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Day 12 Angry and disillusioned

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by If 6 was 9, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. If 6 was 9

    If 6 was 9 Peer Supporter

    I didn't want to have to post this, but....

    I'm starting to get really pissed off about all the work I've done and my pain has only got worse and my movement has become more restricted than ever.

    Anyone who's read my posts up until now will see that I've readily been drinking from the SEP coolaid and have been trying hard to break the psychological link between my back pain and it's presumed physical causes, not to mention analyzing out loud the associations I have between my pain and my neuroses...

    But in return my pain has not only got worse, it's spread and now as I said above it's even more restrictive - I've given up typing this at my desk - I'm doing this while lying on a bed with my phone.

    I can feel that my back muscles are in spasms. They've been getting worse since I've stopped doing the squats I used to do after a day's work, which although it never healed my back completely, it at least kept the muscles strong so I could keep myself upright. I've also not bothered to sit up straight while I'm sitting at a desk, thus further exacerbating it. And doing all the self-talk saying it's not the sitting that's causing it etc etc.

    And on top of that, I've been seeing a therapist who is fairly receptive to the idea that the back pain is related to the subconscious.

    The only proof that TMS holds true so far is that it has gotten worse and it has gone to new parts of the body (the front of my thighs) which experts in these pages have predicted.

    But actually being physically impaired by my muscles going into spasms doesn't seem like progress to me. I could handle it if it was only the intensity of the pain getting worse, but not being able to stand up straight and not being able to bend and pick something up without taking forever just reinforces the notion that there is something physical going on. Before starting this course I had much freer movement.

    Last night at work it got so bad I had to take pain killers for the first time this week and it made a huge difference - I could barely concentrate before.

    And this notion that you have to just ignore the pain....how does that work when the pain gets worse and these strategies we are tryinf to implement have as their goal to eliminate pain?

    Sometimes I think the TMS mantra that there are no physical causes of the pain and that inflammation doesn't exist is as arrogant as the physios and doctors who tell you that the bulging disc is the cause. What if muscle pain isn't something that can be seen in an MRI?

    The other thing that's been nagging me is if the subconscious is unknowable, how can you feel the pain that it's experienced? You can only ever guess or assume, right? What if the guess is wrong or way off the mark?

    Sorry to vent like this, I know I'm going on like a spoiled brat, but is it not better to express it than to begrudgingly keep it in?

    And sorry to anyone who's just starting out or who has made a lot of progress - I dont want to take the wind out of your sails.

    Please someone prove me wrong or set me straight. I'm still a believer, I just want more evidence that I'm on the right track.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Two things.

    1. It is still very early days in terms of healing. There is nothing magic bullet about TMS. We may like there to be but there ain't.

    2. There is a world beyond the TMS orthodoxy you find so frustrating. It did Buckley's for me (read My Story) but I am going great guns now.

    There are many discussions on the forum regarding this. Here is a recent one:

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/do-some-never-heal.14869/ (Do some never heal) (Do some never heal)
    If 6 was 9 likes this.
  3. Watermelon

    Watermelon New Member

    Maybe you are trying too hard...? Listen to Forrest's video on day 34 of the SEP. Sometimes pain increases before it gets better. It is hanging on and trying to keep you focused on it. Sometimes you need to just accept that you are in pain right now. I am reading Hope and help for your nerves by Claire Weeks, and while it is not directly about pain, the steps that she outlines to deal with anxiety are helping me deal with pain. I have found that the bigger issue for me is not pain but anxiety and an activated sympathetic nervous system.

    Don't give up!
    If 6 was 9 likes this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    As @plum has stated above, you are in the early stages of treating your pain as TMS. It is quite possible that you are experiencing an extinction burst, as Alan Gordon describes in his Recovery Program. It is not unusual for the pain to get worse before it gets better. But even with that knowledge, recovery is seldom a linear process. Mine was often up and down and took about a year.

    Many of us have found that taking pain medication during the recovery process is fine and doesn't impede progress. I did it, as it was the only way I could function while I continued to work on TMS healing strategies.

