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What is the pain telling you? PLZ help

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Electric_Boutique, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Electric_Boutique

    Electric_Boutique New Member

    Ya'll i've been asked this question from several therapists over the years. It's always been a huge stumbling block. As someone who does yoga every week for 18 years, and been in tons of therapy, practices a 12 step recovery program...and does tons of introspection::::


    For example:
    Yes I am angry from childhood
    yes I'm terribly sad my sister died

    etc, etc, :: I know the things that are making me sad and angry but I really never know what the pain is trying to tell me. It hurts after something fun, it hurts when I'm working it makes no sense anymore- not that it ever did- but when I'm working too hard and get pain or if i'm so stressed: that makes sense in a way. But when I'm having a wonderful time; why do I hurt sometimes after?

    Can you all give me some real examples of inspired thoughts about this? What is the pain trying to say?

    Thanks so much!
    Trellis likes this.
  2. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dear Electric,

    It may not be trying to "say" anything. It may be conditioning. You are used to finding pain, because you've had it for so long, so your mind mistakenly provides it for you.
    You might be putting yourself in more pain by trying to constantly figure it out.

    Many of us on this forum had dysfunctional childhoods. Supposedly, that sets a person up for pain symptoms. It's understandable, but not really helpful beyond knowing that it's probably true. Dr. Gabor Mate says that adult pain can even be from infancy, abandonment issues, a lack of bonding, etc.
    I was not a wanted baby and was born to overwhelmed parents. However, when I focused on this...it all seems hopeless. I mean, none of us can
    reverse our first years of life, or fix them.

    I stopped looking at what I could not fix. What helped me the most was to tell myself "You are safe. You can make your own choices now. All is well."
    Then, I would say things out loud to myself like: "I am 100% willing to believe this pain is psychological. And, I am 100% willing to believe I can release it, knowing it is only a psychological pattern. Nothing more."

    This is just a suggestion: Maybe do yoga twice a week. Quit therapy. Let go of needing to focus on 12-steps, etc.
    You wrote a very concise post. It sounds to me like you feel you need all these things. I would suggest you do something that isn't "working on" yourself.
    Maybe you are A-okay without all that stuff. I think when we do too many self-help things, we send a message to our brains/bodies that we are fragile.

    I even took down all my self-help books in my home office and put them away. I feel MUCH better.
    Quit sending yourself the message that you need so much help.

    We are here on this earth to experience joy. THAT's what we TMS'rs have a hard time giving ourselves.

    peace to you.
    HattieNC, JanAtheCPA, Ellen and 2 others like this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dear Electric_Boutique,

    I think that MWsunin12 makes some good suggestions. Also, I'll add my thinking:

    I see you understand the basic "Sarno approach" and that you're doing the SEP. I think as you go through this, and undertake this approach more deeply in time, you will have more understanding about how to answer this question which therapists have asked you.

    This is a common "therapy" question to clients, from the wise therapists who know something of the mind-body connections. However, from the level of knowledge most have, this question on its face does not always lead to the kind of insights which Dr. Sarno suggests might be helpful.

    It is a great idea to contemplate what you write below. I think the answers will come to you in time, and also Dr. Sarno has very direct suggestions about why both situations can "create" symptoms. Good luck in your work, and I am happy you're really digging more deeply this time.

    Andy B

    MWsunin12 and Electric_Boutique like this.
  4. Rosebud

    Rosebud Peer Supporter

    I sometimes listen to a guided meditation, and at a certain point, this comes up. The idea is that you ask your body directly: why are you giving me this symptom? What do you want to shield me from? What do you want to achieve for me? Then you're invited to listen to the answer, which may come under the form of words, feelings or something more visual. At first, I was mostly "listening" for words (literal me), but no words came. Then one time, I caught on that it could be a feeling too. I was already feeling the usual sadness in my chest, but the moment I realised the answer might be a feeling, the sadness spread over my whole body instantly. I could even feel it in my fingers and my toes, very weird! So, OK, the answer is sadness? I still don't know what to do with that sadness. It's there, I feel it, I let it be. My (body)pain is not shielding me from sadness, obviously, so now I have both. How is that better?!

