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95% recovered from severe TMS issues

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by unlearningpain, May 28, 2020.

  1. unlearningpain

    unlearningpain Peer Supporter

    This is going to be a long and interesting timeline of my life and how I’ve gone through different types of pain like backache, headache, chronic Insomnia, chronic fatigue, sciatica, tingling nerves in the body, numbing hands, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia. I’d say I’ve recovered 95%. I still have some bad days of insomnia and anxiety but now I’m positive that I will recover completely soon. I wanted to write this post when I recovered 100% , but someone loving, encouraged me to do so now as she wanted to know what exactly I am going through. Also, my story will stay the same either if it is 95% or it is 100% recovered.

    I am a 25 years old guy, born in India in a middle-income class family. I came to know about TMS and how to heal it in 2017 when I read the ‘Healing Back Pain’ by the good doctor.

    1995-2010 – Childhood and School
    I was a weak kid as I can remember. School kids used to make fun of me a lot. I could never beat them out as I was weak to engage in that kinda stuff. I often had a cough and cold that wouldn’t just go away. I was not good at sports. My parents were too strict for results in the exam and I was in a very competitive environment. I remember I had a migraine pain in 2007 at the age of 12.

    2010-2012 – High School
    This was a tough time, my dad lost his business twice. There was a cash crunch at home. Lots of small fights happened in my family (Joint) regarding various stuff. I remember my dad didn’t come home for 3 days as he was in shock after his business partner betrayed him by taking over the business. No one knew where he was (dead or alive). It was real mental pressure. He came back finally.

    2013-2017 – College
    In 2013 I started running in college. After three days of running, I had shin splints in both of my legs. They were very painful and didn’t go away for a complete month, it discouraged me from running again. Anyways college was a happy period. There was an issue going on related to my college fee and how to pay that huge amount in every semester. I remained a bit tensed as these things were always running in the back of my mind. Stuff like supporting my family always ran in my mind.

    I developed back pain when I was sitting on my bed playing a computer game (Max Payne 3). After saving the game I got up from bed and something popped in my back. It all started there.

    In 2014, I had my first sleepless night and a very bad dream. Somewhere around that time, I developed a pain on the left side of my back that went into my hips and irritated me while walking. Nerve used to tingle and vibrate. It was very uncomfortable. I used to sleep fine but always woke up to this pain and bad feeling. I started going to the gym occasionally without caring much about the pain. This went on till 2016.

    In 2016, I can’t recall the incident exactly but I used to stay tense due to some mixed reasons. Maybe I needed a girlfriend in college(sounds stupid) or some money-related issue. I guess I was not able to go on a trip with my friends because of a shortage of money. I was in a bad state of mind and that night couldn’t sleep. No sleep. Then the next day the same thing happened. It continued for a month. I just couldn’t sleep. I was obsessed. I went to the doctor and he gave me some light sleep medicine, still, I could not sleep. I was in shock. What has happened to me? I stayed that way for long time, I used to sleep very less. I slept hardly once a week, accidentally, and stayed tired for the rest of the time. I felt like a zombie. I didn’t know what to do and how to sleep again. Back pain slowly started firing up. It now went till the bottom of the left leg. I went to the doctor and got an MRI scan – It showed a classic disc protrusion of L4-L5-S1. I got tensed. He gave me some medicine(for sleep, for pain and some steroid) and said it will be okay soon but it never got okay.

    In 2017, My problems went on and on in every sphere. I was about to graduate but I still didn’t have a job. My back pain now went in both of my legs and my leg nerves were tingling 24/7. Vibrating like a guitar string. I was always uncomfortable with myself. I saw others happy and having fun in life while me being stuck. I was never at peace. My hair started shedding badly (At 21 age). At night I used to toss around in bed and it would take forever to sleep. I slept very little and was always in worry if I will sleep today or not. It was an endless cycle. I started physiotherapy. It used to give me temporary relief from pain and slight confidence. But i used to fall back again. Then a doctor prescribed me a medicine called ‘Tryptomer’. I slept like a baby that night. I googled it and it was antidepressant. I was really sad about that. Then I got a job, I was a little happier. The worst has gone I thought.

