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Various TMS camps...

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Stevielawrence, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. Stevielawrence

    Stevielawrence Peer Supporter

    Hi everyone. Hope you are all doing well. I see 2021 on the horizon ...

    I have a question. Throughout my TMS recovery I have utilized two rather distinct approaches, and I’m a bit confused on which one is more effective. Would love to hear people’s thoughts and experiences.

    approach 1: feel the feelings and repressed emotions. Be honest about how I’m angry, scared, sad, etc. Cry, journal extensively, seek therapy, share emotions, let go of trying to make bad feelings go away, etc.

    approach 2: positive affirmations to curb negative thoughts and feelings. Let go of the intense journaling, as it can get dark and become an endless spiral. Calm nervous system through good self talk and affirmations. Forgive and let go. (Aces keys to healing encourage this approach.)

    I have experienced benefits from both of these approaches. I’ve gotten bogged down in too much despairing journaling and emotion, but I’ve also felt that the affirmations type approach can be fake and repressive in its own way. I had an experience recently of having way less back pain but intense anxiety and trouble breathing coming up through this approach. I also notice this approach is similar, for me, to trying to walk a spiritual/religious path - I just feel like I’m faking it a lot and repressing ...

    but I feel there’s a fine line between feeling the emotions and giving in intensely to hatred and despair. Anyway, would love to hear people’s thoughts.

    much love and wellness to all
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't really see a contradiction between the two approaches. They are two sides of the same coin. The cause of TMS is our nervous system being out of balance. When we feel emotions, we drown in them and can't let go. We get negative and can't get out of the negativity. In order to improve, practice both. The more your balance your nervous system the easier it is to get through the flood of emotions.

    Calm your nerves through self talk, but still let yourself feel the feelings, they are given to us for a reason, we are biological, social and emotional creatures and we need all of the above, in moderation. I would compare it to the restrictive diets. You can lose weight by going on strict diets, but the best way is to eat in moderation - same concept here. I hope it helps.
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  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Stevielarence,

    I like your question, and your observation:

    I think that as TG957 says that they aren't exclusive, these two ways you're using, and I'll say, each person sorts out what really works for them. Your experience may be telling you something about how your intelligence, soul, life wants to be supported and tuned into. I would listen to that. Each of us has our own zone of BS detection which we can stretch and play with, but tends to feel right for us. If you feel you're repressing, you probably are.

    I personally don't use affirmations. Yet many people find them helpful. They are a way of retraining something down deep. But they have to "get past" the censors some of us have. Your observation about your own symptoms may be telling you that you're not "all in."

    I like to use softer, less directive statements than for instance "I am already healthy," although as I write that, it sounds pretty good! A client once told me she used "I know you're afraid of walking, but we're doing it anyway because it is good for us." I liked that. I like the sense of companionship. I used to say "You can stop the foot pain. I am willing to feel my emotions." I used that with every step for thousands of steps. So those are examples of letting there be a little space for "you" in this. Working with folks, I really have them read stuff we create out loud, and see how it feels in the body. Does it resonate? Is it supportive? Is it BS? Is it not supportive enough? And using a few go-to phrases, they can change with time as you tune into your truth.

    I think that the psychological exploration does need to be supported somehow with insight, growth, outside support like sharing with a friend or with a coach/therapist ---- some deep moments of positivity. Maybe the positivity comes as growing compassion for yourself. And maybe rather than trying to "cheer yourself up" you might find pleasurable things to do, sensual, social, satisfying activities if possible, as a way to help relax your nervous system. We need nourishment when we're doing hard work, and we also don't need to do hard work all the time. I encourage folks to have confidence that working the psychological end of things and connecting this to the basic theories of how to undo symptoms is enough. We don't need to fix anything psychological. We have to understand and allow with love, as best we can.

    I think you're on an incredible journey, and I wish you well.

