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Does anyone else experience problems feeling positive emotions?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Davideus85, Mar 18, 2021.

  1. Davideus85

    Davideus85 Peer Supporter

    This might sound a bit odd and unusual, even for those very accustomed to TMS, but for a while now I notice that I am not able to enjoy the things I use to. That is, I can't really feel much in the way of positive emotions - aka joy, excitement, etc. It's gotten to the point that I feel anxiety when I do things that use to bring me pleasure. For example, if I'm watching a movie I usually find funny, I find myself analyzing everything. I recognize something as funny and maybe even laugh at it, but than I ask myself "Did I really enjoy that?".
    Video games and movies with lots of action scenes that use to give me a thrill just produce anxiety. Even simple empowering thoughts that use to energize me and excite leave me with....anxiety. Basically all I can feel in my body these days is anxiety. I'm constantly apprehensive now and I find myself trying to force positive emotions in my body, and instead I feel....anxiety. It feels like total resistance. It's like I'm registering something as enjoyable on a mental level and telling the rest of my body to produce the proper sensations...and they get blocked by this black hole inside me called anxiety. This also just makes me really angry and upset that my brain is blocking my ability to enjoy life the way I use to. It feels very violating to me as a human being. Is this unusual? What's going on here?
    TrustIt and tb_player like this.
  2. jimmylaw9

    jimmylaw9 Peer Supporter

    What’s going on is anxiety. The stuff your watching is emotional and a distraction from how your feeling anxious.

    I recently watched binged actually Queen of the South on Netflix. It’s drug dealing cartel Mexico/USA. Totally emotional rollercoaster. I got to the stage I couldn’t watch any longer as I felt empathy with everyone who was tortured tricked deceived etc. The show was great but I couldn’t handle experiencing others emotions.

    What I learnt was that I was hiding from analysing my own. I was in a great deal of stress n upset but rather than sit n talk about it (I actually couldn’t because i now know I was repressing it and unaware) I chose to get lost in this series.

    Eventually one night o told my partner I couldn’t watch it anymore to her surprise I said I felt so sad. I didn’t know why but it started me talking n talking about everything that I didn’t even know I was upset about.

    So basically it was a trigger that brought up a lot of stuff and had he haw to do with the series.

    so perhaps your being triggered and need to just start talking about anything how you feel etc what’s bothering you currently etc anything just talk don’t watch distracting stuff. Sit n talk. Your annoying yourself watching this stuff cause it’s distracting you from admitting something to yourself ?

    Worked for me. The talking defo reduced my anxiety n lots of wee triggers I didn’t even know were released.
    AnonymousNick likes this.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Watching TV , particularly shows with any violence or suspense is probably a really bad idea for anybody involved in a TMS recovery program.

    The unconscious mind has no 'NO' button. Proof. Right now... if you're reading this, DO NOT THINK ABOUT a CHEESEBURGER....you know, the one with really perfectly cooked moist beef, awesome stir fried onions and just melting perfectly off the sides....Do NOT think about it.

    ...Of course you did. Our unconscious mind only makes pictures. There is no 'NO' button. The unconscious proper has no ability to distinguish between suspense in our own life and something on TV. My TMS used to get worse if I watched X-files or some cop drama... it was like I was involved. Later, when I studied psychology of media, it made perfect sense.

    I even worked on X-files. I have painted sets on the show and know it is 'fake', but when I watch it and 'believe' the storyline (you have to to really enjoy something) for all intents and purposes, the anxiety and suspense created by the screen play might as well be in my own life.

    I watched TV religiously like everybody else Until about age 27 or so. Then I read "Four Reasons for the elimination of television" by Jerry Mander and my watching went down to single digits of hours a year. I only had a 'slip' and went back to watching it when I was home off work when I thought there was something wrong with me physically. Then after reading "Healing Back Pain" I went back to my non-watching. During my epiphany I was really dialed into my anxiety/response feeling and I noticed that even TALKING about violence, dope dealing, Discord tended to heighten my own stress.

    Have you noticed that the new people on this forum always talk about the world coming to an end in a bloody messy shitstorm? They are clearly reading or watching the 'News' which is by far the WORST thing anybody trying to recover from TMS can do.

