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Day 1 Day 1 SEP, but three months in

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Aldoah, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. Aldoah

    Aldoah New Member

    I have had what I now consider to be TMS symptoms for I guess around 10 years or so. Mostly, it's been lower back pain, but also anxiety, problems with "missed" heartbeats, migraines, asthma as a kid, sciatica, body aches. I have been through the usual stock of chiropractors, sports doctors, masseurs, physios etc. None of it has worked but has certainly lightened my wallet. My chiropractor x-rayed my back about 5 years ago but found no structural abnormalities but diagnosed one leg longer than the other - and then proceeded to crack my back. Great.

    I had my introduction to Dr. Sarno in January and have been reading on the subject since then. I have been through Alan Gordon's program, I meditate everyday and am slowly development mindfulness. All of it has worked well. After 3 months I would say I have had a 50-60% reduction in symptoms. I still get mild anxiety everyday and still have back spasms, but overall I am much improved. I would like to see a full reduction in symptoms, but I'm kind of content to move along as I am, not rushing things. I do get overwhelmed very easily and early on when I felt I had to do everything TMS, I experienced a lot of frustration. But I took a step back, moved away from the TMS forum and settled myself into some regular reading, journaling and meditation. I am much more comfortable now but still get a little obsessive now and again. I am hoping that the structure part of the SEP will curtail my obsessiveness somewhat. It's good to read and educate yourself, but I think for certain people it's easy to get lost in the information which then just leads to frustration and a potential worsening of symptoms.

    I am at a point where I am wondering what more I can do to alleviate my symptoms and have been considering a psychologist. My work benefits only cover the services of psychologists and I live in Toronto where there seems to be very little acknowledgement of TMS or resources available. At best, I maybe able to find a good psychologist who is receptive to my TMS and to mindbody medicine. Any advice on this would be much appreciated.

    I still wonder if I have fully accepted the TMS diagnosis. I still catch myself sometimes thinking about the structural. Naughty me. I am quick to correct myself. Of course, I am jealous of all the 'book cures' but also realize the value of patience and reading about the folks who have taken months and even years to fully recover does encourage me to keep going. In a way I am thankful for TMS - it has brought me to meditation and mindfulness which has improved my outlook no end. I am closer to my family, less irritable, more accepting and patient. I firmly believe that mediation and mindfulness are valuable tools in combatting TMS symptoms. I generate less anger consciously but I believe this also has a soothing effect on my reservoir of rage. The pot of unconscious anger is less prone to boiling over.

    Still, I may have some work to do on full acceptance of the diagnosis and I think that there maybe deeper issues that can only been resolved with the help of a psychologist. I do journal, but I don't experience any great emotion when I do. Journaling has not been a particularly valuable exercise for me so far.

    Anyway thanks for listening and good luck!(I am deliberately not spell checking this!)
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi. I'm not sure you need to see a psychologist. They just listen to you talk, and you can talk in your journaling. Save your money. You do not yet believe 100 percent in TMS causing your symptoms. That is essential in order to heal.
  3. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi aldoah,

    Welcome to the forum! It's great you have had such a reduction in symptoms already. There is a huge amount of variability of healing times on here from a few days to years. The cure being knowledge and "unthinking" your pain patterns, this is so variable and individual on how long it takes. Be easy on yourself with this.

    First, what do you think Is holding back your belief? Keep reading success stories, TMS books and articles to help this. Look at the evidence given, it will help.

    Regarding emotions- sometimes journaling can be more of an intellectual exercise than emotional. Mindfulness may also be helping you become more self aware of your emotional states and when rage is occurring.

    If you still want to see a counselor to talk through issues I don't think it's a bad idea, many of us have done this and been helped from it. It doesn't have to break the bank if your insurance covers it too. This is just another tool you could use to become more self aware if needed. A good therapist will do more than just passive listening and will help guide you to insights or problem solving.
  4. Aldoah

    Aldoah New Member

    Thank you both for the sage advice.

    Walt - I'm not sure I need to see a psychologist either. I just wonder if I have some hidden emotions that my journaling just isn't dragging out of me. Still, I'm not going to pursue this avenue yet. I think I have accepted the diagnosis to 90%, but I do find my mind wandering to the physical sometimes.

    MindBodyPT - I think your point about journaling also being an intellectual exercise is going to be a great help as I always kinda thought that I should be getting really angry or sad about things, when most of the time, I'm just not feeling it.

    I have been working on TMS since January, but I must admit that the last few weeks have been a little less intensive - thinking that I had accepted the diagnosis entirely, I had limited myself to reading Sarno's books and his 12 points whilst really plugging away at the meditation and mindfulness. I think I need to be doing more on TMS - the SEP is certainly helping me with this. I am also putting in a bigger effort to think psychologically, and rather just reading about TMS, I am taking time to stop and think how things apply to me. I think I also have some fear to conquer.

