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How do you unsurface your unconscious emotions?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by leomessi45, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. leomessi45

    leomessi45 Peer Supporter

    Hello all, hope you all are well. I keep hearing that TMS is basically there to protect us against unconscious emotions by producing pain. A lot of the treatment is there forth is basically emotional work like journaling. However, how am I supposed to know what these are when they are unconscious?
  2. jimmylaw9

    jimmylaw9 Peer Supporter

    You don’t just journal about anything that concerns you. It’s the process of journaling that releases the emotional pain . I listen to these two clips above really soothing n helps so far
    Jeather and tgirl like this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    My best advice is to start doing the free SEP (Structured Educational Program) on the main wiki site. Through a short amount of time spent each day (or every couple/few days - whatever works for you without putting pressure on yourself) you are exposed to information and exercises which lead you to understanding.

    It's a big topic! Don't be in a rush to heal from something that's probably been in your life for years. Learning to write via free association (aka "brain dump") was a huge factor in my healing process. And I still engage in it, almost every night - it clears my brain for sleep.

    Baby steps, folks!
    TrustIt likes this.
  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    are you familiar with the socratic 'cave wall' mental exercise? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_cave (Allegory of the cave - Wikipedia)

    well, it's a lot like that. Except , rather than find the 'real world' we are trying to figure out what goes on inside of us. Obviously if it's truly unconscious and repressed , we have no direct access to it.
    BUT, if we get engaged in a process (particularly around our symptoms) of analyzing what we might be angry about, ashamed of, embarrassed by, conditioned to, etc. and start making some personal experiments, after a few weeks of concerted effort you are gonna start noticing things...things like "My symptoms always begin associated with so and so mental state"..."they always start at work"..."they always start when I sit down to relax"

    Remember.. the TMS is there to distract me from a perceived threat in my unconscious. What is it afraid of finding out?

    I hate my job. My marriage sucks. I really feel put out by all of the responsibilities of parenting. I don't like being responsible for (blaNK).

    NOw I start to get an inkling of what might be going on down there. It may not be pretty or something to be proud of. In fact, it almost certainly isn't, thus the perceived need for repression and symptoms as a distraction.

    But now, when I find the symptoms trying to get my attention I turn my thoughts to THESE things...The TMS machine is disabled. I exposed the subterfuge and it no longer functions right....and the symptoms go away.

    That might sound a little absurd, but I have been using it to great efficacy for 22 years now beating the hell out of TMS.
    Ellen, Jeather and JanAtheCPA like this.
  5. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    Hello Jan! Your comment here sparked something in me. May I share it? I'm dealing with years of severe LBP sciatica, blah blah blah, knowing it was TMS from the beginning but finding that knowing that didn't make it go away like in the past. I've had to remake my life in many ways, turning 50 this year. Figuring out the state of my marriage, children leaving me and my nest. Lots going on in me. I know that. I've read the books and done the SEP and Unlearn Your Pain. I've been revisiting some of these sources and programs that I did last year and finding new insights: things that make sense NOW that I wasn't ready to hear before. It's been a long road. I have NEVER been good at journaling. Long ago, a close family member read my journal (!) and saw some complaints I was making (which might have been about that person lol) and got angry and told me not to write my garbage down where others might see it. After that, I stopped writing my garbage. And having dealt with TMS for much of my life, I've felt I should journal (tyranny of the shoulds...), but just can't. I feel blocked. And I feel relieved when I find the occasional post saying that not everyone has to journal. Well, I saw your post today. I'd like to know more about free association writing - brain dump - style writing. Because I can type it out and then delete it right? So I just tried that on my laptop, typed some stuff and deleted it. As part of TMS, I focus heavily on my psyche and what I'm feeling and trying to feel it. Today I have a list of several things I'm "carrying" and worrying about. My symptoms flared up yesterday, and I didn't sleep well last night, and so I did a lot of thinking about what's up inside me. I can think of lots of things. Present and past. I've dealt with a lot of past stuff. I understand that when something triggers me now, I need to focus on more recent events. Okay, I can think of some. I keep a running list. But it doesn't seem to help things to settle down. Until just now as I started typing whatever came to mind. I was typing the same words that have been going through my mind with my self-talk. Nothing new or revelatory. But several times as I was typing I started sobbing. Just sobbing. So maybe there is something I need to do with this.
    Baseball65 likes this.
  6. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Has happened to me twice. Once with my ex-wife, once with a GF.

