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Emotional attachment to pain?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Anthony N, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. Anthony N

    Anthony N New Member

    Hey everyone this is my first post here and I think its great to have a community like this one and I am grateful to have found a place where people experience similar problems. Its reassuring to know that I am not alone in feeling chronic discomfort. I just had a quick question and any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Basic background: I got a concussion about 12 years ago, when I was in elementary school and felt a foggy type feeling right above my eyes as a result. It felt as if there was cotton in my sinuses. I went to pt for my neck for about four months and the feeling faded and I never thought about it again and resumed normal activity. I was told by my doctors to not engage in any activity that could result in a similar injury. Then about three years later when I was about 14 I headed soccer balls during soccer practice against the warning of the doctors and the feeling returned. I headed the soccer balls because I did not want to be alienated from my team and I wanted to be normal. Basically I made a mistake as a young teen as most of us do. This time though, the feeling did not leave and I constantly feel like there is cotton in my sinuses and have been living like this for the last 8 years. I have had every test under the sun and am completely normal and every treatment I’ve had has not worked. I found sarno’s work and began to address my feelings about the event and essentially let it go. But the symptom continues to persist.

    Although I desperately want to heal there is a part of me that is somewhat afraid to fully let go because I feel as though I will constantly be thinking “where did the discomfort go?” and eventually I will drive myself crazy. There is a conditioned comfort in the cotton feeling because I know it is always there and always gives me something to think about. Also its hard for me to fully understand at this point someone can have a fully healed body and be emotionally okay with that. I know these are probably just misguided conditioned beliefs I must further break, however I was wondering if anyone ever got any type of emotional attachment to the discomfort or felt something mentally blocking you from wanting to be healed? And any advice on how to recondition these thoughts?

  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Anthony. First of all, I recently watched a tv news medical segment that said soccer can cause injury from hitting the ball with the head.
    So I wouldn't do that again. To heck with teammates or the sport itself. Your health comes first.

    But since you have had medical and physical training exams and nothing structural has been found, it looks to me like you just equate the symptom of the cotton in your sinus with the initial pain of the soccer incident. You may well have conditioned yourself to think that continues.

    My thinking, because I believe 100 percent in TMS, that you have one or more repressed emotions that is causing the cotton-sinus symptom.
    Dr. Sarno says our pain goes way back to our childhood, so maybe it wasn't as trouble-free as you have thought, or have repressed.

    Try some thinking or writing (journaling) about your boyhood to see if you can discover any repressed emotion(s).

    Once you identify it or them, the symptom will go away.

    We are all here to support and encourage you.
    Keep us informed about your progress.

    Meanwhile, don't let the symptom get you down. Try not even think about it, or think positive, that it has already left you.
    Do things that make you happy. Be with people who make you happy. Take your mind off your symptom and it helps
    you to forget it's even there.
  3. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Antony, yes, that sounds very familiar to me! I too have these ambivalent emotions about my pain/symptoms. One part of me wants nothing more than to heal and another part of me wants to stick on all the discomfort. And that again gives me tons of guilty feeling like "it's my fault that I don't heal because something in me does not want me to be happy". What really brought some relief was changing the perspective. The ISF-approach (check it out on the wiki, there's a special subforum on it) claims that there're different personality parts in each of us with different purposes. But: they all want their very best (even if it seems to be very destructive or clumsy) and they want to protect us or the parts called exiles (exiles carry the pain). That means that one part of me thinks it's safer to suffer all the pain than.....(experiencing some deeply stuffed emotions = "exiles"). I now try to regard this part with more compassion rather than blaming myself for not "wanting" to heal.
  4. Anthony N

    Anthony N New Member

    thanks for the replies guys! walt- I have definitely learned that lesson about health being first priority through this experience which is actually a positive outcome of this. I have journaled a lot have been able to work through past emotions.and birdie- my sister actually brought up that theory to me a few weeks ago after talking to her psychiatrist so I will check that out. I feel I have really just developed an anxiety to healing and get somewhat nervous just thinking about a health body. I think this maybe holding me back and is my biggest emotion I must confront at this point. I have been using affirmations and visualizations to try and reprogram my thoughts about fear and the unknown.
  5. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Anthony,

    Often time TMS will arise as a response to emotions that are difficult to face and experience. Be it anger, sadness or other feelings, many of us are "trained" from a very young age that our emotions and feelings are unacceptable, unwelcome, inconvenient etc., so we learn to push them away. When they do arise, they create anxiety and discomfort and our bodies will often do whatever they can to avoid these feelings. When you talk about a conditioned response like your sinus symptoms, to me it sounds as though you are drawn to this familiar, albeit uncomfortable sensation. It is as though it is easier to deal with something known, however unpleasant, rather than examining the underlying issues. They are unknown and intimidating. The symptoms occupy your mind and keep you distracted. The work is to begin to recognize when you are doing this and begin to examine what sort of feelings you might be sending away.

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