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brightondebs

United Kingdom
21 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2008 :  14:29:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything everyone is saying. It's a lot to take in, but I'm trying to focus - and keep up!

I have a confession...I don't truly believe this isn't physical :( Everything you say Kevin about what is feeding TMS is me. Every minute of every day.

quote:
After that, make a deal with TMS. Say "If this is what you want, so be it". And then go outside and accept the fact that you were promised nothing....and live your life. With the total acceptance that life is what happens and you will do what YOU can, while this event has other plans. Accept that TMS is with you and in you. Thank TMS for showing you that you needed to change. Be aware of every moment you don't feel pain(these moments will turn into days).

Accept and move forward.And you will see how truly small TMS is. You will wake up and understand that the battle is won when you stop fighting.


I keep reading this but I don't understand, sorry. Can you try and explain this bit again?

I just need to know how I can convince my STUPID frustrating head this isn't real. That I'm not doing permanent damage every time I write or type or lift something heavy. The truth is, the pain scares me. Every time things start going well and I can feel the pain receding I have a set back and then I get afraid and start doubting Sarno is right. This has been going on for 8 months now!

How do I let go of the fear? How do I BELIEVE?

Edited by - brightondebs on 07/13/2008 14:56:55
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la_kevin

USA
351 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2008 :  15:19:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by skizzik

Want to see TMS get scared as hell?

Imagine yourself having it for the rest of your life (worst case scenario). Sit there and meditate on it. Imagine your life and all those years passing by with chronic pain.

After that, make a deal with TMS. Say "If this is what you want, so be it". And then go outside and accept the fact that you were promised nothing....and live your life. With the total acceptance that life is what happens and you will do what YOU can, while this event has other plans. Accept that TMS is with you and in you. Thank TMS for showing you that you needed to change. Be aware of every moment you don't feel pain(these moments will turn into days).




quote:

ok....

1. we make tms scared as hell....can't it simply crank up the pain and throw us back into the structural at it's will?

2. how does one "let go" w/ true acceptence? this in itself takes work, and then it's only worth the work if you feel it will cure tms which puts you back into the continuim.

3. being aware of the non-pain moments gives it as much attention as being in pain doesnt it?

4. thank tms for changing what exactly?



tms treatment seems to be extremely delicate. One false move, or thought and your'e back to square one, over and over and over again.





btw, brightondebs, thanx for your honesty. I'm glad you started this thread as I can relate to everything you said.



1)Scaring TMS actually(from my experience) causes it to stop, in a smoother way. Have you ever done journaling to the point that the pain 'moves' around like some of the TMS books say it will? That 'moving' is not the key. The moving just means you hit something and TMS got uncomfortable, so it's finding another place to go.

From my experience, this isn't the end of TMS. When TMS is truly 'scared' it leaves. You can sense it getting bored and you wake up one day and you notice no stiffness, no tightness, no needle sensations, etc.

It's way different than the "oh it's moving now so that means it's going away".

2)I don't think you have to have 'faith' that letting go will cure TMS, in order for it to work. For me it was just an "aha" moment. "Letting go" and accepting actually breaks the TMS cycle. It has no power anymore, and TMS thrives on your constant worry. It always wants to be an issue. If you truly can learn to let go of the "what ifs' that TMS causes to ruminate in your head all day, then TMS loses it's power.

After a while , it's just lets go itself.

If you can't imagine what letting go and accepting feels like, I can't really demonstrate it or describe it.

I think it has to be a personal experience that someone has.

I also think I was motivated to let go because nothing was working. The usual journaling and constant talking about TMS wasn't doing it for me. So I gave up out of total exhaustion. And it was at that point that someone posed the question to me "Who told you that you were promised anything in life?"

The most profound yet simple question I've ever been asked. It hit my EGO, the part of me that saw myself as being something I obviously wasn't, a sufferer of TMS.

You need to accept TMS and that you have it before you can deal with it. If you are constantly fighting TMS on a minute by minute basis, you are already saying to yourself that you would rather be SOMEONE ELSE and SOMEWHERE ELSE, rather than be HERE.

How can you start to tackle life's problems if you are not HERE, and not accepting of what is happening NOW? You might as well be dead. If you are wishing your whole life to be this 'other person' you feel you deserve to be, you might very well suffer with TMS forever.

