By | March 30, 2011 43 Comments

Pain connections, emotional and physical

New research shows that emotional and physical pain draw responses from the same regions of the brain.

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Oh my…..this is such an interesting article, but a potentially dangerous one for those who suffer from Fibromyalgia.

Often, it’s hard to find a doctor who doesn’t immediately assume that what you’re feeling is “all in your head”…take care of the head stuff and you’ll be fine.

That is devastating to patients who are suffering from this illness, and I’m one of them. It was FINALLY diagnosed by a doctor who understood fibro to be a real illness and treated it accordingly. It was at that time I was better able to manage the illness. Fibromyalgia also comes with coexisting conditions that are routinely seen and need management, such a thyroid disease, migraines, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lupus, Arthritis, Raynaud’s syndrome, etc.

Having said that, this article points out the connections that are obvious between the mind and body. Fibromyalgia obviously is aggravated by stress, but I also noticed, that for me personally, it’s aggravated by simple UNemotional events, such as weather changes. It can also flare if something GREAT is happening as well. Right now, it’s aggravated more not only with emotional stress and trauma, but also MENOPAUSE. FUN!

Again, I think this research is dangerous in validating physicians who are oftentimes very cruel to patients who are suffering so much pain and accuse the patient of having some mental health issue that’s the direct cause. I don’t buy it.

This is a good article in provoking much debate and thought!


Ox Drover

Dear LL,

As a former primary health care provider, I saw patients in clinic all the time who had psycho-genic and STRESS RELATED physical pain complaints. IT DOES NOT MEAN THE PAIN IS NOT REAL, it is VERY REAL, but it means that the root cause is not a red hot poker or a broken leg or a tumor or cancer, it is caused from an entirely different thing and has become “chronic.”

I also had fibro diagnosed in 1988 back when it was considered a “problem with your head.” Back when many doctors didn’t even think it was real.

Since those days most physicians and health care providers are finally realizing that “pain is the OTHER VITAL SIGN.” In fact, it is even a requirement now when you go to a rural health clinic that the nurse or doctor ASK YOU what your pain rating is from 1 to 10.

This article does not do what you are saying about give physicians cart blanche to not listen to patients. I think because you have had problems with this in the past from docs that you are over reacting a bit to this article.

STRESS causes a lot of things to go wrong with the body and mind and pain is one of those things….there is also a GENE for how pain is perceived which is different for different people. Certain animals don’t seem to perceive pain like other animals. In addition there are various chemicals that are pain killers that are released by the brain under different conditions that actually act like morphine to deaden pain for a while. Broken bones release these chemicals for several hours after a break occurs. It is part of the “fight or flight” syndrome as well.

The Great White Pyrenees breed of guard dogs tolerate a HUGE amount of pain with apparently little or no awareness of it. I had a dog that got terribly cut once and I had to sew her up, and she stood there like I was just petting her instead of sewing…and another one that had surgery and even the vet commented that the dog acted like there was no reason for pain. They have to not have much pain awareness because they will fight a bear to the death, though they are the most gentle of dogs otherwise. I had one dog that was attacked by 3 pits at the same time and torn almost limb from limb but he stayed with it until he had killed all three of the pits. From the way he acted, he didn’t seem to be in any pain.

I have seen patients that would go bonkers with a paper cut and others that would come in with a collapsed lung and just say calmly “Oxy, my chest hurts a little bit” and I have literally had a patient come to me crying like a kid with a broken leg because her “back hurt” and the CAUSE??? I’m serious, a TINY PIMPLE in the middle of her back—tiny! But her PAIN was real, not imagined…her PERCEPTION OF PAIN is hers uniquely.

Culture is also part of how we perceive pain, both physical and emotional.

I realize how frustrating it can be when a care provider does not validate your reports of pain….it is the same kind of frustration when people do not validate the kind of “pain” we have emotionally from the psychopaths. It is that devaluation of ourselves—devaluing our CORE values.

That being the case, I have always advised anyone to find another doctor if your doctor does not listen to you….even my doctor and I disagree sometimes, SHE LISTENS to me, and then tells me why I’m full of carp if I am, but she does NOT DEVALUE ME.

lesson learned


You make a very valid point with regards to devaluing a patient in pain.

I’m okay with my opinion on this and continue to think that overall, it would set a dangerous precedence in the medical field and validating those physicians who DEVALUE this condition. I don’t say this because I was the only one affected by such devaluing, which can feel like cruelty when one is suffering from fibro, but many others I know who were devalued in the same way and the quest to find a physician who validated the patient’s pain was an exercise in frustration for sure. Those of us who have had to deal with the frustration of finding a doc who would treat beyond “the it’s all in your head theory”( and we both know the medical field is FULL of spaths), understand that MUCH MORE needs to be done in training up and coming physicians with regards to fibro. I DO think I was VERY fortunate to have found two great docs who validated and diagnosed the illness for what it was. And when you get a good doc (even if you don’t agree on everything lol) you KEEP THEM. I have personally given references to friends of mine or even acquaintances through friends, who are struggling with pain issues to the doc I see now. GIven how many patients she sees in a week/month, routinely tells me there is still little supply to fit the demand.

I do agree about the perceptions of pain. It would be interesting to read more about that through research about brain function, etc.

I hope this new research fuels what has been the ongoing debate of mind/body connections and that MORE research will be done to connect more dots on this issue of pain. It’s interesting for sure.

Have you read the book by Devin Starlanyl “Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain- A survivor’s Manual”? Great read and got me through the early days of having been newly diagnosed. She discusses the invalidation may patients are subjected too in trying to get answers to their pain and suffering.


