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Bringing back Is 'catastrophising' part of the TMS personality?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by dabatross, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    This was a post on the old TMSwiki forum that really struck me especially this what Forest said:

    "I've been wondering about how fear of future pain can worsen TMS, leading to a vicious cycle recently. It seems like a mindfulness approach of acknowledging the fear and allowing yourself to feel it before letting it go may work better. This approach is often discussed among meditators, and managing fear like this is really quite close to what is done in meditation with managing intrusive thoughts. For anyone who wants to read more about it, I can recommend "8 Minute Meditation" as a very quick read and easy to digest intro."

    I bought the book 8 minute meditation and I love it extremely easy to read, the guy is really down to earth, and is the first time I've actually started doing meditation because I understood what it was about. I read a book called "Natural Pain Relief" by Shinzen Young and it was just too difficult for me to understand.

    Anyhow there is one central theme here to mindfulness, meditation, and that book I talk about Dissolving Pain that I'm reading. They all tell you not to fight feelings of fear, pain, negativity, etc but to feel them fully and let them pass on their own. As you said Forest "acknowledging the fear and allowing yourself to feel it before letting go" seems to be the key to these methods.

    The Dissolving Pain book refers to it like this:

    "One of the reasons we are so attached to narrow-objective focus is that it successfully represses the pain, at least in the short run. And we would keep directing our attention away from our pain if it didn't eventually surface into conscious awareness. Sometimes however the pain is more stubborn and our resistance to it is greater. At this point, we need to do the opposite of what our instincts usually tell us to do. In response to pain, our habit is to distance ourselves from the pain and to fight it, thinking that if we don't resist the pain it will intensify. But over the long term, exactly the reverse is true. We exacerbate the pain by narrow-focusing away from it or otherwise trying to resist it, consciously or unconsciously. After we open our attention into a diffuse awareness, we need to learn to move toward the pain, allowing it to melt into broadened awareness, and so let it dissolve."

    Pretty much the same concept as the meditation just a different method of doing it. All of the reading I've done says this "A cranked up nervous system that is on full alert due to stress, fear, anxiety, and other negative emotions makes you hypersensitive to pain."

    I dont know about you guys but I think the main driving force behind my pain is the fear of it which I believe heightens my arousal and sensitivity to pain and creates a viscous circle. Doing journaling Im becoming more aware of how much stuff I actually fear and its pretty surprising. As Brady said in his book, I'm in the "fear prone personality" where I think the worst of situations, try to calculate the future and prevent things from happening that might cause me more pain, worry way too much about nothing, etc.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for posting this, databatross - this is helpful in understanding the dynamics of things that seem to work in the short run and why they don't last. This is very complex stuff! I also like this one:

    And I think it is similar to what Claire Weekes says in Hope & Help for Your Nerves, when she describes the four steps to conquering panic, which are: Facing, Accepting, Floating Through, and Letting Time Pass.

    I especially loved the floating through.

    In my case, Dr. Sarno gave me the awareness, but it was these four steps from Claire Weekes which really allowed me to recover, because anxiety was such a huge issue for me.

    So I'm totally with you - I think this is a vital key to recovery.

  3. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    This sounds so easy - yet in credibly scary to me since I too suffer anxiety. I wonder if this book would help me with my meditation? I need something new to kick start my program right now, and perhaps this is a key. Sounds so easy in writing, but wonder if I could actually pull it off?

    Again - very logical and I still feel fear about facing fear. I really let myself go out there when I get into fear, maybe that's why.

    But anxiety is "flight or fright". So I am slightly confused as to how this would work. It clearly says to "not fight it". So perhaps what this is asking is for: acceptance. Stop the flight AND the fight. Acceptance. Interesting. I hadn't thought of my pain in this way. I'm always trying to avoid it or the FEAR of avoiding it.

    And this is my little brain on steroids. I am a cranked up nervous system and I do the above.

    Maybe it's time to get into more meditation.....

    Mine too. I like this a lot dabatross. It's bringing up new ideas which I hadn't thought of and/or putting them in a new way than the programs I've worked did not. Thank you for posting this. I think we can all say the same things in different ways - but still one person may benefit from it when looked at from a new perspective.

