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Daniel L. Acceptance vs. distraction

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by yvettepfs, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. yvettepfs

    yvettepfs Newcomer

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    Question
    So I am new to the forum and I need some help. I struggle with a contact dizziness, floating sensation that is there 24/7. It has come and gone since 2009. The longest time I had it was for about 5 months straight. It would get me into a major anxiety state when it would come. I had all kinds of tests done in past with normal results and a neurologist diagnosed me with anxiety disorder so I know it's psychosomatic. I did meditation to get me through but it would takes months.

    It came back on July 4th and it threw me into a tizzy again but then I said to myself that I am going to handle this differently this time. I am having a hard time understands how to implement accepting vs distraction. I feel that I have been handling this better than I ever have but I am not sure if it's right. I've been doing everything that I want to do and not letting this change the way I live. I have been doing my best to not focus on it and to put my focus on my children and my life. I have been trying to be around people. For example, this weekend I went to a party and it felt great to be in conversation and it helps me to not think about how I'm feeling. When I am distracted it feels good because I'm not focused on my symptoms but when I think about how I feel I do feel down because I don't want to feel this way. Let's face it. I would much rather feel the way I did before this came back. I read some therapist posts that said you must accept and not care whether the symptoms are there are not. I have been able to do that sometimes. Especially when I'm focused on other things. I feels good being distracted from it but I can't help but feel like "man this sucks" when I'm not distracted. For example, this weekend I have a convention and I am looking forward to it because I know I will be distracted and not so focused on how I feel. I have never been able to do this in the past. I would normally be very anxious about going and just want to stay home because of how I feel. In the past I would be so scared and I wouldn't sleep or eat well because I was so anxious about feeling this way. This time I am living my life as usual and not letting it stop me from living my life. Sleeping and eating well except for the first few days. But I have been keeping myself busy so I'm not focused on it so much. Am in handing this right? I don't know if I am accepting or not. i can't say that I am happy or that I don't give a crap about it. I'm just doing my best to not let it bother me as much and not focus on it by staying as distracted as I can. Is this running away or accepting? Pleas help! Thank you.
     
  2. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    Answer
    Wow! This was actually really inspiring to read. Congratulations – you’re doing it!

    Sometimes, early in recovery, we need a distraction (or five) to help us recognize how to not care about the symptoms. Once we recognize that our symptoms don’t have nearly the same amount of power over us that they once did (turns out at the party, you didn’t care as much about the symptoms), then we can replicate that same feeling in a variety of different ways. One of those ways is just to be distracted and look forward to those distractions. I’m so glad to hear that you’re embracing this upcoming convention. Because you’re looking forward to the convention, you’re not allowing yourself to get scared. That’s the ticket! (I really wanted to write that).

    Another one of those ways is to look forward to the thoughts about your symptoms. What do I mean? Think of every single one of your thoughts about your symptoms as a challenge. It’s a challenge to not let your mind dwell on it. Notice the thought, and move on. This is hard, and many people give up after trying it a few hundred times. But keep trying – try a thousand times and it will start to get easier (like the meditation you did).

    It’s okay to feel like “man this sucks.” Nobody enjoys being in pain. BUT, the key is to recognize that “man this sucks” and then move on. Don’t dwell on that thought. Don’t dwell on your pain. When you become preoccupied with the pain, your anxiety will climb. When your anxiety climbs, you are sending messages to your unconscious that you are not safe, and then your brain thinks that there is good reason for the pain! Remind yourself that fear and preoccupation are your enemies, and you’ll continue to make progress.

    Don’t doubt yourself – you’re doing great.


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  3. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I thought about my back pain and journaled and healed, but I love distractions, too. They help keep me positive.

    I'm an author (see CreateSpace eStore for my most recent self-published books) and I am most happy writing a new book.
    It takes my mind off worries and makes the time fly by. A grammar school teacher in Texas emailed me last week that
    her students love my books and they're helping them to read and think. It made my year!
     
    COgirl05, North Star and Laudisco like this.
  4. yvettepfs

    yvettepfs Newcomer

    Thank you Daniel!
     

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