I Suffered From Somatization and Never Knew

Somatization is the conversion of a mental state (as depression or anxiety) into physical symptoms:  the existence of physical symptoms in the absence of a known medical condition.

Why am I giving you a definition to a term you’ve never heard before?

This is something else I experienced when I suffered from depression. I was always physically ill yet every time I went to see a doctor, I was the picture of perfect health. Every. Single. Time. I had stomach-aches were sometimes I couldn’t eat or move. People just thought I preferred to be skinny. I was constantly tired for no reason at all. My sides would just get a sharp, piercing pain all of a sudden. I would get dizzy spells. Sometimes I would pass out in public.

More times than not I suffered in silence. The doctors said I was fine. People around me thought I was making stuff up for attention or to get out of doing something. So I just lived like that for years.

My sister, the health coach, thought it was my diet. I loved junk food and fast food. So I cut out fast food (don’t really miss it, but eat on rare occasions) and reduced my junk food intake. I still love chocolate, brownies and ice cream. But I’m working on reducing how much sugar I eat (for other reasons that seem to be hereditary in my family). I also shop and cook more from the produce section. You learn to get creative cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables. It helped a little. I got more energy. But the pain didn’t go away. It came and went how it pleased.

As I began my healing process, the pains began to go away. It wasn’t until I read, “Shifting:  The Double Lives of Black Women and Depression” by Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden, Ph.D that I realized my mental state had deeply influenced my physical state without me knowing it.

Now I’m feeling better. The pains are almost nonexistent. Bet you thought I was going to say, ‘gone’. I get them on rare occasion now. I stop what I’m doing and relax my mind so my body is relaxed. Those pains are stress indicators, at least for me. I want you to think about something.

Have you ever gotten a sharp pain for no reason at all?

If so, you may want to check your mental state. It may be your wakeup call that something isn’t alright and you need to work on you. I never want anyone to experience the years of pain I lived with. Especially if you’re doing so in silence.

Please get help if you need it.

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