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Back Pain - this time...

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Sarah79, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    Hello (again!),

    So, I joined this forum originally back in March, when I first wrote about having foot problems -

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/chronic-foot-pain-9-issues-diagnosed.15275/ (Chronic Foot Pain - 9 Issues Diagnosed)

    Latterly, I had an MRI on the foot which showed there was absolutely sod all wrong with it, but a few months later, just after I'd started rowing, and was loving it, I have developed back pain. The pain itself started in the mid-back and then moved to settle in the low back, with the chiropractor saying it's SI joint related. It's come and gone a little bit, the chiropracting doesn't seem to be doing much, though he's making satisfied grunts and probably enjoys billing me, while over in the TMS corner, SI joint stuff doesn't really seem to feature in the literature that I've read. But that's not to say that it couldn't be TMS, of course; in fact, I really think it is. The timing is quite a coincidence, bearing in mind that my mind knows I won't take foot pain any more. And the issues with the back started after I'd rowed in a 5k time trial, so it would 'make sense,' for my back to have suffered an injury during such an exertion.

    The status of my life is as follows -

    Person 1 (mother) - I have had some really huge arguments this year, due to her new relationship, and have had to swallow a lot of my anger and resentment towards her, as she simply won't accept anything I say
    Person 2 (friend) - controlling, tells me he loves me, lives with me, is very abusive about Person 3 (potential love rival). I feel pressure from him and much prefer my space (my home) when he's not there. He has a girlfriend but often comes back and says that he'll leave her if I just 'say the word.' He makes me feel guilty for not being in love with him
    Person 3 (friend) - controlling, with someone else, tells me he loves me, tells me how much he hates Person 2, tells me that if I meet someone else he will stop all contact with me. I am sort of in love with him, despite it being desperately unhealthy. His partner is ill and I sometimes wonder how much guilt I have towards her for knowing what I do about her partner, and what I feel about him, as well as occasional resentment when I think that if she wasn't here, maybe I could have the relationship I wanted; even writing that makes me feel quite horrid, though I try to rationalise that we all are human and all have dark sides, needs and thoughts

    Work-wise - I work for myself and need to meet several commitments every day. If I can't do these properly, I fake it so it appears that I have done, and so people like what I have 'done,' (even if I haven't, not properly) and pay me accordingly. I've taken on some work tomorrow - December 27th - and when I did so, I immediately thought to myself, 'you shouldn't have done that; you should've kept your Christmas holiday for a bit longer.' So, I know I'm a bit of a people-pleaser. I also suspect that I have lots of guilt (though I really don't feel it), I don't have great boundaries, I'm not an absolute perfectionist but I certainly want to look as though I've done everything I've said I should, as opposed to being honest about my workload and saying no when I need to , and I also have a hair-trigger temper that thoroughly enjoys being let out of its cage if someone cuts me up / overtakes me. My rage has become a bit disturbing of late; I was looking after a friend's dog recently and it got up onto a counter and I came home to find it had chewed some things. And I absolutely lost it to a point of virtual sadism. I did think afterwards, after I'd returned him to her, all smiles and 'lovely boy, had a great day,' complete mask, 'you've got a bit of an anger problem there, poppet.'

    Life history - absent, depressive and violent father, mother who was obsessed about telling us all how 'normal' our family was and how anger was a bad thing and how not to get cross. I stammer and was bullied at school. Sexually assaulted twice, bullied out of jobs, raped in a relationship. I pick unavailable men, keep people at a distance and have been in horrendous debt. I'm not great at self-care (eat crap, disorganised) and have been in therapy for most of my life, while enjoying running rings around the therapists and not really 'getting better.' Commitment phobe, dark sense of humour. To people on the outside, however, I'm generally well-liked and seen as a charming, funny individual. I don't recognise all of the TMS personality, and certainly when I've done 'are you a perfectionist?' quizzes, it's come back with quite inconsistent results, but I DO recognise resentment, anger, guilt, rage and the impression of never letting people down - even if I do, on the sly, on the quiet.

