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Continuing to Struggle

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by eskimoeskimo, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Hi All,

    Just looking for further advice and feedback. I've known about Sarno's theories for about 8 months now, and have gradually adopted more and more of the techniques, but with very little success. I've remained highly active, I journal daily, and meditate daily. I've read all the relevant books recommended here on the forum, listened to Sarno's audiotapes, followed the 'structured program' but my pain (upper back and neck) has continued to worsen, and the anxiety and depression along with it.

    I get a little short-lasting relief when I'm very relaxed, such as after vigorous exercise or a particularly relaxing meditation. But, I have yet to really tap into the power of 'knowing the pain is due to mild oxygen deprivation caused by repressed emotions and not a structural abnormality." Sarno says the key is to short circuiting the distracting pain response with this knowledge, and not really about solving anxieties and relaxing. How much time can be dedicated to just calming the nervous system each day anyways? I haven't had any notable breakthroughs to bolster my confidence in this process, and each day that goes by without any improvement really hinders my ability to accept the TMS diagnosis. I know counting the days is counterproductive, but c'mon... it's kind of impossible not to after a while.

    Any advice greatly appreciated, I'm feeling very stuck and not so hopeful.

    Thank you,
  2. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Tyler, I understand your frustration, believe me I do! I've been at this for about 9 months now and have been following a regular protocol. I know part of the reward of healing from TMS is that you realize you are no longer thinking of TMS 24/7. (And when pain or insomnia awakens you at night it really DOES feel like a 24/7 battle.)

    I see something really positive in what you wrote…you get some relieve when you're very relaxed or after exercise or meditation. That is FANTASTIC!! Rinse, lather, repeat. You're tasting success so just keep doing whatever it was that got you that little break in the clouds. There are so many here who can testify that's how their complete healing started. The little breaks in the cloud will bring bigger and longer breaks in the cloud.

    Why's it taking so flippin long? I wish I had the answer to that. For me, I am actually going to drive across the country to see Dr. Schubiner. Because I had a fibromyalgia diagnosis, I realize my TMS is an intense version so I think it's time I get some outside help.

    So a couple suggestions…could you consult with a TMS doc? And second - Have you read Steve Ozanich's book, "The Great Pain Deception"? I highly, HIGHLY recommend getting his book. Steve's healing wasn't a quickie book healing. That man toughed it out in the trenches for a good long while…and came out totally pain free and with a rich life. I know his story will encourage you like it has encouraged so many here.

    Hang in there, Tyler. You're not alone.
    Ellen likes this.
  3. nowtimecoach

    nowtimecoach Well known member

    Hi Tyler,
    I'm so happy you wrote about what is going on. I have found the more I can share with others my journey and often being a SLOW journey - I feel better and less isolated. Keep doing what you're doing and eventually things start changing. I have pretty much read every book recommended and I get something valuable in each one. But the most important thing for me is to keep feeding my brain the correct information everyday. Its really like a form of brainwashing but after experiencing TMS for this long, I really really need my brain washed.
    I can happily say that I just attended my nephew's wedding this weekend and I danced my ass off with no pain. Its been 8 months of constant TMS recovery work and I do believe I have turned the corner. Keep writing us and letting us know how you're doing! Sending you a hug of Hope and Patience. You're doing all the right things!!
    North Star and Ellen like this.
  4. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star you beat me to it! Tyler, North Star hit the nail on the head with this. I remember having RSI (TMS) in my right shoulder and feeling hopeless, and one day I went to the Japanese baths near my house where you basically spend the day bathing, and sweating in a sauna and bathing again, followed with a Shiatsu massage, and that night, feeling the warmth still in my bones I noticed I had moments of no pain! Even though it was only a glimpse, it gave me hope, because I could see the correlation between my relaxed state and my pain. I went on to recover completely from this TMS episode, but it was consistent relaxation in the evenings (I got some audios from Dr Emmett Miller and did yoga to these) that brought my tension levels down to a point where healing could take place. As long as you have tension in your body healing will be impaired.

