Uncovering Repressed Emotions: A Graphical Approach, by Morcomm
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What follows in a base exercise designed to help you better understand and recognize events in your past that affected your physical TMS symptoms. If you have any thoughts or suggestions about how to further develop this exercise please feel free to post your thoughts in a forum or edit this page.
A couple of weeks ago I started developing a practical exercise for correlating the onset of your TMS symptoms with stressful or traumatic events in your life over a given time frame. I mentioned it on line in the TMSWIKI on Dec. 10th, 2011 and one of the moderators, MatthewNJ, suggested I publish it here. Well, it works something like this:
Take a standard sheet of 8.5" x 11" graph paper and mark it out in 1-year or even 1-month intervals from the time of the onset of your TMS symptoms such as sciatica or a massive attack of back pain. Then draw in pencil one time-line below the years or months blocked out and another time-line above it. On the lower time-line, enter the salient facts about what you were doing then and whether there were any explicit or implicit emotional stressors in your life at that time. On the upper time-line, list any TMS symptoms you may have been having at that particular moment. Remember to also write down any TMS equivalents you were experiencing, like rashes, hay fever, asthma, tension headaches, TMJ, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. etc. etc. Of course, be sure to include any other medical conditions you also may have had such as colds, flu, ear-aches, anything.
I'm sure you'll instantly start noticing correlations between the emotions you were experiencing at that moment and the onset of various minor and major TMS symptoms.
Okay, you've just learned a heck of a lot about your inner self, but let's take it to the next level:
Now block a time-line from the moment you started having a separate consciousness as a kid and extend it in one year intervals up until the present. Draw a lower line with a linear chronology of emotions you think you might have been having at that time in your life and WHY you think you were having them. On the upper line, list any sicknesses or TMS-like symptoms you may have been having way back when. For example, I remember that twenty-five years ago my left knee went numb while on the last stage of a marathon. Another time I got pain on the left side of my back after riding a bike with a frame that was too small for me. Perhaps, these symptoms were 'normal', but I also noticed how they were all on my left side, the same side I got a so-called 'herniated disk' many years later in 2001. Maybe I had always been predisposed to express my repressed emotions under stress with a manifestation of lower-back pain on my left side? Don't know, but it's worth thinking about.
The important thing about the graphic nature of these exercises is that it helps you achieve an instant overview of what might be the larger psychological forces in your life behind the onset of your TMS. I noticed that gaining such a synthesized vision seemed to reduce my own TMS too. I guess that's what Dr. Sarno means curing the condition with knowledge. It seems like it's a valuable exercise in that it forces you to get an overview of the whole process of emotional repression that continuously adds to the reservoir of anger until you have a back attack to distract you from having to confront that nasty emotional stew. In any case, it sure seemed to make me learn a lot about what it was in my early life that my primitive inner child did not like too much! Like mom and dad having huge fights in front of me when I was a little kid, fights that led not only to alienation on my part, but aggressive anti-social behavior as well. I'm sure everyone will come up with their own personal list!
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