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Alan G. chronic fatigue?

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    How many patients have you had with chronic fatigue syndrome and you treated it as a TMS equivalent? How severe was their condition when you started seeing them? How much did it improve, and how long did it take? Did anyone who was severely affected see complete resolution of their symptoms?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2014
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  2. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    To answer your questions in order: a lot, very, a lot, it depends, yes.

    Unless there’s some other physiological cause identified (which is rare), chronic fatigue syndrome is a TMS equivalent.

    Chronic fatigue syndrome was one of the symptoms I had as a TMS equivalent. It’s the worst. The treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome is no different than the treatment for headaches or back pain. Accepting that the condition is psychologically generated and that it’s there to serve as a vessel for preoccupation, etc. is an important first step.

    Many people think that TMS just manifests as pain, but it’s much more than that. I’ve seen TMS manifest as fatigue, itching, nausea, numbness, tingling, burning, dull pain, shooting pain, nerve pain, muscle pain, and weird sensation-type thing that isn’t quite pain but is still pretty unpleasant. Not to mention anxiety, depression, and OCD.

    Howard Schubiner once said to me that the mind can generate any physical sensation in any part of the body. Or maybe I said that to him. Regardless, it definitely came up in the conversation.

    So yes, barring some type of rare physical finding, chronic fatigue syndrome is TMS, and is just as responsive to TMS treatment as back pain or fibromyalgia.


    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

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  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's comforting to know, about chronic fatigue being another TMS symptom.
    Not that I suffer from it. I am more active and feel alive than many twenty year olds and last week I turned 84.
    I keep busy, that's my secret. And I keep interested. I read, write books, watch great old movies, listen to music of all kinds
    (except rock and rapp) and play with my dog. The time flies by and I don't even think about fatigue.

    For those with chronic fatigue, I suggest get interested in some things that give you joy.
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  4. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I had something like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, decided it was a form of TMS and got better. :)

    I say it was 'like CFS', because I never had it diagnosed. But here were the symptoms:
    1. Low energy/fatigue.
    2. Felt like I had a cold or flu or terrible allergies that wouldn't go away.
    3. Both #1 and #2 were magnified by moderate exercise or a day with lots of physical exertion.

    I've suffered with this off and on over the past several years. I just recently got fed up with it and decided it was some kind of TMS. I started journaling (again), re-reading Dr. Sarno's books, consciously thinking about my feelings during the day(again), etc., etc.

    The problem went away rather quickly. I've noticed this pattern a lot... that I have to get fed up, decide it's TMS, start doing the things needed to get better... and then I finally get better.

    FYI - I have been pain free for around seven years now, thanks to Dr. Sarno.
  5. Sheree

    Sheree Well known member

    My husband had CFS many years ago. We call it M.E. in the UK. It lasted for 3 years and it was a truly terrible time for us both. He could not read, watch TV, stand bright light, his whole body ached and the slightest thing would exhaust him completely. It was a living hell. The good news is that he has fully re- covered and has lived a normal life ever since - something we could not envisage during the dark days. The other startling thing is that since he has gained the knowledge of TMS through what I have been doing, he is convinced that all along it was TMS!! I DO hope you will take encouragement from this. I see the proof every day. It is something YOU can achieve, as well.
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  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sheree, wonderful success story! Your husband must feel like a new man!
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  7. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Alan, what great info. Through my daily mindfulness exercises, I've grown more aware of how fatigue has been a weapon of choice with my TMS. Just the other day I was dealing with an issue and I could feel a wave of fatigue wash over me like a tsunami. Wish I could say I overcame it right then or there but I know that will come…just recognizing it is a huge milestone.

    Bravo to you and your husband, Sheree!! And ditto to Cap'n Spanky!

