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Already in therapy, what else?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Skylyon, Jul 18, 2020.

  1. Skylyon

    Skylyon New Member

    Hi! About a year ago I started getting intense pain in my right arm. My doctor and many neurosurgeons and neurologists and spine doctors attributed it to my bulging disc in my neck. I was an active gym goer. I stopped working my upper body because it reminded me of the pain. I cried almost every day. “When will this go away”. Finally i scheduled surgery in May. Meanwhile, every morning, i would wake up with an intense cramp in my stomach and just feel anxious and paralyzed in bed. I started shaking internally. Meanwhile, my legs started becoming weaker. I developed prepatellar burisitis (my knee blew up). My hamstrings felt incredibly tight all the time. About a month ago, my lower back and butt started hurting when I sat. I went to the chiropractor who performed ART on me. The next day I sat on my floor crying - “this will never go away” - and I did some yoga. Immediately after I felt intense burning in my butt. I went to the emergency room. They did some tests but everything was fine. My PCP did more tests, nothing. I had a mild disc bulge at l4/l5 but my spine doctor was very skeptical that it was causing my pain. I received an injection at that level and it didn’t help. After the ER visit, the next week or so i slept with an ice pack between my legs at night. my friend told me to pick up Sarnos book on low back pain. I read it and connected with the personality. But i find it so hard to accept TMS. Here’s why: I have been in therapy since 16 (36 now) and I have explored all of my childhood issues. Of course I still feel inadequate, but I’m struggling with “thinking psychological” when I am aware of (i think) all of my thoughts. I’m going through Alan Gordon’s course, but it’s so hard to understand how to apply those strategies when I feel pain. I get frustrated and I say “i can’t work, it’s too painful to sit”. I compare myself with others that are not going through this. How do so get over that?
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sarno addressed this in Healing Back Pain. I Hit the therapy scene when I was 17 for a drug and alcohol problem. From then on I was involved in so many therapeutic investigative processes I won't bore you with them.... BUT, not once was I in the business of looking for fiery red hot rage inducers. On the contrary, the whole point of 'feelgood pop psychology' of the day was to get OK with all of those rage inducing things. Not to hunt for more of them. Not to find the paradoxical and contrary nature of them.

    That industry is a little sketchy... they will take your money for a long time, but when are you cured? I only got 'results' when I worked with a shrink Post-TMS discovery with the goal of finding and uncovering all of the RAGE inducers in my life. That was about 6 months or so...maybe 15 visits? That was at age 32 and I have never needed to go again... I have also been pain free since, excepting for a few weeks (total in 21 years) of relapse during extraordinary circumstances.

    Prior to my pain I had so many years of counseling and therapy I don't think I could tally it all...and I wondered the same thing you did until Sarno explains it in "Healing back Pain"
    That's because it's unavailable and repressed... you can only go as far as speculating... this is a creative process.

    e.g. My father died. Most people think it was a suicide, but I am 'OK' with it and also OK with my Mom, even though she went traveling my whole childhood and I ended up in state run homes by the time I was a young adult....but i am not in the least angry...


    maybe I am. Maybe that's why whenever I am not doing drugs or drinking I instantly have a 'crisis'... to distract me from the unbearable shame and pain of being abandoned. I do NOT feel this, even to this day... but being aware of how much pain and anger that SHOULD have caused gives me a clue to whats down there...and as THAT awareness grows, my pain goes away.

    hope that helps.
    backhand, TG957 and KittenLePurr like this.
  3. Skylyon

    Skylyon New Member

    Thanks :). I’ve read your other posts and your success story was really inspiring.

    I’ve actually done 5 years of intense psychotherapy/psychoanalysis. That stopped about 6 years ago. I didn’t experience pain until now with my anxiety. This is so frustrating! I can feel my pain getting worse as my anxiety deepens. Is there any other resource for learning besides Alan Gordon’s 21 day program? I didn’t find the LBP Sarno book helpful for me as Alan’s pages.
  4. KittenLePurr

    KittenLePurr New Member

    There’s always Unlearn Your Pain. Howard Schubinar offers up some really great calming exercises, writing prompts and spoken exercises you can do alone or with a therapist or other person. I’m about halfway through right now and it is transformational. Still have a long way to go, but seeing major improvements. Standard therapy didn’t address the key issues for me either. Writing about them—I call it rage journaling—has been way more effective, and you can do that using the framework of the spoken exercises in Unlearn Your Pain if you don’t want to do them with another person.
    Also, tapping/EFT can dramatically improve anxiety, which thereby can reduce that anxiety-pain cycle. Some people claim EFT helps their pain directly; I haven’t experienced that, but by using it to calm the anxiety, I’ve stopped spiraling on the pain itself, which has reduced the severity of the attacks. I hope that helps
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
  5. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That sucks. Trust me, I can totally sympathize and do....
    But after years of doing this, I would say that anxiety isn't necessarily the cause, but part of the symptom. Sometimes this seems like a big wet knotted up juke ball, but the miracle is IT does get unraveled. Often times without us 'doing' anything, other than raising our awareness that it's there to distract us.

