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 Doing Dr. Schubiner's TMS (MBS) course
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204 Posts

Posted - 03/05/2009 :  02:45:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, I enrolled and have begun the course. I have to say that I'm very impressed at how comprehensive it seems to be, with all sorts of materials to review: written, audio, and video. I have no doubts that I have gotten my money's worth.

There are several things you need to do before starting the course in earnest. He has an extensive checklist that is bundled with some reading material that helps you to decide if you have TMS and can fully commit to the diagnosis. You do a lot of writing in this course. Another first step, once you have decided that TMS is indeed your problem, involves writing out all sorts of stressors and personality traits.

I've been over this stuff on my own during the past year, taking cues from Dr. Sarno's books. But I have to tell you, writing it down in the way that Dr. Schubiner suggests resulted in a few surprising "ah ha" moments for me. I knew that my childhood wasn't particularly rosy, but in writing all of that down, I realized that there is a very angry, raging, unhappy little girl inside of me. I was reading my list of childhood stressors to my husband and began sobbing. Sheesh, this stuff is not new to me...yet it obviously continues to upset me on a very deep level. I will be talking to my therapist about some of it tomorrow. I plan to take all these lists with me.

My therapist is not a TMS therapist. But I've been seeing her for a year and she knows me pretty well at this point. I hope that we can work on some of these issues.

Anyway, for the first week, the course teaches you some meditation and mindfulness exercises and there are writing exercises to do every day which take less than a half hour. You work on your issues in the writing exercises. It seems to me that the first week is spent in helping to dig deeply into your issues, while re-programming your brain to begin to alleviate the pain symptoms.

I wasn't able to do my coursework early in the day due to other commitments, but first thing tomorrow I plan to do the meditation and the first writing exercise. My mind had better hold on, because I think it's going to be a very wild ride.

Some of this stuff is scary for me. I mean, facing really old fears and's never pleasant, is it? That's why I've been in therapy for a year and although we've talked about many major things, these KEY things have gone untouched because they just scare me too much and I've been avoiding them. You know how it is: don't think about it and maybe it will go away. Well, if you have read Dr. Sarno's books, you know that it doesn't go away. Which is why a 48-year old mother of two is still feeling the effects of being a very unhappy "good little girl."

Of course it's not all about childhood. In the course you also touch on current issues or adulthood issues. A lot of my unhappiness stems from my childhood, but everyone is different.

One interesting thing I noticed: as I was writing these things down, my back pain modulated and changed. Sometimes I barely felt it at all. In fact, I'm sitting here at the computer and feel no pain at the moment. I think that's a good sign. I have it on the run.

I was at the gym today, doing the same workout I've done for the past several months: gentle stretching, 30 minutes of brisk walking on the treadmill followed by 20 minutes on the Lifecycle. I was actually scared to do my workout today for some reason, but I went, and it was OK.

There's a song on my iPod playlist by the group Muse. It's entitled "Our Time is Running Out." The lyrics go:

Bury it, won't let you bury it
Won't let you murder it
Won't let you smother it
Our time is running out...

I changed the lyrics in my head, with me singing to my back pain:

Bury me, won't let you bury me
Won't let you murder me
Won't let you smother me
Your time is running out...

Another song I listen to is an old hip-hop song called "Tough" by Technotronic (an under-rated group that was very ahead of its time, IMO). They keep repeating "Gotta be tough" throughout the song. I sing that to myself, too. I gotta be tough. I can beat this. I'm stronger than this....gotta be...gotta damn tough!

When you do Dr. Schubiner's course, you can ask him questions, and he answers them pretty quickly. He said it was great that I'm going to the gym. I agree. I learned last year that sitting around is not good for me and reinforces the idea that I'm somehow disabled. Exercise makes me feel a lot less depressed. Even weeks ago, when I was miserable, I asked myself how I can still have back pain yet do this great workout, increasing my levels on the Lifecycle and making my legs so strong. Sitting at the computer makes my back hurt, yet sitting on the exercise bike is fine. It doesn't make sense. Yup, it's all just in my head.


Addendum: I just want to outline what my problem has been. Back pain. The most current episode, (which is the longest I've ever been in pain continually) is now approaching 2 years. Before that, I would hurt my back but recover in a few weeks or a couple of months.

Starting about 10 years ago, I seemed to hurt my back every few years. First PT cured it. Then the next time, PT and acupuncture and massage cured it. Then -- well that takes me to now. Nothing is working. I tried Egoscue custom exercises, osteopathic manipulation, and even more PT with a different person. The pain just changed and moved around to various places in my back.

