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Day 1 Day 1 of SEP - hopeful but there is a small fear factor

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by shelley_marie, May 10, 2016.


Was your TMS cured instantly after reading about the condition in Dr Sarno's book or similar?

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
  1. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    Hi All

    I posted in the main forum a few days ago about my continual struggle with TMS. As many of you have mentioned, I too feel like Dr Sarno's book was written about me when i first came across it about 1.5 years ago. I have pain daily but more recently the pain in my lower back has got really bad. Feedback from others feel that it could be my 3 month old that is causing the pain (stress of having a new baby) and now not being able to look after her properly (pick her up etc.) and the tiny fear in the back of my head that this TMS won't go away.

    Watching the 20/20 clip from day 1 of SEP made me annoyed that so many people suffer back pain (amongst other pain) and are just being referred for major spinal surgery. I too was offered the fusion but discovered Dr Sarno's book just in the nick of time. Why aren't we shouting about this condition from the roof tops, there is so much evidence and success stories to support the theory!!

    So where am I now.. I am fully, 100% on board with the notion of TMS and fully believe I have it. My worry now is that i have thought this since i read the book and still the pain is there. I have read so many success stories about how people have been cured instantly and it's making me panic a little, which i'm sure is making it worse. I think I just need reassurance that this takes time for a lot of people. I went swimming yesterday in an effort to fight back, I swam 32 lengths of an Olympic sized pool and expected to be in a lot of pain today - of course I am. I'm hoping that the pain gets worse before it gets better...
  2. oceana15

    oceana15 New Member

    Hi Shelley,

    I'm right there with you! I'm on Day 7 of SEP and already I have fearful thoughts like, "what if the pain doesn't go away in a week, or two weeks, or by the end of the program, or in a year??" It seems that treating the pain as TMS is sort of like the last thing we can do, the last option... so many of us find Dr. Sarno's work after having tried all the "physical" treatments/approaches without success. So if this doesn't work, what will?? I guess this is my biggest fear right now.

    Could it be that you still have some repressed emotions you haven't addressed? I'm only on day 7, as I said, but journaling every day for this past week has already helped me so much to verbalize stuff I tried to suppress for years!! (And stuff I thought I was done with, but I wasn't really.) Also, I just got married last week and my foot pain definitely got worse in the weeks leading up to the wedding. So did my anxiety and stress! I was so terrified of being in horrible pain on my own wedding day. But it turns out that during the actual day, my feet definitely got tired but they weren't in terrible pain at all. I was just happy enjoying the moment, so the pain pretty much went away. Of course it came back the next day, but it was much softer and less intrusive. So I think that these happy, amazing events (like a wedding or a birth) can bring on WAY MORE stress/anxiety/pain/fear than we think they ever would or could. I felt, at least, that I HAD to be happy and excited and not anxious at all or I would be letting everyone else down (my parents, my now-husband, my guests, etc). It was a lot of pressure and so my physical symptoms got worse leading up to the wedding. I guess what I'm trying to say is that throughout this process I discovered that it's ok to have mixed feelings about things like getting married and having a baby, which traditionally we are supposed to be 100% happy about. I don't know if that helps AT ALL, but I wanted to share my story and let you know that I have the same fear that the pain will never go away totally... no matter what I do. It's so difficult to move beyond that fear!
  3. Sean

    Sean New Member

    Hi Ladies,
    I'm on day 37 and upon Reflection have noticed a big improvement. My advice is stick with it...also try the runnongpain.com site...he simplifies a couple of aspects...most notably he advised not to dwell on the daunting challenge of rooting out and eliminating complicate repressed emotions but rather advocates thinking about or reacting to the pain in a different way...it really helped me...best wishes
  4. Beamandme

    Beamandme New Member

    Hi. I am back on my first day. I started this journey 2 years back and never completed the full SEP because I recovered before completing the full 42 days. It has been nagging at the back of my mind all this time to complete what I started. I completed up to day 22 the last time. So here I am finally after much procrastination and determined this time to go the full 42 days.

    I encourage you to be patient and give it time. You will be anxious. You will be impatient. You will worry. You will everything that you have written plus more. It's a roller coaster of a journey and you will constantly question and doubt. You will constantly be conscious of your pain. But at the same time, you are reminding yourself that its TMS (though at that precise instance of reminding, you may not fully believe it). You will go through this cycle and you will spend a fair amount of time conversing in your head - questioning, observing, reminding, looking, exploring, worrying, frustrating, fearing, etc. etc.

    But with each passing day without your conscious notice, you are slowly but surely improving. Small incremental steps not discernible to you. Chances are you are wondering why you're not moving (when in truth you have already begun moving the day you arrived at this forum). Your focus and attention is on your pain or discomfort, wondering why it's still there.

    This will go on for a while, till one day you actually catch yourself forgetting to focus attention on the pain. And you realize the pain is not there. It may re appear, but you don't much bother anymore. The tide has started to turn and you will find more and more days when there is no pain present. Eventually the pain goes away altogether. But most important, you have gained enough confidence that the pain does not pose any threat nor create anxiety anymore. And with that, you've beaten the bugger.

    Yes, you will get the occasional visit by mr pain but you know now it's psychological. And the first thing you run towards is searching for an emotional cause. And you will find the cause. And the pain will stop.