Ox Drover

Dear LL,

Nope haven’t read that one I have read most of the current research on FM though… I manage my pain with 2 coated ASA twice a day….exercise, and just getting on with life. I decided a long time ago that a certain amount of pain was preferable to some of the “treatments”—and I know people who use everything from smoking grass to heavy narcotics and morphine and I decided as long as I could tolerate the pain and still live with it, I’d do so, but on the other hand, not going to let pain rule my life either, just have to sort of hit a “happy medium” there are some things that it isn’t worth the problems caused by the “treatments”—kind of like the same reason I am getting my tattoo the day I turn 65…”NO CPR” tattoo’d over my left breast! That’s no joke either! I really do plan to do that.

Learning to VALIDATE myself LL is something that has been very healing for me….not just in emotional trauma or pain, but in physical ailments and pain as well. Sometimes there are things about which medical science can’t find a “cause” and can’t find a “cure” and all we can do is accept the fact that there may not be a pill or a treatment that will “work” on it. Or it may be a problem that someone else can’t see….we just have to accept that WE can validate ourselves. As of right now there is no way to diagnose FM with a test of any kind, or know what the Cause is or cause-S (plural) and so we sort of have to be willing to accept that there isn’t an answer yet. There are LOTS OF THINGS that there is no clear cut answer as to why or treatments. “Psychopathy” is one of those things that is an “interpretation” of what is a group of SYMPTOMS….so is FM and other (many other) disorders that cause pain or disability.

Our body’s ability to respond to both phsycial, mental and emotional stresses both INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL is what keeps us alive. Medicine is just barely scratching the surfaces.

lesson learned


The book is a great read and helped me to understand what I was dealing with, thus validating the experiences I’ve had with fibro. I liked several of her approaches as well because it seemed that the big guns (narcotics, etc) were less necessary than other approaches with holistic approaches, acupuncture (I’d really like to try this actually), herbal teas, vitamins, etc. etc etc…

On my REALLY bad days, i won’t hesitate to take my narcotic medication if I have too. But I’m not a big pill taker.

Medical/mental health sciences are forever evolving and it will be interesting to see where we are in another ten to twenty years.

I think part of validating yourself means discovering what works for you. And what works for others, may not work for me. I’m glad what you do works for you, ox. 🙂


Ox Drover

Having been involved in primary care main-stream medicine for so long, as well as holistic approaches and some alternative therapies (note: I said SOME alternative therapies, some are quackery!) I try to work on evidenced-based medicine and science as well as keeping an open mind.

Unfortunately, you can find people here or there who believe that drinking “cat cheet tea” will cure AIDS or any other such crock of carp! So you have to be careful in what you are using and what you believe about various treatments. Looking at the RISK VERSUS BENEFITS RATIO. In any kind of treatment (including NO treatment) there is risk versus benefit. So you just have to look at what the potentials are on either end of the spectrum.


I can swear to the efficacy of holistic treatments for fibro. I was finally diagnosed in 94, after 4 yrs of arguing with doctors. I had SEVERE pain, low immunity, chronic fatigue, all of it except IBS. The pain was sometimes so severe that my brain would just Go Out, & I’d have what I called “pain fits” for 3-5 days: shaking & spazzing & groaning & mumbling incoherently….unaware of anything but pain. I took 3-5 Ultram a day, & was given 10 Demerol a month for “bad days”…..which didn’t even touch it on a bad day.

3 things: I started with an incredible deep tissue massage therapist in 96…..her little fingers can zero in on Anything Anywhere, & tho I used to call her “Debo-Rah, Queen of Pain” for the depth & intensity of her work, as soon as I’d get off the table the pain would be gone. She still works on me, but only a couple of times a month now.
Acupuncture: my massage therapist referred me to an incredible acupuncturist in 98, (who I also still see occasionally),
& about the same time they both referred me to an InCredible neuro-chiropractor.

Between 98 & 2002, I saw all 3 of them weekly. Massage & acupuncture at least 1x a wk, & my neuro-chiropractor 3x a wk. By 2002 I’d stopped taking Ultram, hadn’t taken Demerol in several years, & no longer had “pain fits”, & my daily pain was totally manageable.

I attribute the biggest part of my healing to my neuro-chiropractor. The only reason I stopped seeing him was because he’d moved away, but by that time, I was on my way to healing.

And, of course, there were other factors like REFUSING to believe that MY fibro was incurable….& doing less intense physical labor (I stopped working construction!)….& always, always taking LOTS of vitamins, doing B-12 injections (which I still do 3x a wk….most of us fibro-prone people don’t absorb B-12 thru the gut effectively)….& not having eaten mammal meat since 1968 (mammal meat produces uric acid in our muscles & makes it harder to avoid muscle spasms.)

I’m totally opposed to all those pharmaceuticals like Lyrica or whatever it is. I was once in a fibro support group where all the women took bizarre cocktails of pharmaceuticals & I don’t know that any of them ever healed. I told them that I preferred to keep my cocktails simple—something my body could easily understand: gin & tonic. 🙂
But I also believe that Healing Human Hands are what gave my life back to me.

Sympathy & blessings on your fibro…..I understand the suffering that comes with it!


And I can attest to the PAIN of being told your bladder pain is all in your head and told you need a psychiatrist not a urologist, by a well-respected urologist….and FINALLY 15 years later getting the bladder removed….because, oh yeah, it was NOT in my head, the inside of my bladder was covered with pinpoint hemorrhages, and every time urine hit my bladder (constantly), it was like pouring vinegar on open wounds.

Sorry, but I see RED whenever anyone starts talking about the mental causes of diseases, or links, etc. I suffered HUGELY for 15 years because of gibberish like that. Finally, after my bladder was removed, sex didn’t hurt anymore AND I could sleep more than one hour at a time….in fact all night long.

And don’t even THINK of asking me “what did your disease teach you?” or “How did you attract that into your life?” My answer will be to ask you how you attracted my fist into your face! Actually, I’m not violent, but just trying to say DO NOT GO THERE, at least with me!


And on another note, yes, the psychopath made me ill. I had the runs anytime I even thought about breaking no contact. Also got a couple of panic attacks from thinking about breaking no contact. My body was literally saying “You will see him over our dead body” I knew it would literally kill me one way or another to get re-involved.