    Walt, I was thinking of you and your energy levels…you inspire me in so many ways! Today I turned 50 and decided new energy and fresh vitality are going to be one of the highlights of my new decade. :)
  8. AMarie

    AMarie New Member

    I realize this is an old thread, but hoping to get some help here (and will be cross-posting this, I think). I'm a true believer/survivor, as I suffered from chronic back pain years ago and recovered after learning about TMS, visiting Dr. Schechter (I lived in L.A. at the time but I'm on the East Coast now), watching his DVD and doing his 30-day workbook. It was incredible. Years before that I had a food allergy that would only occur while I was at work -- I quit and it went away. But for over a year I've been chronically fatigued, and I can't get it to go away. There doesn't appear to be anything physically wrong with me, and I know that the stress of my life (pre- and post-COVID) weighs on me, as I'm a single parent not making much money. But I used to be able to tell my back pain to go away when it would creep in, and it would work. It doesn't work with the fatigue! Part of the problem, I think, is that with pain the main goal is to be pain-free. But with fatigue, the main goal is to go to sleep. I don't want to feel alive, I just want to go to bed. The other idea is that there was so much literature, the DVD had so many different people with different pain stories, the workbook specifically addresses pain, etc. but there's barely anything I can find that specifically addresses fatigue. I think it makes me doubt that it's really a do-able thing to make it go away. I've been sooo exhausted for sooo long. It took a couple of weeks just to get myself to type this! I need help. Any thoughts, stories, resources, etc. would be so appreciated. I feel like I'm wasting so much of my life because of my lack of energy to do things and the brain fog that keeps me from being creative or moving forward.
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  9. nowa minarden

    nowa minarden New Member

    I WISH somebody would reply to this, because I have the same questions.
  10. Cher61

    Cher61 New Member

    Hi AMarie and nowa minigarden, I am new here but wanted to respond to your fatigue question. FYI. both Dr. Schubiner's book "Unlearn your anxiety & depression" and Steve Ozanich's book "The Great Pain Deception" address fatigue. Steve Ozanich's book has a whole section on how CFS is a TMS equivalent. I have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, and after a bad virus at Christmas last year developed what seems like CFS. It got much better after reading Dr. Sarno's book "Bodymind Syndrome" but has returned to a lesser extent along with other symptoms, so I know I am on the right track, and have more work to do. For me, the fear of the fatigue is the hardest to overcome! Both of these books have helped me and given me hope that there is nothing "broken" in my body, I just need to "re-train" my mind and "un-learn" my anxiety and pain (and fatigue!).
  11. TrustIt

    TrustIt Well known member

    i have not heard of that book of dr. sarno's. maybe another author?
  12. Cher61

    Cher61 New Member

    The Mindbody Prescription by Dr. Sarno. Wow, I really got it wrong, that was off the top of my head! LOL
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  13. Cher61

    Cher61 New Member

  14. Blue_Man

    Blue_Man New Member

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  15. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

  16. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    Ellen - thanks for posting this! I did a quick read through and the article is excellent!

    I found Michael’s story particularly inspiring, since I experience those flu like symptoms. Also the explanation of how the brain sends out danger signal (in runners) as means of maintaining equilibrium in the body makes perfect sense. It's the first time I've seen that sort of neural pathway explanation for chronic fatigue.

    I plan to re-read this. Also, I'd suggest skipping the comments section. Some of it's just the typical negative doom scrolling BS.
  17. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, I find the idea that perhaps chronic fatigue is due to a belief that we don't have enough energy, and therefore, we need to hold back and rest. Also wondering if the concept of the fear response of "freeze" plays a part. Most people forget that it's not just "fight or flight", but there is the third response to danger of "freeze" that we and other animals use.
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  18. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I'm not real familiar with the "freeze" response. I will definitely check it out.

    Again, I want to thank you for posting this article, Ellen! It was an ah-ha moment for me and triggered my belief system on how something like chronic fatigue is generated by the brain. In particular the explanation of the central governing function and the process known as persistence quiescence were key to wrapping my head around it.
  19. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I know my go to response to physical fear is to freeze. For example, whenever there is a persistent strange noise in the middle of the night my reaction is to freeze in place. When people talk about having firearms or other weapons to protect themselves, I just have to shake my head, because I know I'd never be able to use one in response to a break in or an attack. I'm not even sure I could move enough to hide if needed, because fortunately, I haven't had to find that out. So for me the idea of having this response to psychological fear seems very likely true.

    Schubiner talks about the freeze response being correlated with depression in his book Unlearn Your Anxiety and Depression. Which also makes sense to me. Think frozen trembling rabbit or playing dead (like an opossum) in response to fear.
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  20. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I figured it was something along those lines. We went camping with our crazy dog once and there was a possum underneath our picnic table. As she does with all critters. she charged at it with break-neck speed. Of course, the possum played dead. Our dog had no idea what to do with it. It was hilarious.

    I can certainly see 'being frozen' in depression. It's amazing what the brain can do to our bodies.
    Ellen likes this.

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