General Question

Trustinglife's avatar

When you're feeling down, how much of the cause do you think is emotional, and how much physical?

Asked by Trustinglife (6623points) April 27th, 2009

When I’m down, I usually think it’s more psychosomatic, but I don’t know for sure. I know my near-daily afternoon blues are probably more physical. How about for you?

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33 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

to be honest, it’s always emotional
but it’s exasperated by lack of sleep or my body betraying me

YARNLADY's avatar

There is no way to give a single emotional versus physical answer here. Every time it happens, it could be due to either, or both. Each case has to be examined on it’s own merit.

Trustinglife's avatar

Sure… but I’m asking more about your tendencies.

chicadelplaya's avatar

I’m going to say, 90% emotional. It’s how I perceive and react to things. For example, if I let something get to me and bum me out, then I usually feel tired and “not myself”. Other times, I’ll be feeling tired and something great would happen and I then begin to feel instantly better. It’s all in your head, or, my head. ;)

YARNLADY's avatar

Ok, tendencies, it is. I’m 66 years old, and I made a pledge to myself years ago to be happy every day for the rest of my life. I have no problem keeping that pledge except when I am physically ill. I spent most of last year battling skin infections, a severe allergic reaction to medication, and a severe burn to my hands. But I stayed happy every day.

Even though the allergic reaction caused me to lose most of my hair (permanently)and the rest turned pure white, and the burns forced me to stop making quilts or other needlework gifts, and my son doesn’t pay his share of the mortgage on the house we bought him, I still maintain my pledge, except when I’m in the bathroom all night with liquid coming out every opening and no one even asks if they can bring me a glass of water.

Then and only then, for a few hours, I feel down.

gailcalled's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : I agree with your answer but I think you mean “exacerbate”: to increase the severity of.

Facade's avatar

50/50. When I move out, I’m sure only 10% will be emotional and the rest physical.

gailcalled's avatar

I thought that only people can get exasperated, and not moods. Maybe not. I certainly feel exasperated by the apparent elasticity of the language.

@YARDLADY: I admire your ability to stay cheerful most of the time, given the legitimate burdens you are shouldering.

YARNLADY's avatar

@gailcalled The things I mentioned in the above are passing, minor problems compared to what I had to live through before, and my problems over my lifetime pale in comparison to the majority of people in the world.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Most of the time it’s physical and as sad as it sounds, I’d rather it remain that way than be caused by emotional stress and chaos. For me, the physical pain has a root, a cause and makes sense to me so I can deal with it. Emotional stress and bouts of the blues make me panicky and I’ll do just about anything to suss out and purge what’s causing it so it doesn’t suck up my time or inconvenience others.

emperorofcali's avatar

Wilhelm Reich discovered that all kinds of negative emotions get trapped up in chronically tightened muscle groups which he called “muscular armor”. The armor would have a dual purpose. In addition to trapping up negative emotions and anxiety, it would prevent the flow of biophysical energy throughout the body, resulting in a feeling of fatigue, listlessness, etc. Then just to prove he wasn’t nuts, he combined some specific muscular relaxation techniques with biophysical “orgone” machines to stimulate the flow of the trapped up energy. The results were nothing short of amazing, really. So to take the example to the ultimate extreme – what could be a worse example of what you’re talking about than cancer? Well, he actually started healing cancer patients as well. The American Medical Association was of course none too pleased about this, so the feds threw him in jail where he rotted until he died. The End. Anyway, his teachings and methods live on, and the experiments that I’ve done on myself and others seem to strongly indicate that as the mind goes, so goes the body. And vice versa. Depression is almost non-existent in a completely healed, sexually charged and relaxed body (this can easily be seen in post-coitus, for example..)

chicadelplaya's avatar

@emperorofcali – VERY interesting. Thanks!

aviona's avatar

Usually it’s emotional. I’m young and healthy so I don’t have many physical ailments luckily.

