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Can I be fearful of the pain itself?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by JohnP79, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. JohnP79

    JohnP79 New Member

    I've really been trying to identify and tackle the repressed emotion of fear lately and I'm wondering if someone can help me out.
    I'm sure some fear comes from the whole Covid thing going on but as I journal about fear, it seems that a majority of the things I'm afraid of come from the pain itself (it's never going to improve, it's going to ruin or interfere with things in my life, I will have to quit my job etc)
    I guess this is confusing since these emotions couldn't have CAUSED my TMS at the start (since there was no pain then to be worried about, it developed later). Are there likely other emotions repressed from before or could this fear of TMS be the primary one? My gut says yes but it doesn't seem to line up with Dr Sarnos, and others writings.
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Uh... keep reading Sarno. He absolutely talks about fear and obsession with the symptoms being part of the syndrome. He evn goes as far as to coin a term 'physicophobia'.
    The fears you mention there are common to anybody who has had TMS and I can assure you as someone who is recovered , is totally a normal part of the process....

    keep reading
    Thelauriebelle1 and JanAtheCPA like this.
  3. JohnP79

    JohnP79 New Member

    Ok thanks. I'm read The Great Pain Deception right now and will read Sarnos others after that.
  4. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Hi John, when we talk about fear relating to PPD/TMS, we're really talking about two things. Fear of our symptoms, fear of exacerbating them and fear as an emotion about being in danger, being at risk of something being taken from you or threatened in a specific way. These are very different things. Sure, we fear our symptoms will take away our life, our enjoyment of things but before that came fear of loss of life, relationships, job security, etc... This is what we're looking for.

    Fears a tricky emotion, it absolutely is important and can contribute to TMS symptoms, especially if we have a freeze response in relation to it. However, I would argue that sadness, anger and guilt often play a stronger role in TMS/PPD symptom formation for many clients. Often, what we think is fear is anxiety over something and that anxiety can often be a reaction to underlying anger, sadness and guilt.

    Hope this helps as a way to explore things,

    Mars497@ likes this.
  5. Miriam G. Bongiovanni

    Miriam G. Bongiovanni Peer Supporter

    Hey @JohnP79 ,

    Yes, it's definitely possible that you are afraid of the pain itself, but even more so of its implications for you (i.e. the fear of not getting better, of your freedom being limited from the pain, etc).

    In my opinion, TMS pain first starts out due to a stressful event and/or any repressed emotions, but is then kept alive because of the fear of the pain itself and its implications. The works so well that you may even forget about what caused TMS in the first place, since you've now got a new problem - the pain. This is why awareness of what caused the TMS in the first place is not enough to get better - you also need to change the fear and conditioning that has built up with regard to pain, as well as all your other emotions around pain: any disappointment and frustration when it flares up have to be tackled.

    This can be done by trying to 'neutralize' the emotions. Start by observing yourself having these emotions, take a moment to feel them, and then try to change them with a more neutral attitude. Laughing or smiling at the pain helps, even if it sounds counterintuitive in the beginning. Also, it's very important to stop the catastrophic thoughts you're having about the pain (this is never going to improve, etc). This is classic TMSing and its what keeps people stuck. So next time you have one of these thoughts, say STOP! forcefully to yourself, and focus on something else.

    Hope this helps and I wish you a speedy recovery!

    Mars497@, Northwood and miffybunny like this.
  6. JohnP79

    JohnP79 New Member

    Thank you so much for the replies! That absolutely helps to explain things.

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