1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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The Time is coming to write my success story

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by jokeysmurf, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    The time is coming to write my success story. Surely I will say a lot of what other people have said but hopefully I will say it in just a way that is different enough that can help someone. I would like to write in the mean time about some of the things which have really deepened my awareness.

    Rewind back to when I was really in the middle of it all in terms of starting to believe in TMS. I started having some success right away and that helped to build more success and of course the Extinction Bursts would come and I would be left feeling like I was back to square one. At that time I hard a very hard time believing or rather understanding how or why emotions could or would cause TMS. I suppose I wasnt entirely sure what that meant. I blame it on me being ESL and speaking 3 languages and coming from a different culture, but that's maybe not it. I was confused to say the least. What was so difficult to understand for me, was which emotion was the culprit. I kept thinking I had RAGE like Sarno talked about. So i journaled and journaled and through that process I kept writing about pain, and fear.

    I eventually sought the help of somatic therapists and made progress. However, It never dawned on me that some of us have one emotion that is more of the culprit than another. For me it was FEAR a second is Pressure which eventually still just leads to Fear. I feared a lot of things growing up. I used to be scared of the dark, I was afraid of Religious Scripts for their preaching of fire and brimstone, I was afraid of White People for the kinds of things I faced growing up, I feared flying as I got older. One thing would just be replaced with another.

    One day during some intense pain I was thrown off by later feeling love and comfort by my friends and family. The Pain went away! OMG! You can imagine my excitement! When I went home I was back in pain. Why? What happened? Well for me the fear had gone away, momentarily. I had felt safe around the presence of my loved ones. There wasn’t room for fear.

    This was a struggle. I started to feel ups and downs. That was my brain learning to not fear and then retreating to old habits. If you have ever rescued an animal you know what I am talking about. So if anyone reading with fear as their main problem, I’m going to outline what has helped me.

    #1 identify which emotion comes up most. For me it was FEAR, FEAR FEAR. Any other emotion can also lead you to fear. Often pressure and obsessing can lead you into a state of fear. I find it harder to stop the pressure than fear. If anyone can comment on how to alleviate pressure and if it’s different than the things I mention about fear.

    When you are in the throws of fear trying to stop it is like trying to stop a bull. The best solution is to accept, or float or try not to fight it or continue with your day as best as you can. I have read a lot of books on Anxiety and PPD or TMS. What it boiled down to for me was allowing the fear to pass through me and not to add to it. What I learned from Claire Weekes was adding to it means reacting to the first fear or in this case reacting to the pain with bewilderment, which means wondering why you have pain, why it’s moving, and whether each new symptom requires a different strategy. It's all the same.
    Acceptance=Floating=allowing it to pass=not adding=not reacting with more fear. All of these things will EVENTUALLY, that is the key word, shut off the fear switch.
    #2. You dont have to be pain free to make progress. When it comes to anxiety and pain, they are two sides of the same coin. they both originate with fear, in my experience. When it comes to anxiety the way to turn the switch off is to do as above, don't add, don't react with more fear etc. The same principle holds with TMS. The missing piece for me was this - you're not going to feel good when you're accepting or not reacting etc. It's too new for your amygdala to just shut off unless you're really distracted. But when you're actively practicing, the first thing you have to accept is that you're going to feel like crap...for a while. Accept that first, then continue the second part of not adding more fear.
    #3. Retrain Your Brain - This was hard to understand for me how to do. I did Neurofeedback and it helped calm my amygdala response to fear but it didn't cure it because I developed the habit to only be calm in certain circumstances. So I started NLP as a way of blending meditation and somatic experiencing. What I ended up with was doing lots of visualizations. If you train you brain with Neurofeedback you train twice a week for 30 mins at a time. That is a lot for the brain and it has to make changes fast. For those of us who dont know what that is or cant afford it, then the good old fashioned way of rewiring is to not add fear, practice compassion and not allow the symptoms to rule our lives. Adding some kind of visualization or physical practice can help break up our chronicity. As they say in Neurofeedback if it feels good it is good. I took that to practice with visualizations - i would visualize sand in my toes, or replay memories of myself as a strong pain free person, running with no pain, swimming, hot sun on my face on and on, over and over throughout the day. Practice feeling compassion toward yourself, visualize what that looks like and imagine scenarios where you put pressure on yourself and imagine yourself accepting the good and bad and that all will be OK either way. This is straight from Alan Gordon.

    Many times when the pain or anxiety would strike I would accept, I would feel like garbage but I would continue as best as I could. After a while I started to gain glimpses of my old self, pain free and anxiety free.
    #4. The Road to recovery is through - What this means is what I said above. I had to accept that this wasn't going to be over night. I wasn't going to feel good in many circumstances. In many cases my body would either be in pain or riddled with adrenaline. If someone asked you to come join them for a big piece of pizza while you just finished a crossfit session you might puke. Well I felt like that 24/7 in the beginning. As time and practice continued I felt this less frequently. Way less frequently when I accepted that I dont have to feel good to make progress. The language of the primitive brain is the language of the limbic system. Which means emotions, images and thoughts - not so much language. That takes more time to sink in. So allowing our selves to feel the sensations of the good is helpful as is feeling the fearful sensations and realizing it’s just a sensation. I learned this also from Alan G. I may not be adding much here but maybe it might help to underscore the importance of his program.