Many of us gladly accept that we SUFFER from TMS , but we don't really ACCEPT that we HAVE TMS.(read what I said again...repeat)

Many of us gladly accept that we SUFFER from TMS , but we don't really ACCEPT that we HAVE TMS.

Many of us gladly accept that we SUFFER from TMS , but we don't really ACCEPT that we HAVE TMS.

This is a big step.

3) No. LOOKING for the pain free moments can get you into trouble. Making a mental note of the pain free moments reinforces that faith that TMS is a mental state dependent syndrome and not structural. It also reminds the brain that it can attain a normal state of being. A "theres more where this came from" reminder. The brain also knows that once something is achieved on a small scale, it can be achieved as a whole.

The idea is not to become OBSESSED with pain free moments. Just be aware of them and move on. TMS has it's best successes when you acknowledge>>>>>>>>>>>>>appreciate>>>>>>>>>then move on.

Appreciation is different than fixation. If you find yourself fixated with TMS symptoms, you are already losing. What if you put yourself in a state of mind where you woke up everyday saying, " Okay TMS,I KNOW that today you are going to give me pain. There is nothing I can really 'do' to make you go away for now. So whatever new pains you bring me is totally expected. Nothing is really new with you. So do your best, but in the meantime I'm going to go (fill in the blank)"

Do you think with this new outlook that TMS will have more power or less? I'm not saying that TMS won't try real hard to get your attention by kicking and screaming. I'm talking about POWER here.

If TMS knows that it's M.O. is expected and predictable...how would any new symptoms 'scare' you or make you think 'uh oh ' anymore?

4) Thank TMS for making you aware that your way of life, thinking, perceptions, rationale, fears, levels of anxiety....are not in line or consistent with a 'healthy' person.

We have TMS for a reason. I'm not saying we are crazy or outcasts. But we are not, as a whole, 'WELL' people. If we were, we would not be here. Now who is 'well' and balanced? Not many people in Western society. We are sick because we are products of a very repressed, while at the same time , EGOCENTRIC culture.

Take a room full of a group who is spiritually calm and appreciative of life., say 50 people.

Buddhist monks, Hippies, Agrarians, Yoga instructors....whatever example you can think of.

Put them in a room with 50 TMS sufferers from this forum. You think you could spot the difference and be able to tell who's Autonomic Nervous System has the highest probability of malfunctioning?

Uhhhh, yeah. It would be us.

So TMS is the bodies way of showing you.

"Hey, we really can't live like this anymore, because now you're forcing me to starve oxygen and cause pain. If you don't change, I keep doing this. I don't know how else to warn you aside from giving you Cancer or a Heart Attack."

Thank TMS in as much as TMS is giving you the chance to start over life with a new view.

I am very angry of what TMS caused me, and by no means am I thankful for having TMS in that sense. We all know we would rather be symptom free and never have to deal with any of this to begin with.

But that goes back to LIFE NEVER EVER EVER PROMISED YOU ****!!!!


ACCEPTANCE of what is, not what you thought is SUPPOSED to be. Kids die daily from bone cancer and Lukemia.

We have TMS. Nobody promised you anything. This is the hardest lesson of TMS because it shows that life is completely out of your control.

And that is one of the biggest fears of a TMS sufferer.

Is what I'm saying making sense? I hope, because that is the best I can explain it.







---------------------------
"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans"- John Lennon

Edited by - la_kevin on 07/13/2008 15:25:39
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la_kevin

USA
351 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2008 :  15:43:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by brightondebs

Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything everyone is saying. It's a lot to take in, but I'm trying to focus - and keep up!

I have a confession...I don't truly believe this isn't physical :( Everything you say Kevin about what is feeding TMS is me. Every minute Once my STUPID frustrating head this isn't real. That I'm not doing permanent damage every time I write or type or lift something heavy. The truth is, the pain scares me. Every time things start going well and I can feel the pain receding I have a set back and then I get afraid and start doubting Sarno is right. This has been going on for 8 months now!

How do I let go of the fear? How do I BELIEVE?




From my experience, you don't have to 'believe ' in TMS for TMS theories to work. The best process is DEDUCTIVE REASONING.