    Medical history - two shoulder arthroscopies (neither of which worked) to sort stuff which they couldn't actually find when they went in, hayfever, seasonal asthma, irritable bowel, TMJ, foot pain, back pain, depression, occasional dizziness. I also have the very tender areas which Dr Sarno specified. History of being very physically troubled by emotional things - ie, my dad died five years ago and my first response was to be sick. My emotions are very much felt as physical things; my appetite is affected by things, my sleep is affected by things.

    I was talking to one of the women I row with recently and she was like, 'oh, I had an awful injury once,' and she described an event > it was horrible > it got better. I was standing there thinking, 'when have you EVER had an injury that has healed like that? Never!' And that's because despite SI not being a 'typical' TMS thing, I believe that it's simply my mind shuffling its protective strategy from my foot to my back. Already, I can feel myself being drawn back into the lure of getting lost in the 'injury,' - the therapies, the supplements, the exercises, the SI belt which I've bought, the worries, the prognosis. With this 'injury,' it prefers ice to anything, but general things which would help anything, including four Co-Dydramol, don't touch the pain. Sometimes it moves, sometimes it comes back, sometimes it goes away altogether and then comes back, angrily, after I've done some TMS work. There is certainly nothing of the 'getting better,' sort about it, and as I read the books with which we are all so familiar, it surely would after a time. I'm about 90% convinced it is TMS, with occasional lapses back to stretches and exercises because, well, it wants my attention, doesn't it? It wants to know it's working and that I don't have to look at myself. I recognise myself from a description early in The Divided Mind - you baffle the experts, you're physically well otherwise - all of that. So much of this resonates. Aaargh!

    If you've managed to read this far - and if so, thank you! - then would you have any observations about what I've described?

    Thanks ever so

    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
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  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Whew - that's a lot to process, I have to say! First of all, welcome back, because I suspect this is where you need to be :)

    You've got a lot going on, but you've also got a ton of self-awareness, as well as inner strength. I think that perhaps the best thing I can do is to recommend another resource for you - the other book that blew my mind after The Divided Mind. It's When The Body Says No, by Dr. Gabor Mate. Dr. Mate goes WAY beyond Dr. Sarno's TMS theory. He scares some people, but I think you're more than ready for what he has to offer, and he might answer some of your questions.

    All the best,

  3. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello (again) Sarah,

    Love the brutal honesty with which you write, as it is incredibly refreshing and fully illustrative of how powerful our shadow can be. All the keys to all your locks are there. Question is will you use them?

    *The most powerful key is the first sentence of your life history.*

    We all play out these unconscious patterns until the day comes when the drama of it all is too much, even for our dark side, to indulge in any more. Facing them down is not easy but it is the very thing we need to do.

    Don't get lost in ideas about what TMS is or isn't, or whether you have the classic TMS personality or not. That stuff is nothing but the first layer of insight and understanding, and is why Dr.Gabor Mate scares people. That man peels back the bullshit like a Master.

    There is no typical TMS thing.

    There is the psyche, the soma, the soul...all in a crucible called life and death. We like our clean concepts because they feel safe and controllable. We can waste our entire lives game-playing in one way or another, you can run rings around therapists and even around yourself but to what end?

    As I read your post, the story of Bluebeard kept coming to mind. Maybe that is a key in itself.

    Your back is fine. It's all this other stuff that needs your attention.

    I wish you all the very best with that endeavour. I've been engaged in a similar venture myself so I have great empathy.

    Plum x
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  4. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    These words have such sharp self-clarity and a sense of wild courage. I am rather inspired by the unflinching acknowledgment and honesty of the dark-shadow-side.

    The story about the rage against the dog made me flinch badly, but it is also one of my greatest fears in myself ... that I might, in a moment of blinding flash-temper, do something hurtful to my beloved Lucy. My Mom regularly displays this trait to her own dog, and I agonize over it (and I've shed many tears). Seeing it in my Mom has made me hyper-vigilant in my own responses. But still, I know the potential is there, and it hurts me fiercely to even acknowledge it. Knowing this seed is in me has diminished me in my own eyes.

    I have never seen anyone admit to their own behavior in this way, and it has given me a new perspective to mull upon.

    Sarah ... I think you possess tremendous strength and you are, without a doubt, on the way towards deeper healing.

