2 minute read
There is a rare genetic disorder wherein a person is born without the capacity to feel pain. They can feel other sensations, but their brains just don’t register painful stimuli.
On paper, this disorder sounds like a dream: “Amazing, I feel no pain!”
In reality, it can quickly lead to life-threatening situations.
Imagine a two-year-old who senses no pain, running into walls, people, and sharp objects without the capacity to learn where the limits and boundaries lie. That’s a difficult, and dangerous, existence.
We do everything to shield ourselves and our loved ones from pain. To make things as comfortable as we possibly can. But pain serves an adaptive function: It communicates important information.
If we don’t have pain, we miss out on information that is crucial to our survival.
Physical pain shoots up to our brain with an “ouch” message for a reason. If touching a hot stove felt nice, what would drive us to pull our hand away and protect ourselves from a serious burn?
Avoidance is another way we try to protect ourselves from pain. But pain eventually makes itself impossible to avoid or ignore. Anyone who has ignored or tried to suppress physical pain knows what often happens in the end. It makes the situation worse—and the pain that much more unbearable. The same goes for our emotional pain.
Emotional pain tries to clue us into a part of our lives that needs our attention.
If we learn to notice painful feelings—sadness, grief, shame, fear, despair—and be curious about their purpose, those feelings can actually be diminished.
When we know the purpose of painful emotions, we can address the information they are relaying to us about our lives.
And we can get help.
If we ignore painful emotions, those feelings will get louder, and the source of pain will only grow to have more power over us.
Midwest Counseling & Diagnostic Center can offer support. Our extensively trained, highly skilled therapists are down-to-earth, non-judgmental, and committed to helping you find the path forward on your journey. For more information, please contact us.