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Another question about sleep- stay in bed or get up?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Kris, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Kris

    Kris New Member

    Hello! So if you've read my posts lately, you know that I'm struggling with a TMS relapse after three months of being TMS-free. I feel that I've determined how TMS wormed its way in this time, and at this point the pain is just sticking around due to conditioning and fear/focus. I've been working on not working too hard. Something that is obviously very hard for a TMS personality! Lol! I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself to "get better" due to an out of town wedding weekend coming up that I've been looking forward to. I didn't want TMS to "ruin" my good time. I've recently made a fairly deep realization that I have a big inner bulky and he's (yes, I feel my bully is a male, despite the fact that I'm a woman) a real jerk. Realizing I had this nasty inner bully has made me really think about how to stand up to him. The past couple days, I've just been focusing on calmly proving him wrong. All the fears about, "I know I can't hurt myself with TMS...but it still feels like I could really pull a muscle because they feel so tight and painful..." have gone out the door. I'm back to working out hard and challenging my range of motion in my right leg/glute. I've been feeling emotionally stronger during the day, and therefore less pain. I've also told myself that I WILL feel better soon, even if it's not in time for the wedding, and I WILL NOT let that affect my time on the trip.
    So anyway, one of my biggest challenges during this relapse has been waking up in pain. For the first few weeks I tossed and turned and tried to suffer through it. I usually wake up between 3 and 4 a.m. in pain. I've tried listening to guided meditations, focusing on my breathing, and trying to find the most comfortable position until I eventually fall asleep again. However, I have been left feeling frustrated and demoralized in the morning.
    I was inspired by Steve O's story of sitting in a chair until his pain eventually subsided and I thought I needed to do that while laying in bed. However, I just couldn't lay there with the burning, aching and throbbing in my glute. I just kept squirming. The past two days, I've been getting out of bed, heading down to my comfy recliner couch with Steve O's book, and reading. Yesterday I stayed up, and this morning I drifted off to sleep for an hour.
    So my question is, is it "giving in" to the pain by getting out of bed and reading? Do I need to try to tough it out? Or am I actually sending the signal to my brain, saying, "Hey you big jerk, I'm not going to lay here suffering and tossing and turning. I'm going to get out of bed and break your cycle."
    kevinmichael and mike2014 like this.
  2. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey Kris, I think in short, you should stay in bed and try not to give into the pain.

    Usually when we sleep our conscious mind is busy resting while our subconscious is busy processing thoughts and emotions. Hence we feel more pain when we wake up and less as our attention shifts into consciousness throughout the day.

    Whilst, meditation may not be the most suitable for you when you wake up in pain , you may wish to explore EFT, hypnosis or self talk. Certainly don't give into it, if you do that the pain and fear will control you, which is exactly what it wants.
    Kris and kevinmichael like this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I didn't get up immediately this morning, preferring to stay in bed, even knowing it was time to get up. I didn't feel relaxed delaying getting up, so
    I got up and "jumped" into the day. It felt better to get it started.

    It's another day of a weeklong heat wave... 90s and humid. Ugh. My least favorite kind of weather.

    I practice self-talk, a form of self hypnosis, telling myself it will be a great day. Something good is going to happen today. The good, I realize, is I'm alive and not in pain. Oh, a little headache. But deep breathing and positive thinking brings that under control.

    I suggest by all means, don't lie in bed when you've awakened. It just encourages worry.
    Kris likes this.
  4. kevinmichael

    kevinmichael Peer Supporter

    -My personal opinion is that one should stay in bed if it is in their 8 hour allotted time. We condition ourselves to sleep during certain hours. We are creatures of habit. Some of us like to go to bed early. Some of us like to stay up late. We should keep a routine.
    Kris and mike2014 like this.
  5. SunnyinFL

    SunnyinFL Well known member

    Hi Kris,

    Here's another view to consider: I would do whatever you feel like doing -- that is, what the adult you chooses to do.

    I think of "giving in" as giving your power away. You can choose to lay in bed and let the pain take your power away by focusing on it or you can get up and let the pain take your power away if you feel like you only got up because of the pain.

