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Sometimes it doesn't matter

Discussion in 'Alan Gordon TMS Recovery Program' started by Forest, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is such a great way to look at the role of repressed emotions, and why it is always important to understand that different things work for different people. For some people, figuring out what their repressed emotions are is helpful in their recovery, but you do not have to do this. Even Sarno recognizes, that you do not need to understand why these repressed emotions developed, and, since these emotions are repressed, you may not even be able to uncover them. The key to recovery is not so much about digging into your past, as it is about learning your symptoms are benign and allowing your emotions to be present.
    plum and KathyBee like this.
  2. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is so important to know forest. When I first started I thought what is that 1 big repression?
    Then id journal and think and think. Then one day early into my studies it came to me after reading Sarnos book
    Healing Back Pain.

    He said he was developing one of those migraines he used to have issues with all the time
    and then he thought to himself, what is it that has me emotionally upset or that im repressing.
    Just by doing this act of will, sarno lost the headache and got an understanding.

    It really revealed to me that as long as this mechanism knows im onto it then im winning the battle, and that I did.
    I also understood it wasn't just 1 big repression, it was lots of different sources of tension and strain
    that id grown accustomed to in my lifetime and now I had to reverse these learnings and that I did.
    Thanks Alan Gordon for bringing this to our attention and thank you forest for making it into a thread-Awesome.
    KathyBee likes this.
  3. KathyBee

    KathyBee Peer Supporter

    This is a really interesting thought.
    Although I am looking forward to being better and learning how to recover, I am a bit overwhelmed by it all.
    My mom taught me from a young age that I should not show negative emotions, be nice to everyone, etc. Then at church I was taught that God knows what you are thinking and bad thoughts are a sin even if you do not act on them.
    So I have been repressing stuff since I was a little girl and I am in my 40s now. That is a lot of stuff. There is a lot of big stuff in there. But logically there would be lots of medium stuff and little stuff as well.
    Do I have to work through all that? Do I have to go back and acknowledge and feel everything? Because it could take a [censored] long time for all that? And digging up and remembering past bad things is not very pleasant.
    Starting to allow my feelings to be present feels more doable.
    Last night I felt a pain in my hip that made it difficult for me to get to sleep. And I played the "what am I angry about and repressing game." I did have one stressful thing that day where a co-worker went off on a rant during a meeting. But I acknowledged at the time that it made me upset and I told my husband about it after work. So I do not think I was repressing that, but I could not think of any other things that day that had made me upset. So I started rummaging through my mind for things in my earlier life I may still be holding repressed anger toward, so I could make the pain go away.
    So I think I like the idea that sometimes it is enough to just acknowledge that it is TMS without having to find the magic event that switches off the pain.
    I have been stressing out thinking I must not be over some of the stuff I thought I was over because the symptoms are still hanging on. After a whole 3 1/2 weeks, and having read almost 2/3 of the book. ;) I probably should be more patient. :oops: So I have been dredging up old things that I may or may not be over trying to find the answer. And on one thread SteveO said why are you still hanging on to this? And I am not 100% sure that I am hanging on to it. Maybe I am over it, but I think I might not be over it because something is still causing me pain. :confused:
  4. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    One of my hobbies is playing competitive bridge. Yesterday this couple got into a big fight. If I say nothing, just sit listening, my pain starts increasing. If I express healthy anger "stop the arguing" my pain increases. If I do nothing it increases and If I do something it increases...round and round I go.

    In my family disagreement and anger were never never acceptable. I get very anxious and in pain around fighting. Maybe I am thinkng I am to blame. I am learning to say something to our bridge opponents "STOP IT". But I feel my pulse increase, pain increase and the cloud of depression floats in. I know somebody is unhappy with me.....crisis, crisis.

    I come home and journal. I know the pain is benign. I will be fine... just get out of my head!
    95% of my pain is gone. Isn't that wonderful. I don't care about what is left. It serves as a warning bell that my mind needs attention.

