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Scared to travel

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by ashcatash, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. ashcatash

    ashcatash New Member

    Ugh, I'm scared to travel this weekend, but I have to go out of town. My back always hurts so bad after riding for a long time. It ruined my last vacation. I'm finally feeling a little better. I don't want to start feeling horrible again. I know that being afraid of it will make it happen more, but there's nothing I can do to stop being afraid of it.

    I'm very scared.
  2. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    I travel a lot too, and have had so much fear around it, just like you. I got a lot out of reading Steve O's description in The Great Pain Deception. He barreled through fear of sitting in a very bold way. Also, I make sure I stop every 45 minutes and have a little walk, based not on fear of pain but on new research that shows that it's very good for the immune system to do so (focusing on positive health rather than fear of pain).
    breakfree likes this.
  3. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    You are right your fear will make things worse..but the most important thing you said was, "but there's nothing I can do to stop being afraid of it." You are feeling powerless...a victim to your pain, a victim to the fear of pain (which Sarno says is just as bad as the pain itself). There is something you can do about, you are more in control than you think. If you truly believe you have TMS (sounds like you do) than you understand that the pain is generated to serve as a distraction from dealing with repressed emotions. The fact that the pain flairs when you travel is just a conditioned response....you brain has convinced you that traveling will cause more pain in an effort to keep you obsessed with your physical symptoms and prevent you from living a full life...but it does not need to be this way. You need to repattern your thought process and shift your attention away from the fear and the pain and onto the emotional reasons behind the pain.

    check out this link: http://tmswiki.org/forum/threads/im-a-tmser-triathlete.262/#post-4788

    its a post by Enrique, a triathlete and a fellow TMSer. His post and the responses that follow (some of which are mine) are great and will give you some fantastic ideas about how to shift your thinking...put the power to heal back in your hands and stop being a victim. As long as you feel powerless you pain will continue.

    I found Enrique's posts to really help my healing. I also find Steven Ozanich's book THE GREAT PAIN DECEPTION to be one of the best books out there on healing from TMS. Steven has pain for 30 years (back) and he had a whole host of conditioned responses that kept him in fear.

    You can heal, you have control, you need to look within....it is not the travel that is causing or exaserbating yoru pain...it is the way your are thinking about (or avoiding) emotions and the way you perceive you body.

    Best of luck, let us know how you did this weekend.
    AC45, G.R., Anna1 and 4 others like this.
  4. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Sitting is a natural function, therefore, it does not cause pain. Perhaps your expectation and fear of sitting for a long time can be explored--there is something deeper at work here (emotionally). What is your feeling on where you are going or with whom you are going?
    Jilly and Lala like this.
  5. trypp

    trypp Peer Supporter

    I really like Lala's post. There's a lot of wisdom in there. Every TMSer must learn to understand and deal with our emotions. We've been repressing for so long that when we first start exploring, a lot may bubble up. And if you get scared, you are definitely not alone. Many on this forum have been terrified of their TMS.

    That's why we all need to learn to manage and control our fear. If we don't control it, it will control us, and pacing is key as we learn to accept, move beyond, work through, and avoid the causes of the feelings inside ourselves.

    I'm reminded of a movie trailer I recently watched. It's for a sci-fi movie, so just ignore that aspect of it and focus just on the words of the narrator (and perhaps the music, because what you are dealing with is every bit as important as what they are dealing with)

    From the trailer:
    What I take from this is as follows: what you are dealing with is scary (I'm responding, at this point, as much to a post in another thread as to the post above). Like in the movie, there is real drama caused by the pain and the fear and disruption that the pain has brought into your life. You could be excused for allowing your fear to get the upper hand. But that won't let you heal. Having gone back and read all of your posts, I think that, to get better, you need to make peace with what scares you and learn to not let the fear rule you. How you do that is something that you need to figure out, but, like many other TMSers, you need to stop your fear from ruling you. Get professional help from a therapist if you need it, but allowing your fear to rule you isn't a good way to live. You are a valuable person and deserve to not live in fear, so decide to not allow fear to rule you.
    Anna1, JanAtheCPA and Jilly like this.
  6. Dee

    Dee New Member

    I have been in your same situation for 10 years, but things have changed in the past few months. I travel overseas quite a bit and I would dread plane rides because my back would kill me the entire time. I would also dread long car rides because of pain. I also have a desk job and sitting all day at work was basically torture - every day. However, after reading Sarno's book and doing a lot of work over the past several months to explore my emotions, I now sit at my desk back pain free every day. I almost have to pinch myself because it's so hard to believe that I can be pain free after so many years of trying different chairs, adjusting my desk, sitting on an exercise ball, using back pillows, etc. etc. And now I sit in a normal chair with no problems and no strange contraptions to keep the pain at bay. And we went overseas on a 12-hour flight in September and I had no back pain for the first time in years. One way that I have fought the pain while sitting is to take out a piece of paper when my back starts hurting and just write a stream of conscious about what I'm feeling at the moment. For example: I'm mad about X. I'm sad about Y. I'm anxious about Z. You have to be honest with yourself, and if you're like me, you'll likely be amazed at how quickly you can fill up a sheet of paper with these sentences. This is a technique I've been using for several months and it's been very effective. It has helped me uncover patterns of anxiety or sadness that I didn't notice before. I have come to recognize that I had certain emotional triggers that were causing the pain that I had never realized. There were certain situations at work that would cause the pain to flare, but I never realized it until I started seeing it on paper over and over again. If you do this every day or at least when you are experiencing pain, it will help. I also follow up that stream of consciousness with some affirmational statements, such as "There is nothing physically wrong with me." "I am strong and healthy." "Sitting in this chair does not cause pain. I am anxious and worried and that is what is causing the pain." "I will not be intimidated or controlled by the pain any more." That sends a message to your brain that you recognize what your emotional triggers are and you know what game it is playing and that you are onto it and you are going to beat it. I cannot tell you how much this simple exercise has helped me.