I can get depressed or grouchy if I am hungry or tired though.

live_rose's avatar

when I’m in a down mood I go walk around outside it makes me feel a bit better I can think, and I can be alone.

nikipedia's avatar

@emperorofcali: I don’t think it’s fair to say that Reich “discovered” any of the phenomena you described. More accurately, he hypothesized about them, and he was wrong. Trying to cure cancer with an “orgone accumulator” frankly is fraudulent at best and murderous at worst.

Sometimes, treatments that don’t have any real physical basis can help with physical problems. We have a word for that.

emperorofcali's avatar

@nikipedia Wow, that’s some reaction you have towards Reich there, my friend. Unfortunately, it’s neither original nor correct. Where exactly was Reich wrong? Maybe the more important question is: where exactly does your education with Reich begin? With the slandering mass media? Or have you actually read any of his books? Or, heaven forbid – actually try any of his techniques? This is where you and I sadly diverge. You see, I’ve actually employed his methods, both on myself and on other people. And you know what? The results are absolutely miraculous. I hate to report that to you, and I’d love to give back the neurosis that his methods have cured, even just for second to help you feel better.

Your claim that his cancer operations with orgone accumulators were fraudulent and – gasp – murderous are especially alarming. Can you please provide a list of people that have been killed using orgone accumulators for me? I know it’s a lot to ask, but think of the lives you could be saving. Especially since I’ve used one for over 10 years, for other ailments. Reich claims to have made progress in shrinking tumors. I haven’t had the opportunity to use it for that, thank god, so I won’t tell you conclusively that it will. However, I find it fascinating that you can conclusively tell me that it won’t.

Sadly, it seems that you have the unfortunate affliction of having an aversion to a man who has developed techniques that save lives, without knowing anything about him. Techniques that you denounce as “fraudulent and murderous”. This type of mentality isn’t uncommon.

We have a word for that, too.

wundayatta's avatar

@emperorofcali. I assume that when I remind you that generalizing based on one case is a pretty big mistake, that will not be news to you. Double-blind studies about Reichian techniques, please?

Anyway, his teachings and methods live on, and the experiments that I’ve done on myself and others seem to strongly indicate that as the mind goes, so goes the body. And vice versa.

I’m glad you through in that “vice versa,” because I was thinking the same thing. How can we distinguish between emotions and body? Without body, there can be no emotions. Emotions are experienced in the body. The body is a chemical miracle, and the chemistry of our brains basically is inextricably linked with body and emotions.

You can mess with a person’s emotions—indeed, you can actually get them to think specific thoughts—if you use the right chemicals. You can also mess with your mind’s chemicals via thought, although that takes a bit of mastery to work out.

Anyway, @Trustinglife, I think that emotions are caused and cause both physical ailments and feelings. Emotions are a response to environment, and help us navigate life. Sometimes our bodies are wired strangely, and we do not respond to the environment in the same way most others do. Often people like this are labelled “crazy.”

If you want to manipulate feelings, you can do it via body or mind. Sometimes it is too difficult for the mind to overcome the imperatives of the existing brain chemistry, and so more physical assistance is required.

If you’re feeling down, it’s a response to your environment. You can change your environment, or try to change your body’s response to it. Sometimes it is better to change the environment, and sometimes you can change your body’s response sufficiently that you can be more effective in responding to your environment in a way that pleases you.

emperorofcali's avatar

@daloon Generalizing based on one case? What one case are you referring to? Reich’s experiments? My experiments? The experiments of hundreds of neo-Reichians? What double blind studies do you want? Involving the orgone machines? Start with Gunter Hebenstreit, University of Vienna. His vegetotherapy? Try it yourself. Highly recommended.

I find your inclusion of the chemical effect on neurology to be a pretty cool addition to the conversation. Which reminds me of another heretic, the brilliant Timothy Leary, who modeled a “neurosomatic” circuit in the human brain which, when turned on, produces a somatic “body-rapture”. This is actually quite analogous to Reich’s orgone energy, or even the Hindu concept of prana.

nikipedia's avatar

@emperorofcali: Fair enough. Link me to his original research—the data, analysis, and conclusions—and I’ll show you piece by piece what’s wrong with it.

emperorofcali's avatar

@nikipedia Now that’s a really remarkable mind you have going there.

