Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Aug 1, 2017.
You are welcome. It was taught to me in a mind-body program and makes a big difference.
Just a few minutes ago, I ran across this article a friend posted on Facebook. It's encouraging other sources are beginning to see the MINDBODY connection
https://acestoohigh.com/2016/08/10/childhood-trauma-leads-to-lifelong-chronic-illness-so-why-isnt-the-medical-community-helping-patients/ (Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness — so why isn’t the medical community helping patients?)
That's really interesting, James! It's hard to say for sure, but I'm guessing it is. Our mind is prone to gravitating toward the familiar, whether that's fear or anger or some other emotion or feeling state.
When the pain shoots up, I think one of the earlier suggestions by Alan can help with our brain/body pain responses. So rather than panicking I try the focusing on breath with intermittent attending to the pain, and back again, and also the somatic tracking. Either way, this gives your brain the message that you know what it's up to and you continue to work at reprogramming your brain to not send the message for pain.
You have been through so much. I hope that some of these techniques and the support of the TMS forum participants can help with your recovery. I am amazed at your resilience in coming through to say, yes, this is TMS.
hey @Alan Gordon LCSW do you find that fear thoughts can act this way too?? ive been doing well with fear thoughgs and then ill have a day wherr they are just non stop. but ive been finding they havent been getting to me as much!
Hi Lainey, I just want to thank you so much for replying to my post with such kind words, it brought tears to my eyes and warmthto my heart! Thank you! And I am sorry for your pain as well and I hope that you will become painfree!!!
I went through Dr. Sarno's three month intensive treatment in 1982. He warned us that as we were getting close to being cured, that our symptoms might move around in a last desperate attempt. Exactly what happened to me. As my back pain was almost gone, one day I woke up with horrible dizziness- could not even get out of bed. My sister in law called Dr. Sarno for me and he said- Hang on, your TMS is on its way out. The next day it moved from dizziness to pain in my big toe (no lie) and day three it left my body for good. Extinction bursts.
When pain is caught up in so much medical trauma it takes a while to unspool the learning that we underwent. I have been doing this for about 15 years, in earnest, and 21 total, when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and had been chasing doctors for answers over and over again.
The cognitive work we get to do on TMS, here, is more valuable - and FOR FREE - than anything an MD can give you.
I decided to quit getting thing checked because the more I did the TMS work, the better I felt and that was seldom my experience with the medical profession.
But trauma therapy - EMDR - and griefwork for all the awful stuff that happened in hospitals and doctors' offices - was helpful, too. We need to grieve. It is an important part of life and healing.
Best wishes on the path.
My experience with extinction bursts has slowed with time... and when i do have a burst it is usually a rush of anxiety instead of pain. I made an agreement with my brain/TMS that I would be willing to feel whatever feelings needed to be felt in exchange for being pain-free.
For the most part, it works. I reinforce it each morning in meditation, with the caveat that I hope to continue healing so that I may be of service to others who are suffering. The Universe seems to resonate to service, so I wove that into my TMS recovery.
I do see the TMS as Skinner's rats.
I missed the pigeons in graduate school, not sure why, but was glad to hear Skinner did something more useful than place his own children in a box!
Hi Hambone, Thank you so much for sharing what you went through- it gives me some hope and understanding!
Hi Bodhigirl, thank you so much for replying to my post and sharing your experience! It is so helpful to hear from others. I really appreciate your support, kind words, and advice and couldnt agree with you more!
Hi Bodhigirl- I really love your positive affirmations and the idea of reinforcing it each morning in meditation and offering to serve others- great ideas - thank you!!
Whenever i get intense new pains i reassure myself that it's just TMS biting back and probably extinction bursts. The problem is this was happening for over five years and if anything the pain got progressively worse spreading to other areas. So this idea is no longer giving me hope. Maybe it doesn't matter what this pattern means but wouldn't hopelessness be a block to recovery?
For the first time, I needed to read extinction burst and I am glad I had to come back and read this again. I have had so many symptoms since last 3 years and either they are gone or subsided to an extent where they exist or don't exist doesn't matter. Alan's recovery program is two folds, 1. over fear of pain/symptom and 2. Overcome fear in general in life.
For the longest I know, I have not worried about symptoms, just noticed them and accepted them and moved on. They knock at me but I had reached a place where I had no emotional reaction to them. Complete authentic indifference not from a place of pressure/fear/purposeful indifference but not paying attention to them just became my second nature.
By March of this year, I start realizing the missing piece for why I was not pain free yet. And this program brought that to complete awareness and acceptance. I worked my way to bring myself at safety when it came to pain. But I lacked finding safety when it came to normal situations/people/relationships in life. I had not realized that overall safety is inside me. I resort to people/therapist/google to find safety when its about anything other than pain. But for pain, which usually is the toughest for sufferers, I didn't need to talk to anyone. It had sinked into NOT just my mind but in my DNA, that this pain is benign.