    In 2018, My job kept my mind occupied for some time. Still, there were back pain and sleep issues and I was finding a solution to it from different doctors in different cities. Some said surgery, some suggested a steroid injection in my spinal disc. Some suggested physiotherapy etc. I was just not okay. I used to sleep in different positions but it was of no use. Used a lot of pillows etc. but it was of no use. I googled, 'how to heal' books etc. I found a book on healing by 'Andrew Weil'. It was a good book and I came to know about Dr. John Sarno from that book. I immediately downloaded ‘Healing back pain’ and started reading it. It was a brainwasher and his words slowly convinced me for TMS. It was hard to get convinced but it made good sense. Then I start doing ‘Unlearn your pain’ journal by Dr. Howard Schubiner(link below). It was an eyeopener. I had lots of pending rage and other repressed emotions deep inside me that were waiting to come out. I was frustrated from inside. I did it for 10 days I guess and my pain started moving around. It was on the run. Then I started reading ‘Power of Now’ and the whole thing made more and more sense to me. That 'everything is connected with the brain' was a hard truth. I gained more confidence and my back pain was no more in back, it moved around a lot. It gave me weird spasms the whole day. Sometimes my eye would start fluttering. Sometimes my headache was unbearable. Sometimes my hands started tingling and numbing. I was glad that there is no more back pain, but at the same time I was sad about new sensations happening to me . Sensations that I’ve never felt before. Anyways, I gained a bit of confidence.

    Also, I got introduced to the works of Dr. Claire Weekes. I realized what's happening to me now is anxiety. My mind has created a diversion from back pain to anxiety. It is very irritating. Nerves kept crawling under my skin. I thought that’s how ‘Chester Bennington’ might have felt while doing ‘Crawling’ for Linkin Park. Sometimes I said to myself that back pain was much more bearable. I did stuff in anxiety that I don’t want to do. I used to pray on my bed lying, that please go away and let me sleep in peace. But still, I was immensely troubled with no sleep. Then I began accepting, floating & letting pass. This was beautiful.

    " [Anxiety] is very much a [condition] of your attitude toward how you feel. But how you feel depends on how you think, on what you think. Because [anxiety] depends on what you think, you can recover. Thoughts that are keeping you [anxious] can be changed. In other words, your approach to your [anxiety] can be changed. "

    In the meantime, I met a girl ;)

    In 2019, It was the daily practice of what I’ve learned till now. I went in cycles of pain, anxiety, no sleep, fine sleep, troubled sleep, some new type of weird pain out of know-where. A cycle of good days and bad days. I got agitated by anxiety. It is a very very bad feeling of nerves. It keeps you in a negative state of mind. It makes you lazy. I just want to crawl in my bed and stay there when I was feeling it. I almost broke up with the girl I met :/ due to it. It's just a negative uncomfortable thing. I knew it. Still fell for it everytime.

    I started going to the Gym in April 2019, 3 days a week. Forced me on bad days too. Sometimes the pain would just knock me on the back again, but it went away soon too. I didn’t get enough rest because no-sleep anxiety cycle, but still went to the gym. It was a good habit, I’d say. Slowly I started sleeping deep and sound and more often. It gave me confidence. I lost track of sleepless/sleep nights sometimes.

    Then I started reading our ancient Indian texts. I read ‘Autobiography of a Yogi - Book by Paramahansa Yogananda’ which taught me what mind and people can do. It introduced me to Spirituality and 'Gita'.

