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Day #3

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Barb, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. Barb

    Barb New Member

    I'm not terribly great at public posting.., but I so believe TMS fits me to a T I will do whatever it takes to get better. I stumbled upon this while researching Dr. John Sarno a few days ago and am going thru a session a day. I have read two of his books in the past three weeks and some days I really do feel better, other days not so much but the idea of tension induced is really starting to sink in. In the past year I have been to physio, chiro, acupuncture, osteopath and a surgeon,,, and bought a new car with good seats and a new bed, all to no avail! Thank you for including me, I am very anxious to ride my horses as freely as I did a few years ago,,, before the transfer, big promotion, work and home deadlines, and terrible life altering back pain!
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome Barb! The first time I posted on the forum (WAY back in Sept 2011 - on our old platform) I was quite hesitant, because I had never been involved in an online community before - but there was something quite welcoming about the wiki and the Education Program, and I've never looked back from that first day.

    If you have anxiety, I recommend the second book that I read after Dr. Sarno, which was "Hope and Help For Your Nerves" by Claire Weekes. I picked it up again last night after a really tough day, with returning symptoms and some hopeless thoughts about my ability to get through the rest of tax season without falling apart, and it immediately helped. She reminded me that "anxious brooding" over life events can lead to sensitization, and I realized that's what I've been doing, so I picked up my notepad and journaled for a while, and then I listened to a meditation by Kristin Neff (another favorite) - and this morning I feel WAY better. Last night I didn't think I could possibly go to the gym this morning for my weekly training session, but in spite of staying up late doing all these things, I got there early and was fine.

    It's an up-and-down journey, to be sure, and for many of us it requires regular vigilance to stay on course - but this is the place to find all kinds of great resources to help. I've been posting my favorites to my profile page, so check that out if you like - especially the SoundsTrue interview series that many of us here are really enjoying (Kristin Neff was the first person interviewed).

    We're glad you've joined us - keep us posted!

    Shabda-girl likes this.
  3. Barb

    Barb New Member

    Thank you Jan, really kind of you to answer.... Interesting I just completed day #4 and the words my GP mentioned that have really stuck with me are "you are half way between youth and a wheelchair".., and I believed her.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Don't get me started on docs! Eesh. (But we have some good ones who are members:cool:)
  5. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    A whole pile of well-meaning grown-ups told me there was a Santa Claus once too. Even went so far as to provide me with lots and lots of "evidence" that made perfect sense at the time. Turns out they were all wrong :D Just because we think they know more than we do, doesn't make it true and our beliefs can always change!
  6. EricMd

    EricMd Peer Supporter

    What is this about Santa Claus? Sorry but I still believe. I had been to all the providers listed above with no significant change in my back pain. Initially I was focusing on my back pain but I am trying to focus on being a better friend to myself and to living up to my potential as a person. It is a journey and it has its ups and downs. Keep reading and learning. Dr. Sarno's idea that emotions can cause pain was a break through for me. True belief for me will come when I do not hesistate to do an activity or do not fear I will pay for it later with increased pain. Be nice to the doctors because it goes against everything we are taught. In 1492 people thought Columbus was going to sail of the edge of the earth because the earth was flat. This is despite Pythagorus theorizing that the earth was round in 600 B.C. Let's hope it does not take 2000 years for TMS to be a valid concept!!
  7. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I couldn't agree with you more Eric! I'm right there with you, focusing my energies on being a better friend to myself also. It's such a new concept for me that I'm finding it as fascinating as I found learning a foreign language. The first time I encountered it, the message was no more comprehensible to me than radio static - that might seem an extreme analogy, but it is accurate. Shortly before I discovered TMS, a book about self-compassion was recommended to me. I tried, I really tried to read it. The book was totally written in english (my native language), and mostly using words I was familiar with (it was not directed towards experts in a particular field using "trade terminology" or anything like that) but its message totally escaped me. I remember even commenting to someone else about it that as far as I could understand, the book was basically about being my own best friend and how foreign that idea was to me. I specifically made the comment that if I treated my friends the way I treat myself NO ONE would ever consider being my friend. That conversation happened late last fall and I didn't think anything of it at the time. Presently in my journey (and I completely agree with you - it's a journey, not necessarily a destination) I'm coming to realize just how unfortunate it was that I could honestly express such a harsh statement about myself, completely thinking nothing of it. A true testament to my utter lack of "self-compassion" just a short while ago, and wonderful evidence that I am making progress developing it.

