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ACS = acute compartment syndrome

Psychologically, the ability to compartmentalize one's roles in different aspects of life can be a sign of successful coping, but communication between and integration of various compartments are also necessary for a healthy psyche. Excessive stress in one compartment can lead to maladjustment, just as excessive pressure in one section of a limb can lead to severe complications.

"Compartment syndrome" sounds claustrophobic, like your tiny studio apartment or condo's about to spontaneously combust, and the condition is just that--a compartment of the body choking to death from lack of blood/oxygen.


In our bodies, there are "compartments" of muscle, nerve, blood vessels, encased in strong, connective tissue. If stress or injury leads to inflammation, edema and excessive pressure in a compartment, poor blood flow due to pressure on the vessels can lead to the 5 Ps: pain, paresthesia (altered sensation), pallor, paralysis, and pulselessness. If the pressure is not relieved by the cutting of a cast (if one had been applied) or surgical incision, severe complications such as tissue death may occur.

If pressure in one or more areas of our lives are not dealt with adequately, the stress within that compartment may lead to aggression, depression, broken relationships, and even mental illness. Carl Jung calls our subconscious dark side "the shadow," and acknowledging and accepting our dark sides  prevents the shadow/shade from festering and poisoning the whole psyche.

Accepting necessary pain or difficulty in one compartment and acknowledging our traumas, impulses and roles ultimately helps us cope with what life throws our way, in love or war, sickness or health.

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