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

New Program Day 17: Leaning in to Your Feelings

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. shmps

    shmps Peer Supporter

    which method - outcome independent/breaking the fear cycle OR somatic tracking/cognitive soothing/check-in/feel the feeling(avoiding repression)..

    My thinking is, that its a journey and there is no quick fix to apply to get out of a symptom just when it begins. All I do when a tinge or pain comes on, ask my self what is my emotional state?what am i feeling? is any emotion that I feel in my body or any bodily sensation going on?I just start to scan my body with curiosity.

    Interesting how everyone has their own way to respond. Only one common denominator, just dont respond to it with FEAR!
  2. joe12stories

    joe12stories Peer Supporter

    My thinking was that there is no quick fix to apply to get out of a symptom just when it begins... until I was able to fix a tinge quickly! I still shake my head thinking how impossible I once thought it was.

    And I agree. Everyone has their own way, and yep, fear is the common enemy! Fear is useful for fight or flight, but has no business messing with us the rest of the time! We just have to remind our own brains of that from time to time.
  3. shmps

    shmps Peer Supporter

    what was your trick/solution for - My thinking was that there is no quick fix to apply to get out of a symptom just when it begins... until I was able to fix a tinge quickly! I still shake my head thinking how impossible I once thought it was.
  4. joe12stories

    joe12stories Peer Supporter

    In my specific case, I got that all too familiar back pinch while sitting and twisting. Previously I would get up all crooked as the pain would continue to pinch. But I literally talked it down, taking a moment's pause before I got up and thinking: "Nope. You can't trick me this time. There's nothing wrong with my back." I then proceeded to stand up much straighter, then fully straight. The pain was gone in a few seconds! I STILL cannot believe it! You have to understand that has NEVER happened in the 20 years that I've had back pinches.

    Now, full disclosure: I still get pinches in the middle of the night, and I still get "pinchy" in the tailbone at times when sitting. It's noticeably worse when I can tell I'm under stress at work or with the family or whatever. But I know that these, too, are TMS, not the stupid herniation or degenerated disks that scared the bejesus out of me!

    So, no fancy trick. Just literally talked it down. I still can't do it in the middle of the night, but soon I will. I just KNOW it, because I know now that this is ONLY TMS... and its days are numbered!
    Katya and shmps like this.
  5. shmps

    shmps Peer Supporter

  6. Jax92

    Jax92 New Member

    That was an amazing post. Thanks for taking the time on this. Just so you know I’m not poking holes, I’m actually using your willingness to converse as a way to bulletproof my belief.

    Have been to multiple urologists, endocrinologists, neurologists, CT Scans, MRIs, XRays, Pelvic floor therapists etc. it’s been 4 or 5 years of treatment so I don’t believe it’s physical. I can pretty safely say it’s TMS.

    Also I have a psychologist via skype that Alan recommended to me once I found this website a while back. It’s helped.

    Yeah, I was confused about when typing out the Alan/You thing about pain/anxiety. You explained it clearly though.

    Would you say then I have the double-whammy of anxiety and numbness or would you say anxiety is causing it, or a sort of both?

    When you said I’m setting myself up for prolonged repeats with regards to the leaning in, did you say it was because I was expecting/waiting for the anxiety/numbness to go away? Or was that in relation to something else?
    -Basically relax, go with the flow (outcome independence) and give it the time it needs to eventually not repeat on its own. That’s what I got from that.

    So we shouldn’t avoid anything that may rev up our nervous system/cause anxiety like working out, caffeine, social situations because we could use that opportunity to feel that fear and anxiety and use the Faace/Accept/Float/Time technique? Because caffeine for sure makes my anxiety worse

    Any tips on how to tell if we’re avoiding issues or if we’re just only doing what we can? It’s hard with cognitive problems to do a lot, so I don’t know if I should do what I can comfortably or do more and use it as an opportunity to deal with the fear/anxiety/symptoms in a better way.

    Face + Accept + Float + Let Time Pass basically means to Face symptoms, Accept they are happening, Float by not fighting them or worry about them, Letting Time pass while doing these.