    Steve Ozanich's book will really help, as his recovery was slow initially.

    This post from another TMS forum is EXCELLENT and will really help you at this stage (this post was a huge factor in my recent recovery) : http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=7765

    I had a TMS relapse in January this year, and felt really frustrated, especially with all my TMS knowledge, BUT it was only after bringing my tension levels down that I noticed pain-free moments, which became longer and longer until the pain dissolved.

    Assuming you have had the all clear and been checked out, then reassure yourself that it IS TMS and stop caring; stop the fear, and give yourself some love and compassion.

    All the best
    North Star likes this.
  5. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Thank you for your reply North Star

    Yes, I recognize this as an obsessive disorder - the latest and most effective of a long list that have plagued me - and that relief really comes with forgetting, after effectively processing the right diagnosis. Sometimes, I wish Sarno's prescription was more than just knowledge.

    I am pleased to find relief after exercise, etc, but I'm also a little concerned that this might be sidestepping the main point of TMS treatment. Relaxation, and temporarily relief, is of course useful and invaluable in keeping me afloat. However, Sarno mentions that relaxation techniques are not the key answer here, because they don't get to the root of the problem and they, in and of themselves, can become real drains on time and energy. Do you see what I mean? This is definitely a subject I'd love to hear feedback on. I think it's different for patients that have become afraid to exercise due to fear of structural injury. Then, I think it makes sense that exercise would be a key component to healing. But, for me, I don't have a lot of fear surrounding physical activity and have remained active, I just use exercise to relax - and I might even say, escape.

    I haven't seen a TMS doctor, I may look into that. I read Ozanich's book and have mixed feelings. Of course, a recovery from a situation much more drastic and all-encompassing than my own was encouraging... as was the extensive detail and light-hearted asides. However, he threw in enough New Age 'stuff', and questionable psychology theories to really make it difficult for my conscious, let alone my subconscious, to palate. Anyone else find this?

    I wish you the best of luck in your Journey to Schubiner (movie name anyone?). I might end up doing the same, it's a same-state drive for me.

    Thanks again,
  6. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    I love this! I feel the same way. I know how stubborn my brain is, I've witnessed it first hand in other obsessions, compulsions, anxieties that I've endured. So, it really shouldn't come as any surprise that it's slow in towing the line this time too. It's just hard not to emphasize the current fixation.

    Now when you say "feeding my brain the correct information everyday," could you tell me exactly what you mean? Do you recite the 12 daily reminders? Do you write them down? Do you resist avoidance behaviors? Any insight here would be a huge help.

    thank you
  7. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Thank you Colly.

    Again, I would really like to hear more from people regarding this phenomenon. To relax or not to relax? That sounds silly, but I mean it very seriously. Windows of pain relief caused by relaxation are great for boosting my outlook, but is it dangerous to rely on them? Now I feel almost conditioned to get pain relief when I'm exercising, but also feel conditioned to feel pain when I'm not. I don't know, it's a subtle art this cognitive rewiring...
  8. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Wow, this is just the kind of thing I'm looking for right now! Some clarification! Thank you
    North Star likes this.
  9. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's brilliant isn't it. During my recovery I printed that Ace1 post and kept it in my bag, and read it every day on my journey to/from work. I had to keep reading it over and over, as there was so much good stuff in there. Keep it handy so you can refer to it at all times. I am confident this post and the mindful exercises in it will get you there:)

    If you practise mindfulness daily, your tension levels will reduce, and you won't even have to think about whether you need to relax or not, as being relaxed becomes your default position - regardless of how much stress you face each day. I'm in a stressful job, and my previous default was one of high tension, but not now, thanks to my daily mindful exercises.