So I guess I would say that in my experience, when the mental IS causing pain it is pretty clear! So yes, it happens, but I think we are pretty aware when our thinking is effecting our body. At least I am. If a doctor had told me maybe I had irritable bowel syndrome, I would have said, no I have irritating to the nth degree psychopath syndrome!

lesson learned


Yep. I get ya. There is nothing more aggravating to live within the confines of unbearable pain to be told you need to seek psychiatric care and NOT medical care. You’d think by now, that physicians across the board would understand the mind/body connection, but there are A LOT of pain related illnesses that are NOT the result of an underlying psychiatric stressor (PAIN IN AND OF ITSELF CAN CAUSE PSYCHIATRIC ISSUES! PARTICULARLY IF YOU’RE INVALIDATED ABOUT YOUR PAIN!), and then there ARE psychiatric stressors/illnesses that AGGRAVATE the physical issues or bring on chronic illness! Mind/body, get the picture?

It’sMe, yours and Oxy’s approaches shows that what works for one may not for another. I think it’s very individualized. Ox is right about that. I really appreciate your experiences from the holistic perspective. I heard rumor the last couple of days that acupuncture will now be apart of our poorly run state medical insurance and if it is SO, I will SURELY try it! I can’t afford deep massage therapy, although my stepmother treated me to it once and boy was it AWESOME!

There is so much left to be discovered about the mind/body connection!

Never, I do agree with you that the experience with a psychopath definitely adversely affects health. ONe hundred percent as any trauma, I believe, does.



I can speak to this article from a few different angles. As someone who’s done intensive meditation practice, I discovered firsthand how trauma is held in the tissues. As I got days into intensive practice, I’d feel burning in certain parts of my body. My teacher encouraged me to just be with the sensations instead of getting up and moving. I actually accessed some beatings and neglect I experienced and released them physically out of my body. When the anger from the beatings left, it felt like an electrical bolt going out my body. I did have to scream and yell a little, and cry a lot. I was amazed to see the very physical manifestations of trauma.

As a massage therapist who has worked with FM and had a FM training, I know that it is definitely stress-related and often triggered by stressful events. They call it a “syndrome” rather than an illness because they don’t really know what causes it. A syndrome is a collection of symptoms. With FM, the body is in a constant state of fight/flight, which is a reaction to pain. Many of my FM patients over the years had had at least on abusive relationship in their lives. Depression also gets physically keyed into the body and affects serotonin levels. I believe that when we are in dysfunctional relationships, it affects us on the physical level and can create many different diseases. This is the body’s response to internalizing stress and internalizing anger.


I agree with you about fibro & trauma being held in the body.
I think my fibro had 2 causes: 2 TIAs, in 85 & 87, that screwed up my nerve wirings. AND having been married to my 3rd hb for 6yrs—the one who had psychotic episodes, & who “beat & tortured me in the finest hotels all over the world”….terrorizing me for days at a time when he’d nut out. I finally ran for my life from him for the last time in 86.

The fibro symptoms started in 88, but had gotten severe by ’90, which was when I started trying to go to doctors for it.

Anyhow, I had lots of body & energy work done, starting in about 1988…..& like you said, lots of screaming & crying, trying to release the emotional trauma. It was bizarre….people trying to work on me in an office with people in close proximity! OMG. And, yes, when the physical emotional trauma from the abuse would leave my body, it was almost like I’d go limp. It took probly several hundred sessions with different workers, but by the time I found my deep tissue massage therapist in 96, & then the neuro-chiropractor in 98, I’d released most of that emotional trauma, so they could concentrate more on my muscles & my nerve wirings, but they did continue to release even more trauma over the years.

So, yes, I totally agree with you, Stargazer.

LL, I couldn’t “afford” massage therapy either…..but I couldn’t NOT afford it…..I’ve gone without lots of other things over the years to be able to get my body work. The neuro-chiro, I was just fortunate that my mother was still alive then, & I was in such bad shape that she paid for his work for 4yrs (about $400 a month.)


Dear Yes:
Many of the FM clients I’ve had over the years didn’t have much money and were only marginally employed. They were struggling with depression and insomnia. But they responded so well to the massage therapy – any form of massage, whether deep tissue or just relaxation. Most of them could not afford my prices, so I offered it to them for deeply discounted rates and sometimes for free. Interestingly, they were the most fleeting of all my clients, rarely taking me up on my offers. It’s as if they were so beaten down by the illness they just didn’t have the motivation.

But anyway, this is why I feel talk therapy can only go so far with trauma survivors – because the traumas are held in the body. I used to have a bodyworker who had this bumpersticker: The Issues are in the Tissues.

Ox Drover

Not all “alternative” therapies are quacks—and massage (deep tissue and otherwise) has always been effective (the “laying on of hands”) for decreasing stress related problems. I have two books science and research books right now I am reading about how ESSENTIAL TOUCH is to the human body and mind…literally… babies cannot live without it.

There are SOME nut “alternative therapies” and “theories” that like NeverAgain said…and I don’t want some kook telling me that if I will just open my mind and like that Ray guy that charged $10,000 to go through the “sweat lodge” routine (and if you survived!) you’d reach nirvana—he, by the way is on TRIAL for manslaughter for what he did to those people 3 of whom died and many got sick. Still even after this there are those who think he is some kind of farking guru!!!! There is “one born every minute” as old P. T. use’ta say! But that doesn’t mean that we should not be OPEN TO REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES AND THEORIES…we should be, but we should also look at the BENEFIT VERSUS RISK RATIOS of anything we do…even doing nothing has a benefit versus risk ratio.

We also need to keep in mind that there is not a Mind AND a Body, there is a mind-body and the TWO ARE ONE. If our mind is sick our bodies are sick and if our bodies are sick our mind is sick….we are a WHOLE BEING. In order to be healthy we have to work at being WHOLE.

