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. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    Alan says in the video that we often try to distract ourselves from anxiety but isn't that sometimes a good thing if it makes us mindful of our current task and therefore we avoid the thoughts that are causing the anxiety in the first place?

    I know it's a fine line. My therapist keeps telling me to attend to myself whenever I feel anxious but I often feel the least amount of anxiety when I'm in the moment because I'm concentrating on a task like cleaning the kitchen or speaking to people at a social gathering and focusing on the conversation and not dwelling on all kinds of thoughts that cause my anxiety.

    Perhaps this is about honing the skill of being able to sit with yourself without feeling scared. Something in my current state of acute anxiety I'm having a hard time doing. Trying to make yourself feel safe as you can't always be distracted by other things. Did I just answer my own question?
  2. Jax92

    Jax92 New Member

    I’m curious about this as well
  3. shira

    shira New Member

    Hi Jax92,
    I try to do this too, and I find that it does reduce the anxiety somewhat. It doesn't take it away, as it pops up again and again, but tending to the anxiety really does help. I call it mental self help......and it takes lots of focus and effort.
  4. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    I discussed this a bit with my therapist. The two things are not mutually exclusive. Being in the moment (mindfulness) is not the same as ignoring your anxiety and pushing through it as if it doesn't matter. Tending to yourself is stopping what you are doing to breath, calm down your nervous system and give yourself some care and attention. If for example you are working and feeling anxious, that is something in between. You can still attend to yourself by inserting a compassionate voice and paying attention to your breathing, so you aren't giving yourself 100% attention but you aren't neglecting yourself either.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
    shira and plum like this.
  5. MigraineSky

    MigraineSky Newcomer

    Fantastic. Thank you.
  6. sacolucci23

    sacolucci23 Peer Supporter

    My TMS being a migraine associated vertigo issue started 9 months ago. I was 5 months post partum and started noticing these headaches would feel like they were coming from my deep within my left ear. They would happen every 2-3 days. At first, I just started popping Advil but then, when the phase didn't stop, I knew something was going on.

    I had migraines and headaches in the past but they were few and far between. This time it was different. I felt different emotionally, too. I tried to change my diet, thinking it was that. Then I tried to cut down on work a bit but I couldn't because I am self-employed. I really stressed myself out with work and the baby and the five-year old I have. I woke up one night extremely dizzy which was the kick off to what I have been experiencing for 9 months now. Off balanced on both days, get weird sensations like dizzy jolts and headaches right in my ear, tinnitus, ear fullness, vision issues.

    I've had an MRI/CT scan etc. but nothing.. worried it's an aneurysm but I am assured my symptoms don't fit the bill.

    I realize now that before the onset of all of this, I masked my anxiety and fears about my life on my phone and computer. I would spend hours at my laptop..but most times, I was not even working. I could get most of my work done earlier on, but the rest of the time was just to run away from reality. I started taking online courses so that I could immerse myself in them. .. but I knew at the same time my children needed me and so did my husband. But for some reason, I just couldn't be "present" with them. It's like I had this itch that I need to constantly be on the computer or be looking at my smart phone. I would try to stay up late to take spiritual development classes. I would toy with new business ideas. I would try to read a million books at once. I would try to do a million things at once, and the tabs open on my computer would have made anyone dizzy. I had no schedule, no plans. I was all over the place and I was running from reality. Now, look at me, I', physically imbalanced.
  7. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    I agree with you completely Plum.
    1. I already know I have an incredibly good imagination and I love this positive spin that is in-line with the imagination I know I have. It's my gift!