    .... always with Gratitude and Love <3
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  5. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    Thank you all for your generous, candid replies; you've given me many big things to think about, and I've bought 'When Your Body Says No,' which I'm due to devour after finishing Steve O's 'Great Pain Deception.'

    I've also been thinking. When I operate with people, it's largely in a gear I'd call 'benign neutral.' I also don't feel much at all - I'm largely very numb. Ironically, I consider myself to be a very emotional person, as when I am emotional, there's no escaping it. Occasionally, I will, felled by some huge pang of sadness that I don't really understand, slump to the kitchen floor and sit and cry for hours. Then, the next day, I'm back to benign, albeit a little drained. I have a horrible temper - far more so when I was younger (am now 38) - and what I notice about that is that when I know there are no, or few repercussions, to letting rip, then I do so. I have bad road-rage, I chase people who've cut me up. I've been known to get out of my car to yell at other drivers. The dog thing - I own my own, and I would never, ever lay a finger on him; he is my child, my boy, my love. But I don't have that connection to my friend's dog, so - and although I didn't lay a finger on him either - I yelled at him from a place that felt primal; I enjoyed screaming at him, and I registered his fear, disregarded it and kept on screaming at him. And when I'd finished, I went to my dog and gave him a huge cuddle and spoke to him like he was a baby, and put my face close to his and he licked my nose and nuzzled me. I can switch that rapidly when I know that I 'can.' I am a bit alarmed by that. My mind seems to rush through green lights when it's 'safe' to show my anger.

    My father - when I was about 13, he was in one of his foul, depressive moods and in front of me, my mum, my sister and our aunt and uncle, announced, 'I blame my prick for these two,' and pointed at my sister and me. Apparently - my aunt has told me this - I then threw a plate across the dining room, but I have absolutely no recollection of that. Doubtless, there is much more there and clear reason why my mind would like me not to know about it. That was one of many incidents - on holiday in France, he smashed a plate over her head in front of other diners. I can remember him doing similarly with one of her violins and can remember her slumped on the floor beneath it, crying. I'm feeling a bit of emotion now. My sister slashed her arms to pieces when she was 15 and was taken to a psychiatric unit. While outside, waiting in the car, my dad said, 'I don't feel I'm in a place to comment,' and I remember thinking, 'you're her bloody FATHER!' My sister also has weird 'injuries,' which don't heal, things which cause pain but don't show up on imaging studies. She had an ankle injury at school that 'still plagues her' years later. She had it MRI'd recently and the guy said it was the strongest, healthiest Achilles Tendon he'd ever seen.

    Last night, I had a dream in which I was semi-conscious, and I remember ordering my pain to move around my body, to my neck, which it duly did, and then back away, which it duly did. My pain has moved around a bit today - from the left to the right lower back, sometimes fading away entirely if I don't think about it. It is indeed inconsistent, as am I.
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  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    The most redemptive quality you have is self insight. There are lots of people who never see the light and subsequently get lost in self-pity and passivity. They really need the galvanising power of anger to kick themselves up a gear (the point of anger is action), but you have that and you can use it.

    If it helps I went through a very angry period during my recovery. I know others here have too. Mercifully it has settled down and established a healthy place in my emotional repertoire such that I have access to it when needed. In the past I never felt anger and if I'm honest, when it finally emerged in my life I relished it. The raw primal power was astonishing to me. It ran amok for a time and I'm not proud about that but I view it partly as a learning curve and partly as mis-firing due to decades of repression.

    I don't know if yours will follow a similar trajectory or whether you need to address it specifically. Given the horrific events you've endured I'm not surprised you're angry. Beneath that may be swathes of sorrow. That was certainly true for me and the profound sadness served to cool and soften the heat and spike of rage. Once the sorrow was truly felt, self-compassion followed and a new round of healing began.

    Maybe your dream is indicating that this too is a new healing phase. Dreams can be powerful healing tools.

