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Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The common cold - a symptom of grieving?

Yesterday, as the day wore on, I became aware of a soreness and a tickle at the back of my throat - tell tale signs that a cold might be on the way. When I woke up, the tickle was still there, confirming my fears - right now is not a good time to be taking time off from work, no matter how tired I might be.

A cold is usually a sign that the system is becoming overloaded - and one look at Debbie Shapiro's excellent book 'Your Body Speaks Your Mind' confirms this. Page 184-185 reads:

"There are many different versions of the common cold although the symptoms usually include a runny nose, watery eyes, stuffy or painful sinuses, a sore throat and sometimes a cough. It may start in the chest and move up, or start in the nose and move down [for me it usually starts in the nose]. In all cases, it occurs most often in those whose immune systems are already in a weakened state, perhaps due to overwork, stress or emotional issues. A strong and healthy immune system will not easily succumb to a cold, even when surrounded by those who have.

When we cry, our nose runs. When we have a cold, our eyes water. Colds, runny noses and crying are all related. We often feel the same helplessness and despair, the same need for comfort. Tears and mucus are both ways of releasing emotions that have been pent up inside. So, if you have a bad cold, you may want to see if there is some crying or grieving you are repressing [what was I saying about grieving for my soon to be old job yesterday], some deep feeling that has been pushed aside. Unshed tears will find their way into the nose, whether due to sadness, frustration or guilt. A cold often follows the death of a loved one or some form of emotional shock, particularly if grief is not acknowledged; it may imply that we have gone emotionally cold or are being cold to our feelings. Colds are common, just as it is common not to show how we really feel.

Are you frustrated at work and unable to express this? Or are you feeling mentally and emotionally overloaded - to the point where the pressure is overwhelming [yes to both]? A cold not only releases the feeling but gives us a few days off - the time we need to find our balance. It also makes everyone else keep their distance. Are you actually wanting to push someone away? Feeling fearful of intimacy? Are you in need of some time out to be with yourself? A cold can be a cry for love and attention, a need to be cared for, to be mothered. Are you longing for comfort but unsure of how to ask for it? Or a cold may indicate a time for change and transition [see What's up on Planet Earth for details of this], when there is too much happening at once and we need to shut off for a while, slowing down [natural at this time of year, when like the animals, we too are going into hibernation mode] our intake to allow for assimilation."

I am sure that many can relate to much of what Debbie has to say - I know that both my partner and I can. Like I say though, it is not a good time for me to take time off, with the closure in a little over 2 weeks. Still, it only 3 weeks (and 2 days) until I am back on my beloved island of Lundy again ...

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