I did read Dr. Sarno's books last year and it seemed to help, but didn't totally stick with the program. I still believed that there was a structural element to my pain. A muscle imbalance. My SI joint was stuck. Maybe the doctors are right and it's because of my herniated discs. The osteopath would say that my sacrum was twisted. You name it...I believed it.

Over the summer I had some epidural cortisone shots and suddenly developed a sciatic problem down my left leg (never had it before). All the other back problems seemed to go away. So what I'm dealing with currently is a pain near my left SI joint and sensitivity and achiness down my left leg. Sometimes also weird sensitivity into my bladder (not pain, but an untrue urge to "go.")

I am looking forward to ending this cycle of pain and fear, and getting my life back.

Edited by - positivevibes on 03/18/2009 22:58:41


204 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2009 :  18:56:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is turning out to be a good week for me. I can now sit for quite a while without back pain. And when it begins again, I can use some of the techniques I'm learning to either make it go away or just feel less painful. I find it very interesting. I'm not totally out of the woods, but I can see some definite improvement.

I've been taking Ibuprofen around the clock so that if I do have any sciatic pain, the volume is turned down to the point where it doesn't bother me. This week I've been able to go from taking 10 Ibuprofen per day to taking 8. I was considering taking my RX anti-inflammatory, but I don't have a lot of it left and I want to save it in case I have a really bad flare up (and for my upcoming trip, just in case I need it overseas). I don't have a way to re-fill the prescription right now, so I figure that if Ibuorpfen does the job, I'll just stick with that. The result is: I'm not in much pain and I'm able to concentrate on what I need to do for this TMS course.

The course is rigorous, but I'm committed. Interestingly enough, I find something within me resisting. I've been thinking a lot about the inner child and the inner parent lately. These concepts have become much more clear to me this week. I have tons of conflicts, and for the first time I am beginning to see them for what they are.

I feel a little uncomfortable...rather exposed and vulnerable since beginning to address some of the buried issues from my childhood with my therapist. Something inside me is saying, "Hey, what are you doing? Are you crazy?" But then there is a more rational, in-control part of me that's saying "Be quiet! No, I'm not crazy. I'm doing this for your own good. You need to do this." The inner child and the inner parent.

I made an observation today: TMS likes the status quo. TMS craves the status quo. TMS doesn't want things to be stirred up, and doesn't want to be revealed. It is much easier to take a pill, do a physical exercise, or just plain try to avoid what is bothering you. Actually facing your problems or the truths about your life: that is much harder, and TMS doesn't like that.

I think I've got it on the run. It's a very interesting feeling. I feel like something inside of me, something very fundamental, is evolving and changing.

I had two very interesting dreams this week.

In the first dream, my neighbor decided to take down the fence between his property and mine. I'd never seen my property before without the fence. I was astounded to realize that my house sat on a huge dirt cliff (black dirt with roots exposed). Talk about symbolism!

The second dream, which I had last night: I found myself at my PT's office, lying on the table. My PT was about to come and "work on me." I looked around and said, "No, this is not where I need to be." I sat up and began explaining Dr. Schubiner's and Dr. Sarno's TMS theories to him, and said that I wouldn't be needing physical therapy anymore. To me, this dream proves that this stuff is really seeping into my subconscious.

So far, I feel very hopeful.

Edited by - positivevibes on 03/06/2009 19:00:20
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284 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2009 :  19:08:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great to hear. Thanks for sharing your experience. Keep us updated.

Take care,

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei
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204 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2009 :  13:46:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very interesting thing happened today.

This morning I was having an argument with my 13-year-old daughter. She is extremely stubborn and her irresponsibility has been wreaking havoc in our household for weeks. We have been having a lot of arguments and discussions with her to no avial.

Anyway, I was having an argument with her about doing the dishes. I was very stressed out, thinking that our argument was going to wake up our older daughter, who needed to sleep a little later. Suddenly, just standing there, I could feel the sciatic sensitivity in my leg begin to happen. It was not there 5 minutes prior. I stood there thinking, "Well will you look at that?! TMS in action!" I did nothing physical to bring about the symptom; it was all brought on by stress!

After finishing my argument with her, I took some deep breaths and employed some of Dr. Schubiner's coping techniques. The sensitivity didn't totally go away, but it did dissipate quite a bit. It has been bothering me all day, despite taking a lot of Ibuprofen and also some Tylenol. I decided to write to Dr. Schubiner for further advice. No doubt, I need to explore why it affected me in this way...the psychological issues behind the symptoms....

Edited by - positivevibes on 03/07/2009 23:24:16
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204 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2009 :  00:36:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow. Tonight during a writing exercise, I remembered something from my childhood that I had "forgotten."

