Rage & Pelvic Health: Barrier or Bolster?
By Lara Desrosiers, MSc. OT Reg. (Ont.)
Why is it so hard to find a picture of a HUMAN woman enraged??
Anger is “the emotion that best protects us against danger, unfairness, and injustice” (Soraya Chemaly, 2018).
Men who express their anger are often seen as important and competent. Women expressing anger in similar ways are more likely to be perceived as emotional, unpredictable and incompetent.
Girls are socialized to be accommodating and likeable. Expression of anger just doesn’t seem to fit that mold. As a result, we tend to avoid, bury, and mask these inevitable emotional experiences.
But at what cost?
- Getting taken advantage of?
- Being dismissed and unheard?
- Building resentment in life roles and relationships?
- Shame and guilt when these emotions bubble to the surface?
- Out of the blue explosions that fail to serve us?
- Deteriorating physical and emotional health?
- Missed opportunity?
Why does anger show up when struggling with pelvic pain, leaking, prolapse, diastasis or any other forms of pelvic health challenges?
The reality…There are TONS of reasonable reasons to feel angry!
It sucks (UNFAIR)
Maybe you felt ill-informed about your pelvic health (INJUSTICE)
The pain and discomfort is invisible so maybe you feel alone and isolated (we are social beings that require connection for health and survival so this can feel a lot like DANGER)
It often shows up in seasons of life when there is already a TON on your plate (UNFAIR)
You may be inundated with messages about what your symptoms mean or things you should and shouldn’t be doing (FEAR and PERCEIVED DANGER)
It’s OK to be angry! Maybe the visceral and ACTIVATING sensations that come with anger are critical to our resilience while we navigate this.
So…What do you do with it? How do you move towards awareness, engagement and change in the face of the unfairness, injustice and sense of danger?
Anger is often a catch-all word to describe a myriad of emotions. Take, for example, these pictures…
Did you know that on average, folks can recognize and acknowledge just 3 different emotions? However, research from the brilliant Dr. Brene Brown indicates that emotional literacy requires the ability to acknowledge 30 core emotions!
So what’s the value of getting curious about what we are feeling and how it shows up in our faces, bodies, brains and behaviour?
Recognizing the ‘granularities’ in our emotions can help us to tune in to what we truly need!
What does this mean in pelvic health recovery?
It can mean a bit more clarity in determining YOUR next best step.
Getting curious about WHAT you are feeling and WHY could help with the HOWS of moving from that place of fear, passivity and withdrawal to awareness, engagement and change.
This could be…
Getting Clear on your Values and What’s Important to You
Moving your Body while Reinforcing a Sense of Safety
Subtle Shifts in Habits/Routines/How you Do Things
Prioritizing your Rehab Exercises
Taking a break from your Rehab Exercises
Prioritizing your Mental Health
Self-Compassion & Self-Care
Communicating your Needs to Health Providers, Family or Friends
Connecting with a Trusted Health Care Provider
Just Doing Something Different
If you need support with determining your next best step in recovery, BE IN TOUCH!