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

Day 8 --- Emotions connected to pain

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by quasar731, May 23, 2012.

  1. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    I hope I won't get you tired of my postings!:( I just finished writing a 'dear.......' letter. The exercise prescribed for day 8.

    There is a question asked about having success at recognizing the emotions connected to pain. At the time when I am experiencing pain, I do self-talk in order to minimize its impact. Sometimes I remind myself, aha! this is a TMS visit. Sometimes depending on how severe the pain is, it does not click immediately as a TMS strike. It is only with the wisdom of hindsight that I am able to go..."ahh! that is why this part of that part was hurting". Maybe because I am still new at it I do not have that awareness developed yet.

    An example of this awareness delay happened today when I sat to do the program and write the 'dear' letter. Granted that it was a tough exercise which dreaded! Low and behold, my right arm inside the bicep and shoulder hurt like mad. I went ouuuch!:eek: it was sharp. Nevertheless I started writing and in a little while Bingo! I thought came to my mind that the pain was simply to stop me writing ;). And the pain dissipated. It was an aha! moment.

    Frankly sometimes I feel assaulted :confused:. You have to give it to the mind, it is like having a Gollum inside (from The Lord of the Rings), one never knows when the thing is going to strike, where and how (sigh:rolleyes:) .

    To our health!
    veronica73 likes this.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Is it important to understand what emotions are causing your symptoms? Sure, but beyond that I think it is helpful to just know that some emotion is behind the symptom. To a certain degree trying to figure out what deep emotion is actually behind the symptoms can also be a distraction, because it can lead us to focusing on the TMS process. For me, it has really been helpful to just know that there are some strong emotions that create symptoms and move on. This recognition seems to help limit my obsession over my symptoms and over trying to figure everything out. The deeper psychological awareness is something that will come with time as we grow and learn more about ourselves.
    Beach-Girl likes this.
  3. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Thank you Forest for this very timely reminder about the emotions behind the symptoms.

    Yesterday evening was a typical example of being caught by surprise (a nice way to say I was assaulted by symptoms). One of my kids rang very upset about what ended being just 'a storm in a tea cup'. But at the time it was very real to her. I was so far away and could not do much to help. I was left 3,500 kms away (as the distances are big here in Australia) with the impact of the SOS.

    Needless to mention that I did not realize that 'emotionally speaking' (being in my nice comfortable grotto), I was suddenly dragged out by the waves of what was a mundane and resolvable issue. My daughter sorted herself out in a few minutes and after that it was all bliss for her. However, I was blasted with what it felt like a physical nuclear meltdown. The 'signals' run from my neck, to my low back, to my hips, down my legs and were so strong that I had to take myself to a warm shower. I took the opportunity to explore the issue and talk to my brain. I knew this was psychological. This was not about me, it was about somebody else and yet it became my physical business. I got angry with myself and then realized that I should not do that, it could get worse. Oh God! It was so desperate that I yelled to my brain 'please stop'. I wobbled out of the shower and had to reach for analgesics because I just could not cope with the assault before going to sleep.

    After a few minutes, there I was, in bed doing some breathing and talking to the self, trying to contain a thermonuclear blast while the kid who was so upset was having a terrific time going out to dinner. I was so happy for her and thinking, thank God she sorted herself out. However, I look at myself and thought 'this cannot happen again'. Nevertheless, the difference between this event and past similar events is that I was aware at the time of the 'strategy' and its cascading effect, the 'signals' . Again it is a call for a change. It is not about others or circumstances, it is about me and how I respond to them. It is a slow but steady learning curve.

    Happy Sunday
  4. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Bingo! It's too bad you had to go through that painful dance with your daughter. But (as I believe) everything happens for a reason and it seems you are catching on to TMS and the cagey messages it sends.

    I was on the beach yesterday. Best friend on the planet is visiting right now. We had a beautiful afternoon, lots of
    sun and fun beach combing. Perfect right? But I had a very stressful morning. I was putting one fire out after another as we get our business ready for a big weekend. It was nerve wracking and I was in a "state" by the time we got there.

    I remember at one point feeling great AND pain at the same time. Once I acknowledged that I was still "stuck in the morning fire drills" I at least understood WHY my back was hurting. After awhile it did go away. But I think it's a matter of acknowledging what is going on and why, and then simply moving on with our day. If we can. I lasted a
    good amount of time on the beach - and I was in some pain. But it was dull not the kind that can make or break
    ones day.

