1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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New Program Day 10: Somatic Tracking II: Anxiety Strikes Back

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. itmsw

    itmsw Peer Supporter

    Thank you James59 for replying to what I wrote. How you explained it makes perfect sense now. so thank you so much!
    Thank you James59 for replying to my post and sharing what you went through experiencing family and physician pressure regarding your health. I really appreciate your opinion regarding stimulators. I really agree with the great point you made that implanting a gadget will probably just be masking the root problem and that the underlying psychological cause of pain will still be there, hidden for a time, but most likely will re-emerge in some other physical form out of the gadget's reach. I just thought I would go to this pain specialist and ask questions about what a stimulator does and how it works, not that I was going to do it, but to understand it better. But, it didnt work out that way. Thank you for reminding me that we all have the final word on what course of treatment is appropriate for each of us

    Thank you Artscout I appreciate you replying to my post and sharing that quote about you feel hopeless thats why you have physical problems and not the other way around. I have had pain for over thirty years. Over twenty plus years ago, I saw Dr. Sarno who diagnosed me with TMS after I underwent a laminectomy and fusion. Since that time, I have developed other physical problems like two torn hip labrums and bone spur on my coccyx, neck herniation, migraines, cancer, and some other things. My psychologist was the one for over five years asking me to at least go talk to this pain specialist. I wasnt keen on the idea of a stimulator because it is another surgery that I am leary of , but I thought I would go and just find out what a stimulator is all about.
    James59 likes this.
  2. itmsw

    itmsw Peer Supporter

    Thank you for replying - I really appreciate it!
  3. itmsw

    itmsw Peer Supporter

    Hi Kat
    Thank you so much for replying to my post. I really appreciate it and appreciate that you shared your experience as well!! I really feel that is exactly what has always happened to me that no what what injection or procedure I had on my back that my pain only seemed to get worse. With this pain doctor, I did have all my questions written in a spiral notebook and was in the middle of answering a question when he said well I have to leave now and left lol. But yes, you are right, I should have stated from the start that I had some questions that I wanted to have answered. I have been seeing a psychologist for my pain and have told him how I feel my fear and anxiety and anger may be exacerbating my pain, but he has wanted me to this this doctor for years. So , I thought i would go and just ask questions about stimulators to better understand it. I still have a ton of anxiety about undergoing any more medical procedures, so I dont think I can go through with it. Thank you for explaining about the heightened nervous system so that wen our bodies are in short term pain from a procedure being anxious about new pain can cause it to stay longer or make our regular pain worse- that makes a ton of sense - thank you so much. I cant even take pain medications- I cant stand how they make me feel as my body is soo sensitive I guess on hyper alert that i end up with soo many side effects doctors get annoyed. I dont know if ill be making another appointment with this pain doctor. Thank you once again!!
  4. editrix

    editrix New Member

    I just made a connection with something that happened many years ago, when I was in junior high. On the first day of 8th grade, I was nervous about being late to first period, because everyone would stare at me and I'd have to go to the principal's office, etc. etc. My mother was never sympathetic to my fears, which she thought were small and inconsequential. Anyway, I made it to school just in time, and as I sat at my desk trying to control my breathing and calm my stomach flutters, it occurred to me that if I felt like I was going to throw up, I'd have to run out of the room. Somehow I knew that if I did that, the nausea would stop, but then I'd have to go back into class. And what if this happened over and over again? I was smart enough to know that I was causing these feelings myself but did not know how to change my thoughts. So I spent every first period in 8th grade gripping the side of my desk and staring at a fixed point so I wouldn't throw up. It was hell. I couldn't tell my mother or my teacher or anyone else. I thought I would be sent to a mental institution, because I was obviously mentally ill. I made it through 8th grade but expected to have the same thing happen in 9th grade. But my first period in 9th grade was art, and it made me feel good (I'm an artist now), and I knew it would be easier to leave the room if I felt sick. That particular fear stopped there (though I've had many others!). It was only years later that I found a book by Claire Weekes called Peace from Nervous Suffering, and I learned that I had had agoraphobia: basically, "fear of fear." To overcome it, her mantra was FACE: DO NOT RUN. ACCEPT: DO NOT FIGHT. FLOAT PAST: DO NOT LISTEN IN. LET TIME PASS: DO NOT BE IMPATIENT WITH TIME. This came back to me as I watched Alan's video. Attending to myself, not trying to change anything—it was just like "going toward," "floating past." Remembering my past struggle was like meeting up with an old friend. I have been practicing "going toward" since I started writing this post, and it is helping. Different people respond to different words; different things strike us as helpful. Whatever phrase or truth that uniquely touches us is going to help our healing. (This is already long, so I won't go into my current need to relearn Dr. Sarno's [and Dr. Weekes's!] lessons.)
    Hayley, schnurma, gailnyc and 6 others like this.
  5. shira

