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Daniel L. pain and anxiety

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by nelsonaj, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. nelsonaj

    nelsonaj New Member

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    It seems that whenever my pain subsides, my anxiety gets bad. How do I use the TMS recovery program to ease my anxiety rather than physical pain?
  2. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    To make anxiety disappear, you first have to understand why it’s there in the first place. When someone is experiencing anxiety, it’s their brain’s way of telling them that it doesn’t feel safe. For one reason or anther, your brain thinks that that something in your world is unsafe. It could be because of a relationship you’re having trouble with, it could be certain feelings you’re avoiding, or it could be the tiger that’s chasing you right now (if that’s the case, I recommend you stop reading and start running). All of those things make your brain feel less safe.

    If a tiger is chasing you, then good, I want you to have some anxiety – that’s what helps you run away and live for another day. But, if you’re experiencing anxiety because of a non-physical threat, then you know you need to get to work on your brain. Your brain, just like your muscles, can get weak and not function very well. You’ve probably experienced that weird shakiness that comes with using a muscle that isn’t very strong. Well, that’s what your brain is doing when it’s having anxiety. It’s shaking because the part of your brain that tells you that you’re safe and calms you down isn’t very strong right now.

    Just like that weak muscle, your brain isn’t going to stop shaking (giving you anxiety) the first time you exercise it. It will take some time. So your first step in eliminating anxiety is saying to yourself: Eliminating anxiety will take time, but I’m going to work as long as it takes.

    Your second step is find the best way that works for you to tell your brain that it’s safe. Mindfulness meditation is the most effective way to do this, but it takes dedication and consistent practice. Find a guided meditation that works for you and work at it. Every day. Just like going to the gym, you’ll have to keep at it in order to see gains. But that weak muscle will turn into a bulging bicep if you are patient and consistent.

    Similarly, the TMS process is a lot about learning to coach yourself through threatening, or anxiety-producing, circumstances. Just like meditation, you will need to consistently practice coaching yourself every time your anxiety rises. At those moments, think of how a loving parent would talk to a child, and that’s exactly how you should talk to your brain. If you tell it scary things, you’re only encouraging the anxiety, so if you need to repeat something as simple as “You’re safe” to your brain a thousand times, that’s okay. Again, patience and persistence.

    Finally, don’t separate pain and anxiety in your brain. Treat anxiety and pain the same way. They’re just distractions, and they will go away.

    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

  3. lavendertealatte

    lavendertealatte Peer Supporter

    Thank you for this.

    I learned about Sarno in college and used his methods to quickly become pain-free from what I thought to be RSI in my wrists and hands. It took only a week. However, it seemed to me that the trade for eliminating my physical pain was having and facing emotional pain. Years later, I am now dealing with depression and anxiety, but unable to apply Sarno's texts. I even questioned whether my depression/anxiety would go away if I accepted a physical manifestation of stress instead. Am I misunderstanding the theories?
  4. TimmyH

    TimmyH Peer Supporter

    Try howard schubiners unlearn your anxiety and depression. There is guided workbook inside.
    lavendertealatte likes this.
  5. lavendertealatte

    lavendertealatte Peer Supporter

    Thank you.

    To be honest, I have the Unlearn your Pain book and I couldn't get through it. Some of the interviews were especially violent in imagery as Schubiner helped his patients release their inward anger towards others, and as a Christian, I couldn't quite reconcile with those things. So I eventually put the book down and forgot about trying those things. Have you read Unlearn Your Anxiety and Depression and is it similar in contents? Can I just go through a workbook?
    I also have Dr. Schecter's workbook, it is somewhat like a guided journal. I have journaled for quite a bit of my life, so I have been unmotivated when it comes to it, though it was his prescription to me when I saw him.
  6. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    This is a really great answer Daniel G! Any relation to Daniel T?

    You should know Daniel G, that people who contact me are very happy with you and your work. Tip of my hat to ya and how you're helping people out there.

    I am a Christian, and everything I've seen in TMS healing fits perfectly with Christianity like a glove, hand and hand, as the truth sets us free. There is a dark side to us, and we must see it to shed light on it. I haven't yet read Unlearn My Pain even though Dr.Schubiner sent me a copy. When I get time I'll read it some day. Until then, anything that everyone is trying to do in order to help people is at the heart of Jesus' message.

    We cannot find anything that we don't want to find, and we never look for things we don't know are missing.

  7. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    Thank you Steve. The admiration is mutual!

    I completely agree - I have not found any TMS work at odds with Christian beliefs. It may feel like it, but there's a very strong difference between thoughts and actions. Thoughts are natural and normal. What one does with those thoughts is what can define oneself as a Christian.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
    Darias146 likes this.
  8. EricFeelsThisWay