    Instead, I advise you to keep your power and exercise your power - either by saying something like "I've probably slept enough for now and I want to read in my comfy chair," or "I'm going to roll over and see if I can drift back off for awhile."

    Sweet dreams :)
    Kris and mike2014 like this.
  6. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    A good point, I agree 100%, most Dr's encourage we get the full 8 hours sleep, as it helps keep our central nervous system and auto immune system in line for the purpose of healing.
    kevinmichael and Kris like this.
  7. riv44

    riv44 Well known member

    For me, so much of TMS is obsessional thinking, asking what the proper thing to do is. I am going to tackle the psychological part differently. For now, I am not adverse to sleep medication. You "should" do what feels best for you. If you are in that much pain and you are stressed because of not sleeping, that can be another pattern.

    I think my fears of insomnia are TMS, but I am not ready for action yet. My pain is decreasing and my positive outlook is increasing. I am using Shubiner's work rather than the SEP at this point.
    Kris, mike2014 and JanAtheCPA like this.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    So many interesting answers for you, Kris! On the subject of meds, recent research has found that OTC pain relievers can relieve emotional as well as physical pain - so why not take an ibu or Tylenol to see if that will help? I used to take up to 5 ibuprofens for my headaches "before Sarno" but now I can take just one for any pain that I think will keep me from sleeping. I combine it with some deep breathing and visualize a pain-free and relaxed night in bed even if I wake up (and remember that we do wake up about every 90 minutes). Taking the med is like a mantra - it's a tool which helps to manifest the visualization.

    Alternatively, you could get up and do a writing exercise from the SEP, or just free-write about what is going on in your thoughts while you're not sleeping, and explore more deeply anything new or unusual that spontaneously pops up during the free-write. Journaling is typically NOT what your brain wants you to do, so that'll teach it to keep you awake!
    North Star, Kris, riv44 and 1 other person like this.
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just remembered that another recent study about the historical sleep patterns of humans thinks that it's more normal to sleep for about four hours, get up for a while, and go back to sleep for another four hours. This seems to be my cat's pattern because he's all over me about four hours after I go to bed - if it's not TMS, it's CAT.

    Anyway, Tennis Tom brought this to our attention in another post: "The Myth of the 8-hour Sleep" http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16964783
    Kris likes this.
  10. Kris

    Kris New Member

    Thank you for all your thoughts and suggestions. It's just so hard because I feel like I let my inner bully win when I lay in bed totally miserable, trying to shift and do anything I can to reduce the pain and get back to sleep. I thought I was doing a good thing by "breaking" the cycle and getting out of bed. The truth is that I haven't slept more than 5 hours a night for the past three+ weeks because of the pain, regardless of whether I get out of bed or stay in bed. I'm just so tired.
    I've tried sleep meds, but my brain still wakes me up at the same time, regardless of whether I take something or not, so it doesn't seem worth it to take anything.
    I'm going to a float tank tonight and I'm really hoping that relaxes my mind before bed. This will be the second time that I've floated, but the first time I've floated in the evening. If any of you have suggestions for affirmations or questions I should be asking my unconscious self while I float, please share.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Kris, keep giving yourself a lot of credit for how far you've already come! You are definitely experiencing success. Setbacks and stumbling blocks are not failure, they are just part of this work.

    Above all, remember that you are a good person and that you deserve be loved, especially by yourself.
    Kris likes this.
  12. riv44

    riv44 Well known member

    Your brain needs to learn it can sleep. Bullies come out at night. Tell them to shut up. Do you have a copy of "Where the Wild Things Are?" If not, buy it and read it out loud when you can't sleep.
    JanAtheCPA and Kris like this.
  13. Kris

    Kris New Member

    Thanks Jan! That's been something I've really been working on- A) understanding and accepting this isn't a linear process, and B) loving myself and feeling that I am worthy of living a life without pain and anxiety. My inner bully really did a number on me and tried to tear me down and make me feel weak, weird, and dumb for having TMS and not being able to beat it permanently. These past couple days I've been focusing on standing up to my bully- not just for the sake of my pain, but also because I AM a strong person and I AM worthy of a good life. I wouldn't let another person treat me that way, so why have I been letting my inner bully? I have made progress and restful and painless sleep will happen for me.
    riv44 likes this.
  14. Kris

