[00:00:00] Welcome to Move With Deb. I'm Deb your friendly neuroplastician. And this is a podcast that explores the relationship between the body and the mind from a health at every size, judgment, free perspective. I teach you how developing a new internal conversation based on curiosity, self friendship and simple neuro-plasticity techniques can rewire your bodymind out of pain and emotional overwhelm to help you build the rich full life that you want to live. Disclaimer, this is not a replacement for medical care.
[00:00:50] Hello, dear friends, welcome to Move With Deb, the podcast episode 42. This is going to be about how to listen to recovery stories. So last week, I spoke to you about tacit learning and today's podcast I want to give you steps in how to use recovery stories for your healing process.
[00:01:18] If you remember, I made some suggestions, listen to recovery stories, join mind-body healing groups, ask yourself what are the skills these people are applying and getting well. How are we similar? How can I practice this with myself, knowing that you won't get results right away, or maybe you will.
[00:01:40] It doesn't matter if you have an overnight recovery or a year long recovery. Recovery is recovery. Everything, you know, you've learned just like everything in your life, everything, you know, you've learned with your brain. Right now, your brain has learned pain and it can unlearn pain as well. It can learn safety, and that is what I want for you. So those were my words from last week. This week. I want to elaborate on that. When we look at pain through the lens of a learning brain, through the idea of predictive coding, through the concept that until the brain and the nervous system decides that there is threat, what we experience in our body is just nociceptive input. It's a sensory experience. And because there is human variety in the realm of sensory processing and human physiology and human social experiences around perceived or actual danger, there will be variation in human experiences of the interpretation of whether or not an experience in the body triggers that pain alarm bell or not.
[00:03:02] So, as I've probably mentioned before, and I love to repeat myself, we want to get things ruled out. Infection, cancer, broken bones, substantial tendon, or ligament tears. But if you have been in pain for years, if the pain moves around, if it comes and goes, especially if you're experiencing more stress, if you're worried about your symptoms happening all the time and focus a lot of your energy on symptom management, changing your chair, avoiding situations in which you might feel something painful or destabilizing.
[00:03:38] Maybe you spend a lot of time Googling symptoms or finding support in Facebook groups organized around the illness or disease that you are experiencing. And then you hear about TMS or pain, reprocessing therapy or central sensitization, or mind body's stress illness, or neural circuit pain, there are so many names. It can be exciting or overwhelming to have a comprehensive answer as to what might be happening and a roadmap for getting better.
[00:04:13] Maybe you've tried Curable or maybe read a book from Dr. Sarno, or you watch some videos and you joined some Facebook groups. Yay. So much excitement and hope about this process. And then watching other people get better and you don't, or maybe start having what's known as a symptom imperative where one pain goes away, but now you have crazy anxiety. Um, that totally happened to me and it really sucked. Or you feel better and then something happens and the pain is back.
[00:04:50] And now everyone's recovery stories tastes like bitter ash in your mouth. And when you read stories of people feeling better, it triggers a sense of shame for you. You want to stop reading, stop listening, tell everyone to fuck off and start to doubt this process, reengage in your symptom theme groups, and go digging for more answers because there has to be something that makes sense.
[00:05:16] I just want you to know that's completely normal. I see it all the time. And this is the best place for you to pay attention because your reactions are the key to unlocking the next level of this work. In Alan Gordon's book, he talks about trusting the process. He talks about relapses are normal. So all of those thoughts that arise when you're watching a video of someone sharing their recovery story shows you the work that is available for you to do. If you compare yourself to others who feel better, and are jealous or angry, that's okay. Is that an experience you have in other areas of your life, at work, in interpersonal relationships?
[00:06:08] Do you watch other people's social media feeds and feel like they're so much better than you? My initial recovery experience was dramatic and life altering, but then I also had intense anxiety vertigo, I also had symptoms related to perimenopause, which closely resembled symptoms of POTS, which I also had the last two years during my experience of being displaced due to elder care and COVID. At which time I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder after getting things like a pulmonary embolism and thyroid cancer ruled out. So it's not that I stopped being a human with physiological symptoms. But I also had a framework with which to treat these symptoms and not just in a bio portion of the bio-psycho-social tri-part understanding of pain.
[00:07:05] I began to look for connections between myself and other people who got well. I use my coaching framework of The Model, which is an awareness tool that helped me get clarity on what was causing my strong emotions. And I began to work with my life circumstances in a way that had less impact on my emotional body.
[00:07:29] That work included, asking for support through my coaching community, getting mind body support through my colleagues and also making my own discoveries that led me to healing in unlikely places like cuddling with my stuffed animal, Lionel. I had a very profound mind body experience in the middle of a pandemic when I had been separated from physical touch with other people. I experienced what was a very clear somatic healing experience with this inanimate object, and that was profound in being able to resource my own skills for finding somatic safety. I also did things like sing to clouds. I developed a somatic singing practice that I share with my clients on how do you use your voice to connect our thinking brain and our feeling bodies together for a better internal conversation.
