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Symptoms during sleep

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by LaughingKat, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. LaughingKat

    LaughingKat Peer Supporter

    I would love some guidance about a troubling part of my TMS.

    I often manifest symptoms while I sleep. They wake me up and leave me scared, which is counterproductive to the progress I make during my waking hours, which I believe has been a lot.

    I used to have panic attacks that woke me from sleep. Lately, it's been dizzy spells. And last night, worst of all, burning neck pain that radiated down my shoulders and arms. It's hard to gather my TMS arsenal when I'm surprised in sleep like this. I end up feeling terrified and despairing.

    This morning I am feeling achy in my neck, my throat is tight, and I have slight burning mouth.

    I don't know where to turn. One way to look at it is that my emotional defenses are down during sleep and some repressed feelings are coming close to the surface. But I swear I've done so much emotional work I don't know what could be left.

    So that leaves me feeling like the only thing to do is to explore the symptoms with a medical doctor. And I know where that rabbit hole leads -- more anxiety, tests, all sort of possible diseases planted in my brain.

    Does anyone have some wisdom or advice for me? I'd be very grateful.
    plum likes this.
  2. Patrisia

    Patrisia Peer Supporter

    Hi @LaughingKat!

    I understand that these feelings you encounter in the middle of the night can become terrifying and scary. I have been there. The pain used to be terrible before bed time and sometimes it would wake me up too. Additionally I would experience nocturnal panic attacks.

    When you wake up in a lot of pain feeling doom and panic, it's important to realize that it is scary but it won't hurt you. Start taking deep breaths and repeat to yourself that this is temporary. This is a temporary reality. Accept it for what it is and stop wishing to feel different or be somewhere else - that will just intensify the feelings of victimization. Realize that it is just an uncomfortable feeling but you are not in an immediate danger. You are alive and well. The pain/sensations are scary but they cannot hurt you. Take it one day and one night at a time. You will become familiar with the pain/sensations eventually and you will realize that nothing bad is happening to you and you are not dying.

    Also, the closer you are to healing, the more crazy symptoms will pop up and they will FLOOD you. I made a post about this: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/the-closer-you-are-to-healing-the-more-you-feel-like-a-heroine-addict-on-a-detox.22390/#post-115534 (The closer you are to healing, the more you feel like a heroine addict on a detox).

    Hang in there - you already know what you are dealing with and you are correct about not going back to the rabbit hole of doctors.
    Neets, plum, Lily Rose and 2 others like this.
  3. LaughingKat

    LaughingKat Peer Supporter

    Thank you, @Patrisia, for your very wise advice. I'm amazed that you are able to detach yourself from a nocturnal panic attack. That's a true success story. Your message is important to me and I know that I'll refer to it often.
    plum likes this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @LaughingKat, I can totally see that this is terrifying, but if the symptoms vary, it's unlikely to be the result of anything a doctor can diagnose - especially of those same symptoms are not present at other times of the day.

    I agree with everything @Patrisia said, and would add my own piece of practical advice, which is to write, and to meditate. And don't spend too much time on either. This is what you do:

    Do no more than ten minutes of free writing before you go to sleep, writing down the things that are bothering you, scaring you, and bugging you. Let out all of your weird random thoughts, both good and bad, deep and shallow. Do NOT edit what you write! It's really important to be completely honest and just let your hand write whatever comes into your head. You may have to fight your fearful brain in order to accomplish this. To finish, and even if this is hard, briefly write down at least a couple of things, no matter how small, for which you are grateful.

    Writing like this every day is being shown, over and over, to be beneficial to our emotional well-being. I've read two articles about this lately, and studies are being done to show it's true.

    Don't use a nice journal - this is just stuff. Just write it down, legibly or illegibly, on a crappy piece of paper that you can throw away. You are not going re-read it - that's not what it's for. The goal is to allow your unconscious thoughts to find consciousness by putting them into words on a piece of paper, without judgement, fear, guilt or shame. Get them out, and understand that you can then let them go.

    After you've done that, do a short little meditation and visualization, no more than five minutes, in which you see yourself sleeping peacefully through the night, having productive dreams which work out the day's "stuff", and waking up refreshed in the morning. Think again about something you are grateful for, and allow yourself to sleep without fear.

