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increase of symptoms when acknowledging feelings

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    As I was reading through the portion of Pathways to Pain Relief that we will be discussing for Saturday’s TMS discussion group, this quote really stood out to me. It is also something that I hear quite a bit from people, and I would love to hear some of your thoughts on this. Have you experienced the same thing? Do you have any tips on how to overcome/prevent this?

    Personally I don’t think this means that we shouldn’t get in touch with our emotions. Only that since we have been repressing for so long, we may not be skilled at doing this. It is very easy to have an increase of anxiety when we first do this work, and for a lot of us anxiety leads to fear, which leads to more anxiety and an increase of symptoms. Don’t resist your emotions, including anxiety. Accept it, and it will simply fade away.

    As a quick reminder the call-in discussion starts at 2 PM ET. Connection details can be found at www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Saturday_TMS_Book_Discussion_Group .
    Karen likes this.
  2. Karen

    Karen Peer Supporter

    Thank you Forest.

    When I joined the forum a few weeks ago, I could not walk from the intense pain. For days, I waited for it to move. One day it started - my neck, the next day my knee, the next my ankle. It is amazing to observe this happening. The sciatica pain is what I call, 'At bay' right now. It's there, but I can move much more freely. I have been facing many emotions and different body pains....they won't stop coming.

    I am doing everything in my power to talk to my brain as if it were my best friend. I am asking it, ''What is this emotion that you want me to feel?'' ''What situation do you want me to face?'' My heart (heart intuition) then tells me exactly what's going on..... and I am facing it and feeling it very gently. If it is guilt, I ask myself if it is 'unearned' guilt which simply means that I am feeling like I should be doing more. I am trying to make my overthinking brain into my best friend. I also tell it to slow down for me!!! It's working!!! :p

    I'm just knockin' on wood right now because I haven't felt this good in such a long, long time.
    deborah a burns, ValVal and gailnyc like this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a great example of how our expectations can effect our symptoms. If we expect our knee to hurt when we start running, it will. If you expect your symptoms to move, they will. Hence, why thinking psychological is such a major component of recovering, which it sounds like you are doing with success right now. Using your body as a sign to examine your emotions is the way to get better.

    I'm curious though, did your symptoms increase when you joined the forum and starting exploring your emotions? I think a lot of people find it overwhelming to begin to experience these intense emotions that we have been repressing for so long, hence why symptoms increase.
  4. Solange

    Solange Well known member

    I started my TMS journey in January and initially spent some weeks just getting to grips with the ideas and beginning to believe in it. The next phase
    was deeply investigating my feelings/emotions/past experiences and doing lots of journaling and emotional awareness. Some of the journaling sessions
    certainly stirred up symptoms and created new ones which took time to settle. Strangely, the new symptoms reassuered me I was on the right track. The next phase seemed to be a great intensification of 'mind chatter' and lots of anxiety feelings which were really unpleasant and as I couldn't pin them down to any reason, I just let them sweep over me and told myself it was TMS. Those anxieties have all but disappeared now and my new phase is confronting my many conditioned responses.
  5. Karen

    Karen Peer Supporter

    Forest, I'm sorry.... I don't think I was real clear when I wrote my post. When I said that I was waiting for the pain to move, I meant I was waiting for it to move out of the sciatica and for it to show up elsewhere. I was actually excited when the pain moved because I KNEW it was TMS. I have been suffering with that one particular pain (and lower back) for the last 2 years.... so when it actually started to 'shift' to other places in my body, I knew I was doing the right things and I was and am convinced that nothing is wrong with me now. It was the monster of TMS again!!.

    My symptoms have not increased (they have definitely decreased) since I have been on the forum doing the work. I was ready to burst when I came here a while ago!!

    I was almost wheelchair bound a month ago... even on my vacation the pain was very intense that sometimes I could not walk. (So I stayed under a palm tree:p) It was sitting on my vacation where I had the total revelation :eek: that I was in a huge, monstrous flare-up. I had put my last bout of pain into remission quite a few years ago. The book I have here of Dr. Sarno's is very old.

    Thank you Forest for all your support!! Hug!
  6. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Karen, so glad to hear this.

    I think talking to your brain lovingly is great!

    Happy you're doing so well.
    Karen likes this.
  7. ClearMind

    ClearMind New Member

    Karen, based on your thoughts about talking to your brain, you might enjoy Fred Amir's rapid recovery to neck and back pain. He has very specific techniques you could likely use. I found it to be the turning point in my complete recovery to back pain.
    Karen likes this.
  8. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Great topic, great discussion. Solange, my recovery has also progressed the way in which you describe. I also began healing in January and got rid of my symptoms rather quickly, perhaps too quickly. maybe too much knowledge, too fast. It was almost as if my unconscious mind, after I figured out what was really going on, just said "Ok you don't want the distraction and the pain, that is fine, but you WILL experience either the TMS symptoms or the unconscious material driving it, so here it is". Over the next month or so, I was flooded with childhood memories, a lot of which were very traumatic and the realization that I had been repressing all my life. I am still dealing with this and have some short relapses of TMS, but am doing better. I couldn't sleep hardly at all for about three weeks, which almost drove me nuts, but this is getting better now. I am still on a half sleeping pill as a crutch, my doctor says that I can get off the med when I am ready.

