Educational Program Day 19

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Educational Activity: Part of having TMS is being a prisoner to the pain cycle. Because we are in pain, we are afraid of doing certain things. Because of this fear of activity, we reinforce the idea that the pain is physical, and our symptoms remain. One common fear is the fear of walking for a prolong period of time. In today's educational activity you will read a thread started by a person who was struggling with the fear of walking. There are several great responses to this thread by members of the wiki which give great guidance into what to do when dealing with fear of symptoms. Feel free to add your own thoughts to it. The thread is titled Fear of Walking and can be accessed by clicking this link.

The primary focus of the journaling exercises for the first part of the program has been investigating past and current stressors. Today's journal activity is designed to focus on a specific personality trait that you possess. As mentioned on Day 3 and Day 12, there are several different TMS/PPD personality traits. If you are interested in reviewing these traits, there is a wiki page about them called TMS Personality Traits. However, for today's exercise you can journal about any trait, even if it is not considered a "TMS trait". The important part of today's journaling session is to help you gain insight into the role your personality might be contributing to your symptoms. The best technqiue to do this will be a free write. Simply place a trait in the space and begin to write.

My personality trait of _______________________________ makes me feel

Ask a TMSer: To what extent is it necessary for a person to change who they are in order to overcome TMS? If you have an answer to this question feel free to post it in a thread.

MatthewNJ: “I think this question needs to be re-worded. We need to change otherwise we won't get better. But , this question is too opene ended.”

marshacohen: “I don't think we have to consciously change our personalities. I think change comes gradually without any conscious effort. Once a person accepts the diagnosis they somehow let themselves feel more..opening themselves to many possibilities.”

2Scoops: “It may not always be about changing. It can be about recognizing those thought and patterns that can keep us from recovery. Initially if we think we have to change, than we can create more tension by forcing about recovery. It's little by little. I think the recognition of our thought patterns can eventually lead us to change.”

Penny4Them: “Psychotherapy can help acknowledge some painful patterns that we continue to create for ourselves that lead to the TMS pain syndrome. I don't think everyone has to change, but in my case, I did have to make many changes. I needed to take charge of my own health and be responsible for my self, and stop feeling responsible for everyone elses wellbeing. I reset boundaries for myself, that if I cross today, my pain comes back. I think it's about taking full ownership for one's self--actions, emotions, and intentions, and setting realisic expectations/limits on what others can expect from you.”

Forest: “I agree with these responses. We don't need to (and probably can't) change who we are as people and change our personalities. What we can do and need to do is understand how our personalities have affected and contributed to our symptoms. It is also important to focus on our needs, and stop repressing emotions.”

In The Divided Mind on pg. 182, Dr. Sarno writes: “Patients are routinely advised that they need not strive to change their personalities in order to be successful...One cannot change one's inherent traits, though they can be consciously modified. For example, the person who feels perpetually compelled to make a doormat of himself and do nice things for others can take stock and decide to curb the tendency.”

Dr. Bob Evans: The way that I like to view this question is as follows:

We are born with our 'True Nature'; the very basic essence, the beautiful natural core of who we are. In an ideal world, through the natural flow of energy through all aspects of our experience, IE., interpersonal, intrapsychic, spiritual, etc., (Sensations, Images, Behavior, Affect and Meaning - SIBAM) we continue to grow and evolve more and more into this true natural free flowing beautiful self.

Due to environmental stress, 'small' and 'large' traumas, 'attachment' disruptions, Autonomic Nervous System adaptations and the like, over the years, many 'layers' are added to and tend to cover up this natural core. Through the process of growth and change, my experience is that we 'shed' these unnatural, unwanted, negative aspects of 'self' and become more and more that beautiful self that we truly are!

I think some people 'fear' the idea of 'changing our personalities' because our experience of self, of who we ARE, is tied up in and interwoven with those negative aspects. One fear is that we might 'lose' the sense we have of ourselves if we 'change our personalities'. This could not be further from the truth. As we 'shed' the unwanted, unnatural aspects of self we 'picked up along the way', we 'become' more and more who we really are. We do not lose ANY aspect of ourselves that we do not want to lose. And, more good news, This is a natural process. We do not have to work at all at deciphering which parts to keep and which to let go of. Our Autonomic Nervous Systems simply, naturally shed, or in the language of 'Somatic Experiencing', 'discharge' the previously 'stuck' negative energy that was manifested as unwanted aspects of our personality, and thus interfering with the natural flow of who we really are.

Click here to read the entire thread

Question To Ponder
Since starting this program have you done anything that makes you proud? Where does this sense of achievement come from? If you feel comfortable sharing, then post your response in a thread in our Structured Program forum. We would love to hear from you.

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