1. Reich’s invention is “murderous”.
2. Link me to his stuff – because I’ve obviously never read it before and form my theories from my, oh, my imagination I suppose.
3. I will tell you what’s wrong with it after I read it. Because, before I even read it, I am certain something must be wrong with it.

If you can’t see why a discussion with you would be an exercise in monotonous futility, then you fail to see your own prejudiced thinking. You have already made your mind up before even reading. You will read only to refute. You have your mind made up.

And therefore it’s only fair that you find your own links. Why rely on me to perpetuate your own narrow-mindedness? If you have enough interest, why not buy his books, read them from cover to cover, perform some of his experiments and let me know in a few months why it didn’t work and just gave you cramps. It’s a great way to prove him wrong, and you can even be one of the only people I know that tried his techniques and didn’t benefit.

Now isn’t that a great thing to be able to brag about? Find you own links and have at it. Spend enough time at it, and you can even prove that I don’t exist.

**poof**

nikipedia's avatar

The thing is, when you mentioned him, I tried to find his stuff. I attempted to vet it in the exact way that I vet scientific claims that I consider highly believable and those I consider highly unbelievable. I treat them the same way and let the data convince me.

The problem with this approach is that I can’t actually seem to find a shred of evidence supporting his claims. So, I’m asking you to, since you seem to have access to it based on your repeated references to it.

In general, this is how science works. I don’t get to make a claim and say, “Ha HA! I betcha this works! If you disagree, you have to prove that it doesn’t work!” The burden of proof is on me to demonstrate that my hypothesis is defensible by showing data that reach a predetermined level of significance.

You are correct in that I am approaching this with a very strong bias against this person’s conclusions. The reason that I believe I am justified in doing this is that these claims are in no way supported by my training as a biological scientist. If, however, you could provide me with data that met my criteria—and they are the exact same criteria I would apply to any scientific claim made by any person, organization, or entity—I would be forced to change my opinion, and I would readily concede defeat.

emperorofcali's avatar

I honestly don’t believe that someone with the moniker “nikipedia” can’t find something that is all over the Internet. If you want to be taken seriously, you might want to avoid trying to sell claims like that. There are thousands of Reichian supporters. You don’t want to go to their sites, because you want to be negative. So instead, why not just go to some anti-Reichian sites? There are tons of those, too. I won’t mind if you plagiarize. Or hey, just dig up his FBI files. The government did burn his books and destroy all of his equipment with axes (you knew that much, didn’t you?) You will spend way too much energy, and nothing you come up with will have any originality. The US Government (which jailed him), the American Psychoanalytic Association (which kicked him out), the Communist Party (which also expelled him) – they all have great points about what a goofy quack Dr. Reich was. Why not just read that material? At least then you won’t have to lie about not being able to find material.

I find it quite difficult to accept your claim of being a “scientist”. First of all, you admit having a bias prior to investigation. You might want to go back to school on that one, son lol. To make a minor point, you also use the very un-scientific word “believe” in practically every paragraph you write; not really the hallmark of a scientific mind.

Lastly, you have made it precisely clear what your “criteria” is, and if you apply that same criteria towards “any person, organization or entity”, then you might want to consider a different career path. Say, priest? They’re awfully good at that kind of stuff. This isn’t a case of “conceding defeat”, my friend. There is no defeat. Reichian therapy has already been defeated by those who wish to defeat it, and Reich is dead. But his techniques are very much still alive, and their efficacy is undeniable. If you wish to call it a placebo and then turn around and admit that you are biased, then continue to be biased.

In fact, I wish it were a placebo and had no scientific foundation. Then I would be able to enjoy it still.

