Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lesson #49: How to be a "Pain Buster" (Part 2)

Last week we began a very important discussion regarding the mindbody connection. I introduced Dr. John Sarno and his groundbreaking work (conducted within the western medical model) which convinced me that a huge chunk of our modern-day afflictions can be resolved through working with the mind, and not through drugs, physical therapies, surgery, etc. (Please see last week's post).

As previously mentioned, Sarno believes that repressed emotion (especially rage) is what leads to many chronic pain and illness issues. But why would our minds trade one evil for another? Why not just deal with the feelings, and move on? Where's the logic in creating an elaborate cover-up that could lead to ever-increasing suffering, disability and even death? These are the questions I asked myself, and last week I got to experience the answer firsthand.

I'd been struggling with hip bursitis for about a year, and nothing had helped---until a couple weeks ago when I read Sarno's book, The Mindbody Prescription. The book's wisdom alone turned me into a "pain buster." I called the bursitis' bluff, and it hit the road as fast as a snake oil salesman in the wild, wild west. I went down the list of my past health issues and busted them, one by one. I thought to myself, "This is a piece of cake---it's so much easier to just face our emotions than let them be converted into some horrid disorder." I was smug.

Then it hit. The rage, that is. It was like someone tore open Pandora's box. You would not believe the crap that came flying out of there---it was horrible. I turned into Medusa (remember the Greek myth of the scary lady with snakes coming out of her hair, and if you looked her in the eyes, you'd die instantly?) That was me, or at least that was how I felt.

I--did--not--like--that. After all, I'm a nice person, a good person, a person who helps others. All that rage did not fit with my self image. I guess this is why the primitive mind does whatever is necessary to hide that stuff from us. Now I got it.

We girls are taught to be nice ("sugar and spice"), so it's no wonder we bury the dark stuff. Boys, on the other hand, are taught not to cry or be weak, so perhaps their repressed emotions would more likely be sadness, fear and/or shame. (Or maybe they're internally miffed about having to bury half of who they are!) I don't know. I guess each person is unique, and has his or her own personal storage trunk of difficult feelings.

Anyway, next week I'd like to conclude with Dr. Sarno's "prescription" for getting to the bottom of these aggravating mindbody issues and moving forward in our lives. It's a process, to be sure, but I have to tell you that I'm pretty darned excited about this stuff. It's another piece to the grand puzzle of life, and I think it's good medicine.