    "Who the hell is Ambi ?!?" she asks tapping her toe and looking pissed

    (shorthand for 'affects my ambitions') LOL.

    I don't 'journal' but I do spend contemplation time in front of a pad of paper with a format (the 4th step inventory from the 12 step program). It is interesting to note that my pain came after I had discontinued doing this on a regular basis.... I had found my anger and resentment boring and redundant so I had quit....and sciatica, hip and shoulder pain were hot on it's tail!

    ..and if someone read my private journal and got angry
    I would direct them to the nearest lake in which to jump.

    oftentimes when I get quiet and write, a new perspective that I couldn't get just 'thinking' comes in and changes my point of view...and ultimately, that's what we're always doing...getting a better or new point of view. It's cheaper than therapy and has worked for a lot of people
  7. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    Thank you! I've read a number of your posts and your story over the past 2 years of my struggles (similar to your symptoms). I appreciate your time to respond to me. Your validation and understanding are helpful. I've been doing short bursts of writing on my laptop over the last 2 days since plunging in this direction. I start typing furiously, even just a few sentences, before my doubt can kick in. If I delay, the "need" goes quickly and I feel, "I can't write my feelings; I'm not allowed; I'm blocked." Then I delete what I've written and go on. I often feel a surge of sadness as I type or... this is strange... a feeling of hotness in my eyes... I actually feel like I have red heat coming from my eyes in beams much like one sees in superheroes on movies. It's the closest thing to "anger" that I can seem to feel, and it comes with the tears as I type. That is new. It seems that even a short burst of typing can bring this. I don't know that I find "a new perspective" as I type. But this must be healthy, right? Another funny thing: as I type, I find myself closing my eyes and not watching my typing. If I make myself watch the words as I type, it's uncomfortable. Which probably means I should watch the words and face my reality. "The obstacle is the way." I share these personal details (not a comfortable thing for me as I'm a private person) in the hope it might help someone else. It was JanAtheCPA who said something simple in this thread about her "brain dump" method that got me going in this direction at all.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Absolutely! People are under the impression that journaling means keeping permanent journals, but nothing could be further from the truth. When you're engaging in therapeutic brain-dump writing, it's probably more therapeutic to get rid of it. There is absolutely no need to go back and look at it later.

    I use crappy old notebook paper and recycle it when both sides are full of my scribblings, which aren't very decipherable. But I don't live with anyone.

    Nicole Sachs, LCSW, is a huge advocate of this type of writing, and she uses the digital type-and-erase method in her busy household. I recommend her book, by the way, or her earliest podcasts, which go into her writing advice in detail.
    Jeather likes this.
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    And, @Jeather, it sounds like you're making real progress. You're also worrying too much about whether you're doing this right or wrong. Not only is this, of course, the hallmark of the TMS perfectionist personality, but it's vital to understand that this is a distraction created by your brain, trying to keep you stuck in fear and indecision instead of moving forward.

    This is fantastic, seriously. Visualizations like this can be incredibly powerful tools.
    My belief is that the only requirement for doing this work is that we have to be 100% honest with ourselves when we get stuff out into the open. Whatever that takes. Our brains are really resistant to doing this. Back in the day, I realized that mine was telling me that it was okay to not write certain things down - very difficult to ignore and write them down anyway!

    If eyes closed is what works, go for it!

    Remember to do this work with compassion for yourself. No judgement, no pressure, just love. Because you deserve that. And you deserve to heal.
    TrustIt and Baseball65 like this.
  10. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    Bless you, thank you
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  11. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    All of these comments have been really helpful! I appreciate those who share their wisdom as well as their mutual struggles. Just have to keep moving forward. Sometimes I feel like I am good at self-compassion and being kind to myself, and then I realize I'm being very judgemental about how I am showing self-compassion. I believe I love and accept myself as I am, but then I find evidence that I do not.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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