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Can't figure out my suppressed emotions

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by G.J., Feb 7, 2020.

  1. G.J.

    G.J. New Member

    Hi guys,

    Hope you can help me with my next step in my TMS journey. First the highlights of my story:

    I'm a 38 year old woman and when I look back I suffer from TMS like symptoms my whole adult life. It began with anxiety, panic attacks and hyperventilation in my twenties. In my late twenties I developed severe back pain in my SI joint and hips after a kick-fun lesson that wouldn't go away. Dokter's couldn't find anything wrong and alternative medicine didn't work. On top of that I got a whip-lash and developed a lot more pain and other strange symptoms. I became scared of moving and was out of running for almost 2 years. When I look back at that period I totally see the stress I was in and the emotions I suppressed that I needed distraction from. I was at a really bad place at that time.

    As I changed things in my life, like breaking of my relationship, moving to another city and switching profession, I slowly improved and my fear of pain and moving subsided a bit and got my life back again, but the pain and strange symptoms never went away completely and I saw my body as 'fragile' or a shoe that never fits properly. It was manageable though.

    In 2015 I became burned-out. I made some lifestyle changes, went into therapy to work on myself and on issues from my past. The years after were my best years with little health problems.

    But 3 years ago I developed a lot of issues with my digestion. Tests didn't show any physiological problems and the dokte told me I have IBS (in other words, they can't find anything wrong). I tried all different kind of diets, but the more I tried, the worse my digestive issues got. 1,5 year ago when I was at a yoga/meditation retreat the severe pain in my SI joint / hip came back along with the same anxiety for the pain and it doesn't go away and seems related to my bloating (the more I bloat, the more pain in my hip/SI)

    I started reading unlearn your pain and the stories on this forum and I totally believe that my symptoms are TMS related, but unlike before I can't figure out any suppressed emotions or stuff in my life that's bothering me. In my external world there are no major stressors at the moment. Life is going well, except for my symptoms and my fear for the pain. I really try to think 'emotional' instead of physical but can't find the relation. I have the feeling that when I know what's bothering me that it's more easy to accept and let go. But I really don't feel rage and it doesn't feel like I'm suppressing anything. The only emotion I feel is fear for the pain itself.

    So I hope anyone has some tips on how to figure out why the pain came back at a time in my life where everything goes well and how I can figure out what emotions are bothering me so I can start working on it
    Balsa11, TrustIt and Jeather like this.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi G.J.

    For most "TMSer's" the personality pressures are a larger factor than one's history, or current life stressors. So, knowing that, I suggest you look at the more subtle ways that you pressure yourself. This includes the "goodist" and "perfectionist" traits associated with TMS propensity, as well as being detail oriented, responsible, etc.

    Another aspect of personality that you may find with some observation is the way you are "hard on yourself." In order to see this, look for ---and perhaps feel in your body--- Inner Critic attacks. Everyone has them, but they are sneaky, and they are particularly believable for TMS types. That is, we believe them, and feel wrong or bad. This background "badness" is probably something that you take for granted. With time, you can discern this inner flavor, connect it to events, attacks, etc, and importantly, connect this activity to symptoms. By connect to symptoms I don't mean that you have to necessarily connect self-attack to a particular moment of symptoms. For most of us, we can connect on the general level of "oh, I have symptoms, and I wonder if I tend to beat myself up?"

    The Inner Critic is the easiest thing to become aware of for most, as evidence of repression/suppression. It's activity is in response to "that which does not want to be known."

    I think that the fact that you're not given obvious reasons for symptoms now is probably a call to look more deeply and with more subtlety. So this is where you might start.

    And in any case, this process is asking you to go deeper, which is wonderful!

    Balsa11, TrustIt, Ren and 3 others like this.
  3. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi G.J.,

