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Day 1 Acceptance was the answer...?

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Andrew, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Andrew

    Andrew New Member

    My name's Andrew and I have TMS.

    I recently started at my dream company, and 2 months in I had real bad wrist pain. A new mousing device took care of that beautifully. I'd had very slight pain in my fingers, only on the middle joints, and after the wrist pain left that started to ramp up quick. Since the latter had affected my ability to do my job, I was motivated to get this figured out and got to a doctor. He said that since it correlated 100% with typing that that must be the problem and I should type less. I gave up my passions, computer games and forecasting (which takes a lot of programming) and wondered how to reduce typing at work. I tried drinking lots of water, using different Accessibility things like Sticky Keys, and working smarter not harder. That didn't work so I started to get worried and see more doctors, my 1st PT ever, a hand surgeon and a chiropractor. I got nothing from the first two and back pain from the chiro. I shouldn't say that, the surgeon took X-rays and that and his physical exam showed no structural damage and no risk of it. I didn't believe him, but I liked being diagnosed with Repetitive Strain Injury.
    I tried homeopathic remedies, Speech Recognition and an aggressive exercise regimen. The surgeon's OT gave me exercises and stretches. I'd been taking breaks big time, religiously and incorporated those. I was getting down about not getting to do forecasting, and I felt I had to give up biking, using the rowing machine and playing the drums because they involve gripping and wrist extension.
    The back pain got worse, the upper extremity pain had long ago migrated to wherever it wanted. I saw a new PT with new stretches that increased my RoM but had noeffect on the pain. After months of being at work, demoralized by inability to do what I wanted on the computer and thinking I was permanently unable to, I almost did workers' comp. At the eleventh hour I found out about TMS. I was hihgly skeptical. But when an EMG turned up textbook (the pain gal said my curves were "beautiful") I looked at my history and realized why so much of it was unexplained: there was no medical expln for sudden knee pain and a small bruise there when nothing had touched my knee, or for my 3rd & 4th fingers to be hypersensitive when they're innervated by different nerves! Or for that to jump from my right to the left when I wasn't typing or working, just Stressed!
    I've typed more today than in the last two weeks together and I've had no pain. I say "I don't believe that pain" and like magic it passes! Looking forward to my life of TMS, journaling and facing that stuff in a healthier way than choking my muscles unconsciously.
    Forest, EricMd and JanAtheCPA like this.
  2. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Hi Andrew
    You really gave me something to think about here. The majority of what you write is all too familiar to me. Absent it being my "dream" job, I was at a 98% computer job when my 'noteworthy' pain issues started as well. Although,at times it was more like a nightmare than a dream, the job paid well and allowed for a decent lifestyle so it was tolerable in the sense that the benefits outweighed the costs. Ultimately, I took an unpaid medical leave trying to stop the pain. The doctors were certain the pain was a result of all the time at the computer but my conscience (which I sometimes believe is trained to my detriment) wouldn't even let me consider workman's comp because it was not the first computer job I've had and it didn't seem right to me to try to hold a single company responsible for something that could have been culminating since college. Knowing what I know now about TMS, I am really grateful to my conscience because I don't even want to think of the guilt I'd be feeling now if I had pursued the workman's comp for something that turned out to be the results of my repressed emotions. Long story short, neither the medical leave nor the various treatments did much to reduce the pain and I ended up resigning from the job. I was in so much pain I couldn't return at the end of the leave and the battle I would have had to undergo to try and get it extended overwhelmed me to just think about.

    19 months later my life has undergone so many changes sometimes I don't recognize it. Admittedly, some changes were for the worse since the lack of that paycheck resulted in some unpleasant but necessary lifestyle changes, but mostly changes for the better. I can clearly see now how my personality traits, the work atmosphere, and the specific requirements and responsibilities of the job itself were pretty much triggering dangerous emotions for me 24/7. I feel as though I'm getting to know a complete stranger through my journaling. It's amazing to me that I can be "me" and somehow have managed to almost completely "hide" from "myself". I wish I could report that I am entirely pain-free: such is not the case as of yet, but overall the pain has diminished quite a bit and the periods of little to no pain are increasing so I remain completely hopeful that absolute freedom from pain is in my future!

    You got me thinking when you mentioned the bruises without cause. I never thought of that in conjunction with TMS before. I have experienced it myself but I always just assumed I was prone to bruising easily and that a slight force I hadn't thought anything of was the cause. I have gone to sleep without them and woke up in the morning with them. I always assumed it to be the result of restless sleeping. Definitely something to think about further. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your progress.
  3. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Hi Andrew and welcome.

