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Shame as Invisible Yellow Marbles



People get rightfully perturbed when you connect emotions with physical or mental health, which I get. "She's saying I have a chronic illness because I am shameful." No I am not. "Her work is dangerous, she says that depression is caused because of shame." No did not. "Don't listen to her, she says chronic pain is due to shame." None of this is true. You likely don't like me very much and this dislike colours how you hear and perceive me. But you raise the stickiness of all this, which is why communicating the message is important. You're not entirely wrong either.


The idea that emotions are tied to physical health is a pathologizing framework that blames or puts the onus on the individual for either getting sick, or frames them as being shameful. This is why Sara Ahmed doesn't like the idea of emotions as something within us, but rather, outside of us, interacting with us relationally, moving us relationally. While this is all good and well, I don't think the object of emotion simply stops outside of the body. How would it even know it's approaching a subject and to circulate the other way. I could be wrong, but I don't think that's how it works. It's okay to say it sometimes gets inside, even if imagined.


From my understanding and research, emotions work in similar ways as stress when it comes to compounding and amplifying our physical health. I don't believe that emotions cause disease per se, though science is now making the linkages between trauma and illness. But like stress, emotions will do damage that results in a slow death. I've been struggling with how to communicate this message without conflating emotions as synonymous with physical health. Making sense of shame as an invisible marble has helped me make sense of some of the immaterial damage that manifests as distress or disease.


This video uses Sara Ahmed's idea that emotions are objects to consider reframing shame as a heavy invisible object that gets projected at certain people in ways that limit their capacity and make them stagnant or sick.


Music Title: dizzy by Joakim Karud https://soundcloud.com/joakimkarud Music promoted by Audio Library • Dizzy – Joakim Ka... Genre and Mood: Cinematic + Inspirational

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