    One day at a time. It will happen. Look at all the proof around us!

  5. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    "TMS visit" is a cute way to put it. Happy to hear you were able to get to and through your "Dear" letter. Amazing how your arm started to hurt! I remember putting some that I knew I needed to write off, and finally sat down one day to do it. It felt great; some required more than one letter, but each was a relief of some sort!

    I remember Dr. Sarno saying our brain thinks its doing us a favor by creating a distraction; protecing us from emotional pain. But it's all (emotional pain) a process to go through to become physically pain-free. :)

    Best wishes,

  6. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    I agree with you BG "one day at a time. It will happen." It is a matter of developing 'that awareness' and 'taking the temperature' of our thoughts when we are facing external or internal unexpected challenges, as we have. It is almost like catching the brain before it presses the red buttons ;). Being before our thoughts is a real art and it takes practice. A well developed mindfulness can make it possible.

    Some of the predicament resides in stresses coming quickly toward us while we are on automatic pilot, basically operated by the subconscious. If we are in the present, using the pre-frontal cortex and armed with the knowledge that we have now about 'the mind strategy', chances are we will be more ready to come up with actions that match the strategies that we have learned. The breakthrough will be in breaking through old learned patterns in the midst of those challenges. Monte talks about 'thinking clean' and the steps to it are first to ask one self, what is happening? What am I feeling? what are my thoughts like at the moment? Second in using a different modality of thinking, more open, unrestricted, unsuppressed and freeing.
    As usual all the best in this common endeavor!
    Beach-Girl likes this.
  7. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Hi Lori,

    Good to meet you and thank you for your note.

    I agree with you that writing 'dear letters' is freeing. Thank God we have this freedom of expressing the pent up feelings in a creative form. An one can get as creative as one can. One thing that I found liberating is to end writing something positive about the 'dear person/s'. I found helpful that after a tough letter I could still make myself to write something that I learned about the person or the relationship. Even if it was to say that what I learned is the opposite of what I would have expected. This is still a positive not matter what. In this challenging and yet most marvelous walk, we come across many students and masters of spiritual alchemy. Sometimes we are the students, sometimes we are the masters. We are here to be taught and to teach and this in itself is something to be thankful for. Even in such exercise like the very private 'dear letter' we have to find the balance of the positive.

    All the best to you!
  8. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Love this quote. Wish I'd said it. lol. quasar - my therapist suggested I end my journaling and unsent letters on a positive note. I liked it as I am a positive person. So I did. I found that by either forgiving the person or saying something about my daily life that was a GOOD thing, was truly helpful. I didn't want my journal to be the "bitch and moan" section of my day. So I would start out with worries and fears (GAD sufferers will relate) and at the end made myself celebrate something good that has happened. It works well. There are good things happening! I simply need to recognize and celebrate the moments of happiness and no pain.

    You're doing well. I think you have a bit of what we did as kids. Asked our moms or dads on long journeys "when are we gonna get there????" That's how *I* feel anyway. I think and work much differently than I did before reading Dr. Sarno's books and doing the program here and Dr. Schubiner's program. I know in the late afternoon that my lower back is in agony because I "carry a heavy load". I DO try and take breaks in the afternoon, read or watch something dumb on TV, and the pain does get better. But I'm not "there" yet.Because breaks are not possible everyday and I have to keep going.

    Usually a quick learner! I don't get the problem! (Yes I do, and I am patiently working my way through my sea of junk.)

    Someday I'll be the master. So will you.

  9. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Thank you BG for the encouragement. I concur with you above. Today I was with an ex-peer (girlfriend) from my university days when I did psychology. It was an absolute joy to celebrate friendship and the things that we both have in common, knowledge and art. We enrolled ourselves in a course to do painting, charcoal drawing and collage painting. This is another way to celebrate life, enroll with a friend to do a course in art. While I was with her the symptoms' perception were almost 'cero'. I was pleased that even thought I was very present with my friend, I was also very present in my body, in mindfulness. As soon as I started walking 'alone' the symptoms were striking again. I told myself this is all in my mind and refused to let me stop but I had to stop, sit to regroup. I did not feel less for having to stop. That was required of me to be able to continue to walk. The foot affected my leg, the leg affected my hip and it was a whole circuit of symptoms. I prayed and thanked God for my experiences because no doubt they are building a stronger and incredible me. If I did not have this experience, I could not be qualified enough to understand the psycho-emotional effects of 'pain' and to understand those who experience it. I thanked for health, for love, for family and friends. I am not sick, I had surgery so I am recovering and I have TMS, a double whammy. I picked up myself and walked again.

