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Backtracking - Need your help :)

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by jgray01, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. jgray01

    jgray01 New Member


    I'm new to this website and excited to continue my journey in overcoming TMS. I read Sarno's books and by the time I saw a TMS therapist in Washington, DC, I had already had a significant decrease in pain. She confirmed that I had TMS. I went from being unable to walk to going back to jogging with only mind pain, in just three weeks. I was ecstatic! I also had a few phone conversations with a TMS therapist because of a wide array of emotional issues. Honestly, I didn't find the very helpful or notice a decrease in pain. Until two weeks ago, my pain was already 90% gone in some areas and 70% gone in my lower back!

    I thought it would continue to get better with time.

    One day two weeks ago, I had to go to the coffee shop to study, where all of my low back pain originally started and where I thought I herniated a disc. I knew the fact that I was nervous about throwing on a heavy backpack and going back meant that I HAD to do it. So, I did it with only mild pain. When I left the the pain was then moderate and I kept telling myself it was only because of conditioning and yelled at my brain for being stupid and trying to do this. I focused on the emotional issues and that I was stressed at work, in the middle of finals week in grad school, and a few personal things. I tried to focus on these instead.

    Since that incident, the back pain has not gone away. It's actually increasingly gotten worse. I'm only on day four of journaling (I never did this before since my back pain went away so quickly from the book and daily exercises) and i'm back to doing my exercises everyday. I don't have any new stressors that have come up over the past month.

    I guess that i'm just frustrated because I was doing so well, but now it seems to have backtracked for no reason. Especially because i'm 100% sure that I have TMS. My MRI's showed NOTHING. But honestly, after that incident, I never want to wear a backpack or go to the coffee shop again which shows that i've taken a huge step back. Before it got really bad over the past few weeks, I was jogging a little bit, using a punching back and doing yoga. Should I wait until I can recover a little more until I start those up again? Or should I push through the pain since there's nothing wrong with my back?

    Was getting to 70% recovery in a few short weeks just to good to be true? Do you guys have any recommendations? I'm going to start the program on the TMS Wiki since I'm back to barely walking.

    Thank you so much in advance :)
  2. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Jess, what you've written is a classic case of how TMS symptoms can return. No wonder, you're still under emotional stress, and the
    subconscious sends new pain to another part of the body or returns old pain so you need to work again on the repressed emotions that
    caused your pain in the first place.

    Dr. Sarno cautions us all not to associate a bodily position like sitting at the computer or walking with the pain we feel.
    That conditions us to fear that activity, as you fear pain will return if you go back to the coffee shop.

    Claire Weeks says in her book Health and Help for Your Nerves, that if we fear doing something or going somewhere,
    the best way to overcome it is to confront it. Go where we fear to go and it will soon stop giving us fear.

    A few nights ago I was watching tv and a rerun of the Masterpiece Theater series "MR. SELFRIDGE," the London department store
    owner in the early 1900s. He was having emotional problems and his mother told him "The past haunts us if we don't confront it."
    He had been troubled since his boyhood when his father walked out on the family. His mother said he had to come to terms with that
    before he would feel better.

    I hope more journaling will help lead you to new discoveries about yourself and those who caused you trauma,
    probably back to when you were a girl. That's where our TMS usually begins. It can end by going back there.
    It did for me, finding better understanding of my parents and that they probably had TMS themselves.
    Putting myself in their shoes led me to forgiving them and that stopped my back pain.
  3. jgray01

    jgray01 New Member

    Thank you very much for your reply. I appreciate the advice!
  4. jgray01

    jgray01 New Member

    I've been working steadily through the Program the past three months. I'm still having trouble and I'm at the point where I do not believe there are any more hidden emotional issues. I've spoken with a therapist and done a lot of journaling. I really do not believe there is anything else left to dig up. On a regular basis, I can laugh at my pain and even welcome it knowing that it's TMS and I am convinced there's nothing wrong with lower back (i'm 90% convinced). But the pain is debilitating and its only dependent on when I carry that stupid backpack, attempt one yoga stretch or sit a certain way to do my meditations.

