This Tuesday, December 17, the call-in discussion group will be discussing Chapter 22 (“CFS: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”) and Chapter 23 (“Anxiety, Depression, and Metanoia”) in Steve Ozanich's book The Great Pain Deception starting at 9 pm Eastern Time. It lasts an hour, sometimes a little longer. Phone lines will open half an hour early so you can talk to hosts and early callers. Here's how to join the discussion (for detailed instructions, visit www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Connect ): If you're connecting by phone, dial 1 201-479-4595 and when prompted enter the pin code 18311499 followed by the pound symbol. If you're connecting via your computer (Fuze Meeting), go to www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/app/48fb7aa8/18311499 and follow the instructions from there. For more information, visit www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Call-In_Peer_Discussion_Group. Two especially important chapters will be topics of the call-in this week, since many TMSers have asked about chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression. “Stress,” Steve says in opening Chapter 21 on chronic fatigue, is a Latin verb meaning “to pull apart.” It is a nonspecific response on the mindbody to the demands made of it. Most people with chronic fatigue have the condition because of demands they place on themselves. Chronic fatigue comes in three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion or fatigue. If a person feels never-ending self-imposed pressure to do good, be good, or appear good, they are setting themselves up for a bad case of chronic fatigue. Paradoxically, many people feel that their fatigue would increase as their pain lessened, or that their pain would increase when their fatigue lessened, which Steve calls “the symptom imperative.” A person may suffer chronic fatigue if they feel stuck in a job they hate but can’t quit because they need to pay their bills, or are in a difficult marriage or are having a hard time dealing with their children or an in-law or an aged parent who requires help that may drain the energy of a caregiver. The person sees no way out of such a situation so they end up in a freeze state, or fatigue. Steve says he knows of people who have overcome chronic fatigue through TMS techniques, by becoming aware that stress and emotional overload were the causes. The battle against chronic fatigue is won when the sufferer comes to understand the emotional cause behind the condition. Chronic fatigue is another distraction by the mind from overwhelming stress, anxiety, and repressed emotions. He says fibromyalgia is chronic fatigue with multiple pain sites and they are all part of the mindbody syndrome. I love how Steve opens Chapter 23 on anxiety. He quotes comedian Jerry Stiller saying he asked his father, who died at the age of 102, what kept him going. He said his father replied, “I never worry.” Hooray for Mr. Stiller. If we could follow his example, we would be a lot healthier and happier. That’s because, as Steve says, “Where there is pain and fatigue, there is anxiety and often depression.” Steve says Sigmund Freud believed that anxiety was a sign of impending danger, a result of unexpressed emotion. Most people, Steve says, prefer pain to anxiety, so they unconsciously give themselves pain to be able to keep going. Our subconscious knows this, so it sends pain to us because we have been repressing a bad emotion, often going back to our childhood. When we recognize the suppressed emotion, the pain goes away. It is pure, basic TMS as recognized by Dr. Sarno. Steve quotes Karl Jung as saying depression can come from a traumatic separation or the feeling of isolation. Losing a parent or other loved one through their death or a divorce can trigger depression related to earlier similar traumas. Depression, like back pain, often comes to us in midlife. Jung called it “a midlife crisis.” Jung said it is a “natural phase’ of life when a person places more energy into understanding his inner world or the “cultural phase.” Steve then moves to discussing anxiety. Some TMS sufferers say they are often at their wits end because of anxiety. He says not to worry because it should not be considered “an inherent weakness.” Instead, it should be thought of as an “out-of-control strength.” He says “it takes a tremendous strength to never act out rage; to take that energy, to repress it inward where it becomes anxiety, so as not to harm anyone else. The singer Donny Osmond had such anxiety about performing that he had what is called a “social phobia” or “social anxiety disorder.” It came as a result of trying to be perfect. Many TMS sufferers admit they have a perfectionist personality, and Dr. Sarno says that is often a common cause of TMS back and other pain. Osmond got his anxiety under control through cognitive behavioral therapy with a therapist. He learned that he will make mistakes and that is okay to make them. Steve says the perfectionist must “begin to transcend ego and live beyond the concern of outside observers” – the judgment of what other people expect of, or we may expect of ourselves. Anxiety can get such a grip on us, we may feel we’re going crazy, as some TMSers have posted in the forums. Again, not to worry, say Steve. It is a common feeling but what we fear never happens. Through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and just taking our mind off what is making us anxious, we relax and the anxiousness goes away. Depression and anxiety come to us first then pain arrives, says Steve. People have told him, “If the pain would only go away, I would not be so depressed.” But he says it works the other way. First we must learn why we are depressed or anxious and then the pain will go away. Depression, says Steve, is the darker side of anxiety and in its extreme stage a person may consider suicide. But you can feel hope and love life again if “you have the courage to just hang on, just a little longer.” He encourages those who are depressed to go to the TMSWiki success stories subforum where others have used TMS healing techniques to overcome their depression. They tell how they have come out of the darkness of depression and into the light of loving life again. Steve then writes about another word with which most of us as unfamiliar… metanoia. It is a Greek word meaning “a change of mind, a turning around, to face a new direction, to turn toward the light.” When we face the light, shadow is behind us. The object of metanoia is to break down barriers that keep people from getting the help they need to overcome feelings such as anxiety and depression. That can be achieved through communications and education, such as connecting with people in the TMS subforum who have recovered from anxiety and depression, to make connections that can turn us toward the light of pain relief. Depression and anxiety which cause pain may be caused by financial concerns, as many are experiencing in these difficult economic times. They suffer fro what is called “debt stress.” There nay be no fast way out of the financial difficulties, but TMS offers ways to live with them to give some relief to the pain they cause, through TMS techniques and understanding our repressed emotions. We hope you will join us in the call-in next Tuesday and share your thoughts and experiences about anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue. We learn to heal by hearing from others who have dealt with the same issues.