1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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New Program Day 6: The Fear Matrix

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Aussie Pete

    Aussie Pete Newcomer

    Love the "Matrix" metaphor, it's very fitting and a great way for my brain to connect the dots :)
  2. Marianne70

    Marianne70 New Member

    So far, it all makes sense. I am so happy to have found this website for support, and the programme to help me get rid of pain, fear, stress, anxiety..so grateful!
    GShaw and starseed like this.
  3. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    I dropped by to give myself a psychological shift. (I just dropped in to see what condition my Condition was in!”)
    I was scaring myself. I am traveling Monday...long flight... I did some Pilates matwork I haven’t done in a while. Hence, I am sore. Normal ache. Until I start up the drama. Wow, pain!!
    I stop it now, like the bullets in the Matrix.
    I see it, it can’t work its dark magic on me!
    Thanks, Plum, so beautifully said. As always.
    Katya, plum and suky like this.
  4. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    Alan Gordon you are brilliant. I am printing the above quote out to carry around. I am going through this program again after doing it probably a year ago and I am once again seeing the brilliance of it. Although I have gotten rid of so much of my fear over the last few years, I still catch myself in many fear thoughts that are in disguise that bring me down. This program is helping me flush them out.
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  5. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    I'm revisiting the program in bits and pieces because I have an old pain that is rearing her nasty head. It's like a hot coal in my left trapezoid that creates a stiff neck.
    I am tense!
    I am not in abject fear or terror, it's a low-grade worry, a sense of unease that has been with me intermittently since the Woolsey Fire that took out 85% of the Santa Monica mountains. And the pasture where my horses lived. And our tack room with saddles, bridles, over twenty years of beloved leather goods, trunk, the whole of my riding experience, much of it sentimental.
    Even though my horses are now settled in a new place, even though they are safe, I have lingering fear. Will they be okay when it rains? Will the older, retired one slip and fall and break a leg? His knees are fused in the front, so my fears do have some basis in reality. I am not totally bonkers!
    And I believe that my fearful self has taken up residency in my neck and trap.
    Today, I will meditate on safety. The real safety that we have.
    Yet, when I say that, my mind flips to the news and the insanity that has become our country. I feel assaulted almost daily.
    I cannot seem to get my husband to understand that I need a few years off from politics. I need hope. I cannot take the day to day non-news, this hypothetical stuff, panel after panel opining about maybe this and maybe that. The outrage over how low we have fallen, how below-average the discourse is.
    I miss Dan Rather and nightly news that told us about the whole world, not just insanity inside the DC Beltway. Which I grew up a few miles from. Our dinner table talk was international economics and politics. But it was civil. Even Watergate was civil compared to this. We had faith in our institutions.
    So, the pain in my neck is not just fear for my horses, it's fused with fear for the country. The divides, the guns, the seeming chaos that the news reports... to sell the advertising that they play.
    Wow, I'm tired.
    But my neck doesn't hurt right now! WOW! and my trap is loose in my upper shoulder.
    I trust this process!
    I am so grateful to Alan and to Dr. Schubiner for their work, for all of you who share and those of you who listen. Thank you.
    suky, westb and Rainstorm B like this.
  6. Rainstorm B

    Rainstorm B Peer Supporter

    Wonderful, raw, honest words - beautiful insight. Thank you for sharing it.

    Politics is pretty nuts here in the UK right now too...and much of the 'debate' around it equally meaningless. I too have a 'pain in my neck' and have found myself having to seriously limit what 'news' I expose myself to in recent weeks. It's enough work sometimes to focus on the things that need taking care of close to home, to creating more safety in our immediate environments for ourselves and the people and creatures and places we love. There is such a maelstrom of 'information' out there now and really so very little of meaning that we can do in any given moment of the day to make any difference to any of it. No wonder we hurt. We all need a few years off from politics...

