The separation of single psychosomatic entity into two components is a mystery. The tradition for Tollhouses, which were incorporated in hymns, is based on an attempt to express in a realistic manner situations that are not fully covered by the experiences that we live on earth.
I think we have to understand three points:
1) Because of psychosomatic unity, passions of the body are interconnected and intertwined with the passions of the soul. Indeed, the passions of the soul always operate through the bodily actions. When the soul is separated from the body, then it can not satisfy her passions. This is a suffocating situation. The soul that has passions feels captive and blocked, like being subject to bondage excluding it to act at will.
2) It is a patristic teaching that each nature is attracted from the similar. So the soul is naturally attracted to the divine, since man is akin to God, bringing within the image of divine as its archetype. So after death, the soul is naturally attracted to God (so it is the case before death). But this attraction is compensated by the pull of the passions in the opposite direction. St Gregory of Nyssa presents this situation with the image of a man buried under earthquake debris who instinctively is trying to emerge to the free surface and is punctured by nails and debris in his effort. This is the state where the soul feels her passions to opposing violently the natural ascent towards God. This situation is also happening before death, but then, the connection to the body gives the soul, of man with passions, a distraction from the divine attraction. After death, and separation from the body, this disorientation of the soul ceases. Then, after death, the soul is inevitably experiencing this dual attraction and repulsion, which is stressful and agonizing.
3) It is generally considered that the satanic influence over man has a dialectical dimension. The devil and the man "talk" about a topic and finally man takes a position on the issue. This is not the case. St Peter writes (1 Peter 5:8):
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
This illustration overturns the dialectical dimension of diabolic tactics. Another illustration of the devil is as "a wolf in sheep clothing", which also has no dialectic parameter. The proper patristic illustration of devil is that of an "adversary". A christian has to fight against devil. The devil is the one who first attacks and the Christian enters in a position of self-defense.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Taking the above three points, we can realize that the shackles of the soul, the anguish, the suffocation, the repulsive force against the attraction to God, the struggle with the adversary devil, are conditions attributable through the narration of Tollhouses.
Now, when we take everything literally we destroy the patristic context.