    It sounds basically like:
    -Get on with your life/work/Social life to the best of your current ability.
    -When anxiety/pain/symptoms show up, feel them and let them take their toll and effect you how they will, tell yourself it’s okay, expected, and nothing bad. Be cool with whatever happens to the anxiety/pain/symptoms and then just move on again to getting on with your life.
    -Don’t worry about how long it will be until you’re normal, and that worrying isn’t helpful. Use outcome independence for that again to help yourself “not care or worry”.
    -Get a Therapist if you can.
    -Don’t get ahead of yourself when you get spurts of improvement. Expect that it will probably get worse again, so that you can avoid getting down in the dumps when it does happen. Keep yourself even keeled, basically. Don’t get your hopes up and then get crushed when you have a dip in how you feel.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  7. joe12stories

    joe12stories Peer Supporter

    Yep - multiple doctors with no conclusive results (been there done that) points squarely to TMS. They're looking at the physical, so they will never find the source. But now you know!

    On the Skype therapist, if he/she helped, why not continue? :)

    As for the question of a double-whammy of anxiety and numbness versus anxiety causing numbness, nah, I'd say TMS is behind both of them. Flip-flopping between symptoms is another TMS giveaway.

    As for prolonged repeats, yes, I meant if you keep expecting/waiting for the anxiety/numbness to go away, it will prolong that baseline anxiety. Don't wait for it. Just get on with your life and in time, believe me, your brain WILL get the message and you won't even notice it. But you do have to do the work of exposing and digging up the repressed stuff that your brain is trying to protect you from. Hence continue the therapy or take up TMS journaling or take advantage of any of the awesome resources here. Find whatever works for you.

    As for not avoiding anything that may rev up the nervous system/cause anxiety (you mention working out, caffeine, and social situations) to use them as an opportunity to practice the Face/Accept/Float/Time technique, be careful! The answer is: YES, NO, and YES!

    YES to not avoiding working out. This is one of the principle tenets of TMS as well as Dr. Weekes' anxiety treatment. Working out will actually minimize the occasions of anxiety, not bring them on! Bear with me, I know this may sound counter to your experience. Initially it feels like working out is only revving up the nervous system. It's not! The confusion is that working out and anxiety both rev up your heart, but one is voluntary (working out) and the other is involuntary (anxiety) and THAT'S the key. So by all means, get that heart racing on YOUR terms (a good normal workout), and watch how the heart stops racing on its own terms (anxiety). Poor strength and cardio are occasions for more anxiety, not less!

    NO on the caffeine. Now, mind you, I'm a soda drinker myself, and I definitely bargain with my brain ("I know you're going to give me anxiety later this evening if I drink a soda with my kid right now... but I'll take it!"). That's different from "I'm going to drink this soda just to practice FAFL (Face/Accept/Float/Let Time Pass)." No, that's not the idea. You don't want to invite more anxiety than you need to. After all, isn't life anxious enough with that annoying baseline anxiety? So no to taking caffeine (whether drinking or smoking) just to test your technique. Take caffeine if you're willing to suffer the (mild) consequence and know that THAT isn't TMS related (though getting rid of TMS anxiety will make it A LOT easier to handle caffeine! - but that's longer term, once you've gotten the TMS in check). And thirdly:

    YES on social situations. THAT'S a perfect candidate for practicing FAFL. We must stop locking ourselves away from other people because anxiety is trying to run our social lives (or lack thereof). No, sir. Anxiety has NO BUSINESS telling us when we can and can't socialize. You make your plans, and you keep them, anxiety or not! (You're telling it who's boss. And again, in time, it WILL get in line. In the meantime, FAFL that S.O.B.! And if you get the shakes in a social situation - GOOD! LET THE BODY SHAKE ALL IT WANTS. It's not the boss. YOU are.)

    So as far what activities to avoid, the short answer is none. Some folks with TMS pain (yours truly) HAVE purposefully done things they couldn't do before just to spite the pain - and it works! It STILL hurts right now to sit on certain chairs. My tailbone SCREAMS with that pinching pain. But guess what? It's screaming a lot lower than it did 2 months ago. It wants to play? I'll play! I'm SICK of it telling me where to sit and not sit. (Getting the picture? We're literally taking control back of our conscious lives that have been hijacked by our subconscious, and not in a malicious way. The brain isn't trying to PUNISH us, it's just trying to PROTECT us. But it doesn't always know that we're okay now and don't need its protection.)

