Bitch on the Blog

June 5, 2014

Mind and body

Filed under: Human condition — bitchontheblog @ 17:53
Tags: , , , , ,

There is a school of thought. One I subscribe to. At my peril. Sweethearts, you will get bashed for less. And please don’t let this stop you from telling me how you see it.

I don’t know when the phrase was coined, late Seventies: Psychosomatic.  I define psyche as soul. soma being body. They have a habit of expressing themselves via each other.

So, by way of one example – more to follow: If you get bladder cancer (men) you have not been able to cry. No shit. Water! If you suffer from recurrent back pain (spine) you are likely to be rigid in your approach to live (unless you are tall and haven’t learnt how best to lift a heavy load). If you have Psoriasis your body tells you that you need to grow a thick skin without making it obvious that you are trying to keep the world at arm’s length. What else? Going deaf, blind – and generally limping. Don’t dismiss the thought.

First time I went ‘psychosomatic’, and by golly did I have reason to (sweet eighteen), I doubled up. My friends and I had just come back from Corsica. I didn’t even make it home. Went to the nearest phone box. On the operating table (key hole surgery through my tummy button – didn’t leave a scar). My doctor/surgeon/gynaecologist a shrewd man. Next time I was in knots, he told me, my body will relocate. Probably to my stomach. He was right. Not that there is anything physiologically wrong with it. There never is.

The only thing my current doctor now worries about (better him than me) that I never ever ever ever have a headache. May you draw you own conclusions. And next time you throw up don’t blame the rice you shouldn’t have reheated. Blame your unresolved soul.



  1. 1847, “pertaining to the relation between mind and body,” from Greek psykhe- “mind” (see psyche) + somatikos, from soma (genitive somatos) “body” (see somato-). Applied from 1938 to physical disorders with psychological causes. Etymologically it could as easily apply to emotional disorders with physical causes, but it is rarely used as such.

    Comment by magpie11 — June 5, 2014 @ 17:56 | Reply

    • No wonder both you and my father were born in August. Your reply could have come from him. Which is fine.

      “Emotional disorders with physical causes” is, as you say, what many a time hits a nail into a sore head. It happens. And I have seen it at close quarters. Post operative depression it was called. And to that person I only once mentioned ‘psycho somatic’. Never again. He totally misunderstood. And I am the nurse from hell.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 5, 2014 @ 18:04 | Reply

  2. There was a chap who for some reason had a window into his stomach and some scientist used to observe changes in the lining coincident with his moods…apparently it was interesting….. when he was depressed it was grey! I didn’t believe it either!

    Um….about that rice… I never blame it but the Bacillus cereus which manages to transport itself to our guts via the rice. Interesting bug. My special study at college was based on a strain (B.cereus mycoides) that I accidentally isolated from a soil sample. I investigated the effects (in vitrio) of Dalapon on it….. I had no idea at the time of it’s deleterious effects but I learned of this when one of my son’s teachers turned out to have done work on the same bug and told me off them…..

    Comment by magpie11 — June 5, 2014 @ 18:10 | Reply

  3. There was a bestselling book around sometime in the early 1990s, “The healing power of symptoms”. Gosh, we fell for it like the fools we were at the time. Throat infection? A need for silence. Ear infection? Ditto. Cough? Time for a retreat. And so on. Migraine? Not enough orgasm. That’s
    when I stopped reading it – and I never even had a migraine in my life.

    Comment by Sabine — June 5, 2014 @ 19:32 | Reply

    • That is so funny, Sabine. I once had tonsillitis, laryngitis, and some other itis affecting my vocal cords back to back. My sister visited. She was deliriously happy. For days she did all the talking. And I either nodded. Or shook my head. That was the time I decided to take up sign language. Not that that would make me understood. Which is why I’ll move to Italy in my old age. Unless I lose the use of my hands.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 5, 2014 @ 20:30 | Reply

  4. Is diarrhoea due to someone producing a load of kaka verbally?

    Comment by friko — June 5, 2014 @ 22:50 | Reply

    • Probably. Nice one, Friko. “Jemand hat Schiss”, “macht sich in die Hosen”. Scared shitless. Don’t say there isn’t poetry in “Krankheit als Weg” (Thorwald Dethlefsen/Ruediger Dahlke – “The Healing Power of Illness”)

      My mother keeps warning me off bananas because they give you constipation. Complete nonsense. In my case they just stem the flow. You can’t talk whilst munching a banana. Hot tip of the day: If you want fully blown Tunesian tummy do have Steak Tartare in the South of Spain, midsummer. Your hotel room’s toilet and you will bond. It’s the no nonsense woman’s diet. Not that I have ever dieted to lose weight. Weight doesn’t like me. It stays away. Reminds me, the other day the Angel remarked: “Mama, seeing you in this room makes it suddenly so much larger.” Such is my presence.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 6, 2014 @ 02:41 | Reply

  5. Interesting comment re psoriasis – I am rather severely afflicted with it as is my good friend in Lincolnshire named Ron. he is a singer/songwriter – penned a couple million sellers back in the day – happiest when entertaining a group of folks and I am no shrinking violet – although I suspect I am more stand offish than is Ron. That said, there is a certain logic to that comment – maybe Ron and I are the exceptions.