    So yes, there seems, at least for some of us, an inverse relationship between the time it takes for symptoms to resolve and our anxiety level. In fact, Dr. Alexander, in his book "The Hidden Psychology of Pain" describes the see-saw effect very well. The more psychological pain and anxiety you have, the less you have physical symptoms of TMS and visa versa. It sure worked that way for me. It is really important to pace ourselves with regard to our recovery.
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    But just look at what Mrs R. had been "overlooking" (i.e. repressing) for over (what was it?) 40 years? That her first son, Steven, had been born with spina bifida and that she'd never been allowed to see him! She must have been hideously guilt-ridden too because she felt that the reason for Steven's infirmity had been a bout of mononucleosis she had suffered during her pregnancy. Those feelings must have been so overwhelming that Mrs R never peeked inside to confront them; in fact, had completely ignored them. And what's more on top of that she also is living with the guilt about her completely self-centered little sister falling on her head and being retarded as a result. At least that's what Mrs R's parents confided in her.
  10. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Let's see..would I rather have TMS pain than emotional pain? Would I rather have TMJ, neck pain, low back pain, shingles, allergies, asthma, bladder pain, abdominal cramping, butt cramping, RSI, IT band pain, shin splints, restless leg, acid reflux, foot pain (I must have forgotten something) or would I rather have 3 weeks of excrutiating heartbreaking infuriating raging screaming emotions.

    I would pick the 3 weeks of drowning in extreme emotional pain versus a lifetime of physical pain. That's my vote.
    Katy Elise and Karen like this.
  11. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Stella, I am SO with you on this one! In fact, I am almost becoming a fan of emotional pain. It's (sort of) fun to tackle an emotional pain when I know its resolution will bring a real improvement in my quality of life. But of course this is only true if the tools to deal with the pain are available.

    I have been thinking a lot about the 80% or so of people who, according to Dr. Sarno, will not (perhaps cannot) face the possibility that their physical pain is emotional in origin. There must be a way to help them. My husband is one of these. He has horrendous tms pain and has even said "if this is tms, if it's not physical, what does that say about me?" I've tried to tell him, "it says you are human and are trying to avoid dealing emotional pain" but he won't accept the possibility.

    Even for the more open 20%, there must be an easier way than having to "bottom out" with excruciating pain, as so many people do now. If we were taught, as kids, that avoiding emotional pain can cause physical pain and "that's perfectly normal", wouldn't we naturally ask, "hey, is this tms?" instead of suffering for years? I think so.
    Katy Elise likes this.
  12. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    I have a male friend who commented about a news situation saying "he just can't control his emotions. That's what's wrong with him." This friend has numerous Tms symptoms oozing out of his body. I told him my story. He shrugged and walked away. No matter how much unexplainable pain, he will never acknowledge his emotions as the driver.
  13. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    For people who have taken the plunge into exploring our emotions, I think we have come to understand that all of these feelings we were so afraid of, are not actually that bad. The world didn't end because we realized somethings upset us. But some people lack that perspective, and the mere thought that they have an emotional problem is so threatening to their ego they can't accept it. This is something that comes up several times throughout the Great Pain Deception. The truth can be very difficult for people to hear. This was very much the case with Mrs. R, as Bruce mentioned. In cases like that where a person is repressing so much, to some degree, I can understand why they would perceive the pain as a better option than the emotions and the truth.
    As a reminder the discussion group will be meeting on Saturday, August 27th, at 2 PM ET.
    Quick connection info (for detailed instructions, click here):
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    For more info, check out the discussion group wiki page. I hope to see you there!​

  14. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    The following image, found on Facebook, which I found on Facebook, reminded me of Mrs. R from Pathways to Pain Relief and the sources of her unconscious TMS-causing rage. It is something that many of us people-pleasing TMS goodists may struggle with, especially if we feel obligated to control things:
    Being the Responsible One.jpg
    gailnyc likes this.
  15. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Or as Mrs R finally admits to Dr Anderson in Pathways:

    "Maybe the reason I have been so devoted to dogs and taken care of them so well for so long is because I couldn't take care of my son." I could feel my own eyes start to fill as the session ended, adds Dr Anderson.

    Anderson, Frances Sommer; Sherman, Eric (2013-01-21). Pathways to Pain Relief (Kindle Locations 2172-2174). . Kindle Edition.

    But what Mrs R doesn't seem to be willing to admit is that underlying her compulsion to care for her son via the symbolic intermediaries of dogs also involves a compulsion to control the underlying dark emotions she has repressed into her unconscious where she doesn't have to confront and deal with them? Hence, her flat affect, her life-long tendency to neutral reportage?

    At the end of Mrs. R's story one comes away with the feeling that even after 13 years of therapy, she still has a long road to travel even though she has come a long way from where she first started psychotherapy. At least, Mrs R does seem to finally be starting to like herself, and that's a big step in the right direction, don't you think?
    Karen likes this.
  16. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey all,

    Here's the recording from our discussion on the 27th. Feel free to listen to it on YouTube (below) or download the audio as an mp3 by right-clicking on this link and choosing to save it to your computer. Enjoy!


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