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Day 1 Saying Goodbye to Chronic Migraine/Pain

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by LizzyBennet, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. LizzyBennet

    LizzyBennet New Member

    This is my first day and I am excited and scared as hell! I'm a 36 year old married mother of three girls, who has been struggling with daily migraines for about 3 years now. Migraines are my main problem, but I also struggle with IBS, shoulder and neck pain, fatigue, and tendinitis. I fit the Dr.Sarno's TMS personality type to a T and I know that psychological struggles manifest themselves into physical symptoms. I am a high school nurse and I see it in my students all the time who are Type A personalities, or are depressed or have anxiety.

    It's weird because while I except the diagnosis, I'm having a difficult time believing this will work for me. I have spent SO much money on medical care trying to get better, and tried so many modalities, HOPE has become an obscene four letter word to me.

    Most people on here seem to have back pain as their primary symptom. Does anyone else here have migraines/daily headaches?

    I thrive on human interaction and am really hoping to make some friends that are interested in taking this journey together. Everything is easier when you have a friend, and I feel very alone with this struggle. I don't tell my co-workers how I feel because I fear for losing my job, but there are days that I feel sicker then many of the kids I'm sending home. I want to curl up on the cot in my health office and take a nap! I want "Mom" to come pick me up and nurse me back to health! It's difficult always being the caregiver, especially when you feel sick and queasy much of the time.

    Side note: When I'm not stressing out about pain, I do improv comedy. I wish I felt all the time like I do when I do improv: Happy and FREEEEEEEE!!!!

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
    Saffron likes this.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Lizzy,

    Welcome to the Forum!

    I had migraines for over 50 years, and had times when I had them daily or every other day (chronic migraine). After using TMS healing strategies, I no longer get migraines, and have only had two in the last 3.5 years. Recovery is possible! You are on the right track. You can read my Success Story on my profile or in the success stories sub-forum.

    Best wishes..........
    Saffron likes this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Lizzy and Ellen.
    Lizzy, you are a high school nurse and see students with TMS symptoms. That can trigger symptoms in you, too. A niece is a high school counselor and she gets stressed out by her work.

    My mother had bad migraines and now I am sure they came from financial stress. I wish she had known about TMS. It could have helped her deal with it.

    It's great that you do improve comedy. I'm sure you know the benefits of laughter. You might find some interesting things in this article:

    The Power of Laughter and Smiling

    Although there are no quick fixes for anything in life, remarkably, a good laugh can instantly begin to reduce these nasty stress hormones that are intertwined with anxiety. Laughter gets to work immediately, and a regular “diet” of laughter continues to decrease anxiety over time.

    How is it that laughter can reduce anxiety when anxiety is no laughing matter? The act of laughing is similar to deep breathing in its ability to increase the oxygen in our bodies. Coupled with reducing stress hormones, the increased oxygen in the body helps lead to muscle relaxation. All of this helps reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety.

    As it turns out, the human brain is wired to respond positively to laughter and smiles, generating ‘feel-good’ chemicals. The wiring is so strong that the brain responds even when we smile at ourselves in the mirror or simulate laughing with enthusiasm. You can even stretch your mouth into a smile shape by using a chop stick or a pen across the mouth to pull back the corners.

    There is a complex reciprocal interaction between the body and the mind and what happens in one reflects in the other. If you change the quality of your thoughts, you will feel a change in body behavior. Conversely, if you bring a change in your body behavior you will experience a change of your mental state. All physiological functions are connected. Stress or relax one and you will stress or relax them all. In the bigger picture: Stress or relax your body, and you will stress or relax your head.

    When we smile for example, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness. Interestingly enough, this effect works both ways. The release of dopamine when we feel happy causes us to smile, and the mere act of smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, which in turn makes us feel happy.

    Laugh your worries away

    This is not just about dopamine. Laughter causes the body to release into the bloodstream high concentrations of different hormones and neuropeptides related to feelings of happiness, bonding, tolerance, generosity, compassion and unconditional love. Let’s call this a joy cocktail.

    The presence of this joy cocktail precludes the production of other hormones and neuropeptides that are related to feelings of hatred, fear, violence, jealousy, aggression and the emotions associated with war and oppression. It is impossible to sustain feelings of hate and the desire to fight with someone with whom you are laughing unconditionally.

    When you change, the world around you changes. When you feel good, you are more likely to address the challenges you have to face constructively and with a positive attitude.

    Why better moods = better health

    It is said in the King James Bible “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

    This is still a modern medical statement. You may have heard the claim that the issue with many people is not what’s wrong with their body, but that they have a broken spirit. People usually don’t die of cancer, chronic ailments or other similar causes but of depression. Here is why:

    We now know that the brain and immune system represent a single, integrated system of defense, and that our moods and emotions affect our health.

    In 1985, research by neuropharmacologist Candace Pert revealed that neuropeptide-specific receptors are present on the cell walls of both the brain and the immune system. This showed their close association with emotions and suggested mechanisms through which emotions and immunology are deeply interdependent. Showing that the immune and endocrine systems are modulated not only by the brain but also by the central nervous system itself has had an impact on the understanding of emotions as well as of disease.

    Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can impact the body by bringing more stress into the system and decreasing its immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts and emotions trigger neurochemical changes that reduce the immunosuppressive effects of stress.

    This is why reliable and sustainable therapeutic approaches to laughter such as Laughter Wellness and Laughter Yoga are so important. It disrupts the cycle of negativity and promotes a happier mood state. This has a lot to do with the fact that dopamine (which floods into your system when you are positive) has two functions. Not only does it make you happier, it turns on all the learning centers in your brain, allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way.
  4. LizzyBennet

    LizzyBennet New Member

    Thank you Walt and Ellen for your support and replies!

