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Advice please for getting a job done that makes TMS worse?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by EllieBoo22, May 24, 2019.

  1. EllieBoo22

    EllieBoo22 Peer Supporter

    Hi there,

    I haven't been on here in a while mostly because I've been doing a lot better with a lot less pain overall. More recently though I have been struggling a bit.

    I was hired for a job coming up in late June that I have to do a lot of prep for in the coming weeks leading up to it. I'm incredibly anxious about the job for a number of reasons and I'm really having a hard time getting all my prep work done. I've found that every time I sit down and start to work on it, my TMS comes on pretty quickly, severely, with sharp breathtaking pain. When I say to myself "I'm not going to work on it anymore today" the pain dissipates a good amount to a dull ache.

    I'm meditating every day, I'm doing yin yoga, I'm a swimmer and I've been doing a lot of swimming, I'm in therapy every week (I've brought up some of the reasons I'm anxious about the job in therapy), I journaled yesterday, and I'm trying to be kind to myself and as much as possible. Basically I'm doing everything I normally do to calm my nervous system, think about the emotional components, and get rid of my TMS pain... I'm wondering if anyone has any advice for getting a work project done that is incredibly triggering to your TMS? Thank you in advance :)
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi EllieBoo22,

    I remember you, and welcome back!

    I think in addition to the therapy, and the self-treatment you're doing such as being kind to yourself and "thinking psychologically," you might deepen your practice of feeling normal and safe in what you're experiencing, ie that it is normal.

    Alan Gordon's program is great for this. You might read it through and find certain days or even particular phrases which help you feel more confident that there is nothing wrong with you.

    Another basic understanding to embrace in this regard is that TMS stuff is natural, and symptoms are naturally responding to your stress, fear and conditioning.

    Creating statements like "Sometimes symptoms arise, but I am proceeding with my work because this important to me" will probably help too. In these you're supporting a differentiated relationship to the symptoms, rather than getting sucked in.

    Good luck in this work.

    Andy B
    EllieBoo22 likes this.
  3. EllieBoo22

    EllieBoo22 Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much for replying Andy. Yes, the ability to feel normal, and safe, and as though nothing is wrong with me thru the TMS... that seems to be the rub for me. I have found in the past that when I acknowledge my pain as something that is there is protect me in some way, I have had some intermittent success with getting it to calm down and back off. However, more often I find myself seeing it as the enemy- on the offense trying to take me down. This leads to anger and a resolute feeling of "I will not let you take me, GO AWAY".

    How I wish I had the disciplined mind of someone who is able to let the thoughts that don't serve me pass on by! But I've had pain for over 16 years, more than half my life, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that it takes a lot of time to rewire old habits, thought patterns, and conditioning.

    I'm going to look into Alan Gordon's program! I've only ever done the structured education program and didn't realize (or forgot maybe) there was another program for those who need more. I really appreciate the recommendation!
  4. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    I had a similar experience doing computer work. I had a lot of my pain dissipate and finally when I was able to get back to work I started working from home on the computer. TMS would come on and my upper shoulders would be burning or I would feel dizzy. Inside I was feeling nervous and anxious about work, money, TMS coming back etc. I did work through a lot of the symptoms and they would eventually dissipate or be cut in half. When I would take breaks I would do affirmations, visualizations of me working on the computer - this would activate my TMS and I would visualize myself being pain free while working on the computer. After 2 weeks I rarely get this pain anymore.
    zclesa and EllieBoo22 like this.
  5. EllieBoo22

    EllieBoo22 Peer Supporter

    jokeysmurf that is so wonderful you were able to work through it!! I bet the fact that you were able to recognize the root cause of that stress and shine a light on it is what helped you move past that painful place of TMS. I'm starting a new career and this job in particular is kind of my first bigger one so I can sense I'm putting a lot of extra pressure on myself and I think that is where the stress/TMS pain is coming from. I'm doing a lot of what you suggested- affirmations, visualizations, etc and I'm about to step back to the work after taking several days away from it. The funny part about it all is I really ENJOY the work itself, it's the ominous threat (not reality, just the way my mind is perceiving the "big job" coming up) that I wont be good enough, make mistakes, etc etc that is tripping me up. Thanks so much for commenting about your experience- it really helps to feel like I'm not alone in all this.
  6. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Well known member

    Yes, this is very common. I still get occasional bouts of tension in my upper shoulders when I get a big project to work on. The key is really to uncouple the thoughts or fears from the action. If you do this enough times your brain will get the message. That is why journaling, visualization and affirmation are great, not necessarily because you need a big reveal psychologically but because you’re trying to send a message of safety to your unconscious through multiple channels. The unconscious mind really only speaks the language of touch and sensation much better than words. Though words can eventually get to the subconscious, just not as fast. This is why doing the action over and over while doing your best not to feed the fear will eventually win over. Once the message of safety gets there you’ll stop feeling pain and the fear is fuel. So keep at it and you’ll be fine soon. Have a great day!
    EllieBoo22 likes this.
  7. EllieBoo22

    EllieBoo22 Peer Supporter

    Yes, love this! Thank you!

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