    Then I read Holy Gita. I was mind blown. It's written in 3000 BC. (estimated) and still, it knows all the truths that you want to know. This book has all the answers to all your questions. I wish someone gave me this knowledge when I was in school. It clears your mind and puts you on the right path. Spiritual Path. In this era of Self Help and psychology books, I’d say this is the only thing you need to follow in life. Rest all the books/people, knowingly or unknowingly, preach about the teachings of Gita in a suitable way. The concept of Yoga/Meditation is one of the teachings of Gita. It solved my life. Gave me optimism, wisdom, taught me self righteousness and things that I can’t write in a paragraph.

    In 2020, I’m in lockdown and I am positive that all that I have gone through was okay and is past. I will recover fully soon. I pray everybody should heal soon. I still have some insomnia/anxiety/tingling nerves in my body but it's far better than what it was in 2017. I sleep deeper and haven’t fallen ill in the last year. I haven’t taken a single pill of medicine in the last 2 years (except paracetamol for wisdom toothache). It is possible and it is not easy. You have to heal your mind and you will thank yourself later for this. Its a process that won’t happen quickly. Recovery is not linear. It's more like this:

    upload_2020-5-28_15-14-37.png


    Favorite quotes:

    What you resist, persists.
    Your sufferings open the door to your liberation.

    Favorite resources:
    https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/ (Bhagavad Gita, The Song of God – Swami Mukundananda)
    https://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Overcome_Anxiety_with_Dr._Claire_Weekes (Overcome Anxiety with Dr. Claire Weekes)
    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/ (Pain Recovery Program)
    Healing your back pain – Dr. John Sarno
    Power of Now – Eckhart tolle
    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/recovery-from-chronic-insomnia.16653/ (Recovery from Chronic Insomnia)
    https://www.fammed.wisc.edu/files/webfm-uploads/documents/outreach/im/handout_mbs_workbook.pdf

    I really want to spread the message of Dr. Sarno in India to all the back pain sufferers. I don't know how to.
    All kinds of comments and suggestions are welcomed. Please ignore grammar and understand my feelings.
     
  2. Jimnat7

    Jimnat7 Peer Supporter

    Great story! Amazing recovery! Thanks for posting!
     
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  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi unlearningpain,

    Thank you so much for your thorough report. And congratulations on your success!!!!! Your story will help others, I am sure.

    A couple of things jump out at me. You're finding a spiritual context for this. I think this is very helpful because it adds a sense of "life's journey" or "hero's journey." To know that there is meaning in our symptoms and struggles and successes is an important support. And to know that your TMS journey is part of the normal, ancient human fabric of life. This normalizes and reassures us.

    Another aspect is your confidence that things will be OK. I am so happy you found this.

    Parenthetically I will also say that the Autobiography of a Yogi was a very important book for me in my journey to deeper understanding of this strange life we have!

    Andy
     
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  4. unlearningpain

    unlearningpain Peer Supporter

    What's a hero's journey Andy? Sounds interesting. Tell me more about it.

    Yes, tms has changed my perspectives. I see stuff from a new lens now. What's your favorite learning from Autobiography of yogi? How did it changed you journey?

    Also I still have some sleepless nights that try to break me. What would you suggest on improving that, being a TMS coach?
     
  5. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Very helpful. Copied this bit to reflect on. Thanks much!
     
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  6. unlearningpain

    unlearningpain Peer Supporter

  7. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yogananda's story is a hero's journey. So are all of our life-paths. It is seeing that we're born here in this strange universe with desires and mysteries, and that we begin to intuitively try to put meaning and satisfaction in our lives. Each in his/her own way. Maybe each life has many Hero's journeys. Your TMS one seems to be central to your life. Some of the elements, each for his/her own:
    --why am I here?
    --what underlying goal is my life consciously (or unconsciously) about?
    --what challenges of my heart have been given me? how have I become more loving?
    --what would I want my child to know about why we're here?
    --what has seemed insurmountable, yet was achieved? yet to achieve?
    --what is "achievement?" is there such a thing?
    --what really matters, and how am I called to address this in my short time here? How have I responded?

