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#68140 - 11/03/03 07:30 PM But they aren't really real!
Sum12Watch Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 15
Loc: NE
Hi All,
Haven't seen this subject mentioned, and it is driving me 'round the bend dealing with it. So,I'm wondering if anyone else is going through it.
My S/O is locked onto the fact that there is something physically wrong with him. We have gone through doctors and doctors, specialists and specialists...and there just is NO physical cause for the symptoms he develops. There have been, now, three physicians who have had pointed out that they believe the cause is psychological (two votes for conversion reaction, and one just that the complaints are somatic). Naturally, he believes they are telling him that it is all in his head or he is making them up. He refuses to believe the possibility, and dismisses these doctor's as quacks or incompetent. And, (not meaning to sound snide----well, yes, I am) NONE of the therapists (psychiatrists and psychologists) that he has been involved with have broached the possibility, even though they have been well aware of the reported symptoms.(I mean, come on, Guys, if your patient tells you he is passing out left and right, and you don't refer him to a medical doctor, wouldn't that be the time to MAYBE tell him that the conscious and subconscious can do ALOT of strange things???) The Doctor's who have brought it up are the medical physicians and medical specialists. My research leads me to believe that they are, indeed, symptoms of depression, PTSD,the abuse, and all the other things involved. In the meantime, it has to be interfering with his psychological progress and therapy, because so much of his time is involved in these physical complaints that, hell, he doesn't have time to actually deal with his problems. (And, who knows, perhaps, subconsciously that is what is happening. If he spends all his time worrying whether or not he has some strange disease, he doesn't have to face the psychological problems that are the root cause.) I am, of course, the bad guy at the moment, because I also see the secondary gain he gets by being sick, so I have pulled back a lot of the "Oh,My Poor Baby's" and am trying to be loving, but factual when some of his physical complaints just don't make any sense.
I guess the reason for the post is just to find out if I am the only one going through this. I have the feeling I am not, but it sure would be nice to know that perhaps it is more common than I think.
Thanks

_________________________
"Love yourself, like you want everyone to love you." - no author, just popped into my head tonight, plagarize the Golden Rule.

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#68141 - 11/03/03 08:21 PM Re: But they aren't really real!
Ivanhoe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
HI, 12,

Didn't want you to think that no one was around. Don't have anything of substance for you but thought that I would at least say hello.
The guys here have experienced the whole nine yards of possible reactions to these unbelieveable events in our lives. Some of been battered and torn and some of us have had our minds so worked over that we have thought that we were responsible for what happened to us.
And, then, some of my brothers have experienced both the battering and the mind bending. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if your S/O has experienced black outs or passing out. Some of this stuff is so gross to go back over and try to straighten out.
You're to be commended, as are all of our S/O's for hanging in there with us. My hope is that you'll discover some therapist who will help you put your finger on the therapy, be it physical or psychological, that will offer your partner some relief.
All of my best in this, what must appear at times, to be an unsolveable dilemma.

David

_________________________
"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot

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#68142 - 11/03/03 08:39 PM Re: But they aren't really real!
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
ooooh yeah! Yep, that is exactly what my ex bf has done over the past few years. He will work hard at therapy, then feel bad, then look for physical causes, try a new course of vitamins, a new alternative doc, chiro, etc.

Of course, he DOES have some physical ailments, so that makes it harder to distinguish. But I think he is looking for the magic pill that will take the pain away & overlooks the fact that much of his aching, headaches, backaches, fatigue, etc have a strong correlation to his stress level, anxiety, depression, etc.

He'll become invested in making a particular solution THE solution -- nothing he has tried seems like a bad idea (vitamins, changes in diet, chiropractic work, massage, yoga), but they probably won't eliminate the pain of recovery. They can help though. And maybe he needs to feel that sense of control -- I mean, he worries that he is really physically sick & I think it helps when a doc tells him that he isn't.

-BB.


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#68143 - 11/03/03 08:49 PM Re: But they aren't really real!
stpbb Offline
Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 103
Just read this again & wanted to add one more comment. Regardless of whether the cause is the psychological problems or a physical problem, the pain is real. You mention being less sympathetic & I guess I'd be cautious about that -- You don't want to support unrealistic fears about physical ailments, but expecting it to go away because it is psychological is not realistic either. My ex bf has really bad aches & pains & severe fatigue. It is REAL pain & REAL exhaustion & he has to adjust his activity level to accomodate that reality.

