1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day 1 day 1: let's do this

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by epitomeofhealth, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. epitomeofhealth

    epitomeofhealth New Member

    Hi everyone! I've been lurking on here for a few days, but now I've decided to begin the SEP, so here I am! Here's a brief rendition of my story:

    Ever since I was 14 years old, one of my biggest life goals was to join the Peace Corps. I always knew I'd join, and I looked forward to simultaneously helping people and learning more about myself and the world. I'm now 23 years old, and I was finally accepted and set to leave for Nicaragua on March 1, 2016. I did, and I could not have been more excited. However, on day 4, I woke up with an indescribable fatigue, as if I hadn't slept at all. It was strange, and I assumed it was just part of adapting to a new place/diet/culture/etc. But it didn't go away. For three months, I fought and fought and fought through this miserable fatigue, seeing Peace Corps doctors and Nicaraguan doctors, having countless blood tests, and even ending up in a Nicaraguan emergency room. Finally, I was medically evacuated, forced to come home and give the American medical system a go. No luck there either -- after a month in the States, I had a host of completely normal blood tests and a normal colonoscopy, but a host of terrible symptoms -- horrendous fatigue, unrestful and fitful sleep, chronic diarrhea, dizziness upon standing, a flare-up of my lifelong OCD, and serious health anxiety/hypochondria.

    At this point, I was spending hundreds of hours on the internet, and I diagnosed myself with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) (I couldn't have the formal diagnosis since it hadn't yet been six months, but I knew this was it.). I absorbed every morsel of information from people's CFS healing stories and tried about a zillion healing protocols in the course of a couple of weeks -- cutting out gluten and dairy, taking weird and expensive supplements like D-Ribose, paying $200 to see an herbalist, lying on a PEMF magnetic mat, trying qi gong, implementing insane sleep hygiene protocols, etc. etc. etc, but I wasn't seeing any changes and I was driving myself crazy.

    It was at this point that I discovered a review on Amazon of Sarno's The Divided Mind by someone who cured himself of CFS, and I got it from the library that very day. I have finished nearly the entire book over the past five days or so, and I have definitely experienced a reduction in symptoms (my GI system seems nearly back to normal!), but the terrible fatigue--especially in the morning upon waking--remains. I am incredibly determined to beat this, so I'm here beginning the SEP. Here's to beginning recovery!

    As for where I stand with acceptance of the TMS idea, I'm doing pretty well with it. I've been a meditator for over a year now, and I'm a big believer in spirituality and the mind-body connection. I saw myself on every page of The Divided Mind (compulsive, perfectionist, self-critical, goodist). While fears occasionally crop up like an alarm in my mind saying "but what if this DOESN'T go away???", I quiet them by admonishing my brain, as Dr. Sarno advises. I've been repeating the 12 statements to myself every day, and I'm slowly beginning to get back into physically activity (which I miss so, so, so dearly) by walking farther and farther every day, and perhaps I'll start to run again later this week!

    To address the question of "What would a life without TMS mean to you?": It would mean everything. I'm usually an extremely active person (perhaps to a fault), and I'm realizing I've had episodes in the past of TMS without realizing it (particularly "overuse injuries" from running, anxiety, and episodes of insomnia). I've always had a vision of myself as an extremely healthy, invincible person who can do anything I put my mind to, and so this pain and fatigue has been a slap in the face. Luckily, I'm back to believing that it will go away, and that my body is indeed perfectly healthy and good.

  2. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Let's go, is right! I wish you the best. Keep us posted. You describe exactly what my sister has. I wish she would do this program too.
  3. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Welcome to th SEP! I'm so very sorry to hear that your Peace Corps experience was truncated. I'm so glad that you're discovered Sarno. He's been responsible for so many people returning to healthy living.
    Yeah R attitude makes me smile. You go!
  4. epitomeofhealth

    epitomeofhealth New Member

    Thanks so much to both of you, Ines and Gigi! This forum is so wonderfully warm and I'm really excited to be a part of it. Updates soon! :)
  5. Janine28

    Janine28 Peer Supporter

    Welcome to the SEP forum epitomeofhealth! The program was amazingly helpful to me and I think you will find the support of those who can relate to your experiences invaluable. I'm glad you found your way here. Best to you!
  6. fbcoach

