1. Our TMS drop-in chat is today (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support. D'niceTMS is today's host. Click here for more info.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
    Dismiss Notice

Day 15 Facing your fears...it's just a feeling anyway

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by jokeysmurf, May 16, 2018.

  1. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Peer Supporter

    I have read a lot about memories and how they are attached to fears. That somehow the images are associated with different triggers. Some things state, just form new positive memories. That's a bit of a catch 22 when you fear a particular thing. However from the stance of neurosciences it seems very logical. We keep our fears alive by reliving them, keeping them active in our memories, believing in them, giving them power. The right hemisphere of the brain seems to function outside of conscious awareness, oddly enough that is where images and symbols relate to the side of the brain.

    I made flash cards of things that I was afraid of for 3 months. I wrote the words safe, or fun, or something like that. I would look at them every day twice a day for about 30 mins. I also imagined things I was afraid of or things related to severe pain. I would image that scenario. It always produces a symptom while holding the image. I would then imagine it being printed on a flat piece of paper that i could then turn and put into a shredder. I did this several times. It required lots of focus and starting over. I also did this for about 15-20 mins.

    Now I wake up with very little anxiety, which was an ongoing thing for a year. Sometimes i wake up very fast and in high alert i have to calm myself down and proceed. I now have moments where I am starting to feel like my old self.

    My fear: The dreaded dentist. I haven't been to a dentist in some 10 years. I used to live in a big city, after that I was somewhat homeless (not living in the streets per se) but i didnt take care of myself very well in those days. I was told I had periodontal disease at the age of 26 or so. I found some homeless blog about trying to live a somewhat normal life. The author had some dental issues. She did oil pulling, which she claimed helped. She had pictures to illustrate progress. So for about 8 months i resumed flossing, brushing 2xs a day. This was about 10 months ago. I told myself I would going to go to the dentist. I made an appointment and saw her. She did the xrays, and said my gums and teeth were healthy and i just needed a regular cleaning. Wow? how was that possible? Maybe the oil pulling helped, who knows but I was excited. I feared all these scenarios about oral surgery and teeth being removed or a horrible painful cleaning like back in my 20s.

    I had made a flash card with an image of a dentist. The comical kind from a worms eye view looking up into a light with a man's face half obscured with a light over one eye and his nose and mouth covered by those masks. It took a while of flash carding before it didn't produce fear. The words healthy written beneath it.

    In this case things turned out well. If I did have to have any procedures, I would have prepared myself the same way. Part of the fear was really just showing up.

    So what are fears? Bad memories? What ifs? etc? Maybe they are all a little different for each person. I recall a quote from Dostoevsky (paraphrasing here) - We preserve a beautiful or sacred memory since childhood. If we carry this memory to the rest of our days, we are saved. Even if only one good memory is left in our hearts, it may be the instrument of our salvation. I believe this to be true, memories are powerful and can go both ways. Use them to help yourself, draw strength and resource from them and form new ones to replace the old ones around fears.

    Happy Healing.
     

Share This Page