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is meditating on the pain a good idea or not

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by eskimoeskimo, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    I've been practicing mindfulness, focusing on the pain in my neck, and other symptoms when they come up. I'm hoping this will eventually help me to accept and maybe alleviate the symptoms. Heck, I can't help but focus on them anyways, so I might as well try to work with it right? Or am I just building more 'neck-attention' pathways that will further solidify the pain?
  2. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't think its a great idea to consciously focus on the pain. If that is all you can think of when you are meditating, well, that is okay. Notice that is what is going on and accept it as much as you can. Meaning don't fight it and tell yourself not to think about the pain and create a lot of stress, that isn't going to help. When I worked with a somatic experiencing therapist, we practiced how to bring attention to a part of the body that is not in pain. At first, pain dominates so much that it feels impossible to sense into any part of the body that is whole and painfree. But they are there, trust me. It took me a while to be able to do it, and sometimes it was just an elbow, but when I was finally able to do it, that helped tremendously. If you can get past the pain and focus on your emotions, what is going on in your life, this is best. If you can find something that you enjoy that gets your mind off the pain, this is also good. I played a game on luminosity that took an enormous amount of concentration. I couldn't really focus on it and the pain at the same time. This helped to train my brain to think of something else. I went for many years where my life was referenced by my pain levels. The brief times I was not in pain, this is also what I thought about, and would become anxious over when the pain might return. Now I don' t think about it so much. It helps that I am not in pain most of the time now. Hope this helps.
  3. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Hi Anne,

    Yes, this helps... particularly because your response was not black/white. I've become so afraid to feel the pain at all, and so afraid to even think about it, that I figured going towards it might be a way to combat the fear.

    What was the game on luminosity?

  4. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    I forget what it was called, but it had to do with switching train tracks and getting different colored trains into their corresponding stations. If you missed a beat in switching tracks, the trains would head in the wrong direction. I am feeling very nostalgic about that game. It really helped me through a rough patch. Never give up hope. Its funny you mentioned fear. I lived in perpetual fear most of my entire life. It definitely perpetuates the symptoms and then the symptoms generate more fear. Now learning how to sense into the fear and accept it was one of the techniques that helped me the most. When you are feeling a lot of anxiety/fear focus in on the most dominant physical sensation. There is always corresponding physical sensations if you pay attention. Perhaps it is a racing heart, constriction in your lungs, an uncomfortable sensation in your stomach. It might be multiple sensations. Tackle them one by one. This is how you do it: Focus on the sensation and welcome it in "Hello racing heart. Welcome. You are okay to be." Spend some time with it, breathe and accept it as much as you can. Then move onto the next sensation. I learned this on this site and it has helped me so much!!! It is what I do every time I feel any anxiety//panic and it does wonders. I used to get panic attacks and get dizzy every time I went to one of those huge stores, Costco etc. Now that is all gone. I think we tend to resist and fight the fear and this just makes it escalate and grow.
  5. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Anne, what you described is exactly what I'm attempting. I'm thrilled to hear that it was helpful to you. For me, my anxiety is so body-sensation centric. I think there's always a background level (at least) of sensations in my body that are making me uncomfortable. I think I need to get friendly with those feelings, like you say.
  6. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    These are a few of the short videos that explain how to do it. I am not sure where I got "you are okay to be" from but for some reason that line really triggers relaxation and acceptance in me. I also frequently tell myself that I am okay. Even though these physical sensations feel scary, I am okay. I saw therapists and spent years working on my anxiety. I was amazed at how such a simple and easy technique can give such big and pretty immediate results. Well, sometimes not so easy to welcome and invite a scary sensation in. But once you realize that not fighting the sensation helps dissipate it, then it becomes much easier to do. Let me know how it goes.
  7. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Thank you for these links. #2 in particular I think is going to helpful to me. That last step, #3, demand that it increase will keep me from doing that thing where I say "okay I accept" but really I'm saying "okay I accept as long as that means you go away as soon as I accept"

    What do you think about applying this to physical pain?
  8. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm not sure about applying this technique to physical pain. There is the courage to say "no matter what you throw at me TMS, no matter how greatly you increase my pain or come up with something new, I know what is going on and I will persevere!" The trick is how to do this without creating a lot of extra stress and pressure. It is okay if you are feeling strong and empowered. It can be self defeating and discouraging if you are in that moment more like the cowardly lion, about to break down and cry as soon as Toto barks at you. I had days in which the pain increased so much I could barely walk. I felt confident in my TMS diagnosis at that point, so I went out on a 45 minute walk screaming at my TMS the whole time. There are other days this just would not have worked. I would have been doing it as a test, and if the pain increased afterwards it would have fed my doubt. You need to work toward being able to intuit and trust your inner guidance. One time I was hiking up a mountain in New Hampshire with my then 12 year old son. About half way up I had an enormous panic attack and felt like I couldn't breathe. I wanted to turn around and get back to the car. My son really wanted to reach the top and so he confronted me in exasperation. "What do you mean you can't breathe? Do you think you are going to die?" he shouted. I realized in that moment that there was a difference between the panic I was feeling and my more reasoned inner intuition. If I truly believed it was an emergency, I probably would have called 911 and tried to get a helicopter or something to come pick me up. I was uncomfortable, I felt scared, but deep down I knew that I was okay. This gave me the courage to get up and hike to the top of the mountain. I will always remember that view and what it felt like to reach the top, to override my fear. Does that mean you should always hike to the top of the mountain? No, it does not. Fear exists for a reason. It alerts us to true emergencies when we have to move fast. The problem is when we get stuck in chronic fear patterns and it sends off those signals unnecessarily. Pain is a signal. It screams something is wrong and you have to pay attention. There is something wrong, but in the case of TMS, it is not physical. It is not going to help to ask for more physical pain unless this helps you to have less fear of the pain. It is the fear that feeds the TMS and can be disarmed through total acceptance. Its like throwing water on the fire. As far as the physical pain, just notice when it has your attention. Then do what you can to redirect your attention elsewhere, preferably to what is going on in your life aside from the pain.
    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) and Ellen like this.
  9. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member


    Thank you so much for this message. This is one of the most helpful excerpts I've read thus far regarding TMS. You really address so many of the subtleties involved in putting these concepts into practice.

    It's a subtle balance. I need to address/confront the fear of the physical sensations. But, yes, it can easily easily easily become a 'test'... with a lot of pressure. I'm thinking if I confront the pain, it will dissipate, but then I go into the practice with that intense expectation. I've got stay aware of both of these impulses.

    It's proven to be quite a challenge to experience the pain without thinking I'm failing and that this isn't working.

    Thank you!!
    Anne Walker likes this.

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