    Incidentally, I wasn't implying that doctors were on par with Santa Claus, I apologize if anyone thought that was my message. Certainly the medical community provides a very valuable service to mankind and there are vast areas where their wisdom undoubtedly supersedes my own. All I meant was that our beliefs are shaped by our trust in the messenger and the evidence provided to support it. When I was encouraged to believe in Santa Claus, all the "authority figures" I had access to were "promoting" that belief and the presents showed up under the tree each year from him. When I was encouraged to stop believing in Santa Claus, all the presents under the tree suddenly started coming from Mom & Dad. My journey has yet to take me to the North Pole. Hopefully one day it will and I will be convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is indeed a Santa Claus!
    EricMd likes this.
  8. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter

    Hi Everyone.

    Just returned from a Day3 'bump' & onto Day4.

    One of my overriding emotional attachments is that
    I do not stick at programs that will enable my health.
    My tendency is to begin & then go back into miserable
    chronic back self, so to return here feels good. I am
    determined (& scared) to continue on.

    My big fear here is that I will get to the end & nothing will
    have changed. And then, I will be stuck with the reality of
    a compromised physical with no hope. A self-defeating
    thought cycle which I have held for thirty years.

    Also unable to give up some of medical residue including
    ongoing pain medication. Uncertain how I might resolve this.

    Keep turning up I suppose.

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  9. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I can completely relate to your fears, as well as your tendencies. I suspect they are fairly common as mostly human nature. There are a few things I have learned so far in my journey that might be helpful to you.

    First, and I think possibly most importantly, make your absolute best effort to reframe your thinking about your TMS journey. See if you can change your mindset from one of it being a "program" to one of it actually being a "vacation". This is actually a very, very well deserved break from rules, "to do" lists, check lists, "must do's" and absolutely must avoids. Do something that is likely as uncharacteristic for you as it was (and often still is) for me - try to take your eyes off the prize.

    Second, I assure you, with utmost confidence that when you "get to the end", EVERYTHING will have changed! That's actually exactly how I plan to know that I've arrived when I get there myself. Reality is only ever your perception at any given time and you're obviously well aware of self-defeating thoughts. They are powerful, formidable opponents, not to mention self-fulfilling prophecies. If you tell yourself (even without realizing that you've done so) that "I will be stuck with the reality of a compromised physical with no hope" then you've left little room for the possibility of an alternate reality.

    Third (which I've just truly realized very very recently), if you are a perfectionist (which you likely are), remember that you have arrived here with all of your perfectionist traits running the show. Don't get me wrong, I can see the value in my perfectionist qualities in certain areas of my life and I am very grateful for them. TMS recovery, however, is one of the areas perfectionism has become a hindrance. Perfectionists (myself included) are notoriously unskilled when it comes to self-compassion. We are determined, we WORK really hard, we don't accept anything less than absolute, and we have expectations - boy do we have expectations - especially when it comes to ourselves. Give Pete a big hug. Cut him a break. He's been through a lot and he's still hanging in there - he deserves respect and admiration for his courage and strength, after all he wouldn't have gotten this far without it. There aren't any magic words or miracles that occur reaching day 37 on or before day 37. Give your diligent student/worker side a pink slip for the TMS work - he's not going to do you any favors here. You'll benefit the most from your TMS journey if you put the Pete who reads on vacation in the driver's seat for this one. Make it as pleasurable a journey as you can. There are no deadlines, there's no graduation, and you might find (as I have recently) that the more you relax and enjoy learning about the fascinating person that actually is you, you actually stop looking for the finish line, just like you don't look forward to the last day of vacation.

