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Memory problems and journaling

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by tomtomtom, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. tomtomtom

    tomtomtom New Member


    I'm a young stroke survivor (28 now, happened when I was 20), and I've been struggling with this issue for a few years but only just gathered the energy to actually ask about it. I've gone through TMS symptoms before, but that was before I found out about the stroke (long story, happened in 2013 and I didn't know for sure what had happened until 2018). I don't really have anything in the way of physical disability, it's pretty much all cognitive and one of those is a problem with memory. Sometimes it's my working memory, and other times it's accessing parts of my long term memory, but therein lies the problem.

    I've done a lot of journaling in my time, and one repeat issue I've noticed is that I can remember a part of an event that happened, for example my mum getting angry shouty when I snuck out of the house when I was grounded - that's pretty much where it ends. I don't remember much of the detail surrounding it like what was said, how she reacted apart from "angrily", how I felt about it, etc. How should I approach these kinds of things in future journaling sessions? I guess there's a chance it could come back to me in the future but it hasn't happened more than once or twice in the past few years. How do I acknowledge and try to make peace with something that I can barely remember? How would someone release emotions that almost seem like they're there without an inciting incident?

    Thanks for reading and any insight people can give!
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Eckhart Tolle made a very cogent observation. Memories in our experience, and the dream you had last night when you were sleeping, seem to have about the same quality about them....mushy , ethereal and disconnected

    With TMS and general 'resentment'/anger/issue related writing, The purpose isn't to be a detective and know each and every little detail, but to give us Present Time awareness about how something in the past set us up to have a certain mindframe, fear, and get us so yanked that we need physical symptoms as a distraction from the PRESENT moment.

    and even if you remembered the details, it wouldn't do you that much good. In fact, I didn't have a stroke and when I read your description, that is about as clear as most of my memories are. It was sufficient to get pain free, and ultimately THAT is the point, no? Getting free Now?
    tomtomtom, birdsetfree and tgirl like this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well put above, I think.

    There is an inciting incident, take confidence in that. What might have happened? Keep asking that, and start believing, and tell what might have happened. So, taking Baseball's lead, you know through direct experience ---feeling, that the emotions are real, present when you journal. That is the core of it. Your feelings can be the guide for the details. And the details don't matter. It is the feeling that you're connecting with, and probably connecting the feelings of now to the feelings from the past. How are your feelings now relating to feelings of the past, and how does your personality deal with these feelings? Can you feel and express through writing?

    Somewhere inside you probably know you were wronged, or have reason for feelings, anger, hurt, sadness, whatever. You make peace with everything by making peace with those feelings.
    tomtomtom and Baseball65 like this.
  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    one quick thing to add, that Andy Bayliss just reminded me of...

    in the book I got my writing template out of, it says that ; "...so in that case, the wrong doing of others , FANCIED or REAL has the power to actually kill."

    So its not even 'what happened' that can set me up for resentment and its attendant problems. It's what I Think Happened...right or wrong. So in your case, even though you aren't certain of the details, your best guess is good enough for the therapeutic value of writing.
    Lainey likes this.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think this is really important. What often blocks our in-depth exploration of feelings is subtle Inner Critic activity which makes us doubt, or make us wrong for the emotional experience. And not being sure that we're "justified" in our feelings is a basic, major block to exploration. So in this quote, we're directed back to making space --all the space needed to just allow feelings.

    I am also reminded that in doing exploration there is an old truth: When you fill in details, even when you're not sure, those details did not come from someone else. They are arising from our personal experience, so there is bound to be embedded truth.
    Baseball65 likes this.
  6. tomtomtom

    tomtomtom New Member

    Thanks for your replies and sorry for the delay! Real life kind of got in the way.

    If I understand correctly, you're saying I shouldn't really try to remember the details but try and recall the emotion surrounding it and, failing that, a best guess is potentially good enough? I'll give it a try and report back if I remember to!

    One more question, maybe this would be better put as another topic but why not try here too: I haven't felt any real variation of depth of emotion since the stroke either, really. I get annoyed at people when they're being really annoying (to me), really angry, I've been heartbroken - it was a very one-sided thing - and I feel anxiety, but only really when it's the extremes of each emotion. Maybe it's because I've done my best to not feel a lot of emotions in the past (I used to think it'd be cool to be stoic and as unflinching as a rock) that I find it difficult to feel them now, but there's also a non-zero chance that I genuinely don't feel these emotions anymore except for the extremes. I think I have an idea of what you're going to say, that I should try anyway and the worst that will happen is inertia, but I thought I'd ask in case you can see something I can't, or maybe an outside perspective will help. I'm aware I mentioned emotions in the first post in this thread, but sometimes it's hard to decouple the words of what I think I should be feeling from my explanation.

    Maybe I've been distracting myself from the little, every day feelings for so long that I've forgotten what they're like, too.
  7. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yep. Even a wrong guess is good enough.
    "what do I need to change to get better?". The answer?
    Everything! and Nothing. Both at the same time.
    Everything about our perception. Nothing in the 3d tangible world. However, your new thinking might make you naturally change your present moment decision making. There are jobs and people I avoid because "That is a TMS factory"

    I am not writing to find out what a persecuted individual I am... I am trying to find out where I process stuff wrong OR don't process at all.. People who suffer from Good-ism tend to say "I am OK" when they are not. This however is at the root of TMS.
    Everybody on this forum has done this, or they would never have gotten here. For your own rising awareness it would behoove you to review what you would have felt. Because that self inflicted stoicism is at the root of your physical symptoms.

    And remember, this is NOT about reliving the past. It is about figuring out how we are right now , this moment and how we got in a position to be so angry as to need symptoms to distract us.

    and this?
    The mechanism that Stanley Coen suggested to Sarno is at work here. Sarno used to think that the symptoms were an expression of the underlying rage. Coen pointed out that on the contrary, it is a DEFENSE. There is some part of us that feels that if that anger came to the surface , bad things might happen.
    If I get mad at My Mom, she won't love me. If I get angry at Pops, I'll get disinherited. If I get angry at the Boss, I'll get fired, If I am angry person, no one will want to be around me.

    Once i get real time awareness of this, I will start to see that my pain is there to protect me....from ME!

    But that same real time awareness makes the symptoms leave.
    backhand likes this.

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