"Belief" is a cult aspect of TMS authors. Cult aspects cause pressure to conform. Dr. Sarno's reasoning on this is flawed when he said "One MUST refute the physical in order to get better"(paraphrasing).

That is a collectivist ideal and adds pressure to be like 'the other kids".

Simple deductive logic can address it better. It's easier to prove TMS by looking at what it is NOT.

"Do I have any pain free moments?" Evidence of it NOT being physical.

"What are these moments?" Evidence that there is a feeling or mental state that correlates to pain free moments.

"Does my pain go away when I sleep, and start all over once my mind kicks in when I wake up?" Evidence of non physical cause

"When I am busy or active, does my pain seem to be LESS noticeable?"

Evidence of psychogenic origin, since 'real' injuries do not act this way.


Why rely on faith or belief, when you could use evidence?

In the end, I suggest that being diagnosed with TMS is the first step, after all other tests prove negative.

It's silly to expect someone with physical pain not to think it's physical in cause and nature. But once the pain goes, you KNOW it was TMS all along. That's one of the benefits of being pain free and beating TMS. It gives you ridiculous hindsight.



---------------------------
"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans"- John Lennon
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Curiosity18

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2008 :  17:38:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
la kevin-

What inspiring posts! You truly put into words very clearly what many of us (myself included) experience on a regular basis. I remember when I saw Don Dubin, and he mentioned letting go and surrendering. It really didn't make a lot of sense to me at the time. Your posts really cut to the heart of the matter. Thank you.

Peace-
Curiosity
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HellNY

130 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2008 :  19:10:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote


I not only agree 100% with everything LaKevin has been saying, I want to add a few more things.

I thin kit behooves everyone to become aware that the process that Kevin describes with TMS is NOT UNIQUE to TMS. What reinforces what Keven is saying is that you see the VERY SAME PROBLEM AND SOLUTION with MANY other disordersd although (apparently) no one has made the connection.

Want to understand the solution better? Or better get a sense of what Kevin is saying?

Read about Panic Disorder. Only change the word "panic" with the word "pain." Panic disorder is driven by "fear of the fear" whihc causdes the fear to escalate, which in turn increases the panic, which in turn...

Read about tinnitus. Part of the problem with tinnitus is well-recognized to be the EMOTIONAL REACTION to the ringing in the ears. This gives the ringing emotional significance to the brain, which in turn results in greater encoding of the stimulus and greater attention to it. Our brain s are wired for it. Part of teh therapy for tinnitus is the retraining of how the person emotionally responds to the stimulus. Over time, the stimulus EXTINGUISHES because the emotions are no longer conditioned to it.

Read literature on Conditioned Emotional Response. Apply it to TMS. Its the SAME THING.

Read the literature on the pain system. There are at least 2 "pain pathways," one called the Dorsal Columns and other other called the SpinoThalamic tract. Both start in the spinal cord and project to teh brain. One terminates in the regions responsible for "where" pain is but the other projects to regions involved in the "emotional reaction" to pain. Its that latter system that is greatly affected by cognition and allows teh brain to either "turn up" or "turn down" teh Descending Pain Control system.

People with TMS have, in theory, their Descending Pain Control system turned lmost "OFF" because they have trained their own brains, through their own panic and anxiety, to becomea wide open aperture for every pain impulse and to multiply it 100 fold.

The answer is as Kevin stated. Its in your emotional response to the pain. The answer is in gradual deconditioning the response. Sarno's argument that the pain is "emotional not physical" WORKS because, in my view, it allows people to think "oh there is nothing really damaged in me" and therefore the process of reducing the emotiuonal response to the pain begins (there is no longer panic or fear or anxiety becauszxe, after all, its "not real physical damage.)

I am 98% sure this is why the Sarno method works. It also explains why people can get better without journaling or psychotherapy.

Be open to this because this is how I have achieved somehwere near 80% resoltuion of my pain and my quality of life is 1000% times better and I no longer take ANY pain meds and have3 FAR LESS pain than I have in 10 years.
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armchairlinguist

USA
1397 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2008 :  20:18:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It isn't your belief that's important. It's your commitment to behaving as though TMS can be conquered using psychological methods and using those methods. For some people, they seem to need to believe in it, at least mostly, before this can happen. For others (including me) it was more like an experiment, even if they see how the theory applies to them and want to believe in it. Like, hey, what happens if I just ignore it? What happens if I tell myself it's not structural? What happens if I laugh at it?