But you wouldn’t.

nikipedia's avatar

But I’m not interested in going to websites that discuss his personal life, or reading his FBI files. I’m interested in published, peer-reviewed journal articles that contain a hypothesis, methods, results, and conclusion. That’s the burden of proof that I would lay on any claim, whether I was skeptical of it or not.

We all have biases. Being able to recognize them and be aware of them makes us better scientists. It’s too bad that you don’t appreciate my writing style.

I actually didn’t make my criteria clear. I’ve described them in very general terms. And I am unclear on why you take issue with my intention to apply the same standard to any claim, regardless of where it comes from. Can you explain what you meant by that?

wundayatta's avatar

@emperorofcali: In case it wasn’t clear, I’m asking for sources that describe the evidence showing this stuff works, too. I’m not biased any more than the average person is, although my biases are skewed in, perhaps, unexpected directions. In any case, bias should be no reason to deny someone references, since no one is unbiased.

I keep noting how you are raising what appear to me to be one red herring after another, all the while trying to make it look as if Nikipedia is the one who is being obstructive. I don’t think that’s a very effective way of persuading people, although I’m not sure you care.

If you prefer, we might take the whole Reichian thing off the table and try to get back to @Trustinglife‘s question.

emperorofcali's avatar

@nikipedia I don’t “take exception” to your method of experiment at all. I merely pointed out that you start out with a bias and your motivation is to discredit a theory right from the outset, rather than approach it with an open mind. And you know what? i could care less, really. I’m not trying to sell you a theory. You questioned something that I wrote to someone else, and if you want to find out more about it, I’ll say it to you slowly one-more-time: Find Out For Yourself. You’re a scientist, right? What scientist goes around begging for links to websites? I found out about Reich because I went out and purchased his existing books. And then do you know what I did? I experimented on myself. If you actually have any guts at all as a real scientist, why don’t you try it out for yourself and record the results? Here’s a bone for you: start with Reich’s “The Bioelectrical Investigation of Sexuality and Anxiety” if you are not brave enough to actually try the experiments on yourself and just prefer to mentally ruminate over your desk. If you are serious, find the information yourself, refute it, and do let me know what you came up with.

That way, if it was all wrong, I can let everyone who has received treatment from his amazing technique know that they are free to become neurotic, compulsive and self-loathing again.

Sorry if it seemed like I was insulting your writing style by the way. Just pointing out an obvious pattern that seemed contrary to your claim to have a scientific outlook. No offense there.

emperorofcali's avatar

@daloon That’s very amusing: someone is “obstructive” if they don’t provide web links? If I did give you some links, would you like me to read you the webpages to you, too? Translate some words that are hard for you to understand? Turn off your computer for you when you’re done?

You’re right: I don’t care. I’m not here to “persuade” anyone; is that the way you conceptualize it when someone raises a point that you don’t like and challenges you to find the information you want to refute on your own? The main reason why I don’t go around and source out links is precisely because I suspect that someone who is too lazy/disinterested to look up information themselves is probably also too lazy to read through it. You will form your opinions based on the bits and pieces that you understand/are tolerant of, and ignore everything else. And whereas that’s totally your prerogative to read it any way you see fit, it is similarly my prerogative not to waste time in a discussion with someone who is entirely uneducated. If you would like to discuss it in depth with me: read his books. Learn his techniques. Otherwise, you are the “obstructive” one, and yes, I don’t care. I can, will and have discussed and debated Reich with others who at the very least took the time to educate themselves, and there was much mutual learning in the process. No one threw links or books at me. I went out and tried it myself. Try it sometime. Or don’t. Who really cares? I don’t. I have information that you don’t have. If you want it, find it. If you have questions after reading what you’ve found thoroughly, let’s discuss it. Otherwise…I think you know what I’d suggest.

Trustinglife's avatar

@emperorofcali, Wow. I’m generally predisposed to curiosity about techniques such as these, and less skepticism than the average Joe. But after reading this exchange, I’m way turned off to Reich. I know, I know – you don’t care.

