Taming the Amygdala
(Workbook Page 38)
If the emotions that either accompany or worsen your pain are too frightening to face, ask why this is so? Do not give into the fear. Ask yourself what is so frightening about what you are feeling? What is so terrifying about the pain? Is it the fear that you will not be able to do what you have planned? Is it that you will have hours or days to pay for some perceived excessive activity? Is it that the things you have learned to diffuse your pain will not work and that you will have no defense against it? Is it that the pain will never leave you and that this will make you miserable for the rest of your life? Question the validity of these ideas and feelings. Pain always varies in intensity. If it doesn’t feel like it does vary, then assume that your emotional conflicts are playing a role in the experience you are having about your pain. Attack the pain from that end. Start examining what you are feeling emotionally and question why this has such a grip on you. Are these emotions completely unique to your pain or do you have them under other circumstances, as well? If they are unique, try to figure out why your pain has brought up these feelings. In a sense, loosen them from the grip of your pain and examine them in the light of your own understanding. If the emotions do feel familiar to you, something you have experienced under other circumstances, try to determine what is common about that experience and the experience of your pain. It may be that there is an unconscious link between this trauma/pain and another in your life. Do the emotions seem magnified or out of proportion to your pain? Again, this may be a clue that the pain is compromising your emotional life and your emotions are helping to perpetuate the pain. Break this cycle by calming and soothing yourself during pain episodes, while treating them with interest and curiosity to try to find out the link between your pain and your emotional state.