    I tell myself, "Jess! There's nothing wrong with your back so you can carry this, sit cross legged, and even do one yoga stretch". Usually, I go ahead and do the activity anyways. When the pain comes right after, I yell at it and tell myself it's only coming back because I thought it might. I continue my meditations, do more journaling, and laugh at the pain. I know that i've been conditioned to think that those activities cause me pain....but there's no getting around the fact that they do. Before my discovery of TMS, I would have laid down more often to try and get rid of the pain. It would lessen over a week when I stopped doing those triggers. Now, I just "push" through the pain by doing things like sitting, even when it hurts. I tell myself it's in my head. The only difference is that now the pain in constant and worsening after two weeks rather than going away.

    I think psychologically on a hourly basis and analyze what else could be causing it.

    I'm not quite sure what to think at this point.

  5. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
  6. jgray01

    jgray01 New Member

    Yes, I have. And I according to this, i'm only at a "slight chance of the illness".
  7. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Hi Jess,

    It is not uncommon for people to have similar experiences to yours. I think Walt even mentioned it. A precipitous decrease in symptoms followed by a sharp increase in them is actually a fairly common pattern for many TMS suffers. It would be quite normal, at that time, to re-double your efforts as it sounds like you've done. However, the devil of those details is that the amount of pressure you may be putting on yourself to get rid of the TMS pain this time around - all the effort you are putting in - may in fact, be contributing to the increased symptoms. It does sound like you are going after the symptoms hard: journaling a lot, yelling at your unconscious mind, etc... What would happen if you eased up a bit? Imagine your unconscious as that small child, the one who's having a temper-tantrum (as Sarno was won't to write), how might that child react if you began to yell at her even more for not doing what she's supposed to do?

    It does sound like you have TMS, instead of doubling your efforts, what if you just made a plan with yourself to do less? Be firm in your commitment to the TMS process but give yourself some relief from the pressure of attacking the symptoms. Sure, journal if you want, but set up a schedule that doesn't seem too heavy. Take time off from it. Talk to your unconscious mind; yes, you may yell at it but experiment with a kinder, gentler voice. Try asking yourself what the small child needs in that moment. How would you treat a daughter that was misbehaving? Be firm in letting your unconscious know you know what's it's doing and that you won't accept it but you don't necessarily need to yell. I encourage you to begin experimenting with dealing with your TMS in new and slightly gentler ways.

    Be firm, calm and curious with your unconscious.

    Best of luck,

    wondrous_v likes this.
  8. jgray01

    jgray01 New Member

    I think you're right! I have been pressuring myself a lot do this program right and to get it done as quick as possible. Other have told me that I can't force my healing, but those perfectionist tendencies are kicking in. My anxiety does through the roof when I work long hours, come home and make dinner and realize it's already 11pm and I dont have time to work on the TMS program. I assume that if I skip a day, that's an extra day it will take for me to heal, which is not necessarily the case.

    The one tough thing about this forum, is that although success stories can be great, they can also be discouraging. I read all about people who heal completely just from reading the book and how others pain is completely gone after two months. It seems like that is the standard and I keep asking "what am I missing".

    I had an amazing childhood which I'm very blessed for and I've spent so much time with my family and therapists trying to come up with this rage that could have developed during childhood. Nothing too significant comes up. I wonder what Sarno would think about all of my tms being from my personality and life pressures?

    I am going to take a step back and work on the Program when I have time. I'll continue to read through the daily exercises and take a more relaxed approach to this.

    Thank you so much for the advice. I feel a small weight off of my shoulders had been lifted :)

  9. wondrous_v

    wondrous_v New Member

    I've had TMS symptoms come back strongly recently and this thread has been very comforting, so thank you both.

    Jess, what is the latest status of your symptoms?

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