I didn't have many real friends growing up, which resulted in me feeling very lonely and isolated. Finally at age 10, a new girl named Elaine moved to our school. Like me, she was really smart and was really different from all the other kids and didn't fit in. She and I became fast friends. She was the first friend I confided my feelings in. She was nice and trustworthy. We had a really nice friendship. Finally I had someone to share my time with!

Then a couple of years later she got very sick with Lupus and was hospitalized. She never returned to school. Of course, I remember this, but what I had forgotten was...the feelings I felt when this happened. I was crushed! The only friend I'd had was now gone! Sure, we visited each other once she got out of the hospital, but it wasn't the same because she wasn't at school anymore. She was all blown up from Prednisone and looked a little scary, not like her former petite self. At school I was alone again and powerless to do anything about it. It felt really awful. I think I was also very angry about it.

This is significant in my adult life for a very interesting reason. My own daughter 13. In 5th grade, her friends suddenly turned on her, leaning her friendless for most of that year. She was very upset and depressed about it and cried often for many months. I remember that it stirred up weird feelings inside of me, feelings I preferred not to think about. I began telling her about my own childhood, but that I didn't have an answer for her....that I could only say that I could empathize with her feelings of lonliness and isolation. Fortuantely, my daughter was able to turn things around, and now 2 years later, she has a nice group of girlfriends and I feel happy for her.

I suppose I must have really buried the sad, scared feelings I felt when my friend Elaine got sick. I wonder how many other feelings I've "forgotten" from childhood? I mean, I basically know how I feel about my unhappy childhood. I remember everything...or do I? I bet there is some powerful stuff I've put behind some big strong doors with powerful locks. Some of those locks are getting blown off. It's confusing but it also feels like a big relief.

Sadly, I learned that Elaine died about 4 or 5 years ago (my parents found her obituary in the paper). From the Lupus, I suppose. We'd lost touch at high school age. I feel sad that I will never get to tell her how much her friendship meant to me.

Edited by - positivevibes on 03/08/2009 00:41:33
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204 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2009 :  23:58:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, I've been doing the course for almost a week. It is hard work. Sometimes I find that I want to avoid the writing exercises. Probably because they stir up all sorts of unpleasant feelings. But I force myself to do it. It has gotten easier as the week has gone on. I have learned a great deal about myself, but I still have a long way to go. The hardest part, by far, will be "forgiveness" which apparently comes in a later week of the course. I have been unable to forgive my family for my entire life. But I realize that dong so would be a tremendous step toward my healing.

I realized this week that I was far unhappier as a child than I had realized (and I knew that I'd been unhappy, but now that I'm allowing myself to FEEL I had totally forgotten how my stomach was always tied up in knots. How I was always anxious. How sad and lonely I constantly felt. I was possibly depressed.

We lived in a small apartment in a very bad neighborhood in New Jersey. When I was a very small child, the next door neighbor (we shared an adjoining wall) beat his wife to death. I heard the whole thing. The creep even knocked on our door afterward and asked my parents to call an ambulance "because my wife won't wake up." Then after she died in the hospital, he came home to his apartment a few days later and moaned about it at the top of his lungs for weeks. I was so relieved when the ba*tard finally moved out. How would that affect a child who is around 4 years old? Sheesh!

As if that wasn't bad enough, the neighborhood was not safe. As the years went on, there were drug dealers on the corner (the apt house was on the corner). I was constantly in fear for my safety, both at home and in school (where kids often threatened to beat me up just because my skin was a different color). When I was 13, I witnessed another murder across the street one summer evening (the guy was bludgened to death).

My father was very high strung and was a perfectionist. My mother was a pacifist. My older brother emotionally and verbally abused me for years. Yet I managed to maintain a straight A average in school and graduated as Valedictorian of my high school. I attended a very good State university on a full scholarship and graduated there at the top of my class as well.

So I'm very angry at my family for a number of reasons. Living in that place was like a jail sentence, and I served it until I was close to 20 years old.

I would like to yell and scream at my parents, but they are in their early 90s now and I don't think it would be fair to them. So I guess I will have to do some surrogate venting. I DID speak to them about some of my feelings about this about 20 years ago, but my mother said, "We did the best we could." Today my answer to this (now that I'm a parent myself) is: "No, you didn't. You could have -- and should have -- done a lot better FOR ME." WASN'T I WORTH AN EXTRA SACRIFICE OR TWO so that we could have moved out of that hell hole?

Well guys, this is only one of the issues I'm dealing with. I'm trying not to get overwhelmed. I find Dr. Schubiner's voice in the mindful meditation exercise to be very calming.