    The personality traits drive my pain. The fear of disappointing others, the fear of failure, the fear of not being the perfect daughter, wife,etc. and the inner bully has on its boxing gloves always ready to come out for a beating. But now I have tools to help me manage all this stuff. It will be a year in November. I am still working on all this....yes, patience.
    G.R. and Ellen like this.
  5. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's great that you know you can just go home and journal away the pain from the anger but how about something more immediate? I am thinking about what Walt keeps mentioning. Laughing. What if you were to take a total departure and just burst out laughing at this couple? They aren't arguing about whether to turn off someone's life support machine. They are arguing over a card game. I would even be inclined to pick up a deck of cards, say "WHAH HOO! Let's play 52 pick-up" and fling the deck in the air. There again this may get you thrown out of the bridge group so feel free to disregard this last suggestion.:)

    I haven't exactly been laughing a lot yet but I am working up to it. I am smiling with the occasional chuckle, thanks to Walt.
    plum, North Star, G.R. and 2 others like this.
  6. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    I like it YB. I am going to try this. It happens on a regular basis. What do I have to loose. I will ask my partner to laugh with me.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    It often amazes me that when I feel anxious or stressed, even a minute or two of laughing relaxes me.
    Nothing really may be funny, but I pretend what is bothering me is really laughable.

    Laughter is contagious, so if you can get your partner to laugh with you, all the better.
    Maybe you both can remember something funny that happened to you.
    MontanaMom likes this.
  8. Donnie

    Donnie New Member

    I'm glad I stumbled across this. I've been going through my brain and memories trying to figure out what is the cause of my pain.

    Can anyone verify or shine some light on this statement for me. I have started to think that if your pain is lasting because you make yourself believe that something is wrong with you physically, your conscious mind is more to blame than the unconscious because you are constantly thinking about it.. I know the unconscious eventually takes over because it has to store all from your conscious mind, but is it safe to say that the first thing we need to adjust is our conscious mind so we can get our cruise control set in a better path.. It seems to me that if we can constantly tell ourselves we are fine and continue with our lives and then make ourselves get back to activities we train our unconscious to stop worrying and being defensive.

    Also, does anyone have any tips on how to convince yourself the pain is benign? I know telling yourself this over and over helps, along with returning to all activities, but does anyone have any other tips? I would love to hear them
  9. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    I do find that hearing what works for other people really helps me.

    What I am working on now that seems to really be significantly helping is that I am listening to my thinking.
    I have realized that on a very subliminal level I tell myself, "if I do that I will get pain." I don't even
    realize I am doing it. As I stop these defeating thoughts, I feel very empowered.

    I, also, tell myself over and over again you are physically well and when you walk your steps will not be hampered.
    I just keep talking to myself very positively and very specifically. For ex., I may say I am very flexible and I exercise
    with great ease. I have learned that if you say your positive affirmations and confessions right before you go
    to bed it has a very big impact on your subconscious.

    Also, I have used visualization in which I picture myself very vividly doing the activity that I have trouble doing.
    For instance, I climb about six flight of steps and then four blocks to get to my office. That would so intimidate
    me and fear would rise in me as I would think how can I do this with pain in my legs. So, I would relax;
    especially before I went to sleep and break down this activity of walking to my office in my mind. I would imagine what I was
    wearing, I would feel a cool breeze on my face and first start just imagining myself going up these 6 fights of steps
    outside without pain. I did this for about two weeks and then went to my work site and practiced (I was on
    vacation when I did this). Then, I added to the visualization walking the four blocks.

    I was always amazed by the time I got to my work site, I was so excited to climb the steps. And I did it with very
    little pain. Finally, I could not only walk up the fights of steps but could do the four blocks.

    I think the most important aspect of the TMS is to conquer fear and intimidation. I think it is so important to do
    this when the symptoms flare up. I stopped wondering what is this and why is this happening when I get a flare up. I just accept it as
    TMS; no more wondering. That has tremendously helped. Just remember the symptoms come to intimidate you and
    distract you.

    I hope this helps Donnie. There are so many wonderful people on this forum; I am sure they also have
    powerful suggestions.

    You will get victory!!! Be sure of that. Keep going your almost there!!
    Emre and Ellen like this.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Donnie. G.R. has given you some wonderful personal advice on how to convince yourself your pain is caused by TMS.
    I didn't heal from back pain until I finally told myself and my unconscious mind it was 100 percent from repressed emotions
    and not at all from anything structural. That took some doing, but I finally got that message to my unconscious and healed.

    G.R.'s use of visualizing herself without pain and using affirmations are two very powerful tools for healing.
    Find a mantra that works for you. I like "Every day in every way I'm feeling better and better." It's an old one, but really works.
    MontanaMom likes this.
  11. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    From my interpretation of Alan's quote that I used to start off this thread, you do not need to work through all of the things that you have repressed during your life. It is much more important to understand why you repress, i.e. how did your repressive personality develop, and begin taking steps to become more open and allowing of your emotions. When your symptoms are flaring up it is because of something you are repressing now, not something small that you repressed 20 years ago. If there are major traumas in your past, then it may be more helpful to explore those things, but most people I know don't need to dig into every little thing.

