Sep 11, 2021
This episode has a funny blooper in it. Can you find
Besides that, I want you to know that I believe your pain is real. And just because we are discovering new ways to reprocess your pain, it doesn't mean it's your fault for having it in the first place.
Your body does what it does. Pain is a part of our protection system. I go through how the brain learns how to evaluate a sensory experience and I've got 3 interesting links to share.
And then I go on a little impassioned plea inspired by a conversation with a friend. Enjoy!
[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
[00:00:50] Hello, and welcome to move with Deb. This is
episode number 30. So today's podcast is like an appetizer of a
much larger concept and piece of work that I am thinking about,
working on, talking to people about. So it's in a kind of a raw,
early stages place. So just go with me. I'm going to ask some
questions that maybe you haven't thought of before. That's what I'm
often trying to do is help us crack open this world of perception
of both our sensory experiences and the meaning that we make out of
them to help us change our physiological experience.
[00:01:45] So this one is called like external threats and
internal thoughts. I was thinking about this thing about being fat
and having physical pain always being blamed on my physical size.
And just this kind of growing up as a person who's always had to
defend their humanity. So in some ways, there's this kind of
internal defensive stance that has been necessitated by white, cis,
hetero, patriarchy, dominant culture. That like anybody, who's not
that has to defend their humanity, has to defend their normalcy,
their right to exist.
[00:02:33] So what if we just stopped that? What if we
don't need to prove the innateness of being queer. What if we don't
need to prove that there's more than one gender. What if we don't
need to prove that fat bodies are worthy bodies.
[00:02:50] Also this research is important, right? There's
so much important work being done right now because these biases
kill. But what if, on a personal individual level, we can ask
ourselves these questions. Because how are we internalizing this
need to prove our worth and value?
[00:03:12] How do you let yourself just be. Do you feel
entitled to existing? Or do you feel like you have to prove
yourself all the time?
[00:03:21] So what if we can start discovering these
sneaky thoughts and beliefs that are driving our feelings of
overwhelm, unworthiness and more. And let other people keep their
manuals about what's normal and what's right and what's okay. I
understand I am providing a very simplistic idea. But there is a
point at which we get to decide.
[00:03:48] I am worthy. I am born worthy. Doesn't matter
what other people think. It doesn't matter if I'm quote unquote
productive. It doesn't matter if I succeed.
[00:03:59] And it would be easier to say all of that and
we would feel the physiological benefits of not having to hustle to
pay rent. Not having to live in poverty, not having to deal with
racial injustice. So I, I understand I am proposing a simplistic
[00:04:20] But are you aware of the effects of other
people's thoughts about your body, on your thoughts and feelings
about your body?
[00:04:28] In Lisa Feldman Barrett's book, How Emotions
Are Made she discusses the idea of categorization. It's the process
by which the brain uses a concept to make sensory input meaningful.
The constructed view of emotions, claims that the brain creates
experiences and perceptions from more basic
[00:04:48] So in every waking moment, your brain uses past
experience, organized as concepts to guide your actions and give
your sensations meaning.
[00:04:59] In my course, I talk a lot about the brain is a
predictive organ and how we can change our perception of sensory
experience. Meaning is not neutral. Meaning is very culturally
informed by bio-psycho-social forces. And so of course we live with
other people's meanings inside of our bodies.
[00:05:24] So I have a few articles that I'm going to
attach to the transcript. There's an article about how people's
words and actions can actually shape your brain. There's the
glossary from her book, how emotions are made, and then there's an
article about predictive coding and interoception, which I just
think is interesting.
[00:05:49] I talk about biology because it's important.
Because we all have a brain. We all have a body. And we all have a
nervous system. And even though our experiences within the world is
different. The brain and the body and the nervous system all
operate relatively similarly.
[00:06:10] So once we understand why our body's doing
something we can also begin to decode it in a more neutral way in a
less personalized way. Right. But also in a way that's dynamic. I
want us to start thinking about our brains and bodies as dynamic
beings. Just like Lisa Feldman Barrett's work about the constructed
view of emotion. These are not fixed states. So it's not like
somebody with this kind of brain has this kind of experience or
this kind of person with this kind of trauma has this kind of
experience. It's not identity based.
[00:06:56] It's meaning based. And when we collect as a
group, we make meaning together. But I really want this part about
the dynamism dine-in ism. Is that a word? The dynamic ness of our
mind and body experience to be understood because that's where the
role of neuro-plasticity comes in. Everybody's brains are also
plastic. And so we can through re-interpreting meaning. We can
rewire the brain.
[00:07:30] With that said. Today I had an online
conversation with a friend which was so helpful. She was honest
with me. And told me that my work sounds like what folks in pain
and people in marginalized bodies hear a lot. Thoughts like it's
your fault. And it's in your head. And I just need to say
emphatically. I don't believe that either of those things are
[00:07:55] And neither do any of my teachers or the
clinicians I work with. Or any of the neuroplastic pain educators
or therapists that I know of, that I follow and that I listened to.
They completely believe that you are feeling exactly what you are
feeling. Dr. Sarno once said that TMS, which was his name for
neuroplastic pain hurt more than any kind of structural pain ever
[00:08:22] So we believe you. This pain is awful. And it
is not in your head. It is in your body, but it is of your head. As
in all pain is made in the brain. So I'm going to say that again.