Now he's doing better & is making lots of progress in therapy & with some plans for work & changes in his lifestyle. Guess what -- he feels more energetic & has fewer headaches & back pain! But when he does feel sick, he IS sick. Unfortunately there just isn't any magic medicine that will make it go away...

-BB.


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#68144 - 11/04/03 10:49 AM Re: But they aren't really real!
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Originally posted by stpbb:
Regardless of whether the cause is the psychological problems or a physical problem, the pain is real.
I have suffered from psychosomatic ailments for years - my own trauma causes me to have a severe susceptibility to colds/flus, back aches, insomnia, dental and jaw problems (grinding my teeth) and other joint injuries (holding them so tense), headaches, heart palpitations, digestive problems (chronic diarrhea), etc...

I totally agree -just because these are caused by trauma they are no less real - BUT its important to note with respect to treatment, there is little physical cause for these ailments.. i.e. with my digestive ailments I even went so far as to have had a colon-scope and colon biopsy (doctors were baffled by the symptoms and suspected cancer) - but of course there was nothing there... so there was nothing to "cure"... so then what do I do?

HOwever, I have to admit that just recently my psych. treatment has helped ease a lot of the physical problems - being treated within a "trauma" context helps.... I have found a doctor and a therapist that understand trauma - that they can understand the physical effects of trauma on the body and treat me within that context. It certainly does not help to have a doctor that "condescends" a patient who has such symptoms. I had a doctor once who accused me of being a big hypochondriac - I recall going into her office and she had a copy of my records from my previous doctor and I admit the file was really thick.. all she said was "well isn't your file huge? What's your explanation for this???" in a really sarcastic way. That didn't help much!!

Basically all I"m trying ot say is that while there are real effects, there are no real treatable "causes" to psychosomatic ailments except the psychological ones.. and I've only found relief due to steadily plowing through my own abuse history/trauma over the past 15 years. All you can do with the physical symptoms is treat them as they come up but I have found, for me anyway, there was no "cure" until the anxiety and stress and all of that was lessened by therapy.

Chronic anxiety and a constant adrenaline rush does weird weird things to the mind and body.

P


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#68145 - 11/05/03 07:34 PM Re: But they aren't really real!
Sum12Watch Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 15
Loc: NE
Dear PAS and All,
Thank you so much for the reactions. I didn't always make myself clear in my initial post. I was pretty bummed that night. I am not trying to be less sympathetic to my s/o nor am I pretending that the symptoms aren't there. I do know that the symptoms are very real to him. But I am also trying not to reinforce something that isn't true (I could give examples of all the workups we have been through the last couple of years for several different semi-exotic illnesses, but that would drag on and on \:\) ) What I am trying to do is, hopefully, help him to see that the mind/brain can be causing these physical problems so that he can face that in his therapy. I'm a bit envious, PAS that you found therapists who are obviously up to date in trauma and you are finding it helpful. So far, we haven't been that lucky here. Hopefully we will be. And, maybe I am overstepping my support boundaries, but, being in healthcare myself, I was always trained to be alert to helping patients avoid having unnecessary tests and procedures. I mean, knowing what you know now, PAS, I'm sure if you had your druthers, you would not have had invasive tests if you knew at the time you didn't need it.(colonoscopies are not fun) But, I admit this is different. I guess they can't truly move onto psych diagnoses for physical ailments until they actually rule out the physical ailments.
But my concern as a support has been frustrating, because I have come to the realization that the physical complaints are most probably psychological before my S/O has. Which, I grant, is wrong of me, but no less frustrating.
But, best to all of you and thank you so much again. I no longer feel like I am alone in this.

_________________________
"Love yourself, like you want everyone to love you." - no author, just popped into my head tonight, plagarize the Golden Rule.

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#68146 - 11/06/03 12:14 AM Re: But they aren't really real!
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
Well, it seems the illnesses or hurts are real to him. I know that lot of panic symptoms can be like physical things. And from what I hear, to keep memories and things inside long time, it can make itself known as physical ailments. Sometime, to the brain and body, pain is pain, and if we can not express it, the mental pain, it will come out another way. I do not think it is good for him to concentrate so much on it, because it is the emotional root that he needs to address. I do hope that it will be better for him soon. I am not sure what else you can do. When someone is in denial of something, or is in stress of something, it is hard for them to understand that it is 'in their head' so much. Just try to keep reinforcing that he is all right, and that he needs to look inside for root of his problems. I wish you both well, and good luck.

leosha

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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