I have come to the realization that a lot of the aches and pains that I suffer are psychosomatic. I listen to a podcast about chronic pain in which the podcaster routinely suggests, “The pain is not in your head, but the solution is not in your body.” I truly believe that some of the most agonizing pain I’ve ever had, during my first pregnancy, was actually psychosomatic.
At that time, my joints hurt so much that I couldn’t sleep or even raise my arms. Everything hurt, all the time. My doctors couldn’t figure it out, but I couldn’t take anything stronger than Tylenol, and imaging had to wait until after the baby was born. I was an absolutely wreck, and it was awful.
I suffered with lingering shoulder pain for several years after, and while I had cortisone shots and tried massage and acupuncture, an MRI finally showed that absolutely nothing was “wrong” physically. This was a big moment for me, and it allowed me to truly believe that the pain was a physical manifestation of something emotional.
I realize that’s what’s happening now, but it doesn’t actually stop the pains from coming. When I’m in active recovery and not engaging in the ED as a coping mechanism, my aches and pains suddenly creep up. They migrate to less conspicuous places. My right hip is a common place for these aches to appear. I get some patches of eczema on my wrist or face. My shoulder blade gets a twinge of pain now and again.
My right hip has been bothering me a lot lately, and I know it’s because I’m not actively engaged in bulimia right now. My emotions aren’t being let out in that particular way, and so they’re settling into my hip.
Had I said that a few years ago, I would have called myself crazy. But, I know from my personal history that it’s true. There’s nothing physically wrong with my hip. I need to keep doing my emotional work and finding new, healthier coping mechanisms. For now, I guess it’s enough for me just to know these truths.