are stored in your body, causing tension. And they trigger how you behave, think, and feel in the present moment.
The shock of my 6-year-old me triggered a new shock response every time something happened that reminded me of that original event. Multiplying the tension in my body and strengthening that pattern. Not that I was aware of this, it all happens subconsciously.
And there were many more hidden emotions I had never processed before. After decades of adding stress to my already stressed-out system, it came to a boiling point. I was emotionally stressed out. My emotions were about to burst into the open, and my brain had to organize a big diversion. Hence the beginning of my so-called 'chronic', unexplained, learn-to-live-with-it back pain.
8 years of physical therapy later, I was finally pointed in the right direction by a physical therapist who has a holistic approach. She got me started on working on my emotional well-being.
And this is the key to healing myself. I release that energy and reduce my body's tension by feeling through all these hidden emotions. Which gives my body the chance to relax and return to its natural state of health.
By sharing this, I hope to pay this forward and help spread the message about the importance of emotional well-being.
PS. Please don't take my word on this. I am not a physician, physical therapist, or psychologist. And, of course, there is always the possibility of a physical cause for chronic pain. My authority comes solely from my own experiences. But there are books available that are based on tons of scientific research. Books specifically about the relationship between chronic (back) pain and unprocessed emotional trauma. If you want a few reading tips, just send me an email and let me know.