Experiment and do what works for you.

I would however like to speak up in defense of the "inner child" stuff. It is misinterpretation to say that the goal of this is to relive your issues constantly. Inner child work is the same as other emotional work -- the purpose is to recognize, experience, process, and move on. It just uses a particular metaphor to do that, which some people find very helpful.

I am a strong advocate of not replacing physical obsession with psychological obsession. Revisit emotional experiences as necessary for you personally, but no kind of obsession serves recovery. Getting back to your life, and ceasing to let your symptoms have any distractive power for you emotionally, does.

Debs, the simple, but not easy, answer to "how do I do it" is: you must just do it. Stop thinking so hard about it and just do it. :)

--
What were you expecting?
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campbell28

80 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2008 :  11:23:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sorry to hear you have been having a bad time again debs:

"But as an update today....yesterday I did no FFF work at all, this morning I am relaxed, full of energy, skipping around the house singing, slept better and am now planning a day trip to a town that takes 2 hours on the bus...."

I feel great, but in the back of the mind is the feeling that the TMS has "won".....So, letting go, living in the now, like I am today, is that not possibly WHY I've got TMS/fibro? Because when I do this I'm just papering over the cracks? Can I truly get better without dealing with my past?"

Like Armchair said: no, that means TMS has lost! That letting go, doing things in a carefree, pain-free way, enjoying the simple things in life: isn't that what you see as the end goal of all your TMS work anyway? What is the end result that you want from all your digging into the past and focusing on the emotional? To be free of it, to be free of past pain; to be free of TMS?

well then, just by having that good day, you have proved that you CAN be free: that you already have it in yourself. You can step back from the top bit of your brain that goes round and round and round on a hamster wheel obssessing about pain and its causes and getting nowhere.

From your earlier posts I remember you were doing a lot of stuff despite still sounding like you were in a pretty anxious head-state. I know you said you were going to start a new job as well. That is a lot to cope with when you are feeling fragile, and you are giving yourself even more to cope with by spending such a lot of time digging into emotional trauma.

You described your good day as a 'holiday': maybe what you really need is more of that. Give your poor old brain a rest. You've moved country, moved jobs, while trying to deal with what is basically a breakdown. Do you have to do all your digging now, in such an intensive, stressful way?

It sounds like you are just piling more pressure on yourself, hwich will be setting the TMS off. The easiest way to take some of that pressure off; the pressure that is sending your brain off on its TMS hamster-wheel, is just to stop. Stop making yourself dig into things for hours every day. Its summer, and god knows how long its going to last, this being Britain. go for a walk and enjoy it.

i know this is easier said than done. but if you can, take la_kevins advice and just let go....




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brightondebs

United Kingdom
21 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2008 :  09:29:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's nice to hear from everyone again after a while away - hi! It's amazing how isolating TMS can be.

What I learned today: I think about my pain ALL DAY. I couldn't believe it when I finally realised this. I really thought I was only focusing on it when I was journaling or on this forum but it turns out that from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep my internal dialogue is OBSESSED with my condition!

It goes something like this:

"I'm awake, how do I feel? Argh, sore hands again (flexing fingers), and I slept badly, what does that mean? Maybe my anxiety is getting worse, maybe I didn't meditate enough. Should I start back on the FFF path? Will that make it worse? Maybe I'm worse now because I'm NOT doing it. I'm sure my shoulder was better yesterday. Will I always have this? I understand some of the things Kevin was saying, it makes sense. I feel less depressed today. Wow, I can't believe it's been two years. I feel so lonely. No-one understands what having TMS is like.............."

And I am deadly serious when I say this DOESN'T STOP for a second of the day unless I am completely engrossed by work (for a few minutes until the pain in my hands reminds me), am watching a very good tv show (until my body starts to ache from sitting still too long) or out with friends (the best distraction, but again only for moments).

I was so shocked. When did I get to this point? How did this happen? How could I not realise I was doing this????

I now realise this is why meditation is the only thing I have ever found make any real difference to my pain levels. It gives me 20 minutes in a day when I'm not actually thinking about my TMS.

