• Chris Collins

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.



If you know someone who is suffering from psychological pain, reach out to them. Don't be afraid, they won't hurt you, quite the opposite is mostly the case. Talk to them about their pain. Don't judge, don't problem solve, just listen and acknowledge.




Be kind to those who are in psychological pain, it might well be you one day in the same situation.


This post has been posted with permission from Lance Burdett from his blog at WARN International.

7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All