My back pain has modulated a lot this week, but I am SITTING here at the computer writing this and feeling fine. Interestingly, after doing his mindful meditation exercise twice in a row this morning (I fell asleep both times!), my back stopped hurting, my sciatic sensitivity went away, and it has felt great all day. I don't expect it to stay great all the time...I know it will probably come and go...but I have a great deal of hope, which is something I couldn't say 10 days ago.

Also...I took absolutely NO ibuprofen today. I experimented with a SalonPas "pain patch" last night which may have helped a little bit, but I don't believe that it was responsible for me feeling so great today.

It would be great if I could get off the anti-inflammatories. They are starting to make me retain some water weight and bloat my belly. I have been on Weight Watchers for about 8 weeks and have lost 7 of the 15 pounds I need to lose (yea!). Last week, after taking all that Ibuprofen, I had gained almost a pound back for seemingly no reason (I assume it's the NSAID doing it to me). I hope to be drug free sometime soon...probably after my trip to Italy in April.

Edited by - positivevibes on 03/11/2009 00:18:45
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United Kingdom
202 Posts

Posted - 03/11/2009 :  05:43:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow PV, what an amazing time you are having, all this stuff is coming to the surface. What a shocking couple of events you describe with the deaths in your neighbourhood, enough to terrify an adult let alone a child.

I have also felt my back twinge during an arguement with my daughter, and recently while DIYing with my husband he was telling me to do something quick before the plaster set and he was stressing me and my back shot into spasm. When I winced he knew immediately what was happening and apologised for being a bit OTT, and the pain went away. So laughable when you know what's going on but so scary if you don't.

I would start journalling if I were you, as you note it's not worth actually having it out with your parents. I have ranted at my parents when journalling and it's so suprising how you can come to a point of understanding or even acceptance once these feelings come rushing out. The inner child work is also very important, stick with it.

You are doing great though Keep us updated.
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284 Posts

Posted - 03/11/2009 :  19:02:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You certainly are a survivor PV. You've been through a lot.

Thanks for sharing your experience.


In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei
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204 Posts

Posted - 03/11/2009 :  23:29:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for your support!

Yesterday I had virtually no sciatic sensitivity. Today it came back for seemingly no reason. I began going down that dreaded "physical reason" path but forced myself instead to think about what had happened today, how I felt, and where I was emotionally. And of course it was right below the surface...I was still raging and confused about my childhood.

So I decided to talk to my husband about it. The conversation started off so logical, and then suddenly I got very emotional. I began sobbing. He held me and I just let the pain pour out of me. I said to him, "It hurts so much!" But I couldn't actually put a label on the pain. I couldn't say, "I feel ...." all I knew was that I hurt really badly.

In the past, I've been upset about my childhood and could say "I feel angry, I feel resentful." But I don't think I've been able to say "I feel hurt." Maybe "hurt" was a scarier thing to feel. But saying "I hurt so much!" It was really powerful.

Then after crying for a few moments, it dawned on me. I felt betrayed. The hurt was partly the hurt of betrayal. I found myself sobbing to my husband, "I did everything right...I made them proud of me, they knew I was suffering for years, but they didn't do anything about it! It was like abuse...knowing that you're hurting someone and just letting it happen! I didn't deserve it! I didn't do anything to deserve it!"

And I also came to realize also that as a child I had very little peace. My stomach was often in knots. There was stress and fear coming at me constantly from all sides. I was very isolated and lonely and often escaped into a pleasant fantasy world for hours after I came home from school.

The pain and rage that I feel from my childhood is as deep as the deepest well. I am feeling it...but not sure how to come to terms with it or how to stop the emotional outpouring. That is something that I suppose my therapist and this TMS course will help me to do.

I very much want to move to a place of peace and forgiveness with this issue. It's the first time in my life that I've felt that way about it. Previously I just wanted the feelings to go lock it behind a door, forget it, move on. I am ashamed to admit that I have even wished that my parents would die already so I could stop thinking about my past (I'm reminded of it every time I speak to them on the phone or visit them...they live 2,000 miles away, so I only visit once/year). Of course I now realize that their death would not solve my pain, only make it more confusing and worse. Now I want to understand the feelings and heal myself -- a huge (and I think very important) shift in perception on my part.

Edited by - positivevibes on 03/11/2009 23:33:56
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United Kingdom
202 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2009 :  06:36:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
PV you are lucky to have the support of your husband, I am sure my husband has help me recover enormously. He read some of HBP and was immediately onboard as he saw me described on the pages.

I wrote a journalling piece on how upset/frightened and later angry I was that I had to have my spinal fusion as a child and showed it to my H and he was shocked to read it, although he knew the history he never knew how I felt about it all, it's very cathartic to get that out and have someone who loves you recognise what you have been through.