    Love to you and your horses. Rx
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  7. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    Amazing processing, Bodhigirl. Thanks for sharing. I saw this book on the shelf at our library -- didn't check it out (so I'm not sure if it's good), but I thought it was interesting in that it's about horses and our own somatic awareness:

    suky and Bodhigirl like this.
  8. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Thanks! I ordered it just now. Looks lovely. (my neck pain came back!). I’m confounded.
  9. Pemberley

    Pemberley Peer Supporter

    I hope it helps! Something that sticks out to me in your post is when you wrote, "I cannot seem to get my husband to understand that I need a few years off from politics." This is something that strikes a chord with me in that I could say the same thing about my parents. (But as we only talk once a week or every 2 weeks, I can manage that a lot easier. Of course, when they visit, the bombardment of news, fears, worries, etc. is a PAIN... And I actually agree with them politically, so I get annoyed by being preached to.) I stopped getting cable 9 years ago since my daughter was a toddler and I just didn't want all the advertisements and other junk. It has been great (and we stream movies and TV shows that we choose, etc. -- she isn't deprived!). I get my news pretty much just from just one daily newsletter of a major newspaper that I believe is trustworthy, which I can choose when to open and then decide if I want to learn more about certain topics. Sometimes, I don't open them for a week or more, and then I skim them quickly to catch up. Are you able to change where the TV is in your home, how loudly or how often it is on, etc.? Are there things you can put in place to create the environment that you need?
  10. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    We are always negotiating news and sound levels and how much information I can take. We are both liberals. Both from the east coast. It has only been since the nomination of the current president that I have felt hurt, traumatized ...raped...by the incessant reporting of his horrible behavior. The repetition of it seems impossible to avoid. The trauma feels like it multiplies and most women I know feel this way.
    Still, I must live in my home and not control everything. I have tried to control noisy homes since I was 8 years old! “It it’s hysyerial, it’s historical!” It’s a work in progress, for sure.
    Pemberley likes this.
  11. westb

    westb Well known member

    Ah @Bodhigirl I understand. Thank you for being so honest and for posting this. The fire itself must have been hugely traumatic for you and for your local community in general and it all happened not that long ago. I simplyy can't imagine what it must have been like. The fear and anxiety may be part of the processing. Whatever it is, be gentle with yourself and the pains that arise.

    I''ve had to strictly limit my exposure to news. Once a news channel junkie I now avoid it. It still filters through to me, mainly when I'm social media, but I have to say I feel a lot better since I started listening to the music on ClassicFM here in the UK instead. We TMSers tend to be a sensitive bunch and I don't think I realised how much extra angst and stress (on top of what I was already manufacturing myself!) I was absorbing in my news addiction days.

    Love to you and the beautiful horses.
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  12. westb

    westb Well known member

    @Rainstorm B I fully concur with this. I'm in the UK as well and I've never known anything like the stress I feel about what's going on politically at the moment. I am 69 and retired and part of my pension income actually comes from France, from when I worked there in the 1980s. While this will probably not be affected by the imminent changes, there is an element of uncertainty, and of course fear and uncertainty are what my TMS symptoms (IBS, pelvic pain and anxiety) thrive on. But there is nothing I can do about it. As you say we can only take care of what we need to do in our daily lives, do what we can to help those around us, and take pleasure and joy and relaxation where and when they are found. I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer as used in 12 step groups: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference"

    The positive side is that I've discovered ClassicFM radio and animal rescue programmes on the TV to replace the non-stop news I used to absorb:).
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
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  13. Rainstorm B

    Rainstorm B Peer Supporter

    It’s exhausting... By switching off though I have learned a lot about just how much of an effect a constant drip feed of news was having on me. I’m shocked! I’d have Radio 4 on in the background from the moment I woke up for most of the day (I work from home mostly) without even really consciously considering it. My previous career was as a news journalist so I was a dyed in the wool news junkie going back to my teens. It was a total habit for me.

    But now, like you, I have found there is space for classical music, plays and books I choose to listen to, I’ve found podcasts (including some good ones about TMS) and I’ve even discovered I’m not yet too old for BBC6 Music!

    I’ve also decided to give myself a good hour or so in the morning before I switch on my phone. There have been days I’ve sat in total peace and watched the sun rise while drinking a cuppa, something I would never have done before. So yes, much of that aforementioned serenity to be found in accepting that sometimes switching off is the best way to contribute positively to the overall sanity count of the planet.

    I’m hoping it works out ok for you with your pension @westb All this will come out in the wash one way or another...
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  14. westb

    westb Well known member

    Absolutely. It's certainly a new experience for me.

    Thank you too for your good wishes. Whatever happens it will be OK - I know that at a deep level.

