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Beginner in need of advice and reassurance

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Murphy, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Hello everyone,
    I have gained some great inspiration from the posts here and I would love some advice.
    A quick background, I am 42 years old with I guess what would be considered a classic case of TMS. I began having pain symptoms in junior high school (approx. 13 years old). Because the doctors my mother took me to did not know what to do about my complaints of knee, back, arm and hand pain, they sent me to a rheumatologist who diagnosed me with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis even though I never had any swelling. From an early age they told me to read books about arthritis to "educate" myself. They also put me on strong anti-inflammatory drugs which gave me nose bleeds. I took myself off them soon after because they were no help. Essentially, I began quite young to believe that my body was the problem. Structural problems instead of Psychological, how would I know otherwise when this is what the doctors told me..
    I have since had two blood tests done which are clear of the arthritis factors. I have also spoken to a prominent rheumatologist who diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia.
    Fast forward several years and I began researching natural cures and tried literally everything from very expensive supplements to colon cleanses and expensive postural therapy with no help and a lot of money spent. Some books told me certain foods that I ate would cause my symptoms so I also avoided these foods with still no relief.
    After reading John Sarno's books Mindbody Prescription and The Divided Mind I literally saw myself on every page. Chronic worrier, very success driven and a perfectionist, inferiority issues, extremely self critical, need to be liked and a very demanding and stressful job. I grew up with an extremely angry father who terrorized me and my siblings with angry outbursts and continual screaming. Typically he would tell us we were worthless and sometimes become physically abusive.
    I have read the two Sarno books that I mentioned and purchased the audio book for The Divided Mind which I listen to every day. I have been journaling for two months now where I have put down a lot of mental baggage on the pages, only missing a few days journaling due to a busy work schedule but I still feel a lot of pain. Literally from head to toe. I have read that the journaling and self exploration can bring about increased pain as well as some anxiety and depression as equivalents. Boy have I had all of these. I have literally felt as though I was having a nervous breakdown a few time due to stress at work where I had to leave my office and walk to clear my head, before I knew it tears were streaming down my face and I was hysterical. I have had a history with anxiety and depression and it seems to have ramped up since I started journaling.
    Because of my history with the doctors and the books filling my head with the structural diagnosis, I am really trying hard to accept the psychological (reduced blood flow to targeted areas of the body as a protective distraction to keep painful emotions from surfacing). Part of me is still clinging to the structural diagnosis, which I heard can be part of the disorder - doubt/denial of the syndrome is part of the syndrome. I have always popped and snapped and cracked from head to toe and this just helps contribute to it be structural even though the popping doesn't tend to be painful.
    My question...
    What advice would some of you who have had success give someone who is just starting on the journey to recovery? Are there some helpful and encouraging threads on the forum?
    I have also considered trying these opitons:
    -Structured Educational Program
    -Unlearn your Pain - by Dr. Schubiner
    -The Master Practice
    Sorry this is so long. Thank you for the great community, I appreciate everyone taking the time to read and comment.
    Have a great night,
    James Hollander

  2. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter


    Thanks for your candid post. While it may be hard to realize, it sounds like you have this thing on the run as you bring up all the buried emotions.

    I am over 60 and have had TMS probably my whole life as I look at illness after illness many of which are associated with anxiety from childhood. The Structured Ed Program got me started on the journaling journey. At first I would write about something from my past or a current stressor and I would write down when I was done that I could write a good game, but the actual feelings were much harder to access. After a few weeks of work, boom, the feelings bubbled up and still do after a couple of months. Since I no longer work, I really admire you for going through this process while working. you have incredible courage!

    I also am working on the Schubiner program, Unlearn Your Pain program via the book. It is a nice companion to the SED on this site. I have found a lot of comfort from his approach and especially his meditation CDs. I highly recommend his material. I also read and reread Sarno every day. Over the past few weeks I find I have more good days, not totally pain free, but tolerable. Schubiner has a great answer to a question on insomnia in the back of his book that has helped me immensely in managing anxiety at night. That is when my unconscious mind is roaming free and creating fear I me. I am sleeping so much better now.

    It sounds, also, like you are still not 100% sure you have TMS. Getting to that point will be critical.

    Read the Success Stories at this site. They are so encouraging. Find some affirmations that you can write down and keep at your desk, bedside, in the car and in your pocket to remind you how important and valuable you are.

    Recovery may take time. With our TMS personality characteristics an instant cure is probably what we all wish for. It hasn't been my experience and the self discovery in reprogramming your brain process, up leveling all of those repressed emotions or simply believing that they are there and the cause of your pain is so important. I never will ignore my strong emotions again. I often cry driving to the grocery store for no apparent reason. Just reminds me to check in on my emotions and issues that are bothering me at the moment.

    There is help and hope for you. We are involved on this site because we are walking beside you on this journey. I look forward to reading updates from you as you move through this time in your life.


  3. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Thank you for your reply Susan. I feel that I intellectually grasp the concept of TMS, and do believe it is what I have, however I think how I have "programmed" myself and where my brain habitually goes is what I should work on. I had mentioned that I tend to hear snapping and popping from coming form my joints (without pain) or feel tightness/weakness in my hands arms etc and there is a part of me that immediately assumes structural issues. I think I'll try the Structured Educational Program next. I do listen to the audio book of The Divided Mind every day on my way to work. Dr. Schubiner works a few hours from me up here in Michigan, I may make an appointment to see him someday. Thanks again,

  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Boy, James, this description of your childhood issues certainly sounds similar to my own:

    I think Susan's advice to you is spot on: Begin the SEP, followed by the exercises in Howard Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain. I've also found that doing breathing exercises after reading and re-reading the key thoughts Dr. Sarno lists in his second book, Healing Back Pain, is something else you can do while working the SEP and Schubiner's programs. I haven't worked Monte's system yet, so I don't know much about it.

    As Susan mentions, you do sound like you're starting with a very good perspective on the origins of your TMS, which means you're a very likely candidate to unlearn it.
  5. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hi James:

    I think starting with the Structured Educational Program offered on the Wiki is a great place to start. It is kind of a "Part One" for people who most often move on next to Dr. Schubiner's workbook. It's a good way to start.

    Having anxiety issues is a really tough part of this. It's like you have to address that as well. Been my biggest hurdle. But I got the pain to move around at least, when I did the SEP followed by Dr. Schubiner's book.

    Good Luck and remember this is an incredible journey. One day and one step at a time.

  6. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Thanks for your input guys. I have in fact started the SEP and plan on purchasing the Unlearn Your Pain book. I have definitely had my symptoms move around a lot lately. I have a great deal of pressure at work and put a great deal of pressure on myself. I live in Michigan so Dr. Schubiner is about a 2 hour drive for me, so I may make an appointment if his book makes sense to me. I know he studied under Sarno and from what I hear has taken the theories and applied them to nerve pathways. I have also heard that the personal recovery stories and the 28 day program are really worth reading.

    Thanks again for all of your comments.


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