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Can I trust this as TMS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Wintersunshine, Jan 30, 2021.

  1. Wintersunshine

    Wintersunshine New Member

    Hi all!
    I’m new to this forum, but have been journaling since september last year. I believe a lot of my symptoms are TMS, but am to unsecure and can still not trust it’s all about that. Can you please help me to navigate?
    When I was 19 I with hyperthyriodism, went on medications for some years. Now I still have an inflammation, but normal thyroid levels and don’t need the meds. After my child were borned, I had several years with low energy, a lot of dizziness, muscle weekness and so on... The last couple of years I’ve had more symptoms like gastritis, lump in my trout, headaches, psoriasis - and what sets me out big time - chest pain (with left arm pain and sweating)! My health anxiety has been hanging over me for the last 10 years at least! I have been checked out for a lot of things like heart illness, nerve illness, reumathoid illnesses. Been in and out my doctors door a lot...
    But I can’t trust myself, my body’s symptoms / reactions... And for the doctors / specialist, I trust them for some weeks after I’ve been checked out, but then I go back to my old thinking pattern. Or my symptoms change, so I have to check out with another specialist for my new things... It’s frustraiting! So can you plase give me some advice? I would so appriciate it!
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @Wintersunshine !

    When we have anxiety, our brains get stuck in chronic negative thought patterns that generate a tremendous amount of tension in the body. Anxiety is a cover up for emotions we may be avoiding, or the brain deems too "threatening" so it creates diversions (to distract and protect you). Once you have ruled out the structural and catastrophic, it's time to rule in the "neural circuit" which is just another way of saying "learned pain". Symptoms and thoughts are comingled (one and the same). They can be reversed. Your hyperthyroidism is irrelevant because it's being managed with medication. Our brains will latch on to things to fit our negative narrative (our stories) though. The brain is always scanning to find patterns so it can predict future danger (this is what is called the reticular activating system). Your job is to use your conscious mind to override these false beliefs and negative thought patterns. First catch yourself (and your brain) when you are having these thoughts or getting super preoccupied by symptoms. See it for what it is, and don't allow the TMS to fool you anymore. Don't make TMS a big deal because it's not. It's actually good news! Start thinking accurately not " positively"..accurately) and lose the fear around symptoms and triggers. Tolerate the fear and slowly, slowly, challenge your fears. Success and progress hinge on reducing fear, not symptoms. Your days are measured by how little fear you have, how little symptoms concern you or affect you. THAT is how you disable the mechanism. Start re engaging with life and things you enjoy and want to do. That will propel you forward and give you confidence in yourself and life. The doubts you have about your body is part of pervasive doubt you most likely have about yourself and the world. It's just a symptom. Address the cause, not the symptom.
    Kloudi, Wintersunshine and tgirl like this.
  3. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Miffybunny, is there a concept that goes something like this: physical pain and mindy/body pain follow the same neural pathways? Not sure if I have the right.
  4. Wintersunshine

    Wintersunshine New Member

    Thank you so much, @miffybunny!
    Understand what you mean, and I know my health anxiety mess with my body. Through my journalspeak I’ve been writing a lot about my fear, tried to find the root of different symptoms - whats actually causing my health anxiety. Like many others have said before me, I find that the reason is that I fear death and / or to be disabled. I’m afraid of being different so people won’t love me. And afraid my freedom will be taken away from me (because I’ve not done all the things I want to do in my life yet). But also I think to be sick or having physical symptoms is a way for me to get my parents attention... In my childhood my younger sister was sick and she needed the most of my parents love and time. Maybe I learned that to get sick was my method to reach them...? Maybe all this is the answer to my symptoms, but then I shouldn’t be afraid of them (if thats what’s soothing me through my parents attention)?
    But beside that, to «feel my feelings», doesn’t that also mean feel my anxiety? And how to distanse myself from that overwhelming feeling? I try to stop the negative circle, but it’s so hard... I’ve tried hundred times to calm myself down when my heart symptoms show up, and tell myself «ok, this is just stress, I know this feeling, and it will disappear soon» and «Whatever / So what. What will come will come». But i’ve still got them...
    (Sorry for my english, it’s not my mother tongue)
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
  5. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Different' regions of the brain are involved with acute physical pain and mindbody pain. Mind body pain (learned pain) stems from the region involved with emotions and memory. It's that region that "maintains" the pain symptoms for months and years. Acute pain usually resolves within 3 months (injuries and surgeries for example) and that's the region of the brain that is involved with the stress response. That's also why analgesics have little to zero effect on chronic pain but are very effective in acute pain (a headache, a toothache, an injury etc.).

