There’s nothing the matter with your back!

Psychosomatic–1. Of pertaining to a physical disorder that is caused or notably influenced by emotional factors. 2. Pertaining to or involving both the mind and the body.

Hypochondria— An excessive preoccupation with one’s health usually focusing on some particular symptom; excessive worry about one’s health.

Neurosis— A functional disorder (isn’t that an oxymoron?) disorder in which feelings of anxiety, obsessional thoughts, compulsive acts, and physical complaining without objective evidence of disease…dominate the personality.

Why am I giving you these definitions? because I have an example of someone who was all three of those things.

I present for your consideration Colin, from “The Secret Garden.” In that book the main character Mary Lennox goes to live with her uncle, who has one son he never looks at. Mary finds the son, Colin, and in a strange manner befriends him. He is a selfish, worrisome boy who is deathly afraid of having a hunchback when he grows up, like his fther. Finally one night he throws a tantrum and Mary storms in and tells him to stop. The surprised Colin chokes out:

Colin: I felt the lump–I felt it. I knew I should. I shall have a hunch on my back and then I shall die.

Mary: (fiercely) You didn’t feel a lump! If you did it was only a hysterical lump. Hysterics makes lumps. There’s nothing the matter with your horrid back–nothing but hysterics.

Really? And all this time I thought–but what happens next? Mary looks at his back to see if there are any lumps and says.

Mary: There’s not a single lump there! There’s not a lump as big as a pin–except backbone lumps, and you can only feel them because you’re thin…there’s not a lump as big as a pin! If you ever say there is again. I shall laugh!

“No one but Colin knew what effect those crossly spoken childish words had on him. If he had ever dared to let himself ask questions–if he had childish companions and had not lain on his back in the huge closed house, breathing an atmosphere heavy with the fears of people who were most of them ignorant and tired of him, he would have found out that most of his fright and illness was created by himself.”

Do, you mean there was really nothing wrong with him after all? Nope. And ten to one there’s noting wrong with you either. Or if there is it’s nothing you can’t fix with a few changes in diet, exercise, and fresh air. Take it from someone who suffered from spiritual and emotional psychosomatic tendencies and hypochondria and neurosis; it’ll steal every ounce of joy from you life. Don’t let it. Your mental and physical health is completely up to you. Colin grew nicer, and learned to walk. He got strong. He just needed to be snapped out of his funk. To be woken up–they all needed to be woken up–from the insanity of doing the same thing over and over.

So, go for it folks! I assure you your problems usually seem worse than they really are. At any rate, quit tantrum-ing and make the best of it.


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