1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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New Program Day 14: Fostering Empowerment

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. BOP

    BOP Newcomer

    Oh my gosh! This lesson is like 20 memes waiting to be created! Great stuff. I find that I am a super hero at empowerment but have fallen down on outcome independence. And I tend to get a little inner parent hard on myself. But I am most successful when I see my pain as more of a cha-cha. It doesn't stop me - I just keeping dancing through it!
  2. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    The only way to change our relationship with fear is through exposure. By exposing ourselves to fearful stimuli – while taking a stance of empowerment – we can change our neural pathways.

    My experience as a practitioner with EMDR is that exposure therapy is not the only way to change our fear(s). (If you and I believe that exposure therapy its the same thing.) There are many who believe that exposure therapy is not so effective. Without going into a lot of sometimes confusing ideas, please give us your thoughts on EMDR as a tool for TMS to effectively change our fears. Can you offer some thoughts on this? I believe EMDR to be a very useful and effective treatment for trauma and in a broad sense a type of exposure therapy.
  3. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Lainey, thanks for your question. By exposure, I didn't mean to imply exposure therapy in its classical sense. There are many different paths to the same outcome. If I'm not mistaken, the desensitization phase of EMDR is a form of exposure.
  4. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    I never really understood "exposure therapy".. As some things such as, and I hate to be graphic, a house fire, car accident, being abandoned or abused are all traumatic and upsetting events which would naturally incite a fear or "fight or flight response... Perceived as danger and rightfully so. If one has been FEARFUL of illness, injury or health issues all their life and now is experiencing them.. How can further exposure to pain and health issues ease their fear? The TMS IS what is perpetuating ITSELF. I've gotten to the point where I'm labeling myself in an even more unhealthy light by focusing so much on Mindbody Syndrome.. Plus all the physical issues which may not may not be psychogenic. It's very confusing and NO easy way out.
  5. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Lunar, exposure therapy isn't applicable in every situation, but generally speaking it works like this: If someone were in a car accident, their brain may understandably come to associate driving with danger. If this was a problem for them, gradual exposure could help them overcome their fear. Having repeated instances of successful experiences while driving can potentially retrain the brain and help them to come to feel that driving is safe again.
  6. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Thanks Alan for explaining that that, but what of physical pain? How in the world can a person expose themselves to physical pain so that it doesn't create fear anymore?( To me, that "warning bell" when I feel any unpleasant twinge is set on HIGH) I have tried to move despite my pain and yet I still feel hesitant and fearful of all movement, even if I tell myself I've moved this way hundreds of times in my life, it's benign and won't hurt you.. I figured at first, my brain would rebel and resist.. But through persistence, ot would improve... Sadly, it has not.
  7. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Before we're able to tell ourselves that painful physical sensations are safe, we need to believe they are safe. This is one of the reasons that TMS physicians are so valuable. They can help us determine whether our symptoms are psychogenic or due to structural causes. That's often an important step in the recovery process.
    juderocketqueen likes this.
  8. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    My doctors have told me "normal wear and tear" regarding my MRI findings.. I just can't seem to believe all those "findings" are "normal" or asymptomatic... I know I have phobias of health issues and aging... And I've been to several counselors to no avail. MindbodyPT has explained some of my MRI impression to me and while I fully understand a daignosis this way is impossible... It is a comfort to have her expertise since she sees cases like mine on a regular basis.
    Bottom line? My greatest fear? Another back surgery (had one 22 yr ago)... No way would I EVER go under the knife again. People don't realize surgery for back pain has a poor success rate, not only that but if you suffer from anxiety pre-surgery, the odds of failure are even greater... Couple that with according to my surgeon, each time a surgeon removes any tissue from the spine it compromises it's structural integrity... Leading to arthritis and weakening. I have enough structural change, so I'm stuck with what I've got. :(
  9. hambone

    hambone Peer Supporter

    Sounds like you still have serious doubts about the cause of your pain with lingering thoughts of structural damage, etc. When I've been in that position I always go see a Sarno trained M.D. to hear the TMS diagnosis, face to face, from the person wearing the white coat. And I write down exactly what they say e.g. "normal wear and tear" and I read and re-read that every time I start doubting diagnosis. Your doctors have given you a huge gift to tell you it's normal wear and tear. Many doctors will scare the bejeesus out you with dire warnings about your back. You got lucky.
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  10. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I suppose my hesitant reaction to what one of the docs told me is that others didn't share the same opinion, i should have left well enough alone but anxiety and fear are powerful motivators to seek other opinions... And oddly enough, the more medical advice I sought, the more pain I began having... So now, I don't know if 3 years of this means my spinal issues are worsening due to age... Or my nervous system is chronically ramped up or both... Structural issues and psychogenic pain can overlap.. Throw aging into the mix, and the answer is throughly camouflaged...
  11. Kat