  4. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    No problem guys I like to create the discussion on here about the stuff Im reading to see if you have any insights. The reason I think this technique works is because I've had pains in the past that lasted for a few months and then they just disapeared. I went through the whole gamut of treatments for it too and it was when I stopped caring about it and worrying about it that the pain went away. This was 3-4 months of pain that I was worried about and then for some reason I just stopped caring. I dont know why I dont remember how it happened but something else came up that was more important in my mind and the pain vanished. It was actually my wrist that was the problem. When I first started working on computers when I got the eystrain I eventually stumbled upon websites that talked about other "ergonomic issues" associated with computers as well. Then I started exhibiting these symptoms and they lasted for a few months. I went through the whole shebang of treatments like I said of first changing computer ergonomics, then using wrist braces, changing keyboards and mice, to the point where I was wearing a wrist brace full time. One day I took off the wrist brace and didn't care about it anymore and I haven't had the pain since. So I think it was my resistance to the pain and my trying to fix it that perpetuated it.. it sounds like an oxymoron but I think its the truth. Its the worrying and fear over the pain that keeps it going but thats also one of the hardest parts to get over.
  5. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member


    "I've been wondering about how fear of future pain can worsen TMS, leading to a vicious cycle recently. It
    seems like a mindfulness approach of acknowledging the fear and allowing yourself to feel it before letting it go may work better."

    I totally agree. Meditation and mindfullness have lead me to this path as well. I find it works wonderfully. I believe you need to process it (release it, whatever). Sometimes, the simple act of observing it, without judgement is sufficient. Frequently when I observe a physical sensation, I also get an image: Mom, Dad, sister, etc. which then clues me into what "button" is being pushed and I can choose how I respond, vs reacting.

    I see it like this. You have an in box and an out box on your "desk" (read: mind/body). Each emotion goes in the in box (at this point you do have a physical sensation. An emotion is ALWAYS followed by an immediate sensation [see "Healing Trauma", Peter Levine]. It may be very subtle though). If you "take it out" and "process it", you can then put it in the out box. If not, the inbox fills up. When it tips over, you have a significant distracting reaction.

    Now, with being mindful and combining this with Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing and felt sense, I notice when the item goes into the in box immediatly. Then, i can process it now and not let them build up. It takes lots of practice (I have been practicing this since the end of 2008). But this is my practice now....and forever. It is my journey and I am loving every minute of not being in severe pain, having ulcers, or any other significantly distracting symptoms.

    Beach-Girl and Forest like this.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Catastrophising is such a major part of what fuels TMS that I thought it would be helpful to bring back some of the other posts in this thread that were first posted on our old forum. Feel free to respond to anything mentioned in this thread. I would love to continue this discussion on how catastrophising fuels TMS.

  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love the quote Hilary said, Whenever you find yourself doubting you'll get better, focus on your successes / improvements, however small.

    Even if it doesn't seem like your progress has been enough, focusing on the smallest of successes will send a positive signal to your unconscious. And, if you think about, recovering is only a series of small successes built up over time.
  8. Leonor

    Leonor Peer Supporter

    I loved the 8 minute meditation book. It is short, practical and it demystify the concept of secrecy and expensive meditation practices. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to learn meditation.
    I learned transcendental meditation 20 years ago with a master (very expensive). He was very calm and soothing. I also participated in some groups. I kept meditating but this "transcendental" meditation became to religious for me. Meditation is helpful but I came to the conclusion that the real help for pain is going all the way back to our pain roots. We can do it through journaling, therapies, reading different books etc. You can even do it in meditation, feel the pain, locate it, relax it and find the uncomfortable emotional feeling that comes with it.
    I am also learning about IFS (Internal Family Systems) and I integrate it in my meditation.
    The book by John Lee "Facing the Fire" helped me a lot, because I never thought I was angry, He explains why we are angry from birth on.

    Our subconscious inside world is tough. That is the most difficult part to discover, to free, to manage, to understand and to feel. Why did my subconscious decide to repress my feelings, my rage, my fears? Why did it happen to me and not to somebody else? When and why did I become numb to my feelings? How do I dig them out? Which one do I need to express? How do I express them? What events are pivotal to my recovery? When I try to go into my subconsciousness and heal, why is it fighting me back and not letting me heal? tough, tough. I am just hanging in there, learning, practicing, reading, and never giving up.