    shira New Member

  6. shira

    shira New Member

    Hi Alan,
    THANK YOU hugely, for your amazing articles, and for having presented them really beautifully, so that ordinary folk like myself (a long time TMS sufferer) can make sense of it all, and follow your steps to doing something positive to improve the situation, and get well again. I am MOST grateful. I've enjoyed each session enormously.
    Shira :)
    Shells likes this.
  7. Emre

    Emre Peer Supporter

    What do you mean by "body anxiety"? How does one feel when one has body anxiety?. So you mean body anxiety is one stop before the body pain right? Thans
  8. shira

    shira New Member

    Hi Emre,
    I totally agree with you. I am a master of negative thoughts, and truly know that these constant dark thoughts have largely contributed to my TMS and physical suffering. I am now consciously noticing them and attending to them, and making a huge effort to just stop them in their tracks.
    have a good day. Shira
    MentorCoach and Emre like this.
  9. CarboNeVo

    CarboNeVo Well known member

    Somatic tracking 1 and 2 are pretty much an interpretation of what Eckhart Tolle said years ago, listen to the following clip, it will help you to practice somatic tracking.

    Truly curious Alan, did you get inspired by Tolle? or the neuroscience led you guys to this discovery? This program is terrific! thank you so much.
    caligirlgonegreen likes this.
  10. shira

    shira New Member

  11. shira

    shira New Member

    Hi CarboNeVo
    wow..................thank you for sharing that . It was amazing and powerful. I was stunned.
    it is so spot on and totally resonates with me. I see I have much work to do in fighting my pain body........... how it has ruined my life..........and how I have to do the work to overcome it.
    I sure am gonna try.
    Thank you again, for posting this video, and giving me the gift of listening to it.
    caligirlgonegreen likes this.
  12. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    What about when exposure to a fear makes it worse? Just reinforces the fear? You fear public speaking but you commit to a small presentation that you feel is manageable and will help you become more comfortable in such situations, but it goes badly and you panic, worse than before and then you fear the situation even more.... A few months later you get the guts up to try again... even worse than last time the fear is even stronger?
  13. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    That is a great question, Ewok. A friend of mine was trying to overcome her fear of flying my confronting it head on. The first plane she went up in had terrible turbulence, and ingrained her fear even more deeply.

    Exposure to a fear itself is not sufficient, it requires exposing yourself to a fear in a safe way.

    It's for this reason that I often have people use somatic tracking with their anxiety instead of with their pain (at first at least.) It can be very difficult to attend to the pain free of fear.

    Later on in the program, I'm going to be talking about how to use systematic desensitization to overcome this difficulty.
    plum and shira like this.
  14. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    Is there a difference between somatic tracking and doing a mind-body scan meditation? In a mind-body scan meditation you scan your whole body to notice how each part feels, without judgement, though I guess the goal of the meditation is to notice tension and try to relax. Did I just answer my own question?o_O
    bonsaikitten likes this.
  15. Kat

    Kat Peer Supporter

    Actually as I understand it, mind-body scan meditations are just about noticing what's going on, but not necessarily trying to change anything, just noticing. So it sounds like the same principle to me. And by noticing the tense body part, sometimes that has the effect of it relaxing it.

