1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day 10 A Long, Detailed Story

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by AnotherTMSGuy, Jul 28, 2018.

  1. AnotherTMSGuy

    AnotherTMSGuy New Member

    Today the program asked me to talk about how I'm doing. I've made a lot of posts, but that's largely because I find them incredibly useful. One of my huge fears is writing things others will read, so I'm gently guiding myself through that fear through this forum. Bear with me as I get long-winded!

    A quick summary of my history:
    Was depressed and anxious throughout my teens. In college things got worse until a back "injury" and throat problems manifested during a huge period of loss and life confusion. (Lost a girlfriend. Lost a friend group. A close highschool friend passed away. Had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise.) I tried to push through, but new symptoms kept popping up. Doctors were beyond useless. Most of them shrugged at me. One literally said this pain was a part of getting older; I was 20. I graduated college with the help of way-too-high a dose of ADD meds, and promptly quit my job to move back home, hide in my parent's basement, and throw myself at doctors to no avail. My life was shrinking very quickly.

    The good news:
    My back pain is effectively gone half a month after reading the Mindbody Perscription and starting this work. I've worked out 6 days a week for 2 weeks now. Pain has not increased at all. It still flares up when I'm stressed, but I quickly recognize it for what it is and make a point to do something the back pain would have otherwise had me avoid. (bending over, cleaning the kitchen, etc.) Sometimes it lasts all day, but it never gets as bad as it was. So much of my suffering was what I perceived the pain meant for my future (can't be active, can't work full time, can't be in a healthy relationship, blah blah blah.)

    The bad news:
    Back pain is only one of many symptoms that was holding me back, and I don't know if I can believe they are all TMS. I have IBS symptoms, horrible throat/post nasal drip symptoms, and massive amounts of anxiety. I'm working on not letting them hold me back, and I'm being diligent about journaling and doing this program. Unfortunately these symptoms don't seem to be fading like the back pain does. Keeping my hopes as high as I can, though.

    Some insights:

    I've been reading The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris and working with an ACT-based therapist. The concepts involved in ACT are remarkably synergistic with TMS work, and I highly recommend it to anybody with anxiety problems. I don't think I'd have made nearly as much progress without the concepts in this book.

    - This may not be for everybody, but a concept I came up with that I've found incredibly useful (and admittedly really, really dorky,) is the idea of personifying my symptoms as a sort of character that lives in my body. Any symptom can then be attributed to that character's antics in whatever part of the body is being affected. Mine is this sort of amorphous blog-thing that likes to sit in different areas of my body and create sensations. This exercise serves a few functions at once:

    1 ) It takes your mind from a worry-cycle into a silly creativity cycle (how would this character cause these symptoms? How would he have to be shaped to create anxiety that spreads through my arms and legs?)

    2) It helps you view the symptoms with compassion instead of disdain. Your symptom are just your goofy TMS pet doing his goofy thing. He maybe is even trying to protect you. Easier to feel gratitude towards an imaginary creature than it is a bodily sensation.

    3) It makes it easier to achieve Outcome Independence, as once you've developed the character you can frame it like a visit from a pet instead of as a signpost for The Great Impending Doom.

    In Conclusion:
    I really like this work. I'm very inspired by it, very optimistic about it, and also scared out of my mind that it won't last. I'm excited to keep going with the work and seeing where I'm at in a year.

    Thanks for reading! Hope this was useful for somebody.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's a good story, Guy! Not that long, and, thankfully, not particularly detailed, so give yourself a gold star for that! I've skimmed over innumerable paragraphs that go on and on, ad infinitum, with the excruciating details of people's symptoms and treatments, which are simply not relevant in order to do this work. You've already figured that out, and got through that part with admirable efficiency :D

    Feel free to read my profile story to see all the symptoms I was dealing with in 2011. Anxiety and depression were on the list, along with rapid weight loss due to digestive issues, and all kinds of weird neuro problems. I'd had episodes of extra heartbeats off and on all my life, and two decades of neck pain and debilitating headaches. Most of those symptoms are completely gone, others only bother me rarely and are easy to banish.

    You're worried that the success you've had so far won't last, but I'm here to tell you that it can last if you are willing to make the commitment to change your brain.

    Yes, you will have setbacks; we all have them. But if you start changing your brain, if you start making it a habit to think psychologically instead of physically, you will continue to have success even as you work on these things in the future.

    My core belief in this work is in my tagline: knowledge - belief - faith are the keys to recovery.

    And give yourself credit for not only being here and doing this work, but for fighting back against your brain's fear about writing in public. Together, we can do this!

    AnotherTMSGuy and Lizzy like this.

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