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Conditioned Response

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by blackbirds, May 7, 2020.

  1. blackbirds

    blackbirds New Member


    I am new to this forum but not to TMS. I had chronic back pain 24/7 and headaches for several years. My doctor said it's due to scoliosis and arthritis of the spine. Luckily I found Dr. Sarno's books and I also read the Great Pain Deception and Dr. Schubiner's book Unlearn Your Pain.

    I started exercising again, did some journaling, I meditate, and use somatic tracking. My conditioned response was night time pain and then I felt better throughout the afternoon. But for the past few months I suddenly have pain when sitting or relaxing in any way. The pain also still comes on at night. Last year I was able to enjoy relaxing with my husband, watching a movie, or sitting with friends, but that's now very painful. It seems the more relaxed I am the more pain I have, therefore the pain at night continues. Before this started, I had pain in varying degrees when waking up in the morning, but now it's consistently bad first thing when I wake up and I have a lot of stiffness, too.

    I watched Alan Gordon's training cut video.

    In this video he tells his client that his brain simply associates standing as danger. In my case it's sitting/relaxing...but why would my brain suddenly associate sitting with danger? I never associated sitting with pain. I had it 24/7, with TMS work it improved and only happened at night, and now it's suddenly when I am relaxing.

    In addition, in the video Alan uses graded exposure. I am going to try that during the day, but what about the conditioned response at night?

    Thank you for any suggestions.

  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    As we recover we need to go and 'beat' the TMS in each and every aspect of our daily lives. The one you bring up, is a pain in the ass (pun intended) because we need to shift our thoughts and focus on suppressed rage and stuff with a negative connotation, right when we want to be winding down....bummer

    Whenever I got that late night annoyance, I got out of bed, got out a folder and started writing down everything that was bugging me at that point in my life. It was my only weapon to fight back at the TMS which had lost the battle during the daytime but still thought it could 'get me' when my defenses were down.

    It was a massive hassle, BUT the pain gave up after only a few days of doing that. I also had to use that for driving home after work when I was exhausted.... I'd grab a cup of coffee so I could focus, and rage out loud during the drive home and it went away, even though That seems totally counter intuitive... making myself temporarily uncomfortable to 'win' the war and end it. You will win...sometimes it sucks, but it will never be wasted effort!
    plum and BloodMoon like this.
  3. blackbirds

    blackbirds New Member


    Thank you for your reply. I should have mentioned that I sleep through the night...usually 7 hours. When I wake up in the morning it's there. I tried journaling as soon as I get up, journaling before bed, and other times of the day of course. I don't know what else to journal about. I sit there and I am simply pissed off that this is still going on, which is not productive.
  4. jamejamesjames1

    jamejamesjames1 Peer Supporter

    I cannot offer you any advice. All I can say is I'm in the same boat.

    I've had success at times beating the pain back. Sometimes it's 24/7. Other times it seems to be conditioning but sometimes even the Triggers seem to change.

    It is frustrating and I can't seem to identify anything that correlates to things getting better or worse. Ditto for technique to help.

    One thing is I am very type A and I think I try to hard, want it to leave too much, and am frustrated to a great deal. I think if I was able to not care as much (consistently) I'd be in a better spot.
  5. LMB

    LMB Peer Supporter

    I am new to the forum but not new to TMS. I have read all the great books mentioned on this site and more including Curable.
    I have low back muscle tension all day, it relaxes at night and I am able to sleep but as soon as I open my eyes (note: I don’t have to get out of bed or even move and the pain starts.) It is at its worse when I sit to relax so I keep going and avoid sitting. It feels like the low back/top of buttocks are constantly strained and it never goes away.

    Anytime you want to chat, please reach out
  6. LMB

    LMB Peer Supporter

    I forgot to mention that the pain is there all the time just much worse when sitting. Had MRI, bone scans etc and nothing to cause the pain showing.
  7. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Journaling isn't the be-all end-all of recovery. I have never used that word on this forum except to make fun of it. I write lists of ANGER and why I am angry... there is no journalistic continuity. Something I can remember from 20 years ago is just as likely as what happened yesterday because to the unconscious , time never happens, never passes.
    Also, it's one of a many pronged approach... If it's the Day time I go and have a good old fashioned punk rock VENT session at the anger itself... sitting around having a Folgers moment isn't where you BREAK conditioning. You break conditioning by doing the conditioned thing in a whole new context and since this is mostly about repressed RAGE, and sitting is the benign-est activity in the world it can't be anything but conditioning.

    Do something totally different. When it hurts, go for a run... go lift weights. Stand on your kitchen table and scream... call out the conditioning for what it is and shatter it!!
    Kittyruns and plum like this.
  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    @blackbirds ❤️

    Sometimes you need to cast your emotional net a little wider to catch those angry little fishes.

    Yesterday I sat in a sun lounger on my balcony colouring in pictures of flowers. Such a simple, childlike, benign activity...and yet here it comes, the critical voice. I was amazed by it, by this insane stream of consciousness.

    “You’ve gone over the line. Can’t you even colour in properly. Herb Roberts aren’t that colour. Those leaves are too dark...”. And on and on.

    Who cares? What the hell does it matter?
    I clocked the voice. I also noted the horrible way I’d had a go at my partner for being confused by the Amazon Fire Stick and accidentally ordering things we don’t want (his fingers tremor due to Parkinson’s). I was feeling terribly guilty by my mean-spirited action.

    Then my back started aching. This morning I’ve woken to a stiff neck. I looked outside beholding the glorious sunshine and thought ‘it’s a shame I can’t colour today because of this damn pain’. BOOM. That’s how TMS gets you. Even we TMS Veterans trip but we don’t fall into the bear trap so often. And when we do, we climb out. One word at a time. One compassionate untangling of some age-old nonsense that feels as real now as it ever did.

    For me this is circling self-esteem issues and not feeling good enough. I’ve done so much to heal this and feel much more grounded and content than I ever have in my life but here it is, another layer triggered by creative activity. An old bugaboo.

    I’ve run away from it so many times over the years and I’ve recreated the dynamic in countless social and personal settings. Now it is a fine-honed conditioned response that dogs artistic pursuits but which hides behind the way I sit to colour (or move to dance, or dream to write...).

    So I shall sit outside again today and I shall colour the leaves of the Herb Robert in a shade of green too dark because little plum doesn’t care, it doesn’t matter to her. And while she merrily, mindlessly colours I will soothe those fears and kill those dragons with my rage of fire.

    The greatest shift we make is to transform our inner ecology from one of fear to one of love. Sometimes we do this gently, carefully and other times we take a battering ram to it.

    The very fact that your pain is changing is a sure sign it’s on the run. Another sign is that TMS goes for things we enjoy or find relaxing. Simply knowing this can help diffuse the conditioning enough to see it through. Keep on keeping on. Don’t let this latest TMS costume party derail you. The charade can get pretty ridiculous at the end as TMS throws the kitchen sink at you. In this way it blows its cover and the day comes when you are able to shrug it off like an old skin and walk into your shiny new life.

    Plum x
    Kittyruns and Baseball65 like this.
  9. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    I talk to my brain and tell it to pull out all those LEARNED PAIN wiring that I don't need anymore and to start laying new wiring in and make these new connections and wire happiness joy health energy ..

    This conversation has helped me incredibly, guys I am beyond the emotional journey I tell my brain they are safe and they will come up and we will let them in the front door ...feel them and let them out the back .


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