At 4:30 a.m. a hard, frantic pounding on my front door woke me from a deep sleep. It was not a knock, knock, silence. It was a continual pound, pound, pound, pound.
I sat upright in bed. My heart was beating as hard and fast as a jack hammer. I could hardly breathe due to fear spiraling and coursing through my body.
I listened but didn’t hear the pounding anymore. I listened some more. Nothing. It took many seconds, but slowly I realized I had been dreaming, and that the pounding at the door was fictitious.
The only way I convinced myself that the incident was not real is when I remembered my dog Maggie, a black, terrier poodle mix, who crossed the rainbow bridge in 1997, was in the dream.
I have no dog currently. That was my clue that I had been dreaming.
That’s when I realized the emotional fight or flight responses were a flashback to the fear I experienced when a guy actually broke into my home in the 80’s.
As you know from other posts, I’ve been working on those suppressed emotions, telling my brain I am safe now, so I can relax my muscles and sleep more soundly. Obviously these emotions are so deeply ingrained or etched into the neural pathways of the brain, that any similar stimuli like a dream triggers the emotions.
The reaction to my dream was so real, it took some time for my body to stop reacting to the stimuli and return to normal. I repeatedly had to tell myself that it was a dream before I could totally believe it didn’t happen.
I tell this story because it vividly shows how the brain stores memories and how intimately and intensely the mind and body work together.
The theory behind MBS is that repressed, unconscious emotions set off a physical reaction in the body such as psychological fear and anxiety or pain in certain groups of muscles, nerves, and tendons. Furthermore, 90% of our thoughts are unconscious. Thus, the curative power lies in recognizing the veiled emotional issues.
Dr. John Sarno, MD, the pioneer of Tension Myosotis Syndrome, states that the only way to wellness is to believe 100% that there is nothing physically wrong with you, and then believe 100% that anger, anxiety or other surpressed emotions are the single reason for your pain.
This forces your conscious mind to deal with the emotions head-on and not redirect them into physical pain. Those in the mindbody field state unequivocally that you will not get well until you believe this basic tenant.
When you are in atrocious pain and can barely walk, this is a gigantic leap in thinking. It takes great courage and faith to get there. As Dr. Howard Schubiner says in one of his blog posts:
“Recovery isn’t always quick and immediate; it is often a prolonged and rocky journey.”
He assures people that they are not crazy when they suffer MBS/TMS. He stated recently in a talk at Arizona University in Tucson: “I had MBS, and I know I’m not crazy.”
Start by telling yourself as often as necessary that there is nothing physically wrong with you. It’s just your MBS/TMS acting up again.
Then ask yourself, “What’s going on with me emotionally right now?” You might have to ask that repeatedly until you figure it out. You must uncover the repressed or unexpressed feelings that are “acting out” in your body.
You must let your brain know you’re the boss, and you are in charge of your body. Let it know that you are “on to it” and it doesn’t need to protect you any more. In fact, tell your brain that the protection from your emotions has greatly deteriorated your life.
You must engage in self-talk until you retrain your brain and create new, healthy pathways.