Right around the time, when I was finally figuring the missing piece. Starting finding safety in the bodily sensations by somatic tracking, learning to be mindful. There goes. BOOM. Out of no where, bad pain at the end of tail bone. I have no reason to attach it to structural defect. I know what it is. Had no physical incident to tie to any injury. And I am amazed, how my mind can even think that I will buy into it.
Yes, it hurts. It hurts bad. Its a different area, different pain. But the source is same. FEAR. And just when I type this message, I feel empowered to live happy whether this pain is there or not.
But still out of no where, I have the thought prop up like, could this be from the work out? could this be another symptom that will stick around for several years, could this take me back to disability or that dark place where i have came out from. I have no control of the thoughts that show up. I am not deliberately thinking these thoughts. They just come like a raffle lol. At this moment, I just chose to observe them, notice them and be just indifferent.
My question, if I have the thought, and i chose not to jump on that train of thought, AM I STILL SCARED?? And if I am, then what will bring safety, since I am not chose to generate the thoughts all i chose is not to welcome them, not to open the door, and just let them wear out and leave.
So much experience and wisdom here.
Because of this Forum I started listening to Claire Weekes' audio books. I listen with CDs. The second CD in the 2-CD set in "Pass Through Panic," tracks 7 and 8, deals with what she calls "setbacks." Setbacks can show up as extinction bursts (her language is from the 1960s through the 1980s and can not take into account contemporary usage; but she does speak of patterns of thinking and the brain). In her instance she addresses the return of anxiety and fear as extinction bursts. She's speaking of "nervous illness," not physical symptoms, yet her ideas are applicable to both physical and mental /emotional experience.
Like Alan, I had a physical injury (torn meniscus and Baker's Cyst) after dealing with TMS symptoms on and off for decades. I elected physical therapy / Pilates as an approach instead of surgery. The surgeon had actually recommended that. It took longer than the surgeon had suggested, but I'm happy with the result since it became the basis of a new exercise program as well as dealing with the meniscus tear. However, since then I do notice that I don't immediately think "TMS" with pain or conditions any longer. I do need to go through a longer process now. Nevertheless, the TMS paradigm (and the Claire Weekes paradigm) are still invaluable. Getting stuck in continual fear can not possibly help no matter what. (When I found out that Dr. Schubiner also dealt with a torn meniscus I was heartened.)
As for developing a sense of safety, that, for me, is a long-term process and at my age it may need to continue in my next life time! I do not control my first thoughts and I certainly don't control my emotions. All I can do is respond to them as best I can. If we're following the cognitive approach, we try to think differently. I watched the Amy Cuddy TED Talk and that gives me another approach--how I use posture and nonverbal cues. And all of it is for that moment. I can create a sense of safety in that moment, not for the rest of my life or in general. If I keep working in present time, those brain paths will continue to be "paved" and "landscaped" and strengthened anyway.
Planet Earth isn't exactly a "safe" place. To be alive at all is to be "at risk." Since I'm not a refugee from a war-torn country, I'm ahead of the game; and I must still deal with my own life and the lives (and, increasingly, deaths) of those around me and the current political tensions right here in the U.S. I try to start with gratitude and work within that framework. I haven't faced some of the severe challenges others have in this forum, so I don't want to pretend that I have. However, when scary stuff comes up, for whatever reason, I work at shifting from "Sh*t--I HAVE to deal with this!" to "Okay--I GET to deal with this. I get to learn from this. I get to become stronger or more compassionate or even live with more lightness of heart...from this."
What a great insight.
The answer is - yes, you are still scared. But that's okay. The goal is do exactly what you are doing. The transition from scared to safe isn't going to be sudden but gradual. Keep it up, with awareness and repetition, you can fundamentally change your relationship with fear.
Thanks Alan, as always for your support.
I have no control on thoughts but all control on my emotional response to them!
My TMS pain was always back pain. However, more recently, I was having problems with my voice. So I saw my GP. He ordered a couple tests that came back with no explanation so he said it could be acid reflux and sent me for a scope. At this point, I knew that acid reflux is thought to be a TMS equivalent, but I went for the scope anyway to see what they might find. When it came back with no issues and no explanation, I knew it was likely stress induced (my job was killing me around that time). I feel like new symptoms should always be checked out medically, as they may find a very simple cause and solution. It's when they can't seem to pinpoint what is wrong with you, or they can't seem to find a treatment that helps you, that you can feel more confident that it is probably a TMS equivalent. And at that point, it can't hurt to address it from the TMS approach. Hope that can help you feel more calm as you go through the process of accessing new symptoms. The doctors visits shouldn't create fear, because either they will find a way to help you (which is great news!) or they won't (which is also great news, because it means it's probably just TMS and you can make it go away by yourself). Either way, it will be ok ;-) And ever since I learned the news that they found nothing wrong with me, my voice has been all better by the way!
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