So...what's the best way to stop? Distraction? More meditation? At the moment I feel like my head is driving me nuts...

On another point. I get you Kevin, you want me to accept that I have TMS. Ok, sounds like good advice. It's here, it's been here for two years, it aint going anywhere right now, how about I stop putting my life on hold while obsessing over finding a "cure". How about I stop saying "I'll be happy when..." and just be happy now. Yep, I can try and do that.

What I get hung up on is this. I have realised recently that I don't just have low self esteem, I genuinely hate myself. I don't want to feel that way. Also, events in my past have really screwed me up and screwed up my ability to have a close relationship with anybody. I don't want to feel that way either. So, my question is. If I say I don't like those things about myself, and say I want to change those things, does that mean I'm not accepting who I am in the NOW? Will seeking a "cure" for those things through counselling, journaling or affirmations etc feed my TMS?

Edited by - brightondebs on 07/15/2008 09:33:14
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armchairlinguist

USA
1397 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2008 :  09:58:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
What I learned today: I think about my pain ALL DAY. I couldn't believe it when I finally realised this. I really thought I was only focusing on it when I was journaling or on this forum but it turns out that from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep my internal dialogue is OBSESSED with my condition!


Debs -- I think this will be your AHA moment, the one you look back to and say, that was when I really got it. It reminds me of something that Rachel Podolsky wrote (http://podolsky.everybody.org/rsi/) -- that she really sat down and thought about what her life would be like without the pain and she realized it would be empty, because there was very little else in her life but pain, thoughts about pain, etc. (She then wrote that since then she has filled her life with other things.)

This is totally, exactly what TMS is. The constant thoughts of pain, and the emotions about pain, distract you from your real thoughts, real emotions, and real life. You haven't realized you were doing it because TMS strives not to allow you to notice how it has taken over your life.

When you find yourself thinking about the pain, you think psychological. This is the absolute basic dynamic of TMS. Instead of continuing to think about the pain, do one of several things: think about your emotions, think about TMS statements like "I know that I am just thinking about/feeling this pain for emotional reasons", "My body is healthy, and I will overcome TMS in time" -- or do not think about TMS or pain at all and think about something else, like the activity you are doing right at that moment or what you are planning to have for lunch or whatever works.

As far as the emotional issues behind TMS, there is no quick cure for them, but there are ways to process and move beyond them if that is what you would like to do -- but keep in mind that that is not always necessary for your physical recovery. Your recovery from TMS can occur before emotional recovery, and does in many cases.

The best thing you can do for yourself right now, though, is to accept that right now this is how you are, this is how you feel, this is the pain you have because of experiences in your past and how those experiences have affected your present life. That is the goal of primary TMS recovery -- acceptance that you have these strong and difficult emotions, that you had trauma in your past and that it left you with a reservoir of painful emotions.

This is you. Love/have compassion/gentleness toward yourself for being you and for all the struggling and muddling and difficulty you have survived through. That old paradox is true, that acceptance of yourself as you are is essential for change. How can you go anywhere else if you don't really grasp where you are now? Trust that you will know when it's time to work through your issues. It may be now or six months from now or a year from now, but you will know the right time.

--
What were you expecting?
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la_kevin

USA
351 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2008 :  19:21:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Debs,

Your post sounds like you already had an "aha" moment right there.

Armchair described it perfectly. You are seeing what TMS does and is.

I was watching Eckhart Tolle speak about the intention of being a 'better person', and how it rarely works if it is something you actively try to change. True change comes about just by being aware of what is wrong in your thought process.

I find this is true. Just by being aware that TMS is on your mind all day, your mind now knows and this awareness will change it by itself, IMO.

TMS is on the mind of many people with the chronic form. So is it the constant thinking of TMS which gives it th fuel to keep going, or is it the constant pain that makes you think about it all day?

Chicken or the egg. I think it's both. But the one which you have control over to stop the cycle, is your part(the thought process).

We think about TMS all day because we want to control it. We think that if we think about it, it equates to ACTION. Thoughts are not action. Thoughts are garbage. TMS likes garbage.

I would seriously advise you to seek therapy for your TMS. You are a severe TMS sufferer like I was. Along with the 'self hatred' issues and low self esteem, you should talk to someone who is trained in what this all means.

At this point, I'm convinced you fit the severe TMS model.

