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Abigail Steidley's Blog Pain is A Powerful Messenger: Are You Listening?

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Abigail Steidley's Blog, Jun 25, 2015.

  1. Abigail Steidley's Blog

    Abigail Steidley's Blog Reposted Blog by Abigail Steidley

    One morning, I woke up, stepped out of bed, and keeled over from agonizing pain. I was no stranger to pain, as I’d had searing pelvic pain from Interstitial Cystitis for years. This, however, was a different searing pelvic pain. I picked up the phone and called 911.

    Pain is a powerful messenger. How did I know to call 911 instead of just write it off as Interstitial Cystitis? I have no idea. It just told me what to do, and I acted on instinct.

    I’ve come to see that avoiding pain causes immense suffering. During my long haul with chronic pelvic pain (interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, and later coccydynia), I was forced to awaken to a new relationship with pain. I fought the pain for a long time before I found the work of Dr. John Sarno and read his groundbreaking book, The Mindbody Prescription. After reading that book, I started learning everything I could get my hands on about mind-body healing and the mind-body connection.

    I discovered that my resistance to pain was making my experience with pain about a thousand times worse. I found that my mind was creating story after story about the pain:

    I’m a worthless person because I can’t do anything with my life right now.

    I’m useless.

    This will last forever.

    I can’t go on.

    I can’t do this.

    This is the worst pain.

    The pain is getting worse, not better.

    And so on.

    I discovered that my mind was whirling in a tornado of thoughts because it was trying to avoid the Real Stuff – aka, emotions. I started applying Sarno’s technique of focusing on my emotions anytime the pain or pain obsession surfaced.

    This brought about a new revelation: I was also resisting feeling emotional pain.

    With that revelation, everything cracked open.

    I saw that I was fighting myself, day in and day out, not allowing myself to feel whatever emotion was present.
    I learned to let the emotions exist. I learned to approach discomfort within myself – emotional or physical – with a new perspective.

    Discomfort is not a bad thing. Discomfort is easily one-half or more of our human experience. If I try to push it away, or if I am always running toward comfort, I am closing my mind to the human experience.

    Discomfort is guidance.
    If you put your hand on a hot stove, you feel extreme discomfort. Quickly, you take it off. That’s a pretty easy example to see. Other discomforts can be subtler and quieter, but they are still guiding you. They are guiding you to see what your mind is telling you. They are guiding you to follow what is right for you. They are guiding you to return to your inner world and take stock.

    Now, I have a new approach. I listen to discomfort. I stay with it until it guides me, because I know it’s here to help me, even if it’s painful.

    This may sound a little hard.

    It is.

    I like to call this mind-body healing path the Path of the Mind-Body Warrior. I mean, why not give ourselves a little credit, right? If you’ve decided to apply mind-body healing to your life, it means you are willing to open to discomfort. Every day, there will be discomfort, most likely. That’s how life works. Every day, we get to train as warriors.

    For those of us who’ve suffered physical pain, the motivation is strong to stay on this warrior path and allow discomfort. We know that when we allow pain and discomfort of all kinds (physical, emotional, anxiety, stress, etc.), we stop resisting what is. When we stop resisting what is, a new energy moves into our lives.

    I think of it as flow. The flow comes in and it starts to carry us, like we’re floating on a river, ensconced in a puffy raft. Life feels simpler. Less difficult.

    It can even be a little fun to do this Mind-Body Warrior training. The reward is enormous, and much bigger than pain relief. The reward is awakening to ourselves, our lives, our spirits, and our broad, vast, ability to contain and love this human experience.

    That morning, when I called 911, I was just learning to listen to pain instead of fight it. I was certainly resisting it, but I knew it was telling me to seek help. The doctors quickly booked me for an emergency kidney stone removal, and I was saved from a serious kidney infection and sepsis.

    Pain wakes us up and asks us to listen. We can do it. We are warriors.

    by Abigail onJune 25, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2015
    kbarlow and (deleted member) like this.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow, that story about avoiding the kidney infection and sepsis was pretty intense at the end. The survival rate from sepsis is only about 80%.

    I like to call this approach to TMS "the Lassie theory." It's like Lassie is barking at the burning barn to sound an alarm and let us know that something is wrong.

    This post reminds me of mindfulness, too. Recovery from TMS isn't about rushing to get some work done. Rather, it's about how you live.
    Markus likes this.
  3. DanielleMRD

    DanielleMRD Peer Supporter

    I'm dealing with a major TMS set back. I have been healed from IC for almost 3 years thanks to Dr Sarno, your testimony and Steve O'. But I'm having major IC like pain. I'm really disappointed, but this has come after a really difficult week which included lots of suppressing my true feelings and attempting to drown myself in distractions. I guess I'm just not 100% sure what to do about it first? Have I undone all those years of work? Starting from the beginning seems so exhausting. Where do I start?

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