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Feel your feelings...trouble understanding how concept works....

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by dusty67, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. dusty67

    dusty67 Peer Supporter

    Hi Im struggling a bit here and hope someone can help shed some light on this issue. I understand that you are supposed to "feel" your feelings as opposed to just thinking about them and acknowledging them. My problem is all of this TMS back pain started with grieving when my sister passed away 2 years ago. I grieved and grieved and cried and cried and journaled and talked to every human being that would listen and tried to get it all out of my system to "deal with it". I just got worse and worse. (although hypnosis did help me deal somewhat with my grief emotions) My temper is very short now due to chronic pain that moves around all over my back, legs, feet, elbow, tailbone and now knees and behind my knees. Every time I get upset, depressed, anxious, irritated by my spouse or kids my pain is triggered. Every time I cry about my emotional issues I get worse & worse pain. The more I "feel" the worse my anxiety and pain are. How do I deal with all of my repressed emotions and current life stressors that I think Im dealing with on a daily basis without getting huge attacks of anxiety and pain??? Shouldn't I be trying NOT to get upset at every little thing and talking to my brain to say Im overreacting and its not worth it to be stressed out about stupid things. I have just started the program here and am definatly having some better days....it is starting to work for me but as soon as I am faced with any conflict I can feel my blood boiling and blood pressure rising and then the whole vicious cycle starts again. I keep thinking I have to STOP that cycle...those emotions....to "shut them off" so to speak but that seems to work against the whole idea of DEALING with and FEELING my feelings. If I don't Stop the feelings then they always seems to spiral out of control...I end up crying, depressed, in pain and back on my pity party train.
  2. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Hi Dusty,

    It sounds like you've thrown yourself into the TMS healing process full speed ahead, and gotten overwhelmed.

    It's not easy to challenge TMS pain and search for the repressed feelings. It can be confusing and scary. It takes time and patience.

    Be a little easier on yourself! Give yourself props for your determination, and don't expect to let in all those painful feelings all at once. When the feelings become overwhelming, put them aside for a while. Take breaks when you need to, and look for emotional nourishment and support where you can find them. Call a friend, read a book, whatever gives you pleasure. The feelings will still be there when you're ready to go back to them.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Dusty,

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your sister. I'm sure this is very difficult.

    Your question is one that most of us have had at some point in our recovery from TMS. It would be a good question to ask of our Ask-A-Therapist program in order to get an answer from an expert. But I will give you my non-expert opinion.

    The emotions were are conscious of are not the ones causing our TMS. The cause of TMS, per Sarno, are the repressed emotions that are in our unconscious. These emotions stay repressed and outside our consciousness because our unconscious is trying to protect us from experiencing them. Thus, it creates pain or other symptoms to distract us. These emotions are repressed because of internal conflict between our inner child (id), inner parent (super ego), and inner adult (ego). An example would be that our inner child feels angry about something, but the inner parent feels we shouldn't feel this way, so we keep the emotion repressed in the unconscious. It is possible to uncover these unconscious emotions through the process of journaling or with the guidance of a therapist. In my experience, they usually come to the surface of my awareness in the form of an "a-ha" moment.

    While you were expressing your grief over the loss of your sister in a healthy way, the fact that TMS started around that time may mean there are other emotions that you are repressing that were triggered by the loss. These could be anger, fear, guilt... or other emotions that you feel conflicted about having.

    As for dealing with the emotions you are aware of, it is healthy to "feel your feelings" as you state. However, this can be done privately and doesn't require expressing them outwards. It is enough that you are aware of how you are feeling. There is research that shows that the average duration of feeling an emotion is around 90 seconds. After that it has to be revived by our thoughts. So if a feeling is stressful or unpleasant, once we have felt it, it is best to let it go and not keep rekindling it with our thoughts. That only prolongs our suffering unnecessarily.

    Best wishes on your healing journey..
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
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  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Dusty,
    I am sorry for the struggles you are having. I get that despite feeling so much, the symptoms continue.

    I think Ellen is on to something here:
    The key here is conflict, which you may not be aware of clearly. The Superego is sneaky, and keeps us in an inner war most of the time about our feelings, even the ones we're thinking we're clear on.

    Let me add to this thesis by saying that it was your perceived grief that "brought on your symptoms," so I wonder if there isn't a fear about these feelings that keep emerging, despite their apparent availability. Or even an association of pain with these feelings. So there is fear about symptoms, mixed up with the grief. This is a tight knot to allow to relax. I also suspect you have conflicts/fears about the anger. Most of us do.