    "Face + Accept + Float + Let Time Pass basically means to Face symptoms, Accept they are happening, Float by not fighting them or worry about them, Letting Time pass while doing these?" - Close. You got the first 3 right. The last one means Let Time pass not while doing them, but AFTER you do them a million times. It's the outcome independence thing.

    You then summarized stuff perfectly with your last bullet points. And speaking of bullets, I'm humbled that I can help you bulletproof your treatment! I did exactly the same thing 3 months ago after reading the book! I saw tons of YouTube video testimonials of TMS sufferers that have found their cure, and in time I became one of them.

    My name is Joe Tunon and you can see a complete video testimonial if you search for me on YouTube. I'm also on Nichole Sachs' YouTube channel with my testimonial. She's got an awesome way of journaling for TMS chronic pain.

    No shortage of resources here and out there! Find what works for you and kiss your anxiety and numbness goodbye, because they're days are numbered, my friend!
    Amatxu likes this.
  8. Jax92

    Jax92 New Member

    Thanks a ton.

    Yes I typed out the Let Time Pass explanation poorly. I meant to say it how you said it. I meant Let Time Pass (as in days and months) while doing the other steps. As in Let Time Pass overtime, not just during the other steps.

    I’m going to continue the therapist sessions. I’ve never tried journaling. I’ll look into that. Are there any other things that help with the repressed emotion aspect of tms?
    Is that part necessary? I can imagine it would obviously help but I know Alan has said some people don’t need to touch that at all and some do. I guess it’s trial and error.
    Does the FAFT technique not uncover repressed emotions? I thought lettin the anxiety wash over could allow you to feel the emotions underneath.
    Maybe I misread one days lecture.

    Thanks again this is super helpful
  9. joe12stories

    joe12stories Peer Supporter

    Journaling (not just journaling - check out JournalSpeak; in a journal you keep your entries. Not with JournalSpeak. In journaling you also write things in a private but reserved way. Not with JournalSpeak. It really is liberating). But whether you use Skype therapy or JournalSpeak (as for other things, this site is pretty choc full o' stuff that helped me a lot!), the treatment of repressed emotions with TMS is not only necessary, it's absolutely central. It's literally what TMS treatment revolves around, because the repressed emotions are exactly what is causing the chronic pain, or in this case, anxiety.

    And you're very welcome, my friend!
  10. Jax92

    Jax92 New Member

    I’m in the process of listening to Claire Weekes’ audiobook. Really good and hits home so far. The nerves book.
    Also found your YouTube videos and have started them just now.

    So for journalspeak, I’ll check it out, but you give your thoughts and somehow you get through to your repressed emotions? Am I missing the understanding of how to get that to happen?

    Does sitting with the anxiety and letting it take you not get to the repressed emotions as well?

    I couldn’t tell what if you answered this, but was there other things (besides JournalSpeak) that help get to the repressed emotions if the FAFT method doesn’t also do that?
  11. joe12stories

    joe12stories Peer Supporter

    Claire Weekes specializes in the type of anxiety that can lead to panic attacks. In that scenario, Hope and Help for Your Nerves is your bible. But for the less intense but longer lasting baseline anxiety you're describing, where you definitely need to get out the repressed emotional stuff, the stuff here on tmswiki and the Nichole Sachs book or course are better geared towards that.

    All of these things I have shared are not things I did all at once, by the way! Weekes I did years ago (and have not had a panic attack since :), but the others, like Alan's program here on tmswiki, Nichole Sachs' videos and course using JournalSpeak, and reading Dr. Sarno's other 3 books, are what I've done over the course of these last 3 months in sequence, not all at once. And they've all helped immensely.

    Just sitting with the anxiety and letting it take you will not get to the repressed emotions as well. That requires treatments like these other tools I've shared, and the deeper the repressed stuff, the more work you'll need. You've got the tools, and you've got the principles down. Just stick to the program (whichever you've chosen for that time) and remember how TMS and anxiety are tricks of the brain, nothing more. They're not punishments, they're protective mechanisms gone wrong. But THE only way to fix it is to let the repressed stuff out with time. There is no substitute.

