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Allergies: any thoughts / experiences?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Anna1, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Hello! I'm back here because today I decided that (after getting rid of most of my physical pain!!!)
    I will treat my pollen allergy as TMS too...

    I'm a (classical)singer. And since last year my pollen allergy is not in my nose like it used to be, but in my throat cavity (is that the right word) and irritating when I sing and speak.

    As I depend on my throat and vocal cords, it's quite obvious that my subconscious decided to hit me right in the core of my business. So now the spring has started, my irritation has started too. I just decided to stop my anti histamine. It is quite scary. But I think it doesn't work anyway.

    I was in fear for months last year, because my throat was so irritated. Now I decided to see it as TMS. I am convinced it is, and I had huge succes with my muscles, so why not?

    Still it's kind of scary. So I would love to hear some positive story's/feedback in this!!!

    I am doing immuno therapy too (so I get pollen injections monthly to make me resistant). Just had my shot last week.

    I think I should stop it all together, but on the other hand, I might continue. Or will that prevent my subconscious to realize that I don't fall for the trick anymore? I know what Sarno would say... But my bf and doctor would probably think I'm crazy....
    TrustIt likes this.
  2. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I too, Ruth, had allergies, hay-fever, and asthma for many years and had a 5-year run of desensitization shots. However, at about the same time I had a back attack in 2002, my allergies began to go away. I think Dr Sarno calls that "symptom substitution" (i.e. my lower lumbar pain and sciatica have replaced allergies as way of distracting me from repressed emotional issues). Sometimes my throat still acts up the same way you describe where the allergic tissue becomes irritated and interferes with speaking and talking loud. I do notice that these bouts of irritation in my throat do seem to have some kind of a psychological or emotional basis. These episodes of hoarseness don't last very long though, maybe a couple of weeks before they go away. Seems like they occur more often in the early spring when a lot of trees are pollinating around here. I'm sure how sensitive I am to pollens has to do with how stressed or anxious I am at the time too. But if the soreness of your vocal cords is a mind-body symptom I would imagine it would succumb to the same techniques Dr Sarno advocates for the treatment of TMS. I see that you are under the care of a physician so anything more serious has been ruled out. Assuming that, it seems like you could utilize the SEP offered on the TMS Wiki to neutralize the allergic symptoms in your throat or at the very least cause them to locate somewhere else less central to your career as a singer. I seem to remember that Dr Sarno says that he himself applied TMS treatment strategies to eradicate his own hay fever symptoms.
  3. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for that MorComm! What is SEP?

    I think my subconscious is "using" the pollen season to give me these symptoms. But oh, in the meantime it's really scary to stop taking my anti histeminica.

    I already had my fibromyalgia when the symptoms of hay fever started to bother me on my voice. But in the last spring my muscles were quite good, and my throat was very irritated, so i think it's true that the symptoms "travel". Before my fibro started I had severe IBS. Just after I was "cured" by a diet my muscles started to ache.

    So I'm rationally convinced, but part of me wants to run to the bathroom to get my nosespray.. I have many important concerts coming up.

    But I SO want to beat this!!

    Maybe I should take some time to write about what emotions could be under this. But I must say, that with my muscles it was nothing in particular. Just day-to-day emotions. And right now I feel very balanced. I meditate twice a day, I really don't feel that angry.

    On the other hand, there is one person in my life towards whom I have anger. This particular person has also had severe hay fever for most of his life. Interesting. I will look into that.

    What also strikes me as very interesting is, that everybody loves spring so much. The world starts to breathe, there is so much happiness in the air on those first days of spring (spring time, the only pretty ring time, as Shakespeare so beautifully wrote). Why exactly in THAT period do we have symptoms? I think because we don't allow ourselves to be happy. I think because part of me thinks it's not safe to be happy and to live life fully. I feel a "but"...

    But what about people who aren't happy? Do I even deserve to be happy?

    I think my subconscious does something to make that super joyful time very frustrating. Imagine. You want to go outside so badly, but the doctor says you'd better stay in?!!! So I don't go along with it any more, but still I have to find courage every hour...

    Thanks for listening and sharing! Any more thoughts about allergies are more than welcome!!
    TrustIt likes this.
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    The SEP is a 37-day Structured Education Program that is available on the TMS Wiki. It uses many methods like journaling and spider-writing based loosely on Dr Sarno's own treatment program. You can work through the program doing a lesson per day that you can download from the first page of the TMS Wiki. It's similar too, but less complicated than, the programmed series of exercises in Howard Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain workbook. You might also want to view some of the TMS success stories available in the Media section of this forum.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Ruth -

    I spent years using NasalCrom (nasal spray) between Feb 15 and April 15 for nasal allergies - (and I'm a tax accountant, so those 8 weeks are my highest-stress time of year). Last spring was my first tax season "post Sarno" and I still had some symptoms, but I realized later that I hadn't used the spray nearly as much as in the past, even though you're supposed to use it two or three times a day to keep the effect going (NasalCrom is not an antihistamine, it doesn't act instantly).

    In the past, my sneezing and itchiness were actually agonizing, and totally out of control by mid-February, until I started using the NasalCrom. So far this year, three weeks into "my" normal allergy season, I have barely noticed any symptoms at all - they are not even close to bothersome, so I haven't started the spray. However - just to prove that TMS is in my life, I do have other symptoms this year: I've been fighting dizziness (again) since last summer when I suffered two personal losses, and it became much worse right after I took a trip to visit my brother at a brain trauma clinic just before mid-February. Tax season this year is just not on my list of things I want to do, I'd rather be down in California with him - so what I've got is a classic case of Symptom Substitution (and it's pretty obvious to me why it's the dizziness - but that's another story).