    Nowadays I am totally calm in high stress situations that might have really freaked me out back in the day, but better yet; they no longer provoke symptoms. If you're gonna watch TV or a movie to check out, watch comedy. Watch 'Monty Python' or 'the office' or 'Mitchell and Webb' or 'South Park'. Bernie Siegel cured himself of cancer with his 'Humor Therapy'.

    If unconscious anger, fear and other nasty stuff is at the root of TMS than consuming violence and suspense is like shooting ourselves in the foot.
    TrustIt likes this.
  4. jimmylaw9

    jimmylaw9 Peer Supporter

    Que Baseball with a dose of realism and an analogy that knocks it out the park. Cheeseburger freekin brilliant. Still laughing.
    Baseball65 likes this.
  5. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yep, Baseball is right. What you are experiencing is an overdose of virtual stress. It drove your nervrous system off the cliff. The best way to get back to normal is to stop feeding the beast. Get outside, go running, hiking, kayaking. Or play baseball, like Baseball! I have been TV-free for about 23 years out of the past 30. Those 7 years in between that I went back to owning a TV were among the most traumatic.
  6. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    I really doubt that even the instinctual, reactive unconscious is really THAT stupid. Or if it is, I doubt that the ego wouldn't be able to immediately put the reactions into the proper context when it chooses to. When you're consuming some kind of entertainment, you willfully and consciously let yourself into that world. If any of this were true, primitive people telling ghost stories around the campfire would have crippled their tribes and they'd all have become neurotics who couldn't function. No, what you describe Davideus85 sounds like depression (your other posts indicate this as well). Something you used to enjoy, you no longer enjoy. This reaches a whole lot deeper than an increased heart-rate when you watch a chase scene. That you find you're not processing entertainment the way you used to is symptomatic of a greater distress. I've been there. Your mind is not accepting distractions anymore and it would be the same for hiking or whatever you try to do to distract yourself from the crisis, whatever it is. My only suggestion is that you go easy on yourself in an exploration of your life. I didn't and my anxiety blew off the charts. "Liam's" case in The Divided Mind might be helpful in that he learned how to feel like shit without feeling that he IS shit. Good luck, you're doing incredible work.

    (I get a little spiky when the "television is the devil" stuff comes up because my hippie father pushed that view. But he was far more damaging psychologically than the idiot box...)
  7. Davideus85

    Davideus85 Peer Supporter

    So in other words, maybe I’m doing too much emotional work and my brain just isn’t able to handle it all? As for my mind no longer accepting distractions, is that a good thing? That is a pretty scary place to be, where you’re no longer able to escape from your emotional life!
  8. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    Why would you feel you need to escape from your emotional life? That's TMS defined, as far as I understand it. You're even consciously telling yourself that emotions aren't safe. That could be good though, as it might help you understand why they seem so dangerous to you. As far as doing too much work, that's what TMSers do: put pressure on ourselves. That's why I wish I'd been more gentle with myself over my dissatisfaction with my life. Rather than accepting my negative feelings, I was freaking out about them and trying desperately to fix them. Distractions like entertainment stopped working because I was in such an agitated state.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  9. Davideus85

    Davideus85 Peer Supporter

    Why would anyone want to feel negative emotions all day ever day? That is beyond exhausting and too overwhelming.
  10. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    Why is it "all day, every day"? The idea is to address the feelings and move on.
  11. Davideus85

    Davideus85 Peer Supporter

    I never seem to be able to address my issues and move on. For some reason I’m stuck repeating the past over and over again. I have the same exact negative reactions to things going on in my life day after day, it never changes.
  12. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    I recommend reading The Upside of Stress by Stanford health psychologist Kelly McGonigal.

    The one very helpful advice she gives is to treat anxiety as your body preparing you to deal with an upcoming stressful event. Think of as something helpful to you. So instead of feeling helpless and frustrated by it, embrace it. This made a huge difference for me.

    If I was going through a very stressful time and woke up at night with my heart racing, I used to calm it down with taking deep breaths. But with this new perspective, I smiled and told myself my body is preparing me to deal more effectively with stress. That immediately clamed my heart--very much like telling TMS to go away.

    Here a awesome TED talk by Dr. McGonigal on making stress your friend.

    Hope this helps.
    backhand and Tennis Tom like this.

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