    Forth, in the spirit of being kind to Pete, if pain meds help to lessen the pain then right now they are part of the solution. That doesn't mean they will be forever part of the solution. Try to stay in the present (as nearly impossible as that is for many of us). Do your best not to think about 10 minutes or hours or days or months from now, just try to keep your focus on "now". What does Pete need right this very instant to feel loved, valued, cared about, strong, and comforted? And, to the best of your ability, make your very best effort to give it to him. Try not to overwhelm him putting in vast amounts of information or digging up issues faster than you can process them (it's easy to do, I'm very guilty of it myself).
    Happy Healing!

    Incidentally, please disregard the "tms guru" that appears with my avatar. I don't profess myself to be anything of the sort, merely a curious learner who asks a lot of questions!
    Sheree, Karen and JanAtheCPA like this.
  10. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter

    Wow Leslie!!

    V.thoughtful response. Much needed.

    The re-framing of TMS journey is obvious requirement for me
    as I am mired in the medical cause & effect. I 'must do' this to
    'achieve' that & with certain linear milestones. And perfectionism.

    I am a sucker for self defeating self talk. As you say these are powerful,
    both conscious & unconscious, thought patterns. With this outlook,
    my pain journey has a diminishing view of pleasure & achievement.
    My tendency is to give up and look for external excuses. I have
    a sense of inherent & disassocative failure.

    My needs seem almost overwhelming.

    Will look at Day4 & keep plugging away.

    Appreciate your support.

  11. Barb

    Barb New Member

    Oh no think positive,, I thought this was nuts but have poured my heart and soul into it,, what did I have to lose,,, nothing but ongoing pain and it seriously is working Pete.... I am a perfectionist, over achiever, people pleaser, workaholic who figured I had a life full of pain in front of me. I really am better, really I am, not perfect but so much better. I am teaching myself on week five after reading Dr. Sarno's book, to figure out what is going on inside me... I can't believe too how I used to look at everything in life with a degree of tension and anxiety. So glad your are posting. Talk to you soon... Barb
  12. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter

    Hi Barb.

    A real struggle here. My pain is absolutely debilitating. I feel humiliated
    by it all & yep you are right, what have I got to lose. A problem is that I
    have lost all confidence in everything, unable to see beyond my bedridden,
    impossible self. The journey into my inner self has some recognition but
    all seems a bit slow. I cannot believe that I am that mixed up that I would
    sabotage my health to such extent. My unconscious must be a sick, maladpative

    But dont worry I am sticking it out, even though I cant as yet make the
    leap into TMS diagnosis. I tick all the TMS boxes but remain overwhelmed
    in the pain sub-life. I am glad for your improved health.

    It gives me hope.

    Just completed Day6. Will stick it out.

    As you say, nothing to lose.

  13. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Hi Pete
    When I found Dr. Sarno's work and this wonderful site I was at the end of my rope, just as many, many other forum members have been. I don't know if you could find anyone on this forum who can't empathize with what you're feeling. As far as I know, there aren't any wizards or superheroes that post here, just lots of "regular" people (I know I certainly don't have a magic wand) so there is lots of evidence here to support the likelihood that you will get well!!!

    When I started the SEP I was suffering from physical pain that had turned my life upside down and inside out, severe depression, and anxiety all balled up into one. It's really hard to even consider allowing yourself to "hope" at the beginning of this journey. It feels like setting yourself up for severe disappointment, far-fetched wishful thinking of sorts. I have experienced it myself, had a constant loop of "why bother" playing in my head for a long time. I started just by responding back to the "why bother" with the simple fact that I had nothing else to loose, my life was a barely recognizable shadow of it's former self. Plus no one was going to send me a bill for it I actually had less to loose from the TMS approach than I had risked with every "physical" treatment I had tried to that point.

