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Thoughts and fears causing a flare

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by readytoheal, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. readytoheal

    readytoheal Peer Supporter

    It seems to me that my thoughts and fears frequently trigger symptoms. Today I had a migraine with aura. The aura part freaks me out. I was so afraid it would come back once it went away that today it did. If I’m afraid something will cause a flare, it does. It makes me feel as if my mind is my worst enemy and I begin fearing my fears/thoughts because they create symptoms. Any insight into how to overcome this cycle? Makes me feel like I’m going crazy.
  2. moon123

    moon123 New Member

    I can definitely relate to this, and I'm so sorry to hear you went through this last night. I wish I had great advice to offer but I'm pretty new to navigating it and haven't been able to develop a reliable approach yet. But one thing I've been trying to do is to focus on the idea of "outcome independence." I forget where the article is, but basically it's the idea that success isn't defined by being pain free, it's defined by your attitude in facing the pain. That helps me somewhat, especially in terms of staying physically active despite the pain, and feeling proud of that. It's hard not to be outcome focused though, because of course we all want to be pain free! Another thing that helps me sometimes is focusing on the moment, like noticing my breathing and really taking in the sights and sounds around me. It's harder for me to get caught up in the fear when I'm doing that. I hope you've had a less stressful day today.
    TheWayBackUp and readytoheal like this.
  3. jml19

    jml19 Peer Supporter

    I have burning skin pain every day, but I find the breathing exercises are very very helpful. It's where you breathe, paying attention to the sensation and sound of just the breathing, then move your focus to the pain for a bit (attend to it), and then go back to the breathing. Then you repeat a couple more times, continuing to check in on the pain. This is such a great exercise because it completely removes fear from the process. Tonight I did that and I noticed that the pain decreased in the particular area that was bothering me, (hurray) but then popped up someplace else! Maybe I'll breathe my way through that one later, lol. But the main thing was that it did work.

    I highly recommend a little book that I've had for several years called "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" by Dr. Claire Weeks. She wrote this many years ago before the idea of TMS came into being, but her concepts are right in line with what is being taught here. She explains the fear-adrenaline-fear cycle that we get into and her simple explanation of how adrenaline works and causes symptoms in our bodies helps remove the fear of the symptoms. Since anxiety and fear play such a huge part in our pain experience, I think this book would help anyone dealing with those things. She writes that the key to recovery is to move away from a mood of apprehension to ACCEPTANCE of the symptoms (whatever they are) and that OVER TIME those symptoms will eventually fade. The key here is to accept the symptoms (as opposed to resisting them) and then allow time to pass. A great little book.
    readytoheal likes this.
  4. Rainbowdash

    Rainbowdash Peer Supporter

    I love this sentence. It makes so much sense. I feel that the entire problem starts when we begin to resist what we are feeling (both emotionally and physically). I noticed that once I let the unwanted emotion to surface, didn't fight with it, didn't argue with it, the undesirable emotion wasn't so scary after all. I will apply the same thing to the symptoms. They are here, and I'll simply accept them. Then they wouldn't be so scary. I agree that the fear is what makes the pain so much worse.
    readytoheal and jml19 like this.
  5. jml19

    jml19 Peer Supporter

    Another thing Dr. Weeks says is that after we have accepted the symptoms with an understanding that we are really OK, we should just go about our business without giving them a lot of regard. I think so often we allow our symptoms to occupy too much of our thinking. So, then, accept the symptoms, go about your daily activities without giving them a lot of regard, and let time pass.
    readytoheal likes this.

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