    Go for it, don't rush, and I look forward to hearing your victory story one day!
    Amatxu likes this.
  12. Jax92

    Jax92 New Member

    When you say repressed emotions, is that like in the movies where the main character is sitting in a physiologist’s office and after a while has an epiphany where they realize he/she was abused?
    Or do you mean memories we can clearly remember, but just try not to think about because it causes guilt, shame, fear etc?

    I’ve started with Nicole’s YouTube videos, and have just watched the video about the 3 types of journal entries- Childhood/Day to Day/Personality.

    I ask because I have lots of memories that cause those feelings but I have always just kind of pushed them away or swallowed them because I didn’t want to show emotion or just thought it was the guy thing to do.

    How exactly does this help by the way. How does facing a guilty emotion/event and, I guess imaging/picturing the event, help resolve myself of the side effects it causes?
    And then how would I know when I’ve properly dealt with that event and am able to forgive myself/others/be done with it?

    I’ve cried a lot about all the symptoms I’ve had (why why me why etc), but never really about specific memories or events that I’ve pushed away. Would that explain why that crying hasn’t aided me all that much more than just a slight temporary relaxing feeling?

    Also in your YouTube video you mentioned how you had that pain and for about 3 days you would sit up straight at your desk even though it hurt even more and take the pain knowing it would get better, and it did.
    -How would someone like me with numbness (that doesn’t get “more numb” when doing anything really except when stressed) or anxiety do that type of head on attacking?

    Is there stuff in the program (which costs $) that isn’t in the YouTube video explanations? I’m referring to Nicole Sach’s program
  13. joe12stories

    joe12stories Peer Supporter

    Sometimes repressed memories do pop back up, like in the movies. Sometimes they don't. Overcoming TMS is not so much about remembering things you forgot, but rather, letting the feelings associated with them come out. Sometimes that involves a specific memory, sometimes it doesn't, which is good to know because there's no pressure to try and remember something. Remember, these things are in our subconscious. It's the threat that the brain feels in letting them surface to the conscious that causes TMS. We're trying to retrain the brain not to cause that kind of pain (or anxiety). If the memory comes out, great! Tears of relief are not uncommon. But sometimes there's just vague feelings that have been bottled up due to things we honestly can't remember. And that's okay too.

    I can relate to the "guy thing to do" in repressing stuff. Well, time to stop being just a guy and start being a real man and face up to your protective but tricky brain and let the brain know the man is back, and intends to take control again.

    The way it works is: once the brain sees it doesn't need to protect you, it doesn't have any reason to cause you pain (or anxiety). How the brain does that is a mystery. But the results of the studies on TMS patients (and my own personal experience) testify to the truth that it works, even if we're not sure how the brain does everything it does.

    The crying has helped you temporarily but not in the long run with anxiety because you never put the TMS piece into the equation. Now that you know the brain is trying to protect you from thinking about negative things by giving you anxiety (during which you can't focus on those things completely), the tears will be different. They will tears of relief that also inform your brain "you don't need to protect me any more by inducing anxiety". You'll see this with time.

    As for the 3 days of racking pain vs the numbness, I should mention I too had numbness! All down my legs. But I bundled into the pain that I was facing. You just need to do exactly the same with your anxiety. Let it be, don't let it concern or intimidate you. That's the key.

    IMO, Nichole's YouTube videos are plenty! The course is great, don't get me wrong, but if you're strapped for cash, the videos are more than enough!
  14. Jax92