  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sorry, I messed up the formatting above, and can't figure out how to fix it. Hope it is still understandable, which are quotes and which are my responses. :(
  6. If 6 was 9

    If 6 was 9 Peer Supporter

    That's ok Ellen, I could work it out. I haven't got the hang of the quote code either.
  7. If 6 was 9

    If 6 was 9 Peer Supporter

    Thank you Plum, Watermelon and Ellen for your encouragement. I felt a bit bad for posting something so negative.

    I think I was assuming that since there's 42 days of the program that you could expect to be better by the end of it.

    Ellen you said it took about a year. Was the thing that kept you going simply blind faith or because you got glimpses of the theory being proven (e.g. Pain free times despite doing things that usually exacerbated it).

    Watermelon, yes I think you're right, I think I am trying a bit hard - it's how I do things. I probably need to be less rigid about whether or not to take pain medication.

    So should I still stay away from the squats - I don't want to reinforce to my brain that without them my back can't cope. But they're probably good exercises to do regardless of having a weak back....

    Thanks again, and I really don't want to give up! I have been surprised by the resisitance from other people when I tell them about the TMS theory. I think that's been bugging me as well.
  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Must be something in the stars because I messed up my first reply and had to nix it.

    @If 6 was 9, hope my reply wasn't too brusque but I am spring-cleaning (the joys of cleaning the oven :arghh:) and between waiting for grot to dissolve and being a forum-post-bonehead I think my response lost something in the delivery.

    Anyways, take heart. Some of us may go round the houses to get there but we do eventually find our way back to wellness and well-being.

  9. If 6 was 9

    If 6 was 9 Peer Supporter

    Not at all Plum, any response is helpful. I'm very grateful for this course and that it's free and that people like you take time out to advise out of sheer good will and generosity.

    I haven't looked at your links yet - might do it in the morning. (I'm lying in bed at 3am struggling with the sweltering Sydney humidity and of course the pain in my back)

    So you're spring cleaning? That's a bit keen isn't it, winter for you still isn't over ;-)
  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bless you, rough nights are no fun but I envy the warmth. Read the links in the morning, try to rest and day-dream about happier times.

    (My fridge committed hari kari and the arrival of a new one next week has forced my hand. Never mind the 'new continent' in your neck of the woods, I suspect there is alien life behind my old fridge.)
    If 6 was 9 likes this.
  11. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had improvement over the course of the year and that kept me going. It took a year to be 100% free of the pain. As I stated above, it wasn't a linear progression. And I still, after 3 years, have relapses now and then, though they usually go away in a few days.

    It's important not to calendar watch. Outcome independence is a very important part of recovery, which involves not focusing on the body and your pain levels. Focus on living. You'll get there.
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  12. Cara

    Cara Peer Supporter

    I did the 40 day program. I was worse at the end. (Not the fault of the program, I don't think. I think some people just walk through the fire longer than others.) Then I did an eight-week reading of Mindfulness by Mark Williams and did all of that "homework." I read The Meaning of Truth and journaled again. I read and practiced a meditation book by Jack Kornfield. It's been seven months for me. I can say with certainty that the back spasms are getting better. They rarely happen while I'm teaching now. On nights when they start up again, I know they will be gone in the morning. And today I ran for almost an hour. On Monday night, though, I had to just lie down through my yoga class because of back pain spasms. (I signed up for yoga because of the back pain spasms.... Gah!)

    About ignoring the pain...I often can't. Ignoring is an exaggeration. It absolutely sucks and you can't pretend it isn't happening. It physically knocks me to the ground sometimes. Sarno says TMS pain is some of the worst pain he knows. Maybe think of it this way: acknowledge it but don't panic about it. Don't be afraid of it. I still resent the hell out of it. I still cry in fury, but not being afraid that I'm going to be crippled for the rest of my life has changed everything for me. I say to myself, "I have TMS. This is going to happen sometimes." If possible, I go to bed early.