    Ellen likes this.
  9. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is so well said. It seems to me that only when we acknowledge and accept the painful emotions, can they be released. This is the way to end emotional repression.
    Identify it, feel it, let it go.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've always been a champion catastrophiser. Thanks to Dr. Sarno and learning about TMS I have a much better
    handle on that. What works for me is telling myself not to think the worst and than laugh about it. I get over the
    cat thing right away.
  11. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    Without a doubt I do some catastrophising. Less and less as I become more and more mindful. But it is definitley part of my personality. This discussion just made me realize I have a catastrophiser part! Because when I am catastrophising (which I was doing yesterday ), I am tense, I have some physical symptom like some back pain and I am distracted. the distracted part then takes me off task and the overwhelmed part jumps in (because I am not getting done what I "should " be doing). It makes me wonder if some of these parts are not the same part, masquerading as each other. Similar to the blending concept Jay Early talks about. Me thinks everyone who reads this is LOL and thinking. "yup, me too"
  12. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Leonor says:
    This. This. This. And this. All of this. Right into my questions with utter precision.

    There is one thing I do comprehend ... I know why I went dormant, why I buried myself. My world was my beautiful mother. I would do anything to ease her burden. I began that when my baby brother was born, 2-1/2 years after me. I became her little helper. I became his 2nd mother. Later, I became her mother, too. I shielded her, wrapped my heart and life around her. I remember the first time I held her as she cried ... it was in the barn. I found her there, and I held her. I was in 6th grade. It wasn't the last time. Never could I let my life make hers any more difficult. I had to bury myself so I could be strong for her and my little brother. I buried those emotions so deep, and I just don't know how to let them out.



    This is my mother. I worshiped her. A little side story: I was born in Burbank. While she was in the midst of starting her divorce (late 1960's), she was in a restaurant with a friend. A man approached her. It was Hugh Hefner. He invited her to become a Bunny. She considered it, but finally declined because of the pending custody battle.

    What a strange journey we all travel ...

    I am very grateful to have found my way here.

    with grace and gratitude,
    yb44 likes this.
  13. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    I think this answers your questions! Now the work begins.
  14. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose, That picture of your stunningly beautiful mom reminds me of how limited our perspective of people is usually.

    I am so glad your journey has led you here. Your presence here is a gift.
  15. nancy

    nancy Well known member

    I too have a story of my mother. She was born to a wealthy family. Her parents were ballet
    dancers all over the world. My Grand parents danced in Radio City, Russia with Pavlov, etc.
    My mother was raised in boarding schools all her young life. She had five children with no
    way to know how to raise them with love. My family ended up a disaster. I feel so hurt and
    yet I loved her, she passed just this past April at 95. I feel I did the best with my family yet I was
    used and always tried to please everyone. Who knows what is the right way to live. I am not a
    selfish person but perhaps I should have been. I am trying to bring back my sons at this time
    as they lost their Dad to suicide. I spoiled and did the best I could with my husband, it leaves
    me bewildered. He was not physically abusive, just left myself and my boys emotionally abused
    by being an absent father, always home, always sleeping or working. I expected no more as I came
    from the same. I am so sorry now for my boys. Nancy
  16. nancy

    nancy Well known member

  17. nancy

    nancy Well known member

    I too am from N.J. 50 yrs there!!
  18. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Nancy, please close your eyes for a moment and imagine a warm hug.

    We all have such complex history, which has all led to us being here. From each other, we learn, and we fortify our inner strength. We are in this, not alone, but with each other.

    Suicide is especially difficult, as it carries many faceted aspects. There are stigmas, there is guilt, rage, despair ... the list is long. I do not believe in the stigmas. In the end, suicide is when the pain outweighs the ability to cope. It happens. My stepdad, my best dad, my beloved dad, lost this battle. I was 12. It didn't take me long to understand the lure of simply ending the relentless pain. Our society is not very forgiving towards those that become so overwhelmed.

    I forgive. I understand. And I do not dare judge the depth of pain that others feel. I cannot know. No one can really know.

    Just offer your love, Nancy .. that is what you can do. And while you are offering that love ... you might turn that bright heart-light to your own self. You are worthy of love and compassion, not just from others, but most importantly, from yourself.

    with grace and gratitude,
  19. nancy

    nancy Well known member

  20. nancy

    nancy Well known member

    I thank you for the warm hug, it made me feel very good. Suicide is a difficult issue as it so
    multifaceted. I suffer for my sons, two of them. They did not deserve this. I feel for you as your
    step dad engaged in this. It is Awful!! I know this! Please keep in touch, I need Help, and I hope
    I can help you too. Fondly, Nancy

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