    The pain is there to distract me and SCARE me ("Oh my god...what's that? It feels weak...what if I can't play in the game tomorrow?... I am a douche!.... what if I can't go to work and support myself? My GF will leave me because I am useless as a man" Etc)

    It's OCD of the body...scary circular thinking. Anxiety is circular thinking raised to conscious awareness. Removes those parentheses and moves those thoughts to the forebrain. Both are there to 'protect' me from a perceived scary down deep where I can't get to...

    and your right. Sarno only tossed out a few tools for dealing with it. A lot of this forum is us sharing the ones we have come up with, or elaborations on his suggestions. I am sort of a 'purist' and ONLY focus on rage and anger because I have/had a LOT of it.

    I talk to it. I either confidently and angrily tell it to go away and that I no longer need it's help, OR I see what that list of fears is and go full reductio Ad absurdum.
    The front line of this battle is right there where our conscious awareness is in the moment, because that is where the pain is trying to keep us FROM... Anxiety is trying to keep us focused on the future... 5 minutes or 5 years, always anywhere but HERE..now.

    So, since just like the pain, it's purpose is to distract me, when I catch it creeping in, I talk to it. I tell it to F-off. .... but I also keep looking for those things in my life that should be pissing me off that are not. They are always hidden behind what is 'right' and 'correct' and supports the myth of what a nice guy I am.
    tgirl likes this.
  6. Skylyon

    Skylyon New Member

    Do you (or anyone else) recommend psychoanalysis? I did that for 5 years and It really helped me get through some horrible times in my life.
  7. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    GREAT idea , if you can afford it and you have the right Person.

    I found the right guy. It was actually right AFTER my symptoms left. They were gone all right, BUT I was on the verge of fighting again, like I did every day of my youth...except now I was 'an adult' and someone's dad and a husband . No longer having the pain to distract me from my RAGE, I was very on edge. . a few weeks back at work I had to be restrained by my bro's after some guy lipped me.

    "and I used to be such a nice guy" -Jack from fight club

    I got right to the point. I told the SHRINK about Sarno theory which fascinated him. I told him if I didn't get a handle on this stuff I was gonna be in Jail, or unemployed or both. He later said I was the most motivated patient he had had to that point in his career.
    We dug backwards and rooted out stuff. I also discovered that earlier in my life I had OCD which Sarno said is a TMS equivalent. And going back to your original point, it was much more effective now that I was looking for a specific thing and not just what I 'thought' the problem was.

    Funny. My bitchin' motion picture insurance covered every penny of thousands and thousands of dollars worth of surgeries and epidurals and canes and walkers, BUT only partially covered psychological treatment. I had to shell out cash, but it was totally worth it.
  8. Skylyon

    Skylyon New Member

    Wow, yea. I remember i had a mild form of OCD up until about 6 years ago that started when i was a teenager. I stopped doing it. But maybe that’s because it was buried in my subconscious. I used to think “if i don’t do X then the devil will take my soul” - screwed up right? I think i need to dig deeper.
    Baseball65 likes this.
  9. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is CLASSIC real OCD. Anybody can show OCD symtpoms under enough stress, but some of us were 'born that way'.... the GOd/satan/sinning/going to hell version is the 'born that way' version. I used to have elaborate hand washing, sock pulling, germ obsessed rituals...because GOD was angry at me , I was dirty and everything that happened in my field of perception that had a negative connotation was MY fault (including my Father's death) for being so dirty.

    The rituals of hand washing, and step counting are called 'Binding the anxiety' and are done to 'appease' the intrusive thoughts... but of course they don't and it's an hellish circular downward spiral.