    Sarah, you can recover from this. You are bright, fierce and loving, and you are in touch with your shadow. Remember there is gold in the shadow too. Numbness is nothing more than a shield and defense mechanism, protecting us not only from our darkest emotions but also our noblest. Embrace both and you will not only heal but flourish.
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  7. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much, Plum; your reply is ever so perceptive and generous, and I agree with you that self-insight is something that I do have in my armoury. I love the way you talk about numbness; it is a shield, and all these things do have a purposes and have served us. If survival, above all else, is the imperative, then biology and psychology are doing their job. But there is room for improvement - and as you say, there is 'gold in the shadow,' which I wholly believe. It feels like a process of evolution.

    It's odd to read that others' perceptions are that I've been through 'horrific events.' I suppose that shows how switched off I am to it all. Granted, I think that a degree of switching off is necessary to cope with life, even just to get through a day, but I give as much regard to what I've been through as I do to standing at a bus-stop and that, I think, is telling.

    So far - the pain has increased! Ha! And it's moved. It appeared in my neck this morning, an oh-so 'logical' appearance after a night's sleep. But, Dear Pain, I am reading The Great Pain Deception and am learning that you will move seemingly 'rationally,' to hide in places which would make sense. The back pain itself is a bit of a fucker, I shan't lie, and I am struggling to not medicate (so therefore have) nor to put a hot water bottle on it (so therefore I have, t00). I've also, just to be on the safe side, made an appointment with my GP to request imaging, because although I'm 90% convinced of it being TMS, I need to be definitively so just to be on the right side of safe. The problem is that the appointment isn't until the back end of January and I want to be able to embark fully on my journey to resolution before then. That's a practical dilemma. Sometimes it goes away, especially if I don't think about it. When it appears, I try to think of something else, but this is an awkward, new habit. I know that when my foot pain was up and running, I bought into everything I possibly could; I daren't tot up the literal bill. So, my mind knows I react 'well' to pain - I Google and spend and worry, so am trying hard not to do that with this. I've signed up to Curable. I'm writing out lists of everything that pisses me off. The pain itself is like a cross between white noise and a tickle at the base of my spine - sometimes it moves above the sacral line, sometimes it's in the buttock.

    Realisations - I'm angry at EVERYONE. Everyone with whom I have to communicate daily. I have a friend, a friendship which has been tainted by both sex and money, who emails me every day. I turn on my phone first thing, and he's there, with his script expecting me to play my script back - and I do but I want to scream. I'm angry with clients who think it's fine to text me at 11pm at night, or who cancel on the day, or who don't pay their invoices for six weeks. I know that practically, as a new year dawns, I will start treating these people more professionally insofar as no, I do not run a charity and yes, seven days means seven days. My boundaries are poor - doubtless this is part of this.

    Women - I have real antipathy towards. I do not let women off the hook, I do not celebrate women, I am detached from my own femininity. Now, that doesn't mean I don't use it - I love men, and sex, and the power of my gender - but I do, on the whole, feel, disconnected from my own body. I cannot think of anything more terrifying than letting a male equal, someone available who I love and respect, love me and begin a life with me, or to even want that. I hold my own power at arm's length, I think - I live away from the natural movement of life, on hold, in a place where 'it' can't 'get me.' There is part of me which is dead, or at least that's how it feels. I do not think of myself as controlling but I must exercise huge control to keep myself self-employed, (reasonably) successful, and in good enough social shape to do the things I do. That, like my temper, is a bit alarming. I saw my mother tonight, with her new partner. She has denied me all anger and expression over him; when he told me that he loved her more than I loved her, and I told her, she sided with him. We fought fiercely over it, eventually retreating, both wounded from it, for months this year. There is a surface quality to our relationship now. I've lost respect for her. And I looked at her tonight and thought, 'why can't I feel more compassion for you?' I really don't know. I draw a blank. But I'd be bawdy and friendly and open with men for forever a day. Ironically, I think men have done me far more damage - I've been sexually assaulted, I've been raped in relationships, I've been used for sex. But I somehow prefer the immediacy of men and am deeply suspicious of, and uncomfortable around, women. Maybe that's a reflection of how I see myself?