None of us are going to beat the grim reaper in the end, we are all going to die, but how we LIVE is what is important and I think we are under an obligation to take as good care of ourselves as we can. I HAVE NOT ALWAYS DONE THAT…I smoked and I lived in CONTINUAL STRESS….and I didn’t eat right. Now I have finally decided to take care of me FIRST and to be KIND TO MYSELF. So I stopped smoking, started eating right, exercising better and keeping my life PEACEFUL and LOW STRESS.

Someone mentioned today that “boring is good” and yes, it IS GOOD if that means that there is no “excitement” here in terms of DRAMA or ADVENTURE (BTW “adventure is the result of poor planning!) LOL I’ll take “boring” and calm, and peaceful and GOOD.


During the three years the booger man was with me I lost twenty pounds, my back and hip were in constant pain, I could not think right, the hypervigilance and anxiety made me look and act like a scizoprhenic.. I was twisted into a pretzel trying to please him. He was playing cat and mouse with me, I think he was drugging me with sleeping meds, so he could stay online all nite and plan hook-ups while i was at work the next day. Anyway to make a long story short, he damn near loved me too death…I do know rejection is a horrible emotion, but he was not rejecting me. I rejected him, asked him to please find some place to go and he would say “but i love you ‘ or attempt killing himself..he lied like nothing I have ever seen…I really dont know what he was, have stopped trying to figure him out – I just know he is dangerous – demonic and angelic at the same time – ok I will shut up…

Ox Drover

Dear Hens,

You have been sounding SANE for quite some time now, and I have no doubt that you were crazy as bat chit during the time he was there…I had a pretty good case of INSANITY myself—doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

It doesn’t work, and the only thing we can do is to get out of the cycle—NO CONTACT—until our bodies and minds can start to heal.

When we start to heal a lot of the stress responses we have had from head aches, cloudy judgment, mental and physical pain starts to go away as we start to get to a level of “normal.” We sleep better (and believe me lack of sleep is a killer!)

I realized when I was in Texas in January that I was under stress there from the time I got there until after I got home, but even though I “lost” a friendship I had treasured for over 30 years and kept going through “thick and thin” I realized that it was time to move on from that relationship. It wasn’t all bad, it just had a point that it was no longer good. I still have some wonderful memories and she was here for me the week my husband died, I can’t imagine going through that without her help, and I will always appreciate it. She was here for me too when my step dad was sick and my egg donor had surgery and I needed someone to stay with the egg donor while I was with dad and vice versa. We’ve done some fun things and some sad things together, but it is time to let that go. I could not have done so if I hadn’t healed from some of this other trauma in my life. It hurt, but not like it would have previous to this…I think we learn to deal better and more easily with the grief of loss with the practice we get dealing with the psychopaths.

Not everyone who is “not good for” us is a psychopath, but learning to deal with the tremendous losses and betrayals that the psychopaths do to us makes it so much easier to deal with an “ordinary” loss. I realize that my friend is in pain, and she is depressed, sad and needy and her way of (not) dealing with her problems is to be cranky and snarky—but that is HER PROBLEM, not mine. I can’t and I won’t make it mine. I have empathy and sympathy for her—but it will be from a distance. I won’t allow her husband to abuse me and I won’t make her problems mine.


At the time I knew he was the cause of my physical decline. Many people thought i had cancer or something worse. I had so many people tell me you look like chit ~! whats wrong? It took me awhile to regain my sanity and my weight, no chronic back pain…now I am just a senile old fart with crs – but that’s better than a bad case of exploititis…
I thot i would never recover physically but I have, I feel great, have lots of energy..the emotional toll simply changed who I am and like i have said I am trying hard to make that a good thing. still have little snipit’s of missing what he never was…


You are right, there are so many forms of alternative healing that WORK, and I encourage everyone here to try a few. Of course massage, acupuncture, and Reiki. I had an amazing experience the other night giving a massage. The client asked for a combination nurturing massage with energy work. She is going through a break-up and is in a lot of pain. The only energy work I do is Reiki, but it’s something I rarely ever use, and didn’t even think I would remember how. I just put my hands on her in various places and let the Reiki do its thing. When my hands got over her heart, they heated up and started tingling. Her body started shaking, and she cried. The Reiki was just going where it was needed and helping her to grieve. Afterward, she commented that she felt so much better. When she left, I was still in a “Reiki field” as my old Reiki master used to call it. So I Reiki-ed myself. And that’s when all this abandonment stuff came up and I got to process a bunch of it. Reiki is a form of energy work. There are many different kinds. I have experienced many of them. They really do work. There is even a place in my town where the students give free aura cleansings. They are extremely effective in grounding and helping to clear foreign energies. So many of us can use that if we have compromised boundaries. We become like psychic sponges, picking up and carrying around other peoples’ stuff. I encourage everyone here to try Reiki if you have never experienced it. There is a special part of it that is for emotional healing. I used it a lot when I got discarded by my selfish ex 10 years ago. I had just gotten my level II Reiki certification, and I was using it all the time back then.

Hope to heal

Star ~ I have not heard of Reiki. Does it have to do with Eastern medicine? It does sound like a powerful practice, from what you described in your post.


It comes from Japan, but the practice has been around for a long time. In order to do Reiki, you need to get initiated by a Reiki master. Then you invoke it for healing. The energy is not personal to you, however. It is a universal energy that is sometimes compared to the Christ energy. It is just a universal energy. I don’t completely understand it. But it works. I have many stories to tell about it. Here’s one:

Shortly after my Reiki II initiation, I was sitting in massage class with my hand on my massage partner’s knee, just randomly. All of a sudden my hand heated up to a point where it was almost burning through his jeans (!). I had never experienced that before. My hands and feet tend to be cold all the time. Then my partner told me he had been suffering with a mysterious pain in that knee for some time. After the incident with my hand, his knee was mysteriously healed.