    EricFeelsThisWay Peer Supporter

    @lavendertealatte, Is it the expression of anger that goes against your Christian beliefs, or is it the presence of anger itself?
    Growing up, I was led to believe that anger itself was a sin. Saints and priests and Mother Theresa didn't get angry, and they were supposed to be holy, so in order to be holy I couldn't be angry.
    It was this suppression of the anger that led to my TMS. I had to ultimately leave organized religion because I sensed a vague but damaging inability for people to be real with each other. Like, "You got beef with me? Let it out. Let's hear it." I've found that if I can be more assertive (not necessarily aggressive) in situations that bother me, I feel better, the party is surprisingly responsive, and my pain subsides, too.
    Also, it took me a while to acknowledge that rage was a real thing and not a sign of a character defect or going against God's will. It was my rage toward religious authority figures that was making my pain flair up.
    LaRubia, Purist and honey badger like this.
  9. lavendertealatte

    lavendertealatte Peer Supporter

    Thank you for all the responses. The expression of anger is not sin, as the Bible says-- Be angry, but do not sin. I agree that one ought to be genuine and suppression is no solution. I get that thoughts and actions are different, but even thoughts being not actions are not a license for thinking whatever one wants to think. Of course, we are all sinners, and to pretend otherwise is to lie. But what I did have a problem with was what I saw as the encouragement of playing out in your head what you would do to such and such a person who abused such and such a person. I wasn't sure that was so necessary. I tried it, and while it may have felt good imagining throwing punches at a certain person, I didn't feel it healed me. Maybe I was manufacturing it, trying to heal myself. I don't know.

    I'm not saying TMS is all at odds. I have benefited greatly from the knowledge that pain came from my mind in RSI, but am not so sure that digging into my past trying to find repressed anger is so helpful for me. Currently, my battle so to speak is not with RSI or physical pain, but with psychological pain-- anxiety and depression and some OCD.
    At the time of the peak of my anxiety, I knew what the ultimate source was. It was this deep disconnect I felt with my relationship, whether to stay or to go. I both wanted in and out at the same time, and you could say I was at war with myself. When that relationship ended, much of the anxiety ended and my IBS, which I had been having every day (sorry to be graphic) completely resolved, but the depression/anxiety piece persists still today, for I believe other reasons that are deeper and more difficult to deal with.

    I respect those that have changed their situations for the betterment of their health. For me though, sometimes, the outward situation married to my soul is producing rage, but it cannot be changed. If I cannot change my situation, then I think the TMS way would be to change my attitude about it? I am not sure. My mind is a force to be reckoned with!

    Healing from RSI took a good week or so. Other forms have persisted. I wonder though, if the pain is something some of us have to live with as humans.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2016
  10. EricFeelsThisWay

    EricFeelsThisWay Peer Supporter

    Regarding that last question...I don't think it is. When I first developed TMS symptoms in summer of 2012, I committed myself to understanding chronic pain from a spiritual perspective, and one thing I considered was that maybe God had dog-eared me for pain, like it was my refiner's fire, or my cross to bear. I couldn't understand why else God could permit such senseless pain.
    I attended daily mass, then started meditating on scripture and praying the rosary, looking for some answers. The Bible is redolent with characters who suffer in God's name, but I don't think that has to be me. I am not a martyr. The main thing that the TMS diagnosis has taught me is that feeling the weight of the world on my back (literally and figuratively) is not necessary. When I find myself in a situation where I feel like I could have done more, I say to myself, "I am no Mother Theresa."
    This idea of accepting the pain is a fascinating one. On one hand, we are told not to draw undue attention to it, and to accept that, for today, we are in pain. But on the other hand, we need to trust that we will not always be in pain, so don't prepare a room in our house for it to dwell in, you know? Maybe this is a metaphor for suffering in general. To me, this is endlessly fascinating.
    I definitely agree with you re: Schubiner's suggestion to scream out the pain and visualize inflicting pain onto our perpetrators. That doesn't make sense to me. I'm pretty docile, and from a young age I knew the negative consequences of violence. The best revenge is to live a good life.
    birdsetfree and lavendertealatte like this.
  11. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Daniel, 4 people have contacted me and told me you did a great job with them, so I have no qualms sending people your way, out on the western front. And I don't even know what qualms means.

    Screaming and throwing fits has been shown to condition the body and prepare it for anger. It is practicing rage and further strengthening the neural set. The concept in healing is to calm the mind and still the unconscious waters. Let go and gain it all.

  12. lavendertealatte

    lavendertealatte Peer Supporter

    Interesting perspective about conditioning the body for anger. So you don't feel it's profitable as a sort of way of "getting it out"?

    just re checked the Unlearn your Pain book, Schubiner calls it ISTDP... encourages patients to get angry at their pain
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  13. MusicMan11

    MusicMan11 Peer Supporter

    I know this thread is old, but the same exact thing is having to me! It's like I either have one or the other. Slight pain that I try and shrug off and will subside, but then my anxiety hits in hard and eventually leads to insomnia at night time.

    Mindfulness is so hard to practice!
  14. lavendertealatte

    lavendertealatte Peer Supporter

    and I'm back. I've been weaning off medication so the anxiety and depression are here with a vengeance. I re-read the first five chapters (available on Kindle) for Unlearn Your Anxiety and Depression, and really liked it. I seemed to have donated my actual Unlearn Your Pain book though so the emotional work remains undone. I am still afraid of that part, I guess the part where he talks about this lady Kathryn who got rid of most of her anxiety but still had it because she was living with her parents?? That kind of scares me.
  15. nancy

    nancy Well known member

    SO, you are the best, I really need your help after all these yrs, before I just give up,Nancy
  16. nancy

    nancy Well known member

    0pps! Meant to put this in another part of the forum, Nancy

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