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Day 10 Progress and a question about exercise

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by HamsterTrainer, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. HamsterTrainer

    HamsterTrainer Newcomer

    Treatment is going better than expected. Wrote a journal for day 9 that made me cry, something I haven't done in over a decade. I've been trying to get back into activities that used to cause me pain. I'm still hesitant and just thinking about these activities makes me nervous, but the pain is much lower. I can write and use a mouse now much longer than before.

    A question I had is about exercise. During my life, I've been very into anatomy and exercise and optimizing how I work out. Anytime anything felt even a little off with a part of my body, I would research possible conditions and learn a body parts anatomy. I would then try to perfect my exercise routine. I'm sure this practice is also why I've had pain in so many areas of my body. I've created a fear for myself, of a million possible things that can go wrong with the body. My question is, is this a dangerous practice for someone with TMS? In theory, I still like the idea of trying to "perfect" my exercise regiment and learn more and more about the body. But at the same time, I feel like doing that will give my mind even more ammunition to create pain.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @HamsterTrainer - and congrats on your successes so far! Also, this is a good question. But a tough one, which is perhaps why no one has responded yet - so I'll try to take a stab at it.

    Big picture: doing this work is all about recognizing when and how your fearful brain is trying to distract you from something which is at risk of causing emotional pain. To paraphrase Nicole Sachs, our brains are engaged in a constant balancing act "between what hurts, and what hurts worse". Our primitive brains are all about pure biological survival, and apparently, emotional pain is a risk to survival, requiring some kind of distraction which will deflect our attention from the inner emotional world, and focus it instead on the outer physical world so that we pay attention to the sabre-tooth tiger hiding behind the next tree. The way this originally evolved, it was not an illness! But modern society has progressed way beyond this mechanism, and it doesn't serve us well in the modern world - and in many of us, it goes into overdrive and takes over our lives.

    SO - how do you feel about the strong possibility that your historical practice of obsessing about your exercise routines is just another form of distraction? Obsessive and perfectionist activities can take the place of pain within the TMS mechanism - for a while. But they don't work in the long run, which I assume is why you are here, and now committed to doing the emotional work.

    The ultimate key, as you find emotional recovery and look forward to a future in which you have control over the TMS mechanism, is to find a healthy way to approach exercise. If you feel a little symptom, don't automatically go into obsessive panic mode. Instead, take a deep breath, tell your brain that whatever it's trying to do is not necessary and that you're perfectly healthy. Visualize your body becoming strong and fit as you continue to exercise. I'm assuming that you do know what you're doing, of course! I see a trainer once a week, partly because I don't know what I'm doing, and partly because I am unable to push myself beyond my comfort level. I feel things all the time that I dismiss as unimportant, but if I feel something which alarms me, which doesn't happen often, I let my trainer know, and she adjusts what I'm doing, and/or focuses on strengthening that area. But I'm female and pushing 70, so my situation is probably quite different from yours ;)
    Aimee88 and HamsterTrainer like this.

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