1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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New member: thank you for being here.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by LaughingKat, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. LaughingKat

    LaughingKat New Member

    Hello. I've benefited from reading this forum for the past few months, and now I'd like to introduce myself and tell my story.

    Trying to keep it short:

    Burning pain in my arms off and on for a year; numbness and stiffness in toes/feet. It began during a period of emotional stress. Saw Dr. Rashbaum who diagnosed TMS. Attended his lectures and small group meetings. Read the books, meditate, exercise. My activity level hasn't changed at all, but I've been in an almost constant anxiety state. I had good success with my arm pain--until last week it was all but gone--but foot symptoms have not gotten better, and now the arm pain is back.

    The reason I’m not all in with the TMS diagnosis is because I'm frightened of multiple sclerosis (a lifelong fear; as a kid I saw an uncle severely affected with it) so I've been in a pretty constant anxious state about that. Five doctors, including Dr. Rashbaum, have told me I don't have it (based on clinical symptoms only, no imaging) but still I worry. I mean, panic. I feel better when I'm busy and active but I'm a writer, so a lot of time I'm sitting alone in front of my computer and, sometimes, thinking the worst.

    I'm looking for some support and guidance here. I'd welcome any advice you can offer. Thanks for listening! I'm in awe of the wisdom and compassion I've read from some of the members here.
     
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, you have gone and got yourself into a pickle...and quite honestly honey, there is absolutely no need for it. None at all.

    Five doctors have told you that you don't have "it", and these people know what they are looking for. My hubby has Parkinson's and over the years I have gotten very good at spotting such woes that afflict the nervous system. Just like those doctors. The signs are unmistakable and if five of them see nothing to worry about then it is time to sink into the surety of this and begin to let those horrible fears go because that is all they are, bogeymen from the past.

    You've become well-practiced at creating fear. Now you need to stem the tide and become good at feeling good. Given the momentum you've built up with these bad thoughts and feelings you probably need to pass through a phase of neutrality. This is best achieved through breathwork. No trying to restrain awful thoughts but instead not giving into them and instead breathing in and breathing out. Over and over and over.

    I heartily recommend you do this outside. In fact I heartily recommend you spend as much time as you can in Nature. Sunbathe. Moonbathe. Forestbathe. Stargaze. Hug trees. Unyoke from your computer and reconnect with Mother Earth. Most of us spend too much time in cyberspace and in our heads, so much so that we are desperately ungrounded and dissociated from our bodies. It is an act of kindness to yourself to remember you are a flower of Mother Earth.

    During these times, muse upon the exquisite qualities you'd like to nurture (to usurp fears dominance). Here are a few to consider: Love, Courage, Gratitude, Grace, Compassion (especially self-compassion), Patience, Kindness, Forgiveness, Generosity, Humility, Faith and Beauty.

    All these rest as seeds within the secret garden of your soul, gently waiting for you to rip away the couch grass of fear. We veterans of TMS are truly gardeners of the soul. We weed, we seed, we feed and water goodness and well-being. It's time to don your wellies*, pick up your spade and pull those fears out at the root. Make a big smoky bonfire and chuck every last fear upon it. Roast some marshmallows and bask in your health. This is just TMS doing what TMS does. Nothing more.

    Welcome to our humble abode m'dear.

    Plum x

    *A Brit thing? Wellies = Wellington boots.
     
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  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ahhhhh......vintage Plum. So lovely, and a message all of us can benefit from. Thank you, dearest Plum.
     
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  4. LaughingKat

    LaughingKat New Member

    Dear Plum,

    I have to confess that when I posted my original message I hoped that you might be able to reply. I have gotten so much hope and perspective from reading your other--posts doesn't seem like a word that does justice to what you can do with your writing and your wisdom. Your words are a gift to everyone on this site, and your writing is so beautiful, worlds better than any self-help book.

    What you've written here is important to me. I will return to it many times, I know. Thank you for taking to time to help me...I have indeed created a pickle for myself.

    Kathy
     
  5. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Well known member

    Plum is like a walking TedTalk. So great.
     
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dearest Kathy,

    Bless you so much for your words, which are both immensely kind and generous. One day, when you have overcome these struggles with tms, you'll understand how much a reply like yours means. I'm sure all the tms ole'timers here will agree that to have endured and prevailed, and to be able to help others through the same turmoil is profoundly redemptive. We've all been there, so terrified by a sensation or thought that we have to run to the nearest toilet, or are almost or actually sick from fear, and so when we say there is hope and freedom from this hell, we really mean it.

    Sometimes we need the benefit of hindsight to show us exactly the nature of the snare we were in. At the time we're so immersed in it that it's hard to really tell, which is where the intellectualisation comes from, an attempt to find sense and meaning in sheer madness. It's funny really that the thing doing the perceiving is the very thing being perceived, whether you choose to view this as brain, mind or consciousness, it gets pretty trippy.

    However we understand it, the problem lies with our thinking. Typically we don't fear the sensation itself (at least not in the beginning), but we fear what it may be and usually this is a big-gun neurological issue, the big C or something that renders us out of the game for good. It's the funneling back of these fears that creates tms, is tms. (As a side note it is interesting to observe that my lovely hubby doesn't catastrophise about his condition. In many respects he is less disabled than people who are able-bodied. Our spirits are truly powerful once we learn to let a little grit and a lot of grace enter our lives.)