    Do these two things regularly and with commitment, and see what happens.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

  6. whitewatersmetta

    whitewatersmetta Peer Supporter

    You've gotten such great advice from others in this thread already. Something you might also consider would be to do some extra soothing of yourself before bed. I listen to guided self-compassion or self-kindness meditations in bed almost every night. I usually fall asleep in the middle, which is great! I started this about 4 years ago, way before I knew anything about TMS, and it helped a lot with the insomnia and early morning crippling anxiety/IBS symptoms that I had had for about 25 years. And the practice merges really well with Alan Gordon and H. Schubiner's approaches to TMS. You might check out the soothing section of Alan Gordon's Pain Recovery Program on this TMS Wiki if you haven't already read it...it's really good...I would consider it one of the absolute breakthrough lessons for me personally in my recovery process.

    If you don't know where to start, I might recommend downloading the Insight Meditation app (for free) and then looking for (free) meditations by Kristin Neff. She is a well-respected researcher and developer of the mindfulness-based self-compassion approach. Christopher Germer also does a really solid, research-based approach to his meditations (also free on the same app). They'll tell you in the meditations to sit up and try not to fall asleep during the meditation. Ignore that! Lay down, get as comfortable as you can, and if you fall asleep peacefully, awesome! If over time you decide you also want to do these practices in formal sitting meditation, cool (I do) but you get to make that decision for yourself :)

    I hope whatever you choose to try really helps!
    plum and JanAtheCPA like this.
  7. LaughingKat

    LaughingKat Peer Supporter

    Thank you, @JanAtheCPA and @whitewatersmetta for your excellent suggestions. I'm struggling to overcome my fear and I appreciate your guidance.
    whitewatersmetta and JanAtheCPA like this.
  8. whitewatersmetta

    whitewatersmetta Peer Supporter

    If you find this approach useful, then I'd also recommend the (free) meditations on the (free) insight meditation app by Kristen Arbon. She does a lot of inner child and emotional awareness type of work. She doesn't have the same research base as Neff and Germer, but oh man....she's so good. I especially love her Compassion for Others and Our Parts when it comes to some of the complicated work of TMS. Best wishes to you, you LaughingKat. Don't give up....this stuff works but sometimes it gets harder before it gets easier!
    plum and JanAtheCPA like this.
  9. LaughingKat

    LaughingKat Peer Supporter

    @Patrisia @JanAtheCPA @whitewatersmetta I want to report a little victory to you, because you were so kind and helpful. For the past 2 nights I woke up with a few seconds of vertigo. Instead of panicking I relaxed and breathed deeply and it just went away! And I didn't have any nausea afterwards like I have in the past. I kind of can't believe it, and I almost hope it happens again tonight so I can make it go away again! I know that sounds crazy.

    @whitewatersmetta I looked at Kristen Arbon's meditations and I'm going to try them, but for now I'm so in love with these two meditations by a naturopath from New Zealand (I think Kristen is a New Zealander too -- something about the accent is very soothing!):

    https://www.rjwhelan.co.nz/music/relaxation/relaxing when there is pain.mp3

    https://www.rjwhelan.co.nz/music/relaxation/relaxing when there is anxiety.mp3
    whitewatersmetta, plum and JanAtheCPA like this.
  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    I’m so pleased to hear you’ve enjoyed this success. TMS can be such a crafty little bugger and it does love throwing curve balls.

    I don’t have much to add to the excellent advice already given but I can endorse the practice of going to bed with a quiet mind. I achieve this through a few minutes of EFT/tapping followed by ten minutes of meditation (I typically use The Daily Calm from the Calm app but Insight Timer has a free one. @whitewatersmetta mentions this app above).

    love to you,

    plum ❤️
    whitewatersmetta likes this.
  11. Patrisia

    Patrisia Peer Supporter

    @LaughingKat and @plum same here! I keep having looong stretches of time with no pain but the funny thing is other obstacles come up in life. Now that there is no pain it's something else! It is never perfect but it is a constant state of growth. Keep at it my ladies!

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