I believe cats are also little Reiki masters. My Siamese before he died used to selectively climb on the table on top of certain clients and just sit on some part of their body and purr. My clients would very frequently tell me that the part he was laying on was giving them trouble, and now it feels better. The same cat always knew when I had an upset stomach. He would lie with his little velvet paws on my tummy. It was the only time he ever did that. I know it sounds crazy. But I used to call him my “intuitive assistant” and I even had his picture on my business cards. My clients came to see him as much as me! I miss him so much. And now I have to stop talking about him because I’m starting to cry. He died a year ago in January of old age related illness (renal failure). It was one of the most painful events of my life.

Hope to heal

(((hugs))) Star ~ so sorry you lost your assistant. I believe that animals DO instinctively know when something is amiss.

I used to have a sheltie who, if I wasn’t feeling well, would come and tuck herself in next to me in my chair and stay there for hours nuzzling my hand. Under normal circumstances, she wouldn’t come up for more than a minute or two because it was too warm for her. They have very thick coats! We lost her almost 2 years ago at the very young age of 7 1/2, it was heart failure. Yep, that was a tough one. She was my baby. I’m OK with it now. She lived a happy life while she was here, and passed VERY quickly… 20 minutes from playing to gone.


I’m sorry for the loss of your sheltie, as well. My Siamese slept in my shirt (with me wearing it) every night for 10 years. I have one remaining cat. She will be 18 on May 1st (the day I fly out to Costa Rica). She was born on my bed 18 years ago. I don’t know how I will handle it when she dies.

Hope to heal

wow – I just lost a post. strange.

I do love Siamese cats. Otherwise, basically I’m a dog person. Have you thought of possibly getting another cat while she is still with you? I’m not suggesting that you can replace her, but it might help with the loneliness when she dies.

Costa Rica for pleasure, I hope?


Yes, I almost adopted another cat last year that looked exactly like the Siamese. I would love to have a pair of Siamese or colorpoint shorthair (look like Siamese only solid colors). But I don’t want to be tied down in case I move to Costa Rica or take off and go travel anywhere. I want to enjoy my freedom, at least until I find a permanent home. I know this condo is not it. Also, I don’t think I could bear the pain of losing another one.

raggedy ann

Ladies and hens,
I am bookmarking this article because of all of your interesting and valuable comments.

First: Lesson Learned, my takeaway from the article was that emotional pain is to be taken seriously. Any doctor or lay person interpreting its findings to mean that a complaint of physical pain does not have a physical cause would be completely misreading it! The test subjects being asked to remember their heartache did not report to the scientists that they felt any physical pain, and the only reports of physical pain came from a physical cause: the near-scalding heat. I hope I am correct in feeling that this article does not further invalidate reports of physical pain.

Oxy, please name those books on touch! Just yesterday I was thinking that a good LF article would be one on how to cope without physical touch for awhile, since being alone is the experience of so many people recovering from a P/S, and No Contact also often means no physical contact from any other adult for the time being. And I am not talking about sex. I know that I suffer without touch, and touch is one of the most important and nourishing things I can get froma relationship.

Also, forgive me — I know this is intrusive, but IF you are ever wavering on that tattoo, please consider that this world really needs people like you.

neveragain, I am assuming you had interstitial cystitis. I am so sorry for what you suffered, including from your idiot doctor. I was diagnosed with IC, but I think I was misdiagnosed. However, the diagnosis lead me to a discussion forum for IC sufferers and it was heartbreaking to learn of some other women’s experience and the situations they were in because of their illness or its symptoms. The forum helped me a lot anyway, and I learned things that helped me, and encountered some inspiring women there. I am taking Lyrica now, from a pain management doctor, and my own chronic pain is very muted as a result, except perhaps if I were to have sex.
I have had serious depression, PMS/PMDD, this mysterious chronic pain condition in my lower abdomen that was affecting my life (and sleep) horribly, and I have had breast cancer. It absolutely makes me puke how people who have no concept of what it means to say “My mother has schizophrenia” or “I have interstitial cystitis” or “I suffer from/deal with depression” or “ankylosis spondilitis” or any number of this that people really suffer from will start Oohing and Ahing all over you and turning themselves inside out with compassion or taking you seriously if you say “breast cancer”. It disgusts and angers me! I am so glad your pain situation improved, though!

I’m so sorry about the departed animal companions.

Thank you everyone for this conversation. I will definitely be re-reading.

Ox Drover

Dear Raggedy Ann,

There are three books actually

The chemistry of Connection, How the oxytocin response can help you find trust, intimacy and love by Susan Kuchinskas

The Oxytocin facotr, tapping the hormone of calm, love and healing by Kerstin Uvnas Moberg

Touching, the Human Significance of the Skin by Ashley Montagu (3rd edition)

The skin is the largest sensory organ of the body, the largest organ in fact, and touch (sexual and non sexual) can release hormones into our bodies/minds that provide the VERY LIFE GIVING connections we need.

It was noticed during WWII when babies were placed in orphanages where they were “well taken care of” but not cuddled and held and TOUCHED that they DIED. Literally died from lack of touch.

Even as adults, we need touch on our skin. Star who is a massage therapist is well aware of what that TOUCH can do for people, especially people who are suffering.

Just as we can sexually touch ourselves and bring pleasure to ourselves, we can also non-sexually touch and stroke ourselves to provide some of this NECESSARY stimulation to help ourselves heal. We can also hug our friends and our children.

I do feel that touch is ESSENTIAL to our health and well being and to our healing.

I think that touch (sexual and non sexual) that we get from a “significant other” may be a much or more the thing we desire and need in a “relationship” with another person and we are easily “love bombed” to accept someone because of our NEED for this touch.

BTW Raggedy Ann, the reason for the tattoo is that CPR does not bring back BOTH BODY AND MIND in people over 65…there is almost a ZERO chance of any “meaningful life” from A person who has been “revived” by CPR if they are over 65. Most of the time they end up severely brain injured or on life support in an ICU until some kind hearted person turns off the machines. I’ve worked in medicine a long time and I’ve treated some of these poor suffering souls with no chance of a “meaningful life” and I DO NOT WANT TO BE ONE…so when my time comes to go I want to do it FAST not have my dying prolonged by some well meaning medical person or fire man who didn’t read my chart and the DNR order and went ahead and “coded” me anyway.

