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

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Jtomlinson, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. Jtomlinson

    Jtomlinson New Member

    Hi everyone :)

    This is my first post and my first day completing the structured TMS program. To give you a quick background story, I have struggled with chronic pain conditions throughout my entire life (IBS, insomnia, ringing ears, fatigue, neck pain, back pain and currently chronic headaches), despite various medical tests to rule out any serious diagnoses. I also struggle with anxiety, have a very perfectionist nature, symptoms that worsen with stress and a fear/anxiety around the pain that is often as debilitating as the pain itself.
    I have always had a feeling that my symptoms were psychosomatic, but could never put my finger on what was going on, and continued in the same fear-pain cycle. When one symptom stopped, another would inevitably pop up weeks, months or years later.
    Every doctor I went to told me I was the picture of health, which was reassuring, yet also incredibly frustrating and scary. If I was perfectly healthy, then what on earth was wrong with me? I had a great childhood, loving friends and family, an active lifestyle, did well at school and work, found time to do things I loved. Why did I feel so terrible? After returning early from a trip due to debilitating neck pain and headaches, I finally decided something had to be done. I couldn't continue in this cycle of fear, pain and anxiety, which I knew subconsciously were feeding into each other. This is how I stumbled onto this wiki and the books of Dr. John Sarno. Like many of you, I related to everything written and was so relieved that other people were going through the same thing. Now the big question, what the hell do I do about it?
    Day 1 and I'm scared. I'm worried this won't work. I'm worried maybe it's something like a tumor instead of TMS (ridiculous, I know). I'm worried chronic pain will always be apart of my life. I'm worried that the fear I have will always be bigger than myself. Yet, I'm also done with being scared. I'm done being pushed around by irrational fear and inner judgement from my self critic. I know I am strong, healthy and capable. I know I deserve kindness, patience and self compassion from myself in order to heal. I know I deserve to live a life bigger than these symptoms. That doesn't make the journey any easier.

    Until Day 2.

    Julia x
    birder likes this.
  2. birder

    birder Well known member

    Julia, you're off to a great start. Already you recognize that the fear of the symptoms is often a bigger factor than the symptoms themselves. Start whittling away at the doubt that there might be a physical cause - the pattern you describe absolutely screams TMS. When one symptom disappears and another appears soon after? Distraction pain. Keep working through the SEP. You will be fine.
    The other day I happened to check my horoscope (why not? I'm an Aquarian!) and this is what it said:
    "Sometimes when a disheartening kind of darkness encroaches, we’re right to be afraid. In fact, it’s often wise to be afraid, because doing so may motivate us to ward off or transmute the darkness. But on other occasions, the disheartening darkness that seems to be encroaching isn’t real, or else is actually less threatening than we imagine. Novelist John Steinbeck described the latter when he wrote, 'I know beyond all doubt that the dark things crowding in on me either did not exist or were not dangerous to me, and still I was afraid.' My suspicion is that this is the nature of the darkness you’re currently worried about. Can you therefore find a way to banish or at least diminish your fear?"
    Jtomlinson likes this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Julia and Welcome!

    Like birder, I think you're off to a great start.

    There are many strengths in your self-picture, but here are a few which jump out at me

    -You see how your personality helps create symptoms
    -You appreciate that you're hard on yourself and you want to unlearn this
    -You've been told, and you understand that you are healthy

    Be confident that you're on the right track here. I am.

    The personality traits you know in yourself are the main culprit, more than upbringing or daily stress perhaps. What can be done? Learn, patiently, to love yourself, even the stressed, reactive parts. This is a journey of coming home to your own love. Be patient, and see the small steps along the way.

    Jtomlinson and birder like this.
  4. Jtomlinson

    Jtomlinson New Member

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply to my post. Patience and self compassion are things I am actively working on with my counselor, as we both agree that my nasty inner critic and perfectionism contribute directly to my pain. We are also working on how I react to certain stressors, and ensuring I don't over catastrophize. It's a work in progress, but step by step is the key here!
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  5. Jtomlinson

    Jtomlinson New Member

    Hi Birder,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. You're right, if I pulled away the curtain and revealed the fear fueling my pain, I'd probably find it is no where near as threatening as I imagine. In fact, I would probably discover that all along it was simply trying to protect me from some big, scary thing that doesn't exist. Day by day, I'm working at chipping away at this fear, and learning how to respond to it with love and compassion, instead of frustration and anger. A work in progress, but I'll get there :)
  6. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Julia,

    I recommend The Soul Without Shame by Byron Brown for a serious student of the Inner Critic / superego.

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