[00:08:28] What was one of the most essential healing tools was to listen and learn from other people who got well. Every time I listened to a recovery story. I would think ONE, they have a mind and a body and nervous system and a set of beliefs, just like me. What can I learn from their expense?
[00:08:49] TWO, when my brain inevitably wants to offer me a judgment or a belief, like it won't work for me because I'm fat or I'm old, or I have lipedema which might be related to EDs or whatever reason I redirected my mind to yes, but how are we the same? The brain can learn and perpetuate any physiological experience long after we have healed or recovered. So how can I turn my brain's attention to the remedy? How can I choose to allow or process any emotion that arises even fear, even despair, even overwhelm.
[00:09:31] THREE, I particularly pay attention to what people did when they moved through the different treatment stages, like learning pain science education, experiencing a shift in symptoms, relapses changes they've made in their life to manage stress, how they related to their physical experiences and their emotional experiences.
[00:09:54] After understanding the mind body connection, did they journal, did they not? Usually people have an insight that helped connect the dots for them.
[00:10:04] FOUR,what did their process of turning away from symptom management into outcome independence look like for them? What did graded exposure consist of for them?
[00:10:18] FIVE, what did they have to give up to get better? Holding onto the past? A focus on symptom management treatments like chiropractic care or injections, surgeries and so on?
[00:10:32] SIX, how did their relationships with others change? Did they learn how to say no, to self-advocate to learn more communication skills?
[00:10:42] When we think about the personality types that are associated with TMS, can we use that for creating our own path forward in healing? If any of those resonate for you?
[00:10:55] SEVEN, how did they use medical care differently? Did they, go to mind body informed physicians? Are they involved in learning from others? Do they believe that healing is possible for them? What are they saying about healing after being sick for a few years or for a decade or more? What insights can you take from their stories of getting better? Instead of thinking that their life is different than yours.
[00:11:23] EIGHT, if I found a recovery story that helped connect the dots for me, I would listen to it over and over again, to replace the confusion in my brain and help my brain think about my physical sensations with curiosity, rather than fear.
[00:11:40] Sometimes I would ask what would Dr. Sarno say? What would Dan Buglio say? What would Dani Fagan say? What would Nicole Sachs say? What would Dr. Schubiner say? This was helpful for me as I began to make my own connections and discoveries and curiosities like pain, arising, and disappearing using somatic tracking, building my own confidence in my unique mind, body relationship.
[00:12:11] NINE, I decided that other people's healing was proof that pain is its own illness. I created a program and I watched my clients heal and I learned from them when they began to experience their symptoms differently, their physiology changed. They learned as Dr. Schubiner called it the path to no pain. We began to build a case for freedom from symptoms, rather than fear of symptoms. And directing the mind to practice a new relationship with what they can do and teaching the brain. "Yes, more of that please" building stronger neural pathways to the kinds of activities they want to be doing and experiencing, like walking and moving with confidence. Going through stressful times with a handful of tools at their disposal and a deep and self trusting belief that healing is possible for them because we identified all the times that their symptoms had changed before.
[00:13:16] TEN, I decided that I didn't have to know everything to try. I would release my desire for all the answers to be laid out simply for me and begin to lean into my own experience with this meta knowledge given to me from Dr. Sarno, Curable, Dr.Schubiner, and all the people who have gotten well through these methods. I would be brave and willing to try and fail and find the smallest pieces of evidence of my own and build on that. I was willing to feel and change my relationship with everything I've been taught about my body and all the limitations I was taught to expect due to my size or my age.
[00:14:04] So those are my top 10 ways that I used recoveries from. To help me heal. I am still healing. Healing is a dynamic process. What I don't feel most of the time is pain. And I want that for you. \
[00:14:23] You are allowed to feel anything. This is the whole point. I want you to be free, to feel anger and frustration, sadness and confusion, and still with all of that, I want you to believe, and I want you to consume other people's recovery stories with this viewpoint.
[00:14:46] Not to reinforce the idea that somehow you are different and you are special and you have a unique body that nobody's ever heard of. This is after you've gotten infections cancer and severe trauma to the body ruled out.
[00:15:02] I want you to think that healing is possible for you. I want you to remember all the other times that you have healed in the past or even things that are healing currently. You can even look at an experience you've had with getting the vaccine. If you had a few days of symptoms and you got better, want you to think about that experience, put that in your belief bank.
[00:15:27] This is a matter of building a case for your brain, of rewiring your neural pathways, decreasing fear, increasing confidence. It's highly personal and it can be complex. But at the same time, when you understand the science behind mind body stress illness, it's also pretty straight forward.
[00:15:52] That is my suggestion for you on what to do when you are watching recover stories and they're all different kinds of them out there, different mind body, coaches, doctors, therapists usually have some recover stories. I have a few examples, in interviews with my clients and you, I suggest that you watch them.
[00:16:20] And as always, I am here to support you on your journey. I hope that I can help you understand how the relationship between the mind and the body is healed and helped through this work, through all the different forms.
[00:16:36] I'm gonna continue to bring you up to date information and in March, my coaching program will be available again to sign up with, and I look forward to connecting with you, either through my podcast or on my Instagram at @movewithdeb and I wish you well, thank you.