    Ellen, I went to your success story and am stunned between the similarities that it has with mine. I didn't mention it, but I also have endometriosis. Two years ago I had stage 4 endo and had it removed through surgery. I was elated, I'm going to finally feel better! No luck though, the surgery left me with a painful recovery period and no improvement with the painful cramping or IBS. I haven't gotten a hysterectomy but I'm hoping not to. Right now I'm taking my third different kind of birth control and am finally getting relief from the endo.

    I started nursing school a few years ago with the intent to help others (much like you with acupuncture), but I remember starting the program and telling one of my friends, "I just have this feeling that I'm not going to be able to finish nursing school." (I was panicking because the migraines had increased when I started school.) Fast forward to the my last semester of nursing school, it's Christmas break and I develop a sinus infection. I was upset because I had been popping ibuprofen and drinking caffeine everyday to prevent migraines in school. Over break I had quit all the meds and was still having a headache/migraine everyday. I don't know if this made me depressed or if it was Christmas break. In nursing school I was so happy! I loved being with my friends, feeling like I had a purpose and being challenged everyday.

    Any who, my immune system was beat from wearing myself thin at school, taking care of my diabetic, daughter, and caring for my father, who was living with us and has bi-polar. I know now that I was filled with an inner rage at having to be a caregiver to everyone (ironic that THIS was the premise of the profession that I was going into!). The sinus infection was so severe that I permanently lost part of the my hearing in one ear and developed tinnitus. This was a very dark time for me and I left school on medical leave.

    The next year I was very happy to go back to school and finish my degree, despite the development of IBS, tinnitus, endometriosis and daily headache/migraine. I was terrified I wouldn't make it through due to IBS (this shows the power that I give to these symptoms. IBS was a new one but it gave me something new to fixate on and obsess over.) Fortunately I made a good friend who was already in the program on Facebook, who also had IBS, and she was very encouraging.

    Graduation day was wonderful! I was so happy, and so stressed!! I got all the kids ready, and myself, and my dad, and my head was exploding. I remember wanting to enjoy my graduation but all I could focus on was trying not to vomit.

    Walt, you mentioned about being a nurse and seeing all of these TMS symptoms, and how they trigger them in myself. They probably do, in that when I see a young high school struggling with the same pains I have it makes me feel terrible. I get angry at myself because here I am the nurse and not only do I feel sick, but I'm not helping them get any better either!! This makes me feel like a failure, enforcing the inadequate feelings that underlie TMS. Just typing this, I can't believe how much everything is connected.

    I believe Dr. Sarnos is right, there are so many frustrations and conflicts that build up within us. The anger and emotional pain has to go somewhere! I feel like no matter what I'm doing I SHOULD be doing something else. eg My daughter is keeping me up late telling me about her troubles from the day. This makes me feel valued that she is confiding in me. HOWEVER, I am raging inside because I am tired and I just want some time to myself. My desire to be a good mom is conflicting with my desire for some time to myself. I see this same pattern play out in different situations everyday.

    I've been journaling a lot, and reading the 12 principles everyday. I think I'm making headway, but then I discovered I developed a new TMS condition. It's so SNEAKY!! I've been itchy, in random spots, sporadically, all over my body since I read about TMS this week. I began wondering this morning if it was TMS. I started paying attention to my thoughts and then I realized each time I was itchy, immediately before the sensation I was feeling inadequate or having a fearful though. It's a new distraction!!! I'm so proud of myself for catching it.

    Thank you Walt, for the article on Laughing and Smiling. I'm going to share it with my improv friends. I believe it that laughter and smiling produces dopamine. I've been taking improv lessons for a year, but yesterday I performed in my first ever improv show. It was great and we all had so much fun!!! I couldn't stop smiling all day, and even now I'm smiling just thinking about it! There is definitely a connection from the mind to the body, and vice versa. Improv has given me something to look forward to in life. A place with no expectations other then to have FUN! The best part about improv? When you have a good time, the other performers do too, and in turn, so does the audience!! Laughter and smiling are contagious : )

    I hope to get know you both more as I go through this journey. I was beating myself up the other day because I missed Day 2 (or rather hadn't done those specific exercises yet). I realized that I was doing All-or-Nothing thinking and this wasn't helping. So I'm back on board! I'm going to be diligent, but also forgiving of myself when I fall off the wagon. After all, I'm only human, not a "Perfect Mommy/Wife/Daughter/ Nurse/Friend/TMS student Robot". Thank you very much Ellen and Walt for your support.
    Ellen likes this.
  5. Avy

    Avy New Member

    Hi Lizzy!

    I'm sorry that you are struggling but if it helps for you to know I'm dealing with similar problems as you.I have known about TMS for about 9 months, but this summer I developed daily headaches and migraines, horrible stomach problems (nausea, acid reflu, pain etc), anxiety.. Even though right now I'm dealing with a relapse, I started to have prolonged periods of time when I feel better. Daily meditation, yoga and some other techniques are helping me, but when I'm not persistent and regular with it I get relapse. You just have to find what works for you and stick with it.
    Saffron likes this.
  6. LizzyBennet

    LizzyBennet New Member

    Hi Avy, thanks for reaching out! I too am finding some relief with yoga and meditation. Journaling has been a big help too. Through writing I'm better able to uncover some hidden emotions towards myself and others that I am struggling with. I am a huge bully, to ME! I blame myself for problems with my kids, co-workers, friends, etc., and it's not fair. I try to make everyone happy but now I'm stepping back to find more of a balance.

    I think the hardest part is realizing this is all a process and we will have setbacks. It's not a straight climb up the mountain, so while we are still climbing up it on a daily basis, we will encounter plateaus and valleys along the way.

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