Definition of pain (n)
[ payn ]
unpleasant physical sensation: the acutely unpleasant physical discomfort experienced by somebody who is violently struck, injured, or ill
feeling of discomfort: a sensation of pain in a particular part of the body
emotional distress: severe emotional or mental distress
Saying ‘physical pain’ is redundant according to this definition. Pain in and of itself is physical. For those of you who are grieving, it’s unnecessary for me to say that you feel pain — deep, agonizing pain. One theory is that we create the physical pain with our minds to distract us from the emotional pain. Another theorist (Dr. Therese Rando) states that we experience our pain “bit by bit as we can bear it”. That, too, would suggest a kind of mind over matter response. Whatever causes the physical pain, it is there. We experience it as headaches, stomach distress, muscle aches, lack of appetite or increased appetite, fatigue, weakness. There are even studies that suggest those who are grieving have a compromised immune system and are more likely to pick up any bug going around, particularly upper respiratory infections. Being in contact with your doctor to monitor your physical symptoms is always wise.
Just knowing that the physical pain is real and natural may help. Being gentle with yourself, resting often, eating nutritiously, getting some fresh air and exercise, allowing the free expression of whatever emotion you are experiencing, and talking to someone supportive are all ways to combat this type of pain.
Translation: Grieving is a full body experience: body, mind and soul. Be gentle with yourself.
Copyright 2014 Lisa B. Wolfe, Translating Grief, LLC