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The Presence Process, terrified

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Imagyx, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Imagyx

    Imagyx Peer Supporter

    I hope someone in this forum read the Presence Process and can help me here.
    I started with the process 5 days ago and have been doing the breathing every morning and evening since then. Yesterday in the evening I did it as well and after ~ 14 minutes I felt already very unwell
    with my hands and stopped the process before the 15 minutes were reached.
    I couldn't move my fingers or hands, they were totally paralysed and I was terrified to the bone
    (I hope you understand what I want to say here meaning the idiom is correct ?).
    I was shocked and didn't know what to do, they just wouldn't respond to my mind.
    That was too much for me and I went crying to my girlfriend who was fortunately also
    at home. I asked her to give me some water and magnesium but I couldn't even hold
    the glas. I cried for some amount of time and could slowly move my fingers a bit again.
    After half an hour it was better concerning the paralysis but what was left was a
    tingling sensation in my hands and arms right down to the pinky and ringfinger and
    I went to bed after that to sleep.
    This morning I felt better but being very anxious about the breathing exercise
    I moved my hands during the process at times to avoid that to happen again.
    The book tells me I shouldn't stop the process, whatever happens, happens.
    And I can unterstand the logic here, with some buried emotions coming to the surface and
    my mind trying to protect me by paralysing my arms.
    1) I didn't feel any emotion, aside from pain and being frustrated and anxious
    2) I never had that kind of paralysis before. Years ago I had that a little bit and I dropped a pen
    and a glas then, but I could still move my fingers somehow that time.
    Yesterday my arms were like concrete or steel.

    I went to my parents home yesterday with my girlfriend and my grandparents were
    also there. But I had a fun day and felt better afterwards which I didn't anticipate
    because I'm actually glad not to live with them anymore.
    And my left arm hurt half of the day but was better from the afternoon on.
    What did the breathing do?

    Has someone experienced anything like that with the PP ?
    I really like to hear about it, because I don't know how to move on.
    Please help me, any experience will do, knowlegde is power, I know that much.
  2. honeybear424

    honeybear424 Well known member

    Sorry that happened to you, Imagyx! :( That must have been so scary. Have you ever had any symptoms like that with your TMS before? If not, it could be simply the dreaded symptom imperative at work. I have had a couple of new things come up for me and it is frustrating because then I feel like I need to get it checked out by a doctor. I know my chronic headaches, jaw, neck, shoulder, and arm pain is TMS, but I have had new abdominal pain pop up in June and continue to bother me.

    I purchased The Presence Process several months ago, but haven't even begun reading it yet. I have too many other books going at the moment. I can say, though, that I meditate every day and practice deep breathing. I haven't ever experienced anything like that. Is anxiety generally a part of your TMS? It is for me. I know what it feels like to get freaked out about physical sensations and I know that I can easily make things worse for myself by focusing on those sensations. When I do deep breathing, it always feels good to me.
  3. Imagyx

    Imagyx Peer Supporter

    Thank you for you kind answer honeybear.
    You say the deep breathing feels good to you.
    It does for me as well but only for the first minutes. Then
    I get a tingling sensation in my hands near the end of a "session" and
    this happened everytime I did the process. But yesterday it was more than that, began the same way and
    resulted in total paralysis of my hands. I never experienced that before.
    A big part of my TMS is the anxiety, especially anxiety about hurting my arms even more.
    And this was one of the scariest experiences of my life, maybe above all others.

    The book tells me to relax in the process and this was exactly the opposite as it seemed to me not only
    like paralysis but also like my arms were tense like a rope just before snapping.
    I want to continues the process but if this happens on a daily basis from now on I
    don't know how long I last.
    Maybe it gets worse when an actual emotion comes up, where yesterday I didn't feel anything I could express.

    That's a big part of my problem. I focus so much on my arms already that every physical sensation on top
    freaks me out.

    Maybe this book can help you as you're are already very sure of the symptom imperative.
    I wish you the best for your work against it, but I really understand if you have enough to read already.
    I read the divided mind now and read two other books before. This is the first one
    with an actual approach I can use for "home study".
  4. honeybear424

    honeybear424 Well known member

    Okay, well if a slight tingling happened at the end of every session, then it seems really likely that what happened yesterday is just an extension of that. AND...if a big part of your anxiety is about hurting your arms even more, then it sure does sound like your brain doing what it thinks it does best...protecting you from your repressed emotions.

    Your second statement also makes it sound like TMS through and through! Just get mad at it and say, "Stop trying to freak me out! There is nothing wrong with my arms!"

    Yeah, I will eventually get to the book. Working Unlearn Your Pain now and also reading The Mindful Path to Self Compassion which is pretty critical for me since I have been beating myself up a lot lately.:(
  5. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter


    Over twenty years ago I trained in a process called "rebirthing". It uses conscious connected breathing to get in touch with suppressed energy.....sound familiar. I brought and read some of the Presence Process and decided I was not ready to go that route yet because during rebirthing breath work I would get what is called "tetany". It is described as temporary involuntary paralysis of muscles usually around the mouth and hands. It is said to be caused by controlling or forcing the exhale but it scared me when it happened, too. I was told it was nothing harmful, it could happen in other muscles and is a product of fear or resistance as far as I remember.