    2. I LOVE Star Wars. i think everything anyone wants to know about life, they can learn from (the original) Star Wars movies.
  8. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Ah! Visiting today with a creative and new symptom! Swings in body temperature! Waking up hot, then chills. Thought it was the flu. Thankfully not. Mostly at night. Early morning. Then I regulate. Am in the fourth day of it.
    Anxious? Hell, yes.
    The more open and conscious I am willing to be, the less defended and avoidant and courageous I am willing to be, the less pain I have.
    Which is swell. But this new symptom? Scaring me, totally.
    Not sleeping well. My youngest horse scared the hell out of me the past two weeks - walking backwards super fast to avoiding going forward. Juicy metaphor huh?
    So I have our trainer working out some kinks so I can be safe.
    It’s a real fear because it’s a dangerous sport. If I deny the fear it morphs into generalized anxiety. And the anxiety makes pain and other yucky symptoms. Feels good to say that out loud. I like feeling safe!
    Maybe this is the wrong place for this question: chills as TMS? These are not hot flashes. I know what those are. These are just weird.
    We have nothing to fear but fear itself? So lovely to say.
    Sometimes I even believe it.
    Time for yoga.
    Thanks for listening, guys.
  9. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    My first thought was perimenopause hot flashes, but you say you know what that feels like. Maybe your body is fighting off a low grade virus or something you have been eating or drinking. I have also had this symptom when I have kept my room either too hot or too cold, or the house temp is fluctuating with the weather and I put the flannel sheets on the bed.
    It sounds like something with a simple explanation and not something to worry about, especially since it has only been four days. I would suggest going through the Somatic Tracking exercises again and waiting it out.
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  10. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Thank you. It’s so true that we wish to flee anxiety, symptoms.
    It’s seems so easy to F Everything And Run (best fear acronym I know!). But it’s not. Running doesn’t solve or resolve. Facing stuff does. Off to my day, thanks again!
  11. Kevin Barry

    Kevin Barry Peer Supporter

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. Sounds to me like you are coming up with your own answers and will ultimately be able answer your own question.
  12. Toonces

    Toonces Newcomer

    Well, for me, I've been doing Inquiry ... AKA The Work of Byron Katie for a few years, and I've been unlearning what I was conditioned to believe was true. It is a subtle thing to question a belief. So, I write it down, and use her system to look at it -- ask the questions, and turn arounds ... for me, the mind is plastic, changeable, flexible ... thoughts and feelings come and go .... what is always there, always true? That's what I'm looking for. Perceiving what is.
    chemgirl likes this.
  13. DieMond128

    DieMond128 New Member

  14. westb

    westb Well known member

    A particularly helpful post for me today and great comments. Leaning into the anxiety.

    Anxiety has felt like a part of my DNA. I can remember when I was about 3 or 4 years old overhearing my mother tell a neighbour "she's very highly strung" and being intrigued because I didn't know what that meant. I experienced physical abuse as a baby (I know that because my mother told me before she died about 20 years ago - by that time we had become close) and my father was a silent worrier and perfectionist. Acute anxiety has always been there. At school then at work, dealing with authority, dealing with anyone/anything that threatens my safety, including this morning my broadband provider (!), anxiety and panic attacks were and are always present. At work I was ultra conscientious and the concealed anxiety and worry meant that I did well. I escaped into addictions but managed (on the whole) to conceal them as well. But now that I have retired the more physical mind/body symptoms have come home to roost (IBS plus some fibromyalgia symptoms).

    All that to is say is that dealing with the fear and anxiety, which seems to have been a fuel for anything and everything I have achieved, feels like climbing Mount Everest. . For me it's about building acceptance and resilience when anxiety does strike. It's laughable really, as I cling onto the erroneous belief that life is supposed to run like a well-oiled machine at all times and get very anxious and fearful and, yes, angry when it doesn't. "It's going to be OK" needs to become my mantra.

    I love what I am learning here though. Thank you Alan and thank you everyone who contributes to this forum.
  15. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'd never thought of it in this kind of positive way before...Wouldn't it be great if we who have 'a strong mind/body connection' could somehow use this ability to create pleasant physical sensations instead of pain? Perhaps this is why using visualisation techniques help some people to relieve their chronic pain.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  16. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    “Unlearning Fear: Neural pathway pain arises in those with a strong mindbody connection. Not everyone can generate such powerful physical sensations with their brain. My favorite analogy for this comes from Star Wars: “The Force” is stronger in some than others. And fear is the path to the dark side.
    If you can change your relationship with fear, you can develop new neural pathways and deactivate your brain’s danger signals.”
    Like Yoda said, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”
    I heard this with different ears and mind today. Such is the value of continuing to return to these lessons.
    I truly attended to my tightness as I listened to Alan’s teaching video. It changed, it returned and then changed again. I wish to continue attending to me...without allowing fear to alarm me, but rather say “I see you, Fear.”
    What else might I do with this sensitive force??

