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journaling about the same thing again?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Eve, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. Eve

    Eve Peer Supporter

    I am 31 years old and have FM for 8 years now.
    It started right on the day when my ex boyfriend and I split up after a very emotional abusive relationship of 7 years, in which I wasn’t able to express my anger, sadness and anxiety because I’m a conflictavoider and so I just kept all my miserable feelings to myself . .It’s so true what Sarno says, the onset of the pain that day never made me think about my suppressed emotions back then, because I could only think of my horrible pain when it started.
    Next to this, I am a perfectionist, goodist, legalist and have a low self esteem. So not only my past relationship could be the cause, but also these traits have set me up to where I am now. People were able to walk over me for many many years, without me saying a word, and that causes me a lot of pain and anger now that I think back about this.
    Two years ago I found the Gupta programme, which helped me greatly to get my head back straight and not to give up hope, because in the meantime, anxiety and all kind of new symptoms (dizziness, chronic fatigue, nausea ) had taken a hold of me because I didn’t know what was going on with my body and no one was able to help me.
    I have always known that the pain was originating in my mind, so Gupta helped me to take away my IBS and reclaim my life a little more, but after two years of applying this method, I am still dealing with pain, fatigue and all the other symptoms. The program contains more or less the same info as on Alan Gordon’s recovery program. I stopped all negative thoughts and didn’t jump on the anxiety train for two years, I did it relentlessly and consistently without doubt, but it seems that doing only this, did not help me so far… Although I must admit that I was still preoccupied, but only because those negative thoughts would not stop harassing me..
    Fortunately I found the missing piece 3 months ago – The TMS diagnosis. I am so grateful to have found sarno’s books and this TMS site. I believe 100% in the theory and I have no doubt about it. So I guess in my case, it could be that I haven’t dealt with the emotional side of things and that this could be the missing key for me.
    However, I have now been working on my emotions daily and have covered all of the issues/trauma’s from the past for the past 3 months. I know, this is not a long time and I also let go of the outcome dependency and setting myself a time frame. I also do not monitor my body and I let go of all fears/doubts using many self-help tools I have learned over the years.
    I have followed Nancy Selfridge’s practical book – freedom from FM in 5 weeks which focuses a lot on anger meditation, regular meditation and journaling about past/present and dreams, but no definitive results yet in my case :( I have also been working with a faster EFT practioner to work on my past and go back to these moments and release the emotional baggage. I am now at day 10 of the SEP. I’ve been crying for about 3 months now because there has been so much stuff coming out, but now I have the feeling that I have written and thought/meditated about everything which could possibly cause me so much pain. I have a good insight about who I am and have the feeling that I left no stone unturned in the last months and that there maybe aren’t any more emotions to discover? I have the tendency of thinking that I have to find that one specific horrible feeling in order to get better…
    My question is now: the SEP is asking me again to write about my past events and I kind of look up to it because I have written about all my painful issues from the past extensively and very profoundly. I wonder If going over it again will do me any good. I know now how much hurt and pain I have because of that relationship but I do not want to dwell on it over & over again. However, knowing or assuming that the pain was caused because of my past relationship, I sometimes think that I have to keep on journaling/thinking/or do the anger meditation on it in order to heal.
    What do you journal about after having done the SEP and when the pain is still there? Any suggestions?
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Eve,

    Congratulations on all the hard work you have done on your road to recovery. You have covered all the bases well.

    I found my journaling got repetitive at some point. I don't think it's helpful to keep writing the same things over and over. What helped me was to take a different approach. For me the issues that contribute to TMS are not so much the repressed emotions themselves, but looking at why I repress them. For me it's the internal conflict around the emotions that is the problem. I am also a conflict avoider, so I had to look hard at why I avoid conflict. What do I fear? In Steven Connena's book he talks about looking at the emotion about the emotion, which I found helpful. How do I feel about feeling angry? Is there guilt, shame, fear? I discovered many issues in early childhood that made it not OK to express anger or sadness, so I explored all of that. Often there are internal conflicts between the inner child and the inner parent, so I journal as a dialog between them sometimes. I saw a recommendation recently that I haven't tried yet, but could be interesting, that says to journal in the third person as if writing a biography about yourself. Also, the unsent letter exercise has been useful to me at times.

