1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day 1 - Hoping for Healing

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Murphy, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Hello everyone,
    I just finished Peg's story and the 20/20 video. My hope is to really make some progress with this program. I have read and re-read "The Divided Mind" and "The Mindbody Prescription" and have been journaling for over two months. Initially with journaling I experienced tremendous anxiety and depression as I delved into my emotions. Now that has been replaced with symptoms from head to toe. Pain and stiffness is one of the issues, along with muscle weakness and aching in my hands, arms and shoulders. I literally feel a strange tightness and weakness and what feels like my tendons "popping" in my hands and forearms as well as twitching in my muscles.
    I am really hoping this program makes a difference. I have read on the forums that reading the stories of others has helped and I believe I have taken inspiration from this as well. I think I am still in the process of convincing myself that the various symptoms are indeed in my head. I tend to gravitate towards the recovery stories where they took a while to recover as this appears to be the case for me. I have literally been fighting symptoms since childhood and I am now 42.
    Anyway, thanks for the great community, I plan on posting every day of the program and hope it helps to develop. I would love to be one of the people on the boards someday that is pain/symptom free and able to help those who need it.
    James Hollander
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey James - It is interesting that your symptoms increase when you journal. It sounds like your unconscious recognized that journaling was creating strong emotions in you - anxiety, depression - and to distract you from those emotions it now creates pain. A lot of times people's symptoms increase from journaling because you are exploring your emotions, which your unconscious wants to distract you from doing. I tend to view this as a sign that you are starting to touch upon the root of your symptoms, and you are touching upon the extinction burst.

    As you go through your recovery and start to become more active and do more things your unconscious may start to create new symptoms or increase symptoms depending on the activity. It is important to not avoid doing something because of your symptoms. Once you start to avoid doing something you condition yourself to have pain and you give pain power over you.

    We have a great Q&A with an Expert article abou this very topic at Flare-Ups after Journaling. If you stay positive and continue to push through the pain, you will see the benefits and your symptoms will fade away.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi James - that sounds pretty intense! But as Forest indicates, it's not at all unusual or unexpected.

    Another post you might appreciate right now is (practitioner) Alan Gordon's recent one about "outcome independence".

    As you continue the SEP you'll come across discussions about affirmations and positive self-talk. I used to think that I couldn't do self-talk (actually, I didn't believe it would work), but after reading this post by Alan, I decided to take it seriously. I've been using self-talk on some recent unexplained arm pain that just wasn't getting any better - and it's working! It's not that the pain is gone, but I'm not obsessing about it anymore, and my awareness of it is MUCH less. When I feel it, I just say to myself "it doesn't matter if it's hurting right now - there's nothing actually wrong with my arm" and then I think of other things, and before I know it, I've gone hours without being aware of the pain. Eventually, I know, that will turn into days.

    One little point I'd like to make for you: we try to avoid saying that the pain/symptom is "in my head". Everything that our bodies do is controlled by our brains - from higher intellectual processes down to digestion, and our brains are certainly in charge of pain sensations, along with other symptoms related to fear and anxiety. Our brains create pain for a reason - some reason are obvious, and some are useful, but others are neither. We just have to find that reason, become of aware of it, stop fearing it, and allow our brains to give up using pain as a distraction.

    That's a little more complicated, but maybe it will help you to visualize the process ;)

    Welcome to our community - and keep posting!

  4. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Hey Jan, Thanks for replying.

    I am still at the early stages of the learning process and am figuring a few things out. The way I understand Dr. Sarno's theory is that the pain is a distraction brought on by the unconscious mind to keep us from having to deal with emotions that your Id (unconscious) deems too painful or hurtful to allow to break through into consciousness. It is an essentially benign process that will not cause permanent damage. My part of the journey, currently, is convincing myself that it is indeed not structural. After having pain since my early teens and having doctors tell me that it is arthritis or some other structural anomaly is something that I am overcoming.

    You had mentioned that some pain is neither obvious or useful. I suppose there will always be some unexplained pain.


    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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