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A vicious circle - my fear of pain

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Renate, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Renate

    Renate Peer Supporter

    Hi everyone! I’m getting more and more desperate: I don’ t get out anymore of the vicious circle with my fear of pain. Let’s say I must buy something in a shop: I know when I have to stand more than 1-2 minutes, the pain in my foot starts to flare up. So I think ( at home): maybe there will be many people at the checkout and I will have to wait. Thinking this is enough to make the pain flare up. Then I go to the shop and there are some people at the checkout and I must stand for some minutes - and I am so much in pain! So this situation confirms that I have been right to fear the situation because I am in pain in the shop. How can I get out of this vicious circle???????? I tried so many things but none helps.

    I apologize for my English, my mother language is German.
  2. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Many apologies if this sounds over simplistic but it really is all about the narrative and secondary suffering you are adding to the pain. The fact that you are picturing the shop scenario in your minds eye is basically a negative visualisation and you are planting a seed in fertile ground that pretty much guarantees the pain based outcome.

    I know it’s harder than it sounds but the only way out of the fear loop is to detach the emotion laden thinking from the pain itself...what I mean by that is that you stop prempting pain and adding dramatic labels to how you experience pain. Claire Weekes mentions in her books how whilst we may be experiencing anxiety and pain the aim is to sit with this and allow it to be...our bodily part etc may hurt or whatever but they are still functional and we can do the required task. I think what she alludes to is to accomplish the task in hand without paying attention to the pain/sensation which then denies it the oxygen it requires to grow.

    I do think it really is as much a habit as anything else. Why not trying to change or reverse the visualisation. Imagine yourself going to the checkout and being in queue relaxed and happy. I grant you the reality of the situation may not initially live up to this but I’m willing to bet given time and practise then you will find an improvement.
    karinabrown, Ellen and HattieNC like this.
  3. Renate

    Renate Peer Supporter

    Huckleberry thank you for your answer! I forgot that I had already done the visualization of a future situation.
    I did it yesterday before I went to the drugstore and I had less pain while waiting at the checkout. Today I will write another post: my actual situation is so bad that I dont want to continue this life of pain. But I am looking for help!!
  4. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi Renate,

    I’ve been exact in the same boat with footpain and i totally get what you going thru.
    Its really hard and gives depression because of all the limitations.
    I’m pretty good on the foot thing after 7
    years. Now have another pain and also new stressors so this is a good proof that emotions are key.
    And fear is the thing mostly that keeps it going.

    On the foot part: scared of lines in shops, worry going outdoors because of chairs being there etc etc. I all know it to well. My approach :
    Like you i would messure every thing i did : in terms of minutes ‘on my foot’
    And how many minutes i could walk and how many times.
    At some point i decided the change that.
    Did not do the walks every day , but every other day or so. And made it my goal to just make more steps on a daily basis (Bought a fitbit)
    So not made it my goal to go on walk every day but live more every day !
    That way i could still see improvement (really also a tnms thing .. ) but a bit less obsessed.

    Living with a stopwatch in your hand is so stressfull. Isn’t it ?
    So confuse your mind a bit !
    Try to do things that take some attention off your foot. At some point i decided : if this is the maximum result i get : Okay : i will live ‘around ‘ this pain. That helped !! Foot got better after that . It got the painsignal down.

    For shops : be gentke with yourself : small visites and then try : outcome independence. ‘Okay it hurts : but : i went and did my thing ‘ be proud of that. And then do that again , and again.
    Maybe a change in approach can help you too.

    In fact i realize ,i should try the same approach now with the symptom imperative i am facing now. Got up in the frustration an fear loop again but trying to overcome this again. And Ofcourse keeping track of my emotions
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  5. Renate

    Renate Peer Supporter

    Hi karinabrown, yes, you know exactly what I am going through! The worst thing is when I put myself under pressure: “I want to do this now!”
    I started to do a relaxation twice every day and it seems to help to calm down my nervous system. Following your advice I will slow down a bit and make my walks a little shorter and slower. And also make small visits in the shops.
    Thank you!
    karinabrown likes this.
  6. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi Renate,

    That’s a good idea. I do breathing and muscle relax exersizes too.
    I did not start walking ‘slower’ but decreased the times i went.
    The constant monering in terms of time and ammount of pain of no pain is the obsessesion.
    I remember reading a good part on outcome independence ‘ here by Alan gordon on his program.
    Long time i could not fully grasp the idea : ‘don’t let the pain / or no pain be your succes factor , but how little you care’
    That’s great advice! Ar first i thought : nonsense : i do care so much . How can work with that ??
    But : if you go somewhere anyway,
    and notice some pain but can decide you enjoyed the movie etc whatever anyway : from there you can build.
    Lainey likes this.

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