  4. Stevielawrence

    Stevielawrence Peer Supporter

    It's funny - as I was writing the question I had the thought - 'you probably find a balance between both' - which is what both you articulated as well. I do find that calming my nervous system to be of paramount importance, and there are a few ways that work for me to do this, but I also need to pour out my strong emotions once in a while through what I call "rage journaling" and just feeling what I am feeling about childhood and my parents and whatnot.
    Lately I have been trying to pursue a Christian path, and it has not been feeling good. I am not sure why. I am not sure if it's because I am "faking it" or trying to cosmically please my parents, or because I fundamentally do not believe certain aspects of what I see presented in American Protestantism. My body has been rejecting it. So I am going with it and listening to that. I used to have a very different idea of God that felt much more nurturing and unconditionally loving and I lost that a little bit over the years as I have gone through big life changes (marriage, child, moving cities, etc.) I need that back. Anyway, just sort of rambling here.
    Another question I will pose in terms of feeling the feelings - I sometimes "re-feel" all the rage and trauma of how my father treated me and my brothers growing up and all these horrible memories of my parents divorcing and being quite selfish, self-absorbed people - all the suffering we went through with addiction and self-destruction- and it makes me want to cut them off and never speak to them again. The anger and hurt is very intense. I go back and forth between thinking I should confront them in some way or stop seeing them at holidays or simply keep doing what I am doing (seeing them at Christmas and my mom a few more times a year) and work on forgiveness while still feeling the feelings of rage that come up. This connects to the idea of Christianity conflicting with what I see in pop psychology - forgiveness versus cutting ties or just moving on. I think I am searching for THE ANSWER. haha aren't we all. Just some thoughts typed out loud. Thank you again both for your replies.
  5. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Stevielawrence , you sure have A LOT on your mind and in your heart to work on. The answer would be yours and only yours, but you may want to consider help of a therapist. It is not an easy path to navigate and there is a lot of hurt as you go through it.

    There is only one advice I can give you in addition to what I already said: whenever we make difficult decisions, we first need to get ourselves into a position of strength, no matter how much there is a hurting, crying child in us. Unless you feel that you, as a person, can face and accept pain and maybe unflattering view of yourself and your feelings, it is almost impossible to look at your relationships with unbiased eye. You need to heal your anxiety and fear first, and only then work on your anger, because anxiety and fear are turned inwards, while anger is turned outwards. Give yourself a bit of time to heal inside, then proceed to your connections with the world. Meditation, mindfulness and introspection is the key. Best of luck to you!
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  6. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Reading your reflection, I observe that you're really grappling with this, as it should be. No easy "answer" as you suggest.

    Observing people over the years it seems there can be a very powerful support to say "not now" to friends or family. To really express your hurt and rage through action: not being around them until you really want to. Our tendency to please and do the "acceptable," is a typical thing which causes tension down deep. We might notice the buried tension as not feeling quite right, or truthful to ourselves. Sometimes it points to changes which want to happen.

    Sometimes me really being exactly myself in relationship to others frees me to feel closer to them in time. Maybe it is about taking responsibility and owning my feelings which can feel so liberating, and then I have more natural love to be. No advice, but this is my truth, when I have the courage to draw clear boundaries for what I need in relationship.

    It seems to me Stevielawrence that you have a pretty attuned self-awareness, and that you're clarifying your life. I would echo in my own way what TG957 said. That the more you clarify your life and your relationships with your family and your history, with help or prayer or meditation, inquiry, time, journaling, reading myths, listening to your dreams, etc. ---the more you'll be feeling right about your choices with them. You stand on more surety with time and practice, and understanding. The rage is a great way to start. I highly urge you not to forgive from a moral or TMS curing perspective. When real forgiveness comes, it will emerge on its own.
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  7. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

  8. Stevielawrence

    Stevielawrence Peer Supporter

    This is so helpful Andy. Thank you. I really felt what you mean about true forgiveness - not from a moral place or to cure TMS. I will read this again to let it sink in. Thank you.
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    A little while ago, when I logged in, I saw a "Like" on a two year old post and decided to revisit it, which was interesting and kind of fun, until I came across this, from @Andy Bayliss near the end of what was a pretty lengthy thread, and which really helped to wrap things up.

    Dang, Andy. It was good then, but it really grabbed me today, far more powerfully than in Dec 2018, so much so that I just copied it to myself in an email. Which means that it's right here ready to paste into this excellent and so-relevant discussion:

    This is the thing I need to understand right here, right now. Thank you, Andy!

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  10. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Jan,

    Glad my words resonate with you. I appreciate your appreciation!

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  11. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    Hi, StevieLawrence,

    Dr. Hanscom is a retired spine surgeon who suffered for many years from multiple forms of TMS and TMS equivalents. He has written a lot about forgiveness in relation to overcoming chronic pain, some of which is available on this website in the subforum called Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner). Here is a link to an example in that subforum that connects forgiveness and compassion: beyond-forgiveness–compassion-for-those-who-hurt-you.22522

    By the way, a book by psychologist Fred Luskin (Forgive for Good) that Hanscom cites in his list of references is the "bible" on forgiveness.

    Finally, if an affirmation seems fake to you, don't bother with it. Affirmations work only if you believe them. They don't work if deep down you think your persistent pain means, or possibly could mean, that you have tissue damage where it hurts or are at risk of suffering tissue damage (or more tissue damage) there. Dr. Sarno's Twelve Daily Reminders in Healing Back Pain are a powerful set of affirmations. They worked for me--but only after I fully accepted them with no lingering doubt and then was able to implement his twelfth Daily Reminder to "think psychological at all times, not physical."
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