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Chronic Pain and Undefinable Illness

Why do so many people have chronic pain and undefinable illness?

As someone who has dealt with chronic issues, such as pain and fatigue, I know the incredible frustration of trying to heal my body, which often feels like a very complicated puzzle.  In the world of psychiatry, more and more patients are not easily fitting into any one category of mental illness.  Their symptoms span categories and also remain somewhat unique.  In the larger medical community there has also been an increase in sufferers of chronic pain, fatigue, headaches, nausea, and other symptoms that don’t easily fit into a diagnosis, with unclear origins of what is causing the symptoms.  Over 25 million Americans suffer from chronic pain alone.  Why are so many of us suffering indefinable ailments with unknown origins?

It could be that we have lost touch with our natural environment and the instinctual wisdom of our bodies.  Maybe we are not in tune with what the body needs in some fundamental way.  For example, often I think it is very difficult to feel what my own body needs to eat to feel nourished when I walk through a supermarket filled with extravagant foods that aren’t necessarily all healthy and vitalizing.

Another factor is that we also can’t always move in ways that allow our body to release and discharge stress like most of the animal kingdom.  Exercise can help, but it seems that the natural way animals release anxiety is to allow the body to take over and move, run, roll around, make noise, etc.  Imagine if we were all moving erratically whenever the body needed to–like in the mall or at movies?  Probably to odd and not going to happen anytime soon, so we need to find another solution.

Learning to listen to the body and to the very natural process of the body seeking health seems more pressing than ever before.  I think the answers are really close to home.  It really takes discipline to retrain our minds that we need to pay attention to the body all the time.  The body has needs constantly.  I’m starting to think we can easily miss those needs a good portion of the day, which in my past definitely led to unpleasant consequences.