    His work brought me to the doorway of the "superconscious." I got excited by the fact that there might be a lot more going on this world than meets the eye. I sought his teachings when I was a school teacher and really wondered "what is love?" I learned that love is an inherent condition of the heart, regardless of personality or history. I learned to love love more, trust it's process in my life, regardless of results.

    I love this post on this on our forum. You can find this by searhing Ellen's posts. Here is cut and paste. Notice that she stops worrying about how much sleep she gets. I think this is key!!!

    Andy


    Recovery from Chronic Insomnia

    I recovered from chronic TMS (The Mindbody Syndrome) pain (fibromyalgia and migraine) in 2014 after using TMS healing strategies for about a year. You can read my success story on this here. However, it took me about another 3 years to finally recover from chronic insomnia. This TMS equivalent was obviously much harder for me to address than chronic pain. I finally figured out why. Here is my story.

    Background

    I always had occasional and situational sleep onset type insomnia, even as a child. The night before an important event, like the first day at a new school, I would be unable to fall asleep. It usually didn't last more than a night or two throughout childhood. The frequency increased gradually in adulthood and the bouts would last longer, but usually once asleep, I could stay asleep until the alarm clock sounded. As the frequency of insomnia continued to increase, I began using sleep inducing supplements (e.g. L-tryptophan), then a sleep inducing anti-depressant (Trazodone), and when they weren't enough, I started using sleeping medication (many kinds, but not benzodiapines as they didn't agree with me.) Still, my need for sleep meds was occasional and situational, and the they took care of the problem when I needed it. But again, the frequency of insomnia increased and around 2010 or so, I began using some type of sleep medication almost every night. I knew this wasn't good, but felt I had no choice, as I had to get up and go to a responsible full-time job and complete all those other duties that we all have. Eventually, even though taking sleeping medication, I developed sleep maintenance type insomnia, where I woke up every night after about 3-4 hours of sleep. This pattern became chronic for about 6 months. I was suffering and in crisis. My doctor prescribed Gabapentin to add to the sleep medication, and this worked, giving me some relief for a while. Then I started having major side effects from the Gabapentin, and I had to stop taking it. I was back in crisis, and trying my best to apply all the TMS techniques I had successfully used to recover from chronic pain.

    Some other things I tried that over the years that didn't work: sleep hygiene, different pillows, etc., yoga, Qi Gong, meditation, deep breathing, supplements (e.g. melatonin), marijuana, CBD oil, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, cranial sacral therapy, massage, Somatic Experiencing therapy, EMDR therapy, aromatherapy, and a very expensive device called the Fisher-Wallace Stimulator. I'm sure there are more that I'm blocking out. I read many books and reviewed the research assiduously. I became an expert on insomnia.

    Before discovering TMS, I had undergone two sleep studies about 5 years apart. They weren't helpful. In my experience, sleep clinics are geared to treat sleep apnea and don't deal with insomnia very well. The sleep clinic staff seemed surprised when I said there was no way I could sleep hooked up to a bunch of wires with a camera pointed toward me unless I took a sleep medication. Even on medication my results showed a lack of restorative and deep sleep. My sleep apnea score was low, but because they had no other solutions to offer me, I went home with a CPAP machine, which was a tortuous experience. When I returned to the doctor who prescribed it, he said he didn't think it would help me, but thought it was worth a try.

    Discoveries from journaling, and finally—the missing piece

    Journaling didn't make the problem go away, but led me to discover the follow insights:

    · I knew my generalized anxiety disorder was a major factor in my insomnia, but now I realized how much my personality trait of perfectionism, as well as my very low esteem were contributing. The reason my sleep deprivation was upsetting me so much was I believed strongly that I could not be my best self unless I averaged around 7 hours of good sleep a night. If I'm not at my very best, then I'm not good enough to fill my valued roles—employee, family member, friend, etc. In reality, I knew my sleep-deprived self was good enough at doing what I needed to get done in all my roles. I did fine in my supervisory job, supporting and having fun with family and friends, doing my household chores, creating art, even driving, which had been my biggest fear, since my reflexes were slower. So what's really the problem? Because of my low self-esteem, I felt unless I could be at my best, I just couldn't be good enough. Sleep deprivation exaggerated my fear that I'm just not good enough.