Read your OWN posts over and over. Does this sound like someone who would have a smooth running Autonomic Nervous System? Does your bodily pain match your thought process? Yes it does.

Could a calm Nervous System exist in someone like yourself, as you are in life right now? I highly doubt it.

If I berated you all day, like you do yourself, how would your chemistry and subconscious react to me if I screamed obscenities at you all day and told you 24/7 how worthless you are?

Because that is what is going on in your own brain.

Trust me, I know 'self hatred'. I mastered the game to the point where I also hated everyone else on the planet and every morning I woke up I LITERALLY stuck my middle finger to the sky and said "Go **** yourself God", and I meant it.I was suicidal and borderline homicidal in my worst TMS days. WHat I really hated was my EGO, I now know that.

The EGO can be dangerous. I feel that it is responsible for most wars and crime in the world. TMS is just a symptom of the Ego run rampant in the negative. I believe TMS sufferers are ALL guilty of this. Even the 'people pleaser' types.

But I digress. Try and find a therapist who is versed in Mind/ Body syndromes. Writing your concerns on a forum can only do so much.

Good Luck.

---------------------------
"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans"- John Lennon
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moose1

162 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2008 :  20:26:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by la_kevin

We think that if we think about it, it equates to ACTION. Thoughts are not action. Thoughts are garbage. TMS likes garbage.



and TMS loves the self-hating garbage especially. one thing a good therapist will help you learn is not only the source of your self-hate, but the process by which you end up kicking yourself in the teeth every day all day as a result...and how to stop it.

there is a way out of this thing. getting the perspective of someone who knows the mind/body connection will help show you the way.
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Villen

10 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2008 :  01:28:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just have to say; many of the posts that replies to this topic are GREAT and describes SO VERY WELL what TMS is all about. I am speechless. Thank you everybody!! I have learnt so much about TMS and about my self the last week than I have in my whole life. Thanks again.

Villen
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brightondebs

United Kingdom
21 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2008 :  14:33:16  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes I did definitely have an "a-ha" moment but sadly I didn't wake up miraculously cured the next day :) I may smile, but I was kinda hoping...The thing is, I've had a brilliant two days. I've been bubbly, fun to be around, happy as anything, glad to be alive, slept well etc. I even had dinner with my ex last night and he texted me afterward to say he had a great time and that I seemed really "together" :) It's like rediscovering this person I used to be two, three years ago that I didn't even realise had gone. I had no idea how much TMS had changed me.

So all this is great, I now distract myself whenever I hear the internal dialogue start up and spend far more time outside my head, aware of the world around me, instead of always looking inwards, completely unaware of my surroundings (my nickname at school was space cadet so I know this is a well-established personality trait). The only problem is, the pain levels are still the same. I feel cheated! I can't shake the belief this could be physical. Self-defeating thought pattern I know. My main problem is, unlike a lot of people, I don't actually have ANY pain free moments. I have good days and bad days and moments I'm completely distracted from my pain and unaware of it but I don't see that as evidence it's not physical. Meditation, hypnosis, shock, adrenaline, euphoria - all these things can temporarily eliminate "real" pain. It doesn't prove it's not physical.

I'm such a damn sceptic! Someone convince me, please!

Ok, so I just wrote all that, and it does look like I'm still seeking a "cure" but I know now, after the last two days, that I don't have to get "better" to be happy, and that feels sooooo good.
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hottm8oh

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2008 :  15:17:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by brightondebs

It's nice to hear from everyone again after a while away - hi! It's amazing how isolating TMS can be.

What I learned today: I think about my pain ALL DAY. I couldn't believe it when I finally realised this. I really thought I was only focusing on it when I was journaling or on this forum but it turns out that from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep my internal dialogue is OBSESSED with my condition!

It goes something like this:

"I'm awake, how do I feel? Argh, sore hands again (flexing fingers), and I slept badly, what does that mean? Maybe my anxiety is getting worse, maybe I didn't meditate enough. Should I start back on the FFF path? Will that make it worse? Maybe I'm worse now because I'm NOT doing it. I'm sure my shoulder was better yesterday. Will I always have this? I understand some of the things Kevin was saying, it makes sense. I feel less depressed today. Wow, I can't believe it's been two years. I feel so lonely. No-one understands what having TMS is like.............."

