In Pain

Recently I’ve been experiencing a noticeable increase in various physical symptoms and aches, and over the last few weeks these have been negatively impacting me on a number of levels. I’m curious about what exactly is happening in my body, whether these ailments could be psychological in origin and hence psychosomatic, or if there is something medical going on which I can perhaps address more practically.

I’ve heard about and read a few research articles regarding the relationship between BPD and pain, and I personally relate to the current findings completely. There seems to be a central paradox in the literature which is dependent on the context the pain is in: Whilst patients tend to display an exceptionally high pain-threshold during episodes of self-harm (during which pain is self-inflicted), within the context of more generalised, chronic and endogenous pain, the experience is one of acute sensitivity and intolerance.

This certainly rings true for me. I may have inflicted pain upon myself to an extreme degree in the past and felt totally desensitised to it. But right now, I just cannot seem to deal with the more generalised, widespread (and somewhat chronic) pain I am experiencing. It is not self-inflicted and feels totally out of my control – and perhaps it is this external locus of control further influencing my negative experience of it.

From headaches, stomach aches, back, neck and shoulder aches, to jaw tension (TMD), strange IBS-like symptoms and extreme nausea, these physical symptoms are seriously getting me down! It is as though I can feel every single cell in my body that is malfunctioning; the pain is so acute. Every spasm, every twinge, every stab, every misalignment, every ache magnified ten fold. It HURTS!

I’ve also read a ton about how Mindfulness is incredibly effective in the management of pain, and this is something I am experimenting with currently and aiming to implement into my life even more. I’m also hoping that the new “vegan thing” will help settle my body as part of my motivation for trying a new eating regime includes for the physical benefits to my sensitive and reactive system.

I’m just trying to remember what I learnt in DBT over and over: that Pain + Acceptance = Pain, whereas Pain + Attachment = Suffering. And this doesn’t just apply to emotional pain, but physical pain too. To maintain a stance of relative detachment and not let the physical pain take me over entirely, Mindfulness, Radical Acceptance and Turning The Mind are key:

I may be in pain, AND yet I don’t necessarily have to let this lead to suffering


10 thoughts on “In Pain

  1. I’ve been questioning similar. If I’m low, everything feels painful. I find it hard to walk as everything aches. Sometimes I question if it’s a chronic illness but I think it’s just related to mental conditions. But yes, I feel little pain through self harm.


  2. Do you mean to say that you don’t feel pain as much when it is self-inflicted. I ask only because I am looking for pain when I self harm. my goal is too cause as much pain as I can tolerate, or even more, so I guess what I’m asking is that what the idea behind it is for you? Whenever I self harm, part of the internal battle is knowing that I am about to be in a lot of pain, and yet still wanting that, so I guess it just makes me wonder if this is also how it is for you?


    • It depends on the function of the self-harm. If I’m dissociated and do it in order to FEEL SOMETHING then yes the physical pain brings me back to reality, but it’s never enough to be honest which is how it got so bad. If I’m doing it to calm internal distress then I don’t really feel pain, I think because compared to the emotional pain the physical pain is relieving and not so intense, it acts more like a drug (and can be self-soothing in ways, albeit unhealthy) than a punishment or anything. I understand your experience with self harm although mine is slightly different, and I know self-harming has different meanings and motivations for everyone. Hope that helps! It’s so hard to explain in a nutshell…!


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