    It's such a great idea - to try this first with anxiety, and not the pain itself, as it is really hard to do this without fear. Although sometimes it's hard to focus on the feeling of anxiety when the pain is shouting so much louder!
    bonsaikitten, Benjuwa and Penny2007 like this.
  16. shira

    shira New Member

    Hi Kat,
    I agree with you about working first on anxiety and the pain kicks in the fear instantly. Shira
  17. Benjuwa

    Benjuwa New Member

    Thank you, I have been looking for a way to defuse the anxiety feelings the pressure and headaches because I can get into detail with how it feels it might not go away but it does not scare me as much, which does not then compound on it self and sometimes goes away. The light just got a little brighter in the long tunnel.

    Thanks so much for this program!!
  18. Lavender

    Lavender Well known member

    Hi itmsw,
    So many of the forum participants have experienced this from doctors. You are not alone. Forgive the cynicism here, but the more they can stretch out the time and schedule multiple appointments, the more they make. Patients are onto this but what can we do? I had one turn his back on me and pretend to be walking out the door when I said I was not interested in the stimulator. He over talked me and questions went unanswered.
    I'm sorry I could no longer find the link to a lecture that I saw online a few years ago. The audience consisted of a banquet room full of patients on whom the stimulator was ineffective or giving them problems, and if my memory serves me correctly, I believe the lecturer was one of the developers of the device. I am sure it helps many people but like anything else, wisdom is called and all questions answered for before making decisions. Some pain management people are well aware or Dr. Sarno and TMS, but only if asked about it.
    Hope this is helpful!
    caligirlgonegreen and shira like this.
  19. johnrb

    johnrb Newcomer

    Thanks so much for the great program and website...Alan, from this daily program, I think I realized something that is important to me...perhaps others...the Sarno books and some others primarily focus on anger as the cause of TMS, particularly anger you are not aware of (the repressed part has been a bit of a tough concept for me)...however, this program and some others (Nicole Sachs comes most to mind) focus on fear as the main culprit...I think I am starting to understand how inter-related anger and fear really are..

    ...As a child, I created many fears (of the dark, of abandonment, of getting sick, of failure, etc,) as a response to an unstable and unsafe family situation...for me, these fears served to distract me from the family problems and motivate me, but often not in a good way....choosing bad relationships, bad career decisions, pleasing others, not yourself, etc....as I got older, the fear/anxiety morphed into anger as I stewed over family and other long-rooted problems...again the anger served to distract and motivate me to succeed, but at a severe cost to self-awareness and happiness..more bad choices....both fear and anger get your adrenaline going in a big way, which has driven me for decades....I accomplished plenty, but have enjoyed little and it sure has been exhausting, both mentally and physically...of course, I ended up most angry at myself for my bad choices as a result of all this fear/anger...alot of wasted time and energy...

    Finally, in my late 40's, TMS pain in several forms kicked in 8-10 years ago when I could no longer kid myself about my underlying issues and my dysfunctional way of operating/coping was no longer working..getting older has made it so much harder for me to bottle up my anger/rage...literally seeping through the body "cracks"...

    However, I now understand that the pain is a good thing...it is telling me to stop playing games and finally be truly honest with myself....time for real change and to hopefully live my own life for the first time, not others' expectations....and thanks to you all, I think I see the path clearly....until now I was focused only on my anger...but now I see that the origins of my anger are mostly the irrational fears I created long ago as a child to survive...I am now confident that I can "forgive" myself and move forward to a far better place...

    Anyway, sorry to be long-winded, but I would appreciate if the experts would comment regarding the relationship between fear and anger...I have not seen these topics discussed together much in the TMS literature, but may have just missed it...

    Again, I can't thank you all enough for this wonderful program and website...truly a life-saver for me...not a particularly religious person, but God bless you all.
  20. shira

    shira New Member

    Hi John,
    thanks for you posting. your story matches mine so closely. we could be twins. I too so appreciate this programme, and sure am going to do my best to follow it and get well again. good luck to both of us. Shira

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