    Kat Peer Supporter

    I wish someone had told me that if you suffer from anxiety pre-surgery that the odds of failure are greater! 3 operations later..... I also hadn't known before my first operation that back surgery has a poor success rate. I think it's criminal that patients aren't told these odds BEFORE going under the knife. I am finding it hard to trust traditional medicine these days.
    Kerrj74 and Lunarlass66 like this.
  12. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    My sentiments exactly... I hope that TMS becomes a scientifically proven diagnosis in my lifetime... I completely mistrust traditional practioners too. It's a frightening realization that one cannot take solace even routine check ups anymore.
    I had back surgery too... 22 yrs ago... And did well up until recently. No one told me it could result in further problems later in life. :(
    Kat and Kerrj74 like this.
  13. Ollin

    Ollin Peer Supporter

    I am traveling so I fell behind with the program but still read whenever i can. Since my symptoms got worse about 1.5 years ago I find that slowing down my life helps keep anxiety under control. I also move slower and feel that this is exactly what my body craves - relaxed mindful movement. I don't have cfs but when i am forced to rush my body responds with fatigue. I've never been a sprinter nor aspire to be. But Im good and happy with activities like yoga, hiking , swimming. So if slower movements are good for my mind and body, do I need to challenge myself in moving faster in order to overcome TMS?
  14. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Finally posted my Success Story on Recovery from Insomnia. Hope this helps.

    It took awhile to get done, because as soon as I started to think about writing it, I had a major relapse of insomnia. This same thing happened when I wrote my success story on recovery from pain. TMS is (pick your expletive!) I guess this is a case of doubt raising its ugly head and saying "so you think you've recovered, do you? I'll show you." Gave me an opportunity to practice the techniques again. Working my way back to a good nights sleep. I'll get there soon.
    suky likes this.
  15. jessuckapow

    jessuckapow Newcomer

    Ok... while I think this may be good and safe for some people, for myself and many others it's not. I am a former competitive endurance athlete (rowing, specifically) and what I and many of my former teammates have learned is that we gravitated to sports where we endured SO MUCH pain, as part of the sport because we used it as a form of self-punishment for the immense internalized self hatred we had, whether we realized it or not. I'm finding THIS particular approach almost totally opposite the self loving methods from the last few days. Kinda having a hard time reconciling this one and I'm just glad I know I have this relationship w/ my body and movement to know this one... this one actually spells danger for me because it triggers a whole DIFFERENT pattern of self abuse. Or maybe I'm missing something...
  16. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Jess, Anything we do from a place of self-hatred or self-punishment is going to further activate our danger signals as opposed to deactivate them. Doing something from a stance of empowerment by its very nature comes from a place of enthusiasm, joy, etc. The story with Christie running a half-marathon is just an example of how empowerment can be applied, but if you have experiences where pushing yourself athletically has become tied to pressure, then it'd be a challenge to embrace empowerment while engaging in athletic activity. But there may be other situations that don't have a negative association, where you could embrace empowerment without activating your danger signals.

    Or perhaps empowerment doesn't feel right for you in general, and taking a more soothing approach feels like the most natural path to danger signal-deactivation. It's about finding the right path for you.
    Freedom and jessuckapow like this.
  17. hodini

    hodini Peer Supporter

    Hi Jes,

    I think I know where you are coming from, I am a long distance swimmer. Building endurance can be a knife edge balancing act; between pacing, pushing, making sure one can go the distance. When one competes (I am not competitive) there is always an added amount of pressure. Alan is correct that ones method of training, if it includes, self hatred, or self punishment, is ultimately self defeating and when the competition is stiff you need yourself on your side to win.

    That there is pressure tied to competitive sport is inevitable, how one reacts to the pressure is not. You have choices. One of the reasons why so many world records are set at the Olympic games is because of the pressure but more importantly as Alan pointed out more importantly, how one responds to it.

    When you hear "No pain, No gain" so often, when one hears "self soothing", it might sound a bit incongruous but remember, "No pain, No gain, does not mean, more pain more gain. "self soothing" does not mean self petting. Maybe think of it as self taming and it might not sound so incongruous.
    plum and Tennis Tom like this.
  18. Freedom

    Freedom Peer Supporter

    I can relate. Don't alter your day because of the pain. DO what you would do if you were not in pain
  19. jessicaLee

    jessicaLee Peer Supporter

    I'm mindful of the pain and even speak to the pain and some days that helps but it always comes back. What concerns me as that after numerous doctors, specialist, xrays, mri's and on and on..... is that there is still something physically wrong with me that no one has found. If I accept that I have TMS (which I think and want believe I do) am I ignoring something serious that needs to be addressed? I have debilitating facial pain on one side that leads to neck issues, teeth issues. It never leaves me when I am awake but doesn't bother me when I sleep. I want to believe in TMS but I am having trouble getting there. Really seeking support with this
  20. Camberwell

    Camberwell Newcomer

    27 miles! That's amazing. If you can truly cycle 27 miles without hardly any long term training then frankly there's nothing wrong with you physically, you just wouldn't physically be able to cycle such a distance. Surely that's all the proof you need. You're out in the fresh air, you're focused and your mind is occupied but sitting in a chair dwelling on things and symptom checking is where I fall down.
    Oh, and don't forget DOMS that can easily be mistaken for TMS symptoms especially after 27 miles! Look forward to hearing you've completed 40 miles!!!
    schnurma likes this.

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