I’m going to be totally honest in this blog. I have a bunch of chronic pain issues and have dealt with depression and anxiety in the past. Cleaning up my lifestyle has helped a lot but there have been a lot of mental/emotional/spiritual things that still persist. Last week, I attended a workshop on Freedom from Chronic Pain at one of my happiest places, the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY. The workshop was called Freedom From Chronic Pain, lead by Nicole Sachs, LCSW (her website is https://www.thecureforchronicpain.com/ ). It was fundamentally based on the concept of what she calls “Journal Speak”, which is just stream of consciousness journaling to get to the root of emotions, traumas and thoughts that you may be repressing. These repressed or ignored thoughts and feelings can manifest over time as chronic pain, addiction, depression and anxiety. I took away some great gems from this fabulous workshop, including:
1. Ignoring our emotional pain and trauma does not make it go away. As someone said at the workshop, "if ignoring my pain was going to work, it would have worked by now".
2. Our reptilian brains think that it is unsafe to look at our emotional pain. They think it’s so unsafe to look at it that they will create chronic physical pain, addiction to all kinds of substances/activities to blunt the pain, and depression (pushing down the pain) to keep us from looking at it.
3. It IS safe to look at our pain and in fact, when we look at it and move through it, it begins to recede. If we don’t do something to look at it, we stay stuck in feeling badly or using substances to keep it down.
4. Doing this kind of work is so healing and it’s also intense so we need support, either from a professional or from deep self-soothing, compassion and/or inner-child work.
5. We are all HUMAN!! We all have fears, sorrows, we all beat ourselves up, we all have the stresses of life that rock our foundations. We may think we are the only one suffering, often because others don’t show or discuss their suffering, but we all suffer. We can learn to make room for the suffering parts of ourselves (as one facilitator said last week, “invite your wounded child to sit at the table with you”) and give those parts our loving compassion.
One thing I’m sure of is that if we DON’T address our emotional pain, it will haunt us in ways that we don’t even know. If we DO address our emotional pain, it will be painful but it begins to stop haunting us. And if we do address our emotional pain, we can find a peace we didn’t know was possible. Reach out here if you feel called to talk about this. I am not a therapist but I can provide a good level of emotional support for clients. I will always refer to other professionals when necessary.