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Is your Unconscious a Saboteur?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by mm718, Dec 18, 2017.

  1. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    I've been walking twice a day to overcome my exercise sensitivities for 3 weeks. About a week into it my ankles started hurting and they have not improved over time. I am 54, I was out of shape, but I would think at 3 weeks of short (25 minute) walks any soreness would have worked it's way out. I am very thin and have never had issues with my ankles. They do NOT hurt when walking around the house.

    Also, as I mentioned in my other thread each time I shop for running shoes my symptoms seem to get worse. Today while listening to a story about a woman who got over migraines I got the first headache I've had in months if not longer.

    I have insomnia and every night before I go to bed I start thinking about the most stressful things in my life.

    Is your unconscious a saboteur? Is this the id in action? How do you respond to this and what role has this played in your recovery. I want to understand this better and know how to respond in a healthy way.


  2. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    Hi Mike,

    I just want to comment about insomnia. This is because when you go to bed you start thinking about the most stressful things in your life...as you said. Start by not doing it anymore, just don't think about anything. Or you can think about something positive, the things that you're grateful for that day. Or something else, the best vacation that you had. Just change your thoughts, instead of something stressful in something pleasant. And then let go and go to sleep.

    I presume that in time, your pain will go away, the quality of sleep can have a big impact in your recovery. All the best.
    andy64tms likes this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Mike,

    I think Sita has good advice about using some basic effort to turn the mind to something else, regardless of the symptoms which get your attention.

    Regarding your general question about "how to respond to this?" I suggest you read Dr. Sarno's work, and keep digging deep and re-reading if you don't understand something. This is the basic work.

    His basic theory is that the symptoms are a distraction so you don't feel something deeper, more painful. So every time you have symptoms, or fear or worry about symptoms, the basic technique is to consider how your Inner Child might be feeling about ______________ (what is happening to you in the now, and how your personality is dealing with it.

    There is nothing "punitive" about the inner workings. They happen so that we don't feel difficult feelings, or are even aware they are there.

    Hope this helps.

    Andy B
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  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Also Mike: Your symptoms seem to be following a very "TMS" pattern of arising in association with a particular activity. This is good to notice and connect with your reading.
    Andy B
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  5. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

    Hi Mike the thin man,

    You are not as thin as I. My age is 69 and I have dropped 15 lbs since retiring five years ago and don’t sit at a desk any more. I am 145 lbs, windsurf all summer and am “hyper” active. The “hyper” is my issue, but let’s get back to you.

    Try not to view your sensitivities to exercise in the framework of being out of shape. You seem to be concerned about this issue, soreness is a normal part of activity, if you haven’t exercised for many years it will take time. Dr. Sarno actually recommended “rigorous activity”. Do you have an aversion to jogging? I have sought out and tried out many different of activities, and even tried lifting and weights for two years, being concerned about my shape and thinness. It’s important to have one activity that you really enjoy, no matter how much it costs. I buy expensive windsurfing equipment every year in lieu of pharmaceuticals; oh what joy to snag last years’ model sail at a bargain price.

    There is a weird thing that goes on in our subconscious about “expectation” that makes it come true. We foresee and visualize something and it happens. It’s tied in with the “Laws of attraction”. The fear and dread of the pain makes us expect it, and then it happens. I refer to your migraine brought on by mere suggestion. Also there is loads information out there on the “Powers of Positive Thinking”. I am not suggesting you are a negative thinker, but we all have negative thoughts and sometimes they keep us up at night.

    I have overcome Insomnia recently!

    Years and years of nightly turmoil, worry. I used to lay there for hours at a time, worried about the project at work, family issues, you know…. I invented hundreds of ways to what I call: “Change my mode”. Here are some of them:

    Lifting 10 lb weights, (curls) just enough to get the heart rate up and make the muscles sting a bit. The TMS logic behind this is your brain has been diverted from mental to physical.

    Crunching Raisin Bran while focusing on the crunch in your jaw. The TMS logic is using the crunching noise to divert your brain.

    Walking barefoot in dewy grass is one of my most outlandish diversions. The TMS logic is your feet get icy cold, white and crinkly. Dry them off, back to bed and feel the glow as your body warms the feet up, very comforting. This one is really good because the diversion takes place in bed. A bucket of cold water could be substituted.

    I noticed if I repeated these nightly my TMS id learns this ploy and it became ineffective, hence I have so many. The internet has thousands of ideas that work just as well.

    So how did I beat insomnia? By stopping coffee after evening dinner, a non TMS cure. The TMS implications are: After 40 years why would I not see this earlier? I use coffee to wake up every day and have heard that coffee keeps you awake many times over. This was a form of “Repression” that was habit driven.

    Your subconscious can be your friend or foe, but is there to keep you safe and happy.

    Just another thin poster, good lucksantahat
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
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  6. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Sita. I've started to do this. When it happens I say "stop that" or "not now" in a firm voice. I try to follow up my firm statements with something like "you don't have to do that anymore." "I am in charge and I'll take care of you." After that I will try to visualize something positive (e.g. a cycling trip or running) instead of thinking/worrying. So far this approach has been helpful. I hope I can build these "muscles" up more so that I can stop the worrying more quickly or maybe not even worry in the first place.

