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Day 8 - recognising emotional responses to pain

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Ferndale37, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. Ferndale37

    Ferndale37 Peer Supporter

    this is particularly hard for me because I suffer with anxiety and have a lot of negative thoughts, so it would be easy for me to just attribute pain to anxiety in general.

    Also, having read a fair bit on tms I'm aware that the majority of triggers are subconscious, so why would I be able to recognise many of the e options that trigger my pain?

    This is my second attempt at the SEP, after pretty much sorting my back pain out reading HBP and being much more accepting of my anxiety after reading a Claire weekes book. I returned to the SEP last week due to a relapse out of the blue. Iv had relationship issues for a while now, and almost split with my partner last week. Funnily enough the pain came on after we decided to work through our problems and not split up.

    We have a little girl together and although I would never stay in a relationship solely for a child, I would like to try a bit harder at this one, than I have done with previous relationships.

    The pain has returned to my lower back, I fully accept the tms diagnosis, but the fear has returned. Not fear that it's structural, but fear that I might never fully grasp the tms stuff, or that I may have to split with my partner to get better. This may ultimately be the case, but by thinking this, I'm giving my back pain a lot of authority again, and it may not even go away if we did split up.

    I had a fair bit going off in childhood too, and I'm trying to journal about this now. But I sometimes feel like I'm taking on too much, to many different angles. When my pain went last time, I stopped all the work, believed in the diagnosis and managed I chill out a bit..

    It's hard knowing what to do for the best.

    Good luck to everyone else doing the programme, and if anyone has any words of wisdom, they would be greatly received
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Ferndale, and I'm sorry that you have to be back, but hopefully this is where you need to be - and please, give yourself credit for accepting that!

    Funnily enough, I am not at all surprised that the pain came when you decided not to split up! If I had to guess at the negative repressed emotion that you are not willing to consciously acknowledge, it's that deep down, you know that you would be happier, if not completely relieved, if you could end this relationship.

    I may be completely wrong about that - but I've been learning how to be completely honest with myself for a number of years now, and the incident of your pain with your decision is just too coincidental, and it jumped right out at me.

    Here are a couple of things for you to consider:

    1. You don't need to actually end the relationship in order to acknowledge that you would like to do so! Acknowledging the truth of your desire to your conscious self is what gives you emotional freedom. Once you've acknowledged the repressed negative emotion, your brain has no need to distract you from it anymore. New parents experience this all the time. In the depths of new parenting, they often wish they could undo having a kid. If they can't honestly examine that desire and accept it as totally normal and human, then they will get TMS symptoms (and they often do). Come to think of it, you might have some of that going on, too! Again - it's a totally normal part of being a parent. Acknowledge it, accept it, and move on. (Claire Weekes comes to mind :))

    2. This may not be the issue, or it may not be the only issue. You need to understand that your brain is really really good at hiding the real issues. In the SEP, when you do your free-writing exercises or make your lists, the key is to listen to your brain when it tells you to NOT write something down. It will tell you "Don't write THAT down - it's not important" or "you don't want to look at that, it's too painful/shameful/whatever". You must push past the urge to pass these things by, and force yourself to write them down. When you go back to examine your lists or write about something specific, you must be totally honest with yourself and be willing to examine those things that your brain has told you are not important or that need to be ignored. This is not easy, but that's where the important negative stuff is that your brain is hiding from you by giving you symptoms. They might not even be earth-shattering or devastating - but they will be revealing and helpful in uncovering who you really are and how you got to here.

    Good luck!

    plum likes this.
  3. Ferndale37

    Ferndale37 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for replying Jan. I think you are right regarding my relationship, I also think iv been putting too much pressure on making an instant decision about staying or leaving, instead of just living in the moment. im going to try not to over think and give things a go for 6 months, and if things don't feel right at this stage, I may move on, but will have at least given it a try without so much pressure.

    The tip re journaling is also really helpful. I'll have a go at that later. Do you think I should write an unsent letter to my girlfriend, or would a letter to/from my own subconscious be better? or maybe just free write all my thoughts regarding the subject?

    You're also probably right about the kid thing too. it was all too fast too soon and iv had to make many changes to my lifestyle, far too early. I have journalled about this before, but maybe I need to re visit.

    Thanks again Jan
    plum likes this.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Jan has provided such a brilliant response that there is little to add but I felt there was something around changing our situation in order to heal that I felt was worth mentioning.

    One perfectly natural consideration many of us muse on for a time is making a change to our life in the hopes that it will lead to healing. This is where the wisdom of outcome independence clicks in and if you're not familiar with that it is worth reading about. Certainly there are situations that need to change. I'm not sure we necessarily have to kick relationships and jobs into touch, although that is a possibility, but more likely we are being alerted to the ways we react to difficulty and tension. Sure, running away is a very appealing option and this always calls to mind the Jon Kabbat-Zinn quote wherever you go, there you are. The inescapable nature of self and all that jazz.

    The invitation is to gentle tease apart emotional habits and look at those that don't serve us and explore the ways in which we need to cultivate resilience. Modern people are culturally slanted towards immediate problem-solving and are not very good at sifting through and sitting with psychological tension in order to find the gold in the shadow. We can dodge the bullet for a while when we are young but with age these immature reactions betray us and condemn us to make the same mistakes over and over until only bitter resentment remains. Even the sweet twist of nostalgia fails to redeem this.

    It takes a lot of guts to be with yourself alone, and then be yourself with the people in your life. Authenticity scares the bejeezus out of us because we fear rejection from the other person and so we cut to the chase and reject our real selves before they get the chance. From personal experience I assure you that the greatest healing balm comes from letting down your defences, been seen for who you are and learning to tolerate the tensions this generates. You know from Claire Weekes how this goes physically and using her wisdom to connect physiology to emotions, thoughts and feelings takes you to a deeper level yet.

    Journalling is a tool that enables this process and with time you get better at making those connections off the page and in real life.

    It is something of a mistake to think tms is a thing to be known or grasped. It is a slippery little beggar and thank the gods for it. I am sure our circuits would fry us to toast if we were confronted with the whole shebang. In many ways tms is like death; it is always with us and wants us to live immaculately and magnificently. To do this we must take its hand and dance the dance of our lives.
    Ellen, JanAtheCPA and Ferndale37 like this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    You know, the thing about us TMSers is that we want to do "it" (whatever it is) perfectly. So my answer is - reject perfection, and do what feels right. Do what appeals to you, or what works for you. Just as long as you do the hard part, which is to be honest with yourself, acknowledge the negative stuff, and accept it.

    Journaling is a very powerful technique - and your journaling might take the form of a letter to yourself - I don't think it matters at all. The SEP is very specific about different techniques in order to introduce these concepts to people who have never come across them before. If you're already familiar with something, feel free to skip it, tweak it, or do something else. The unsent letter is my personal favorite. I was doing this before I knew about TMS, and found that it's very freeing. It was an unsent letter to my husband that got me to finally acknowledge - to myself - that what I really wanted was to end my marriage.

    I have said something like this many times - but never so eloquently or with so much love.

    Ellen and plum like this.
  6. Shells

    Shells Peer Supporter

    Wow, I relate so much to you. Bout to post my 8th day but this thread has given me an ounce of hope. Thanks again

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