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Day 10. Backsliding, rambling and trying to dig deep.

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by jayMck, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. jayMck

    jayMck New Member

    I'm in day 10 right now of the structured program. After 2 pretty good nights, my pain returned and woke me up twice this morning. Once around 3 a.m. I took some Advil and was able to fall back asleep until 5:30. it woke me up again, so I got up, made coffee and working on Day 10 of the program.

    I usually don't sleep past 7 when I'm not in pain, but I'm bummed out that today was Saturday and I really would have loved to sleep in.

    As Ive mentioned in other posts, right now I'm dealing with a diagnosed pinched nerve in my neck. About 5 years ago, during an exam before carpal tunnel surgery, the Dr mentioned that I most likely also had a pinched nerve. Unaware at that point of TMS or John Sarno, I didn't think much about it, or what it even meant, because my hands were really bothering me and I wanted it to stop. At the time, I was working in a bike shop, using my hands all day long. I'm also an avid cyclist and guitarist. Losing feeling in my hands was a really scary thing.

    Well, the surgery helped with the hands. But in hindsight, I can see that it helped because I wanted it too. I really believed it would help.

    For years before before the carpal tunnel episode, I'd been dealing with chronic back pain, IBS, frequent heartburn, foot pain, asthma and allergies. I didn't see any of these things as being related. It just felt like for whatever reason, I was always dealing with some kind of pain or discomfort.

    Over the years I've had all kinds of different stressors in my life and I take things very personally, blame myself, and mull things over repeatedly. From episodes from childhood - where I was called an idiot, in front of the class, by my 6th grade teacher - to dealing with in-laws who still, after 27 years of marriage to their daughter (and two successful sons), don't approve of or understand me.

    Need more? I spent 10 years as a stay-at-home dad. Although I made a point to be a superstar parent, and the best classroom volunteer of all time (especially since I'd spent 10 years previous as a teacher) I still felt daily insecurity and worthlessness because instead of being the successful bread winner, here I was helping out in the kindergarten classroom. Heck, a walking school bus program I started got the school on national TV on Good Morning America. Seriously. They came to the school, filmed us walking and interviewed me. You can google the print version of the story still.

    I still felt pretty worthless though. Then to add insult to injury, a whack job teacher at the school (who it turns out all the staff hated and the principal feared) nearly destroyed my life when she accused me of threatening her - when all I was doing was asking to set up a conference with her. Turns out many parents had this problem with her. She wouldn't meet with them and even locked the door during instruction time so no one could enter the room. I tell people it's a story with more twists and turns than the Tour de France, but long story short, she took me to court. With the help of another parent from the school (a lawyer, who represented me for free) I won. Or should I say she lost?

    I didn't really win anything. Because of the hell we'd been through, we pulled the kids from our neighborhood school and moved them across town. Our school community, our neighbors, even our church were no help. I sank into a depression that lasted several years. To cap it off, a month after moving to the new school, my youngest son had a birthday. We invited a whole bunch of kids. None came. Not one. How do you explain that to a second grader?

    That was 10 years ago. I actually don't think about it much anymore. I'm not even sure why I wrote it now. For a long time I told the story to anyone who'd listen. But then I began to put it behind me and try to move on. I felt like I was burdening people with it. Plus, the son who was in that class is now a super successful college sophomore. My youngest is an equally successful senior sending out college apps.

    But maybe the fact that there was never a resolution, no public vindication or celebration - or even acknowledgement of what a monster that teacher was - is still down there simmering in my own personal pressure cooker of rage?

    Anyway, after ending my tenure as an at-home dad, I tried to get back into teaching, but I didn't have the drive or the needed self-confidence anymore. That episode made me question and doubt everything I ever believed about myself. I won't pull any punches: that woman was evil. But I let her convince me that it was because I was an idiot. I was stupid. I was worthless. Just like that 6h grade teacher.

