Updated: Apr 20, 2021
When we are young, we are taught the ways of the modern western world - a rock is a rock, it's just a rock.
In school, we are taught about science; chemistry, physics, and biology. In biology we are taught about our physical bodies, in physics, we are taught about atoms and molecules, and in chemistry, we are taught about the periodic table. In Physical Education we are taught about our bodies again, about being healthy, about the 'healthy eating' pyramid and that is our education...pretty much. 13 years of schooling and not one class dedicated to human emotions, the complexities of the human body, and how intrinsically connected our emotions are to our physical state.
Yes, you may go more deeply into the human mind if you take a psychology class, learning about Sigmund Freud's model of the psyche - the 'id', the 'super ego', and the 'ego' - but still, nothing in that class will mention the mind body connection in depth.
A little on the mind body connection...
"Happier thoughts lead to essentially a happier biochemistry. A happier, healthier body." Dr John Hagelin
My whole life and I'm sure yours as well, I have always thought the body is separate to the mind. The body is the body, and the mind is the mind, and yes they make the person a whole, but they are separate because that's what we are taught.
In western medicine, we have General Practitioners, who 'generally' tackle the smalls stuff and have a 'general' knowledge of medicine. If you go to them with something outside of their scope, you go to a specialist. I've always thought it funny growing up - then later extremely frustrating at the beginning of my pelvic pain journey, that we in the western world have divided the body into parts. Your stomach hurts you see a Gastroenterologist, your bladder hurts you see a Urologist, your vagina hurts you get sent to a Gynecologist. We don't see the body as a whole system working together, just like we don't see the body and mind as a whole system working together. We even send you to a Psychologist if you feel sad, to tackle the mind stuff. Again, we don't see the mind and body as a whole - one whole person, all systems working together, affecting one another all the time.
It's taken me over 12 years to discover and learn how important the mind body connection is. 12 years of chasing symptoms, from specialist to specialist, chasing symptoms not seeing the connection.
Now I do see the connection, and boy does it literally blow my mind how important the education on how our emotions affect the body is. More importantly how you feel (emotions) can affect your pelvic pain, any chronic pain (body).
None of what I'm talking about is new, we know intuitively from a young age that a physical change in our body can cause an emotional change. We fall down and hurt our knee we feel physical pain, which causes our emotional state to change from happy to sad. When we get older we start exploring sex - we feel love or lust, feel arousal, and changes happen to our bodies.
What's important here is that we know the mind and body are intrinsically linked. What is interesting and confusing for so many is why chronic pain and chronic pelvic pain can linger, increase, change or spread depending on our emotional state. To answer this we need to look at pain first.