Physical and Emotional Pain

Explaining-DepressionBy Barbara Guarino Kruk

Pain, the physical discomfort caused by injury or illness. Pain, the emotional suffering we experience from the loss of a loved one; fear; anxiety or abuse. Both the physical and the emotional causes of pain can be equally devastating and debilitating.
There are many causes of both physical and emotional pain; each one has its own symptoms and cures. We have all experienced both physical and emotional pain. Pain can lead to elated joy, such as at the birth of a child. Yes, the birthing process is painful, but the result is pure happiness. Abuse, whether physical or emotional, whether inflicted by our own hand or that of another, can cause many lasting scars.
Countless studies, over decades and generations, have been conducted by researchers worldwide on the effects of pain. Pain can be real or perceived. In some instances, the mere thought of someone inflicting harm can cause great psychological stress; the proverbial “mind games”. Can one become ill by mental suggestion; yes.
Can depression lead to chronic pain? Yes. After the loss of a loved one, especially in the case of primary caregivers, feelings of guilt, anger, anxiety and fear can lead to many medical issues. High blood pressure, malnutrition, fatigue, skin conditions and gastrointestinal disease are just a small sampling of illnesses caused by chronic depression. Even animals demonstrate and acquire stress and depression related illnesses.
It has been argued, and confirmed, that true joy cannot be attained without the subsequent pain. How would you know if you were truly happy if you had never experienced sorrow? Until she ate the apple, Eve never realized pain. From the moment we emerge from the warm, safety of the womb we encounter the harsh reality of life. While most of us have been fortunate enough to have a healthy balance of both pain and joy, there probably is no one on earth who has not felt the sting of pain and the elation of happiness. Prolonged illness, abuse or fear can cause severe injury, even death.
Death, at least in its physical form, would signal the end of all sensation as we presently know it to exist. After we die we should have no more pain; no more suffering. Those of us who subscribe to religious beliefs and the promise of spiritual redemption, hope that we will find our nirvana in the afterlife.
If you are feeling ill, whether it is physical or emotional, after the death of a loved one, please seek professional help. Undiagnosed depression, especially for an extended period, can cause irreparable damage. You don’t think you need a medical professional to help you; then find a bereavement group. Just talking about and sharing your feelings of emptiness and loss can work wonders to get you on the road to recovery. Support groups focus on specific needs and educate you on the ways and tools available to assist you through the difficult times. You might join a group, stay for a while, leave when you think you have managed your depression, only to return months, perhaps, years later.
There is no shame, no cowardice in seeking help for grief. The shame lies with those who truly need help and do not get it.
Pain is an indication that something is wrong; a blinking light within your body, your mind and your soul that is telling you that there is a malfunction. Just like the warning lights in your vehicle that tell you when you need to change the oil, the pressure is low in your tires or the check engine light comes on, the human body is the best diagnostician of when something is malfunctioning. Heed the warning; go get it checked before you cause too much damage.

Filed in: Obituaries

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