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My TMS journey

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by chumba, May 16, 2012.

  1. chumba

    chumba Peer Supporter

    I’m not sure when my TMS started, I remember being anxious as a child and having anxiety as a teenager, although I didn’t know what it was at that time. I had a tough childhood, moving around lots, eventually moving to a new country where I couldn’t speak the language. I struggled with constantly having to make new friends and fit in. I also had an abusive step-father who drank way too much and wasn’t much of a father.

    I remember one very stressful time as a teenager when I probably had what I would now call a panic attack. Subsequently in my early 20s I developed tinnitus, looking back that was another very stressful time. A few years later I had a very bad motorbike crash where I fractured vertebra in my back and also suffered a bunch of internal and external injuries. This began a long journey of chronic back pain that really seemed unbearable at times.

    I also had neck and shoulder pain. As well as bouts of knee and other assorted pains that I always attributed to physical causes. I feel like I single handedly kept my local physio and chiropractor in business. I also had some strange illnesses that resulted in long periods of fatigue.

    About 10 years ago I develop intense lower back pain and sciatica. With the aid of the internet I discovered John Sarno’s work, and after reading his books I began the journey of overcoming my back pain. I did all the work looking at internal suppressed emotions and rage, there was a lot there! In the space of a couple of years I pretty well overcame all my problems. For me overcoming my pain came with really accepting that my body is strong, healthy, self-healing and accepting rather than fighting or worrying about the symptoms. This was not easy and took a lot of work.

    So why am I here now. Thinking I was past TMS a few years ago I developed some new and completely unexpected problems. It was only after much stress that I recognised that at least part of my new problems are TMS and that I did not fully deal with the causes of my TMS. Like some others I have now come to realise that TMS is not only a distraction from internal emotions, but also the result of some flawed learned thinking patterns. I tend to be anxious, perfectionist, worry a lot and ultimately this resulted in some new problems.

    Some things that I have learnt about myself so far: Repressed emotions and rage are only part of the TMS story, you have to watch and change your thinking, in my case hyper-vigilance and catastrophising. TMS is not life limiting but it’s also something that is always part of you and has to be managed.

    I am confident that I will overcome my new problems, in some ways it almost feels like this is part of finishing a personal journey. I have learnt a lot through TMS and it hasn’t all been bad.

    There is a question at the start of the Structured Education Program that really troubled me and that I don't feel I really answered, “What would a life without TMS mean to you?”. As I struggle to answer this I can see how much TMS is a part of me and I am a part of it. The next step for me is at least in part being able to answer this and truly know what it would feel like to not have TMS.
     
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Chumba,

    I'm a catastrophisizer too :) I think for me all of the anxiety stuff is just another way to not deal with the underlying emotions. And then also anxious thinking can become almost a habit.

    I remember that question in the Structured Program. It was liberating to think that I might not always have this and that I'd be able to do things without fear. I'm not there yet, but getting closer.

    ~ Veronica
     
  3. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hi Chumba:

    You seem to have a really good handle on TMS, Dr . Sarno's theories, and how to "mend" yourself. I am an anxiety sufferer too. I can really get situations run out in my head to their worst possible ending. So I can relate. I'm really in awe of all you've overcome. I have lower back pain (TMS) that shifted to my shoulder and now is radiating throughout my whole left side. But I look at this as a good thing. I have many stressful things in my life and I am finding roadblocks instead of relief.

    And it all seems to get back to anxiety. So that is what I'm working on.

    A life without TMS? I went to town on that question! I can fully imagine and dream of the day I have little to no pain. It happens on occasion now, but I don't celebrate these moments, I move on through. But I know exactly what my life would be like. Just gotta try and kick this anxiety a bit, and I think I'll be there.

    Good luck, and may these symptoms go away soon.

    BG
     
  4. Forest

    Forest Forum Administrator

    Hiya Chumba and Welcome to the Wiki,

    It is great to hear that you have recovered from TMS once before. Knowing that we can overcome chronic symptoms can really help us gain confidence in ourselves. A great starting point for people with a relapse is to do a little refresher course and rereading one of Sarno's books. Doing the program is also a good idea and it may expose you to some different information.

    With a relapse there is always the chance that we can start to feel down and become frustrated that we have to go through this all over again. This is what your unconscious mind wants you to do. It wants you to get down and feel sorry for yourself for having a relapse. Don't focus on this and let it consume you. I have always felt the best way to handle a relapse is to be confident that you will recover. Enrique recently posted about how he recovered from a relapse and it may be helpful to you. It's in the thread: I'm a TMSers Triathlete.

    BTW - The program was made by peers like us who put stuff in it that helped us. Feel free to suggest or make any changes to it that you think may be helpful.
     

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