1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
    Dismiss Notice

Day 10 Journaling uncovering difficult emotions

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Ella17, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. Ella17

    Ella17 New Member

    I'm on day 10 of this course and previously did a year of Curable app and journal frequently. I used to bottle up my emotions and thoughts and through this process I have been able to uncover a lot of feelings and situations and release loads of emotional angst. With regard to my physical pain I had been managing well over last year until about autumn since I've been suffering ongoing sciatica that doesn't want to go. The problem I have is having uncovered many situations that caused hurt I feel quite upset and perhaps traumatised by this memory and have difficulty letting go regardless of meditation, forgiveness and journaling etc. Although journaling helps express my thoughts and feelings, I feel that it keeps me stuck and emotionally focused in the story. I can feel my stress response to the memory is out of proportion to the actual event even if it was horrible at the time - logically I know it's all in the past and I'm safe now. Any suggestions to help me move past this?
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Ella17,

    One tip on journaling, because it is an effective way to explore feelings and allow them, is to write out first an event either past or present, then write out separately the feelings you have about this. You're giving yourself the experience of having both memories and responses, but not getting them entangled so much. This is thought to increase understanding and reduce identification with the traumatized self.

    Another suggestion is that when you're aware you're triggered simply accept and understand this, and link it to symptoms. "This is connected with my symptoms, and this is natural." Remember that you don't need to reduce your emotional experience to get better, nor do you have to forgive necessarily. It may be you're putting pressure on yourself to feel a certain way, rather than having tenderness for the places where you feel stuck. You may be a lot less "stuck" than you're laying on yourself.

    If you're feeling like you're "re-traumatizing yourself" by your practices, this is a good time to try a change in your practice, or get outside help, as you're guided to do.

    I think your experience is not uncommon. Remember there is nothing you explicitly have to do to get better. Find other routes, including modifying your responses to the SEP. A great deal of healing comes from relaxing with the symptoms and not having to fix them, and gently allowing feelings and connecting them to symptoms, as you're already doing.

    I hope this helps, and interested in what others might say.

    Aimee88 likes this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

  4. Ella17

    Ella17 New Member

    Thank you Andy for your perspective and encouragement. I think you're right in that I need to look at my events and be kinder to myself. Oftentimes, I can feel like I've failed or focus too much on the negative even if a situation was out of my control and feel that I'm useless - due to negative conditioning as a child which I haven't fully released. I took a couple of situations which didn't turn out as I wanted, but looked at what was positive within them and how well I had managed despite everything. So maybe the way forward is to reframe my thinking about myself. I found the meditations helpful too.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is wonderful!!

    The negative self-image, and blaming ourselves is common. It is very good to see this, and not believe it. I highly recommend the book Soul Without Shame by Byron Brown if you want to understand and deal with the Inner Critic with skillful means. Keep up the good work in the SEP!!
  6. Ella17

    Ella17 New Member

    I'm far more aware since journaling etc but perhaps have a way to go to be kinder to myself. Its certainly interesting to look at things from a different perspective and accept that life events or people's behaviour isn't under my control, but even when events dont turn out well to be able to see positives, realise that I'd done the best I could and not blame myself. I've bought the book from Amazon! Many thanks.
    Caro likes this.
  7. Cyclist2020

    Cyclist2020 Newcomer


    I'm new to this--on Day 8 of my SEP--but I completely understand where you're coming from. Frankly I've been shocked at how my journaling and reflections have been affecting me; a few days ago I almost had a (mild) panic attack after one of the exercises, and a night after that I woke up from sleep, anxious, for the first time in years. To be fair, my "issues" aren't all that severe in the grand scheme of things (I had pretty normal/healthy childhood, and I've never suffered from abuse or any significant trauma). My sense is that it's totally normal for this process to become overwhelming at times. Though, I also think that if something is too difficult for you to handle, you should really consider speaking with a trained therapist. For some of us, the emotional pain may be too intense to carry alone. Just my two cents. Best of luck to you on your journey.
  8. gazelle

    gazelle New Member

    I so appreciate this thread and the responses.

    First a bit of background: I've suffered from TMS for the last 22 years. I've recognized symptoms as TMS and used various techniques to cure them and then something else pops up. I've accepted that my mind stores tension in my body - the good news is that I have become better at getting less scared about symptoms and resolving them quite quickly. I think for me, expecting a life without TMS is like expecting a life without stress.

    So it all sounds good until the last year. My knees have had on off pain for years but both knees have become really painful in the last year. I really believed that this was real pain and tried PT - but they got worse. Then I decided it might be TMS so tried all my usual approaches to no avail. Then I simply gave up: life was so busy and there was lots to get on with.

    Then yesterday I bumped into someone and realized how narrow my life had become - how little of the things I love I was doing because of my knees, how I was hating all my passions (running and climbing) because of the pain and how I had painted a picture of the future that was really bleak. So I decided that I was going to "get back on the horse."

    But I am really reticent to start writing out my feelings again. I truly believe that after 20 years of on and off writing it simply makes me a lot worse. The pain intensifies, the fear, the anxiety. I start to live in a really dark place where only pain, anxiety and depression rule. I've tried the Nichol Sachs approach of just "write though this" and after one year I got seriously depressed. I'm a writer by trade, I love to write, so I don't shy away from writing. I just truly think that, aside from at the beginning, it has made me much, much worse rather than better.

    But I am not sure what to do. It seems that all TMS approaches involve writing out your feelings. And I feel that in some ways, the TMS practioners I have spoken to are much more adamant on "this way" than any conventional physician is in pushing a particular technique. So I have a bit of an imposter syndrome in thinking that this might not be the way for me.

    I'm stuck. I've tried the "Just get on with life regardless" but the pain has just limited my life so much in the last year.

    Thanks for any insights people might have

Share This Page