    Something that perhaps might be going on, that you're not consciously aware of, is habitual strain and tension as you go about your daily activities. Ace1 (who is a doctor who recovered from his own TMS) wrote some guidelines for what helped him recover (the following is a summary of them):
    1. Try to be aware of all internal reactions
    2. Act as normal and at ease (not fear) with least concern for symptoms
    3. Look to see if you are emotionally uncomfortable
    4. Recognize that some situations make symptoms worse because of conditioning
    5. Don’t run from conditioned situations but become comfortable in them
    6. Remember, mental strain of perceived stress leads to physical symptoms
    7. Be aware of HABITUAL STRAIN that you don’t see
    8. Be at peace with everything and do things with ease
    9. Don’t expect too much in the beginning
    10. Lower your expectations and you automatically improve your performance
    11. Decondition mental strain though affirmations and self-talk
    12. Use consistent mind power to reduce mental strain
    13. Eliminate negative talk and thinking, this is negative mind power
    14. Be active but don’t challenge symptoms
    15. Recognize you are in this for the long haul and getting better gradually
    16. You are bringing tension level set point down over time
    17. Being in a rush is one of the biggest source of tension
    18. Not wanting to be where you are is another big source of tension
    19. Ask yourself, “Am I ok being in the situation I am in right now?”
    20. “BE HERE NOW” eliminates sources of mental strain and tension
    21. An URGE to be finished or get somewhere quickly = pain/symptoms
    22. Act as if you have no where to go
    23. Take your time and go slower
    24. When rushing REMEMBER TO BREATHE
    25. If you can sit in the pain observe it
    26. Anything that is annoying you is a source of symptoms, just accept it
    27. Don’t let symptoms annoy you if you can
    28. Observe the anger, irritation, annoyance and let it go
    29. Visualize the mental strain and say, “I forgive and let go easily.”
    30. It may be better to recondition yourself than change your life
    31. When something bothers you (Tension) try to resolve it and bring it down
    32. The healing process is done very gradually with pain fading away over time
    33. Gradual improvement in symptoms and what you are able to do is how it happens
    37. Think of the big picture rather than the details
    39. Ask “Is this helping me calm my overly sensitized nervous system.”

    All good wishes,

    Balsa11, Ren, plum and 1 other person like this.
  4. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    Does Ace1 have a story on this TMS forum? I once looked and couldn't find it. There is another post somewhere with his Keys in greater detail I think. I remember it was helpful. I like this concise list, thank you!
    BloodMoon likes this.
  5. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Your very welcome, Jeather :)

    Balto listed Ace1's Keys in greater detail here http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/key-to-healing.3577/ (Key to healing) And I should have given a nod to Kevin Barry who was the one who actually took the time and trouble to condense them and first posted his abridged version of them on this thread https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/condensed-version-repeating-the-keys-to-healing-by-ace1.17783/ (Condensed version "Repeating the keys to healing" by Ace1) where there's also a bit some discussion about them (the unabridged version is also repeated on that particular thread too).

    I don't believe Ace1 posted on this forum, so I don't think his story's on here. He posted quite a bit on the TMSHelp forum in answer to people's questions about his keys and he wrote his story in his posting at the top of this particular thread on that forum: http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=7664 (TMSHelp Forum - Recovery story with keys to recovery at the end) He mentions about his 'medical training' in his story - and someone wrote in a posting somewhere (I can't find/remember where) that Ace1 is a doctor who treats cancer. I will post his story below; I can't imagine that he would mind. It was written in 2012.

    One of the things Ace1 wrote on TMSHelp that strikes a profound chord with me is:

    "The urge to just be done with what we are doing and to go on to the next task is the number one cause of tms and everything is compounded on top of this. It is so ingrained that most will not see it even when they are told that it is there. It took me a long time to see this and figure this out through deductive reasoning. It also explains why our society has a lot of back pain but it is non-existent in tribal communities." --- Ace

    Ace1's story (the book he mentions in his story is
    'Mind Power Into the 21st Century: Techniques to Harness the Astounding Powers of Thought' by John Kehoe https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mind-Power...1_1?keywords=mind+power&qid=1581326028&sr=8-1):