    You will fully recover. You just don't know it yet!
  5. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    Hi Oceana15, that has really helped just to know there is someone in the same boat! As well as having the baby I'll also be planning my wedding soon but one step at a time.. The 'if this doesn't work then what will' scares the hell out me too but i guess we can't rub our crystal balls and see into the future, we have to focus on the 'now'. Before i started the SEP i also started doing some journalling a while back but i'm wondering if i need to go over these same issues again (from my past) as i have addressed them once. There are everyday stresses and anxieties i can of course focus on now.

    I'm glad you managed to enjoy your wedding day and it's a great sign that you were able to subdue the pain for that day at least - you know you can control it now and you will get better at doing so!

    Thank you
    oceana15 likes this.
  6. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    Hi Sean, day 37 - wow, that's great! Well done you

    I think i am dwelling a little too much on what i haven't yet rooted out and of course that stresses you out because you think you have forgotten something major that is prolonging the pain! I will definitely check out the site you recommended.

  7. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    Hi Beamandme, i'm encouraged that you did so well the last time but sorry that you've had to check into the programme again. I'm determined to work at this and long for the day when symptoms subside.

    Something that you said has jumped out at me 'But with each passing day without your conscious notice' i forget about the subconscious when i'm doing the SEP and journalling etc. i forgot that there is deeper work going on behind the scenes to help me, so thank you for calling that out and offering words of encouragement!

    I wish you luck the second time around :)
  8. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Shelley. The others have given you very good advice and I add my encouragement. You could probably find a lot of help in TMS healing through meditation.

    Meditation is a time-honored way of relaxing the mind and relieving anxiety, mental stress, headaches, and even physical pain. There are many ways to practice meditation but I have found the most successful to be a technique called the Relaxation Response.

    A friend who is a psychiatrist says about it: “It is so good, so well established. I taught this approach to stressed out teachers, with success! It is simple, not "spiritual," and readily available. This is important: It is the practice, and becoming a habit that is powerful.”

    It is done 20 minutes once or twice a day, before a meal and works best if not practiced within two hours after a meal.

    Just sit, close your eyes, don’t listen to any music, try to avoid outside noises. Let your mind think of a word such as "One " which has no real meaning or association. Say the word silently over and over. At the end of the 20 minutes, picture and feel yourself as you were when you felt your best, and in a place where you felt that way.

    Follow the technique below and see how fast you calm. It is similar to Transcendental Meditation but unlike that technique which many consider to be a religion or cult, and that costs $1,000 from a trained TM coach. The Relaxation Response is not a religion or cult and costs nothing.

    Here is an article about the Relaxation Response and how to practice it:

    Herbert Benson, M.D. documented benefits experienced through traditional forms of Christian and Jewish prayer. Benson published his Relaxation Response” method of stress reduction without the mysticism associated with TM. Short structured rest periods provide health benefits.
    Herbert Benson, M.D.
    Associate Professor of Medicine
    Harvard Medical School
    and founder of the

    Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine
    824 Boylston St.
    Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-2508

    Phone: (617) 991-0102 Toll free: (866) 509-0732

    The following is the technique reprinted with permission from Dr. Herbert Benson's book
    The Relaxation Response pages 162-163

    1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
    2. Close your eyes.
    3. Deeply relax all your muscles,
    beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face.
    Keep them relaxed.

    4. Breathe through your nose.
    Become aware of your breathing.
    As you breathe out, say the word, "one"*,
    silently to yourself. For example,
    breathe in ... out, "one",- in .. out, "one", etc.
    Breathe easily and naturally.

    5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes.
    You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm.
    When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes,
    at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened.
    Do not stand up for a few minutes.

    6. Do not worry about whether you are successful
    in achieving a deep level of relaxation.
    Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace.
    When distracting thoughts occur,
    try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them
    and return to repeating "one."

    With practice, the response should come with little effort.
    Practice the technique once or twice daily,
    but not within two hours after any meal,

    since the digestive processes seem to interfere with
    the elicitation of the Relaxation Response.
  9. Beamandme

    Beamandme New Member

    The meditation exercise suggested by Walt is truly helpful. I didn't think anything so simple could deliver such huge benefits. I get 10 - 20 mins in each morning straight out of bed. And if possible another 10 mins during lunch. It really calms the mind.
    shelley_marie likes this.
  10. oceana15

    oceana15 New Member

    Shelley, yes, there are so many of us in the same boat, it seems! This is why participating in the forum and reading other people's stories is giving me a lot of confidence and hope. Clearly you are experiencing many life-changing events all at once (or in very close succession), which is enough to make anyone anxious and stressed and overwhelmed -- in addition to being happy and excited. I wish you ALL the best with everything!!
    shelley_marie likes this.
  11. shelley_marie

    shelley_marie New Member

    Thanks Walt, I saw you recommended this on someone else's post and thought i'd give it a try. I decided to give it a go whilst my baby was sleeping but of course she woke up and i found i couldn't really relax in case she did just that! I think i'll try again when my partner gets home.

    I think the relaxation is going to be something i really need to work on as my mind is full constantly. Today my back has taken another turn for the worst, i'm guessing and hoping its just the TMS fighting me... time for Day 3 of the SEP!

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