Bodily ailment or symptom, caused by mental or emotional disturbance, in which psychological stresses adversely affect physiological (somatic) functioning to the point of distress. Psychosomatic disorders may include hypertension, respiratory ailments, gastrointestinal disturbances, migraine and tension headaches, sexual dysfunctions, and dermatitis.
Some of you may have been reading my blog for some time, and perhaps will remember two posts I made on the subject of Depression here and here. I've battled with depression for quite a long time, but I have learned how to manage it, so that it doesn't take over.
Sometimes, depression will manifest itself in a physical way. When I was first diagnosed with depression, it was after I thought I had a problem with my heart. I had all the classic symptoms of a heart problems, and was convinced I was about to die, but after being referred to a cardiologist for the relevant checks, there was nothing wrong with my heart at all. I had one of those monitors strapped to me for 24 hours, to monitor my heart, and was told to make a note of times when I felt stressed, which caused my heart to beat faster.
In fact the cardiologist said that my stress levels were so high at times, that it was a good job my heart was so strong! So I was referred to a psychiatrist, and the rest is history.
If I experience some kind of physical illness these days, I always consider that my symptoms may be psychosomatic. Although it's difficult at times to know whether the physical symptoms are real or not, so it's important to be checked out..if nothing else, it eliminates the fact that it may be a physical problem. Better to be safe than sorry.
I was diagnosed with IBS (although the Turkish doctors still call it "spastic colon") a couple of years ago after having a colonoscopy. Most of the time it's fine, but stress and anxiety cause it to flare up. I occasionally get migraine headaches...mostly when I'm feeling anxious.
The reason I'm writing about this is because it fascinates me. The way the brain can cause you to feel physical pain or discomfort, when in fact it's really all in the mind.
I was thinking about it this morning in particular, because Mr Ayak went away for a few days at the beginning of the week, which always leaves me feeling a bit low. On Wednesday morning when I attempted to get out of bed, I couldn't stand on my right leg. I had the most excruciating pain in my right hip, and if I put my foot to the floor, it was much worse. I assumed that it may be connected to my back injury. Or, as I have arthritis anyway, perhaps age, wear and tear was now affecting my hip joint.
So I limped around the house for two days...took painkillers and used brufen gel..but nothing worked.
Mr Ayak arrived home last night and I limped to the door to greet him. We sat and chatted for an hour or so and then I got up from the sofa to go to the kitchen, expecting the pain to start up again...but it was gone. Amazingly there was no pain or discomfort at all...nothing!
Of course it could just be a coincidence that my hip suddenly recovered at the time Mr Ayak arrived, but I can't help thinking that this was just another example of my psychosomatic disorder.
Odd isn't it?