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Stress headaches

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by ellie freegan, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. ellie freegan

    ellie freegan Peer Supporter

    I totally get the link between negative emotion and pain but often I get headaches nausea or stomach pain when I'm very aware of negative emotions. Therefore I don't really get how being aware of repressed emotions necessarily stops pain. I know the Theory is that the pain is a distraction from the emotions but then why the headaches et cetera when one is very aware of feeling stressed anxious et cetera? Thank you
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  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Having puzzled over this myself for a time I came to a conclusion of sorts which I hope gifts some insight.

    It is easy to confuse stress and tms.
    They are not the same thing.

    Sarno is very clear in distinguishing between stress and tms (The Divided Mind). At first glance they seem to be equivalent but they are subtly different. Stress covers a very broad base including poor diet, exposure to toxins, long work hours, insufficient sleep, financial problems and such. Stress is often the product of lifestyle choices that don't nurture and the respect the body. As a result, the sympathetic nervous system jacks up and wreaks havoc. Emotions are biochemical messengers so stress will generate emotional states and concomitant physiological responses. These we feel.

    (Interestingly chronic pain is itself a source of stress for the nervous system and is in part why all the advice on the forum to relax and soothe the body is so important. Ongoing pain often leads to anxiety and depression which fuel the cycle and add yet more stress. The feelings and emotions generated by stress are usually conscious and observable. We know we are having them.)

    TMS is created by unconscious emotions and is the result of how our personalities navigate through life and how this generates repressed rage.

    Pain is not a distraction from all emotions, only the repressed ones.

    It is a very important distinction.

    The emotions you are aware of are not repressed.

    I hope this clarifies the issue a bit for you. As I said, I tussled with it for a while before the penny dropped. It's all part of the learning curve during which we enhance our emotional intelligence. With time this yields insights into the heart of who we are and from this centre it becomes much easier to deal with both stress and tms, and to honour the differences between them.
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  3. BBDiesel

    BBDiesel New Member

    I was just wondering about the same question yesterday. I am always aware if I am sad or rageful or scared or what....Thank you "plum" for your detailed explanation!
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  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are more than welcome sweetheart.
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  5. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    I'm printing this out and reading it every day! I always wonder this too. Great question and Plum, as always such an intelligent response. It makes so much sense. Thank you so much!
    plum likes this.
  6. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Plum, I was wondering if you had an explanation for this question. If our repressed emotion is in the unconscious ( we are not aware of them) then why do we journal and try to figure out what they are? Are we never to figure that out? Are we only to be aware that this is the reason we have pain? If it is unconscious, then we theoretically will never know what they are. Then, what is the point? Is that why people who beat their pain just say to let go? I really appreciate your answers. You are very knowledgable and helpful.
  7. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    I look forward to Plum's answer to your question as her posts are always so exceptional.

    I'll just add this from my own experience with journaling. I believe it is important to discover why we repress our emotions, not just what the emotions are, or may be. Why are we repressing our anger or our sadness? I was able to answer that question for myself by spending time journaling. There is always TMS gold in looking for all the "shoulds" found in our journaling. Often at a deep level we think we should feel differently than we do, therefore we repress. I was brought up in a family that didn't like expression of emotions, and I was shamed and rejected whenever I expressed my anger or sadness. I learned very quickly that it was safer to repress. Soon I even repressed my emotions from myself. Discovering this has helped me immensely in my recovery.

    Also, our unconscious is willing to reveal itself to our conscious mind at times. Ever have one of those Ah-ha moments, where suddenly you get an insight into yourself? I believe journaling supports this phenomenon as it is demonstrating to our unconscious that we are willing to look at everything, no matter how painful. The more honest and thorough we are in our journaling, the more Ah-ha moments we will have. I usually have them after I've put away my journals and am doing something else like washing dishes or taking a shower, and then an insight is revealed to me. Sarno says our unconscious creates TMS to distract us from confronting and experiencing these emotions. Journaling tells it that this is no longer necessary, as we aren't afraid of any of our emotions.

    Just my two cents........
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
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  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    Your questions tease the quixotic heart of tms and while there may be as many answers as there are people, I shall attempt to grapple the mystery into some semblance of order. Consider it a working hypothesis rather than anything definitive.

    The short answer is we journal to develop an awareness of our emotions, and with that a very real sense of how our emotions are connected to the reactions of our body. Journalling is simply a tool to garner this joint awareness, so much as I mentioned in the post above while we are aware of these in relation to stress, with tms we are not. Journalling helps us deepen our consideration and sentience of them in relation to our pain and the hows and whys it serves to protect us. Invariably these are very personal and intimate and journalling affords us a place and process to do so gently and compassionately.