I guess your parents had better stick around for a while if you want to get to that place of peace and forgiveness, otherwise if you get there and they have passed away you'll end up feeling guilty too lol.
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204 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2009 :  00:03:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow. What an emotional week this has been for me. Mindblowing. The writing exercises for the second week entail writing letters to people or things that bother you. Well, I wrote one to my brother and one to my parents. The one to my parents has taken two days to finish. It has all been very cathartic, and I have gained huge insights into myself and my well as my present.

One thing that I realized just tonight involves my 13 year old daughter.

First I must give you some background. My parents operate from a base of fear and "victimization attitude," the type of attitude toward the world that Wayne Dyer addresses in one of his early books. I loathe that sort of worldview because it was forced down my throat from an early age. I have come to reject it, and from the moment I realized the difference, I have tried to live my life in an active engaged way, taking responsibility for my decisions and emotions.

My daughter is extremely intelligent, but is stil very emotionally immature. She hates to admit being wrong. She hates to say "I'm sorry." She finds tons of excuses why things are never her fault. I have been trying to teach her (to reason with her) why this is a bad way to operate in the world. I tell her that she is creating her own misery and chaos, that she must take responsiblity for her mistakes (that it's OK to make mistakes), and that she has to stop making excuses and just get more organized. I tell her that she will be happier if she changes her way of dealing with the world. But it's like talking to a brick wall. She just doesn't get it. Maybe she's still too young to understand.

In short, my daughter really pushes my buttons in a BIG way. And it causes my TMS back pain to flare up very quickly. And tonight, I finally understand why.

Like me, my daughter tends to be a perfectionist and be very hard on herself. Like my father, she creates her own misery and wallows in a victim attitude, making excuses. She is me and my father all rolled up into one person.

Of course, my challenge is NOT to treat her like a mini-me, and NOT to treat her like a mini "my dad." To treat her like herself, and not hoist my emotional baggage onto the situation and make things worse for her (and me).

Just understanding this, I have to say, results in a reduction in my back pain.

This week I am going to try to get off of the NSAIDs (Ibuprofen or Mobic) and painkillers (just Tylenol) that I've been taking. I came to realize that all those drugs usually don't make my pain feel any better. Sometimes they seem to "turn down the volume" of it a little bit. But sometimes they don't touch it.

When I had sinus surgery in late October, I was in an enormous amount of pain for about 10 days afterward. Narcotics disagreed with me, so all I could take was Tylenol. It was the first time that I realized what a strong painkiller Tylenol can be. So knowing this....why isn't it touching my back pain and that tight feeling? Because it's coming from my emotions (unlike the facial pain I felt after the sinus surgery).

Also, I've been on Weight Watchers for around 8 weeks and every week I've lost weight....except for the past 2 weeks, when I've been taking large doses of NSAIDs. After doing some research, I found that indeed NSAIDs can cause fluid retention and cause weight gain. My Rx NSAID (Mobic) is included in this. So it will be interesting to see if the 2 lbs I mysteriously gained comes off and my belly stops feeling bloated.

It's a little scary going totally off the meds. I have that Italy trip coming's another reason why I think I might not need them: I had to stop all NSAIDs two weeks before I had the sinus surgery (because they can interfere with clotting). After being off of them for a week, my back felt fine. It barely hurt at all.

So I've proven to myself in a few ways that I probably don't need the drugs, and maybe I've been using them as a crutch. Like I said, I'm a little scared about going off them. I'll just take it one day at a time. Dr. Schubiner's course is really helpful, particularly the audio meditations. It always seems to calm me down and get me re-focused.

After 10 days on his program, I think that it is the best money I've spent on myself in years. I wish I would have done this first. I realized the other day that my life has changed forever because of this program. I will never go back to feeling and operating in the world the way I did previously. Really and truly, this course is transforming me and changing my life. It's really hard work; it's really demanding, and sometimes really really scary. But so worth it!

Edited by - positivevibes on 03/16/2009 00:14:16
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393 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2009 :  14:47:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi positivevibes,

I've been meaning to read your posts for a while, and just got to it. It's so great that you've been able to get in touch with so much, and I hope that you keep updating it.

I was wondering, do you mind if we add a link to it to the page on the TMS wiki about Dr. Schubiner's course? The course really looks great and I think that your endorsement of it could help people gain the confidence that they need to be willing to pay the $250 in such tight financial times. I was thinking of including the following quote in the wiki page:
After 10 days on his program, I think that it is the best money I've spent on myself in years. I wish I would have done this first. I realized the other day that my life has changed forever because of this program. I will never go back to feeling and operating in the world the way I did previously. Really and truly, this course is transforming me and changing my life. It's really hard work; it's really demanding, and sometimes really really scary. But so worth it!

