Back in 2019 I had an unfortunate run in with a medicine ball in the gym, it fell from a shelf whilst I was crouching down to reach for something and it landed on my head. It was a nasty experience, I was concussed and I went on to suffer from post concussion syndrome. The reason I’m sharing this is I wish I had known then what I know now, how fear fuels pain.
In 2020 I came across the work of Dr John Sarno MD and the work of Georgie Oldfield and SIRPA UK (Stress Illness Recovery Practitioners Association). Their work resonated with me, I’ve worked with people with chronic pain for a very long time, using Myofascial Release to ease their symptoms and addressing the nervous system to aid recovery, but SIRPA’s approach added a whole new dimension.
In this post I’m talking about fear. Fear fuels pain. I realised that following the incident at the gym I was filled with fearful thoughts, “what if this, what if that, what does this symptom mean, has it been checked out properly… am I going to die? What followed was a whole host of unexplained symptoms and anxiety.
As human beings we are wired to look at the darker side of things, that is how we survive, it’s automatic. We can’t control our thinking, we are all bound to have negative thoughts, but we can learn to start noticing our thoughts, and once we start noticing we can make a choice, we can choose to respond differently. How we choose to respond determines our level of suffering.
By being more mindful, by switching out of autopilot and becoming more present, in the moment, I realised that worrying about things that are not happening in the moment is not helpful. All of the rumination, catastrophic thinking, the fear, only serves to delay recovery.
Focusing on the positive, noticing negative/fearful thoughts without getting hung up on them, seeking out what makes you feel good, feeling your emotions, breathing, soothing and relaxing your body, all of this and more, serves to convince your brain that you are safe and that’s what, ultimately, sets you free.