    Donnie's idea about focusing on the conscious mind first is a good path. I tend to view this as thinking in the present. There are a couple of wiki pages about this: Living Tension Free and Self Monitor both address this issue, along with Alan' program. TMS is fueled by our fear and anxiety, and when we are in this state of hyperarousal it is almost impossible to think psychological. Learning how to calm our nervous system and reduce this stress puts us in a much better place to begin to do this work, and to accept that our symptoms are benign.

    Accepting that your symptoms are benign can be very difficult, but overtime it does happen. One step that I used and that Alan writes about is using an evidence sheet. By reminding myself of all the reasons I have TMS, and all of the inconsistencies in my symptoms helped me to gradually reduce my doubts. Everyone is going to come to accept TMS in their own way, so it can also be helpful to ask yourself what you need to believe that your symptoms are benign. This approach is fundamentally based on self-exploration, and the first step is to find out what will work for you, and how you need to format your personal approach.
    plum, Emre, Ellen and 1 other person like this.
  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Forest, it's great to be reminded of what you said starting this thread:

    "This is such a great way to look at the role of repressed emotions, and why it is always important to understand that different things work for different people. For some people, figuring out what their repressed emotions are is helpful in their recovery, but you do not have to do this. Even Sarno recognizes, that you do not need to understand why these repressed emotions developed, and, since these emotions are repressed, you may not even be able to uncover them. The key to recovery is not so much about digging into your past, as it is about learning your symptoms are benign and allowing your emotions to be present."

    Some people wit TMS have trouble with trying to recall their repressed emotions. It's good to be reminded that Dr. Sarno said that it may not even be necessary, that it's more important to accept the TMS theory that pain is caused by repressed emotions without identifying them exactly. And also if we do identify them, we don't have to solve the "problem" or reason for stress or anger.
  13. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Deep breathing is good too. Lots of meditations etc tell you to breathe deeply before you begin, but I always felt it was a bit pointless. BUT - I can't remember which book mentioned it (Sarno or Steve O I expect) but it said that whilst you are breathing deeply you cannot hold tension in your body. This was like a 'light on' moment for me. I have now found it to be true. If you stop, and breathe deeply and cleanly, any tension falls away. You are then able to take control over your mind 'chatter' and sort out pain, or be mindful or meditate or give yourself a good talking to - whatever 'tools' you find useful.
    I have also found after decades of bad sleep patterns that I can train my body to go to sleep in minutes. 3 or 4 deep breaths, then list 3 really good things about the present day, more breaths, tell myself how well I will be tomorrow, more deep breaths, start being mindful IN the body, 'Oh - is it morning already'!!
  14. Emre

    Emre Peer Supporter

    Hi forest
    That is very useful for me:
    When your symptoms are flaring up it is because of something you are repressing now, not something small that you repressed 20 years ago.
    So my question is when my symptoms flare up, 'how old' might be the thing that flares it up? How much back at the most should i think of? The same day? A day before, two days before maybe?
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  15. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'll jump in here for a minute to help Emre. It doesn't seem to matter mostly. Its often current pressures that will keep pain boiling. I think if you start working in the now on what you think to be a source of rage then you should be doing fine. If you were to go back 5 years and journal about something that bothered you then -- it would still be fine.

    The whole point is to get your ANS or autonomic nervous system calmed down. Have you noticed that life in general seems to be pressuring you at times. You could think about those things and journal about them. Then go back and journal about things from the past.

    Its mainly about bringing your uncontrolled thoughts that are giving you hell into consciousness from your unconscious. So you could have this voice saying " You know this is crazy, your not going to heal. All of this is rubbish". If you do have that going on then you need get those voices or thoughts under control to stop the pressure that you are unconsciously creating.

    So to sum it up, journal about any and every thing that has ever been hard to take in life and anytime in your life that you might have been shunned in any way or hurt. also journal about all of your current pressures.

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
    Emre likes this.
  16. Emre

    Emre Peer Supporter

    The whole point is to get your ANS or autonomic nervous system calmed down.
    Thank you Herbie:)
    This is an eye opener!
    So can i then say:
    When i have a very strong current anger on something now, i might have a flare up in couple of days! But right after the big anger if i can grt my ans calmed down, then i can prevent the flare up? And deep breathing can be a tool to calm my ans down? So in that way can i prevent all the future's flares up???
    Thank you

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