    Yes, there is no reason typing or using a mouse would cause us issues. Kind of amusing that typing was blamed by the doctor.

    Best wishes on the path to healing. :)
  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Andrew - my recovery sounds very similar to yours. Doctors suggested that my wrist, arm, neck pain were all due to typing too much. I also tried the speech recongition software, but it did nothing to limit my symptoms. My symptoms finally went away when I just told myself that the pain was not caused by typing. Sure enough, when I started typing I didn't feel any pain at all. Now I can type all day without any symptoms.

    Leslie, the thing you said about feeling too guilty to take workers comp sounds like a standard TMS goodist response. People with TMS are overly consientious and responsible almost to a fault. The idea that we are putting some one out, or taking advantage of something is completely reprehensible to us. These feelings are developed throughout our lives, most likely, as a way for us to avoid being rejected and abandoned. In my recovery, I was helped a lot by simply putting my needs first and learning to not feel guilty about coming out ahead.
  5. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Thanks for pointing that out Forest. I can see my feelings about comp being the result of my goodist, then combine that with the perfectionist illogical view of it as some kind of weakness.

    Any tips you might have for learning how to put my own needs first without feeling guilty would be greatly appreciated. This is something I struggle greatly with and have very little success in accomplishing. I have managed to put my own needs first a few times since I've learned about TMS, but not without guilt - which is immediately followed by anger at myself for feeling guilty - vicious cycle.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey Leslie - try Dr. Gabor Mate - he might convince you that you can harm yourself by not learning how to say No! There's his book, of course, and I'm afraid I've mentioned it about a hundred times lately - and there's this 50-minute video which is a great companion to the book and an excellent introduction to his theories:

    Dr. Mate says that if you won't say No, your body will eventually do it for you.


    PS - was that you with the cat/orca the other day? These crack me up!
    SandyRae likes this.
  7. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Thanks Jan
    I will check out Dr. Mate. I'm working towards getting better control over my self-defeating thoughts and actions - like saying yes when I want to say no. I find part of my issue is that most times I don't realize I actually wanted to say no until after I've said yes. Live & learn I guess.

    I've seen the avatar you're referring to and while that one does crack me up as well, it's not me. Mine has been this black & white kitty doing his impression of a penguin since I updated it from the registration default. I love animals, and cats and penguins are 2 of my favorites so when I saw this photo online I couldn't resist it. I don't know who this kitty is, but his impression of an emperor penguin makes me smile every time I see it.
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I like this little guy 'cause he's all cat :cool:
  9. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    The Mate video is really profound. I was put off by the 53 minutes but saw you mention it thinking I have to listen to this. While listening I did my meditation with my ears open...ha ha.

    But I also listened again the next day taking notes. He said when you suppress healthy anger you are also suppressing the immune system. I have been suppressing my emotions all my life.

    I love this guy.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  10. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    I just listened to the Mate video. It was very good. I think it is important to stress though that even though an individual has suppressed
    their emotions, not expressed anger... that people need specific steps how to turn this around. Jan, in his book does he give some more
    specifics on how to turn dis-ease around?

  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    G.R., I haven't finished the book yet, so I suppose he might get into specific recommendations, but based on what I've read so far, I really don't think he's going to say anything profoundly different from what we here already know. He's an MD, like Dr. Sarno, and even more focused on the science than Dr. Sarno. I've heard many people express frustration that Dr. Sarno doesn't give them enough specific information on how to recover.

    Here's the way I see it: the means to recovery from TMS/MBS/PPD or "Stress Disease" (Dr. Mate) can actually be stated quite simply:

    Recovery occurs when the individual recognizes and acknowledges their self-destructive behavior, and either changes the behavior, OR changes their emotional response to the behavior. ​

    - The "book cure" occurs when awareness (recognition) and acknowledgement result in an instant change in the emotional response.
    - Some people can't change their emotional response easily, either because they have a hard time seeing it, or because they are too attached to their response
    - Other people need a complete change in behavior.

    Thus we have many many different ways in which recovery is achieved by different individuals.

  12. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Jan, I agree. During my childhood healthy anger was never expressed by my parents or by the children. I don't even know if I can do it. I don't know what it looks like.

    Journaling has helped me get the anger out of my body. Also I am starting to speak up when my opinion is different versus suppressing the emotion which I have done all my life. It is difficult to do because of the fear of disappointing others or having there disapproval.