    I recognise huge struggles between the id and the super-ego; I wonder if my id can be oppressed by someone else's super-ego? I ask this because of the affair I'm (sort of) having. I know what I want, and this man does, too, but he must maintain his life and by doing so, represses my id - and his own, too. Can that give rise to the same conflict as your own super-ego doing the repressing? And of course, no-one knows about this affair but they do know about this man and my connection to him, so I occasionally have t0 make polite noises about his terribly sick partner and 'play a role.' I actively lie to people about this chap, who's rich and handsome, but suspect that they know anyway. I don't feel any guilt whatsoever, but suspect there's a lot stashed away, and I also actively avoid his partner who, by dint of that, probably knows anyway.

    I would love to show myself more compassion, but don't know how. I tend to spend money on myself, make investments in things which I then don't use, be they diaries or meal kits or skin-care products. It's a way of displacing the stuff I feel, I think; pretend I'm on a journey of self-improvement when really, it's just parcels being delivered to the house. I think there's a layer of space between myself and my inner self - something neutral and protective that keeps me away from myself. I don't know if that makes sense to read, but it makes sense to feel.

    My pain has gone away while writing this, by the way; more journalling, I think...
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
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  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    Are you familiar with the writings of Pete Walker? He's a psychotherapist whose brilliant and compassionate work evolved from the genesis of a painful childhood. He created a fresh spin on trauma which he called Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). Rather than a singular traumatic event it describes the impact of culminating curcumstance and experience.

    I recognise something of my past self in your writings and from this vantage point I offer some of his writings that were very helpful for me. Pete identified a 4th survival type in addition to the familiar three of Fight, Flight and Freeze. He added Fawn which explained so much for me (I was abused by a family acquaintance). Here is the link to those typologies:

    http://pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm (Pete Walker, M.A. Psychotherapy)

    This is another interesting article of his on recovering the full range of emotions:

    http://pete-walker.com/recoverEmotionalNature.htm (Pete Walker, M.A. Psychotherapy)

    Everything you write makes sense. I love your candour. Let us know how the imaging and all else goes.

    Plum x

    Edit: For those familiar with Dr. Schubiner, he calls this 4th type 'Submit'.
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  9. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    Hi Plum,

    No, I hadn't heard of Pete Walker, though his work reads as very pertinent and I recognise myself in some of what I've since read, so thank you. I think CPTSD fits more for me; I can't pinpoint one single event, barring the death of my father when I was 32, but having gone through Howard Schubiner's worksheets which preface his 28 day programme, the repeat things which come up for me are - rejection by peers leading to rejection of self by self, anger, being told that anger was wrong. Also, that I didn't matter and was at the bottom of all the heaps I was in, and finally, the sentence I kept on writing was -

    'I switched myself off.'

    And when I read back through everything, I still feel switched off BUT after a day of horrid pain yesterday, which I babied and pandered to and worried terribly about, I woke up and thought,

    'Fuck you,' and quoting from a line from Schubiner's book said - out loud - 'I have MindBody Syndrome and I can cure it.' I've repeated this, both inside my head and out loud, a few times today. I don't find that talking to my pain helps; giving it somewhat unambiguous instructions works best ; ) It's played around, and I've really noticed it - a tingle in my arm, which I promptly got rid of. Back it went to my back, as I've been to a chiropractor and had postural lessons and have Googled it to death. But even now, it's a lot more quiet than it was yesterday and every time it puts its head over the parapet, I'm there to tell it where to go. A few moments today when bending and stretching created no pain whatsoever so I had a feeling of, 'structural, schmuctural!' I doubt this is the battle won but am definitely making progress by simply doing the journalling last night; even if I didn't 'feel,' anything, I recognised patterns, plus telling my pain where to go today and not buying into it.
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  10. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    Just cancelled my next chiropractor's appointment, as proof to myself that I don't need it. I've also recommitted to rowing, albeit very lightly at first (just so I can build up increased faith). A few times today, it's flared up and I've been dismissive of it, which works.

