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Book reviews

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by chickenbone, May 12, 2013.

  1. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    I just wanted to comment on the 3 books I just finished reading that helped me dramatically in my recovery. Those
    of you who know me might recall that Ace's keys allowed me to recover from my most problematic TMS symptom, back pain. However, I had a lot of other symptoms, (not all involving pain per se) that would come and go and that were much more difficult to deal with. So I realized that I was not yet completely cured. To give proper credit to Ace's Keys, I must say that the Keys do touch on the most important points for recovery from TMS illness. I needed more detail only because I have so much unresolved trauma in my early childhood, so I had a very persistent case.

    I also was able to formulate for myself a workable definition of "cure" from TMS and the trauma/nervous illness from which it resulted. My definition is: Make a list of ALL the physical symptoms (sensations), including, but not limited to pain, that you think are or might be TMS related. Be completely honest with yourself. (If you leave out a symptom, you are sure to be reminded of it soon because that is surely the next one that your illness will give you.) Then sit in a quiet place as if you are about meditate. Think about each symptom, one at a time. If you are thinking about a symptom or feeling, drill down by concentrating hard on discovering the physical sensation underneath the uncomfortable symptom or feeling. There will always be one there. Feel intimacy with and curiosity about the physical sensation. What happens if you dare it to get worse or consciously try to make it worse? If this evokes fear, recoiling or dread, than you have not recovered, there is more work to do. On the other hand, if you can easily adopt an attitude of comfortable intimacy with the physical sensation and an attitude of circumspection, realizing that this is your friend who gives you a "heads up" when there is self-help work to do, then you have recovered. No symptom will ever own you again. You will be your own master. So this is what I am in the process of doing. It has worked well so far with 3 of my symptoms, I have about 4 more to work on.

    First of all, "Hope and Help for Your Nerves", by Claire Weekes has got it all. She understands perfectly what causes this illness, how it develops, and what needs to be done to recover. I had recovered from 2 of my worst symptoms before reading her book and realized that what I did to recover is exactly what she has described in the book. It is utterly amazing how absolutely right on she is. However, I believe that many people perhaps need professional help with her method, especially if there is trauma in their story. This little book has all of it.

    Peter Levine's books are especially good and also helped me very much. He is remarkably insightful about trauma, in particular. He really focuses on and deals effectively with the PHYSICAL SENSATIONS that lie beneath pain and other uncomfortable physical symptoms and feelings. He has really nailed the origins and lifelong effects of trauma. "In an Unspoken Voice" may be a little difficult for the average person to get through, a lot of it seems written for Professionals in the field, but anything you can get out of it is worthwhile and bound to help. His second book, "Freedom from Pain" is written for the average person for self-help. It distills a lot of the ideas from the first book. If you are interested, I would read "Freedom from Pain" first and later, if you feel you need more detail, then read "In an unspoken Voice".

    I want to stress that the 3 books I spoke of all deal with the subject using a bottom-up as opposed to a top-down approach. I feel that TMS, because it is largely a unconscious phenomenon, usually needs a bottom-up approach, especially in severe or persistent cases, where some type of trauma plays a part. It is useful to think of your whole body as your unconscious for this purpose. This makes sense because all of our autonomic bodily process come from deep inside our bodies. I don't wish to say that a top-down approach, such as CBT cannot be helpful, but because I believe that TMS largely results from our dis-owning, or dissociation with many of our unwanted, uncomfortable, but medically insignificant bodily sensations that we have been completely unaware of for so long. When the conscious mind becomes reacquainted with these and develops intimate awareness of them, is when permanent healing happens. Fear and bodily sensations MUST be separated for recovery to take place.

    Both authors argue that it is often not necessary to use your conscious mind to dig in the murky past for traumatic incidents. By getting in touch with long repressed, largely unconscious physical sensations that may lie at the bottom of our painful symptoms, our bodies can guide us to remember only those memories that need to be attended to and made sense of. In this way, our bodies (our whole organism) has the power to heal us.
    Enrique likes this.
  2. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    I'm always interested to see what books are helpful for others as they recover. I'm trying to use ILL to obtain books that I'd like to read, but am finding that many are not available in my area.
    I just finished Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life. Very insightful. I've tried the gentle approach in asking my subC what I need to work on when I'm in pain, but it hasn't worked for me so far. Fred Amir's approach of treating the subC like a naughty toddler has given me better results.

    I like your definition of recovery: if the pain still evokes fear, you haven't recovered. By that milepost, I still have work to do with my debilitating headaches. I hope one day to have the acceptance and realization of what's happening with that symptom that I do with about 3 others.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

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