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An imperfect recovery...and that is fine

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by Calum, May 11, 2014.

  1. Calum

    Calum Peer Supporter

    Hi all, I've been an on off member of this forum for a while now and I'd like to start by thanking all of you for your support and the structured program. I may not be here without that.

    I'm finally at the state where I think I can write a success story. Before I was going to wait until I'd achieved a perfect state with no symptoms and an almost zen level of calm with no stress in my life, however I realise now that this is ridiculous and I was being way to perfectionistic, again. Anyway preamble over this is my story:

    I first developed TMS symptoms in my inner wrists during the summer of 2011, I was writing my MSc thesis at the time whilst doing an internship in a large international company based in Copenhagen. Needless to say I was under a lot of pressure to perform, pressure mostly educed by myself. I wanted to show that I should be hired after the internship and it was very important to me that I gained a distinction in my thesis. I was/am a perfectionist (more so less than now) anything less than the top grade would not have been good enough in my mind. Add to this that I was doing all this in a foreign country and was in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend it is hardly surprising that I got tms symptoms. My inner child must have been raging. I thought it was down to too much typing as I was writing up my thesis. And once I finished the symptoms went away further validating my theory, although now I know they left as my stress levels were way down post MSc.

    A few months later in October 2011 I started my first job. This job didn't stress me, but it did not satisfy me either it was too easy, not challenging enough and I could not see myself being in it for long. Add to this dissatisfaction the stress caused by my Dad having a tumor scare and again my mind felt like it had to distract me from what was going on inside. Que RSI type symptoms, much stronger than before in my outer wrists.

    Nothing I tried helped with these symptoms they continued to get worse at an alarming rate by the end of the first week of having them at work I couldn't use a computer without sharp pain that would fade afterwards into a dull ache that never truly went away. Work gave me an ergonomic mouse, which did nothing. In January 2012 I left work. Not due to tms, but because the company I did the internship with in the summer of 2011 wanted me back and I accepted. I also negotiated 6 months off between changing between companies. I did this for a chance to travel and also because a 2 doctors I had been too had both prescribed rest away from computers.

    So I went travelling for 4 months having very little interaction with computers and gradually my symptoms faded. However when I started my new job in August 2012 they came back within less than a week just as badly as before. Again I told my manager and was given ergonomic mice and a keyboard, I also installed voice recognition software o my laptop at home. From this point on I would not use my home computer with my hands, but the voice software and my feet, operating the mouse with my toes. None of the above helped. As the months rolled on the symptoms got worse and I began having pins and needle like sensations. I got desperate. I paid a fortune for physiotherapy, chiropractors, accupuncture I bathed my forearms in ice every night, I went to sleep with wrist braces on I bought a forearm massager to try and massage "trigger points". I read help books in particular "It's not Carpel Tunnel Syndrome" by Suparna Damany and Jack Bellis. This was literally the worst thing I could have done every time I read how Suprana thought a symptom worked I developed that symptom! Something that makes sense to me now, but confused the hell out of me then. I went to bed every night thinking about RSI and when I woke up every morning my first thought was to monitor my pain levels to see if any of the plethora of "cures" I was trying was working at all. I even changed my diet and started to take all sorts of supplements for "stronger tendons".

    It was in this desperate state in December 2012 that I first stumbled across Sarno. I read the Divided mind, dismissed it and carried on in my downward spiral of worsening symptoms and increasing stress and paranoia. I began to think my career would be over before it has properly begun. However in February 2013 due to desperation more than anything else I decided to give Sarno a second try. I read the Divided mind and Mindbody Prescription and began to do some of thew work Sarno suggested particularly journalling. I also gradually stopped doing all the physiotherapy to see what would happen. I figured I could just start again if I got worse. I didn't get better, but I didn't get worse either.

    I continued like this until April 2014 before deciding to take the leap. I contacted Georgie Oldfield a former physiotherapist and TMS specialist here in the UK to get checked over and she told me I did not have RSI I had TMS. Shortly afterwards I found this forum with its structured program which I began to work through. I began to realise I was harbouring a lot of rage from my childhood against my father and against people who had bullied me growing up. I worked through this and I can say now I have more or less forgiven them. I have also forgiven myself for some past stuff that I used to feel very guilty about, although that guilt still rears its head every now and again if I am being honest, but I am working on it.