    I think you would benefit from inquiring into these emotions more deeply to have more insight. I hope the feedback you are getting here will be helpful. Counseling or coaching may be helpful if you keep feeling stuck in this cycle.

    Good luck. Many hear have said that the TMS journey is one of deepening into the unknown, which by its nature is not apparent. For many TMS sufferers, this a process of healing through self-understanding at much deeper levels, which means a kind of inner healing beyond the reduction of symptoms. Something satisfying.

    Andy B.
  5. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Hi Dusty,

    There's some really good feedback here to pay heed to when it comes to unconscious vs conscious emotions. The grief we feel during a trauma may be only part of the TMS issue at hand. Now, certain depth psychology techniques can help us become more aware of our unconscious impulses but that usually takes the assistance of a trained professional - we can't see what we don't know - but they might!

    What can be done to gain insight about emotions on your own and "feel" them. Well, what we're discovering (or re-discovering) in research and studies is that emotions have a somatic component in the body. It's one thing to think about grief or an incident that causes us tension, anxiety or anything we might term "negative" emotional content or affects. It's another to get a sense of the somatic component. What do those emotions feel like? Is it a tightness in the chest, an ache in the throat, butterflies in the stomach (that last one may be familiar because it's a popular saying!). Heck, it might be hard to located the somatic component of a feeling when we're in pain elsewhere in our body... oh, wait... I guess that's why pain's such a good distraction!!!

    You can certainly look to notice these somatic aspects of the emotions you're feeling or have felt when you have sxs and see if things shift. One caveat, the somatic experience of emotion can a difficult experience to explore if we've shut it down for most of our lives. It can feel hard to tolerate so I recommend that you stop experiencing it if it becomes too unpleasant. At those times, it's important again to seek out someone trained in working with that piece of the mind-body complex to help you explore those sensations in a safe and productive way.

    Good luck on your journey!

  6. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes! "The body does not lie!"
  7. dusty67

    dusty67 Peer Supporter

    Thank you all so much for your replies. David88 thank you for the reminder to go easier on myself. Im sure my tendencies to "push" myself and wanting a quick fix are part of whats keeping me on this hamster wheel :) And Ellen, in reading your post I had an "a-ha" moment when thinking about the passing of my sister. I never thought about it like that before. Thank you for that! AndyB I definitely have fear of these feelings. I have always feared the loss of a loved one and continue to after such an emotional struggle with my sisters passing. Thanks Andrew I am going to see if I can find someone in my area to help me pull back the curtain on my unconscious emotions. As far as the somatic aspects, I do recognize them when Im stressed or upset ....lump in throat...tightness in chest. If I notice a somatic symptom is it a matter of correcting how I respond to a stressor or delving into WHY I am responding the way I am? Thanks again everyone for their feedback. I see I have a long journey ahead but thankful there is lots of support here.
    Ellen likes this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm glad the replies are helpful, dusty, and I echo them.
    Losing a loved one is one of the toughest things in life, and grieving is natural.

    Have you thought that maybe there was some unresolved issue between you and your sister?
    Maybe journal about that and then forgive her and yourself.
  9. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here's my input on this Dusty. You probably can't change the automatic responses to stressors, or at least I like to not pressure myself for this task! The body, though, is a truth window to untangle the conflicts and the muddy waters. You sense into a sensation, and it reveals more of what it is about. Then you will be in more contact with yourself, and your truth. The WHY will become more clear then, yes. And there is an intimacy with self that is satisfying, regardless of the difficulty of the content. There is a great beauty is in the self-intimacy, ultimately. A loving universe inside us. We aren't running from the parts of us that want to be seen, felt, and held... We want to be understood at a deep level, without rejection. This type of contact reveals more and more truth.

    Andy B.
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  10. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member


    At this time, I'd just look at the somatic piece with a curious eye, noticing the nature of it: the what of it, the where of it. Working with a seasoned professional will help you tackle the why and how of it.
  11. dusty67

    dusty67 Peer Supporter

    Walt, Yes as a matter of fact that's what my a-ha moment was when reading Ellen's post. I started journaling on it and will continue to do so. Thank you AndyB, I have been starting some work with my inner child which seems to be really helpful in starting to get to the core of some issues. Thanks again very much Andrew....I will start being more aware and tuning in to the somatic symptoms as I continue on my journey :)
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  12. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are welcome dusty67!
    Andy B.

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