    Here's another weird thing about my journey-in-progress that might interest you. I was devoted runner before TMS. I stopped running because I was told by numerous professionals that running was hurting my back. As I started to get just a bit better, I tried running for a few minutes on my walks. Then I did that a few more times. I found, oddly enough, that I feel BETTER on days when I run than on days when I don't. (Maybe because running is good for my soul. It's home for me. Also, NOT running made me feel damaged.) Some days the pain is too much and I can't run at all. But most days, even days with a little pain, the pain is better after I do a few run intervals. Truth. And getting truer as time passes. So in regards to your squats, here's a thought (non-professional): what if on days when you feel you can, you do a very small number of squats with very little weight and see if maybe that doesn't make anything worse. (If you have TMS, your pain is probably not about the squats, right?) If you're approximately the same most days after doing squats, you know know you aren't hurting yourself with them. After a couple of weeks, maybe increase your frequency or your number just a little. Stay with it for a while. It's taking me a long time. For me, three minutes of running was better than none. Would three squats be better than none for you? Try it on a good(ish) day.

    And one more thing. I do journal some. I've learned some things about my thought patterns. I never found any weird repressed childhood trauma. I had a very normal, safe childhood. I am a stress-ball anyway. And so I'm trying to address those stress-ball habits more than my repressed past. It just didn't seem like it was going anywhere. Deal with your own brand of weird for sake of getting that weird dealt with. You might turn out as lovely as some of the people here. :)
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  13. If 6 was 9

    If 6 was 9 Peer Supporter

    Thanks Cara, that puts it in perspective. Sounds like you've had plenty of resolve.

    The thing about the squats - it's not that I can't do them because of the pain, it's that I used to do them to improve my back but stopped doing them when I started the SEP. The reason I stopped was to try and break the psychological link between my back pain and the physical structure of my back. Satno's theory says there's nothing structurally wrong with my back (the MRI I had proved it) so there's no need to do the preventative exercises, in fact, they reinforce the idea to your brain that back pain is related to a structural problem in your back. So perhaps being a bit too keen to be the best student, I dropped the exercises.

    I'm still not sure whether I should start them again. If my back doesn't get better - I'm probably going to spend today in bed - I might just start them up again.

    All the best on your recovery - one thing I've barely done is the meditation. Maybe I'll search for those books you mention.
  14. Watermelon

    Watermelon New Member

    I have had similar experiences to Cara. I have one more week of the SEP and I still have pain. Usually it is just low level something that I can forget about. Other times I have a flare up that is related to lack of sleep or stress. But last summer I went on two separate vacations and had no pain. That is when I began to realize that there was a psychological component to the pain. When I finish the SEP I plan to do Howard Schubiner's 28 day program "Unlearn Your Pain". I am also reading alot of different books from the suggested reading list and also doing some meditation.

    Even though I still have pain which can frustrate me to no end, when I compare myself to 1 year ago, when I was coming out of an immobilizer boot, using the elevator, and limping (I had tarsal tunnel syndrome-nerve pain in my foot like carpal tunnel syndrome), I am so much better. I am now hiking and cross country skiing, swimming and lifting weights. If I have a bad pain day I take it easy and don't push myself. If the pain is bad at night I take something for pain so that I can sleep. I notice that the flare-ups don't last so long and if I just relax and don't stress when I have pain, it goes away. It is a very slow recovery process, and I have developed some patience over the past 2 years which is key to not stressing over the slow nature of the healing process.

    Finding this program and reading other people's success stories (and struggles) has given me so much hope. I know that I will recover eventually and so will you. Try to relax and let the process unfold and embrace the healing process. Try to get back to doing the things that you love to do, that you stopped doing because you were in pain. I agree with Cara, when I started cross country skiing, for example, my pain was less than when I did nothing. The first time that I went for a hike (after 1 year of not hiking) I was pain free for 5 days!

    Good luck on your journey!
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  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, if 6 was 9. Being angry and feeling disillusioned about your condition is understandable. I agree with the others that recovery from TMS pain sometimes can take a while. Dr. Sarno says it's okay to take some pain killer medication if the pain is really bad. Just try to keep going in the SEProgram and your belief in it.
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