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What to do with pain free moments

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by mc1986, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. mc1986

    mc1986 Peer Supporter

    Hi all,
    Over the last month or so I have "caught" myself having some pain free moments and longer periods of time with greatly reduced pain. This may not seem like much but I had been in constant pain for nearly two years. My pain free moments are short lived but give me hope nevertheless. They tend to only last until I conciously realize that I'm not having any pain.

    The problem I am having as I am so genuinely surprised by these moments it's nearly impossible for me to not think about my pain or lack there of. I find myself wondering how long it will last, why it's happening, what I have been doing differently etc.

    It may sound strange but I have gotten so used to having pain it's almost as if it is comforting to have it. Obviously, I would never conciously choose to have it but it is almost as though being pain free makes me uncomfortable.

    I guess in a nutshell what I am saying is that pain has become my new baseline of living. Ideally, I would be able to simply notice I am in little to no pain and go on with my day, however this is nearly impossible for me at the moment. Is this just something that will come with time and hopefully much more practice?

    I would appreciate any insights from people who have felt similarly.

  2. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi MC. I know just what you are talking about. I had pain free moments in the beginning and I wasn't quite sure what to do with them. Here is what I figured out: Build on them. Use them as a beacon to build your confidence and belief in TMS. When you notice you are having a pain free moment, relax into it, smile, examine what it feels like so you can remember it in the future. It is possible! You can be pain free! If the pain comes back, don't worry about it, you will have longer and longer stretches of being pain free. It will soon become your norm. I think the uncomfortable aspect of it comes from fear to embrace the moment, that you will be disappointed or "fail" again and the pain will come back. Working with my somatic experiencing therapist, we would sense into parts of our body that were not in pain. Although the pain signals dominate our thoughts, there is always somewhere in the body that is not in pain.
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  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Anne said it so well, I have nothing to add except to say that I had the very same experience at first. This is how recovery starts for many of us.
    plum likes this.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Anne has given such a wonderful answer it is hard to add much more however a touch of neuropsychology may help ground your thoughts around the experience. The brain is a creature of habit, doing what works in order to survive is its modus operandi. Most of the things we have to 'survive' today are social pressures but these psychological stressors are to all intents and purposes as real as Tigers to the brain because the same circuits are triggered. When we are stressed and in pain, we begin to view even average daily experiences as stressful and the internal pressure builds and reinforces.

    As you begin to practice tms healing you start to self-regulate the stressful brain states, nudging them into softer, kinder, more social ones. Life becomes less about you and your pain and more about life.

    At first there are these pain free moments or points in the day or night where pain is diminished. You don't trust this, not yet and so your indecision flips you back into negative brain states and back into pain. This is where superstitious thinking can begin to evolve; last time I did this or that my pain eased but was then triggered by whatever...Anne is completely correct in her assessment of that. Our fear of failing ramps up and when pain returns (which it does because we are still learning) we tend to collapse into despondency. This self-defeating cycle persists until we break it.

    I like Anne's suggestion to use pain free moments as a beacon. I use an image of a lighthouse calling out to my small ship as it is rocked on stormy seas because this is pretty much what you are doing via your emotional brain. You are calling yourself home, back to the peace and safety of dry land. You use these positive pain free moments to self-regulate your brain. Other ways of putting this may be you begin to deactivate the pain circuits in favour of calmer, happier ones and/or you are actively engaging in neuroplasticity (getting your hands on the clay of your brain and shaping it the way you want it). At this point it is worth noting that pain free moments can appear novel and therefore something to question for a brain steeped in constant pain, so even they can trigger a stress response. I know that sounds ridiculous but it happens. If it happens to you, catch it and see that it is a good thing in that your brain is beginning to differentiate between pain and calm.

    How to do this? Again, I second Anne's suggestion to embrace the moment. Beyond that indulge in the moment, in the feeling of no pain. And don't worry if and when the pain returns because you have started on the pain free course. Once pain comes and goes it is a sign that you are breaking free. Relish it.

    The emotional brain only changes through experience. The problem for tms sufferers is that they go to great lengths to avoid feeling their emotions, often to the point where they no longer feel them. There are plenty of forum threads on that subject. People shun and shut off from emotions because they think their emotions are dangerous. Emotions only become problematic when we ignore them and instead engage in denial based behaviours, for our purposes, pain.

    You cannot think your way out of pain.

    You feel your way back to wholeness.
    Anger. Sadness. Grief. Despair. Happiness. Joy. Love. Belonging.

    You break the shell of fear and embrace life and all the emotions it invokes.

    With time and gentle devotion you will create a new baseline and you will begin to recover and one day your pain will be gone.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
    Anne Walker, Gigi, Abbo and 3 others like this.
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Absolutely beautiful post, Plum. I'm speechless.
    plum likes this.
  6. brendan537

    brendan537 Peer Supporter

    Thank you plum. I needed that this morning.
    plum likes this.
  7. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Incredible, just like so many of your post. Thank you, Plum.
    plum likes this.
  8. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member


    What a great post above by mc1986, i am in that state for some time now
    strangly : when i did have pain all day all the time : i thought to myself : "when i will only have half an hour of painfree i would be so happy"
    and when that really did happen i was mostly scared,and fearfull
    i am at this point for a longer period now, and still improving slowly thankfully but this feeling is still there from time to tome
    last week when i made a small walk with my husband, he said "how lovely that we can do this together again, this really makes me happy"
    i said : me too but it also scares me a bit. He asked: why ?: i said : "what if this will all be taking away from me again;?
    and there 's the real scare for me. that i keep improving and all of a sudden it will all start over again being that bad.
    i think somehow by keeping a bit scared : i want to protect myself upfront for that disappointment,
    wich is a shame because is overshadows the real happiness about my progress

    like plum said above;
    "Once pain comes and goes it is a sign that you are breaking free. Relish it"
    i really really love that : the part of breaking free..that sounds like a dream
    it is what we all hope for isn't it : to be free again?
    i remember when thinks where really really bad and my days where pain and extremely disabled :
    i heard myself say in those days : " dealing with pain is one thing, but loosing my freedom is the worst"

    MC1986 : said
    Ideally, I would be able to simply notice I am in little to no pain and go on with my day, however this is nearly impossible for me at the moment. Is this just something that will come with time and hopefully much more practice?

    i was there, but i did get a bit past that slowly, it is taking time
    and i needed a lot of moments like that before i dared that
    when the more experienced healed persons say " once the paing comes and goes it is a good sign"
    that is something to hang on to : for me it is : hopefully for you to

    plum likes this.
  9. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    plum! :
    your words are like magic this rainy afternoon : they are so right!
    reminds me of allowing myself to be " just human" and stop thinking that i am doing things wrong in the healing progress

    thank you
    plum likes this.
  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bless you karina.
    Isn't it wonderful to realise that we are perfect just the way we are and that all we need do is simply be ourselves.

    My best to you from rainy England xxx

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