Life can be wonderful, but life can also be a misery and I have no desire to prolong physical pain and misery if there isn’t going to be some of the wonderful left after the misery is over…just to prolong the “breathing” isn’t to prolong LIFE.

Thank you for that validation of my worth…and I hope that some of the words that I type here do help and comfort others because I have sure been comforted and supported by this blog, and I am still here after 3+ almost four years now because I STILL gain new insight every day from the wonderful people and articles that are here.

Learning ways to meet our need for touch, and to gain oxytocin which is the ultimate bonding and feel good hormone I think, is just another tool in our tool boxes for healing. Knowledge is POWER and the more we know the more power we can have to make our lives and our environment what we want them to be! (((hugs)))) and God bless.


I hear what you all are saying.

Just want to say that the old saying”Least said, soonest mendest” has merit for SOME people too. Working through trauma pain is one path to healing, but I don’t think it is the only path to healing.

There is a lot to be said for the approach that I think M.L. Gallagher took, if I am remembering right. Which was refusing to allow thoughts of the P in her brain, by focusing on the fact, for instance, that what she is doing TODAY to build a wonderful life is so much stronger than anything that happened in the past.

“Get busy, get better” is an AA saying I think.

Another blog a while back talked about the healing power of helping others.

There are many paths to healing. Also depends on the trauma, your history, your personality, etc. Massage, getting emotions out, etc. is not for everyone. Just wanted to mention that so someone isn’t sitting there thinking, omg, I must still have tons of trauma locked up in me, and here I was thinking I was just about healed.

There truly are many paths.

OXY STRONGLY disagree about cpr past 65. Thank god the emts worked on my motherinlaw in the cafe where she collapsed. She had many wonderful years after that, at least 15, before she even began to get Alzheimers. After cpr, she was airlifted, had to have quadruple bypass surgery, officially died on the operating table, and it was a battle to heal, but she did it. I’m so thankful for all the extra wonderful years she had after that.

Oxy, is there research or articles on the internet about that? I guess I can google that. But before I don’t call the ambulance for my husband who is more than 65, I’d want something more to go on…..Respect your opinion, but that is quite a statement to put out there. Almost ZERO chance??!!!?? I guess my mother-in-law was extremely lucky.

Ox Drover

Dear Never,

Although CPR and ACLS has IMPROVED GREATLY in the last few years, seriously the statistical chances of FULL recovery is almost zero…there was a study done looking at people who had “sudden cardiac arrest” who were in the hospital for SOME OTHER PROBLEM. And of course, in a hospital they would get the quickest and most advanced ACLS (advanced cardiac live support, including defibrilation quickly) but out of like 700 cases of this studied, NOT ONE lived a single day outside of the hospital.

Yes, your MIL was EXTREMELY FORTUNATE, and I have only seen in my entire career ONE other person who had any life outside the hospital ICU setting. Lots of people get “ress’ed” but then lay in an ICU for days, weeks or months, on a breathing machine because the family can’t stand the thought of “mama dying”—some of those people can feel pain and some probably can’t, but WHY???????? I guess it is my years of standing by and seeing what is done to those people in the name of “saving life” that Makes me ABSOLUTELY NOT want that to happen to me.

The former patient of mine in a psych ward, who was physically “healthy” after 20+ minutes of CPR but his brain was the brain of a LOST 6 MONTH OLD PREVERBAL child who was lost, alone and afraid. He did not recognize any of his family and cried continually wandering around “lost”—I can’t even imagine the pain that poor lost soul was in. I don’t want to take even a chance that something like that happens to me. I also worked in head injuries for several years and I’ve seen people with such severe brain injuries that there was NO hope for them and they were “revived” to live a life of pain, immobility, anguish and so on. NOT for me. I don’t want to put my family through that at my age…or any age for that matter.

When my husband was burned over 95 % of his body (2nd and 3rd degree) he was in no pain, as the nerve endings were cooked, there was NO chance he would live no matter what was done. He was taken by air ambulance to the hospital though, and by the time I could get there they had him intubated etc. He and I had talked and I knew that he did not want that…and he was conscious for about 4 hours before they could legally pull the tube, and he lived another hour or so after that, but we did get our chances to say goodbye etc. while he was alert and oriented though he could not talk due to the burning in his throat. He was NOT in any pain (thank you Jesus!) but they intubated him KNOWING he had no chance of living more than 24 hours at most and if he HAD LIVED a few days more the pain would have been SO HORRIBLE. They were even going to send him to a hospital out of state, a burn center. He was 72 years old, and even if he’d been 27 in perfect health, he could not have lived. I told THEM he was going to die they never told me he couldn’t live. If I had NOT been a medical person, they would have convinced he he had a chance at life….because they did not have the balls, backbone and courage to admit that there are injuries and illnesses too BAD TO ALLOW LIFE OR HEALING.

I have fought my entire career with physicians who would not be honest with their patients….and when my step dad was dx with an incurable cancer I fought with them again, I MADE THEM tell him the prognosis…NO CURE POSSIBLE, but we could keep him comfortable. We did and he had 18 months of a good life before he passed away, but he had NO false “hope” that there was going to be a cure. He had time to grieve, we had time to grieve and to spend QUALITY TIME together. If my husband had been sent out of state what few precious hours we had together before he passed away would have been lost to him flying to an out of state hospital. I still want to bitach slap the fire out of the face of the doctor who was trying to “reassure” me that my husband was going to be “okay.”

Death is not, to me, the “end of life” but just another way station on our journey, and just being able to breathe and feel pain is not “life.”