    Sarno's comments on OCD in Healing Back Pain were one of my biggest 'aha' moments. You might be able to use this strategy as well. Remember how very real the OCD thoughts were? THAT is what is happening with TMS and our symptoms. It is essentially OCD of the Body..... we check and recheck and obsess on our symptoms, catastrophising while MEANWHILE, the original stressors that caused our need for the distraction are completely ignored...like family problems, social anxiety, death in the family, financial problems,etc. Rage, shame, loneliness...alienation

    So...when my back hurt, knee felt weak, shoulder ached and felt like it was going to fall of on the next throw I would consciously and forcefully shift my attention to any of those real problems. That 'blows the cover on the covert operation' rendering it useless, and the symptoms go away. I would have thought that INSANITY when I had MRI's and doctors telling me how very crippled I was.... and then I had finally had enough. I tried it. It worked so fast and well, I was a bit embarrassed.

    I am certain that my conscious awareness of how very real the OCD seemed and how crazy it actually was, gave me a head start in recovering from TMS
    tgirl and Drew like this.
  10. rose9

    rose9 Newcomer

    This is an awful situation. I hope you're now okay. My friend who had a disorder of the blood vessels in the brain had surgical treatment and now she feels great.
  11. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Baseball65, I’ve been reading some of your responses lately and they are really insightful; I’m happy to have found them.

    When my protracted, bizarre symptoms flare up (been checked out by the medical establishment) I try to figure out what I’m actually afraid of because I seem to have a fearful feeling inside me much of the time. My problem is when I think about what I fear, for the most part, what I come up with is that I am afraid of the symptoms and worry they will get worse. I know this thought process has to be curtailed, but I honestly can’t at this point think of other issues that could be causing these sensations. I’ve had lots of counselling and feel I know what my issues are. I’m not sure what I want you to say about this, but I thought I’d put it out there anyway.
  12. jimmylaw9

    jimmylaw9 Peer Supporter

    Skylyon it’s tension nothing else. You gotta accept the pain n work through it. You don’t need to find the cause of the repression to heal just know that the pain is a distraction. You might never know what you repressed.

    Piles of stories here about the pain then the work ups showing nothing then a myriad of different strategies that work for various people.

    Ultimately tho everyone fears the fear of the pain and the majority get better when they lose that fear. Not by uncovering their demons. Just knowing those exist can be enough. But losing the fear of pain is the hardest part.

    so push through it and if it’s TMS you won’t get any worse and it may even get better but don’t stop doing!
  13. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Those two sentences basically sum up TMS when it is perfected. I am not being a smart ass. TMS starts as a distraction moves into beginning to occupy more and more of our thought time, and eventually in it's final stages leaves a person who has no idea what might be wrong in their life other than their fear of pain and more symptoms. The good news is, it can't get any worse...that is TMS in it's purest form. It has drawn your attention away from real stressors and turned itself into your prima facia thought pattern.

    Sarno's books are littered with stories like that. People told him 'My only problem is the pain', but with fortitude and determination eventually cracked through and began to get a glimmer of what might be going on inside that they either neglected or minimized that led them to where they are at.

    Believe it or not, other people close to us actually sometimes know what it is we are missing.... A good indicator would be the thing we are most sensitive about when brought up in discussion. I thought I had a great Job. I thought I had a great marriage. I thought I had made DECISIONS to be in the situations I was in... but on careful inspection, each and every one was always built around my fear of being abandoned, shamed, ridiculed....and I pasted it over with 'Good Guy' intentions. Boy did my fucking back/hip/knee hurt...and if only that pain would go away, I would be fine.

    The pain is always telling me something. Not about 'what I did in the physical world' but how very far my current reality is from the truth. If you really, really get quiet and listen to what the world is telling you and can stand just a modicum of inconvenient truth, it's like pulling out the keystone of an arch and the whole monstrous lie might come crashing down... you might have new concerns, but the pain will be gone.

    The sufi's say "If you take two steps towards God, He runs to you". It's very much like that with TMS and the unfolding of the Lie....get out a hammer and start chipping at a little bit of it, but stand clear. A bunch of shit is gonna fall....and when the Gods fall, they don't fall a little.
    Sita and tgirl like this.
  14. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Wow Baseball65, what a inspiring reply, and I don’t think for a minute you are being a smart ass. After all my bloody counselling you’d think I’d have gotten to the bottom of all of this. Either I’m a hard head or really haven’t faced some things.
    Thank you!
    Baseball65 likes this.
  15. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Hey Skylyon,

    The problem I see with most therapies is the focus on the past and the trauma, instead of a pain-free future.

    I was in my thirties with a severe case of TMS and completely disabled. So I know what you are going through,

    As far as what else you can try, take a look this interview I did with Omar Pinto host of the popular Sharing Helps Addicts In Recovery (SHAIR) podcast, He invited me to offer drug-free option for pain relief. Hope it helps.


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