    In some ways, it feels like my life is spent trying to prove I'm not worthless. Am I trying to prove it to them? Or to me?

    After that I spent 3 years working in a bike shop. Then 3 years working as a freelance copywriter in a small ad agency. When that job started getting dicey - not getting paid for months at a time - I started searching for a new job. Not many options for a 52 year old male with degrees in English and a Masters in Education, who's effectively been out of the work force for years and who doesn't want to teach. So, right now I'm working at the public library.

    I like the work. I like my coworkers. I like my boss. But it is hard sometimes when I ask myself, how did I end up here? Is this where I wanted to be when I was a kid? Is this my final destination, the new guy, working with people young enough to be my kids? Are my sons proud of me? Do they tell their friends I'm a library assistant?

    I don't know. Maybe this is where the recent flare up of my neck and IBS are coming from. I've been at the job for 7 months and my neck and IBS didn't bother me before that. At least that I remember. My need to be liked, be successful, for approval is on full-tilt when I'm at work. But it's hard being 52 years old and having to prove yourself every day.

    So this is long and rambling and I'm clearly searching. But to back up, I suffered 20 years of chronic back pain before reading Sarno. And now I can ride my bike - fast and far - without back pain. So I know TMS is real. I know my neck will get and stay better. But all my life I have dealt with something - asthma and allergies made my life miserable as a child and young adult. In my 30s I developed back pain. In my 40s it was IBS, heel pain and carpal tunnel. Now in my 50s it's my neck.

    All I can say is that TMS is sneaky. But in the last year and a half since reading Sarno, I feel like I finally know my enemy. And I'm making progress.

  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, JayMck. In this terribly economy and job market, you are doing fine as a library assistant. That is a very respectable job and one that helps you and your family and others. Your pains sound more like TMS than anything structural. You need a big boost of self-confidence. You have a terrific background in education. I know teachers of different levels who are laid off.

    It's great that you can bike far and fast without pain. That alone is something to be thankful for.

    Kevin recently posted about his 95 percent success from the SEprogram and followed that up a few days ago saying he is 100 percent pain-free.

    I hope it gives you some confidence that the program will work for you. Try not to please everyone all the time. That is a common cause of TMS pain.
    Your pain has moved around and come and gone because your subconscious still thinks you are repressing emotions... probably anger.

    Kevin healed 95 % from SEP

    Welcome to the SEP and to the path of recovery. I am on my final two days of the program and I can say with complete confidence that I am a changed man. I started after 6 months of nasty low-back/butt/leg pain, could hardly walk, stand, etc. was in physical therapy, chiropractor, acupuncture, pain medications, etc.. the usual. My MRI showed 3 disk bulges/herniations touching nerves, so that is what I believe it to be....that is until I read Dr. Sarno and found this site.

    I encourage you to really get involved, follow the instructions, do the journaling, take time to read all the suggested readings, and watch the videos. I'd say I'm 95% cured. There is still some very light lingering "annoyance", but I still have some work to do. I've been walking miles with hardly any pain these last few weeks. But even more, if the pain comes on now, it just doesn't bother me like it used to, I sorta just see it, acknowledge it, and go about my business. It took working the program to get to that point, but 6 weeks compared to 6 months is nothing! I made more progress in the first week than I did from two months of PT!!! It's going to challenge you and your "beliefs" in medicine, but you have nothing to lose. We generally wind up here when all else fails.

    So give it a shot, especially before considering anything invasive like surgery. If you put the work in, you will get better. Have you read Dr. Sarno yet? I assume you have since you're here, but in case you haven't, definitely readHealing Back Pain. Again, it will challenge everything you've believed about your pain, and backs in general. You'll be encouraged to resume life as normal, i.e. stop ALL "therapies" (PT, chiro, etc.), stop taking medications, and most importantly, stop thinking STRUCTURAL problems are the cause of your pain and shift to psychological as the reason.....again, this can be difficult and takes some time to sink in, so be patient and kind to yourself.

