This week/weekend I learned the different ways my body stores stress and tension.
When I’m in a situation where I’ve been stressed due to outside situations and I feel powerless to change them, my body responds to that stress with gastric reflux. Dry heaves, every day, that disappear immediately when the stressful situation is resolved. Examples:
- Abusive boss – dry heaves stopped the day she announced her resignation.
- Dealing with mine and Dad’s and Mom’s emotions during the decline of Dad’s health – dry heaves stopped the day that Dad stopped all medications except for palliative care.
Apparently, in situations where I’m abusing myself by holding back what is likely a cathartic emotional response, my body responds to that stress with jaw pain (not referred pain – no sign of heart attack). I had it for a solid week, and actually needed ibuprofen and was considering seeing a doctor for the issue.
Then a friend of mine told me that sometimes her stress “collects” in her jaw, and asked if I’d been dealing with any stress lately…and I had. More than I expected, and the resulting examination of said stress led to a spate of tears and pillow hugging until I felt I’d purged the majority of it. Now my jaw pain is all but gone. A little stiffness in the morning, but gone within minutes.
Huh. Well, at least I know some of my warning signs? The jaw pain is new, but so is the idea that releasing those pent-up emotions will at least make me feel better, even if they don’t change anything.