    #5. Sloppy Acceptance still makes progress - I thought my acceptance had to be perfect with TMS and anxiety. So I obsessed about it, I got bad results. But then I made a rule up for myself that It didnt have to be perfect and since I wasnt perfect I shouldn't expect perfectionism in my acceptance. I should factor in some failure to better keep at it. I learned this from NLP also. Guess what? I started to make more progress.

    Throughout our days and weeks we will be challenged with things that will initiate fear in our primitive brain. Fear of food, going out, icy roads, being alone etc. What Helped me was knowing this would all change eventually and not adding to the fear and doing my best to accept. Claire Weekes underscores that you have to be fearful in order to understand it and you have to be fearful in order know how to turn off the switch. This meant I had to feel it and realize it wasn't going to add anything new. I had run the gammut of symptoms some 23-25 and bouts of horrible anxiety. I guess I had to feel it all until i got the message that it didnt matter where it showed up and it was caused by the same thing. If I were possible to believe earlier on then I would have healed faster but because I was a fearful person since I was young, every symptom would get me back into TMS.

    Lastly seek the help of a professional. They can educate us, guide us and validate us. They can't heal us, that is our part but they play a key role in our confidence in taking the step forward to do it. I dont regret seeking out professional TMS help and somatic help. It put me back on track. I know I will have some ups and downs, I may still have blips of pain but the key here is I know why now. because my brain has to continue to dissolve fear. Once you know that you realize how temporary this all is and really just how plastic our brains are and how fantastic our lives can be once again.

    I consider myself healed but in the ups and downs of conditioning and I am teaching my brain to rewire against fear and pressure.


    Don't lose hope and also I am not a professional and this is not advice this is really what has worked for me and why it took me so long to put the pieces together.

    Be Well and Happy Healing
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  2. Hayley

    Hayley New Member

    Hi jokeysmurf,

    That’s brilliant news, I am so pleased for you!

    Thank you so much for writing your success story, I’m going to bookmark your post to give me inspiration whilst I am going through the SEP. I am currently having a lot of extinction bursts and fear is a biggie for me so I am going to try and deal with it in the ways you have outlined. It means so much to read these success stories when you’re in the midst of healing and I for one am very grateful that you have taken the time to write such a detailed helpful post here on this forum.

    Wishing you all the best :)
    Hayley x
     
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi jokeysmurf,

    I appreciate your post, and many many congratulations!!!! I think you did add to understanding of TMS approach on this forum.

    Here are some items which jump out at me:

    You have made the "hero's journey" as you well know. I know it too!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Andy
     
  4. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    Congratulation Jokeysmurf! You have succeeded in a monumental way with one of the most difficult challenges for the human mind. You have faced your fear and overcome it. You are getting your life back and it is sweet! Your story will help so many, thank you for sharing and I look forward to seeing more on the success story sub forum.
     
  5. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    Thanks for the replies and comments. Thanks Andy, for me it was at times such a subtle thing to understand when I’m pressuring myself, when I’m being courageous and pushing myself in a needed way, in those instances I was still in pain and to understand the intention or state of mind is key for me. Running up a hill in pain and not caring because you are beating it, don’t care and requiring your brain is different than running in pain and feeling pressured and scared. In the beginning I feel like things are a bit muddled? Can you comment on this from your experience? It doesn’t have to be about running.
     
  6. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    thank you, it means a lot. I have to admit I had some nervousness of writing those words, but I know it’s true now. My life isn’t perfect and I am pain free. Do I get tripped up in pain cycles? Yes but I always get out of it and those cycles are becoming less frequent and more importantly they scare me less and less and are less important in my life.

    I had to really think about what it means to be healed. Can I do what I want? Answer yes. If we think of the word “cured” vs healed then in order to be cured you’d have to not be human. Our pain is always going to be part of our life in different ways and different pain but it doesn’t have to rule our life it can go back to being a biological fact rather than a trap we’re trying to escape from.
     
    birdsetfree likes this.
  7. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    Thank you, I’m glad it can be of inspiration. I drew from others success stories and that kept me going. It eventually redirected me back to living my own life and focusing on it. I am only adding my experience. The SEP and Pain Recovery Program are great resources.
     
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi jokeysmurf,

    The most radical way to approach this is to say "who cares?" "Who cares how I am doing this! Of course I am going to push myself in ways which are my TMS personality! Of course I am going to probably be in some pain because of conditioned response! Of course I don't know how to do this perfectly! Of course I have TMS! So what?!" In this way you don't need to put any weight on doing the kind of discernment you speak of.

    On the other hand, this discernment is arising on its own. It is a natural development in you, having to do with real self care. Having to do with not treating yourself poorly, using the old TMS personality patterns.

    Your sensitivity to these elements in you, your growing attunement to your organism ----as you've expressed around this issue twice now in this conversation ---these growing sensitivities in you are all you need. You recognize the attunement, or the honest question "what is really right for me right now?" and this discernment grows on its own, naturally. Out of your love and awareness. And we'll never do it perfectly!
     
    Hayley likes this.
  9. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    there you have, it so true, who cares because at the end of the day what matters is you’re doing it and working toward your goal and hopefully learning to love yourself and treat yourself with compassion. It’s like being in school once you don’t care about the grades the grades come anyway.

    well thank you, and again I appreciate all the words of encouragement you have given me on my posts. I hope to pass the same along to others.
     

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