    You're no more "mixed up" than the rest of us when it comes to the sub-conscious. We're all here because our sub-consciouses did exactly what yours did. Logically and rationally, from a grown-up standpoint it certainly does seem like a sick, maladaptive tactic. The key here is to remember two things: 1) MOST IMPORTANT - YOU DID NOT CONSCIOUSLY, INTENTIONALLY do this to yourself!!!! - that would be the work of a sick, maladaptive being, and 2) the sub-conscious does not operate logically or rationally from a grown-up definition, it's perpetually 3 years old and they are incredibly skilled at "mimicking" behavior. I spend some time with a 3 year old each week and the spectrum of "issues" she displays is nothing short of entertaining - a 3 year old with a "back ache" because she watched a few adults in her life sit with extra pillows, heating pads, or use it as the reason they couldn't play with her or pick her up, limping around favoring her left foot when she asked me about an ankle support I was wearing after I sprained mine playing tennis, the sympathy pains she displayed for her mother during the last couple months of pregnancy with her younger sibling. This child knows the names of doctors in her area simply because she has heard them spoke of so frequently. The mission of a young child is simply to be the center of attention, they have absolutely no concept of others outside of the expectation that everyone else on the planet is here to somehow benefit or entertain the child. There's no logic, no rationale, just laughter or tantrums.

    I think it's likely that some point soon (not right now, but soon enough) you will find yourself actually being grateful that the journey into your inner self is slow. It is possible to dig too deep too fast, as much as we all wanted it over with "yesterday", the archeological dig of the sub-conscious is one of those areas where slow and steady actually does win the race. Remember, as displeasing to you as it's methods are right now, it actually is there to protect you. One of the ways it will do that is to prevent you from unearthing everything all at once.

    Hang in there, it will get better. The SEP was far more effective on my anxiety and depression during the first few weeks than it was on the physical pain, perhaps that will be the case for you as well.

    Try simply starting with reframing "having nothing to loose" to I have everything to gain!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  14. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter

    Wow Leslie.

    It is if you have fallen from the sky. Your advice here is invaluable.

    The good news is that I am having my best day in 3months.
    Most helpful was your advice about not allowing the previous
    actions of the subconscious to consume you. I was considering
    it with an adult perspective (& judgement), rather than manifestation
    of the scared, hurt inner child which a TMS person carries. Also I am
    still expecting that I should executing this perfectly on all levels of consciousness.
    Thanks for reminder that my inner child operates as 3yo. This extremely
    helpful & allows me to be a bit more lenient and forgiving in my expectations.
    Perhaps even a bit playful. Now that would be a turnaround.

    I have a long history of attempting to control feelings that are
    not in keeping with my expected adult values. Of course these now
    present as chronic pain. The accumulation here is amplified by my
    great fear of being exposed, a carry over from growing up in a highly
    dysfunctional & emotionally confusing household. And there me, a little boy,
    trying to grow up my father, protect my siblings and maintain to the
    outside world, a facade of family competence and function. My childhood,
    although not without pleasure, was exhausting. At 16, I first began
    to display pain issues, which now I am beginning to understand.

    I do feel grateful for my inner journey which I am now experiencing.
    I feel that, for the first time (just today), I can make mistakes, can be
    vulnerable & can be a person of setback and uncertainty.

    As with you the SEP is assisting with my anxiety issues although I have
    dug a little too deep too quickly & feeling overwhelmed. Fortuantely
    I already have a meditation practice. Also considerable support, although
    at times, I am reluctant to let them in. My anxiety increases just typing
    those words 'let them in'. My little Pete fortress keeps wanting to draw up
    the bridge & return to the isolation of my pain symptoms.

    Anyway, off to Day7.

    Thanks for support.

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  15. Barb

    Barb New Member

    I think,, not really knowing,, but I think it's important to stay connected to this forum and it was for me important to realize I am not alone. Up until now I thought it was "only" me that felt this much pain. What is working for me is believing, and knowing thru X-rays, MRI and ct scans, that I shouldn't feel this much pain,,, that and I am the typical, as written, TMS client. I believe my pain has no basis and its easier to live with this... Today I am sore, but not as much as I was six weeks ago,and I rode my horse today yay!!!! Let yourself believe, focus on the meditating, and I tell myself a million times a day I have TMS and to just move forward.... Keep your chin up Pete,, glad you are sticking with it! Barb
  16. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter


    Chin up alright!