    · I realized when looking at the sleep deprivation objectively, unemotionally, that there were some benefits. If I put the frustration of it aside, I found that my mood was actually better on less sleep. I found some research that states that sleep deprivation is sometimes used to treat depression. Sometimes, I actually seemed to have more energy than when I slept well, and could get more done than usual. This wasn't always the case, but perhaps has to do with the presence of stress hormones, which though not good in the long term, can get you through a crisis period.

    · During the worst and most prolonged sleep deprivation period, I found myself crying easily and often. Now I am normally someone who very seldom cries. It is hard for me to cry. At first I interpreted my crying spells as a negative--I thought I was falling apart and would soon end up in the psych ward. But I never cried in public (except once in yoga class, but they encourage it and see it as progress), and I came to view the crying as very cathartic and it actually felt good.

    · Also, when I viewed my symptoms of sleep deprivation non-judgmentally, just as sensations, I realized they were not that awful. Yes, my eyes are puffy, dry, a little blood-shot, my stomach is queasy, there's some tightness in my neck and shoulders, my mind and body are moving slower, I'm not able to focus as well, my memory isn't as good. I've felt many worse symptoms, with both TMS and purely structural medical problems and illnesses.

    · So when looked at non-judgmentally sleep deprivation was really not all that bad. I had been catastrophizing about it. I felt like a victim and disempowered. I had tried everything and still couldn't make myself sleep. I was a failure. I had a strong belief that if I didn't sleep enough, I would begin to fail at everything. I would not be good enough. This fear put so much pressure on me that it was no wonder I couldn't sleep. It was like I was addicted to the idea of sleep. Take it away from me and I will suffer. This was when I realized the missing piece in my recovery efforts—I had not been able to cultivate a state of outcome independence with regard to sleep.

    Insomnia and outcome independence


    I am no expert on outcome independence, but I did figure out how to apply the concept to my chronic pain, and I believe it was the most fundamental part of my recovery. Why couldn't I get there with insomnia? To apply the concept to insomnia, I needed to believe that whether or not I was able to sleep the night before, I could still have a good day. I could be good enough. I already had enough evidence that this was true. I remember experiencing long periods of the day while sleep deprived where I actually forgot all about it. I was absorbed in what I was doing, and yes, actually having fun. It was possible!

    Outcome independence is a very nuanced concept, so it can be difficult to fully understand and embrace. It is like trying to thread a needle without your reading glasses. For me, it is not about achieving a state of denial about the difficulty of insomnia. It's not positive thinking. I'm not trying to convince myself that insomnia is a good thing. I articulated some positive things about it and how benign some of the symptoms associated with it are (at least in the short term), as this helped lessen my fear about it, stopped my catastrophizing about it, and led to me being able to embrace what Alan Gordon describes as "authentic indifference." Whether I slept or not, I now believed I could perform well enough to get done what needed to get done, and I could even have fun and enjoy the day. This took away the pressure and fear that was feeding it.

    Some quotes that helped me:

    "What you fight strengthens, what you resist persists." Eckhart Tolle

    "When I argue with what is, I lose, but only 100% of the time." Byron Katie

    "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." Buddha

    "My definition of health: coming to terms with things as they are." Jon-Kabat

    What I did

    · I stopped trying to sleep, which is a contradiction in terms. Sleep is about letting go—a not doing. We can't make it happen.

    · In line with the above, I stopped all sleep hygiene techniques (a couple of exceptions below), supplements, anything special designed to help me sleep (e.g. aromatherapy), reading and researching about insomnia.