    By the way, what is 'GAD' you mention GAD sufferers but I cannot quite make up the acronym...?

    I agree with you that one day, in the not so distant future, we will get there. This is not about the final line, it is about the journey, a process which is by no means 'a piece of cake'. To graduate in the school of TMS takes time and home work. It requires courage and faith to start and complete the journey every day. It takes to remember not to forget that we 'are' in this journey and that 'we are' to complete it. There is no quitting, only taking breaks when necessary, only to re-start the journey, once again. Every day and every moment is different. We are in the present, making past and future.

    Thank you for sharing, blessings for a refreshing and restoring weekend!
  10. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    GAD= Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It would have come under "oh yeah right, that's a real condition" when you were studying psychology. At least that's what I thought when it was announced I had it. It's a condition where one worries constantly. When there's nothing else going on in the mind - worry starts running a tape that loops. And *I* certainly fill that category. I have so many things that I need to manage.

    I was lying in bed this morning thinking about my day yesterday. Money is very tight. But I own a rental house that brings in good money that helps us get by. The house has been empty for two months, but was rented to a woman yesterday, she loved it, she gave me $50 extra for her deposit. (she has a dog) Her check was no good when I got to the bank. I had been counting on this check all day and had already spent a bit of it on my debit card. I know it will work out Monday, but checks may bounce over the weekend. What me worry?

    I belong to another board of a small group of friends. I met them on a board for mentally ill people many years ago. Most of these friends suffer depression. Only one other person and I are anxiety sufferers. Anyway, over the years we've become very good friends. One lady posted yesterday her husband was suicidal and had attempted to purchase a gun. So there I was in the middle of my day, in my car, sending her text messages that it was a good thing that her husband didn't buy the gun. Help is on the way for them. (breathe)

    It's raining. We sell kites. Not a good combo. (breathe) I've promised money to people next week. So yes.....I am worried about how all this will turn out instead of simply turning it over to the "unseens" and "my God" so it will simply play out as it should.

    This is the kind of thing that happens daily. Surprises. Mostly money to worry about and my husband's own mental stability. He worries too but his worry isn't pretty. So I act as if all is fine and he simply needs to go about his day. If I am frank with him, he freaks out. *sigh*

    As you probably know some of us are born being predisposed to GAD. (hand in the air) so I have had a tendency to worry most of my life while putting on a front where you'd never know it by meeting me. Actually I "leak" now and then and I stop when there is a comment. By "leak" I mean I express a stupid worry.

    Beating GAD is a real problem because it's hard to catch yourself. And if one has anxiety issues, TMS is even harder to overcome. I've read many books by people who know GAD and also have related to people here. Tough thing to get out of your head!!!

    This is a great quote. You can tell I liked it. Had to make sure it stands out if someone should read this post. It's so true and beautifully stated.

    Blessings to you quasar.

  11. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Hi BG,

    Thank you for sharing with me your personal experience and for clarifying the acronym GAD. You are right, I read about it when I did psychology and learned it not by its acronym, hence why it took your clarification to 'click'. When I did psych, I got to know it by its full name. I do not work as a psychologist, I am a graduate but to be a clinical psychologist I have to complete a Master or a PhD. I intend to continue my studies in psych (I hope) but at the moment I have to put my health first.

    As I read your post my heart goes out to you. Our daughter has never been diagnosed with GAD but she exhibits symptoms of it, specially over financial matters. She can loose sleep over matters that are perfectly manageable. It is almost as if 'money matters' induce anxiety. She has to put up with subconscious and sometimes very conscious inner chatter. Her husband told me that the night of their honeymoon, she was making financial calculations about the cost of this and that.

