How we express pain

How we express pain

Do you know the feeling when you are so upset from the inside that you want to create harm – either to an object, to another person or yourself – simply because you don’t know what to do with all the painful, unpleasant emotions that are having a wild party inside your head and your heart.

I asked the girls: what do you do at this moment? How do you express your pain?

Deep sighs. The first courageous one shared. She says that very often she feels unseen and that really upsets her. In those moments she just wants to be alone in her room and no-one to come in to disturb her. She yells or hits into her pillow, or just lays quietly on her bed feeling the pain and the discomfort in her body or looking at a book she likes. Sometimes, the pain is so big that she hits herself with the whole fist on the forehead or she pulls her hair out. 

Her story inspired others to share very vulnerably from the heart as well.

One of the girls for example, would always sit in her closet until the inner storm was over. Her parents even installed a little light in there so she doesn’t have to sit in the dark.

And another girl shared that in moments of strong despair she would pack a suitcase with her most important things and walk away from home. To create distance and to be by herself. One time she got to the ice salon close to her house where her grandfather found her after a while. They would have an ice cream together and then go back home.

Their stories created a lot of compassion for each other’s pain and they could tell they are not alone. We all know how it feels when the world seems to be against us and we just want to sit in a cave or move out.

After we shared our ‘Stories as Medicine’, I provided them with some simple tension release techniques they could apply the next time when there is an inner storm.

It’s important to have not just Arnica cream and plasters in our first aid kit but also tools on how to release anger and strong emotions.

Exercise 1:

Lay down, sit up straight or stand up.

Form your mouth like an ‘0’ or as if you want to drink from a straw.

Breath in with the sound of a vacuum cleaner deeply through your mouth.

While you breathe in, blow up your belly like a balloon. Then breathe out through your mouth.

Repeat this breathing exercise at least 10 times.

Then take a moment to feel into your body.

Pay attention to the tingling sensations and listen to your heart beat.

Repeat the breathing exercise a few times.

Exercise 2:

Stand up and start shaking from the knees.

Allow your whole body to shake, open your mouth, let out the sound that wants to be released.

Start shaking your hands: to the side, up, in front if you

You can either name your anger, your pain, your frustration and speak it out while you shake or you just make sounds.

Shake until you get tired and you feel like laying down.

Exercise 3:

Lay down on your back. Close your eyes or cover them with a scarf.

Place one hand on the belly, the other hand on your heart.

Breathe deeply into your belly and listen to your heart beat.

Pay attention to what is moving inside of you.

How has the anger and the pain transformed?

Do you feel more calm and less upset?

Tell yourself at least 3 things that are good in your life right now:

For example: cozy bed, fridge full of your favourite food, parents that care about you

HomePlay for the whole family:

Take a moment by yourself to reflect about the questions I have shared with the girls:

How do you express your pain? How do you deal with you inner storm?

Take a journal and write down what comes up without too much thinking.

Pause. Breath. Go back to your childhood. What did you do as a kid when you felt pain from the inside? How did you express your pain? How did your environment react to your pain? What would you have needed as a kid from your parents/ caretakers/ educators in those vulnerable moments? 

Invitation to reflect: How do you support your own child (as well as your own inner child) in moments of inner storm? 

Create a sharing moment with the whole family to share about your reflections. Include the kids in the storytelling. It can be healing for them to connect to you as the little girl/ boy and to get to know your inner child.