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Day 41 Fear: Visions of possible injuries

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by armchairlinguist, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. armchairlinguist

    armchairlinguist Peer Supporter

    I have a lot of typical manifestations of fear of pain, like "Oh, my ankle hurts, maybe I did something to it and it will feel awful for days..." But I noticed today that I also have an odd one that is a bit of a flip side of slightly more caution than normal. Since the TMS symptoms started after an injury - and the injury was itself actually fairly bad the first time - I find that I often run tiny simulations of how I could end up hurting myself again if I'm not careful, or if I hadn't been careful, or if I hadn't been able to grab that bar on the bus in time, or...

    I think I must have been running these simulations ever since I first started walking around after the original injury (Jul 2012), and I either just didn't notice them before because they were so automatic, or they were embedded in conscious full thought processes about how to position my feet correctly. But now they're really weird to experience - like, I'll step into a small depression with my right foot because I'm being absentminded, and I think "oh gosh, thank goodness I didn't step in that with my left foot, I could have injured it again". Or I decide not to walk on the edge of the sidewalk, and not just "oh, I'll be cautious of the edge" but like I almost see myself falling off. Or I do step funny on my left foot but it feels fine, and I think "oh man, so glad that was OK, but that could have been so bad" and I have kind of a mental vision of if I'd fallen or whatever.

    It's pretty awful; I don't know if my mind's doing it because the regular fear wasn't working or what. A kind of extinction burst of fear, maybe?

    My progress is interesting. I walk 3/4 mile most days now. Still usually in increments of 1/4 or 1/2 mile, but I also walk 3/4 mile without counting the blocks, and 1/2 mile feels easy now ("oh, I'm almost home already!") where before I was usually like "ok, four more blocks, three, two, one, home". Most of the time I either don't have symptoms, don't notice them, or I notice them but they're not too bothersome, but any stressful situation will kick them up a notch (though I'm finally noticing that correlation right away). Related to my fear visions, I'm still inordinately worried about moving from flat to uneven terrain. I'm planning to go to Hawaii next month, and already thinking of "oh, I won't be able to/ready to hike". So the fear monster is for sure still there, just farther beyond the next bend. But I guess if I keep pushing him further away, he will eventually be so far away that I won't worry much. :)
  2. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    H, armchair. Your injury in 2012 should not still be hurting you. Did you have a doctor look at it then or since?
    You need to know if it is a structural injury. If it isn't, and it most likely isn't after three years, it looks to me
    like it is TMS, pain coming to you from your subconscious because you need to discover what hidden repressed emotions, probably anger, you carry and may have been carrying since your childhood.

    Now you have conditioned yourself to fear activity such as walking. It is good that you are going ahead and walking despite any pain, but you have to work on stopping the fear.

    Your entire post is about monitoring the pain and fear. Both are big mistakes. You need to ignore pain when you are walking,
    and stop worrying you will do further damage to yourself.

    I urge you to continue in the Structured Educational Program to discover your TMS repressed emotions. Mine went back to my boyhood and I was able to forgive those whom I believed caused me to have feelings of anger.

    I urge you to stop worrying and instead think positive about your upcoming trip to Hawaii. I'm 84 and would be happy if I just sat at an oceanside cafe and drank a cold beer.

    Enjoy your life. It's the only one you have or are likely to have.
    hecate105 likes this.
  3. hecate105

    hecate105 Well known member

    I agree with Walt. I believe what you are doing is 'catastrophic thinking' (there were some posts about it a few months back I think) I am prone to it myself. It is sometimes inherited - my mother does it constantly. Sometimes I think we do it to sort of fend off the worse thing happening. #but all it does is put catastrophic thoughts into our minds - better to squash it and replace with a positive thought - easier said than done - but practice makes perfect...!
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Armchair,

    I come at this a little differently than hecate and Walt, in that I think it is important that you are seeing the catistrophic thinking, the compulsive repetition of fears. My thought is that you were always thinking this way, but that it has become more conscious, and perhaps fueled (as you suggest) more recently by "extinction burst." I still have fears of standing up, stepping on certain things, walking somewhere sometimes, even though I'm two years into a 98% cure, climb mountains, dance barefoot, etc. The nerve pathways run deep!! So what you describe is familiar to me. In my experience, fear lingers.

    In any case, you have a chance to observe how after so long a time since the injury, and despite progress in walking, these sort of compulsive/protective/fear thoughts come up. If you simply observe this phenomenon, and don't believe it, you might really get a deeper appreciation of how fear is trying to run you. Then you can disengage by not going along with it. It is harder to do this when it is not observable, and is running you anyway. So I don't know that you need to do anything about it, so much as appreciate how tenacious it is, tolerate the thinking and fear, and don't believe it, and re-assure yourself that it is just echos of all you've been through.

    I think your observation is correct:
    Good luck in this!!

    Andy B.
    hecate105 likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think you are right, Andy. We should face our fear but not catastrophize about it.
    At age 84 I have fears of falling. I take care not to fall, and also not to let it take over my life.

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