    I agree, sleep is so important to recovery. More on this below. Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.

    Sita likes this.
  7. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    Thanks so much, Andy. Yeah, I am reading/listening/watching Sarno in all forms. Also, SteveO's book and Alan's pain recovery program.

    Regarding symptoms as a distraction. I have a lot conscious and I am sure unconscious fear and anger. Although, I can't really make clear connections between individual symptoms flares and events. Fear seems to be the biggest thing for me. Fear of an episode specifically.

    My breakthrough came when I meditated after first getting symptoms and doing some self-soothing and I was shocked to see it reverse the episode. This had never happened before and the episodes were typically several days in duration. This was the moment I became a true believer. Alan's pain recovery program made a big impact here.

    That's interesting you should bring up the unconscious (inner workings) and that it might feel punitive. It has felt that way at times. Thanks for the reminder to think of this as a psychological defense. As I said I just can't figure out what it is specifically in that moment or could it just be the fear of symptoms because I *was* suppressing this fear through distraction...
  8. Rainbowdash

    Rainbowdash Peer Supporter

    I start thinking and my mind starts racing sometimes before I go to bed, sometimes if I wake up in the middle of the night. One night, I asked my mind, "What are you running away from? What are you racing away from?" And I realised that there was indeed something extremely uncomfortable that I was suppressing. Once I accepted that I'm feeling completely embarrassed/terrible about something that happened earlier that day (this was a trivial thing, that everyone else said was no big deal, but it was a huge deal in my mind. Minimising my feeling caused my mind to race around), I fell asleep instantly. Accepting that whatever it was, was bothering me - was enough to stop the mind racing around.

    May be it will help you.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
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  9. Rainbowdash

    Rainbowdash Peer Supporter

    My default thoughts are usually "There is something wrong with me", "I'm completely exhausted", "I hate my life", "I want to go home"
    When ever I feel this thought coming up, I strongly tell myself "There is nothing wrong with me", "I'm completely fine right now", "I'm perfectly ok with my life", "I'm home. This is it"

    Then I add some or all of these...
    "I'm not in danger", "I'm safe", "No one is attacking me", "I'm not under threat", "I'm not in danger"

    It's almost become a mantra now. The moment I tell myself I'm not in any danger, the intensity of the pain goes down a notch. My feeling is that my brain is wired to fear and once I calm it down, the pain can go down.
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  10. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    Hi, thinner man :)

    I wasn't so much worried about the soreness or being out of shape, I was wondering if the ankle pain could be TMS--my body not wanting me to exercise. As far as rigorous activity, I've thought of doing that. There is a part of me that really wants to go out there and go hard without caution but for right now easing into it feels right. I feel good about walking or cycling twice a day for 3 weeks now and look forward to uping the intensity after the holidays. Running is very much on my mind. Can't wait, shoe shopping now....! I hope to get back into cycling to and do some bike trips this summer.

    I love what you say about buying sports equipment instead of pharmaceuticals. There is something poetic about that. I am very much coming from the same place. I think my diet will go a long way toward staying on that path. Exercise will help too as will overcoming TMS.

    Congratulations on getting over your insomnia, finding methods to distract from worry, and seeing the repression around the caffeine issue. Life must be quite a bit better with good sleep!

    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

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  11. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

    Hi Rainbowdash,

    Affirmations also work great for me, if I remember to think of them. I need an affirmation to remember affirmations.

    In usually wake up and give thanks for another day while stretching, but this morning I went into very negative thinking of my twin brother who lives overseas in the UK. Using your expression my “default thoughts”. I went into how he gave away all my precious matchbox toys, and later in life had the nerve to sell my motorbike without my permission. I felt guilty about these feelings and have lately being musing over our disastrous relationship. I turned this off by coming to this thread and seeing your wonderful Koala Bear Icon.:)

    Just mere picture of a Koala makes me happy. This goes back to a comforting relationship I had with Humphrey, (my Koala teddy bear), as at my age of 6 he was completely bald for I used to scratch him for comfort.

    So now my affirmations will have to include the word Koala.santahat
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
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  12. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter


    Thanks for this suggestion. I have been working on thought stopping but hadn't really explored the meaning behind the racing thoughts. Sometimes the racing thoughts are overwhelming and a little scary just how fast and furious they come but I like the idea that they are a symptom of something deeper. I think looking at them this way will take away their power. Thanks, I'll give it a try!

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  13. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    This all resonates with me. The self-talk has been one of the most helpful things for me. Even if I don't always fully believe it. It's hard to believe it sometimes when you are in the midst of intense symptoms...

    I was never much of a self-talker about a year ago (before my TMS journey) I was in a supermarket very overwhelmed by the stimulation and I spontaneously started to reassure myself about how I would adapt in just a few minutes and it made a big difference. My brain is also wired to fear as you say. I can really get swept away with it. I call it "danger brain" and meditation, yogic breathing, and self-talk have been huge for me! Thanks again for your thoughts.
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