And I am deadly serious when I say this DOESN'T STOP for a second of the day unless I am completely engrossed by work (for a few minutes until the pain in my hands reminds me), am watching a very good tv show (until my body starts to ache from sitting still too long) or out with friends (the best distraction, but again only for moments).

I was so shocked. When did I get to this point? How did this happen? How could I not realise I was doing this????

I now realise this is why meditation is the only thing I have ever found make any real difference to my pain levels. It gives me 20 minutes in a day when I'm not actually thinking about my TMS.

So...what's the best way to stop? Distraction? More meditation? At the moment I feel like my head is driving me nuts...

On another point. I get you Kevin, you want me to accept that I have TMS. Ok, sounds like good advice. It's here, it's been here for two years, it aint going anywhere right now, how about I stop putting my life on hold while obsessing over finding a "cure". How about I stop saying "I'll be happy when..." and just be happy now. Yep, I can try and do that.

What I get hung up on is this. I have realised recently that I don't just have low self esteem, I genuinely hate myself. I don't want to feel that way. Also, events in my past have really screwed me up and screwed up my ability to have a close relationship with anybody. I don't want to feel that way either. So, my question is. If I say I don't like those things about myself, and say I want to change those things, does that mean I'm not accepting who I am in the NOW? Will seeking a "cure" for those things through counselling, journaling or affirmations etc feed my TMS?



You were me 4 months ago. I obsessed over my back pain. I always felt best right when I woke up in the morning before I could really get a mental handle on where I was and what was going on. Thinking about the pain, how bad it would be, whether or not it would ruin my day permeated my every thought. Even if I tried to do something else, thinking about the pain perpetuated it.

The most effective thing for me against TMS so far is to truly FORGET about the pain. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it can be done in time. The more pain-free moments you have, the more you will truly forget about the pain. You will be able to do something without the pain being anywhere in your brain. Those are the moments when I feel the best. I've gotten to a point that when the pain does come, I can effectively remind myself that it may stick around but it will eventually subside. It may not subside when I want it to, but it will subside. It's like LAKevin said--no one promised you anything. No one promised me my pain would go away when I wanted it to. I had to let go of the desperate fight to control the pain. It's something that I still struggle with, but it's true.

I feel the "inner child" is important only for you to recognize how it made you who you are now. I see no value in reliving my traumatizing childhood, but I do see the value in recognizing how those events shaped my personality now as an adult. I am a perfectionist because my mother had borderline/narcissist personality disorder along with a raging anger problem, and any mistake I made, whether real or imagined on her part, was the worst offense on Earth. I spent my childhood and early 20's walking around on eggshells trying desperately not to be noticed. If you don't f*ck up, then you don't get noticed. I also had my first IBS attack when I was 20. I was a nervous wreck and a giant ball of anger, resentment and confusion at the time.

My childhood issues combined with the trauma of a bad break-up in my late 20's also left me with low self esteem and difficulty getting close to people. I can't change those traumas, but I can not dwell on them 24 hours a day and try to live in the NOW, and the people who hurt me haven't been a part of my NOW in years. Sometimes just recognizing what makes you who you are is more than half of the battle.

Like you, I am still working on all of this. I am not cured--is anyone ever really cured? In fact, I had a pain flare-up today that my body is still clinging to right now because I got frustrated trying to buy Dark Knight Imax tickets online. (They're movie tickets, but I got bent out of shape at the fricken computer over it. What am I supposed to do with that?) But I would say I'm overall 70% better. Just think of what your life would be like if you were 70% better. The success and the good days are highly motivating.
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swmr1

USA
118 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2008 :  15:19:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What if you just accepted the pain and quit fearing it so much? What if you quit trying to control your pain? What if you just decided that, physical or not, the pain is not going to keep you from doing what you'd like? Then, it's possible that you'd feel bad, but at least you'd be doing the things you like while feeling bad instead of living in fear of feeling bad and not enjoying anything.