    Comment by shackman — June 6, 2014 @ 20:34 | Reply

    • Sorry to hear it, Shackman. Psoriasis, like a lot of skin afflictions, is very difficult for the “sufferer”. It’s, obviously, better than leprosy but people do react to other people’s skin in a way they don’t if, say, you told them you had cancer. There is no history of it within my family other than one of mother’s many brothers. It hit him so hard he and his wife used to take holidays at the Red Sea which is deemed therapeutic.

      And then, what do you know, the woman with skin to die for (that’s me), skin so perfect as to belie my age, got hit a few years ago. I was incredulous. The dermatologist’s verdict “Stress induced”. Stress in the real sense of stress. Indeed. My life was falling apart. What do I do when my life falls apart? I keep people at arms’ length. Other than those who will not be kept out of my inner circle out of their own free will. I died a thousand deaths. LSF (longest standing friend) who doesn’t mince his words once said to me – in a different context – that I send a strong vibe of: “Look, don’t touch”. Possibly. But then he is a painter. And like most artists he tends to exaggerate, dramatize.

      To quote from the book I mentioned to Friko above, penned in the Seventies, and I abbreviate:

      “… the process by which the skin naturally forms a horny outer layer is exaggerated out of all proportion. … The skin’s natural protective (!) function has turned into a form of armour. Sufferers are shutting themselves off (!) in two directions: They are no longer willing to let anything either in or out. … Behind every form of defence lies a fear of getting hurt (!).” And so on and so on. Can send you full blown version if you wish. Goes onto the cliche (like most cliches true) of ‘hard shell hides soft kernel”. And then the author’s assertion gets tough titty. So tough titty one actually begins to question oneself: “… the armour shields us from being wounded or hurt; yet at the same time it also shields us from everything else too, including love.” This is, to my mind, the double whammy: “Love means OPENING yourself up”.

      it sure does. However, I do see life as times of ebb, as times of tide. If I don’t stop now, Shackman, I shall get carried away with imagery of snails withdrawing into their houses, clams, oysters and/or how to cook mussels.

      All exclamation marks above are mine (for dramatic effect!). I am happy to report that my skin is back to my former beauty. However, do live in dread as to its untimely return. If those ups and downs of my skin’s last few years have taught me one thing: Don’t take anything for granted. We all live, not so much on borrowed time, as making withdrawals on capital we may not have a chance to replenish. But then you, Shackman, know this already.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — June 7, 2014 @ 02:53 | Reply

      • Well my life the last several years has been severely stressful and that has made the condition substantially worse – only thing that knocks it down are heavy doses of steroids which I refuse to endure any longer so I never wear shorts or short-sleeved shirts in public. Maybe sincethe primary stressor has been removed it will improve somewhat but I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

        Comment by shackman — June 9, 2014 @ 11:44 | Reply

        • It’s a slow process, Shackman. Slow? If ever there was an irony considering that skin’s cells are in such a rush to replace themselves under the condition labelled ‘psoriasis.

          I wasn’t put on steroids. Not least because I wouldn’t have taken them. I am a firm believer that the body has to battle it out among itself. However, at its worst when I would have welcomed the return of veils and burkhas I was offered light therapy. The Professor meant well. Yet, had no choice but to tell him that I hadn’t avoided the sun all my life as much as possible to spare my skin in later years to then spoil all my efforts with ‘light therapy’. As it happened, and he was incredulous, within three months it had cleared up. All on its own. This is notwithstanding certain lotions and potions – what the dermatologists call their ‘golden standard’- which I do have to apply. No mass market produced creams for me.

          I wish you luck, Shackman. They say that our skin is our body’s largest organ. What I say: Behave, skin! Live up to your reputation. Don’t let me down. Worse: Don’t, you skin, let yourself down! Whatever you do, Shackman, don’t send your cortisol levels rising. I think skin feeds of it.

          On this happy note,

          Comment by bitchontheblog — June 9, 2014 @ 12:09 | Reply

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