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Scared to experience my empotions

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Mazzone10, Mar 24, 2023.

  1. Mazzone10

    Mazzone10 New Member

    Hi all,

    I am pretty new to TMS but not new to experiences of pain, physically and emotionally. My two main issues I struggle with are anxiety and IBS.

    Since I was 21 I have gone through a number of periods of intense anxiety, lasting from anywhere between a month and 18 months. I am 42 now and I can say with confidence that the periods have reduced. It's a maximum now of around a month or so. I have been on a number of medications over the year along with trying almost every different type of therapy. The one that I settled on was a mindful based approach. Mindfulness and meditation are two things I carry with me day to day.

    IBS is something that I have struggled with since I was around 23/24. As with the above I tried a number of things to get this under control....dairy and gluten free diet, no alcohol etc. The only thing that cured me of IBS was to stop pandering to it. For about six years I had no IBS issues until this year, which I will explain further down.

    One thing I am good at is not feeling my emotions. In fact I am an expert at it. It seems to be a common theme of TMS listening to Dr Sarno and reading these forums. I think this stems from a fear of not being in control and also due to my history of going through intense, debilitating periods of anxiety.

    At the start of the year I started getting serious issues with my stomach again….IBS pain, dyspepsia, huge ball in my stomach, lack of appetite and energy. I tried a number of over the counter medications which helped to alleviate things slightly. I also had a number of medical test which have ruled out anything physical. The stomach pain seems to resurface at certain times of the month.

    At present my partner and I are trying for a baby. We are both in our early 40’s so obviously isn’t easy. My partner recently went for tests and she only has one working fallopian tube which makes the process even harder. Obviously finding out this information completely devastated her. When she got the news she drinks a lot until she is ready to talk and breaks down on me. Once she has talked things through with me and we discuss our options she feels like a weight has been lifted. Each month after trying and nothing happening the same process repeats itself.

    Now for me, the baby thing obviously affects me too. When I have something bubbling under the surface my mind is very good at finding distractions for me…..anxiety, IBS. We found out this week that she is not ovulating this month so she’s been drinking again and I’ve had some anxious days. When the anxiety calms I am left with a gnawing sadness that I don’t want to touch or go near. When I acknowledge what it is I become scared of it kicking off a bad period of anxiety.

    I realise that these are normal emotions for the situation we are in but I still feel frightened to experience them or touch them.

    In one sense this is an important discovery as it’s almost certainly TMS. But on the other I don’t know how to go forward.

    Ps I am on day 2 of the SEP and listening to the 'Divided Mind'.

    Any advice is appreciated.
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    The most important things you need to know about negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and fear:
    1. They are normal, evolutionary mechanisms developed by nature to keep us safe. If we didn't have them, we would have never survived even infancy.
    2. Our developed brains are our major evolutionary advantage but also the reason for us to learn how repress our emotions which leads to the pain and mental illness
    3. Emotions are just a flow of hormones through our bloodstream, they flush through and go away - if we don't repress them, as unpleasant as they are. If we learn how to acknowledge them, feel through them safely and let them go, we will be in control of our emotions safely, instead of them controlling us.
    4. Our fear of emotional pain is what leads to us not being able to control them safely.

    There are couple books I would recommend: Claire Weekes Hope and Help For Your Nerves (audio much preferred), David Hanscom Back in Control, Alan Gordon The Way Out, Kirsten Neff Self-compassion.

    Also, the fear of the unknown is the most dangerous fear we can experience. Reality is always not as bad as we catastrophize in our imagination - know from experience. Good luck to your two and your future baby!
  3. Mazzone10

    Mazzone10 New Member

    Thanks very much for your reply.

    Sorry for the late reply! I didn't have notifications turned on, so I'd not received a prompt.

    I'm well versed on Claire Weekes and have read every available book and audio she has. I will check out the other books you recommended.

    I think your point 4 is the most poignant for me. Due to my experience I definitely have fear of emotional pain. With the baby thing I don't really like to talk about it as I fear it will kick off a 'bad period' of anxiety for me. But the issue with that is that I repress things and it leads to pain and suffering anyway!

    I decided last year (when we bought a house) that I was no longer going to hide from emotions, but it is a slow process. I find myself caught in the same trap over and over.

    On a positive note I have learnt to 'be more' with IBS and anxiety. I have started to notice that it is not constant and the more I allow both the more they tend to come and go. I guess that is classed as a success.
    Ellen, JanAtheCPA and TG957 like this.
  4. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Hi Mazz-- you seem very self aware. That's a great start.
    Have you tried writing your thoughts? Letting it all out in a private safe space?
    The first time I started to write after finding TMS when I got to writing, "Why am I angry?" (Note: I didn't feel angry.) My heart suddenly started pounding out of my chest. I THREW the thing I was writing on down. I was scared shitless. I said, "I rather have this throat problem than this!" Letting those tucked emotions out is hard! --- but.... the next day or maybe it was a couple days I can't remember I sat down again. This time, I started with writing, "Wow, what was that all about?" and then I went from there. Over the next several weeks I poured out everything. Who knew I even had anything? I've lived a very nice life. My TMS symptom that I was experiencing at the time cleared up immediately as I wrote.

    I'm sorry to hear about your troubles with pregnancy. I had two completely blocked fallopian tubes. I had always thought that I'd have children but decided I didn't want to go through whatever was necessary to attempt that. For us in hindsight I think it all worked out for the best. We've had a great life and I have a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn't have had the energy and physical stamina for parenthood and my husband wouldn't have had the patience. I don't know if we as a couple would have made it through the struggles to the wonderful place we are at now. I don't mean to minimize you and your partner's difficulties, just sharing that life throws little (and big) curves at us.
  5. Mazzone10

    Mazzone10 New Member

    Thanks Booble for your response.

    I've not really into typing my thoughts and feelings down to be honest. It doesn't really suit me. I am more of a somatic person nowadays, so I like to experience my emotions on a feeling level. When I've let them in I discuss them with my partner and they usually end up dissolving quite quickly. As I said in my OP if I deny my feelings I end up in a lot more pain.

    I guess the baby thing was always going to throw up a lot of turbulence. We both love kids but due to my past I've always been scared of becoming a Dad. But on the flip side of this when we try for a month and my partner gets her period I feel intense sadness for days.

    I'm usually a pretty stress free person. I don't let anything small in life get me down but the big stuff comes with emotional turmoil and that's when I become sad or afraid
    Booble likes this.

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