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July 19, 2021

Could the Pain in Our Bodies Signify Something Greater?

My first instinct was to shut off completely.

I’d been having some shoulder pain and my husband, while standing at the kitchen counter listening as I complained about my achy shoulder, chuckled: “Maybe it’s psychosomatic,” he said.

“What?” I replied. “You think I’m making this up? It really hurts.”

Then I huffed around for a while.

A week later the word “psychosomatic” was still ruminating in my brain. I like to chew on hurts and bask in them before letting someone know I am upset by their comment.

I asked Siri to define the hurtful word to me while at a red light on my way to work. My shoulder was still hurting and so was my psyche.

Here’s what that little b*tch had to say:

“Adjective

(of a physical illness or other condition) caused or aggravated by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress. 

Relating to the interaction of mind and body.”

I sent my lover the definition and then waited. I was still ruminating.

When he asked what was bothering me, I said that I didn’t feel like I caused my shoulder to hurt—I don’t want to be blamed for having an injury. I feel bad enough having to baby my arm and being in pain. I have a hard time getting dressed, putting my hair in a ponytail, and am constantly making it zing when I move it wrong or bang it on something. I even hurt it in my sleep.

I realized that as a child, any need I had made me feel like a burden. We didn’t have money for doctor’s appointments, so a cough would turn into pneumonia because we would wait so long for me to be seen. I never wanted to ruffle feathers as a child and here I am being scared to talk about my feeling insecure around having an owie on my shoulder. I feel to blame. I feel like a burden talking about it.

My dear husband told me about all of the times he has broken bones and how creaky his ankles are, and that I should feel no shame for having an injury. He said he didn’t mean that I caused the shoulder to hurt or that I am to blame, just that I have been quite stressed and holding a lot in. I have been processing deep hurts and grief this year and uncovered quite a few deep layers of trauma, in addition to writing and publishing my first book about this process. “Add in being stressed about your shoulder pain and maybe it is just exacerbating it.”

So, I chewed on that for a bit. It is true.

I reached out to my beloved Facebook community, made an appointment with a shoulder doctor, and continued to ask internally what my body was saying and what the next step was.

I bought myself a sling to remind myself to let my arm rest. It also let people know I wasn’t at full capacity at work. It felt like a warm hug for my heavy, tired shoulder and I gave it what it needed although I felt undeserving of the purchase. (What the heck is that about?)

My Facebook friends gave me a multitude of ideas about why the pain was there.

I had an x-ray and attended physical therapy, but it was still not getting better. The doctor diagnosed me with adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder.

He said it is most often found in women aged 40-60. There is pain and loss of range of motion. It can take eight months to two years to improve in function.

I blamed myself for carrying around heavy ass bags, being a mom, and trying to do it all. Carrying those dang grocery bags in and out of the house and just overuse. Have you seen how many bags we mothers carry at one given time?

I’ve been a mother for 22 years. My arm said “no more.”

Someone asked me if I had thought of looking at the metaphysical reasons for my pain. Hmmm, I do believe in energy healing, but am also a Christian woman and believe in miracles of healing. How far down this path should I dive?

Listen to this:

According to this blog by Raven Stars Healing Room:

“Pain or tightness in the shoulder area often reflects a person’s overall emotional and physical state. A stressful lifestyle, emotional strain, physical injuries, and fatigue can contribute to constriction and pain in the shoulders. When we experience people’s actions and behaviors toward us as aggressive or controlling, it makes us feel powerless, angry, resentful, or out of control. If negative emotions are not released, they can become toxic to the entire system, leading to all sorts of complications.

Shoulder pain is quite a complex multifaceted pain as there are six meridians moving through this area. The six meridians are the lung, large intestine, pericardium, triple heater, small intestine, and heart meridian. These six different types contain a mixture of emotional, mental, and behavioral energies, which manifest as different types of physical pain. These energies cause rigidness, and a sense of heaviness and stagnation in the muscles surrounding the lines of these meridians. This stagnated energy is like a wall protecting hurtful feelings, but can also force us into isolation and separation. Separation from life causes depression, anger, and the inability to forgive a painful past—this could cause hardness and tightness in the rotator cuff and surrounding muscles.”

Youch.

She says this about my diagnosis of Frozen Shoulder:

“With frozen shoulder, you may literally feel frozen and trapped in your current circumstances. This can make you feel helpless and disempowered especially with authority figures.”

A lot to ponder.

My greatest takeaway from talking about my ailment and asking for suggestions is that I need to take care of myself. I am carrying a heavy burden, but I don’t need to do it alone. I can act tough and stoic but I believe it will come out sideways.

I take such good care of my body as far as food, exercise, and sleep. I discuss my emotions and write about what’s going on with me, but yes, I do get stressed about finances, livelihood, parenting, and my many plates in the air.

I want the very best quality of life I am capable of and to me, that has to be a spiritual connection. I must find time to open my heart in surrender and prayer. I must get quiet.

The doctor wants to pump me full of stuff and see how it goes. Right now I am going to listen to my shoulder and let it know I am here for it.

I will no longer lift more than I can carry physically or metaphysically.

I will breathe and rest easy. I will know I am someone who is worth taking care of and although I don’t have parents on this earth anymore, I know that I can be my own loving parent and I can also learn to ask for help when I need it, without feeling like a burden.

I will open my heart.

My shoulder feels better already.

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