Practicing TRE® alone is perfectly possible, but is it easy? I don't think so. It takes a lot of courage and determination to keep going on your own. Eventually, the question comes up: Has anyone else experienced this?
Knowing that you are not the only one to have that experience will help you to feel safer with the tremors. We all need benchmarks and have a sense of what is 'normal' and what is out of range. In your everyday experiences, you have those benchmarks and norms and while they change over time, you are witness to these changes and free to adapt. Tremoring is a new experience and our default way of orientation is to compare.
There are different ways of comparing though - you can compare your new experience to your OWN past experiences or you can compare your new experience to the experiences of others. We do both all the time but we all build habits. One habit is to resist listening to other people's experiences and wanting to sort it out all by yourself, another is to focus too much on other people's explanations and dismiss your own.
What is your way of validating new experiences, by default?
If you mainly validate your experiences by finding common ground with others and find that someone says: It's the same with me you might be inclined to think: Ah well and be content and leave it at that. I
If you mainly validate new experiences by comparing them with your own remembered past, you might be inclined to think: I don't need to listen to advice, I have all the answers. In both cases, you are missing out.
In the TRE® process, you have a chance to shift from wanting to know to listening to your body and making sense of what you feel. I don't speak of emotions in the sense of labels but of pure sensations, sense perceptions from within. It is called interoception - to feel your body as alive and part of who you are. Your mind relies on these sensations for everything else, even your sense of balance cannot function without interoception. EVERYTHING in this process is unique to you, your body, your sensations, and your way of connecting them to past experience.
Everyone tremors, everyone tremors differently and everyone's tremors are an expression of this uniqueness. Yes, tremors mostly start with leg movement and mostly take some time to rise up into the torso or into hands or arms - but not always.
I have seen people's hands tremor - or eyelids, or jaws, without visible movement of the legs. I have seen people wriggle all over the floor in the first session, I have seen people take weeks to express hip movement - but they could feel tiny, high-frequency tremors all over the body right from the start. All of this - really ALL of it - is normal, just because it was their body's way to use the tremors and the body knows best.
One frequent problem in TRE® is comparison. People want to tremor like the other person, dismissing their own body's ways of using the tremors. It is sad if this happens and a good Provider will do their utmost to make sure people understand that what they experience is always right. Even if someone doesn't tremor at all it is good and right. His or her body cannot tolerate the environment, it may be too noisy or there is a sense of being looked at or observed that doesn't feel safe. It is not a judgment, neither for the person whose body is not able to let the tremors express, nor the facilitator, it is just information. Many people fare better in groups, especially when they know the other group members. Their nervous system resents the intensity of a one-on-one session, where the focus of the provider is on the client all the time.
1) You are asked to learn from the way your body uses the tremors
2) You are actually stalling that learning process if you 'have a problem' with the way the tremors express in your body, wishing they would be different.
3) Comparing with others for safety is good in principle and a problem in detail. It's totally ok to take comfort in the fact that others experience 'the same or similar but don't stop there, rather ask yourself 'Did I experience the same sensation before?'
4) When trying to 'understand' your own experience, do not think in terms of emotions only, put your vocabulary for emotions on the shelf for a while. Think in terms of anatomy, of the real things, your stomach, your tummy, and your neck. Use adjectives, not summary conclusions. Use words and look for tightness, heat, tingling, stiffness, coldness, etc, not sadness or anger.
5) You are asked to connect the dots of your personal experience with these sensations, to trace their origin and what they are connected to. Here it is obvious why comparing to others will lead you down the wrong path - you and your experience are unique.
1) You will feel comfortable and safe in your own body - trusting it to lead the way
2) You stay open for changes in the way tremors express by not having expectations
3) You slowly enlarge your capacity for all sensations that rise up from your body (including ALL that we call emotions) by letting them be without judging - and knowing that they come and go
4) You change your narrative by using different words and taking a new perspective - one that is not based on the complex things of past experience (the story and the emotions attached to the story) but on actual sensations in your body in the here and now.
5) You learn to tolerate and recognize certain patterns of sensations that trigger certain emotions that may trigger certain memories. Once you tolerate them and recognize them, you free yourself up to change them.
That is akin to loosening a tie that existed between people, places, and emotions and holding the loose end in your hand, being free to choose whether to attach it somewhere else.
Yes, it might feel unsettling - you are used to this tie being there, it gives you inner stability even if you resent it. Don't underestimate the power of those ties to hold you in a certain position - you might want to be 'free' but at first, that freedom might feel chaotic and unstable. But there is no way to untie something without moving through a moment of instability. Everything you truly leave behind leaves you with a sense of loss, even your depression or your anger leave a temporary void when they are gone.
Trust your body to do the work and let your mind follow up with reflection and awareness. All of this is you - embrace it and move on.
* (TRE® is Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises, using the body's natural shaking mechanism to ease muscle tension, improve interoception and enlarge overall tolerance to physical sensations = resilience & aliveness)