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Can't tell if journaling is helping or not.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by James59, May 26, 2014.

  1. James59

    James59 Well known member

    I've been journaling per Dr. Scott Brady's 6 week program. I'm now exactly 5 weeks into it, and I can't tell if it's helping or not. Physically I'm not feeling noticeably better but I am noticing some subtle changes.

    The best part is I'm sleeping better. Waking up less often during the night, and I get up feeling a little less crappy than before. Still crappy, but less crappy. But during the day I'm not really feeling any better than before.

    Emotionally I'm having periods where I feel more optimistic than I have in a long time, but I'm also having abrupt mood swings where I suddenly become very depressed for no apparent reason.

    I've written about lots of things, past and present, and I've been making emotional connections I never made before now. One recurring theme is being blamed, and sometimes punished, for things that weren't or aren't my fault. I'm rather shocked at how many times and how many ways this has happened to me over the last 50+ years. I had no idea until now. Last night I wrote about one of the earliest such incidents in my life. I got so tense reliving the emotions that my arms got so tight I couldn't type any more.

    According to Dr. Brady, I should be noticing improvement by the 6 week mark. I'm almost there, but I'm not seeing it yet.

    I'm starting to worry that this my end up being just another failed treatment that looked promising at first then petered out to nothing. At least it's not making things worse as most of the physical treatments I tried. But if this doesn't work, I don't know if I can handle any further disappointment.
  2. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Try not to put a time frame on your TMS healing. Look on Alan Gordon's recovery program for information on Outcome Independence. There are all kinds of people(myself included) who take more than 6 weeks to heal, and then there are those that are able to recover the first time they read a TMS book. You are going to hinder your process by focusing on this. Try to notice when you are worried and projecting negative outcomes in the future. The important thing to focus on is all the people who have healed by working on TMS, all the people who had tried so many other things and some who have been in pain for over 20 years. Keep an evidence sheet and write down any success and things you notice that go contrary to a structural diagnosis. The abrupt mood swings may be part of your process. Perhaps journaling is not the key for you. Forest wrote a great post about knowledge therapy versus journaling on the Alan Gordon section. I would take a look at that. This will work for you but you need to be persistent and really believe it.
    Ellen likes this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, James. I like Anne's advice to switch from journaling to knowledge therapy for yourself since it is stressful for you to
    write about your repressed emotions. And don't set a timer for healing. It will come when your unconscious "gets it,"
    that you believe 100 percent that your pain comes from your repressed emotions and/or perfectionist and goodist
    personality. Be patient and persistent and you will be free of the pain and feel great.
  4. James59

    James59 Well known member

    I actually went through the Alan Gordon material several months ago but it didn't help much, other than broaden my TMS knowledge base. That's why I finally decided to try journaling, which I was hesitant to do. Of all the journaling methods I looked at Dr. Brady's plan seemed to fit my temperament best.

    Aside from the one example I gave above, and a couple of other occasions, journaling hasn't been all that stressful. Most days I've actually felt relieved getting things out. As I already noted it's helped me see emotional connections I never realized before. And the writing time flies by. So I definitely see its value. But I've written so much already I'm starting to run out of things to write about.

    I also went into it knowing that for some it takes longer than others, and Dr. Brady says his plan can take anywhere from 4-10 weeks, with 6 being most typical. So I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet. But I am starting to wonder at what point do I decide whether it's going to work or not? I'm certainly willing to give it more time, but I don't want to "stick with it" indefinitely just for the sake of being persistent. It is often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
  5. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    I originally told myself I would give it six months. The reason I put a time frame on it was that I had a cervical MRI with ruptured discs and my physical therapist, who is a good friend and someone I really trust, told me I should think about having surgery. I know she is very conservative when it comes to surgery and would not have recommended it unless she really thought it was necessary. So I was giving myself six months to not even consider surgery. I had lower back surgery 20 years earlier and it only cured my pain about 50% of my pain at the time. It was really difficult for me to get past the MRI results, but after 2 or 3 months, I had enough evidence against a structural cause to take surgery off the table completely. I used to wake up every morning and my first thought was to monitor my head and shoulder pain.. I guess I just really hoped that one day I would wake up and the pain would be gone. If I woke up and the pain was still there, I knew that was not the day. I had such a hard time grasping the concept of outcome independence. If we could somehow get to the point in which we were not monitoring the pain, then what was the point? How can you have pain and not monitor it? And if the goal is not to be painfree, then is was the point? I remember how frustrated it made me and I would write a lot about it. How can you not think about the pain? And yet months later when I realized one day that I was painfree more often than not, I could not pinpoint the day that the pain left. It does sound as if you are doing really good work and making progress. You may feel like you are doing the same thing over and over again and be making greater progress than you realize right now. The post I was referring to in the Alan Gordon section was added just a few days ago by Forrest. A group of us are going through his program step by step together and writing about it and there is some really helpful things posted since we started last week.
    James59 and Mala like this.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great advice, Anne.
    Some days are easier than others and maybe remember Steve Ozanich, in his book he
    says not to feel the pain or gauge it. Easier said than done. But James, keep working on your
    journaling and discovering your repressed emotions. Yell if if helps relieve tension.
    Then don't forget to laugh. Even just pretend you're laughing. Your unconscious won't know
    the difference. Your body just relaxes.
  7. shmps

    shmps Peer Supporter

    I tried to search for this particular Forest's post. can some one point me out to that ...Thanks.

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