    My current situation is I have worked through the structural program and I am around 95% pain free. Now they symptoms jump around between my ankles, knees, wrists, arms, back and neck etc. but I know them for what they are and they do not stop me doing the things I want to do. I still have a stressful job and try to cram too much into my day, but again this is something I am working on trying to live in the moment and realise that it won't be the end of the world if I don't get all my tasks done for the day. Sometimes I catch myself thinking "you haven't journalled for weeks no wonder you are feeling pain", bu I know this isn't helpful and that I will journal and work through my current and past issues in my own good time, because at the end of the day there is not rush. TMS cannot harm me, or anyone else, not permanently so why stress over it.

    I'm in the situation where I can type and use a mouse all day long then go to the climbing wall and climb for hours on end. Then at the weekend put on a huge rucksack and go mountaineering all (most of the time) without pain. To be where I am now compared to where I used to be is a success for me. There is no need for a "perfect" recovery.
    SSG, Birdie, North Star and 6 others like this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Calum, thanks for sharing your success story on the wiki. As far as I can see, your recovery is as perfect
    as it need to be. But keep journaling and it will be even more perfect.

    You discovered that your TMS pain was from several things related to study and work and your girlfriend
    relationship. Now you're climbing and mountaineering and can work at the computer without pain,
    "most of the time." Soon it will be "all of the time!"

    Glory Be!

    You're right... "TMS cannot harm me, or anyone else, not permanently, so why stress over it!"

    Think happy. Be happy. Do things that make you happy.

    It's sure a good thing that you gave Dr. Sarno's books a "second chance" and that re-reading and
    re-thinking them about TMS and repressed emotions, you found your way to becoming healed of pain.
    North Star, Calum and Msunn like this.
  3. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Calum love your story, you know what needs to be done now and it's not confusing anymore -- Awesome. I remember when you started, this is so great to hear of your success. Keep on, keepin on. Oh and one more thing, I don't think you have an imperfect recovery at all. You are recovering just fine and the way we all recover -- slowly but surly.
    Bless You
    North Star, Calum and Msunn like this.
  4. Solange

    Solange Well known member

    Calum, your story is helpful: thanks for taking the time to post. Every story helps us all move that bit more towards our own ultimate success because it gives us confidence that TMS can be overcome however strong it may be and encourages us to keep believing. It is not just a book saying TMS can be defeated (no offence intended here to Dr Sarno and all other excellent authors of TMS literature including Eric above!) it is people in real time, right here and now and those personal experiences and replies to queries help us keep the faith in difficult moments.
    I am on my own rather slower journey but I have improved so much since I started out that I am quite happy to be where I am. I now have so much of my life back that I am relaxed about the when and where of further progress and just accept that it will happen gradually.
    I hope to write my own story soon just as you have done. Hope you're enjoying life to the full.
  5. Calum

    Calum Peer Supporter

    Solange you are very welcome, I'm glad I could help you in some way. I 100% think that one day you will be writing your success story, don't worry you will get there in your own time an pace and remember a recovery does not have to be perfect.
    North Star likes this.
  6. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Calum, your story was very helpful to me..thank you! We've been in the midst of wedding preparations and my TMS is really tossing out some severe symptoms. This morning I woke up with leg pain, a favorite TMS symptom. I know it is just TMS though and have been reassuring myself all is well. And thankfully, the wedding is just two days away. (It is at our home so I have the added fun of readying the house. ;) )

    All that to say; thank you for sharing your story. I've had ups and downs as to the severity so when I do get hit with sharp pain, it's easy to get overwhelmed if you're not mindful that TMS pain can be quit strong, like your story tells.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Aren't you glad the wedding is over and your house and life are back to normal?

    I hope you just take some days off from even thinking about anything including anxiety or pain
    and enjoy the many moments in each day. Imagine yourself on vacation in somewhere sunny and warm
    and peaceful. Feel the gentle breezes, smell the aromas of trees and flowers. Listen to the birds singing and telling you,
    "I love you."
    North Star likes this.
  8. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt, what lovely, lovely thoughts. Yes, I am SO glad the wedding is behind us. Hubby and I are going to do a quick trip to the coast in the next week or so. I think it will be very restorative.
    BTW- I may be passing through YOUR neighborhood come middle of July. It looks like our route to see Dr. Schubiner goes through Chicago. Wanna have come coffee if we do?

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