    Hope some of these ideas are helpful. Keep at it. You are on the right path.
  3. Eve

    Eve Peer Supporter

    Thank you Ellen for your post.
    I am in fact glad that YOU answered because I have read some of your posts and your healing story and found that we suffer more or less from the same thing and I also found TMS through Eric Robins on youtube by the way :) congrats on your recovery also, that's just fantastic news and gives me great hope that I am indeed on my final path towards recovery.
    Sometimes I can feel very confident about myself and just knowing that all will be okay, only for the second day to be in complete despair and doubting if I'm missing something here. However, I know how to deal with that, so that the good side to it.
    I had a session with a therapist around why I am avoiding conflicts and that was because I wasn't allowed to stand up for myself at home because my father wouldn't tolerate any rebellion, so I just shut my mouth . That in combination with the low self-esteem herited from my mother, which made me believe that what I have/had to say was not important in the first place and so shutting up and having people take abuse of me because I was the good girl.. But i will definetely look deeper into that again. For sure, this will be a work in progress because I still have difficulties opening up and standing up for myself.
    Do you also experience huge dips during your road to recovery? I notice that everyone has them, but with FM/CFS the whole body collapses and I am not able to do anything anymore. I just don't know how to link this with the emotional side of the problem. For me, this is just because I've overdone it physically and not speficially emotionally. Do you think this as well?
    Ellen likes this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    I found the book by Howard Schubiner, MD Unlearn Your Anxiety and Depression helpful in changing how I view the TMS equivalents of anxiety, depression, and fatigue. He states that pain and anxiety are the result of the fight or flight response gone awry, but that depression and fatigue are more related to problems with the freeze and submit (where an animal submits to the prey and plays dead, hopefully to escape before death) responses. This makes sense to me. While I have made a good recovery from pain, I still struggle with anxiety (and its companion insomnia), depression, and fatigue. I do occasionally experience a return of the pain, but am able to get it to leave pretty quickly now.

    I became aware awhile back that during times of stress and hardship this phrase bubbles up into my mind repeatedly "I wish I was dead". I don't feel that way on a conscious level, and I'm not suicidal, but apparently somewhere in my unconscious this feeling exists. I'm beginning to wonder if the depression and fatigue is an expression of this unconscious thought in my body. It's like my mindbody is saying at some deep level "I give up" or "I submit". Life is too hard and painful and there isn't enough joy and love in life to be a counterbalance. This game is not fun, so I'm going to stop playing.

    So I think the remedy to depression and fatigue is to cultivate joy, love, and connection. No easy task when you feel like crap and have really low self esteem. But it is like finding the will to exercise when you're in pain. You just have to be brave and do it anyway. And believe that your body is fine. Let go of the fear of the outcome, be present, and trust in the process.

    You're doing really well. Hang in there. Glad that you've joined us on the Forum.
    Eve likes this.
  5. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Hi Eve,

    Looks like you've got great feedback from Ellen already. Might I add, many TMS clients I've worked with spend countless hours writing about the past and old wounds. This is never a wasted opportunity but for some people, delving into the past is just another way of avoiding the present. Might I suggest honoring that part of you that realizes you avoid conflict in the present day and just try to be a little more mindful of that or other things you might avoid presently. Sometimes, in searching our past for trauma, we miss the parts of life presently that cause us distress. Asking questions like "What issue am I avoiding in my life right now?" "What was I just thinking/feeling?" can be powerful tools in recognizing our present day TMS issues.

    Best of luck,
    Eve, Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) and Ellen like this.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Eve. I like Andrew Miller's rely. It looks at journaling a different way. For one thing, I definitely suggest you not spend hours thinking or writing about the past, or even any present stresses or concerns. That can keep your mind focused on the negative. Try to spend more of your time thinking positive and deep breathing and doing what you can to stay physically active and emotionally happy.
    Eve likes this.

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