Others who are considering doing the course may want to check out the wiki page about the course. It is probably the best source of reviews of the course out there.

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204 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2009 :  16:17:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dear forestfortrees,

You can absolutely quote me if you think it would help people!

I have been 98% pain free for the past several days! Wow! I'm still trying to get my body to "unlearn" how to hurt. It's a process and I know it will take time. I'm extremely grateful for the pain free hours I have experienced recently.
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393 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2009 :  18:40:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have been 98% pain free for the past several days! Wow!


Wow. My favorite success stories to read are always the ones where they write about how much progress they are making as it happens. Like, dannord's story or quantguy's.

So how bad was your pain two weeks ago? For example, back then were you "10% pain free?" "0% pain free?"

Edited by - forestfortrees on 03/17/2009 18:45:57
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272 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2009 :  00:36:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Haha, good questions Forest. You should go into medical research.

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204 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2009 :  15:36:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How bad was my pain a couple of weeks ago, before I started this program?

I often woke up feeling OK, but as the day went on, I would get a crushing achiness on the left lower side of my back, my sciatic nerve would get irritated and my glutes would become extremely tight. It was very distressing and was beginning to occupy my thoughts 24/7. Sitting made it worse. Sometimes it was so uncomfortable that the only thing I could do to make it go away was to lie down and rest for at least an hour. And even that didn't solve it, it only bought me some time...the pain and discomfort came back soon enough. It was getting hard to function or to think normally.

I was seeing a PT, and after a few weeks it became clear to me that his treatment was making me feel much worse, not better. My sciatic nerve was more irritated than ever and I was really miserable. I got very depressed and confused.

So I stopped PT and decided to try giving the TMS work a more serious shot and enrolled in Dr. Schubiner's program. I figured that I had nothing to lose since it was non-invasive and not very expensive. I've known for a long time that my problem was definitely wrapped up in TMS somehow. I intended to see how far I could take it, to see if it would be what I really needed.

The emotional release and self-knowledge I've gain in the program has been profound and life-changing for me. The writing techniques he uses in the program work much better for me than journaling. I feel a "lightness" and clarity in my heart and psyche that I haven't felt in years. I am beginning to be able to let go of a lot of past issues that caused me stress. And I feel that I will soon be able to forgive some people with whom I hold huge grudges.

When I say that I've been 98% pain free, what I mean is: sometimes I still feel the "shadow of the pain" or the "potential for the pain" in my lower back and glutes. I am working very hard at using the techniques I'm learning to control it. To really identify my triggers and work through them. To pay closer attention. And to give myself a break, not be so hard on myself!

Today, for example, my lower back does feel a little bit tight again (for the first time in many days). I did some stretches, but what I really also need to do is sit down and think about what has been on in my mind today. I've been dealing with one particularly confusing issue regarding something that happened in my past, so that may be part of it. So many thoughts and emotions pass through you as the day progresses. Sometimes the triggers can be extremely subtle.

I feel that I am healing. I haven't felt that way in a very long time. I also haven't taken any drugs in days. No Ibuprofen or anything. I discontinued the drugs because I realized that I hurt even if I took them. Plus, they were causing me to retain water weight and get bloated.


Addendum: When I sat down and thought about what triggers I may have encountered today, I came up with several. They are all emotional triggers. Once I gave them some thought and calmed my mind, my pain subsided.

Edited by - positivevibes on 03/18/2009 22:45:02
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202 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2009 :  06:43:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for writing the "diary" style post PV. This really gives people a chance to see how recovery can unfold and is so inspiring to people not yet recovered.

Your last comment "When I sat down and thought about what triggers I may have encountered today, I came up with several. They are all emotional triggers. Once I gave them some thought and calmed my mind, my pain subsided." really resonates with me and was/is such a key part in my recovery. Just KNOWING that I have some kind of control over this thing takes away the FEAR and dread of being in pain all day and that is such a powerful thing.

Keep at it and keep us updated
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Posted - 03/19/2009 :  17:01:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow... A big change.

I've added your review to the wiki page on the program. Thanks for writing it!

(If anyone else wants to do a review of any TMS product or professional for the wiki, just let me* know and I'd be more than happy to set it up for you. We've had over 20,000 pageviews and continue to grow, so it will get seen.)

* My bet is that HilaryN, Pandamonium, Tpunk or Peg would also be happy to help. If not, I always can.

Edited by - forestfortrees on 03/19/2009 17:09:00
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Posted - 03/24/2009 :  00:53:28  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm starting the third week of the program today. Week 2 actually took longer than 2 weeks for me to complete, because there were a LOT of things I needed to address. In the second week of the course, you write letters to people (you do not send the letters).

