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Day 8 Another Leg in my TMS Journey

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by PonyGirl, May 13, 2017.

  1. PonyGirl

    PonyGirl New Member

    I don't know whether I can write a brief summary of my TMS journey, so I apologize in advance ...

    I first discovered Sarno when my husband, who had read the book and seemed to have been greatly helped in his back pain, started to read me excerpts, saying, "This sounds like you." I was not particularly pleased by this insight and wanted to dismiss it. After all, I didn't suffer from back pain, but ... I suffered from a lot of other less debilitating ailments. I didn't have childhood anger issues, but ... my current life seemed really stressful. I could acknowledge the perfectionism and people pleasing that always seemed to be pushing, pushing, pushing me to be better, do better.

    My physical symptoms up to that point had varied. Since childhood, I had suffered tension headaches. They had grown in frequency and severity as an adult until I was having some form of headache 28/30 days a month and taking OTC medications daily. A thunderclap headache (sudden, severe onset, like a bomb going off in my head) sent me to the hospital for brain scans (stroke/aneurysm evaluation). There was nothing on the scans, and I was prescribed migraine medication for a year until the headaches slowly disappeared. (I still get them now, but on a much more infrequent and milder basis.)

    In addition to the headaches, pre-Sarno I had also suffered knee pain, eye twitches, a couple of panic attacks in my 20s, constipation, shoulder "injuries" that switched shoulders, hip pain, knee instability, joint pain in my hands, chest pains, foot pain, and plantar fasciitis. I had had three surgeries on my feet for bunions and a bone spur. After a stress ECG, I was told my heart was okay, and my symptoms were most likely due to stress.

    So, when my husband kept helpfully suggesting I read Sarno's stuff, I acknowledged that I had some "stress-related" physical issues, but I wasn't making the connection yet to deeper subconscious factors. I kept thinking it was about managing the stress in my day-to-day life. When I finally read Sarno's books (Healing Back Pain, The Mindbody Prescription, and The Divided Mind), I remember feeling as though something clicked inside. It all seemed to make so much sense. I fit the typical personality; I knew I stuffed my feelings ... but the real eye opener was when I sat down to make my list of childhood stressors.

    I'd always said I had a great childhood overall, but as I began listing all the stresses from my childhood ... I was shocked as the list got longer and longer. And so the real work began.

    I'm now several years into my TMS journey. I have complete belief in my TMS and have watched various symptoms come and go, but they still come and go and migrate around my body. I journal. I make inventory lists at the end of every day to see where I've been triggered emotionally and how I've handled it. I try to use the pain as a barometer of something bothering me on an emotional level and to try to identify and examine that. But still my TMS persists ...

    Every time I think I have said goodbye to one symptom, my subconscious tries another one. I've had back spasms, a return of foot pain, always a headache or two, but the reason I found this forum and have started the SEP is the ongoing muscle pain/tension throughout my body, especially in my neck and shoulders. It's been several years. The amount of tension can vary from an ongoing discomfort to a spasm that radiates up my neck and down my back. I wake up every morning in pain. My body feels so tight and contracted that some mornings it's painful to even move. The pain dissipates as I continue into my day, but it's always there. I've gone for various types of massages, acupuncture, and chiropractic treatments ... a brief improvement, but then the pain and tension return.

    So, I was (am) stuck, and I'm thankful that I found this TMS site after all these years because I see that part of my problem is I've become fixated on measuring the pain each day, obsessing over whether it's better or worse. The article on outcome independence really helped me and the new insights in the TMS Recovery Program are also helping. I've realized that I haven't been practicing much self compassion. I had come to view TMS almost as an enemy, and my body as a traitor. I know it's TMS; I'm acknowledging my emotions, but I feel held hostage by my brain and body. I'm hearing my inner child, but I'm not treating her with compassion.

    I also found that the journaling exercises this last week let out some more emotions ... I had visited these events in my previous Sarno work, but there was still more emotion that needed to be felt ... I did see a reduction in my tension and pain levels this week, but I'm trying not to pay attention to that. There was also a big increase on one of the days, too, and I had to remind myself that it's to be expected.

    So that's where I am at Day 8. Hopeful, but trying not to get fixated on results. Just taking this next leg of the journey wherever it goes. Thanks for letting me share this longwinded post.
    Ellen likes this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, PonyGirl. You have definitely come to the right place to start on your journey to get well. The TMS forum community and the SEProgram will help you get there. You are very fortunate in that your husband encourages you to believe your symptoms are caused by your emotions. And your doctors tell you there is nothing structurally wrong with you, and that your pain comes from emotional stress. Your post indicates that you do believe in TMS. Now you have to increase that to total, 100 percent belief. You can only get totally well with total belief. You have spent a lot of your life in trying to please people and to push yourself to be perfect.
    Goodism and perfectionism are two of the most common causes of TMS pain, as you probably have learned.

    You are doing a good job of journaling and have discovered more about yourself. I think you will get better each step of the way in the SEprogram. I think it would help you if you could stop monitoring you health so much and spend more time finding ways to enjoy each day. Hobbies or a pet could be excellent distractions from pain. Keep positive, believe you are going to feel well, and live in the present moment.

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