    So, once again, it's TMS - a lifetime's work, perhaps, but we're not just curing the pain, are we? We're curing things at a far deeper level...
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  11. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    May I ask how severe your pain is or was ? Is it nerve type pain or muscle ?
  12. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    This may sound strange, but I don't want to talk too much about my actual pain, lest it sees it as an opportunity, but as a barometer - last week, I went to the pantomime and took a hot water bottle and a packet of Co-Dydramol (codeine based painkiller) 'just in case.' Regards what tissues, it seemed to involve everything, and it liked to dance around like a little gremlin.
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  13. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    Okay, so I had a good few days and thought, naively, that I'd cracked it. I then went away yesterday to a friend's birthday, which required three hours of driving and then four hours of dancing, and last night, today and probably tomorrow <I think glumly> it really hurts. So now I'm in the spot of thinking, 'have I done too much? Is this physical?' It certainly hurts in the same concentrated area as it did before I 'found my answer.' Am currently doing Schubiner's 28 day 'Unlearn Your Pain,' programme, sitting on a spindly stool in my kitchen, while thinking, 'you shall NOT get the drugs nor the ice pack out, no, no no.'

    In short - is pain that flares up after 'legitimate' provocation (probably) just TMS waving its warning finger in my face in yet another attempt to get me to surrender to it being physical?


    A Glum Sarah
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  14. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Kick it in the balls and groove on baby :cool:
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  15. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sarah, you have to get some perspective on this!

    Look, when I fractured my femur in a bicycle accident (not very seriously - it was non-displaced), I was absolutely prohibited from putting any weight on that leg for a number of weeks. No driving, and no dancing, for sure.

    But seriously, girl, under normal circumstances, you can't hurt yourself by driving and dancing, unless you've absolutely been warned off those activities by a doctor for some good reason. Like a broken hip. Am I right?

    It's much more likely that you experienced some sort of emotional trigger during the day/evening that caused your brain to turn on the repression mechanism yet again. It needn't be a big thing - but our stupid primitive brains can't distinguish between big things and little things, especially in those of us who are overly-sensitized by a lifetime of anxiety. I am speaking from experience.

    Go back to the writing exercises in the SEP, and do some honest free-journaling on everything that happened on the day of the party - start by making a quick list of every interaction - from getting up, to going to bed - no matter how small. Don't let your brain tell you it's okay to skip over anything.

    There are probably some little things that are at the edge of your thoughts, but your brain keeps repressing them. Bring them out in the open, acknowledge them, accept them, and let your brain know that you can handle whatever it is.
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  16. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Thanks for sharing your story. Much of it reminds me of my own, long ago, disconnection from myself with significant events lost to memory, frightening rage that could surface for seemingly no apparent reason, and phony relationships where I did not honor myself, or the other for that matter. I operated under the guise of what I would have named as an unconscious control of myself, with feigned interest in the other, in order to ultimately control the other. At the time I did not recognize this as such. In any event, I applaud you for your willingness to go to the source, you, and begin to decipher the myriad messages you have absorbed throughout your life and how these messages are screwing with your well being, both physical and emotional. It took me years to decipher all of this and to recognize the pain, both physical and emotional it was creating in me, not to mention the relationships that suffered because of my baggage.
    Your discourse here gives me hope that you too can uncover the Sarah you need and want to be.
    It can be done.
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  17. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    WOW, Lainey, thank you. Yes, that just about sums me up. The disconnection is what troubles me the most, and I can't seem to break it down. I read of an injury once called 'internal decapitation,' whereby the skull becomes disconnected from the spine, and I feel that on an emotional level. I actually feel quite emotional even writing that, which probably speaks to (or of) something. It's a little before 9am on Monday morning and I'm feeling horribly overwhelmed already by the demands of the day, and I think that how I live is a series of micro-traumas which make everything even worse. But the imperative is to survive, and no wonder perhaps that all my 'stuff' is squashed down inside.

    I'm doing Howard Schubiner's 28 Day 'Unlearn Your Pain,' and while I'm tempted to also start the SEP, and buy Georgie Oldfield's programme, and do something else, I know that that's my brain scattering my attention so I don't really have to commit to anything wholesale. So, I'm going to stick with Howard Schubiner's 28 Day 'Unlearn Your Pain,' and trust in the process of that. My one issue is that the pain, when it first became bedded in, was in the sacro-iliac joint, not normally a place associated with TMS, but I note that in my previous incarnation on this board, I came here with foot pain, again, not always a very typical place for TMS. I was even told I had arthritis in my toe at the time, which an MRI showed that I didn't, so I suspect that my body is being ever so sneaky in where it makes things hurt. That said, I'm going to request imaging from my doctor to be sure, as is advised by Sarno, Ozanich et al.