    Unconscious anxiety that gets "somatized" (expressed through the body...the mind and body are one after all) follow somatic pathways that get reinforced over time through fear and focus. It becomes a learned habit. What fires together, wires together so the brain tends to send signals to certain areas over and over. Of course signals can shift and move around and do all sort of things...that's why most people with TMS have had many manifestations of chronic pain in their lives. When our stress levels exceed our capacity to handle it emotionally, the brain tends to latch onto a certain symptom or area that we become incredibly preoccupied with (the bladder, the back, neck, feet....whatever...)
    tgirl likes this.
  6. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    There are several things you bring up here. The first is your childhood and growing up with a sick sibling. When a child grows up in a an environment where there's a lot of worry regarding a child (your little sister), the general feeling you had was one of stress and not wanting to "disturb the waters". Always having to walk on eggshells for fear of placing more stress on your already stressed out parents. That's a lot of pressure on a child who also requires attention but doesn't feel they have the right to ask for it. In a sense, you were put in a position where you had to "protect" your parents. That's a ton of pressure for a kid and it sounds like you grew up in a stressful home. The message that gets internalized, unfortunately, is that you were somehow less worthy of attention and needed to "justify" getting it. We are born with innate worth, so if we grow up having to hustle for our worth, it sets the stage for lots of internal pressure and feelings of low self esteem. Basically it's exhausting and infuriating. When one has to repress that anger at the people they love (your parents), it gets relegated to the unconscious. The emotions of rage (guilt for even having the rage), fear, and sadness become the drivers of anxiety. Often this anxiety is all unconscious and therefore gets somatized through the body.

    The fears of death and disability are examples of your brain projecting into the future in a catastrophic way. Feeling guilty about the past and projecting into the future are both forms of self abuse and punishment....as if you are a bad person simply for having certain emotions. The way out of this anxiety and TMS is to identify, allow, and move through the underlying emotions. Allow the fear to be there. Allow the anger to be there, without judging it. Feel the sadness of lacking attention from your parents growing up. Have compassion for yourself and all those emotions. Compassion, forgiveness and gratitude are the antidotes for fear and anxiety. The more you can engage with life (and tolerate the fear in the beginning) and move towards joy, meaning, connection, action, and laughter, the faster the TMS ceases to have a purpose.
    Wintersunshine likes this.
  7. Wintersunshine

    Wintersunshine New Member

    Wow, thank you so much @miffybunny! That makes a lot of sense for me!
    I’ve also often feel a lot of loneliness, despite having family and many good friends. And constantly getting jealous of other friends who meet where I'm not invited. I think this may also be related to my upbringing, but it is a topic I keep coming back to in journalspeak. What do you do with themes / feelings that come up again and again? How to «get rid of them»? I get so tired of writing about the same things time after time...
  8. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    The feeling of wanting to belong is normal. We are evolutionarily hard wired to be part of "tribes" because it creates connection and safety. The problem is when our urge to belong is greater or supersedes our need to take care of ourselves. This shows up a lot in the people pleasing TMS personality. True belonging is when we can be our authentic selves and loved for who we are, not how well we conform or "fit in". Journaling can be helpful to reveal patterns of thought and behavior. They make us aware of themes and where certain false beliefs stem from. Through awareness we can make different choices that will lead us to the life we want....on our terms, based on our values and needs. Can you explore an over arching theme in your life? Would it be feeling apart? On the outside looking in? Not wanting to disturb or ruffle feathers? Feeling lonely? Neglected? These are just a few possibilities. In my own life, the feeling I had since my son's autism diagnosis was that of being "trapped". By recognizing the feeling, we can acknowledge it and figure out the way out.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021

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