    Oh, and I've never had the courage to try BBC6 Music. Maybe I'll give it a go!
    Rainstorm B likes this.
  15. suky

    suky Peer Supporter

    @westb , @Rainstorm B, and @Bodhigirl , I have read with great interest the posts from all of you above. You three are all people I follow as I find your words very wise. They certainly resonate with me! @Pemberley , thank you for your helpful posts too! Like you all, I find the news a huge cause of stress! My husband (who died last June) developed a strange habit of not being able to sleep without the TV on. Thus, it was always on! His favorite was CNN. Whenever there was some sort of tragedy, he was glued to it. Looking back I can see that it was a big source of anger for me -- not to mention the fear that the content on the TV created in me! I would fume at him occasionally, insisting that it be turned off. Then came the incredible guilt for depriving him of something he wanted and felt he needed. No wonder I had pain! Eventually, our son found a wonderful device that attached to the TV and had earbuds for personal sound. It worked wonders (once he got used to it). He even said that he could hear better with it. (Yes, it had gotten very, very loud!) I now live mostly in silence and find it heavenly!

    Here's the new fear part: now I don't watch the news; but what am I missing? How do I decide how much news is informative and how much causes fear?

    Alan wrote, "Fear thoughts are our brains’ way of trying to identify potential threats. This is actually an effective strategy when we’re surrounded by predators, since it maximizes our chance of survival." Hmmm. Are the "predators" real, or are we subject to hype? It's a lot to sort out!

    I too am retaking Alan's wonderful course. Each time I go through it, I see something new that helps me at my stage of recovery. What a windy, bumpy road it is!

    Each of you is dealing with a lot! My heart goes out to you. Thanks for sharing!

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  16. westb

    westb Well known member

    Now that's a question! I don't think there's a 100% perfect answer either and I'm still trying to get the balance right. I've tried keeping away from absolutely all news and found that made the fear worse since I knew I was acting out of fear at what I would read or hear, rather than from a place of power. My oh-so-sensitive gut is actually a pretty good barometer for me and I started to feel distinctly queasy when I was on a total news fast. I feel at gut level when I'm acting from fear and when I need to be brave and find out what's going on.

    I think it's down to each of us to find our own comfort level with how much news we let in, and where we get our news from. Sometimes I will listen to the hourly news summaries on the radio music stations that I listen to. Sometimes though I turn the volume down when the news comes on. It depends on the day and on how I'm feeling. Very occasionally I watch a TV news bulletin for national or local news if there's a topic I want further information on, or alternatively I look at journalists I trust on Twitter. What I do stay well away from now are the 24 hours news TV channels and radio talk stations where various experts and people with an axe to grind spout opinions and theories which often have no basis in reality at all. And I used to be addicted to BBCNews 24 and have it on all day in the background.

    With my situation re Brexit as an example I'm on Facebook and I've joined a couple of Facebook groups for people in a similar situation to me re Brexit and its ramifications. They are well-administered closed groups who provide good information and news in a non-sensational way which I find reassuring, though I have muted a couple of my fellow-members who are distinctly negative and Eeyore-ish.

    We're of a similar generation @suky and I can remember as a child at home when we would listen to one radio news bulletin a day (before my Dad splashed out on the TV!). He had one broadsheet morning newspaper delivered and would buy an evening newspaper on the way home. And that was it. Now we are bombarded, literally, with generally negative news,if we choose to put ourselves in the firing line. That has to take a toll on the nervous system.

    Love x
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
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  17. Marls

    Marls Well known member

    I too am re-doing the program, although this time I realise I can’t power through and wonder where the relief is. I’m allowing Alan’s words to quietly resonate and reading posts which expand the process. I’ve given up on daily news but keep very up to date with a daily question to my husband “anything important”. “No”. “OK”. Job done. Incessant Fear. My bogeyman. Sounds a bit like a New Age music festival drug - exhilarating for some, not so for others (us). I keep trying to relate it to the Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls the curtain back. Pfft - just smoke, mirrors and a megaphone. Off to day 7
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  18. GShaw

    GShaw Peer Supporter

    Like others I am also going through this program again. The first time around I had incredible success!

    When I did this program the first time around I found it extremely useful to focus on my life not only today but right back to my childhood. It was amazing what I discovered about my childhood which I was never aware of.

    Day 6 - The Fear Matrix

    My first time around I was dealing with "shin pain" due to back related issues. This time around I am dealing with a number of issues but not all related to pain.

    I thought I would share a number of my fears both growing up and in the present. I have little doubt others probably don't share similar fears.