    Kris New Member

    So I finally gave in and took a half of a low-dose Vicodin before bed last night that my doctor prescribed for me if the pain gets too bad. It was the first time I've taken it, and I was REALLY hesitant to take it because I felt like by doing so, it might send a message to my inner bully that I wasn't strong enough to fight "him" on my own. I also have an addict in my life who got hooked on pills due to pain (which I now suspect was/is TMS), so I've always been fearful of the power of those meds. However, after talking about it with my husband, I felt like I desperately needed sleep, after not getting more than five hours of restless painful sleep a night for the past few weeks. I took a half pill before bed and then when I woke in the middle of the night in a little pain, I took the other half. I still had some breakthrough discomfort and mild pain, but I slept the best I had in about a month. That was the good part. The bad part was that once I got out of bed and got moving this morning, I was in a great deal of pain. Probably the most pain I have had in the morning since this relapse began. I felt great despair and wanted to cry. I headed out on a walk with my sweet dog and tried my best to put one foot in front of the other. I was thinking to myself that I should tell my husband that he should go to this out-of-town wedding without me. Right after I thought that, it hit me that this is exactly what my inner bully wants. He was hitting me with a vengeance this morning because I chemically silenced him last night from being able to terrorize my sleep, as he has done for the past month. So he was trying to remind me of his power this morning by hitting me hard. I know that the only way to eventually get him to back down is to not give in to him. It's hard and it is going to continue to be hard because I know it's not going to happen overnight and I know there will be a lot of pain between now and recovery, but I know this is the only way to get better. The miracle overnight vanishing of the pain that I and all other TMS sufferers so desperately wish for just isn't going to happen, so I have to keep standing up to it. In the meantime, I deserve sleep, so I will take a half of a Vicodin for the next couple days to try to "reset" my sleep pattern and continue to rest and refresh my body and brain.
    JanAtheCPA, IrishSceptic and mike2014 like this.
  15. SunnyinFL

    SunnyinFL Well known member

    Hi Kris,

    Just wanted to voice my support for your journey. I have also learned the importance of being patient with myself, taking better care of myself. It's not easy because I have historically been a classic Type-A person. My solution to any problem has historically been, "work harder and faster." This has completely backfired with TMS (no surprise!). But, I've come to like the patient me better than the past me and the change is coming in its own sweet time. I know I've read other posts you've written, but I'm wondering if you had already worked your way through the entire SEP or where you are at? I have done the entire SEP, and am doing it all again and learning even more. I've discovered that it is exactly as people say, "it's like removing layers off an onion." Please know you have lots of support for persisting, and good luck!
    JanAtheCPA and mike2014 like this.
  16. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

  17. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Kris,

    You are doing a wonderful job, please don't place so much pressure on yourself to find how to heal, when you are ready it will find you.

    Try and spend some time on the things you enjoy and surround yourself around things that make you feel happy and fulfilled, most of the times we spend so much time absorbed in our ailments we forget what matters.

    I'm glad you are using a combination approach, sometimes we need to take medication until we feel mentally ready to be able to manage and work on the pain.

    We are all here for you to provide support on your path of discovery, unfortunately TMS is a complex beasts and can linger when we over analyse. The important thing is to be gentle, kind, loving and compassionate to yourself - understanding the work you are doing will have impact, but it wont be over night.

    I've added a few useful links which help me sleep, I'm hoping they will help you too.

    EFT for Pain

    EFT for Insomnia

    4-7-8 breathing


    Alternate nostril breathing

    Forest likes this.
  18. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sunny asked the question I was going to ask, Kris! If you're not doing the SEP, are you doing some other structured/guided program to get at the root of your repressed emotions? You had an excellent "Aha!" breakthrough, but for most of us who land here, just reading Dr. Sarno, accepting the diagnosis, and understanding the mechanism of TMS isn't enough. We've had to do the work, as Sunny said (and is doing again! You go girl! dancea)

    The structured programs (our Structured Educational Program is free) will ask you to do writing exercises. Whenever I have a setback, the only thing that gets me going again is to sit down and write, much as I try to put it off.

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