    "My severe symptoms began about 7 years ago, although I would have to say that I had mild occasional symptoms up that point. I remember at the time I had the focus of trying to be very fast at my job so I could have more time to "relax". Actually, this didn't make me relax at all and revved my mind up to always feel like I had to be doing something. I started to get pain in my leg first and after a couple years of seeing surgeons and getting mri's I had a major shift of symptoms into my neck. I remember specifically trying to challenge my pain, but all it would do would make me much worse and induced much worse pain. I underwent the gammit of physical therapy mri's seeing surgeons with no improvement. I was found to have a large herniated disk that eventually disappeared on its own with no improvement in symptoms. I would have a shift in my pain from my back and leg to my neck and vice versa. No one could explain this to me. I encountered a pt book by robin mckenzie that only made me worse, but one day I decided to look at the reviews on this book and someone mentioned to forget about this book and get the real healing book -- healing back pain. I then read the review on hbp and I was impressed and i ordered the book. I read it while I was in physical therapy and it made sense, but I didnt get immediate results after reading it so i felt that I couldnt do the book and PT so I threw the book away thinking that it probably doesn't work. My medical education had biased me. I suffered for sometime after this and was on the verge of disability. I started to get inklings that emotions were playing a role in my pain, I was desperate. I decided to reorder hbp again and give it a wholehearted try. I started to have some improvements and would say I got to about 70% better in a few months. I however based on the way my mind works tried to apply dr sarnos work literally and believed that I didn't have to change anything and all I had to do is ignore the pain and think of the things that were bothering me. Well I found that was really not correct. I did have to change the way I reacted to things with a sense of more relaxation of my mind. It was also better for me to think good thoughts and good ideas about what was bothering me instead of just thinking of the negative alone. It took me a while to figure this out and thus a couple years had elapsed. I knew my problem had stemmed from my having made myself revved up from always being in a rush, but I didn't know how to reverse it. I came across mind power and started to use affirmations and visualizations to reverse this need. THe two main affirmations used were: I'm calm relaxed, patient and confident, and I take my time forgive and let go easily. The most common visualization I used was imagining bathing in white water which represents calmness and picturing what it would feel like to have calmness all over you. I also found out that challenging the symptoms in anyway was actually slowing my recovery down. It just kept me focused more on my symptoms instead of allowing me to focus more on tension reduction and changing my intense reactions. I also just acted normal as best as I could otherwise. I found also I was conditioned to get symptoms in situations that I had hyped myself up to on countless occasions in the past and I had to use the mind power techniques to recondition my mind. Although I still have some mild occasional conditioned symptoms, I am at the point where I consider myself cured bc I feel great and I have no doubt on my method to reverse myself. I believe everyone can get to a better state and I intend to continue to improve more and more. Good Luck to everyone on this board" - Ace

    All good wishes,

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
    TrustIt likes this.
  6. G.J.

    G.J. New Member

    Thanks Andy for your reply,

    What I noticed is that I'm constantly scanning for danger. When I have a good day and my symptoms are more at the background, I notice that quite often I find something else to worry about. It feels like my mind is addicted to thinking about all possible threats and how to solve them so I can be 'safe'. It's almost like thinking about my symptoms or other problems in my life gives me (a false) sense of control and thus safety. It makes me wonder; could fear be the main emotion that's causing my TMS?

    I've read that anger is often the main thing we suppress, but I can't really relate suppressing anger to my symptoms. I totally fit the TMS profile of being a 'goodist' and 'perfectionist' and I do feel that those traits creates inner tention due to holding in a lot of anger and frustration. But I can't find the connection to my pain to those emotions. I have had years with very little symptoms and these traits were still there. So why did the severe pain came back now? I'm more aware of these emotions than I ever was before and let myself feel them and try not to fight them, so if anger was at the root of my problems my symptoms should have been reduced and not increased?

    Could it be since my life is going relatively well and I have less distractions in my outer world, that my unconscious mind maintains symptoms and pain because my mind doesn't have other issues to 'chew' on? So that the pain is not a distraction perse, but more something I maintain because my mind hyper focusses on possible threats in order to feel 'safe' and therefore I created the wrong 'neuro pathways' that keeps my pain and symptoms alive? This might relate to what @BloodMoon wrote about a 'habitual strain of tension'.

    Looking forward to your thoughts!

    TrustIt likes this.
  7. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    Thank you, thank you! :)
    BloodMoon likes this.
  8. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    A clarification of terminology might help you out: "Suppression," as I understand it, is a conscious decision, while "repression" is unconscious. Not a minor difference, because -- if you are looking for your anger/feelings as something you're conscious of -- you aren't going to find them. Inner conflicts, self-imposed pressures, identity issues and such are what TMS is made of, all of it "safely" outside of your knowing anything about it (or at least, maybe the true depths of it).

