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The Role of Fear

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by gailnyc, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    I have become convinced lately that my main problem now is fear--fear of the pain. I have really been struggling with this lately, and wondering if it really is my main problem, or if there is something else going on. Last night I happened to read Marc Sopher's contribution to The Divided Mind, in which he says that he believes that fear is what causes some people to take so long in recovering. I really liked his whole section and after I finished reading it I ordered his book. There was something about it that spoke to me.

    I've also been thinking about a post that Balto made on tmshelp. He said you should decide to live completely without fear for one week. One week! That just seemed so daunting. I despaired of ever being able to do it.

    Today I had an idea. It's always during my fifth period class (11:11-11:52am) that I start experiencing the kind of pain that makes me fearful. So today I decided I wasn't going to feel fear for those 41 minutes. Just one period of no fear. So when the pain started I accepted it, said, yes, there you are, let the feeling of fear wash over me, and then I just continued with class. Amazingly, when class ended I wasn't feeling any worse and felt a bit better. So I decided to continue to practice. I practiced 6th (easy, because I'm free), 7th, 8th, and 9th periods. Still less pain than usual. Practiced staying on my feet even when I felt the pain (usually I sit down).

    The fear kicked in again later on, but I'm going to continue this practice of letting go of fear every day during 5th period. Then I can continue to practice as the day goes on, without forcing myself to do so. Practice, don't test, says Claire Weekes. So I practice.
    Forest and Leslie like this.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Fear increases our activation and level of hyperarousal. When we fear our symptoms, the more attention we give them, and the more intense they become. So much of my own TMS was driven be fear. When I wanted to work on a computer, all I thought about was if my hands would start hurting, and of course when the pain started, all I thought about was how severe would it get. Fear perpetuates the symptoms.

    Part of overcoming the fear does involve accepting the diagnosis. To some degree, once you can understand that your symptoms do not have a structural cause, then you do not have to worry about the pain anymore. Logically this makes sense, but sometimes it can be much more complicated then that. I recently listened to an interview with TMS psychotherapist, Fran Anderson, about her use of Somatic Experiencing. During the interview she said that when she has a client who is in a state of hyperarousal, they cannot hear what she has to say, and all of the psychoanalysis fails to calm the person down. When we are in a state of fear and activation, we can remind ourselves that the pain is just TMS and not a structural problem, but sometimes the message just doesn't sink in.

    This is where self soothing practices that you mentioned can come into play and have a major impact. I love the idea you mentioned about letting the fear wash over you like a wave, and let it continue on without dwelling on it. This is such a great way to not allow the fear to activate us emotionally, and as you mentioned your symptoms didn't increase all that much. I always love hearing about different ways to become more allowing. Thanks for sharing this.
  3. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Although I understand what you're saying, I think it's more about FEAR OF THE PAIN for me. I know there's nothing wrong with me, but I am a wuss about pain, and I fear the pain I was in back in December.

    There are also nocebos (like the one I posted about on Monday) and conditioning.

    Also, I think I am just a very fearful, anxious person in general. Fear is my go-to place, and what I have to do is work on re-conditioning myself so that it's not. But that is hard and takes time and practice.

    I just hope this may help someone else who is struggling with the same issues as me.
  4. Natalie Kovak

    Natalie Kovak Peer Supporter

    Hi, thank you for posting about fear. I struggle with the same issues- fear of my pain, fear it's going to get much worse. Can you explain to me what you mean by letting your fear "wash over you." This may sound like a dumb question, but I really want to try your technique and I'm trying to really understand what you mean by that. What I tend to do when I start to have fear and anxiety, especially when I'm experiencing a trigger, is I continue to tell myself some of sarnos 12 daily reminders, and try to visualize that part of my brain causing the pain stopping. I try to continuously yell at my subconscious that I don't need this anymore and that I can handle the emotions on my own, I am in control, etc. This doesn't seem to be helping me much, or maybe I expecting too much as usual. I'm also fairly new at this. Any advice would be helpful! Thanks so much.
  5. CMA

    CMA Peer Supporter

    Hi Gail
    I could be writing your post. I am at a point where fear is almost taking over...I dont know which is worse fear or anxiety. I am afraid and anxious about everything particularly my health and long term outcomes..........I can tell you its awful for sure. I am trying the tapping exercise for anxiety. Check these out http://www.anxietyslayer.com/journal/louise-hay-on-eft-tapping-for-fear.html
    I am hoping that helps with the anxiety and ofcourse listening and relistening to Claire Weekes. My mind has almost become conditioned to take it to a catastrophical level for no reason and that is what I need to first work on. Good luck to you Gail and sending you many good wishes
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Natalie, check out the thread Understanding the Role of Fear. It contains a great blog post from Dr. Schubiner about fear, and how it relates to TMS. One part of it, I think, sort of explains the idea of letting the pain wash over you.

    A lot times the worst thing about having fear, is that we are afraid of the fear, necessarily the situation. Fear can trigger us to have more anxiety and more fear, which can easily lead to a spiral of activation. I know that I have benefited a lot by being more accepting of fear, and not letting it trigger a worrying response.
  7. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Exactly, that is what I'm currently working on. Being more accepting of fear, rather than tensing up whenever I feel it.

    CMA, to me fear and anxiety are very closely related. I have suffered from anxiety for many years, and I used to almost see it as a friend that helped motivate me. No more.

    I'm trying out a number of techniques to help me deal with fear. Claire Weekes is #1. I'm also reading Thich Nhat Hanh's book, "Fear," and doing some of the exercises in "The Fear and Anxiety Solution" by Friedemann Schaub.

    I have also been working with a therapist. She has been very encouraging. I now realize that fear and anxiety have become a habit--they are my go-to feelings whenever I encounter difficulty--and I am beginning the process of undoing the habit. I believe it will be a long, long journey for me. But I now believe that that's what the TMS is here for--to help me let go of fear.
  8. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    The interview with Friedemann Schaub was one of my favorites in the Self-Acceptance Project. The portion where he was talking about comforting the struggling, hurting, younger versionS of "you" really hit home for me. I've read so much about that hurting inner child that my mind was stuck on viewing it as only the one who is perpetually about 3 or 4 yrs old. Until I heard that interview I hadn't given any thought to the hurting adolescent inside, or the hurting older teen. How are you finding "The Fear and Anxiety Solution"?

    Fear and anxiety are my habit also...and boy are they hard ones to break...but then again, I guess any habit that's been strengthened by 35+ years of practice would be difficult to change. Perhaps TMS is also here to help me let go of fear.
  9. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    I really like it. I, too, discovered Schaub through the self-acceptance project. I watched some of his videos on YouTube and then I bought his book. I think it could be helpful to anyone who wants to comfort, nurture, and make peace with his/her inner child (id, subconscious, whatever you want to call it) rather than yell at it. Schaub is an M.D. as well as a researcher and a really good writer. His tone is accessible and knowledgeable at the same time.

  10. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Off to YouTube I go! Thanks for the input Gail. I see more books on the horizon in my future!

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