    While listening, I got in touch with how, as a child, my parents tried to distract me away from my anxiety. It’s what they knew.
    Do you want a cookie? Can I get you something?
    Always a distraction. Never “Tell me about it, tell me more.”
    Today, I can listen to me. I can reparent me, over and over, without expecting this part of me to grow up and stay grown up. My higher power today is a force of Procrss, not of results.
  17. Marianne70

    Marianne70 New Member

    I’ve been reading The Great Pain Deception, and watched dr. Sarno on YouTube over the last 3 or 4 weeks. My view on my pain has changed, so that’s an important step. I truely believe that I am a TMS sufferer. But instead of feeling less pain, I now have pain in my neck and shoulder. It keeps getting less painful to then return with much force. My lower back still feels painful, constantly. This morning I felt a bit discouraged by it. At work I heard Some colleagues talking about their backpains, and I truly recognized the TMS in their story. And now I’m Reading about tending to yourself. Up to now I think I was still only conceptualising and not feeling the TMS. I understand the theorie, now I must learn to FEEL it! So this is another great lesson!
    BloodMoon likes this.
  18. Syl

    Syl Peer Supporter

    Great session. Thank you, Alan! I do somatic scanning "on the go". I can't just sit there for 20 minutes and do it. It's like no matter how much I try I can never meditate for more than 5 minutes. So whether I'm driving, washing the dishes, walking in the sunshine, or whatever activity I'm engaged in, I bring my mind to scan my body. I don't stop at any one spot of pain/sensation for too long either. I simply give my attention to what's happening in my body even if I may not have pain or sensations at that moment.

    Today I went for a walk, doing the same thing, and suddenly the thought of my evil-ex popped into my head, and how he left me when I first developed pudendal neuralgia; how he treated me--the psychological abuse, etc. Anyway, I felt this burning anger suddenly swoosh through my body (and this is after 8 years!). It's amazing how much anger I still have about him and how he treated me. I truly thought I had put it all behind me; I thought I'd let go of the anger, but unfortunately it is still there. Hiding and waiting to jump out at me. So if this has the power to affect me so much, I can just imagine all the anger/rage that I have from my difficult and rather abusive childhood! The problem is why is it that I'm the one suffering for things I didn't do? I always turn these things into cause and effect. In a word, karma. I found compassion to understand and even forgive my parents, but I cannot do the same for the ex. The betrayal was too much (and I've had exes before who cheated on me or whatever; and I was able to forgive them in time and let go), but this evil ex, well, let's just say I keep remembering what Sun Tzu says in "The Art of War": "If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy floating past."

    Well, the anger is still there because his body has not floated past--and my cultural background being Italian, you can imagine how I feel. I always believed in justice, but I don't see the justice in this case. I don't see the proverbial horse's head turning up in his bed, full of blood... (By the way, no animals have been harmed in this post. The horse's head and blood are simply props. I'm an animal lover :))
    Marianne70 likes this.
  19. Berend

    Berend New Member

    A great session. I use it to apply to some pains but I don't quite know how to apply it to my main symptom which is Fatigue. Does anyone know how to apply somatic tracking to fatigue because I don't feel it in one place it's just fatigue over the body and partly mind.
  20. Syl

    Syl Peer Supporter

    I would say just stop what you're doing and gently take a deep breath or two, then focus your attention (without fear, thoughts or judgement) on how your overall body is feeling. Just observe it for a few moments as if you're simply an outside observer looking into a shop window (or in your case looking or focusing on how your body feels). Once you pay some attention to the body and how it feels as a whole, you then take a couple of deep breaths and keep on going with whatever you were doing.

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