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Claire Weekes' accepting/floating method (focusing on the symptoms) VS ignoring the symptoms

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by enidid, Nov 12, 2021.

  1. enidid

    enidid New Member

    Hello,
    I've been reading Claire Weekes' book Hope and Help for your Nerves. I've been using her technique of "facing - accepting - floating - letting more time pass" quite successfully in the last few days (for instance when I can sit or lie down and be alone quiet in a room, when I am walking, when I am running), but I have got a few questions.
    - Isn't focusing on the symptoms likely to make them worse? In Sarno's books and in the Great Pain Deception, it's all about focusing on an other area of the body, or on visualizing something, but in any case, I understand you should try not to pay attention to/single out the symptom that bothers you. In her book, Claire Weekes says we have to examine the symptoms that annoy us, describe them even (aloud or not), and accept them fully so I am a bit confused. I understand that looking at the symptoms as "just" sensations is different than being afraid of them, but still...
    - Has anyone ever recovered fully only by applying Claire Weekes' method? My symptoms are pretty much CONSTANT, but I cannot possibly use this method several times an hour, right? What do you do with constant symptoms you're obssessed about? When I use Claire Weekes' method, it will work for a few moments/minuts or so, which is already something, but I'm not going much more further than this at the moment. Are the symptoms supposed to cease gradually/over time if I keep doing this a few times a day? If this is working for me when I am "at my worst" and able to, should I be applying only this method or different things I've read in Unlearn your Pain/The Great Pain Deception?
    - How do you use this method when busy with something (talking to someone? being busy with your hands? working?) I can only do this when concentrated on the 4 stepts for 2-3 minutes (by the way I wonder if it's supposed to last for 2-3 minutes or so) but I wish I knew how to use them in (all) other daily situations. When I am walking/running, I am trying to visualize myself walking/running on clouds as if they were trampolines, when I am lying I visualize myself floating like wood on water as someone described it beautifully on this TMS Forum, but when I am in other positions (sitting, active doing something else), I don't really know what I could visualize as for me it must kind of be related to the position I am in in that moment to really be able to "feel"/visualize it.
    The weird thing is, I started reading Clare Weekes' book because I am having trouble sleeping and there is this knot in my stomach upon waking up in the middle of the night/early morning, and even though I have been able to use the technique for my main pain symptom, I have not yet been able to calm this knot down. Maybe 2-3 minutes is not enough for that one, or I just have to keep practising over and over again.
    Thanks in advance everyone.
     
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi enidid,

    I'll do my best to answer your questions below:

    Isn't focusing on the symptoms likely to make them worse?


    My understanding is that the Weekes method is very similar to what Alan Gordon and others call Somatic Tracking. Both methods involve tuning in and paying attention to your symptoms, but in a new way--witnessing or observing the symptoms in a neutral way, instead of reacting to them in our usual, fearful way. This is a subtle but important difference. The idea is that this new way of observing lowers our fear of the symptoms, which can then get us out of the fear cycle that helps to perpetuate the symptoms.

    Has anyone ever recovered fully only by applying Claire Weekes' method? My symptoms are pretty much CONSTANT, but I cannot possibly use this method several times an hour, right?

    This method is to be one tool in a toolbox of strategies. I haven't heard of anyone recovering only using this method. It is a meditation technique that one should practice regularly when symptoms exist, but it isn't meant to be used on an ongoing basis. But by using it regularly (a few times a day) when it feels appropriate, it can change your relationship with the symptoms over time by lowering fear and reactivity to them.

    How do you use this method when busy with something (talking to someone? being busy with your hands? working?

    This method is to be used when you are alone and can focus on it.

    Have you looked at Alan Gordon's Pain Recovery Program? It's free on this site and the link is at the top of the page. You will find other techniques to treat your TMS there.

    I really applaud you for jumping in and using a technique so diligently. My suggestion is to expand your toolbox and try some of the other techniques and ideas for addressing TMS found on this site and in the vast array of TMS-specific books and programs available. Best wishes to you on your journey.
     
    Bitzalel Brown and backhand like this.
  3. enidid

    enidid New Member

    Hello Ellen,

    Thank you for your reply!

    I'm doing Unlearn your pain at the same time. I've been reading the first 15 days of Alan Gordon's program and taking notes. I really like the concept of outcome independence. Indeed, what he calls Somatic Tracking sounds a lot like what Claire Weekes recommends when you think about it. I just find it very powerful to listen to online recordings of Claire Weekes on YouTube, she has such a persuasive voice.
    As I wrote, I've read The Great Pain Deception as well so I feel like I am a bit overwhelmed with techniques and information. For now I think I have to try and go live my life and practice instead of spending so much time reading/being lonely pitying myself.

    The most difficult part for me is going out and having to sit for dinner with other people (with family, friends...). Deep inside, I feel like I am trapped at the table for hours and I have to act (even when people know about my situation). I'm having a hard time focusing on what other people are talking about and pretending I'm interested while all I think about is my pain/my situation. Hearing about everything that's going so well in their lives makes me feel even more frustrated while I know I should wish them well. I feel bad writing this but this is just the way I feel. I really don't know which technique I could use then because I am interacting with other people. Any suggestion?
     
    Ellen likes this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi enidid,

    I agree that reading about too many techniques can be overwhelming and confusing. For me it was best to pick one program and stick to it, spending no more than about an hour a day, but being consistent with practicing it. Unlearn Your Pain was the one that I chose and I had very good success with it. I do think that reading or viewing success stories on a regular basis can be very helpful in solidifying belief that TMS can be overcome. We are fortunate that so many people are willing to share their experience and success.

    The most difficult part for me is going out and having to sit for dinner with other people (with family, friends...). Deep inside, I feel like I am trapped at the table for hours and I have to act (even when people know about my situation). I'm having a hard time focusing on what other people are talking about and pretending I'm interested while all I think about is my pain/my situation. Hearing about everything that's going so well in their lives makes me feel even more frustrated while I know I should wish them well. I feel bad writing this but this is just the way I feel. I really don't know which technique I could use then because I am interacting with other people. Any suggestion?

    I think your paragraph above kind of encapsulates the TMS experience. Sarno describes TMS as a distraction from emotional pain. Our brain is choosing physical pain over emotional pain. For me it was important to realize that I felt alienated from relationships with people before I developed TMS, but TMS gave me a rationalization for that alienation that was easier to face than the underlying emotional issues.

    I think anytime we use the word "should" is an indicator of internal conflict that leads to TMS. I should feel a certain way, but I really feel......anger, rage, jealousy, etc. But having those feelings doesn't fit my idea of who I am. This is all part of the psychological work we have to do to recover. I can now accept that I have these feelings and that they are part of being a fully formed human being in this crazy world. It doesn't mean I express these feelings to others necessarily, as that is not always wise or kind. Just that I'm aware I have them and accept that they are part of who I am.

    Recovery is a journey and you are well on your way. Just go at a steady pace and be kind to yourself along the way.

    Best wishes.......
     

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