It is in your body. It is felt in your body, but it is of your head
as all pain is.
[00:08:42] All pain is made in the brain. The brain
decides everything we experience. It's our subconscious grand
master. And it's not your fault because it conditioned response of
a subconscious protective occurrence. What neurons learn is
[00:09:00] There's no reason for why your brain has
perpetuated this predictive coding of the brain. It's often we have
a sensation or we heal from something and the loop of evaluation,
the prediction loop of the sensory experience gets stuck in on
mode, in danger mode, in watch out and organize your life around
not feeling this mode.
[00:09:23] And that's why I also talk about emotions.
Because repression is repression from the brain's point of view. If
we create a conditioned response to not feel something, when that
sensation arises, whether it's your butt in a particular chair or a
difficult memory. Your brain will do what it needs to do to protect
[00:09:46] Even if that is turning the pain on high, even
if that's turning up the volume on your sensory experience on your
unpleasant sensory experience. The brain is really good at what it
does. Keeping you alive. Allostasis. But it is not smart as in
being able to decide when to stop paying attention to an unpleasant
sensation, you need to teach the brain that. And that's through
education awareness, emotional allowance. Body-based tools like
somatic tracking. Trauma work.
[00:10:21] This is trauma work. This is nervous system
work. This is teaching your brain what you decide is safe because
you want to live with less or no pain. Not because you would be a
better worker. Not because then you wouldn't be disabled. This is
about getting free from the biased messages about your
[00:10:43] Or the well intention, but unfortunately,
harmful messages about your body. This is not about identity. Pain
is a normal human experience. We all feel. And we will all feel
pain in our lives. Physical and emotional pain. And persistent pain
and many chronic conditions are stress illnesses, which are bio
[00:11:08] But anyone who has a brain and has a nervous
system can also learn these tools. Regardless of the stress and
factors in their lives. I have clients who've been suffering for
years in bed and get well. They define well for themselves, not to
reenter the workforce, but because everybody deserves to be free of
chronic persistent pain.
[00:11:35] Just like everyone deserves food and shelter
and healthcare. And I know that not everything is a mind, body
illness. But a lot of chronic pain is a subconscious learned
process that can be learned. We also need accessible spaces and
wheelchair ramps and accommodations. This work isn't meant to take
any of that away.
[00:11:59] The real trauma of having a body that is
perceived as broken or not worthy is absolutely real. And the fear
we hold because of the impact of racist, homophobic, fat phobic,
trans hating neuro-typical, white supremacist ideals is experienced
in the body.
[00:12:19] And learning this work is vital because I don't
know about you, but if we need the world to right itself before
pain can go away, that's a losing proposition. It is not okay for
only white middle to upper class people to get access to this work.
And is hella white. And I talk about that in my program that's in
[00:12:42] This concept while popularized in the 1980s
with Dr. Sarno's books and work. That was before the internet was a
thing. Big pharma and big medicine weren't interested in pain
interventions that are inexpensive and aren't based around
equipment or drug sales or surgeries. No one at NYU was even
interested in referring their clients to him, not when they could
perform surgery and provide an intervention. Even though there's
countless studies to dispute the efficacy of surgery for curing
[00:13:19] We now only have the first comprehensive pain
study about this process coming out soon. The Boulder Back Pain
Study. This is decades after Dr. Sarno helped thousands of people
heal from pain.
[00:13:34] No one deserves to suffer. Pain when we
understand the complexity of it makes total sense. It's our body
taking the very best care of us it can using the only tools at its
disposal, the beliefs and perceptions about its sensory experience.
Once you come to understand this and create that understanding in
your body as an embodied practice. You can change your brain's
meaning of sensory input and your body will respond.
[00:14:13] That is what this work is. And a lot of what
happens, the trauma part, the unlearning part is about unraveling
this lifetime of meaning that we have learned little bits and bobs
about our bodies. And it's gotten into our subconscious and we've
organized our survival as best we can around it.
[00:14:38] So that's my impassioned plea.
[00:14:41] There is nothing that I have any interest in
telling you that this pain is not real. Nor is this pain something
that you are at fault for. Or that you shouldn't be
[00:14:57] But this process is real. I don't know how else
to explain it.
[00:15:04] But this unlearning, relearning neuroplastic
process is real. Just like you have learned everything you have
learned in your life to this point. Just like you've learned any
motor pattern. Or habit, which your body then automates and
delivers to you without thinking.
[00:15:26] You could learn a new pattern. Could play a new
song on the piano. You can rewire your sensory experience. It's all
the same process. Except this is with our interoception. Our
neuroception. Our perception. All the "ceptions". And with our
belief. And with fear.
[00:15:47] I try my best to be a good guide, to honor
everything that you have been through. And to show you as Alan
Gordon, has named his new book. The Way Out.
[00:15:59] So if you're ever interested in working with
me, I encourage you to go to my website.debmalkin.com. Follow me on
Instagram at @movewithdeb. I am sharing a lot of experiences around
rewiring pain on there. I share reviews and tidbits and experiences
from my clients. I share articles and information that I think
would benefit people. I am happy to share.
[00:16:26] It's my pleasure and honor to hear your stories and to work with you. And to help you facilitate any change that you want to make in your life.