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The subtleties of pain

I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in suicide intervention and have listened to many sad people who have suffered the three types of pain. I have also been fortunate enough myself to have suffered from the three types of pain - physical, emotional, and psychological.

Here's what I learned from each type of pain from my previous work and from personal experience;

Physical Pain

· Pain such as tooth ache, a broken bone, nerve damage, and other similar events can often be debilitating at the time of the pain.

· For the most part, physical pain is temporary and can be relieved through medication.

· Most times we can get though the pain provided we know there is an end to it.

· Others will often empathise with us when we are in pain because they know what it is like to feel pain.

· While physical pain can impact on us psychologically if it continues unabated, for the most part physical pain remains just that - physical.

Emotional Pain

· For the most part, emotional pain stems from a single event. The loss of a job, the death of a loved one, a broken relationship, perhaps ongoing physical pain, all of these will cause emotional pain.

· Emotional pain is felt in the heart and stomach - the heart aches and the stomach feels empty.

· Unlike physical pain, there is no quick fix of "Take two of these pills and call me in the morning" medical assistance that does not have unwanted side effects.

· Emotional pain is more difficult for others to empathise with unless their own emotional pain is recent.

· As with physical pain, emotional pain can impact on us psychologically if it continues unabated. For the most part however, emotional pain will heal given time.

· It is important to heal the emotional pain as soon as possible to reduce the risk of the third type of pain, psychological pain.

Psychological Pain

· Psychological pain is caused through many things - a traumatic event, an illness, a chemical imbalance, or substance abuse to name a few.

· Psychological pain is completely debilitating. It impacts on every part of our mind, body and soul. We feel physical and emotional pain as well as psychological pain.

· Living with psychological pain is literally second by second. Every part of your mind (brain) is completely focused on the pain.

· Psychological pain is difficult to explain to those who have not suffered from it, it is unlike any other illness and varies for each of us.

· Psychological pain is a solitary illness, we feel alone and often are alone because others find it difficult to empathise with us.

· As no two of us are the same, the 'cure' is often difficult to find and changes in our situation mean a new ‘cure’ must be found.

· If left unabated, psychological pain can kill us.