    Here's my advice: if you want to use your spray, keep in mind that it's acting as a placebo. The thing is, I believe we should be harnessing the power of the placebo effect instead of dismissing it. A placebo acts like a mantra - it gives your mind a tool by which you can visualize relieving your symptoms. Once you get used to that idea, in the long run, you won't need it.

    TrustIt and Anna1 like this.
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    As an interesting side note to the allergy symptoms you and Jan describe, Ruth, I should add that my allergist at Kaiser mentioned to me that it has been his experience at the allergy clinic with asthma and allergy patients that after they turned about 60 y.o. their symptoms began to go down so that after 65 the incidence of allergies and asthma seemed to almost disappear. This is not based on a double blind or peer reviewed study, of course, but it does seem in keeping with what Dr Sarno says about the incidence of TMS lower back pain: It peaks between 30 and 60 during the ages when people are stressed out with the most responsibilities in their lives. Dr Sarno also notes that this statistic seems to counter the prevailing medical opinion that lower back pain and sciatica are caused by so-called "spinal degeneration". If TMS pain was really due to herniated disks and spinal anomalies associated with aging, then you would expect reported incidents would go up as we age, but this does not seem to be the case. This correlation between back pain and allergies suggests to me at least that the two very possibly are both linked to stress. Of course, allergies are due to a hyper-active autoimmune response and back pain, at least according to Dr Sarno and other members of the "TMS school," are due to an over-stimulated autonomic nervous system. Stuff like this sure needs to be studied more I would say! But even from a conservative medical perspective, it seems hard to avoid the conclusion that allergies and lower back pain both share a strong mind-body component. I do know that my allergies and asthma both began to develop when I was about 6 or 7 years old, at the very same time that my parents were trying to split up and get a divorce. Although I can't remember it in detail, I would imagine that when my mother grabbed me and took off from San Francisco on a Greyhound bus to Seattle that I must have been horribly stressed out and filled with fears of abandonment due to the loss of a stable home environment. It would be interesting to find out how many people have developed allergic symptoms during a particularly stressful time in their lives, particularly during their early childhood when it's quite easy for unconscious programming to occur.
    Anna1 likes this.
  7. Bernard

    Bernard Peer Supporter

    hello all
    I get terrible hay-fever and dust allergy along with mild asthma & eczema. I have since age of 6 or 7 perhaps.
    As a child i received imuno shots for the allergies - weekly for years. It didn't help that i recal
    I still have these allergies and was interested to read Sarno's thoughts on these when i started exploring his TMS work.
    I have really been trying to focus on my physical stuff - back and knees etc but...
    reflecting on it now....it makes so much sense to me - I typically only get really bad allergies at the weekend - during the week i tend to distract myself with an intense relationship with my work. It's at the weekend that I loose these distractions and tend to focus in more on the physical stuff and get more (often incredibly strong) allergy reactions...

    I'll still focus on the physical primarily but i'll keep an eye on the allergies too as TMS symptoms and start talking the talk with them all!

    Peace and love
    JanAtheCPA and Anna1 like this.
  8. Anna1

    Anna1 Peer Supporter

    OK, here is what happened: it turned out to be a simple virus. I have the exact same symptoms as my neighbour, who doesn't have allergies. I freaked out over nothing. I havent been ill since I started the Sarno-work, so I didn't even take into consideration. I've been bragging about how I didn't catch any virus all winter, and now I have one.. If it will be better at the end of the week I have no problem with my concerts. What a relief!!!!!

    Anyway, flu's are also psychological, I think. It must have been the fear (about the allergy???) that brought it on..

    Thank you all for the great feed back! Jan, that's a nice way to use the nosespray, as a placebo!! Bruce, that's more "proof" for the theory that allergies are TMS. Bernard, great insight! Let us know how that will work out for your allergies... I like the "talking with them all" ;-)

    I'm quite curious to find out if it wasn't allergy at all and just a virus all along. We'll see.
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, Ruth, it does seem to be possible to have cold symptoms without actually being infected with a virus or bacteria. The same symptoms - low grade fever, runny nose, sore throat, aches and pains, feeling run down - can be triggered by the autoimmune system without you actually being technically "sick". Those symptoms are signals that you need to slow down, stay home, not go to work, and rest. If you're under a lot of pressure - self-imposed or external - you can actually have those symptoms and not really be sick. Likewise, if you're under a lot of pressure, your autoimmunity can decline, which will let a virus or bacteria take off. I certainly noticed from having contracts in companies that were going down that people start phoning in sick in larger and larger numbers as the sales figures go into a steep decline. But I don't imagine it really matters whether you feel sick or are actually sick because you still stay at home and don't come into work. Kind of a chicken-or-the-egg body/mind paradox! Of course, if you have post-nasal drip it's a lot easier for a virus to move in to your throat and take off.

    I might add something else from my own experience last winter. I got a real viral infection in my throat that started exhibiting symptoms of a secondary bacterial infection, so I went down to the clinic and got some antibiotics. Sure, I got better as the secondary infection went away and the cold virus ran through its course. However, I never stopped to think about what day it was when I first started exhibiting symptoms: March 9th, the very same date in 1997 that my father died. And where was I when I first started clearing my throat? Working in his shop downstairs at his bench with his tools. It's like there's some kind of unconscious biological clock that's tied to certain traumatic events in your personal biography. Maybe it's all mumbo jumbo, but I bet everyone, if they become mindful and pay attention more, will notice similar strange coincidences that are more than self-fulfilling prophecies.

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