    Also learning to take care of myself with meditation, exercise, affirmations helps me. Many different roads to recovery.
  13. Andrew

    Andrew New Member

    Day 1,049: still typing and still pain free. I don't even have to do the mantra. I did have a relapse on my one-year anniversary, December of 2013 was touch and go. The insane idea that typing could cause hand pain came back (I am thankful one medical professional told me that typing is extremely unlikely to cause enough impact to harm such a well-tooled mechanism as a human hand, and another thing that helped was getting some new keyboards and realizing that I'd never had a keyboard break in my typing career so I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the amount of typing I had done in my life and in the year before pain started and compared that to the number of keystrokes a keyboard can withstand. I thought to myself, my body is incredible ability to self-heal so it should be worth several keyboards worth in terms of stress-testing). So I asked some people I trust a lot what they thought and one person said basically "there's been no huge change to the situation so probably what worked before will work again now. There's nothing to indicate that what turned out to be a non-physical problem a year ago now is a physio-medical problem so err on the side of the solution this year being non-physical." And that proved true, it was just a flare up of TMS based on fear, stress, pressuring myself etc. And I didn't have relapse last year or in Dec 2014, maybe a few days total sprinkled through the last two years.

    I've been doing some work on the underlying stuff that TMS wants to distract me from, I didn't realize it but I have been. Ideas about work and myself that are really painful and cause a lot of suffering, I'm finding more courage to face and act differently. I loved what Jan said, recovery is acknowledgement, acceptance and action. I can act differently at work and stay safe from hand pain or I can go back to acting the way I used to and get hand pain. I can accept myself more and more unconditionally and stay safe from hand pain or I can stuff feelings, mistreat myself especially in terms of work etc etc and get hand pain. I also liked what she said about denial and rationalization (bullet two), I denied that the way I was working and treating myself had anything to do with my physical pain and I rationalized without knowing that I was doing so, things like "I have to work this way" were subconscious for me.

    I'm really grateful that my brain left me clues into the medical impossibility of what was happening to my body. The roving nature of the pain, the appalling lack of correlation between my pain and the things the doctors thought were driving it or would fix it, the total lack of a body basis for my "problem" under x-ray, EMG and physical exam. And the cherry on top, what really helped me break through and inspired my mantra "I don't believe this pain" was that uncomfortable feeling (indicative of nerve problems) on my middle and ring fingers but not on any other finger, when the middle and ring fingers are innervated by two different nerves. I realized that if those two could coincide in this nerve-based symptom why wouldn't the other fingers also have it?! I'm no doctor but I'm pretty sure that's impossible or at least incredibly unlikely. And I'm glad no one did tell me so, when tests would come up negative or I'd describe this middle-finger-symptom no one said "it's not possible, it must be in your head." One doctor in particular I've puzzled over why he either didn't know or didn't say that, but I'm glad he didn't because I would have dismissed or even villified him as a quack because I was looking for a physical explanation, I had not considered any other possibility and was not willing to at that time. Until my company said "if you can't do the work you'll be fired" so I felt I had a lot less to lose in that light. So I gave up all other interventions, all the diets and exercise and stretching and pills and appointments and supplements and blah blah blah and just started typing. It was terrifying but getting fired and being unemployable was moreso, at least trying this gave me a shot before "all that typing would screw up my hands forever." And what a shot.
    JanAtheCPA and Forest like this.
  14. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Andrew,
    I love this post, and your wonderful success. Thanks for the details and what worked for you.

    This I can really relate to. How wonderful to begin to see this, question the self-driving behavior, and disengage.

    Can you post your entry as a cut and past and create a new post under Success Stories in the Forum? I think this would be a great service to others. "Day 1,049: still typing and still pain free" would be a catchy title!!

    Andy B
  15. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Excellent ask, Andy. I also hope you will post this to the SS subforum, Andrew! All successes, big and little, are inspiring to new members and especially to folks who are struggling!
  16. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    Glad to read these tonight. I'm on vacation and have legit hand pain. My puppy wrapped her leash around my right pinky and ring finger five months ago and they still hurt and are swollen. I finally went and got xrays and consulted a hand doc. Put it off over four months because I was convinced it was just another excuse for my TMS to kick in.

    Doc said the ligaments were strained, it's real; could take a year to heal but I keep RE-INJURING them, e.g., mindlessly carrying my luggage up to the third plane last Sunday when my husband offered to help. Not taping them before working with horses. Foolish stuff.
    This is the goodist thing Sarno references. I am too good for my own good. Too cool for school, as a wonderfully nerdy friend of mine says.
    The good news is my back/hip/TMS travel pain is not kicking up, though I am walking less this trip just because I've had a private tour guide and car. Not a big deal, just wanted an education on this one.
    Grateful to have TMS Wiki. Grateful to not be in big drama.
    Yes, acceptance Is the key, for sure. (-:

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