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Day 6 My Story

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by mousemom, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. mousemom

    mousemom Peer Supporter

    My Story:

    I have suffered from chronic lower back pain for 10 years now. It all started when I was 25. In 2002 I had just stepped down from the step in my garage and felt a weird pain in my lower back. It was then uncomfortable to sit down in most positions. I went to the chiro for a month and he suggested since he was not helping to see a back surgeon. I saw the back surgeon and he showed me my MRI which showed herniated discs at L4/L5 with degenerative disc disease. He said he would like to get me a steroid injection and physical therapy to build up my strength. I agreed thinking that maybe I was weak from my last two pregnancies. Well the shot & pt helped and I ended up having my third child a couple of years later.

    Well then in 2006 it went "out" again. So another shot etc.... Then in 2007 it happened again where I had to go the ER because the pain was so intense, which followed another shot/pt .....Well this kept happening twice in 2008, once in 2009, 2010, and my last attack & shot in Sept. 2011.

    Now 20 lbs. heavier and depressed, I had a return of some pain last summer and I remembered watching the 20/20 interview years ago with John Stossel. So I searched it & watched it a couple of times, thinking this is me. So I was on fire, buying every TMS book I could get my hands on. I had HOPE! I started to feel great. Until October 2012 and another bout of back pain for a week. Ugh! Struggled through that pain and many small episodes since then.

    Well last week, May 30th, 2013 my back went "out" again of all places at my child's doctor appt. I made it through the appt. and barely made it home and to my bed. I am up now slowly walking, shifted all to my left because I am so tight in my right. I can't even stand straight. So I started reading again and said to myself this is TMS. It has to be. I am drained from all the pain. I start to feel depressed because it has taken over my life and the life of my family. I have 3 active boys and I am either left at home or on the sidelines. I have started the SEP and finally reaching out for support. My dear husband has been my rock but it will be nice to talk to others that truly understand what I am going through. So with the help of this community and God, I pray that I can overcome this battle and start to live my life again! Thanks for reading my story.
     
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hiya mousemom and Welcome the our forum,

    Feeling like you have to be on the sidelines is one of the worst parts of having TMS. I remember quite vividly having to stay at home while my family went on Ski trips. As you may begin to realize, it is the worrying and ruminating about what our symptoms will force us to give up that distracts us. It is not so much the pain that distracts us, but our fear and obsession with the pain. But there is hope. If you continue to educate yourself about TMS, you will learn that your symptoms are benign, and there is nothing to fear. If you work at thinking psychologically about your symptoms, they will go away. Working the program will serve as a great guide for you. You are in the right place!
     
  3. mousemom

    mousemom Peer Supporter

    Thanks Forest. It is hard to not to think physical because the pain is so bad and I have thought physical for so long. My youngest son (8) said to me this morning "I can't play because my back hurts" oh how that made me so sad that he thinks that way. I am reading Nicole Sachs' book now and just almost finished Dr. Hascom's book. I feel like I have learned everything I can about TMS but something is not clicking, so I am hoping with the SEP it will finally sink in. My mind is just stubborn I guess, not mention I worry too much.
     
  4. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Welcome, mousemom.

    You haven't mentioned anything about your personality traits. Are you a very intense person who puts a lot of pressure on herself? You may find you need to explore some of these issues, and even change some of your behavior in order to get better.
     
  5. mousemom

    mousemom Peer Supporter

    I am anxious, obsessive, caring, honest, friendly, to name a few. I do put a lot of pressure on myself because I feel like I have a family to raise & if I "let go" I feel like things might fall apart. That is why I can't stand having my back go "bad" because I want to be the taking care of others not them taking care of me. I hope that makes sense. Thanks for your reply. I have a lot of issues I know I really need to dig into.
     
  6. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    It makes a lot of sense. You're so focused on keeping everything together that things are falling apart inside and generating symptoms. Not your back, it's the symptom spot simply because of the tremendous load that it's carrying. Inside that strong, driven woman is a little girl who is crying her eyes out. She desperately wants care. Consciously you might not think you want them taking care of you, but subconsciously that's exactly what you want. You want someone doing all the things for you that you are doing for others. You want someone anticipating all of your needs and desires, worrying about your feelings and putting you first. And you can have it. Do something really out of character and put yourself first. Give that little girl the care and compassion she's so desperately seeking.
     
  7. mousemom

    mousemom Peer Supporter

    Thanks Leslie. I really appreciate your reply. Everything you mentioned is so true. But I guess that is what I struggle with is my "truth". I have made my first appt. with a TMS therapist for next week, which was a big step for me. I am excited to meet with her and get her guidance. What I struggle with the most is my anxiety. I just can't seem to get that under control. I get anxious about the silliest things. Do you have any suggestions?? I am on Day 12 of the SEP but I feel like everyday that passes and all the TMS work I am doing my anxiety level is skyrocketing. It's just frustrating. I can't seem to relax unless I am on my patio with a drink in hand. Ha!
     
  8. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I've battled anxiety and depression for most of my life, long before I ever knew there was such a thing as TMS. Over the past 6 months I have come to believe that all 3 are tools of the subconscious. If memory serves me, in one of his books Dr. Sarno spoke of the subconscious as a maximum security prison with all the repressed emotions as the highly dangerous inmates. I think it's a very fitting analogy. If you think of a prison setting, the main goal is to keep everyone safe, society, the employees, and also the prisoners. To achieve that goal, there are numerous "tools" available, laws, fences, cameras, and weapons. Anxiety, depression, and TMS are the tools to achieve the goal. My own subconscious seems to decide which one to use based how "dangerous" the prisoner threatening escaped is perceived. Late last fall and early winter, when I was just learning about TMS, all 3 were being used simultaneously. I truly thought it was very possible that I was having some sort of mental breakdown.