    · I gradually weaned myself off sleeping medication.

    · I tried to return to common sense about sleep. I went to bed only when I felt sleepy (e.g. yawning, eyes droopy), rather than when feeling tired, which didn't always mean I was sleepy.

    · I washed my face, brushed my teeth, etc. early in the evening so that when I did feel sleepy, I could go right to bed and not risk waking myself up by throwing water on my face.

    · When I went to bed I told myself these words "Whether I sleep or not, I'll be fine either way."

    · I didn't stay in bed if not sleeping for more than about 30 minutes. This is to address conditioning. The bed should be where you sleep, not fret, worry, etc. When I first lie down to sleep, I put on a non-fiction audio book at low volume with the sleep timer set for 30 minutes. If I'm still awake when it shuts off, then I get out of bed. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I do the same thing.

    · When I get out of bed in the middle of the night I stay busy listening to podcasts, audio books, watching videos, watching the sunrise, making a big breakfast..........in other words, live life. I tried to make the best of the extra free time I had.

    · When I get up after what feels like too little sleep, I say these statements "This is how I sleep now. It's OK. This is how I feel now. It's OK. I'm fine. I'm safe." I say this throughout the day if I start to worry about lack of sleep. It cultivates a stance of acceptance.

    · I didn't mention my sleep deprivation to anyone. I feel it would just reinforce the narrative that there is something wrong with me.

    · I didn't use my sleep deprivation as an excuse to not do something, within common sense limits. And if I truly didn't feel like I could do something, I didn't beat myself up over it.

    · I tried not to clock watch (add up hours I had slept) or calendar watch (add up days with or without sleep)

    · Since insomnia is a result of anxiety, healthy strategies to lower anxiety will likely be helpful in the long term (e.g. yoga, 4-7-8 Breathing, meditation, somatic tracking, etc. )


    Recovery

    I don't remember exactly how long it took for me to get to a point where I was sleeping 6-8 hours a night on a regular basis. I truly was trying not to calendar watch. I know that it was very gradual, maybe a month or two . First I found I could sometimes fall back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. Then I slowly and gradually began sleeper for longer times before waking up. Falling asleep took less time. I remember the joy and gratitude I felt when I had my first uninterrupted night of 7 hours of sleep with no medications. Success!

    I would love to say my progress went forward in a steady, linear manner. It didn't. I still had occasional sleepless nights and bad days when I couldn't reach that attitude of "authentic indifference". I just accepted it and started again. It wasn't starting over. My previous success didn't go away and was still there to build on. I eventually reached my goal. I recovered.

    But just as with my other forms of TMS, I have an occasional relapse. This especially occurs when I travel, and I believe this is conditioning, as I always had trouble sleeping when away from home. So I need to continue to work on this. With each relapse, I just go back to the steps outlined above. They work quicker and easier now. I am no longer burdened by this form of TMS. If I can do this, so can you!

    Namaste and pleasant dreams.....


    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
     
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  8. unlearningpain

    unlearningpain Peer Supporter

    Great response. I've been rereading Ellen's post for about a yearnyear Infact I also mentioned it in my useful resources while writing post.
    Anyways. Thanks again.
     
  9. unlearningpain

    unlearningpain Peer Supporter

    UPDATE : 99% recovered, thanks to yoga, Pranayam, meditation. I'm sleeping well most of time and nervous issues occur occasionally.
     
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  10. KittenLePurr

    KittenLePurr New Member

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. This is so helpful to me, reading more about symptoms jumping around and sprouting up in new places, and reading that you’ve dealt with those symptoms and are recovering. I’ve been on my TMS treatment journey about 6 months now, and I’ve had multiple widespread pains and symptoms since childhood, too, and am noticing some new and weird things happening, and your story affirms that I am already successful and I will get there too. Thank you
     
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