Emotion-Related Muscle Tension

This might be the hardest post for me to write. There are a few good reasons I don’t want to write it, and that is because I feel vulnerable. But there is a better reason to write this post: there simple isn’t enough information online about it and from a perspective that isn’t clinical.

As many of you know, I’ve been dealing with weird muscle tension and pulled muscles since November of last year. Though it has been almost an entire year since, I’ve figured out what the problem was very recently: emotion-related muscle tension. Most search results on this topic are stress-related muscle tension, which is similar in a way.

Sometimes the road is long
Sometimes the road is long

I haven’t mentioned this before, but at my last session with my social worker, we discussed Complex PTSD/Complex Trauma (though I believe they are moving toward the label of Complex Trauma). From what I’ve read, I believe I may have this particular disorder. Regardless of the causes, I still have to deal with the traumas. I will be seeing my social worker today, but I really want to post about this so anyone else who may be dealing with the same issues can come to understand what I’ve come to understand—the activist and educator in me wants to tell the whole world.

Anyway, I discovered that my muscle tension is related directly to the suppressed emotions of the Complex PTSD. When I try to relax, especially when going to sleep or in general, my muscles tense up. This is because I’m “letting my guard down” and my body is trying to release the emotions I’ve keep repressed for so long. Literally, my body is contorting into a physical expression of the emotion, regardless of whether or not I feel that particular emotion at that time. I’ve learned to let my body do what it needs to, to release the tension and emotions. By feeling and expressing the emotions (often several times a day: fear/anxiety, crying, and anger) the muscle tension I have goes away and I feel lighter and better.

It’s difficult to be able to release them as often as I need to. I’ll have to take breaks at work to go in the back and let go, stop what I’m doing at home and close the door to let it loose. It’s disruptive, but far better than holding on to them even longer. Even though I’ve only know this for about two weeks, every time I release, I feel like I can live. For example, at work last week, before my mini-vacation to San Jose, I was feeling miserable and down and was so tense. I let out emotional stress in the morning and immediately felt like I could actually get through the day (and had another 5-6 releases), whereas before, I was struggling to want to do anything at all.

The journey will be difficult, but worth it. Thank you for being a part of it. If you think this might help someone, please feel free to share this post.

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5 thoughts on “Emotion-Related Muscle Tension

  1. Keep up the research and discovery, Andrew. Remind me– I may have some techniques you may wish to try. We’ll talk. xo

  2. Many of us are afraid of our emotions, fearful of letting go, letting down our guard, being vulnerable, and losing control. Yet repressing our emotions seems to be far worse. Kudos to you for courageously facing your feelings, good and bad.

    • Thank you. It’s difficult, but after talking to my social worker, we agreed it has to happen at some point to deal with the underlying issues. The “when” is up in the air at the moment.

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