That may be way too simplistic. But FEAR of pain is what kept me in a cycle of pain. Once I quit fearing so much, the pain gradually went away. I also had a major health scare last year (unrelated to my TMS) and have had to learn that I'm not in control of my health nearly as much as I'd like to think I am. There are some things you have to just do your best with and let the chips fall where they may. Thinking that I can monitor every symptom I have and control whether or not I get some horrid disease has only led me to trouble. That's not really LIVING.
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brightondebs

United Kingdom
21 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2008 :  01:46:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You know swmr1 I thought I WAS doing everything I wanted despite the pain. But turns out I was still living a half life due to thinking about TMS constantly. This has robbed me of many things I used to do - writing (because my imagination is constantly hogged by thoughts of TMS), travel (because I no longer have time in my head to plan adventures), anything that requires me to be spontaneous, creative or excited about the future.

And I should have been able to see it from my last post but I am still blind to the extent of how TMS affects me. I've fallen into the fear again. Yes, I had an "a-ha" moment but three days later I'm obsessing again. Not on my pain, but on my "treatment plan". Now it's not "oh my god, my arms hurt, argh, it's worse than yesterday, what did I do different?...." etc. now it's "what if I hadn't given up on FFF - would I be better? Should I really just forget about the pain, is this wise? What if it's physical? What if I'm not really like the others on the forum, what if I'm different? Maybe they have TMS but I'm REALLY sick."

Hehe, good ego huh? :) Still, I'm guessing those are common thoughts. And here I am posting FAR too much on the forum and spending a good part of my day composing my forum posts in my head...So, my new plan is to just try and go a whole week of not thinking about TMS, thinking of treatments for TMS, thinking of past treatments and how they failed, thinking of needing counselling and what to do about that, thinking of new books I could read, thinking of this forum etc. etc. I figure I cannot possibly do any physical harm to myself in a week and if I delay "treatment" for a week that won't do anything either. I don't have to be afraid.

Then, after a week of silence in my head I'll see where I'm at.

Edited by - brightondebs on 07/18/2008 01:55:19
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la_kevin

USA
351 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2008 :  02:15:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
what if what if what if!

---------------------------
"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans"- John Lennon
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swmr1

USA
118 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2008 :  07:12:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
brightondebs--

You are probably not reading this (which could be a good break for you) but I thought I'd post one more thing. The health scare I had last year was a bilateral pulmonary embolism caused by a new birth control pill my OB put me on. I had few symptoms until the night I was hospitalized. But, somehow, my body let me know something was seriously wrong and I got to the ER in time and all is well now.

The A-HA moment for me after this episode was when I realized that I am NOT IN CONTROL. After that episode, it took me awhile to not analyze any kind of pain I might be having and wonder if I should rush to the hospital. I think I had the idea that my constant inventory of my body would allow me to beat some kind of potentially serious disease. I have gradually come to the realization that I could get hit by a bus or have a heart attack and it wouldn't be my fault. I'm not in total control of my health. I'm not responsible to find every little problem and stop it before it becomes serious. I can only treat my body to the best of my ability and then I have to trust my body. I have to trust this machine to let me know when there's really something wrong.

Know what? The one time in my life I truly had a life-threatening condition, my body let me know. I think giving up the idea that you are both entirely in control of and responsible for your health is a big step. We only get once chance at this life, so better to trust your body and LIVE than to tell yourself you must constantly monitor your body for any signs of un-wellness and miss out on life.
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brightondebs

United Kingdom
21 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2008 :  14:41:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm back.

I tried, and failed, to live life without fear. Now I'm in more pain than I have been in a long time, afraid, and somewhat depressed. What do I do now? I feel like I'm back at square one. I've totally lost that feeling of freedom and happiness. My "a-ha" moment is a distant memory and I feel exhausted by my new levels of pain :(

I also feel guilty for abandoning this thread....sigh. Is there NOTHING I won't beat myself up about?

Help.

I have also realised I don't deal with stress well at all. I am really struggling financially at the moment. After my bills are paid I have 40 each week for everything else. Sounds like a lot until you try and live on it. My cat has been really sick with a long term chronic illness and I've had to take her to the vet six times in two months. I've had to skip food to pay for her. Life is definitely not fluffy bunnies right now. How does anyone deal with this level of stress?

Edited by - brightondebs on 08/08/2008 14:55:50
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HilaryN

United Kingdom
879 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2008 :  15:24:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Debs,

Can you go to the doctor and ask for counselling? (Sorry - can't remember if you've already done that.)

Hilary N
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