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Derek S. TMS and meditation

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Walt Oleksy, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had some stress this morning and cupped my hands over my mouth and yelled,
    so I didn't frighten my dog. Then I removed my hands and laughed and laughed.
    The stress went away.
     
  2. swingline77

    swingline77 Newcomer

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    Question
    I have been meditating about once a week (for an hour) for about the past seven months. I am coming from a position of psychosomatic impairment, and the illusory malady of "fibromyalgia". Once a week seemed plenty. I felt that my mind was being sufficiently "agitated" and "cleansed" by this amount of meditation.
    I.e., I felt my neural activity was returning to a "new baseline" after about five days since last meditation.

    Within the past month, I would find that agitation after meditation wasn't as extreme, and that I could handle practicing more frequently. Beginning about two weeks ago, I started meditating for about 40 min/day every day. At some point, I realized some incredible improvement in overcoming "fibromyalgia" pain. With each passing day, I felt a sense of inner agitation growing as my nervous system rebuilt itself. Finally, as of two days ago, I reached a level of "moderate" agitation.

    Not wanting to push myself to the point of damaging myself and undoing the gains that I had made, I skipped meditating on Wed. I resumed with 20 min. on Thurs. I intend to meditate for at least 20 min today (Friday). As a result of taking a break for a day, I have noticed a marked decrease in inner agitation.

    The problem is that agitation is needed to effect a change in the brain. I don't want to "over do" things to the point of injury, but I want to maintain enough momentum of inner agitation so that I continue to heal/grow.

    What are your thoughts on "pushing through" agitation? Do you feel that such action will ultimately lead to fuller healing, or damage to my fragile system?

    Thanks.
     
  3. Derek Sapico MFT

    Derek Sapico MFT TMS Therapist

    Answer
    Thanks for your question, Swingline.

    It sounds like you have really created an interesting program for yourself that is working. Your imagery related to creating a "new baseline" for your nervous system is really great.

    I don't want you to overcomplicate things for yourself. I also don't want for you to view yourself as having such a "fragile system." While I am sure that your symptoms, whether they be physical or cognitive, have led you to believe that any small shift can throw everything out of whack, it is important for you to view yourself as being more robust and resilient. It is difficult to achieve recovery when you are viewing the process as such a complex equation.

    Don't apply your perfectionistic tendencies to your recovery. It will backfire every time. If you have a program that seems to be working for you, believe in your capacity to heal and try not to worry about a catastrophic misstep that will ruin everything. This is your fear talking and as the great Frank Herbert said: "Fear is the mind killer" (I couldn't resist that ultra nerdy "Dune" reference).

    Trust your gut and continue doing what works for you. If you need to take a break for a day or two then by all means do so with the confidence that you will pick up where you left off. I don't think that you can do too much damage for yourself meditating so try not to see it that way. Some of your meditations will be productive and others not so much. If you fall off of the proverbial horse, just dust yourself off and get back on. No harm done.

    My main point here is to urge you to take it easy on yourself. You're doing something that seems to be working, I just don't want you to overlook the part about being gentle with yourself and practicing self-compassion. In my opinion, that's one of the most important aspects of recovery.

    Best of luck!

    -Derek


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  4. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Derek,

    Great advice as always.

    I just wanted to add, from all of the reading I have done on meditation, people have said it's not the length at which we do it for which is important, as setting unrealistic targets can add pressure or disappoint. It's more about the frequency in which we meditate and how we incorporate these healthy habits into our day to day activity, which can ultimately bring change to the mindbody.

    All the best,

    Mike
     
    Derek Sapico MFT likes this.
  5. Derek Sapico MFT

    Derek Sapico MFT TMS Therapist

    That's a great point, Mike.

    I frequently tell my TMS patients that it is just as helpful and effective to practice mindful living as it is to practice "mindfulness meditation."

    Hardcore meditation is awesome but it's not always tangible or realistic for some folks.

    Thanks for chiming in.
     

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