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Concerned that meditation is keeping me stuck

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by eskimoeskimo, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Meditating on the pain and trying to allow it occasionally brings some relief (and very occasionally dramatic relief). But I feel I've clung onto this as a way to 'beat' the pain and break through it in a way that might not be helpful. I realize that the only reason I'm really doing the meditation is to stop the pain. When it's not 'working,' I can sit there for hours sweating and trying to make the pain go away. Sometimes, this actually works. More often than not, it makes me miserable. And actually, whether or not the pain is reduced during meditation, I find that the rest of the day after meditation I'm much more tuned into the pain and have a harder time distracting myself generally. I'm wondering if this practice is actually just making all the neural networks focused on my neck, stronger. It's like I'm honing the one skill which I'd rather lose. I'm wondering if I should put more effort into ignoring, distraction, dismissing, that sort of thing. I think - even for the TMS personality - I'm very high on the OCD spectrum and that that may be the biggest component in ongoing pain. So maybe less "accept and break through" and more "f*** it and move on"?

    My intuition really is that it's doing more harm than good, and that I might even be doing it as a kind of self punishment, as a way to stay stuck. But can someone explain why this meditation would still occasionally lead to the pain evaporating? I'm in two minds over it.

  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello, eskimo, my friend,

    The technique that you describe above is a method for coping with pain, but doesn't get to the underlying psychological cause that is generating the pain. The technique can be helpful in showing us that the mind can get rid of the pain, so each experience with it working is evidence that we have TMS and not a structural problem. Otherwise, why would it work. But I think your assessment of your current use of the technique is correct, and it is time to move on.

    Perhaps this post will help. You've probably already seen it, but sometimes words are more valuable when the timing is right:

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/why-am-i-still-in-pain-why-doesnt-it-work.8549/#post-46741 (Why am I still in pain? Why doesn't it work?)

    As always, wishing you the best. And I admire your persistence.
    mike2014 and eskimoeskimo like this.
  3. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Beloved Grand Ellen,

    I was hoping to hear from you on this topic. I knew you'd understand. I am indeed HOOKED on the pain. I think the (dogged masochistic version of)meditation is so tempting because it's the kind of relief that my OCD psyche wants ... it's an attempt to understand the pain once and for all, to figure out the key once and for all, to get total relief once and for all, to be able to control it. And it's extra tempting to punish myself in this way because occasionally it works. But even when it works, it's short lasting, because then I go right back into my usual mode of thinking, dreading the return of the pain and hoping desperately that I've licked it at last. But when I look back, I have many more examples of the pain going away while socializing, having a rich phone call, having some school or career success, when I just kind of forgot about it. Jeeze, come to think of it, just a few days ago I had a very long engaging phone call with a close friend and the pain was less and my concern over it much less. Then, immediately after the phone call I dived into Steve O's book and then meditated that night, trying to 'hold on' to the relief and keep the pain from coming back. I'm just so afraid and obsessed all of the time. Every second my mind is saying "please, please, just stop the neck pain." Maybe I'm afraid of it being so simple as getting a normal life back? Why do I still feel like distraction is kind of cheating? I must be overthinking this. I'm trying to get better through suddenly transcending the pain in some nirvana state. It can't be that. I do think there's an element of being afraid that when it's better I'll feel even more guilt about all the time that I spent (keeping myself) in hell. In summary, I always feel like I get it without getting it.

    This turned into kind of a ramble, and you could probably exchange some of the periods for question marks and vice versa.

    Thanks as always Ellen
  4. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    I get this unhelpful "no pain no gain" concept which I'm thoroughly guilty of. I basically feel that if I'm not miserable then I'm not trying hard enough. And that can't be good. But I've also heard many success stories which said that healing from TMS was the hardest thing they ever did. Is this referring to sense that "not trying hard" is really hard? Ugh. There are so many paradoxes in this thing, I don't know up from down or commonsense from gobbledygook anymore.
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, I think for me the hardest part was to stop trying to fix everything and just let things be. This required a major change in my approach to life, which was/is hard. This concept is expressed so well by Alan Gordon in the term outcome independence.

    I'll share my personal experience with this in case it helps:

    After several years of "trying" to solve my insomnia problems. I finally stopped trying to do anything about it and just accept it. That helped a little bit. But it wasn't until I actually went even further and "embraced" it, that it actually resolved. Yes, it is paradoxical. But once I realized that I could do anything I wanted to do just as well without sleep as with sleep, a door opened up. I also read an article that said that sleep deprivation often alleviates depression. I noticed that my mood was actually better when I hadn't had much sleep, as long as I didn't let myself fall into feeling like a victim. So, then I realized that life could actually be good without having slept well the night before. That was totally liberating, and my sleep has steadily improved ever since. I have no anxiety when I go to bed now, worrying if I will sleep or not. Now that it doesn't matter, I sleep well almost every night.

    You can live your life with pain or other TMS equivalents, and still accomplish things, experience joy, excel in school, have a career, fall in love..........whatever. If you can believe that and then go about living your life, the decrease in fear, tension, stress, and frustration will set you free. You'll experience periods of time where you realize that you haven't thought about your pain at all. These time periods will grow, until you've gone a half a day, a day, a week.........And yes, the pain will return, but you'll know you can go on with life, and will forget about it again. Success is experential and builds on itself. It's simple, but yes, really hard for those of us with TMS personality traits. Perfectionism is really self-sabotaging. We believe life has to be a certain way for us to be happy, but it doesn't. Pain and suffering will happen, things will go wrong, but we can get through them if we just let go and let it be. We are very strong, resilient, and yes, even magical, beings.

    Wish I could say it's easy, and give you a step by step procedure to follow. But I believe you will find your way. You are so close, as it appears you no longer doubt that you have TMS. That is a major leap forward. Keep going. You'll get there.
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen is both beloved and grand. She routinely rocks my world.

    There are better, more pleasurable forms of masochism.


    Dude. Seriously.

    Mescaline anyone?

    No experience in life is ever wasted. You may not realise it now but everything you are learning so painfully today bears fruit and flowers tomorrow. This is how we become wise. This is how we become better human beings. This is how we grow and heal. It is painful. But it really is worth it. Most, if not all suffering is self-inflicted.

    I'd love to get high with you but I quit all that way back when. Stop being so hard on yourself. You are fabulous just the way you are.

    mike2014, eskimoeskimo and Ellen like this.
  7. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    I'm going to try to pursue this idea more fully because at this point I know that I am well and fully outcome dependent. Thank you Ellen. Thank you. Thank you.
    Ellen likes this.
  8. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Beloved Grand Plum,

    Thank you for writing. I need to push the volume nob up on the "Dude Seriously." I remember a month or two ago, you reminded me to emphasize getting back to life and "Action over Perfection." It sounded so right, and it was... and then I proceeded to follow that light for all of an hour before I caved back in in fear and doubt.

    To not do exactly what you want to do - fret over the pain - while at the same thing not expecting anything to change is ... tough. I could use some bird's eye view - I'm in the Mariana trench.

    Thanks Plum
    plum likes this.
  9. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    If I ever win the lottery I intend to sleep with the daftest grin in the history of humanity, buy a rambling old farm, build my own swimming pool, adopt loads of doggies and get my pilot license. Should that ever happen (Dear God, it's me Plum. Can I win the lottery please?), I shall come and pluck you from deep waters and take you for a ride. Until then you'll have to content yourself with my stupid comments and the assurance that you will *get* it. It took me a while but I got there. You'll become a legend in your own life and after this rough ride it'll feel marvellous. I look forward to you telling that tale.

    Plum x
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