There was a huge pink elephant in the room and I knew it, but chose not to deal with it until near the end of the week. That big pink elephant was my relationship with my husband. And it's no surprise to me that some of my symptoms began returning when I began addressing my issues in this letter.

Dr. Schubiner has you write a list of things that you think might still be barriers to your total recovery. I looked up and saw the big pink elephant and knew that I could not ignore it anymore. I knew that if I really wanted to get better, I would have to deal with it, no matter how frightening it was to me.

I will tell you a little about my situation. My husband and I have been married more than 25 years and have always had a terrific easygoing relationship. When I met my husband 25+ years ago, he was my knight in shining armour. Our relationship was the foundation of a very happy life I created for myself as an adult.

But that began to change about 7 or 8 years ago. I started a little business on a lark. I figured that if it didn't work out, I could just shut it down. I was a stay-at-home Mom at the time and I occassionally had done some "contract" writing work at home (but that work was drying up, so I was looking for something else to do). The business I started took me in a totally different direction. The business puttered along for a few years, but each year sales increased. I treated it like a hobby until a few years went by and it got more demanding. It started taking up a lot of my time and I began to resent it (even though it was very profitable). I had never intended to make this business my career. Like I said, I had treated it like a hobby up until that point.

Well, that's when all hell broke loose. I went to my husband and told him how miserable I was in my situation. I was also very ambivalent about shutting it down, because I had put so much of my heart and soul into it. It was almost like deciding to shut off life support on a baby....could I do it, should I do it? Instead of encouraging me to do what made me happy (or help me figure out whether shutting it down would make me happy), my husband instead looked at my sales figures and said that I was insane because it was gold mine and had a lot of potential. He was right...but what good is a gold mine if you feel that it's eating up your life? So all I saw was misery, and all he saw was dollar signs. In that moment, everything changed for me. I didn't understand what I was feeling, but it wasn't good.

Not surprisingly, I developed a major back pain problem at this point. Gee, can you guess why? People would congratulate me on the success of my business and tell me what an inspiration I was. There were newspaper articles. I was even interviewed on TV. Oh sure, the fame aspect of all that stroked my ego, but deep down I was screaming. All that "fame" just perpetuated the business and increased my ambivalence about the entire thing, making me feel that I was sinking deeper and deeper into a big hole.

In retrospect, perhaps it would have been better for me to make the decision about the business totally on my own. But I was so overwhelmed by it, and so confused and emotional about it, I asked my husband to help me figure it out. For a long time I blamed myself for being so "weak" that I couldn't handle it myself (inner parent/perfectionist/insecurity). But now I forgive myself. Sheesh, I don't have an MBA and it WAS a confusing situation. (BTW, finding a buyer for the business was not a viable option at that point in time, for various reasons).

So you can see, suddenly there was a major conflict in our nice prefect relationship. Not to mention, a major upset in the balance of power. He sort of forced me to continue the business. He offered to help (and he did help quite a bit for a few years). Then the business grew to the point where neither of us could handle it sanely. I grew more and more resentful, and angry at myself for "letting him force me into keeping it going". Finally he had enough and found us a "fulfillment company" to handle the warehousing and shipping of our products. What a Godsend that was! It was a lot of work to get that process going, but once it was in place it was SO much easier to handle the business.

Now I resent the business less (note that I DO still resent it), but I feel that my relationship with my husband has been badly damaged as a result of all this. I just don't see him in the same light and I have very mixed conflicting feelings about him. I feel very uncomfortable with the situation. I've been fooling myself all these years that if I didn't think about it too much, things would just work themselves out. mind wasn't letting me forget about it. My mind was sending me a powerful signal and causing back pain and depression.

Shutting down the business is no longer an easy option, with the economy in its current state (and the fact that my business pays for a lot of our household expenses now). In a few more years, I hope to get it to the state where someone might buy it and we could "cash out" of it with a nice chunk of change.

Getting back to now....well, last night I began really dealing with that big pink elephant and I broke down and sobbed for a half hour. I felt so nauseous for a while. And I realized that the main thing I was feeling was blame....I was blaming myself for the entire mess. For years I've been saying to myself, "I wish I'd never had the idea. I wish I'd never started the damned thing." And "I wish things could be like they were before I started the business."

I felt that I, alone was totally responsible for ruining my relationship with my husband. Of course this is not really true. I could not have predicted his reaction or the events that followed. And at the time when they were happening, I was very confused and didn't understand what I was feeling.

I sat and cried and apologized to myself. I think it was a dialog between me and my inner parent. "I'm so sorry I hurt you," I said. "I didn't know it would turn out this way! I didn't know!" To which I replied, "Of course you couldn't have known. I forgive you." I know it sounds weird, but it was very necessary.