    Hang in there. It will get better. You just have to keep fighting and don't let the pain overwhelm or scare you. Your brain has programmed itself to cause you pain in these situations. That's all it is. You can break the programming cycle.
    AC45, Anna1, JanAtheCPA and 3 others like this.
  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is an awesome thread, everyone.

    Thank you, ashcatash, for letting the community know how you're feeling, because wow, these responses you received are pure gold!

    Please let us know how you're doing.

  8. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter


    Great suggestions! Thanks for this post. I just tried your stream of consciousness technique in a free write and got to an amazing insight about a core issue and how it has become a trigger in present circumstances. I could suddenly see how the pain I still experience got started and how I can take control. I have healed about 90% of my symptoms but this last set of body reactions has been resistant.

    I feel very grateful to you for giving us all this process you used to reprogram your mind/body. I believe I can get to these last bits of symptoms and be healed totally.


  9. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Very inspiring thread!!! Thank you all so much. Lala, I ordered and read Steve O's book. What an amazing inspiring man!!! I was crying over much of the pain he described. The fact that he is painfree now means that we can all be painfree...

    I needed the above information. I'm very scared about many things at the moment... and I intend to get over it!!!
  10. Dee

    Dee New Member

    Susan: I am so glad that helped you! I still use it on a weekly basis or when I start to feel overwhelmed, etc. It's amazing what you can uncover with that simple exercise :)
  11. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Hello All - This thread has been very helpful. I used to love to travel. It was my outlet, my passion, my fun. Now, when I need to travel for work or for a vacation with the family, my anxiety flares up. I do go but I go through the motions vs really enjoying it like I used to. For me, my TMS started with RSI. That is much better. Then, I got really bad anxiety. After 6 months of difficult TMS work (journaling, counseling, talking to my inner child at different stages of life), the anxiety is better (not gone but not as debilitating as it was). Now, I need to travel for work. It is to a fun location and I used to love that. Now my subconscious goes nuts when I go out of town. She is happier at home. I am trying to convince her that everything is going to be fine so you can cut the anxiety. It is NOT going to scare me anymore. She has a hard time listening ;). I read a useful article on depression that encouraged readers to do what you used to love to do - even when you don't feel like it. This thread was useful to help me lower my travel anxiety. I sure would love to get back into my passion again.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  12. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Ashcatash - It is a few years later. How are you doing now?
  13. Dfw

    Dfw Peer Supporter

    I am not new to TMS, just new to posting.
    My travels sound a bit like yours. I was always concerned about long travels. One of the great ways I found was to find time upon arrival to just chill. Rather not load myself up the first day and a half.

    Take shorter trips to start. An hour flight for 1 day, then a two hour flight for 2'days , three hours for 3 days, etc. This type of gradual exposure worked wonders for me and now, as I sit in Maui, 8 hours from home enjoying every minute. Although I do miss my fur babies. Please let your self go, even if it takes a year to reach the point of long trips, it is worth it in the long run. Keep us posted on your progress.
    JanAtheCPA and AC45 like this.
  14. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Thanks Dfw! Enjoy Maui! I will think of your story when I get on the plane tonight!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  15. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Trypp - I love this post and I will remember it this week. "Fear is a choice!" What a great way of looking at it. Us TMSers can learn from pop culture too .
  16. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member


    I can relate to what you say : the fear of traveling.
    but what Dee is saying is keeping me wondering lately : when I have a flare up in pain: I start asking myself why and wondering what is going
    on in terms of fear and stress and I was wondering if I should write that down : because i recall that there was this "warning" not to
    do so! "do not monitor the pain'
    to me writing that stuff down sounds like monitoring
    on the other hand : I feel a need to do so: keep some sort of trackrecord when pain changes..
    or could it be just another controlmeganism?
    so good idea/ bad idea..just do not know

  17. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Hi Karinabrown - I just read through Enrique's thread listed above. What I got out of it is that you should redirect your mind to any stressors / personality traits / negative thought patterns occurring in the present moment. So, I think the free form writing mentioned above appears to be more about your psychological thoughts vs the intensity of your physical pain. That was my impression anyway. You write about the thoughts that may be causing the pain vs the pain itself.
  18. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Karina, some people have found that it helps to keep an evidence sheet. I've never done it, but I think you could find references if you do a forum search for those words. I believe the concept requires keeping track of the times when your symptoms change or are relieved as well as keeping track of when pain increases. In other words, you must be willing to keep track of the positives as well as the negatives!

    The technique definitely requires tying your symptoms or lack of them to your thoughts, which is where the journaling of stresses, anxieties and fears comes in. Or, conversely, the positive thoughts or techniques you used to help relieve symptoms, or the distractions that you experienced which made your symptoms go away.

    Noting all of the different ways in which your symptoms appear, disappear, or change, will give you a lot of insight into how your emotions affect your symptoms.
  19. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    AC45, you're doing really well! What worked for me, to banish my travel anxiety (always a big one for me) was learning that our brains are wired to be negative, always on the alert for danger. This means that your brain wants to warn you about travel, which of course is technically risky... but in our modern world, not really!

    Once I understood this, I was able to talk back to my fearful primitive brain. I literally tell it that I'm going to be perfectly safe, and to stop bugging me because I intend to enjoy myself fully. Then I do a nice visualization of myself, having a great time, and once again remind my fearful brain that this is something to enjoy, not fear.

    Have a great time!
    AC45 likes this.
  20. AC45

    AC45 Well known member

    Thanks JanAtheCPA! Great thoughts!

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