    This is why I urge time-out, downtime, you-time. This slows the runaway train and puts the brakes on fear. I'm sure you've read my many posts on self-soothing and this is the time to begin identifying these practices. It can take a while to figure out and that is perfectly ok. The main function of soothers is that they help us feel ok in our own skin.

    For one reason or another (mostly watching the World Cup) I've not been swimming much of late and haven't fancied my usual Yin Yoga practices. It's hot and I'm lazy so I have been exploring Restorative Yoga. I am a huge fan. It's a brilliant and beautiful way of gentling into your body in a very comfy and comforting fashion. I'm totally in love with an upper body class I found on YouTube (can provide link), which not only makes my body feel as nice as the cushions it rests upon, it makes my mind and heart feel the same way too. Maybe you need to find something similar, something that over time helps you restore your relationship with your body~mind. Once you feel more at ease with your body, it becomes much easier to begin nurturing the mind. We can discuss that later if you like. For now it is enough to acknowledge that you have a powerful imagination that is running amok. Once you learn to harness that then the world is your oyster (and as a writer, a powerful imagination is the finest ally).

    I'm writing this outdoors. The sky is the perfect blue and my beloved trees are waving their greetings. They remind us that health is natural and when we make way for it, well-being floods us deep to our bones.

    Please post here and on other threads. Keep us in the loop. Let us know how you are doing. There are so many good souls here who will take your hand when the path gets rocky. I'm here too sweetheart. Rest easy and be at peace.

    With hugs and much love,

    Plum xxx
     
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  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Kathy, and welcome to the forum. I think we all agree that you can't do better than loving advice from our dear Plum, so I'm going to add just one practical piece of advice, and two resources.

    1. The advice is that you change your screen name! I will be happy to do this for you. My recommendation is that you keep the Kat and replace the "Anxious" with something that is just a name, not a condition. If you like cats, you could be AllieKat, or if you like flowers, AsterKat. And that's just a couple of As - the possibilities are endless. As long as it's not negative, or, for that matter, not too distractingly positive.

    2. As you think about that, I have to say that the Anxious in your username tells us a lot. I highly recommend that you pick up the little book that has saved thousands of anxiety sufferers over many decades: Hope & Help For Your Nerves, by Dr. Claire Weekes. I believe she wrote it in 1969, and it is nothing short of brilliant - it was the second book that literally saved my life after Dr. Sarno.

    3. One resource that helped me immensely was an audio program called Meditations To Change Your Brain, by Rick Hanson and Dr. Richard Mendius. It's actually mostly a lecture, teaching us about how our primitive negative brains are wired to be negative and fearful. This understanding alone led to a major turning point in my own recovery, and I use this knowledge every time I experience a setback.

    Keep us posted! We're all in this together.

    ~Jan
     
  8. LaughingKat

    LaughingKat New Member

    Plum, I'd love to have the yoga link. Walking is my default exercise and I always feel better when I'm moving my body.

    I spent the day at the beach yesterday and yes, today have a sense of well-being (and a slight sunburn, despite the spf!). Nature is good for peace and grit -- the kind you meant, not the sand.

    What I've learned, and I still have a very long way to go, is that days like this are healing days. The anxiety will return but there are respites.

    xo
    Kathy
     
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  9. LaughingKat

    LaughingKat New Member

    She's better!
     
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  10. LaughingKat

    LaughingKat New Member

    Thank you, Jan! I have learned a lot from your posts too, and I want to cheer every time you recommend Claire Weekes. Her books helped me get through a similar anxious time 20 years ago, and she is someone whose wisdom I have taken into my heart.

    I so agree with your point about my username. I had misgivings the minute I entered it. Can I PM you my new choice so that you can change it?

    And I will look for the audio program you mention. It sounds like it's directed at me. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

    Kathy
     
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  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'll PM you right now :)

    And..... welcome to @LaughingKat !dancea
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
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  12. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    Kathy, if you live near the beach I shall die from envy...truly though I am happy that you are full of sunshine. (They have yet to create an spf high enough to stop me burning, hence my penchant for moon-bathing.)

    The magic comes when those wonderful healing days out number the less than lovely ones and that natural shift means we begin to deeply love ourselves and our lives.

    One vital step towards that may be the realisation that your anxiety comes from misunderstanding your sensitivity. Possessing a particularly refined nervous system is a sacred gift and it does well to learn how to care for it. Many, many people here are Highly Sensitive People and fare better when they consider this vulnerability to be a true power and force for good in the world.

    Here's the link to the Restorative Yoga I've been doing:



    I must say I do like your new username. Laughter is soul food and I pray your new name heralds much laughter and joy in your life.

    Oh yes, and I tend towards cheering with Jan's posts. She is that perfect blend of sage and sassy shot through with serenity. We are fecking blessed to have her here.

    Plum xxx
     
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  13. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    I love "LaughingKat"
    Makes me smile.
    Kindly
    Lainey
     
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