Misunderstood pain: how underlying emotions can be trapped in your body

Misunderstood pain: how underlying emotions can be trapped in your body
Somatically unexplained physical complaints

solk. This abbreviation stands for somatically unexplained physical complaints. Solk can manifest itself in pain, fatigue, mood problems, and other more general complaints. All complaints that really make us suffer, for which often no clear cause is found and which often become chronic. And although we do not know the word solk, many people suffer from chronic and misunderstood complaints every day and sometimes for years.

I myself have a lot of experience with unexplained complaints. I have experienced pain and other complaints in many degrees for almost thirty years. When I was very young it started with chronic colds, coughs, and bronchitis. Later I had a lot of fears. Then I developed a vomiting phobia. I got anorexia. After that, I got chronic pain in my neck, shoulders, back, and later almost my whole body.

Eventually, I got so stuck that I got rheumatism, developed a balance problem and a jaw joint was completely locked. That was my low point. I sat spinning on the couch, my mouth could no longer open to eat, my joints were swollen from an attack of rheumatism, my whole body ached and I was terrified. I went through all stages of the struggle with chronic, misunderstood complaints.

I have visited many therapists and doctors and none of them could tell me that there is a name, a clear explanation and a solution for my problem. That’s why I went to investigate. At first I thought I was ‘broken’, sick, had something that couldn’t be helped. I read books, researched a hundred and one methods and wrote in my diary.

Search for meaning

Misunderstood pain: how underlying emotions can be trapped in your body

I learned a lot along the way. I discovered how many different views there are. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. My search for the meaning of those complaints took a long time, but I gained insights that slowly formed a picture.

I began to suspect more and more that my complaints had to do with my lost feeling, my stilled tears and the inner split between who I really am and how I thought I should be. That I was not broken or ill, but that I had become entangled by a combination of my character, my disposition, my history, our zeitgeist and how I tried to survive in it. I discovered that it is all about feeling. My complaints were an invitation to return to feeling.

Once I had renounced feeling unnoticed. I had banished my feelings to an unreachable depth. I couldn’t feel, there was too much going on in my life in my youth. Feeling seemed dangerous, I was afraid that my feelings would overwhelm me, that I would perish. Nor had I learned to feel well. My parents were not overt ‘feelers’.

My father kept everything inside and my mother was always strong and tough. I followed their example, as it were, and renounced feeling, unconsciously. I filled the void that was created with thinking. There is nothing wrong with thinking, but we cannot live in our heads alone. It may seem like a temporary solution, but after a while everything starts to squeak and creak. My body did that.

Only when everything came to a standstill and I could no longer move forward, did I give up flight in the mind. A quest started: to find my way back to my feeling. I opened the door inward, terrified and hesitant. I received help from all sides, from people who had gone before me, who had insight and took me by the hand. As Alice in Wonderland I entered my inner world, a world I did not understand.

From understanding to feeling

Misunderstood pain: how underlying emotions can be trapped in your body

Again and again I tried to understand, but I had to feel. Sometimes I grew, sometimes I shrank. Sometimes I found space, sometimes I got stuck again. But I came closer and closer to the insight: ‘it was myself I was looking for’. In Weg van de pain I describe in detail my search for the meaning of the complaints.

I also met Marten Klaver along the way. Before his retirement he was a neurologist and neurologist and his warm heart goes out to people with solk. Marten Klaver developed a theory about the relationship between psychological experience, brain functions and unexplained physical complaints. He worked on this for years and discovered that people often experienced improvement or even got rid of the complaints with the help of his insights into the causes of these complaints. He calls the theory he developed ‘the Limbic Explanation’, after the name of the brain region involved (for an extensive explanation, see the book MUS ).

A limbic system is a group of structures involved in emotion, motivation, pleasure and emotional memory. In short, the Limbic Declaration means that misunderstood complaints can be caused by unconscious, repressed, unknown emotions. Emotions that are not expressed naturally can cause real physical complaints.

Complaints can be painful, distressing, frightening, persistent, and disruptive. The complaints are not an affectation, they are real and deserve expert treatment. My suspicion that the cause of my pain lay in my lost feeling was correct. A world opened up for me. I discovered that there are many forms of solk.

The complaints can occur in different body areas:

Misunderstood pain: how underlying emotions can be trapped in your body

  • Abdominal: pain, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, bloating, irritable bowel, upset stomach
  • Heart and breathing: chest pain, palpitations, tightness of the chest
  • Musculoskeletal system: muscle/joint pain, stiffness, loss of strength, often low back pain, neck and shoulder complaints, fibromyalgia, post-whiplash syndrome, headache (TMS complaints)
  • General: fatigue, dizziness, ringing in the ears and hyperacusis (hypersensitivity to sound), fainting, headache, blurred vision, concentration weakness, overstimulation, sleeping problems, loss of libido, mood disorders with anxiety, depression, gloom, anxiety, and panic

All kinds of causes and patches of feeling can appear when you look for the causes of solk, such as:

  • Trauma (in all shapes and sizes of severity)
  • Loss (unprocessed grief)
  • Unknown, unfelt, unexpressed emotions: fear, anger, shame, guilt, anger, sadness
  • Poor effective conditions in childhood and/or the rest of your life
  • Insecurity
  • Negative self-image
  • Hidden frustration
  • repressed anger
  • Fear we can’t place
  • Hidden Vulnerability

Emotions we are not aware of

Misunderstood pain: how underlying emotions can be trapped in your body

I describe how these unexplained complaints can arise from emotions that we do not know, are not aware of, we’re unable to express, and were afraid to feel, in short, emotions that were not allowed to be there. I describe views on the origin of these complaints and how a way to recovery can be found. Former neurologist Marten Klaver assists me with the insights he developed on the basis of an in-depth literature study and his experiences with patients in practice. I also draw from my own experience and describe what I discovered on my way to a new way of living: a more soulful life.

Learning to embrace yourself

I recovered. I still practice, by trial and error. Sometimes my body is light, feeling, loose and carefree. Sometimes I end up in the trap of fleeing and thinking again. I try to embrace everything. Because if I can embrace myself, with my talents and my creases, I will untangle again and find another door inside, to wholeness and recovery. I remain a student for life, a researcher, and a practitioner of returning to my feelings. Step by step, that’s good enough.

It is my deep wish to be able to give you the feeling that you are no longer alone, that there are still new paths that you can walk, and that you are not at all to blame for your complaints, but that you can contribute to deeper insight and you can promote recovery.


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