But I think you do care. My guess is you’re just frustrated with the lack of openness to something that has been so powerful for you, and tired of getting “whacked” for your sharing openly and enthusiastically about it.

I was going to ask you for links, but then in re-reading this thread, realized you posted the Wiki link about Reich in your first post here. I was fascinated to see that Reich himself had similar patterns with his frustrations with his perception of others’ lack of openness to his work. Albert Einstein (after meeting with Reich and trying an experiment he encouraged) expressed the hope that Reich develop a more skeptical approach.

Does it really have to be us vs. them? You may not care about us, as strangers, and whether we do anything with Reichian techniques. But I suggest that you own how you do care deeply about these techniques that have changed your life, and how others perceive this body of work. Not that you asked for feedback, but my hope is that you’ll try a gentler approach. You might enjoy the results.

emperorofcali's avatar

@Trustinglife Tired of getting “whacked”? Not at all. I didn’t know that I was being whacked. Just a group of people that are staggering around, confused on how to go about getting information that they don’t really want in the first place, but want to sound intelligent while they reject it. I don’t take it personally. Hell, it’s not my theory, and I didn’t go to prison for it. Reich did. Andyou are absolutely correct: Reich was very frustrated, and its a little hard not to sympathize with the man, but I do think that was a defect of his. He was very enthusiastic about his work and his findings, and unfortunately made some very powerful enemies. Einstein did warn Reich of his enthusiasm after failing in his brief experiments to notice temperature changes that Reich had suggested occurs in orgone experiments. Maybe more ominously, Freud warned Reich to be cautious with the energy he was playing with.

Sorry you perceive my approach as unfriendly, my friend. It’s really a mistake however to make such judgments about words you read on your computer screen, as your probably well aware. No animosity here. You can read my apathy as non-hostile, and I don’t mind your feedback at all. In fact, you are the only respondent yet that actually bothered to read anything about Reich. If you are “turned off to Reich” based on an exchange that occurred on the Internet between a mix of people who were both educated and ignorant about Reich’s theories, then you may wish to consider a more open-minded criteria for assessing the values of a person who himself isn’t even personally involved in this discussion. I am not Wilhelm Reich’s personal spokesman. I am someone who has benefited from using his techniques and has seen remarkable change in myself and others. I am also fully aware that, due to the general state of stasis anxiety in the masses and their reluctance to accept new ideas, most people in today’s society will reject any method that professes to free them. People are comfortable living in their heads, not their bodies. They reject their bodies, and thus are in conflict with them. How is the body then expected to react? This imbalance directly addresses you original question, by the way, which i think I owe it to you to address before we get too far out on the topic of Wilhelm Reich, the scientist.

I do, believe it or not, care about “us”, “you”, “them” and society as a whole, believe it or not. I am also realistic to know that most people, just like the sad examples above, will reject ideas that are new and offend the personal reality structures that they live in. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest. It is predictable behavior, and if I’m guilty of anything, it’s temporarily treating them as though they are open to new ideas, when that simply is not the case. Unlike Reich, I don’t have the idealist approach that the world is just too f’d up to accept my ideas. They aren’t f’d up at all. They are merely comfortable repeating their same existence, with their same dogmas, same morality. Humans are still at that level of consciousness right now. That’s ok. It won’t stop me from throwing stuff out there and seeing who pursues it. In the meantime, I just go about my own work. Someone threw some things out to me one day when I still had my drive to experiment. Occasionally – but not often – I am able to repay the favor by floating something out in the sea of society’s futility that may benefit someone equally as bold.

Thanks for the response. Hope that cleared some things up for you about my whole approach to this.

Trustinglife's avatar

It did clear things up for me. I can really see where you’re coming from now. Thanks.

wundayatta's avatar

@emperorofcali: what path did you follow to end up a Reichian?

tiffyandthewall's avatar

it tends to be emotional for me, which makes me physically feel like crap sometimes. or if i’m feeling really physically self-conscious, that definitely makes me emotionally feel down too.

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