    You don't have to journal in order to reconnect to your emotions. You can favour more body-oriented approaches. You certainly don't need to dig around till you find the seed. It really is enough to know that you have built an emotional castle around your heart and that your body is armoured. It is the shedding of this unconscious padding and protection that heals, not the means or the ends in themselves.


    The elaborate answer is we do not journal to seek out and destroy our pain. This is effectively putting the cart before the horse. Rather while we are focusing on the psychological, we are simultaneously tuning into the arising physical sensations which hopefully will help lead us to the emotion that has been repressed. Thus journalling can assist us in feeling and recognising our true emotions (catharsis and insight). Once we achieve this, the need to create distractions through pain dissolves.

    The first step is to become a little more emotionally literate by simply writing about how we feel. With time we naturally begin to integrate emotions with our personal story and it becomes clear where we have dissociated, numbed out or cast our emotions into the shadows because to feel them would be too dangerous.

    This is where our pain speaks for us; the rage we dare not express, the grief that eats away at us, the fear that we suppress, all locked down beneath the veneer of holding ourselves together, fitting in and being good. But that is not who we are. We are wild and primal at heart and at our core.

    We journal in the spirit of increasingly being able to consciously bear the unconscious emotions. As we explore events and memories on the page we develop emotional resilience and self-guided emotional release. The page is a safe place for us to clarify, nourish, focus and practice self-expression. Journalling unravels knots by helping us develop our natural voice and confidence in its expression. It is a way of penetrating our inner self and noting patterns and meaning, expression and reflection, imagination and dreams.

    Events themselves exist somewhere in spacetime but our emotions live timelessly within us. The nervous system is a closed circuit and so the unexpressed emotional energy will lodge somewhere. Thus many people are emotionally constipated. They do not feel the waves of feelings as they pass through the emotional digestive tract* and the net result is undigested fragments of memory and feeling, bio-chemical messages that are marked return to sender embedded in the body (the body is the subconscious mind - Candace Pert) as pain, stiffness and tension.

    When people who have recovered speak of letting go they refer jointly to outcome independence and this emotional cleansing and liberation.

    I hope this helps a bit.

    Plum x

    *The smart vagus..?
    The vagus nerve is poetically called "The Wanderer" and anatomically the tenth cranial nerve. It links head-brain to primal/gut-brain.
  9. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Yes, I can see what you mean. All week I've been trying to figure out why I need people to like me so much. Then, all of a sudden I realized that when I was a child I was actually mean and bossy and a lot of people didn't like me. I kept trying to pinpoint when it was that I started this. I think it's when I realized that my little sister is prettier than me. I was used to being the best at everything and I think in some weird way it hurt that I wasn't as pretty as her. Or, that she got so much attention for being so pretty. Maybe, I'm not sure. But I can see what you mean now.
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  10. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Yes, this helps SO MUCH. It helps because I know I'm not doing anything wrong then. It will just take time. I think I've had a hard time because I know exactly how and why I started to get migraines. TMS taught me more about it. I kept thinking if I knew and fixed the reason then they would stop but it's not that easy. You are such an eloquent writer. Thank you for your response. I've printed this one out as well (and Ellen's too) and am going to continue to really understand it. Thank you very much.
    Thanks for asking such a good question Ellie.
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  11. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    ...and this may explain why you have such a harsh inner bully. It would make complete sense for little Ines to try so hard to be perfect and lovable in the light of this. All those years of hurting and feeling less in some way...be deeply compassionate with yourself Ines. The insight is one thing, the untangling of years of emotions due to it may take some time.

    Plum x
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  12. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    It sure will. It's kind of exciting knowing about this technique.. I can see why a lot of success stories say the pain was a blessing in the end. Argh! Did I really just say that? Well, in a way it is because you learn so much about yourself. Thank you for helping me. I really appreciate it.
    plum likes this.
  13. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    It truly is a pleasure Ines. Thank you for the compliment too.

    And about pain being a blessing. It really is :)
  14. BBDiesel

    BBDiesel New Member

    Thank you plum for taking the time to go into details about journalling. I just adore your style and sometimes wish I could read and read and read what you have to say all day long as to not feel the pain. While soaking up all your knowledge I feel hopeful and eager to face my demons!!!! I am so glad I found this forum.
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  15. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bless you sweetheart, that is such a lovely thing to say. I'm really touched. :happy:

    This forum is a healing sanctuary with many gorgeous souls to help and guide. I very much look forward to getting to know you and to your healing.

    With love xxx
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