If my heart stops, OK I’m gone. Okay, that’s all right with me. I’ll keep myself in as good a shape as I can between now and then and have regular check ups, and so on, but if my heart stops, that’s okay with me. I see my physician regularly, get reasonable tests for various problems, have had my heart and arteries checked etc. and I’m finally stopped smoking, eating a low sodium diet, and taking care of myself emotionally, spiritually as well as physically. Life is good for me, and I hope will be until I pass, but no CPR on my dead body please. Just put me in the ground and throw a party!


Vastly different experiences with end of life stuff. My childhood friend’s doctor said to her very ill father in the hopsital “Do you need more pain medication? Do you and all you family members understand that an additional dose could possibly end your life? Ok……you can say your goodbyes, I’ll be back in 10 minutes to try to relieve your pain.”

I think each case, each doctor is different, and it is fine to share opinions, but good to acknowledge, when talking about medical decisions, to be sure to not rely on anyone’s word for something, ask to read the actual research if you are going to base life and death decisions on it, or talk these issues over with a trusted doctor now. Many doctors ARE compassionate about end of life decisions. Not all doctors deliberately deceive the next of kin about the patient’s chances. I guess I have also been very fortunate in most of the doctors I’ve interacted with. At least if you have one you trust and have been with for a long time, you can discuss these kinds of things NOW, to get THEIR opinions.


Also been unlucky with doctors too…..but not on end of life stuff. All I can say is keeping trying doctors until you find one that you feel comfortable with and trust. It took me 15 years to find a good urologist! I sometimes wonder if certain specialties attract certain personalities. But the final urologist I had was COMPASSIONATE, TRUSTING and TRUSTWORTHY!

Ox Drover

I used to have a continual “debate” with a physician friend of mine about whether ONLY assholes became neurosurgeons or whether becoming a neurosurgeon makes one an asshole! LOL

Most urologists that I know are pretty nice, but surgeons and especially ortho and neuro tend to have a high rate of narcissists I think….not sure why but I’m not the only one that notices it.


Who needs a man?! Tonight I am content with ME. Here infront of my wood fire, good friends on LF, cup of tea, a good days work done – where I was valued, in relative good health, 3 lovely kids, a car that’s STILL running despite all the odds, had a lovely bath, eating chocolate cake, listening to 60’s music, spath free, roof over my head, money in my purse, life’s good.

At times I still mull over things he said and the ‘aha’ moments keep coming. Does anyone else get these? Even after 5 months things come back to me that he said and I take it, turn it around, and find it meant something else. eg spath told me he had been involved in a pub fight a few years ago that’s why he could not get a CRB check. Then it came to me today that this was the time he beat up his ex. 2 and 2 = 4

Ox – I too have seen many people ‘brought back’ only to ‘live’ a shell of a life – maybe in our profession we just see the ‘worst’ cases. I have also asked my kids to ‘let me go’ when my time comes. Over here we resuscitate to the tune Nellie the Elephant (the speedy version is the correct tempo!)

Ox Drover

Dear Candy,

I used to work in a step down unit where we put the ones we “brought back” if we could get them off the vent…and it was a large “ward” of both men and women, as night nurses (with our horrible BLACK senses of humors–we called it “Dr.Smith’s Vegetable Garden” because every patient there was essentially brain dead and unconscious and all had been operated on by Dr. Smith (not his real name) Almost every night we found someone COLD and blue when we made our first of shift walking rounds, and even though they were BLUE and gone, the doc on call would call a FULL CODE on these poor souls and push every drug on the cart. Of course none of those people even made it back to the ICU…but what most people don’t realize is the chances of being “brought back FULLY” by even advanced cardiac recus is so REMOTE that you have a much better chance of being a VEGETABLE than really alive…and I don’t want that. I KNOW THE FACTS and the statistics and I would much rather not take the chance of being a “vegetable.”

Some docs and other medical personnel are becoming reasonable about end of life issues, and my step dad had wonderful hospice nurses and docs, and he got all the medication he needed right to the end. I was also fortunate that being a nursing/medical professional I was able to over see both his care and the end of life issues with my husband as well. Both of my sons that are “free” know my wishes, and I have written documents as well, but in event of a terrible car crash or a cardiac arrest I don’t want some EMT or nice bystander to try to revive me so I want my tattoo so that when they rip my shirt open they will SEE my WISHES clearly! I imagine it will also make them laugh, which is good. When I told one of the docs where I worked at the time about my intention I thought he was going to swallow his tongue when I said “I’m going to get a tattoo” (because If you know me I am just not the “tattoo” kind of [email protected] LOL) then when I told him what it was going to say, I thought he was going to wet his pants and fall off his stool! LOL ROTFLMAO

Well, candy glad you are having a nice evening in front of the wood fire….where do you live, it is middle of the afternoon here now and the sun went and hid again and the rain is drizzling down a bit but sweater weather not coat. Wild flowers in my little garden are popping up all over and I just went and scattered some wild flower seeds someone gave me as well. Mulched the raised bed garden and my son is digging holes for some trees I ordered—an almond tree and two hazel nut trees that are supposed to be hardy in this area…(central US) Have a good sleep!


Ox – Interesting stuff. LMAO. You are VERY funny.

Just had a thought. If you have your tattoo across your boobs, they might go ‘south’ and when they rip open your shirt the tattoo will be down by your belly button and they might miss it!! ((((((((laughing))))))))

We used to have fun on the wards too. I think Jo Public think we are always serious but it is a cry or laugh scenario. One time we had woman in casualty on Christmas Day, she was drunk and she vomited all over me. We spent the shift singing ‘And So This Is Christmas’

I believe in a ‘good death’ too. My younger sister died of breast cancer in the Hospice and it was very peaceful.

I’m in England, spring is just around the corner. We love wild flowers here, it’s such a joy to see them popping up and they are low maintenance.

Not sure how you find the time to help so many people on here with all the things you get up to. See you tomorrow. Nite x

Ox Drover


I type fast (number 1) and number 2, my computer is centrally located and so I am in and out by it and I just pop by to see how the board is going between rounds of doing this or that….

