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Day 6 New here. Question about journaling.

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by JacketSpud, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. JacketSpud

    JacketSpud Peer Supporter

    Hi there, I'm new here. I have TMS. I haven't seen a TMS doctor for this but I've seen enough doctors and had enough tests to know that it's nothing structural. So, I started working on the structured program and so far so good. But I have a concern about journaling. I have had some absolute crap happen in my life. Probably not bad by some standards but bad enough! Now, when I journal the program said to discuss how we feel about past incidents. Now, should this be how we get at the time, or how we fee about the past incident now. Because writing that I was scared or sad was one thing but feeling them now is not so easy. However the emotions they stir in me now are coming from a different place and may even differ from the previous ones. For instance, as I child I witnessed something incredibly scary. At the time I was scared. But writing about it now as an adult with children I can easily write that I was frightened but I can't make myself feel that now. I can't relive the fear to fight through it or anything. However, the rage that the past incident now stirs in me as an adult is somewhat overwhelming. Do I write about the fear, feel the rage? What? Does it even matter? Also, I am finding this all very overwhelming emotionally. Even listening to Alan Gordon's therapy sessions is emotional for me because I have the same problems they do. I was thinking that maybe a therapist would help but I've tried therapy for anxiety and depression on the past and I just didn't feel I could truly open up. Moreover, I recently moved and have yet to navigate the health care in my new area. Any advice? Go it alone but be able to open up fully, no matter the emotional exhaustion? Or find a therapist and risk not being able to open up at all but have someone there for me? Anyone in a similar situation got a been there done that story? Maybe the journaling will get easier and less emotionally draining.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey, JS - welcome to the forum, and I'm glad you found us!

    I'm also self-diagnosed but I've done the SEP and engaged in other resources thanks to this forum, participated a lot here, and these days I'm working on mindfulness because I can still get pretty riled up with life stresses, then my symptoms flare up.

    Full disclosure: I am a tax accountant, not a trained psychotherapist, but I've been doing this work for four years. In reading your description of that scary incident, the fear of the child, and the rage of the adult, I'm reasonably sure that it's rage that your brain has been repressing. Dr. Sarno and most of his followers (like me) think that Freud got it right when he focuses on the rage.

    The thing is, for whatever reason, all humans are born with the capacity for rage. Have you ever seen a 2-year old with a full-blown temper tantrum? That's the rage. The rage of the inner child not getting what he/she wants, which is basically everything that feels good, including parental attention 100% of the time. The inner child doesn't want anything that feels bad - feeling bad creates rage. The inner child doesn't want to have to grow up and leave the safety of the parents - that creates rage as well. That child never goes away, he/she is simply repressed by conditioning and expectations - aka reward and punishment.

    It's no surprise that this scary incident created rage. Where were your parents? Why didn't they protect you? That was your expectation, and it wasn't met. The result is rage. If you were old enough when it happened, your brain was already repressing rage, because it's an unacceptable behavior and not only does it not produce the desired result, it produces the opposite - disapproval and punishment. If your parents weren't around at all, or, worse, if they didn't take the incident seriously, the suppressed rage would be even worse.

    The feelings that you think that you felt as a child are the shallow ones - they are what you remember, but they are covering up the deeper emotions, such as rage.

    As to whether or not you should continue to explore these things, that's a tougher one for me to answer, not being a professional at this. I know what you're talking about when you say you found it hard to open up with a therapist, because I am the same way. I honestly think that I did better on my own, and the things I'm writing about now reflect my experiences doing it on my own.

    But here's the thing: to do this work successfully, you need to start with self-acceptance, self-love, and self-compassion. We talk a lot about how we have to comfort and nurture the inner child when we get in touch with him/her - giving our younger self the comfort that we didn't receive back when we needed it the most. Being able to do this is powerful, and the emotions that it brings up can be scary, but in the end it is incredibly healing.

    You need to love yourself enough to know that you deserve to heal.

    Good luck, hang in there, and keep posting!

    matamore likes this.
  3. JacketSpud

    JacketSpud Peer Supporter

    Thank you for your very thorough reply. I think you really hit the nail on the head about rage. The thing is that my parents were the scary incident. Over and over! I have come to realize over the past few days just how unsafe I felt my entire life and I am so angry that I have had to live with that. I completely see that is the root of my current, often debilitating, anxiety. Now to work through this! And yes, I'm definitely working on the self love thing. It's funny, I always thought I was ok in that aspect but I'm learning just how hard I am on myself every single day.

    An added bonus is it is already altering the way I react to my children too. I'm always more forgiving of them than of myself but, as pe my own childhood, I kind of try to stop their anger (albeit it in a much kinder way than I was stopped) and already I'm trying to help them find ways to express their rage acceptably rather than suppress it. Might as well break the cycle while I'm healing myself. That of course helps me too as it gives me strategies for looking after me too.

    Thank you again.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, JacketSpud. I like Jan's reply to you and have a few thoughts to add.

    I journaled and discovered that I had been repressing anger because my parents divorced when I was seven. I felt insecure and that I might have been a cause for their break-up, but later realized I was not. It was mainly financial, during the 1930s Great Depression. In journaling, I put myself in my parents' shoes and realized they both had TMS physical and emotional pain. That helped me to forgive them.

    If we try to understand why our parents gave us childhood anger or anxiety, we can forgive them. Forgiving is a wonderful healing force and one of the strongest in relieving TMS pain.

    It's good that you are kind to your children. The lessons you learned as a child are enabling you to do better to your own children.

    Keep up the good work in the SEP and keep us posted on your healing progress.

    Jouraling can be emotionally draining, but it's the road to recovery. Don't spend more than half an hour a day on it, or thinking about TMs or your pain. Try to keep physically active and mentally calm, enjoying each day. Live in the present, not the past. Don't worry about the future. Practice deep breathing and try to laugh as much and as often as you can. Laughter really is the best medicine.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi JacketSpud,

    You write with so much awareness, and such genuine curiosity. I enjoy seeing your awareness and compassion, and understanding for the human condition grow.

    As we become more aware, more layers appear, and we are called to be with ourselves in more and more intimate ways. I don't think any of it is easy, because we have to work with the conditioned ways we reject ourselves. Being a comfort to ourselves takes some time, and intention, and you're current action --journaling, SEP, etc-- is supporting this inner journey.

    If you get a therapist or helper, you probably need to give this some time too, to develop the rapport and trust. What I see is a longing to be more intimate with yourself, and this is a wonderful journey! Good luck.

    Andy B.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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