    Jax92 New Member

    So basically just think about those past events that cause us grief/anger/etc and just let what wants to happen, happen?
    -Cry if my body wants to, slam my fist if it wants to, groan if it wants to, etc?
    -is that it? Just think about what’s causing me these emotions I’ve been avoiding and see where it takes me
    -Really dig into what I did/what happened to me, and just explore it and don’t shy away or avoid it because it causes an unpleasant emotion? Just try my best to not run from it? Take those waves of uncomfortable/butterflies/gut wrenching feelings and let them take their course on my body and mind until it’s done and the emotions aren’t as intense?
    -How do you know when you’ve finished with that issue/event/emotion? When I feel a release or some relief?
  15. joe12stories

    joe12stories Peer Supporter

    Yes to everything except maybe the slamming of the fists, for which I would suggest taking it out on something safer, like JournalSpeaking or a good workout (or both).
    On the last question of how you know when you've finished with that issue/event/emotion - you'll know. Sometimes you journal it once, and it's a goners. Other times things will resurface or get more intense, which is absolutely fine, since whatever's in there needs to come out as much or as often as need be. There's no limit. Remember, the emotions and memories themselves are NOT dangerous. It is only repressing them that is dangerous (in the sense of causing us physical pain and/or anxiety).
  16. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    The 'Need for Order' clip from Friends made me laugh. That is me, but I keep it hidden. I would be the kid with the doll in perfect condition and my games never had pieces missing. I think it's part of the personality I was born with, but also a reaction to growing up in a loving, but chaotic home. My three siblings are 11, 10, and 7 years older than me, so mostly teenagers by the time I had a memory, and we had lots of animals, including 2 ponies and pet chickens, and my grandmother with severe dementia lived with us for a while.

    I said I keep my need for order hidden. I encourage others to fill the dishwasher and empty it, then I quietly rearrange the dishes in the order I like them. I will move the stool to the spot I like it to be in. I have a husband and two sons who like to leave things lying around, a big dog, and my house is usually what I consider a mess. I avoid the piles of stuff everyone leaves around the house, but I've always known it gives me low level anxiety. I know I would drive myself crazy if I tried to keep the piles of stuff tidied up, or turn into a tyrant if I told them to clean up their stuff more than I already do. I remind myself how much I love having my husband and sons around rather than a tidy house, but how do I deal with the low level anxiety I feel when I'm not able to ignore the mess?
  17. LindenSwole

    LindenSwole Peer Supporter

    Somatic Tracking - let me know if this seems right because I'm still slightly confused.

    If my mid back is as hard as kevlar; which it often is. That is where my anger/guilt/sadness/etc is stored. I should focus in on that spot in my body and sit there for some amount of time - it might take a few seconds or perhaps minutes. Don't let anything come to the peripheral of my mind; ideally, some kind of emotion would bubble to the surface?
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  18. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    I just saw this. It’s me, too. But two dogs and one husband and no children.
    I pick up and put away, mindfully and mostly peacefully. It’s not supposed to be perfect but the more zen my home, the happier I am. I just began a one year program to clear my house and mind of clutter. Gently and slowly.
    Mostly when the anxiety arises I say “anxious. Anxious and I love myself as I am.” After a few repetitions the anxiety passes like a cloud in the sky. If I did not pick up the house, I think my anxiety would not pass so easily.
    I smile at my fear, often. It’s often cute. Like a child fantasizing about controlling the universe.
    I do not allow Adrenaline into my tidying up. It has to be done gently and mindfully.
    I hope that helps a little.
  19. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Yes. Be kind to the Kevlar. Be curious what it is armoring you against. Notice other sensations. Name them, don’t name them. Stay open. Don’t leave yourself and pop up to do something else. Like Savasana/corpse pose in Yoga. Be still and listen.
    Then what I was trained to do is notice a part of the body that feels wonderful or neutral. Place attention there. Then back to the pain. Then to the neutral then back to the pain.
    Feelings will come when we welcome them. The ego won’t give you more than you can handle. Your soul is watching out for you. Stay open.
    “I go about in pity for myself... all the while a great wind is carrying me across the sky.” -an Ojibwa saying.
    Trust the great wind.
    suky and LindenSwole like this.
  20. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    What a great question! There's a level of self-knowing that comes into knowing what's going on and therefore what to do--lean into it or let it go--and when I don't know what to do it means I have more living and learning to go through in order to get there--for example, coming to this site, reading & asking questions

    By the way, I notice that the posts here seem to end in 2017. Are posts to this Pain Recovery Program no longer being posted here? Do they show up elsewhere? (I'm new and still learning my way around this site.) Ellen--if you're still around, I can really relate to your three-year-old question. Maybe time has answered it for you!

Share This Page