    Got to Day7 & it was a rest day. Phew.

    Had good morning but sore this arvo
    but slowly inching toward TMS acceptance.
    Also booking in with psychoanalyst tomorrow
    which I have been considering for some time.


    ps. Nice work on horse ride.....
  17. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I think we could be twins separated at birth! The childhood you describe could have been mine. Early physical pain, mine was 12 (of course I didn't know it was TMS then). Digging too fast and then getting overwhelmed - guilty!! And reluctance to let anyone in to help and support - that's me too.

    Be as forgiving & compassionate to yourself as you possibly can be. For the longest time I simply could not "do" affirmations because I felt like a hypocrite, like I was trying to convince myself of a lie. Finally I happened upon the phrases "I'm safe" and "I'm ok". I still repeat them to myself many times each day and they haven't felt like lies. I've found recently that I'm able to say even nicer things about/to myself sometimes now and they don't feel like lies anymore either. Baby steps. 4 months ago "self-compassion" was a completely foreign concept to me, made as much sense to me as listening to radio static, but now I'm starting to get it.

    Absolutely be more lenient and forgiving in your expectations of yourself, I suspect that you (as I also am) are your own worst critic. The reality is that you likely consistently exceed the expectations of everyone you encounter, except your own. Perfectionists - we are really really good at setting "perfectly" unreasonable expectations for ourselves and then beating ourselves relentlessly when we fail (because we left ourself no alternative).

    I'm so glad I was helpful to you. We're all here to encourage one another, and your positive outlook & feeling better than you have in 3 months is VERY encouraging to me, thank you!!! (Incidentally, I have more than my fair share of days when I "feel" like I fell out of the sky - or at least off the roof- I know that wasn't what you meant by your incredibly generous compliment, but I couldn't help but laughing when I read it - thank you!!)
    Pain and laughter cannot exist simultaneously!!
    Shabda-girl and JanAtheCPA like this.
  18. Barb

    Barb New Member

    A good morning is so encouraging,,, little gains are the most important Pete, After all how long did it take us to get here... Just booking in with the psychoanalyst is such a positive step. I emailed Dr. Sarno the other dray and he replied,,, to advise, which I knew, that he was no longer in practice but recommended that very avenue to follow. And,,, I too was glad of the rest day!! Off to complete day 11 myself.. Barb
  19. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter

    Yep...pain back today but must remember yesterday morning.


    As you say it has taken so long to get here that it aint
    going resolve itself overnight.

    Got cold feet with psychoanalyst but prompted by Barb's
    response here I sent off email to make appointment.
    My pain levels are at such a level that I fear travel any
    distance. All the more reason to go!! With any extended
    appointment I have lay on the floor. Or hoping, being a
    psychoanalyst, he might have a comfortable couch.

    Currently reading a book by 2 of Dr Sarno's psychotherapist
    Frances Summer & Eric Sherman. It is called 'Pathways To
    Pain Relief'. It is a remarkable work, extremely insightful on
    the psychological mapping of TMS clients. It is only available
    on Kindle at this stage but a worthwhile purchase.

    Also Leslie, you might be surprised that I am a twin.
    My brother Damian took his life 12 years back after long
    drug history, but still v.much in my orbit. I think of him
    often on this journey. I welcome you to us.

    Day8 activities have been testy as involve investigating link
    between emotion & pain.

    Really needed to squeeze on this one.

    Love to you all.

  20. Barb

    Barb New Member

    Well done Pete..., a really big step as you well know. Now remember to celebrate small successes such as booking the app't and not dwell so much on our everyday reality,, after all it took forever to get where we are.. It is only human to expect overnight success which I think is a factor in our inability to heal as we become anxious and tense if we are not making forward progress...think small and and positive. I can't believe how much I have learned in the past five weeks,,, especially to focus on relaxing my tense muscles and what that has been doing to me.. Take care of yourself!! Barb

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