Coping With Psychosomatic Pain

Question:

Hello,

Recently I have been diagnosed with Psychosomatic pain. I have been struggling with chronic pain in the body every single day. The pain can be so severe I am hospitalized. Nothing the medical staff and doctors can do as there is no physical evidence that there is actually anything wrong with the body. Doctors have given me anti-depressants and pain relief, but they all have terrible side effects that only make me worse. 

I basically now feel written off and am becoming very depressed and helpless. The despair I feel with this chronic cycle of pain is excruciating. I can't concentrate with the pain. Some days I can't even get out of bed or do any little activities. Quality of life is very poor.

I liked your reply to the person who wrote to you about coping with suicide and things you said made sense. The issue with myself though, is that I've sat with my pain daily for a few years now and I still can't find peace with it. My existence is a misery and living like this is a struggle. I don't know how to see it in any other way. Any suggestions you have would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


Response:

Ok,

So if you have had the pain for so long, and nothing has relieved your suffering, then perhaps it is clear that whatever approach, mental or otherwise, that has been adopted, is not working.

Perhaps the main suffering here, and it often is, is the belief: “This should not be this way. It should be different, but it is not.”

Do you believe this? Be aware of how you feel in the body as you read. Do you feel as if things should be different to how they are? There is nothing wrong with believing this, I’m not saying you should drop the belief, but does the belief help you? Has it healed anything, given you more energy, relieved your feeling trapped by it all?

If it has not helped you, then this is good enough perhaps to at least experiment with letting it go. No longer conflicting with the condition. No longer believing that these feelings should be different to how they are. We often are led to believe that things, whatever they may be, are always lacking or wrong in some way, as if the universe is constantly making a mistake and we are the clever ones to come along and try to fix it, but this kind of thinking leaves us drowning in our own mess.

We often do not know what is on the other side of nonresistance, of such outrageous and apparently ridiculous, insane surrender, that we are not wishing reality were different to the way that it is. The mind says “But if that happens, then I will really be stuck like his, with this pain or in this situation forever. I will just be a victim my whole life, losing the battle.”

But, actually, with the outrageous, seemingly silly surrender, the victim mentality can then no longer survive, the attachment to pain weakens, the sense of self becomes more spacious, the sense of contraction and fear of life begins to relax, and there is no longer such an opposition to what life brings.

You may have sat with the pain, been with the pain, but as you have mentioned, there is still some resistance to it. If you actually can’t get out of bed, then go the other way and enjoy having nothing to do. Surrender to that. It does not mean it will be permanent, but at that moment, if you can not move, then just give yourself permission to be completely empty of activity, to forget about the world and yourself.

Struggle implies trying to be elsewhere. Psychosomatic pain, although I barely know anything about it, implies that the issue is psychological, that emotions and thoughts are creating pain in the body. See that the more fight there is to any aspect of life, the worse it gets. Don’t assume that you know what is on the other side of surrender. See that things are already as they are. In a sense, the present moment, although its form always changes, has an inevitability to it, that whatever is, already is, so to fight it or oppose it means you are then stuck in the past. Perhaps I am going too far.

I hope that can help you in some way, feel free to follow up with any comments or questions below, if you wish.

Adam

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