As I was finishing my book, I looked back on the graph I used to chart my pain during the first few years of my illness. I was surprised by how many days my pain was high, limiting my ability to concentrate or perform tasks for much of the day. I found it curious that my excellent doctor, who was well aware of my level of suffering, did not look at this chart and prescribe more pain medication, and that I didn’t ask for it.
But now that I am on the other side, I am so grateful that she didn’t numb me from the pain because it was this discomfort that pushed me to open up my mental and emotional burden. It was the pain that kept me motivated to process and release the emotional issues that were entwined with my physical discomfort.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a definite place for pain medications, and there were times in my illness when the medication, Cymbalta, was crucial for my healing. On several occasions, I felt like I was falling into despair, wallowing in the dust on this healing path. This medication helped decrease anxiety, depression and nerve pain, and it gave me a little crutch so I could keep walking down the healing path. But this medication didn’t numb me out so I couldn’t feel my physical and emotional pain.
During the fourth year of my illlness, I attended a seminar for an alternative treatment called, “Myofascial Release”. When John Barnes (the person who developed the approach) said, “Healing is feeling”, I immediately, thought, That was true for me.
Expressing my suppressed emotions was crucial for healing my body. This release of emotion was different than lashing out in anger, wallowing in sorrow, reliving the trauma over and over, or adopting the pain like a badge or resume. I had done all of these before. This was the process of moving through it.