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Advice for Educating Loved Ones About TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by eightball776, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    I have several members of my family who are suffering from TMS. I won't go into my whole backstory here, but let's just say I have enough experience with MB disorders to feel pretty confident in my ability to recognize the signs in others.

    One of them is an immediate family member who refuses to acknowledge even the possibility of a relationship between her repressed anger and a semi-sudden onset of back pain. I am concerned she is carrying around enough to result in some kind of disease process at some point. She's also exposing herself to dangerous drugs to treat the osteopenia her doctors point to as the source of this pain. The other suffers from neck pain, which began as back pain, which led to spinal surgery before migrating to his neck. One of the clearest cases of the 'Symptom Imperative' I've seen, but he agreed to surgical intervention even after collecting as many diagnoses as doctors.

    Because I've had so much trouble defeating my own TMS, my credibility as a 'TMS evangelist' is shot.

    I can no longer be taken seriously when I raise the possibility that someone I care about might be suffering from TMS, because I will invariably have to answer the same question: If all of this pain is psychosomatic, why can't you fix YOUR pain?

    From my perspective, both of these family members are undoubtedly suffering from TMS. They would both likely 'fail' Dr. Sarno's preinterview, and he probably wouldn't even have agreed to see either of them. What can I do to convince them to at least consider TMS as a potential source of their suffering? Have any of you discovered an approach that has a better chance at convincing the skeptics that they have nothing to lose by opening up their minds? How do you avoid the defensive posture they almost always adopt when I bring it up?

    Thanks for any advice.
    Click#7 likes this.
  2. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    Give them HBP by Sarno and call it a day. People have to want to be helped. PS read one of Claire Weekes books....she is pretty close to Sarno when she talks about fear even though her forte is on nervous illness. Or she is on youtube too. She sounds a little corny because it was taped from years ago. And get some sleep..even Dr. Hanscum (hope I spelled that right) advocates good sleep hygiene.
    Time2be likes this.
  3. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    A timely post... hmmm...

    Don't get frustrated yourself for not being able to reach others, especially when they are so defensive. I recognize that I did it and to some extent still sometimes do. It may have to do with a tendency to take care of others first instead of myself. It may also be that my ego is playing a game of 'I can cure others, look at me, appreciate me'. Or it is simply another form of distraction from my own issues. Anyway, the question is: 'Why am I spending so much energy on others when I don't feel good myself??' It will only make me mad when they don't listen, because the underlying message they are sending me is that I am the fool and not they. I have this going on with my dad. He believes me that many of my problems are psychologically induced, but when he has similar problems he gets defensive if I tell him that his might be too. He has built such a great defense against having to deal with emotions from a pretty hard and cold upbringing, it's incredible. It doesn't frustrate me as much as it used to, but that may also have to do with the fact that I feel much more in control of my own diminished symptoms nowadays.

    I tend to sow TMS seeds in people's minds by telling them my story; I don't give an arse about what people think about it. When they open the door a bit, I shove a book through the opening and that's it. Once and a while such seeds germinate in a person, but I have little power over which ones do and which ones don't. It is up to the person where you left the seeds if he/she waters them or not, it really isn't my responsibility.
    You might also contemplate giving them a link to 'All the Rage', a great documentary about TMS with lots of personal stories. The main character suffers from low back pain himself. I believe you can view it on Vimeo for a couple of bucks. It is about 90minutes of material and if that doesn't stick or is too much work for them, then your personal efforts to convince them certainly won't be fruitful.

    cheers and take care!
    MindBodyPT and Dino's mom like this.
  4. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Seeds of TMS, wonderful. However, I don't try to convince others anymore. If someone is interested, then ok. But usually they are not. I used a lot of time and effort to convince my parents but they don't listen and they don't even have the wish to change anything. My father enjoys going to doctors and ERs, he would never change anything.I needed to let go and now this doesn't frustrate me anymore. I think sometimes the missionary work is a replacement for the work you have to do with yourself. A long period I believed that I need to help my mother because that would also help me. I had to learn that my own well-being cannot be dependent on other people, even as close as family members.
    MindBodyPT and Gigalos like this.
  5. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with those above...the person has to be ready in order to hear it. I struggle with this too! You can casually float some mild TMS ideas by someone without going into the whole theory and see how they respond (I do that often with patients) but they generally have to come to it themselves. They also have to be a least somewhat open to talking about emotions to begin with. It's tempting to be a "TMS evangelist" but often doesn't work out in personal life if the person isn't amenable to the ideas. I've gotten better at figuring out who will be open to the ideas and explaining them in a variety of ways. But also, the person might agree with the general concept of TMS but not be ready to apply it to themselves- this is very common. Don't take it too personally!

    Side note - in no world does osteopenia or osteoporosis cause pain (in the absence of fracture)! I've never heard of that even as a "conventional" explanation of pain...those are known to be painless conditions. Very strange. There are safe/approved medications to treat osteoporosis to prevent future fractures but they should have no effect on pain. I'm sure this has been frustrating to watch, and I really empathize!
    Time2be and Click#7 like this.
  6. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    Because I talked to you before I have 2 questions.....when the pain shifts from one butt to the other side is that a good sign ? And also some of my symptoms like foot pain and tingling etc has dissipated.....but the most painful sites are still present sometimes more intense. PT please tell me this is all good stuff....
    MindBodyPT likes this.
  7. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    The changing of your pain location and severity is all “good” in the sense that it should reinforce your TMS belief! So yes you’re on the right track :)
    Time2be and Click#7 like this.
  8. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    Reading Claire Weekes gave me more insight...Sarno says what you need to do, but Claire takes you by the hand I think.
  9. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Eightball, I just re-read your post and one thing that bothers you is that you give advice to other but not seem to be able to fix your own pain. At first this looks like a striking question and put you in a bad light. But at a closer look you are simply taking the challenge and are on the path of recovery while they just don't want to be confronted with themselves. They want the quick fix and TMS healing is not a quick fix. That's why you can not offering them what they think is an appropriate alternative to traditional medicine.
    And of course, don't take every ones misery on your shoulders ...

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