    Maybe there is a website for the Presence Process with an email for you to ask about this. I do not have anyone I know of who could answer your question or reassure you. I would guess others on the wiki have read the Presence Process and may have experienced tetany as they have done the daily breathing process.

    I hope you can get some clarity and comfort on what you experienced.

    Best to you,

  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Susan, I haven't read the PP book but as for anxiety, try these relaxing techniques:

    Breathe deeply through the nose, hold a little, breathe out through the mouth.

    Say or think a mantra. One of my favorites is "Every day in every way I'm feeling better and better."

    Massage each hand in the fleshy place between the thumb and index finger, a yoga execrise
    called "the valley point". Use the thumb and index finger of one hand to massage the same place in the other hand. It's a must used yoga exercise to reduce stress in the brain.

    And don't worry. Anxiety is no fun but it is not fatal. It may just seem like it.

    Good luck. And try putting your mind on positive things, remembering being with loved ones
    and favorite places. Rent a good movie from Netflix or Blockbuster. Something pleasant and positive.

  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am sorry to hear you had to go through such a terrifying experience. There is a wonderful thread about the Presence Process on our old wetpaint site at http://tmswiki.wetpaint.com/thread/2671620/the+presence+process . It is probably the longest thread we have on our site. I'm hoping at some point to move it over to our new forum, but there are some difficulties I need to figure out first. If any one is going through the Presence Process I suggest checking it out. There are also some interesting links on the Presence Process wiki page.

    It has got to be terrifying to have paralysis set in like that. As honeybear mentioned it could be the symptom imperative. Perhaps, there is something that the PP was bringing up that you just aren't ready to handle yet.
  8. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Imagyx,
    That does sound scary. I teach meditation and I've seen other people have weird physical sensations at times, like milder versions of what you are talking about here.
    I agree with what Forest said, maybe this is bringing something up you're not ready to deal with yet, at least not by yourself. I have found it really helpful to work with a therapist, maybe this is something to consider?
    Hope you are feeling better today.
  9. Imagyx

    Imagyx Peer Supporter

    That's a lot of answers in that short amount of time. This means so much to me, thank you all very much!
    I feel safer now in doing the process independent on what awaits me there.
    So much experience is assembled in this forum, it's really worth admiring.

    Honeybear, I used your words today already, trying to tell myself I'm allright.
    You're reassuring me with your opinion on my TMS and as you mentioned for yourself I should
    also be nicer to myself. I'd wanted to buy UYP as well, but wasn't able to in my country yet.

    Susan, tetany sounds scary at first, but I'm glad you told me, that it could happen to anyone doing the process.
    And not just in the arms. Reading your post I may add, that I also had trembling or shivering eyes and mouth
    two or three times after the breathing, but obviously that didn't concern me at all.
    If it's not harmful - getting relieve after an hour or so underlines that - I will continue the breathing and
    keep in mind that this may in turn be a good thing that happened to me, if I can get to my buried emotions that way.
    I have to work on my exhaling, because I'm forcing it too much. The metaphor in the PP is "breathe like a well".
    I'm not doing it right under a lot of stress. So this is good to know, too.
    Walt, I already focus much on positive things in my life, especially not being alone helps me the most.
    Your mantra is something one could sing all day, it's just so hard to do in when things get worse.
    About your breathing method I must say, that I've learned that one in connection to yoga before, but
    the PP describes explicitly how one should breath for the process. It's said there, that you shouldn't
    alternate breathing through mouth and nose.

    Forest, I'll read the thread you posted, the longer the better. Reading a lot calms me.
    I was thinking that way mentally after all I read about TMS, but it scared me even more. If there are buried emotions that cause such paralysis in me, what happened to me ?
  10. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I used to worry about this too, like maybe I'm repressing some big horrible thing. I think this thinking is also part of TMS. I find that it's more my everyday patterns of repressing my feelings, negating myself, that cause all of the symptoms not a specific event.
    Terry likes this.
  11. Imagyx

    Imagyx Peer Supporter

    Thank you veronica. That makes a lot of sense to me and I will think of that if - hope not - anything like that occurs again.
    But the last two days I only had the weird sensation in my hands, no paralysis. I try to sit more comfortable now, relax a bit more and try not to force the exhale too much.
    I feel a bit better now and went working out today. Starting out I suddenly felt pain in my left hand again and
    I told me some of the mantras I read here over and over again: "I'm strong, healthy and I do this for myself only" etc.
    It worked so well :)

    I have to say, I write a lot of thanks here and there is a saying that things you say very often lose their meaning eventually.
    But I'm just honest here. You all in this forum helped me a lot more in only a few days than any doctor during the last
    10 years. I appreciate this so much and I knew you'd help me out after that scary event. Honestly thank you all for your help and patience.
    veronica73 likes this.
  12. honeybear424

    honeybear424 Well known member

    Glad to hear that you are feeling better now, Imagyx! :)

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