Educational Program Day 33

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Educational Activity: Going through a TMS/PPD recovery program can bring up a lot of emotional issues that have been repressed for long periods of time. It is very common for TMSers to subconsciously put up resistance to doing "the work" because releasing these emotions is deemed unacceptable. PPD psychologist, Frances Anderson, addressed this issue in a Q&A with an Expert Question. A wiki member asked: How do I overcome initial unconscious resistance to doing "the work"?

A common personality trait for people with TMS/PPD is perfectionism. We feel like we have to be the perfect employee, parent, spouse, etc. This can lead us to repress our emotions and our needs to fulfill others' expectations of us. For today's journal activity free write about perfectionism and how it affects your life. Ask your self why you think you have this personality trait and how it has lead to your symptoms.

From the Forum: When a person begins a TMS recovery program there are always a lot of emotions that a person needs to address. Some of these are from current stress and some are from past traumas. It can be difficult for a person to decide on which issues they want to address first. The following thread discusses this question.

Mebob1: Well. Today I failed to complete my journal activity.

Those who read my thread yesterday will know I'm going through a stressful time at the moment. Moving to germany for girlfriend, girlfriend breaking up with me, given a month to move out, having to move back to England with no job/home.

So I picked one of the topics I'd listed in past traumatic events to write about.... and I just felt overwhelmed. In short, twas about a certain song people made about me when I was younger, I can only remember one line of it, and I'm sure thats the worst of it.

The pain in my left hand has gone completely, the pain in my right is still their, trying to ignore it. However, pain has 'magically' appeared in my right elbow.. and writing about the pain has made it increase slightly. Which leads me to believe more in the TMS diagnosis. It increases when I think about it...... its not logical that pain would get worse just by recognizing it if it was an actual injury.

I think for the journal activities I'll modify it slightly to meet my current situation, reawakening old memories when I'm in a difficult time in my life at the moment doesn't feel like a good idea to me. But will suppressing those memories so I don't have to think about them make this worse?

Ollin: I was asking myself the same question, i.e. if choosing to not think about something can make my symptoms worse. I think it depends how you approach your difficult issue, and in my opinion decision to not think about something until you are ready to face it isn't suppression but scheduling your journaling work to the manageable level. It's not like you're denying that the issue is difficult and hurtful, you accept it and choose to put it aside for the time being. I'd start writing about other things, and when they lead to thoughts about the most painful stuff - just write down this thought and make a note to address it later. This way you maintain it in your conscious mind but also allow more space around the issue, and with time you may find it less bothersome. Which is the essence of mindfulness.

For me, dealing with TMS is not about making myself feel awful by jumping head on into all possible negativity - been there and it didn't get me very far. Being kind to myself and creating situations that reassure me - that I am safe, I am a good person and deserve to be treated well by others and be happy - is slowly getting me out of the cycle of stress and pain. Some external stressors we can't control, but we have the right to stand up for our wellbeing.

As you're going through a very stressful time - all the more reason to be gentle with yourself. Write about something that you found challenging but succeeded. There's no reason why TMS therapy shouldn't be fun.

Sienna77: I see that you are handling a difficult situation.

I agree with Ollin that maybe when you are under avstorm it is not the best thing to bring up memories of past difficulties... You have enough on your plate by now...

What I would suggest you is to journal and work on your current emotions.

You can write an unsent letter to your ex. Also, you need to talk to your inner child, tell him you are going to take care of him. Some visualization that I make is: how would you spend a whole day with him? Spoil him, take him to the places he'd love, get anythingbhe desires, show him lots of love.

This might make you cry, express all your emotions, it means that it is working, you are feeling you love yourself, which is very important.

Let us know how you progress.

It must be very hard to feel lonely in a foreign country.Take your notebook and write about how you would like your new life to be in the UK.

If this relationship didnt work, it means it was not meant for you. She does not deserve you!!

Reflex on that, and think positive!!

You have a lot of opportunities waiting for you out there!!

You need to be strong and focus on your near future, projects,etc.. Dream!!!

If you can skype with friends, it will be better than chatting.

Go for a walk, run... shout... and get back home exhausted so you can get some good sleep ;-)

Click here to read the full thread

Question To Ponder
Have you noticed any positive changes in your life since you have started this program? If you feel comfortable sharing, then post your response in a thread in our Structured Program forum. Posting about the positive changes in your life will give other people the courage to give this approach a try.

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