    Aaaaargh! <feeling very tearful now>
  18. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    Well, I suppose that I'd made some good progress which was then ostensibly 'undone,' by dancing and driving, and I presume that a sincerely poorly sacro-iliac joint wouldn't like it, which is, I know, another way in which TMS hides. So, my fears are probably quite 'standard,' in a sense. I'm also challenging it by cancelling my chiropractor's appointment, and letting my rowing club know that I'll be back this weekend. I was lying in bed last night thinking, 'this hurts. It shouldn't hurt lying in bed!' And I'm now trying to focus my attention on another part of my body when it hurts, giving it a sensory 'fxxx you,' by switching what I'm buying into. But whenever it does hurt, it does make me think that I really need those imaging tests, just to be sure. Am back to a murky place where I want to treat it as TMS but also think, 'what if it's properly knackered?'

    I will journal as to the day, that's great advice, thank you
  19. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sometimes we need to be gentle with ourselves not only because our bodies hurt but because our hearts do too. Pain and disconnection are both wretched and I found as I healed one I healed the other. Admittedly it was a two steps forward, one step back process but I am grateful for that. How else can we learn our own path so well?

    Recovery from TMS is about learning to reparent ourselves, to truly and deeply care about how we feel and how to soothe ourselves when we are raging, sad or frightened. During these most challenging periods, when TMS pours fuel on the fire of our fear, we are best served by insanely beautiful acts of self-compassion.

    For this reason I am not a huge fan of the punitive approach favoured by many. There is a time and place to challenge conditioning and triggers but I'm not so sure this is that time for you.

    When I have flare-ups (I've recently had one), I do what makes me feel better. My go-to is a hot water bottle for my face which soothes the relentless burning ache into something I can cope with. I don't waste valuable resources fighting the desire to tend to myself.

    The pain is mind-loosening and I choose that expression mindfully; I'm aware I'm at my least rational in those moments when pain runs rampant. The nature of my 'diagnosis' weirdly helps me. The prognosis is awful. With the variant I 'have' there is a roughly 60% failure rate with surgery (not to mention catastrophic implications) and the only medications are anti-seizure drugs and a range of opioids. The road to hell. I know that these things cannot calm my nervous system and they cannot heal the hurts from the past so what is the point of them? More deadening, more numbing...No thanks.

    The thing I really like about Howard Schubiner's work is the way he explains how TMS/mindbody syndrome is physiological not pathological. It can take a while to really grasp that but once the penny drops the clarity is sublime.

    Gabor Maté writes beautifully on the mind-body. The opening chapter of 'The Body Says No' serves to clarify many of the issues people struggle so desperately with. Dualism is medicine's blind spot and a terrible inheritance for the suffering.

    The mindbody is indivisible. Once you understand this you can enter it through the mind or through the body. This is why body-oriented methods work so well for me. I don't conceive of mending a broken body part but rather of soothing and tending to the vast cosmic experience that is me. I can swim, I can journal and with both I dance the stardust that is the miracle of life itself.

    In my past life I spent years gigging with my partner's band. I've been to hundreds of celebrations. As an observer I have seen the psychological web of family and friends play out. Day turns to Night. We used to engage in post-party post mortems on the long drives home. You'd be astonished at the tension, patterns and triggers that, decked out in their finest duds, also attend the party.

    I guarantee this is the case. The tendrils may be subtle but they are there. Be curious, play the detective and throw any insights into the pot. Pay special attention to things that you feel numb around. They may need some thawing out before probing and so to close with my opening, sometimes we need to be gentle with ourselves.

    Plum x
    Sarah79 likes this.
  20. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    I’ll reply more later as am out and about at the moment, but I just had a walk in a field and burst into tears. I sat down on the edge of it, all icy and muddy, and just cried. This is all so horrible, and I feel that as much as one part of me wants to let go, another part really, furiously doesn’t. This is not normal - this is not someone overworked and tired. It feels much deeper but it also doesn’t feel particularly safe.

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