    North Star all the best with your Dr. Schubiner visit. You're lucky you have such great TMS minds in America. We're way behind you guys down under!
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
    North Star likes this.
  10. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    See a TMS doctor.
  11. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    People with tms have rigid personalities. Becoming less rigid is the way out. It's a choice: pain or letting go of some of the opinions. At least that's how it works for me.
    North Star likes this.
  12. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Tyler,
    I love the Ace1 post that Colly has linked to for its detail and clarification on TMS healing. But I also like the following quote from a post by Steve Ozanich because of how succinctly it summarizes TMS healing.

    I think this states the main components of TMS healing, and that are fleshed out so well by Ace1. The relaxation techniques help reduce anxiety, and to use Schubiner's phrase 'unlearn the pain' by creating new experiences that lay down new neural networks. But I agree, this is not all of what needs to occur. We also have to "view life differently", meaning a change in perception needs occur. I think this is where 'knowledge therapy' comes in. But there is more to it than merely changing one's conscious thinking about pain (and other aspects of life). It requires belief, which is a concept I'm still trying to understand. But I think belief and a change in perception occurs when the conscious and unconscious brain are in alignment. Sarno describes his treatment approach as occurring from 'the top down', which I understand as flooding the conscious brain with this new knowledge till it begins to seep into the unconscious brain. How long this takes is going to vary for each individual. I found it helpful to take in the knowledge in multiple formats--print, video, and audio versions of Sarno's books (especially Healing Back Pain).

    But I think the third component in the quote from Steve is also critical--acceptance--while withholding judgement. This is perhaps the hardest. Practicing mindfulness has been the most helpful technique for me with making progress on this. But I believe it helps immensely with the other two components---reducing anxiety, and changing perception.

    Best wishes...
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
    Colly likes this.
  13. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Tyler and everyone giving such good advice. "View life differently" is a great thing to do. I equate that with positive thinking...
    don't keep the mind in the tunnel of pain but move it out into the beautiful valley of sunlight like Dorothy and her friends were in
    as they raced toward the Emerald City of Oz.

    Ellen, did you mention before that you have a good friend who is a book editor? Herbie and I know that ours still needs a good
    proofreader. We wonder what she would charge to go over ours.
  14. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    No, that must be another Forum member.
  15. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Tyler, I think your movie title is brilliant! "Journey to Schubiner - One woman's journey to pain-free living". :)
  16. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star, let's make it a comedy--"One woman's wacky, rollicking journey to pain-free living". Much more fun, and suits you better.:happy:
    North Star likes this.
  17. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen, you are SO right on! That sounds like heaps of fun!

    *wanders off muttering title ideas….*
    Colly likes this.
  18. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    I'm interested too, like eskimo x 2 asked here, did anyone else find my "questionable psychology theories" and "new age stuff" troublesome for them? I'm curious. I had this conversation with Norton Hadler, Norman Sheely, and Ashok Gupta, among others when they told me how "too new agey" Dr. Sarno's work was to believe.
  19. honeybear424

    honeybear424 Well known member

    Not me, Steve. I loved every bit of it. I loaned your book to a friend and if I don't get it back soon, will need to buy another one. What I am really waiting for is to get your book on audio. Are you getting close? :)
  20. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Steve, if I had read your book 20 years ago, when I was a very conservative evangelical, I would have declared it of the devil. But consider that during that season I could understand if someone said, "anointed" but if they used "enlightened" bells (nefarious *new age* bells) went off. Yeah, it was a small and very judgmental world I inhabited.

    This was the same period of time where anyone who practiced yoga was suspected of being new age too.

    My friends who remain in the conservative camp think I've gone to the devil. I can almost hear their internal shrieks if I mention Eckhart Tolle. ;)

    Gah. Is it any wonder I developed TMS?

    PS I found a seminar online given by a young shiny faced evangelical who talks about the Law of Attraction and the like but he weaves in enough Bible references that it can be accepted by churchy circles.

    PPS Tyler, my comments are in no way intended to put down your concerns. It would be helpful if you could get more specific in what raised red flags with you. I know for me, identifying the things that freaked me out helped me unravel - and disarm - vague fears.

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