You can imagine how incredibly scary this was for me. And still is. I have to work through it now. Earlier in the course I wrote about my parents and gained a clearer perspective on my feelings about my childhood. And now I see that it is all pieces of a larger puzzle. My husband's reaction (and his "emotional betrayal" of me) mirror how I felt about my parents. I didn't understand it until yesterday. Now that I understand it, I think I can deal with it. I will be working with my therapist on my emotional dependence on my husband and everything that goes along with that. I'm sure you can imagine some of the very tough questions I am asking myself. It is frightening. So no wonder my back hurts a little bit today. Deep inside, my mind is saying, "No, no! Put the lid back on the box!!!" Well sorry Pandora...I think the lock has been blown off. Can you believe that I even find myself asking, "Is this real, or am I making it up? Am I just inventing this problem?" Well sheesh, a person doesn't just invent emotions and trauma for no reason, do they? It's TMS and my mind again trying to put me into a state of denial, back into that comfortable but painful familar state.

I have to tell you folks, I'm not sure where this will take me. I'm very scared that my life may unravel, and I really don't want that to happen. I keep reminding myself that a person can explore their feelings and it doesn't mean that anything bad will happen -- it's only exploration. I have always known that my TMS was very wrapped up in "control." Now I realize it's also a control battle with my husband.

When I get out of my head and look around, I see that the sun is still shining and the birds are still singing and I still have to pick up the kids after school. In other words, life goes on. Nothing has changed but my perception.

p.s. My husband is out of town this entire week, which makes it much easier for me to explore these feelings. It's hard to look someone in the eye when your heart is filled with conflicting emotions about them.

p.p.s. Two things are comforting me at the moment. One is singing to myself the Bob Marley song "Three Little Birds" (don't worry...about a thing...cause every little gonna be alright). And the words of my former Aikido Sensei, "Thank your problems for being there."

Edited by - positivevibes on 03/24/2009 01:56:07
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202 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2009 :  05:23:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Aw PV, what a lot of work you have been doing. Isn't it amazing how once you start to look at things properly you can see all sorts of stuff that wasn't there before.
Saying that when you first met your husband was your Knight in Shining Armour is lovely, but maybe that set the tone for your relationship, he was the fixor of your problems, and in good faith I am sure he did that when you were waivering over the business.
Looking at it from his pov, maybe he was worried that you'd give it up and then regret it later? Maybe he just thought you'd worked so hard it was a shame to turn your back on it? Even if the $$$ was the primary reson for his comments, we are only human and we do make mistakes and we inadvertantly hurt the ones we love the most, I am sure that if he knew how you felt he'd understand.
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Posted - 03/24/2009 :  12:11:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You make a good point. He says that he loves me very much and looks forward to growing old with me. But I have to say, during the time when I was telling him how miserable I was running the business, he wasn't very comforting. He was angry -- furious! We had some huge arguments (I need to add that we rarely argue, so that in itself was disturbing to me). It's almost as if his personality changed and I saw a side of him that I'd never seen before. That's one of the reasons it confused me so much. I was stunned and didn't know how to proceed.

But you are right that I need to see things from his point of view as well. He had started a software business a few years before that. It was a great little company with a great product and about 20 employees. But the timing was terrible. The dot-com bust made it impossible for his company to raise more money. The company was not totally in my husband's hands -- there was a board of directors, and they made some bad decisions that my husband didn't agree with. The company died a very painful slow death. Near the end, there was an interested buyer, which would have meant that we'd have made a modest profit from the venture, but the board of directors turned down their offer. Instead of becoming rich from it, we got nothing; literally zero.

This devistated my husband, because it began as his company (when you take money from other people, it's no longer in your lone control). He wound up working for someone else after a short break, which he hated. He had loved being in charge of his own thing, so being a mere cog in the wheel again was really hard for him. I was very supportive of him during this time and kept telling him how proud I was of his accomplishment, despite the ultimate outcome.

My husband worked for a couple of small software companies, and both of them didn't make it. When the second company died, my husband decided to be an independent consultant, which is what he does now. It's his solo business, although he has loose partnerships with other people and organizations. He's very successful doing this, and very happy -- although he travels a lot, which I don't like.

So maybe all of this colored his outlook on my little solo company. Maybe he got so angry at me because here I had something that was very successful and I just wanted to dump it. Maybe on some level he resented the fact that he had a major venture that failed and I had a silly little hobby business that became very successful.

The writing exercises for this week (which I haven't begun yet) have you writing a dialog seeing an issue from multiple points of view. Perhaps I should start with this issue.

You know, this morning, as I write this, I feel that perhaps things aren't as bad as I'd thought.
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