    Thanks again.
  5. Aldoah

    Aldoah New Member

    Well, I'm adding further to the TMS Forum post as suggested in the SEP day 3. I haven't really stopped exercising at any point while I have had TMS problems, but I have stopped doing certain things - squatting, deadlifting. I am still running and am just starting up some body weight strength training again with an eye on some weighted squats and deadlifts in the future. I think there are certain exercises that deep down I still fear - deadlifts, squats especially as I always associated that doing these exercises in the past was what caused my back problems in the first place. So, I have to get over this fear and go back at it.
    I ran today and felt good. Sure I'm getting little niggles in my back, but I'm trying my best to think about the emotional cause rather than being drawn into thinking about a structural issue. The brain is kind of savvy like this - planting seeds of doubt, which I usher out of my mind by telling myself that I do not have a structural abnormality that the pain is there as a distraction, and that it is simply a case of mild oxygen deprivation. Right now I'm looking forward to playing some frisbee with my kids when the weather improves.
    I am confident that I am progressing well with my recovery at this point. When I go for long walks now, I no longer have the burning nerve pain that I used to get or the wound tight as a corkscrew lower back. My back usually feels pretty relaxed and free. I still get mild spasms and a feeling of weakness now and again. I feel that these are some of the last things to conquer.
    Once again, thanks for the support from the TMS Forum.
    MindBodyPT likes this.
  6. Aldoah

    Aldoah New Member

    I am going to add to the thread again, as a means of journaling I guess. It helps me, hopefully it will help others.
    Journaling still feels a little strange to me - something of a chore. I'm not sure I'm getting too much out of it. Following the SEP and journaling through past and childhood experiences does not elicit much emotion, but it does set me to thinking, so it's good as an intellectual exercise. I can't seem to generate a whole lot of sadness about my childhood. I was bullied for a couple of years, hated school, had tremendous separation anxiety from my mother (my father had left home when I was a baby). I intellectualize everything rather than feel any great emotion. And yes, I have a picture of myself as a young fella, and no, this doesn't bring any great emotional reaction. In fact, I feel rather indifferent to myself as a child. Perhaps, this is an indication as to why I have a constant nagging, bullying, pressuring voice in my head, which is where all my journaling seems to lead back to and the one thing I can feel real emotion about - anger and rage at this bully that is always on my back about things I haven't done and need to do, about my physical appearance etc.
    This is month 4 of the great TMS realization for me and I'm still working on accepting the diagnosis fully I think. I still have a habit of sometimes thinking physically, but it's gradually decreasing. Working hard on thinking psychologically. Following the SEP, journaling, reading success stories, reading the Sarno books. I have the Ozanich book too, but for me it's tough to get through. I think I prefer books with some structure, where as the Ozanich book is almost stream of conscious writing. Very hard for me to follow and get much out of. Of course, I'm still meditating and staying as mindful as possible. This helps with current stresses and allows me to keep my pot of rage on a gentle simmer rather than boiling over.
    This morning back to work after the Easter long weekend. Anxiety is a usual TMS symptom for me, so I have some of that, as well as the usual, pretty mild lower back pain, and also a new pain - in the top right of my back. The symptoms I have are a good indicator that work is a big stressor for me - anger, resentment, fear. Still, onward and upward. Back at the gym today, riding my bike and relaxing about life.
  7. alamobecky

    alamobecky Newcomer

    Hi, Aldoah. Regarding your journaling -- if you're doing it online, I find it helpful to really access emotion by not looking at the screen while I'm typing away. I got a little weepy yesterday while journaling and my middle name is Stoic.
  8. Aldoah

    Aldoah New Member

    So, back to the SEP and Day 8 after taking quite a few days to read the information for Day 7, which was supposed to be a day off, but all well and good. I needed to take a few steps back as my obsessing is coming through and creating a lot of anxiety and some pain. There's just so much information and so many different authors and their methods, it's hard for someone who obsesses like me. Yesterday was tough, lots of bad issues to deal with and quite a lot of back pain. Still managed to get in a run though. Today, will be better.
  9. Aldoah

    Aldoah New Member

    Took a day off all things TMS yesterday and gave some thought to staying it off it for a while. My thinking being that, perhaps if my attention was not drawn to it, I may begin to forget about the pain in a different way. Did not work for me. Last night and this morning I was so pre-occupied with the pain and Alan Gordon's paper on breaking the pain cycle. I convinced myself that there was no way I was going to break this cycle and my mood flattened. Later this morning I read some Sarno and determined to continue the TMS work, my mood brightened and pain alleviated. It was still there - I'm not sure if it had decreased, or whether my attention was suddenly not focused on it so much - but what a change. Had a really crappy day too, trying to fit a door in my daughter's bedroom really got my rage pot boiling, but still managed to maintain a good mood and my pain was okay. Proof positive - at least for me - that my pain is really just a psychological construct, capable of being alleviated simply by reading some of Sarno's words and simply believing in the TMS diagnosis and working through it, knowing that more reading, journaling, and committing to the SEP will see me through. A great revelation for me today - a big fat check on the evidence sheet.
    alamobecky likes this.
  10. alamobecky

    alamobecky Newcomer

    Getting your rage pot boiling might be a good thing. Isn't the way past TMS accessing and honoring our feelings? Im no expert on this but I'm curious about your maintaining a good mood with your rage pot boiling? Seems to me if you were honoring your feelings, a good mood would run counter to that.

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