    I realized positive effects on my depression and anxiety levels much sooner than any decrease in physical symptoms from the SEP. There are some great books that can be helpful with anxiety, such as "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" by Claire Weekes, however I strongly recommend you keep your focus on one learning device at a time to prevent unintended increases in anxiety. Just focus on the SEP until you've completed it. Try not to overwhelm yourself (and it's really easy to do) by going full force and cramming in every bit of knowledge you can immediately. The more you put in at a time, the less effective all of it will actually be. For the time being, when you recognize you are feeling anxious, make a conscious effort to force your thoughts into the present. Try to remember that your "experiences" tell you where your thoughts are, even if you don't consciously realize them. When you're experiencing "feelings" of guilt or shame your thoughts are in the past, when you're experiencing anxiety your thoughts are in the future. I'm sure you're more than familiar with those sneaky "what if" thoughts. All those are thoughts about possibilities in the future. The key is to stay right in the present moment (or bring yourself back there when you discover you've left). What is happening at this exact moment? Are you truly in danger? Is your existence truly being threatened (that's anxiety)? Almost always when you really forced yourself to stay present and answer those questions truthfully you can reduce the anxiety by knowing that at this very moment I am safe. It might also be helpful to try to reframe your thoughts about the anxiety. I think we all have the tendency to view unpleasant experiences as the "enemy" and want it gone. Feelings of anxiety are certainly not pleasant, but if you can just accept (you don't have to like them, just acknowledge them) that the feelings are there when they are and know that as unpleasant as it is, your subconscious is actually trying to protect you it can make it easier to get through it. I found that when I started acknowledging my subconscious (just thinking something like 'thank you for caring so much and working so hard to protect me') for it's efforts, it stopped working so hard.

    You'll probably find lots of people here that can relate to not being able to relax. When you feel the anxiety increasing, ESPECIALLY if it's in relations to the TMS work, that's your body's way of telling you that it's time to take a break. Although it's called the "structured" education program, it's only titled that because it's created in a formal manner and broken into days. I can promise you there are no "achievement awards (or rewards)" for finishing the program in 37 days. You won't get better faster trying to do multiple days at a time or reading a TMS book or 2 a week in addition to it - in fact that's actually a pretty good way to ensure no progress or that you get worse. The key to all of this is approaching it like you do a vacation. Give the task master in you a break - she won't do you any good here. Remember, Day 37 is not the finish line. This is a journey, a vacation is a totally new place. I doubt you stare at a calendar while you're on vacation, frantically checking the days off until the vacation is over right? Try not to do that with your TMS healing. Enjoy the scenery, savor every minute and know that the finish line actually comes when you realize that you've stopped looking for it.
     
  9. mousemom

    mousemom Peer Supporter

    Thanks again Leslie for your wonderful reply. You are right, I needed the mental break. I am feeling "mentally" better today even though I have some pain. Something must be happening because my pain was in the right side of my lower back for the last couple of weeks and now it has moved to my left. Interesting??? I had to reread your reply several times to truly make myself "get it". My mind is constantly fighting me. I am becoming more at peace with the journey now and not the outcome. I am trying not to say "WHY ME" and "NOT THEM"! I was/am so envious of all my friends, who I know have emotional issues, and they have no physical issues. I find myself becoming jealous of their "pain free" lives. I don't even get invited to certain events anymore with them because of my back pain. Kind of sucks. Blah, blah, blah. I could go on forever. Thanks again for your great advice. I am sure I will reread again. :)
     
  10. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    The symptoms moved? That is incredible, wonderful progress! The symptom imperative is a key indicator that it's TMS and not structural. Remember, your mind was powerful enough to create the symptoms to protect you, it's strong enough to stop them when it recognized that you are listening to it's message and they're not effective any longer. I think it's fairly common to envy people who "should" be experiencing symptoms and are not, or even to be jealous of people who have experienced symptoms and no have none. It happened to me, especially early on in my healing. I would turn so green with envy that Kermit the Frog would look blue compared to me when I would read a post by another forum member hailing their own progress and lack of symptoms. It didn't give me encouragement that I could do it also, it made me angry that it wasn't happening for me. It's just human nature and it will fade as you learn more about the reasons behind the symptoms. Now when I read of someone else's healing I'm honestly thrilled for them. I think the key is to move from a place of self-pity (which most of us fall into really easy when we're experiencing pain) to a place of self-compassion. Until you get to that point it might help to remember that everyone's brain employs the tactics that work as long as they're working. Your friends with emotional issues might be completely distracted by those issues, the anxiety or depression symptoms might be plenty distracting for them so their brains don't need to generate physical symptoms. Hopefully not, but that might change for them if those distractions are no longer effective. It's also possible that they don't fit the TMS personality either, maybe they're not a analytical and driven? Focus on turning the tables and being completely satisfied and thrilled with your own completely symptom-less life. It's distinctly possible as you learn and heal you might discover some of those friendships were actually contributing to your pain. It's sort of surprising to realize just how negative some of the people we've been surrounded by for years actually seem as we become more positive and present focused.
     

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