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Overcoming fear without 'pushing through' symptoms

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Soph1802, Jun 5, 2021.

  1. Soph1802

    Soph1802 Peer Supporter

    Hi everyone

    I have a conundrum. I have dysautonomia, which I have managed to greatly improve through TMS work. I know that I can heal, but I lack self belief. Part of this is because I have one very scary symptom that I struggle to overcome.

    When I sit, stand, or bend, my heart rate and BP spike reasonably high and I get a real rush of blood through my chest which causes an intense pressure and squeezing sensation. It takes my breath away and I gasp for air. I'll be honest, I'm very afraid of it. I've had all the checks, there is nothing dangerous, it's just typical POTs/dysautonomia. However the Dr did say 'just take it easy when it happens and don't bend too fast' in case the pressure in my chest goes too high causing strain on my heart, e.g. standing still, waiting for it to go, slow bends or pausing while it calms down (it only lasts 10-20secs). I'm obsessed with finding an answer though and it scares me a lot - i think about it constantly (and yes, I know this is a problem.)

    So, I need to find a way to overcome the fear and reiterate safety without ignoring my Drs sensible advice. My question is this - I know I need to overcome the fear, but I don't believe it is sensible (at least initially) to do this by bending sitting etc quickly and with no thought in case my BP spikes too high. Has anyone got any tips to send my NS the message that this symptom is safe without pushing through it, antagonising it etc? For example, would it work for me to accept the symptom, allow it to be there, stand still, or move slowly while it happens but relax and not care that it is happening, whilst not feeling pressured to change it, push through it or bend faster etc? E.g. not caring that it is holding me back or uncomfortable because it is temporary?

    All thoughts welcome and I hope I am making sense

  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sophie, you identified your core problem very clearly: you are fearful and therefore obsessed. It is called anxiety. That is a very common state of mind for the TMSers - I have been there myself. You are in a pickle, because the symptom is clearly terrifying, and pushing through may become life threatening.

    I have to admit that I have not had a symptom that threatened my life if I just got up or bent over quickly, so I have not been exactly in your shoes, but I have successfully dealt with my anxiety by meditating and listening to Dr. Claire Weekes audios. I would also highly recommend that you start practicing yoga breathing exercises, they are extremely helpful for stabilizing your breathing apparatus and nervous system.

    The most important advice that I can give you is to move forward with baby steps, that is the only safe strategy for people with anxiety. If you push your brain too hard, it revolts and fires back with the scary symptoms like dysautonomia, because that is a protective and defensive mechanism against what your subconscious perceives as your recklessness.

    Another benefit of baby steps is that each small improvement builds up your confidence.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2021
    Ellen likes this.
  3. Soph1802

    Soph1802 Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much for your reply. You’re exactly
    right that I know it is anxiety calling the shots. I don’t think it is actually a dangerous symptom in itself, I think the point is that over many years if I was to push it too hard it could be. But baby steps is totally right and a really good idea. Do you think I could start by working on my fear of it, but without changing how I manage it at the moment, then start to become more confident with my movement as things calm down? Surely if I beat my anxiety my nervous system will calm anyway? I’ve actually been working on my anxiety for a while and had some progress, but no one has ever explained the problem with going all in as well as you just have so thank you so much!! That makes total sense and is probably where I am going wrong - I need to face the fear in small steps and build up to bigger things, rather than pushing myself to do it all at once! This is so helpful thank you. I know that my desperation to heal and my need to do things perfectly is fuelling this need to just get over it already, but this is counterproductive
  4. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes to the first question. By naming my fear as such and by being clear with myself that I am fearful, I was able to put myself out of irrational thinking into a rational thinking many times. The more you practice that little pause and acknowledgment, the more it becomes automatic, the more you retake your control from the fear.

    For the second question, the answer is more nuanced. It goes both ways. Anxiety is an emotion, which means it is your brain's reaction to certain hormones. Remember, anxiety is an evolutionary mechanism that protects us from danger. Your problem is that your nervous system triggers anxiety when the danger is perceived rather than real. You need to increase your nervous system's tolerance for danger, bring it to the realistic level. Yoga breathing exercises help to regulate your nervous system physiologically while meditation and Dr. Claire Weekes audios will work on your mind and your emotions. Essentially, you will be working on both anxiety and nervous system simultaneously.
  5. Soph1802

    Soph1802 Peer Supporter

    This is so so helpful, thank you so much for taking the time to reply to this. This makes so much sense to me. I will definitely do as you suggest.
    So essentially, I don’t actually have to do anything differently at all - I don’t have to stand faster, bend more etc, I just have to not be afraid of the fact that we I do do these things, I get symptoms. The point is that I need to get to a point where there is no anxiety, because I am calm about the fact that it will either happen or it won’t. I’m not bothered by the fact that sometimes, I have to stand still for 5 secs before I bend. It doesn’t matter because I am safe, and if it does happen, well so be it. It doesn’t matter. It’s not immediately dangerous. Then the NS will calm down.
  6. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes. The more you believe that your symptom is just a product of your fear, the sooner it will go away. But don't put a timetable on your progress. As long as your life is not in danger, whether it takes you a month or a year to normalize your nervous system - do you care? On the contrary, feeding your anxiety by being impatient will only fuel the fire.
    Soph1802 likes this.
  7. Soph1802

    Soph1802 Peer Supporter

    Thank you SO much for this response. You’re absolutely right. This takes as long as it takes - the key is to keep moving forward and to change my belief from fear to peace. Thank you thank you thank you!
    TG957 likes this.

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