    I'm familiar with the fear thing and feeling like you need to stay ahead of disaster. What I've discovered to be the beginning of this is a much more unstable childhood than I thought I had. Are you often working extra hard to keep things running smoothly and maybe not getting much help with it? Everything's "going well" but it's taking a lot of work? That can build tons of resentment, especially if you feel the extra work isn't appreciated enough. Just a thought. Also, I never cared much about my age and turning 30 was no big issue, but when 40 was getting near, I had a different experience. :) All the things I "should have" achieved by that point were amplified by this "milestone" approaching. Again, that's just a shot in the dark, but bringing this stuff into the psychological realm is the real work and I hope you figure it out. Good luck!
    Balsa11, Jeather and BloodMoon like this.
  9. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    You are right on the mark - "working extra hard to keep things running smoothly and not getting much help with it..." In my case I am on the verge of turning 50. Good thoughts.
  10. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    In the multi-media program Alan Gordon suggests that fear arises as a way to feel safe (as you also suggest above). It is protective. To feel in danger is to be activated and therefore "look out for our survival." I suggest you look at his program for more on this. It is great.

    One way to treat this is by reassuring statements to yourself, repeated any time you're afraid. "You're feeling a little afraid, and at this time there are no threats." "You're safe right now." "I'm safe in this moment." Experiment and learn to use these all day long when fear arises.

    Part of the process is to become a detective, as Nick suggests. Member Baseball has made some good recent responses to people, bringing the reader into his discovery process.

    I would add too that by sensing into your body and gently asking yourself what you're feeling in the moment, you'll probably become more aware of the subterranean feelings. Even by feeling into yourself, you're sending a message that feelings are OK. This is helpful too. Simply thinking/analyzing is not actually what is called for. So, you can with confidence know that deepening your present "feeling more" practice can only benefit your process.

    Good work! At the same time, it is often not straight forward in the way you hope. This is norma, to not know. I suggest you do the Unlearn Your Pain workbook, page for page, or do the SEP here at the Wiki. Discovery awaits!!

    Good luck in your journey. You come to this with a lot of awareness. This, and your feelings will be your guide. Have patience, and don't beat yourself for not "beating this TMS thing" right away.

    Balsa11, Jeather and BloodMoon like this.
  11. TrustIt

    TrustIt Well known member

    i totally relate to your entire post. especially your statement:
    "Could it be since my life is going relatively well and I have less distractions in my outer world, that my unconscious mind maintains symptoms and pain because my mind doesn't have other issues to 'chew' on? So that the pain is not a distraction perse, but more something I maintain because my mind hyper focusses on possible threats in order to feel 'safe' and therefore I created the wrong 'neuro pathways' that keeps my pain and symptoms alive?"
    i have posted this same question myself. wonderful life. what the hell? sometimes i feel like my mind is an enemy instead of a protector, tho i know that isn't true. i do know that i feel a lot of guilt about not doing enough in my current life or in my past. b/c of the pain and discomfort, i feel lazy and irresponsible. my husband is so kind to wait on me, which makes me feel guilty. he doesn't make me feel guilty, I DO! insanity abounds at times and i just want to escape. fight/flight certainly. i just can't seem to find that magic way of thinking in order to forgive myself and just be ok with who i am b/c i am not a bad person. i feel such despair at times, powerless, abandoned, forsaken. those are the words that come to mind. i have posted successful moments and unsuccessful ones here. many of us seem to go in and out, nothing linear about this journey!!!
  12. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Hi GJ,

    Welcome to this forum. Good place to be as you can see from all the helpful replies.

    1. I was disabled for many months with pain in my back, neck, shoulder, knees and feet as well as pain and numbness in both legs, arms, and hands. I was only 30 years old with two toddlers.

    What was the repressed anger and rage causing all this?

    I did have a horrible childhood, however, the main cause of my issues were marital discord and overbearing parents. Once I learned better ways to communicate with my wife and set limits for my parents demands, no more TMS. And that was 28 years ago.

    So let not yourself be spending a lifetime trying to focus on the past but rather begin to plan and focus on a bright future.

    2. As far as living in fear of pain and not sure how long good days may last, this can be remedied by designing a recovery plan with clear goals and keeping a daily record of your progress.

    This will help build your confidence as you make daily progress and help you overcome your doubts and fears.

    In this interview with Omar Pinto, host of the very popular Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery podcast (SHAIR) I explain in detail how to design your recovery plan. He invited me to provide a natural drug-free treatment option for pain.

    Take care,
  13. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    By the way, when you go into your recovery with a plan, it gives a clear signal to your subconscious that you are serious about getting well. So don’t be surprised if other improvements in your health also come about as a result.

    For me it was resolution of 17 years of hay fever, gastritis due to anti inflammatory medications, and heart murmur. And also, I no longer needed my reading glasses.

    So you can look forward to healing beyond pain.
    Balsa11 likes this.

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