    It was a process for me. A few of the bigger moves in my case were: I ripped up and threw out my MRI test results (I found myself obsessively reading over them and comparing them to other results I could find on the web and even here on the TMSwiki site...); I got back to the gym and stopped using a weight belt; and I even cancelled an appointment I had made with aTMS doctorbecause it was more than a month away and it was hindering my recovery (that is, my 100% belief in TMS was lagging because I had this pending appointment, but as soon as I cancelled it, my recovery sped up significantly). Everyone's journey is unique to their situation, but I've found that really committing to the program and brining what I learn from it into my daily life has had profound results. Also, sharing along the way here in these forums has been extremely helpful - there's something about knowing that you're not alone in your TMS recovery that really helps. I encourage you to look through my past posts for some insight into my experience with SEP. Like I said, I'm just now finishing, tomorrow is my final day, and I feel like a changed person. It's amazing. And I feel as though it is something that one carries on with, not just like a one time 6 week thing and that's that...it has helped me to get to know myself and taught me tools to "deal" with my emotions. Learning and accepting TMS is a life changer for sure.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    This really touches me jayMck. How we all want to be seen, and seen as good enough...I love what Walter says, that in this economy, you're doing fine.

    The sense that we are not enough is universal. You have had life events, and your personality is such that this is being exposed. You're aware of this desire, and the suffering around it.

    To me the only healing for this is self-compassion, which may not ever be permanent, but which you can experience, and train yourself in. It is a great experience to really be seen and loved right in your suffering, and in your joy. Good luck in your journey.

    Andy B.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. jayMck

    jayMck New Member

    Thanks, Walt and Andy. You guys are really encouraging.

    Just got back from a 25 mile tandem ride with my wife - our weekly date. My neck was sore as we rode and I worried a lot, but we talked for at least 45 minutes of the ride about all the stuff I wrote about above and what I've been discovering about my pain.

    I feel blessed to have people who listen.

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Jay, once again I really enjoyed reading your post, because you write so well - and of course I had to look up the walking school bus story (I had no idea, very cool)! You're just as well-spoken when being interviewed for national television!

    It occurs to me that in some ways, it doesn't take a lot of creativity or motivation to get up and go do a job every day - many many people do that, we know what we need to do, and we do it with varying degrees of success. But you - given the time and the freedom, you became a mover and a shaker, an organizer and a leader, AND you're not afraid to take risks. Those are all enviable personal skills that the vast majority of people do not have. I applaud you. And I agree with Walt and Andy - give yourself credit, compassion, and love. You deserve those things, and you deserve to heal.
    jayMck likes this.
  6. ken v

    ken v New Member

    Greetings Jay!

    I am fellow teacher. 25 years in the classroom. 22 years of that with Sacroiliac Joint. As of January my pain has spread all over my back and I had to resign from the classroom. Have similar stressful stories about live with students, their parents, colleagues and administration (and church)! Read Sarno for the first time last week. I have just reached Day 5 of the SEP program. Look forward to following your progress. Man I hope this works!

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  7. jayMck

    jayMck New Member

    I can honestly tell you that it works. I suffered 20 years of chronic back pain that I was sure was the result of lifting things the wrong way, not resting my back when it was sore, not strengthening my core...all the stuff they tell you to do. Chiropractors, physical therapy and drugs didn't help.

    After reading Sarno, and experiencing 2 pain free years, I'm back doing the SEP for neck pain ( I've had it on and off for years. It was just never as bad as the back pain). I'm in Day 17 and I can see positive results. Just spent 2 pain free nights (even after a 25 mile bike ride yesterday).

    I'm hit and miss right now, but I feel like a car engine...you know when you crank it and crank it and just about turns over?

    I can feel it. It's gonna turn over!

    Don't give up!

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I like the positive mantra of tennis pro Arthur Ashe: "Never give up, no matter what the score is!"

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