    Growing up as a teenager and right into my adulthood I feared being alone for the rest of my life. This fear often lead into another fear, "Not being good enough". I could relate to not being good enough in many ways but mostly within relationships.

    I am not sure where this originates from but suspect maybe because I had two parent which I believed loved me but were never very affectionate, whether it was to each other or two me. My first time around this program helped me realize why I am so affectionate and look for so much affection in a relationship.

    A few other fears of mine are:

    1) Standing in front of a room of people and talking - This fear is holding me back in regards to my at home business in the wellness field. It also affects me when talking to people I really don't know. I guess you can say I often think to myself, "Why would that person really want to talk to me?"

    2) At the age of 54 and the loss of both of my parents to cancer, my biggest FEAR is of death. This is something I really want to overcome because what happens is anytime I have a physical issue which could be related to something serious, then I worry. I believe another reason this is a fear is because I just feel I haven't really lived life yet. I don't want to just survive the rest of my life. I want to truly live the rest of my life! I am currently involved in two businesses which really could create a life of dreams.

    3) Another fear of mine is, the fear of failure, which could be tied into the fear of not being good enough.

    While I realize many of my symptoms might not be directly related to any of these fear, my understanding is, my mind is on 'high alert' because of all these fears. My my will focus on anything possible where it feels I need to be protected.

    An example:

    In the spring of 2018 while dealing with severe shin pain that was related to back issues I screwed up the knee of my opposite leg. I had my knee checked out and received some medication to settle things down. While the pain disappeared my knee has never felt the same since last spring. I have developed tight hamstrings and quads due to sitting at times far more than necessary. On the leg where I screwed up my knee I feel my hamstrings and quads are extra tight maybe due to how my knee healed from last spring.

    A few weeks ago I decided to due some stretching to help deal with my tight hamstrings and quads but reactivated my knee injury a bit. A week ago I went to see a doctor to help deal with the pain. I believe I received the same medication this time as I received last spring. This time around the medication really hasn't done anything and the pain has increased.

    My conclusion, while my knee maybe will never feel normal again the pain I am feeling is probably my mind focusing on it. I can say since doing Day 5 today my pain hasn't been as bad.

    This just goes to show how my mind is looking for opportunities to send signals of FEAR.


    This is my life and I plan on living it in the manner I deserve and want to live it.

    Can anyone else relate in anyway?
  19. Jonie

    Jonie New Member

    I appreciate your openness and transparency GShaw. It really is amazing how our minds look for opportunities to send fear signals! I can relate to having a lot of fear. Even as a kid I was obsessed with thinking about death and that was terrifying...I think I'll write in my journal about that tonight! I've been finding it helpful to write about my fear, anger and grief. I did that last night and had the best night sleep I've had in a while. I had the experience that as scary as the pain is (mine is painful feet and migraines), some of the fear, anger and sadness can be so intense that really feeling it can be scarier than the physical pain. I'm usually good at thinking I feel fine and not even being aware of the other feelings - especially anger...so it's always surprising to me when I actually do get in touch with the intensity of my underlying emotions.
  20. GShaw

    GShaw Peer Supporter

    Thank you Jonie for your comment. I feel it is the only way to be, open and honest. While this might help me, it could also benefit others who read my posts.

    I am going through Alan's program for the second time. My first time at this program was last October. I was very skeptical of the program but figured I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. If I didn't give this program a try then I might have lived in pain for the rest of my life. I was done not being able to enjoy life! I love to dance but until last October I went for over 2 years without going out dancing because of my pain.

    My first time around I didn't write anything down until about Day 12. This time around I am making notes daily.

    The one advice I will offer, remember the idea isn't to try and avoid your pain nor is it to try and pretend your pain doesn't exist. No matter where we suffer with pain the idea really is to embrace the pain and welcome it. In my case what I do is not refer to it as pain, instead refer to it as 'sensations'.

    We also must remember, not always is the fear focused on pain. Our fear could be something non related to pain.

    I will say this again and probably many more times. If there's anything I can do to help someone especially since this is my second time around, please feel free to leave me a message. I am really about helping myself get through a few more cases of TMS but help others along the way.

    I hope within the next week or so to post a link to a site I am working that could offer readers some suggestions on other health related challenges.

    Good luck to everyone as you move through Alan Gordon's program. He has put together an amazing program and for free. He is really about helping people and I am extremely grateful.

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