I live back in a hole in the woods on my grandparents’ old farm…I love it here and my “yard” is pretty natural with wild flowers and a few flowers that are LOW CARE….my vegetable garden is confined to some “raised” beds for a few plants…and have 3 pet cows, 4 pet ducks that lay eggs a couple of cats and a couple of dogs…did away with the diary goats and the big herd of Scots Highland cattle. Two jack asses named Fat Ass and Hairy Ass and a horse who may not remember how to carry a rider any more named Rosey. No more Border Collie dogs to herd with…my last one passed away last summer and the breed deserves a “job” so don’t think I will replace him as I don’t have enough work for a collie dog any more. Just about need goats or sheep to train them with and the goats and sheep require more care than I want to give…so I’m cutting wayyyyy down on my activities work wise and hobby wise as well. I turned in my professional license 5-6 yrs ago —after the plane crash my ST memory is bad enough I really don’t need to be doing any practice and I’m of an age to retire so I did so.

When I went to work each day I would pray “Please God don’t let me hurt someone today” and as far as I know I never did hurt a patient through a mistake, but after the memory went, I was no longer confident enough to continue to work. I needed the time to heal. As it turned out with the “summer of chaos 2007” when my P son and his P buddies tried to kill me, if I had been working I wouldn’t have realized what was going on. So I think it all worked out for the best. I miss the money from working, of course, but I’m “a cheap date” so to speak, so I’m not missing any meals because of retirement, just can’t fly round the world any more. England and Ireland and Scotland are places I never got to in my travels as a young person…always intended to go. Oh, well…just look at [email protected]

Besides, really, I couldn’t have a nicer place to live as far as beauty etc. is. I also realize though that home is where you park your hat, and we can be content in a tent or a card board box if we are happy and secure within ourselves.

I just finished re-reading (haven’t read it in years) the book “The Hiding Place” by Carrie ten Boom the dutch woman who hid the Jewish neighbors in her house in Holland during WWII and she and her family were arrested and sent to Germany to a slave labor camp, she was actually released by “accident” about a week before the rest of the women her age (thousands!) were gassed…she became a missionary to help people heal and set up camps for refugees in Holland and Germany. Her book was a wonderful book, along with Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s search for meaning” which he wrote after his years in a Nazi prison camp in which he lost everything but his life–how they both found MEANING AND PEACE in concentration camps—WOW!!! Talk about the ULTIMATE PSYCHOPATHIC EXPERIENCE, and yet, they found solace within themselves and in the few blessings they had, and afterward they could look back and see things they learned from the experience that ENRICHED THEIR LIVES.

These experiences we have had have been TERRIBLE….and yet, if we work at realizing it, there are things we can learn that will ENRICH OUR LIVES, OURSELVES…and the lives of others that we can share that enrichment with.

Someone a few months ago wrote here on LF that we need to sit down and write a “Mission Statement” just like a charity or a school or a business….and I did. I also wrote a list of my blessings, starting with CLEAN CLEAR WATER TO DRINK….a roof over my head, enough food (and more) for my needs, and so on. The very BASICS of life are provided for me….and t here are so many in the world who don’t have that through no fault of their own. They go to bed scared, hungry, thirsty, cold or dirty because they have no choice. Plus there are over 30 million people still IN SLAVERY in the world, or bonded serfdom that is about the same. We have so many blessings to be grateful for.
(((hugs)))) and God bless.


OXy, the P/s/n I was involved with was a pathologist. How perfect is that for the name of his type of doctor! LOL! And what a good fit. No emotions, so not disturbed at the worst scenes that make normal people recoil….even if trained professionals. And having to tell someone that the type of cancer they have is a really bad one…not a problem for him, he probably enjoys it….and enjoys the moment that their whole life is in the balance and he delivers the verdict. Then again, he can spend all day just peering into microscopes, and tell a surgeon that the surgeon goofed, needs a “reslice” or cleaner margins, etc.


And amen to your last paragraph above Oxy.


Just wanted to check in. I am going to bed as I am still recovering from a trip to the dentist. Today is my ex spath’s birthday. I had to take a peak on his FB page. Yuk!

Oh well, I am glad I am me and not him.

Regarding dental work. I am phobic so I put it off and use any co-dependent relationship to put off my needs. I was very calm at the dentist, (2 days ago) but after a root canal, he looked at current x ray again and found that root had split and was not going to take so he had to pull the tooth. Now I am getting a bruise at the bottom of my chin. The good news is it is a back tooth, and I finally found an anti-biotic that I can successfully take that I am not allergic to. Rather than play “let’s try this one”, I researched on the web the night before to find one that was not related or in the same family of the one’s I have been allergic to.



My mother had a brain tumor. That tumor caused so many physical problems. I didn’t know she was in pain. I didn’t put the pieces of the puzzle together until years later. She thought she had MS after a doctor diagnoised it. (it was the tumor) I now know that MS is painful. I now know that my mother lived with pain.

Poor mom was labeled a difficult patient. Cause the doctor didn’t know how to help her. Mom was put in a room at the back of clinic and ignored. She was swept under the rug.

My dad had to threaten to sue the doctor in order to get the doctor to sign the release. Mom was then sent to Mayo’s Clinic where the brain tumor was FINALLY found.

By this time the tumor did it damage.

Mom was cheated in life.

Ox Drover

Dear Jeannie,

I am sorry that your mother was misdiagnosed, and that she was not validated in her pain. I’ve seen it happen to patients and I’ve had it happen to me as well. It is FRUSTRATING and horrible when it happens. Pain is not something that is seen though like a broken leg or a big boil on the end of your nose…it is just what we feel and perceive and no one has the right to “judge” what we FEEL or if it is “real” or “imagined.”

God bless your mother! (((hugs))))


Sociopaths ARE tools!


Somebody needs to adjust their mask…….!

lesson learned

My third.

Are you troll? Or are you meat for EB to chew this evening?

Oh wait…..that’s the same thing, isn’t it?

From where is it that you troll, My third?


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