    My mind tells me the answer under/behind the sadness will be anger. And not only because Sarno says so, but because I'm aware of the fact that I'm very rarely angry. I couldn't really tell you how it feels, even, except the loss of control scares me to death. Sadness, on the other hand, doesn't really scare me anymore, I can just let it run its course.

    I don't know, that wasn't very helpful, was it? I just keep on keeping on, I guess that's all we can do. No clear answers.
    Electric_Boutique likes this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    For me, the answer has always been: go deeper, much deeper. There are two ways that I have experienced this, and both produced relief, as well as important turning points. The first experience had to do with childhood, the second had to do with current stressful events.

    1. In doing the work here, back in 2011, I finally got in touch with myself as a very young child, and for the first time in my life (I was 60 in 2011) I became aware that at age 5 or so, I felt lonely, awkward, and shy. Isolated, in other words. Even though I had loving parents and a secure upbringing, I had two, soon to be three, younger siblings. It was pretty easy to figure out that, being fairly self-sufficient and well-behaved, my parents were able to leave me on my own as they dealt with the many crises of younger children. Hardly earth-shattering, thankfully. And a huge relief, as I was able to let my brain relax, and stop repressing those emotions, as well as to more clearly examine my experiences with anxiety and OCD as I got older.

    2. Also from this forum, I learned about a deceptively simple theory called Existential Psychotherapy. EP postulates that everything we experience is related to four core human issues. These are: Independence, Isolation, Meaning, and Mortality.

    In 2012 (a year after I started doing this work) I experienced two personal losses within weeks of each other, and I felt completely overwhelmed with grief and logistics. I was afraid of not coping, but it was remembering EP that saved me. I realized that I was experiencing deep emotions related to Isolation and Mortality. I literally felt abandoned by the two people I had lost. Recognizing this was very freeing, because I could see that my brain was repressing that emotion as being negative and selfish (especially as both had spouses). Acknowledging it made total sense, and allowing myself to feel it was empowering. The other, perhaps more obvious, emotion being repressed was fear about my own mortality. Obvious, perhaps, but there was my primitive brain, trying to repress the ancient fear about our inevitable death. Again, recognizing and acknowledging this as totally normal was a very healthy thing to do. Feeling, facing, and accepting - these gave me the strength to keep going. I still think about both of them, all the time, but now I understand the full breadth of what I'm feeling.

    To recap: two different ways that I used to face and acknowledge my deep negative emotions were:

    1. Being able to get in touch with my much younger childhood self
    2. Relating current struggles to the core human issues as explained in Existential Psychotherapy

    Good luck,

    HattieNC likes this.
  6. Electric_Boutique

    Electric_Boutique New Member

    this is so cool thank you- all these posts are so helpful
    MWsunin12 likes this.
  7. lowella

    lowella Peer Supporter

    This is a great question from the OP. I have been working on emotions for a while now and I feel pain after pleasure at times as well, and at other weird times that I can't associate with feelings.
    I try to recall three concepts to help me through it:
    1. (micro?) extinction burst, possibly...
    2. the pain may have been there when I was happy, except my happy emotions masked it
    3. the nervous system doesn't play by any rules of time
    These things help me at least know that I'm not crazy :) Best wishes!
  8. Electric_Boutique

    Electric_Boutique New Member

    By the way I REALLY appreciate this you are so right! Too many self help things makes me harried. I have put down the 12steps for awhile, and I’m not in therapy right now, and have put the acupuncture to once a month, lol and only one massage/chirp a month. Dang!!!! That’s a lot of stuff and I guarantee I’m forgetting something. I do think I need all these things! I’m a hard worker! Yet here I am *still with chronic pain. So....there it is. I hope I can have a breakthrough like so many of you have had. I just want to live a more peaceful life; but one that is ME. Not rocking in a chair on a porch in the middle of nowhere; not that there is anything wrong with that.

    Thanks again!!!
    MWsunin12 likes this.

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