I’ve been thinking about the fact that over the last 5 years or so I have become so wrapped up and embroiled in the concept of TMS and how it relates to the pain I experience. It basically seems that no matter how hard I try to accept the TMS diagnosis I always end up getting stuck in doubt and confusion and this just generates more stress and inner tension. When my pain level is relatively low unsurprisingly I tend to be more receptive to the TMS diagnosis but as soon as I get a flare up of pain the doubts rapidly surface and this leads to confusion and above all fear…I’m sure I’m not alone with this pattern and it is familiar to many others. All the while I had this pain I’ve noticed I rarely actually sit with it so to speak, what I do is Google the same TMS testimonies I’ve read a million and one times already and have that constant dialogue with the structural on one shoulder and TMS on the other. With all this in mind I think I’m going to change tack with this somewhat as it is plainly clear that things are not really working for me the way I’m going. Basically, I feel I need to negate the obsession I have with the TMS v structural debate that plays out in my head all the while. The bottom line is that I have a neuroma in my back which from a structural perspective could be causing my pain but on the flipside I have a huge amount of empirical evidence that suggests the pain is in all likelihood psychologically generated…there really are a large number of pain inconsistencies and contradictions that just do not fit a structural explanation. What is becoming clear to me is that regardless of causality the thinking patterns and behaviours that I fall victim to when in pain (and even when not in pain) only feed into the pain and make things far far worse…they lead into more introspection, more self absorption, more catastrophising for my future, more uncertainty and above all more and more fear. Now, I know full well that all the TMS literature states it is a crucial requirement that in order to beat TMS we have to believe 100% that the pain isn’t structural but rather psychological…I understand and accept this but obviously some people are able to do this easier than others. I was thinking on this point and was trying to understand what it actually meant to accept that the pain was originating from a psychological process rather than a organic complaint and the answer to me was quite startling clear, it was almost a lightbulb thing…if you believe that your pain is from a benign psychologically generated process then the pain loses it’s power, yep it still hurts like hell but there is future away from the pain…it is almost like the pain loses all the shitty baggage it comes with, all that emotional secondary pain almost vanishes. Basically, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to stop analysing, fighting and internalising the pain and constantly holding the TMS/structural debate and that I need to accept the pain and embrace the fact there is nothing I can do that will make it get worse but PLENTY I can do that can minimalise and hopefully one day eradicate it. I’m aware this may well sound like giving up but I feel it is more like one of those times when it makes sense to lose a battle in order to win a war. Introspection and obsession can only ever make pain, anxiety and depression worse and when confusion and doubt are mixed into that pot the waters become very muddied and it is all to easy to lose sight of what is going on. I have every intention of carrying on my TMS modalities of meditation, mindfulness and negative writing not with the intention of removing pain but because they are healthy and practical behaviours. I also plan to carry out my usual hiking activities but also will incorporate running back into this as I have become fearful of this but I know ultimately this is a false fear as regardless of causality I cannot actually damage myself. I have grown to see myself as weak and damaged and this idea needs to be countered. I think this ties in with the idea of outcome independence that is mentioned on this site. Up to now all my thoughts and behaviours have been carried out with the express aim of removing my pain and ‘success’ has been judged by far too narrow a framework. I have become so caught up with the fixation of the causation of my pain that I have actually totally given the pain far far too much power over my life…heck, there are people with multiple sclerosis and cancers doing triathlons yet I’m letting my life pass by in a constant pity party and constant blind panic Google searches. I apologise if this all sounds incoherent poppycock but this makes a great deal of sense to me at this moment in time. I suppose what I’m thinking is that we get so used to solving problems that we think that every single thing we experience must be solved and boxed off and then we can move on from it. Maybe I’m just realising that not everything works to those rules and just maybe pain is one of those things that the more you analyse it and try to fight and eradicate it the stronger it becomes and the more the fear grows.