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 2

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by wendy, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. wendy

    wendy New Member

    Stella mentioned 'fear' in her response to my post from Day 1 and I have just finished reading the article recommended for Day 2, based on Dr Sarno's work which discusses how we avoid activities because of the 'fear' of pain and discomfort. I just needed to say that I am a keen long distance walker and struggle to walk a mere 3 miles at a time because of the numbness down my leg. I started this programme yesterday and felt so positive that I actually seemed to walk much more comfortably. Having said that, I am afraid to attempt anything further than 3 miles because I am convinced I will struggle to make the distance. I feel frustrated and depressed and I have to get my life back so am commited to this programme.
  2. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Hi Wendy
    Fear is a powerful motivator, there's no doubt about that. The best strategy I have come across for dealing with fear is baby steps. If you're comfortable with 3 miles at a time, work with that. Change it up on yourself until you prove to yourself there is nothing to be afraid of. Maybe a 1.1 mile walk 3 times one day, then another day try 2 1.7 mile walks and just build up and your confidence improves (it will improve, I promise). Don't forget the music!! If you take along tunes that lift your spirits your feet & legs will follow!

    The best advice I was ever given when it comes to matters of the psychological was directions on how to eat an elephant - bite by bite. Nice consistent progress and eventually the elephant will be gone, but if you try to swallow it whole there's little chance you'll survive it. I think this advice is especially had for a perfectionist to follow (I know I struggle with it constantly), I think we're programed that anything less than instantaneous goal achievement is unacceptable. Of course we're also really, really good at setting impossible goals for ourselves (perfection for example!) and then inflicting unthinkable punishments on ourselves when we can't actually reach them.

    I've been trying the opposite of the impossible goal/self-punishment routine lately and it seems to be working. I make it a point to set one reachable goal for myself each day, one day it was to clean the bathroom without pain, one day it was to sit & journal for 20 minutes about something I really didn't want to write about, one day it was to stop myself every single time a self-defeating, negative thought about myself entered my head (that was a difficult day but I'm proud to say I actually did manage to do it). When I set my daily goal, I also establish a reward and a punishment that goes along with it. So, if I clean the bathroom without pain I might reward myself with a cookie but if I experience pain while I'm cleaning that room maybe my punishment is dusting a room in the house with an actual dust rag (I hate "intense" dusting, much prefer the swiffer) using only my left arm (my primary tms area is left shoulder/neck). Since I started this, the rewards have outweighed the punishments hands down. I've only had to dust with the rag once (I've even found that if I feel a "twinge" and I look at the dust rag and say, "go ahead & test me, you'll be dusting before you know what happened" the twinge has stopped several times)

    Self-compassion is the hardest part of this for many of us (definitely for me) but I think it's also one of, if not the most important part. You will get your life back, you CAN do it!!

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