    And then is my son and my husband. Like my daughter, they are beautiful, loving and extremely responsible and conscientious people. They are amazing at saving money and administering it. I believe that they would be rich if they did not have partners :). And because of this, they can get into a knot over financial decisions. Have you heard the line that life has a way to balance situations? Funny enough, my daughter in law and son in law, including myself, we are pretty relaxed when it comes to finances. So we have a very interesting team of people in our family the 'controlling financially stressed department' and the 'financially foot loose and fancy free department'. I guess we balance each other well if all of us are flexible, empathetic and work hard at understanding our differences. Especially when the differences can have an effect on health, happiness and relationships.

    All said and done, your situation with the bank cheque would have had me concerned too. I would have had to talk to myself out of the anxious 'mind chatter'. And despite being relaxed about money matters, I do not feel comfortable when I am too tight financially. So I understand that you have a concern that is real. The 60 million dollar question is on how to manage the 'inner chatter assaults'. Sometimes I advice my daughter to think a bit extreme. Like: would the situation leave you on the streets? would it lead to jail? would it cause a relationship break up? would it lead to death? I know this is extreme but so are sometimes our irrational fears. Issues generally are fixable and sometimes take a bit longer but in the long run, we balance our imbalances. It is a matter of taking the oxygen out of the 'mind chatter'. The idea is withdrawing your attention from it and replacing it with a different narrative.

    A few months ago I was in a course about writing for the public service (I am a federal employee). The facilitator was trying to ascertain how many of us were not confident in our ability to write and how many of us knew that we house ' an inner higher critic'. All of us showed hands showing our awareness. Then the facilitator said, when your inner critic starts harassing you about 'poor performance of simply pointing at your inabilities' tell it 'to get lost' (by the way I changed the phrase, she used a swear expression). I was quite surprised that someone in leadership training strangers would use a swear word and then treat her inner critic in such a poor fashion. In addition I saw the faces :eek:of some of my colleagues. So I interjected respectfully and proposed that maybe some people would like to consider some other approach. The facilitator was very kind, she encouraged me to tell the audience my approach.

    I said...when I am anxious and worry about stuff in the future, I think of the inner chatter more like a frightened child. So I call upon it to come to me. I bring to mind a picture of me when I was 3 years old. I ask the child to sit on my lap and to allow me to give it a hug. I tell the her that I love her so much and that she has to trust and be 'safe' in my love. Then I say, 'you know, I have been managing money for such a long time and I have done it just fine. Have I ever left you in the gutter, hungry or abandoned? ...(I make sure to replay for the child) "no". That's right, I have not. Would you please trust me that I am doing well and that this situation will pass like many others and everything will be just right'? (I make sure to replay for the child) "yes". What happens after this is that the voices stop, the chatter ends. Hence the anxiety also ends. I cut its oxygen by not engaging in inner talk that will end no where. Yes, I admit, I am subjected to 'inner chatter' like anyone else but I learned a trick of 'self love' to reassure the anxious child within and I found it takes notice of me. I don't know if it will work for you. If you have not tried it yet, give it a go. Insist, it takes a while until this treatment is accepted but in time it works amazingly.

    Blessings and peace to you.
    Beach-Girl and Forest like this.
  12. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter


    Thanks for your reminder to speak to my inner child, to calm her, take care of her and remind her of my competence in doing all of these care taking behaviors. I know this and I have forgotten to "parent" her in the six days I have been working the program.

    All of you have such positive and wonderful comments that inspire me.


    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  13. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    I absolutely agree with this. It's what we called "earned reward" in another program I've done--a way to end on a positive note and even to feel a shift in our body.

    This is where I think some people get stuck in journaling. After feeling the angry, sad, afraid, guilty, etc. a morsel of reward needs to be found. Even if it's "i choose to heal this memory" or "this is over and I am now free." Seems so simple, but yet is necessary and very effective.

    Best wishes all!
    JanAtheCPA and veronica73 like this.
  14. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    This makes since.
  15. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    I feel like I've learned that worry is just a way to distract myself from my own emotions. I have always been a worrier, though it's gotten worse in recent years. In this way, my pain has been a real boon to my worry--it's something I can worry about all the time! Trying to accept and "float" past the pain; trying to feel my emotions more consistently--these are ways of working to defeat worry.
  16. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    I feel the same way. How interesting.

Share This Page