So, What are you Doing with Your Emotional Symptoms?

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A few years ago, I interviewed a woman who had recently opened up about a health condition she had vowed to keep hidden. I had known Berlange Presilus for a number of years, but knew her as an outgoing, fun-loving soul with a beautiful smile. She was a fashion model and exuded confidence.

What I didn’t know was that Berlange cried herself to sleep many a night and lived with debilitating pain due to a rare condition called Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome (KTS), which affects the development of skin, muscles and bones. In Berlange’s case, the disorder affected her right leg, producing clusters of swollen and twisted varicose veins. You can read her inspiring story here.

Two things that stuck out to me from Berlange’s story are:

1) her emotional pain was significantly greater than the physical pain. In one quote she said:

“I would get teased, looked at, talked about and bullied for my differences. So, at that point it wasn’t really about the physical pain because I always said, ‘I wish I only had the physical pain so that way I would suffer in silence and no one would really notice.’”

Berlange Presilus

Never underestimate the impact your emotional pain has on you. Emotional pain is far more complex and damaging than physical pain and takes longer to heal. But we often don’t know how to address our emotional pain so we don’t. I wrote a piece about healing from emotional wounds and how we can take lessons from the way our bodies heal after a physical injury. I encourage you to read it.

2) The second thing that resonated with me is just how relieved she was to finally be able to put a name to her condition. She said:

“I was excited, I was relieved, but at the same time I was so sad because there is no cure for it. But still, I was so excited because now I knew what it was, and I could do research to see if there was anybody out there that was like me!”

Berlange Presilus

When Berlange finally learned that she had KPS after 19 years of no answers, she was finally equipped with what she needed to move to the next step and be proactive about her condition.

Oftentimes we don’t appreciate the significance of being able to identify what it is that we’re dealing with. Ambiguity and uncertainty are more damaging than we realize, and our insecurities can be triggered when there is lack of clarity about something.

There is so much power in knowing

When a thing has a name, it means that it was experienced and identified long before it was assigned to you, meaning you are not the only person dealing with it. This is huge. When you’re going through emotional pain, it’s so important that you identify your emotions. Once you’ve named them, dig deeper to find out why your feel the way you do and discover ways to address the source of the pain.

Think about it: when we are unwell physically, we take note of our symptoms and either search Google for what health issue it may be, confide in friends/family hoping they can suggest a remedy, or go to the doctor for a solution. Taking a similar approach to addressing our emotional symptoms would do us well. This allows clarity to disperse fear. So, the next time your feel emotionally unsettled, try this:

  1. Take stock of your emotions. Take the time to reflect and investigate why you feel the way you do.
  2. Talk about it. When you open up about what you are feeling, you pave the way for help to find you.
  3. Ask for help. This means you must take action when you are unable to handle your emotions on your own. This goes all the way back to Bible times. Most of the miracles Jesus performed while on earth were preceded by a request. Request to see a professional for guidance, and most importantly, ask God for help.

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