    fbcoach Peer Supporter

    Hi Epitomeofhealth,
    You mentioned a few things that really struck a chord with me. The mild OCD and the inner chatter in our brains. I have both, and it was due to overcoming these obstacles that lead to my recovery. The OCD if controlled, can be a positive thing, but when you become obsessive and compulsive over trivial things, it can be a nightmare. This can lead to all the inner chatter in your head. Again, this can be positive if directed and controlled (conditioned), but you have to absolutely ignore the self-doubt inner chatter. We all have this, and I can honestly say, these negative thoughts serve only one purpose....to create anxiety. I believe this is one of the biggest factors that drive TMS. I have learned that it really isn't the physical pain that is hurting us, but the fears and anxieties it creates. This alters our perception of pain. And since you are a perfectionist, this causes feelings of not being in control, and that creates anxiety........see the cyclical nature of this. It can spiral into a domino-effect out of control or you can stop it in its tracks by changing your mind (thoughts). This is really TMS in a nutshell. Your job is to take charge of these feelings/emotions by conditioning yourself to overcoming these fears and anxieties, and you do this by educating yourself and understanding why this is happening. It is my belief that there is a physiological component to TMS driven by our compulsive thoughts. Just an example: When we are fearful or anxious, the first thing our bodies do is gear up to Fight-Or-Flight. We do this by producing the necessary hormones (adrenaline or epinephrine, cortisol, etc.). These hormones cause every single symptom you have (insomnia, gastro-intestinal, fatigue, aching muscles, joints, tendons, breakdown of tissues, overstimulation of immune cells etc.). See....there is a reason for all of this. These hormones created by your thoughts are there to combat stress. Like Dr Sarno says, "your brain thinks it is doing you a favor".
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, epitomeofhealth.

    I too welcome you to this TMS community. You are doing great, learning about TMS and starting the SEProgram. As fbcoach says, fear and anxiety are he main causes of emotional and physical pain. I learned through reading about TMS that it is very important to live in the present moment... to live in today and not yesterday or tomorrow.

    Dr. Sarno's 12 Daily Reminders are the blueprint to TMS recovery. I also like the extended version by another member of this web community, Herbie:

    Herbie’s Extended Version of Dr. Sarno’s 12 DAILY REMINDERS

    1. The pain is due to TMS. This is real pain or anxiety but it is caused by subconscious tensions and triggers, stressors and traits to your reactions and fears and also when at boiling point your conscious tension can and does also cause real pain.
    2. The main reason for the pain is mild oxygen deprivation. This means that when you get in pain or anxiety then the blood is restricted from going to your lower back, for instance. The blood being restricted causes oxygen deprivation which causes the pain. Remember, where there is no oxygen then there is pain in the body. Also, the pain stays because of fear.
    3. TMS is a harmless condition caused by my REPRESSED EMOTIONS so even though you think you can harm yourself from the years of pain you have felt and how you feel in general -- so far no reports have been heard from TMS healing knowledge causing damage to anyone, it only helps.
    4. The principle emotion is your repressed ANGER -- this means under your consciousness lies something that happens automatically to everyone. TMSers have repressions that are stored because of our personality traits, traumas, stressors, fears, strain, etc... When these stored repressions build and build, then eventually they cause the brain to send pain into your body to keep you from having an emotional crises. The mind-body thinks it is helping you.
    5. TMS exists to DISTRACT your attentions from the emotions, stressors, tensions and strains of your personality traits because if you can get distraction then you won’t have to be in emotional turmoil. When you don't face and feel your emotions and they get repressed because you didn't want to deal with something -- they are just adding up in this beaker, ready to pour over and create real pain and anxiety in your body.
    6. Since my body is perfectly normal, there is nothing to fear. So in reality when I fear the pain or anxiety I just cause myself undo strain and tension adding to the beaker of pain. If I fear, then I feed the pain, If I fear, it’s impossible to recondition. Fear keeps the pain and anxiety alive in the body through focus.
    7. Therefore, physical activity is harmless. If I want to work against the pain I could but it’s better to lose some of the pain so when I start my life over I have to be in pain trying to heal because facing the repressions and all the other activities that cause the pain and reversing my fear and focus to them, then I can heal.
    8. I am resuming all normal physical activity. I don't fear moving anymore. I believe in my body’s ability to heal now. I can move as I want. I will not fear moving with a bent back anymore. I will also practice going out and acting normal again, not in fear of what pain might do to me.
    9. The pain is unimportant and powerless. Its only power is how it is hidden -- its illusion, its fear.
    10. I will keep my attention on the emotional issues. I will think about my emotions and feel my emotions throughout the day. I will not judge, criticize or fear my emotions. I will not run from my emotional issues but face every one of them. I will feel my emotions fully and cry if I need to. Then I will release the emotion and get my mind and thoughts back to my life and living in the present.
    11. I am in control of all of this. This is how I recover.
    12. I will be thinking PSYCHOLOGICALLY AT ALL TIMES. This means I will keep my thoughts on psychological issues like happiness, fear and anger -- traits and triggers, conditioning and journaling -- The science behind mind-body/TMS healing, etc.... This way I will not feed my thoughts to the body -- that is a trick of TMS. TMS will always try to get me to focus on the body caused by the pain until I break its show and flair. When I get my attention off physical symptoms and on to emotional issues and psychological issues then I will not feed the fear of the physical issues anymore, thus making the TMS of no pain effect on the body. This will in return, give us the cure and become pain-free.

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