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Day 4 - "Are you sure it is not all in your head" - YES, it hurts!

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by jamiemakena, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. jamiemakena

    jamiemakena New Member

    I was impacted the most negatively when a doctor told me "Are you sure it is not all in your head". Her words have made me frequently say to myself, "maybe it is in my head" making me feel powerless and "less-than" others.

    Besides IBS, neck pain due to extreme tension in my neck, the beginning stage of "Lock Jaw", and anxiety/depression, I have been diagnosed with over-use syndrome of my right fore arm. When I feel really horrible the pain can feel like electrical volts going from my elbow area all the way down to my hands and my fingers often turn numb. It is also labeled tendinitis, however it is not the same as the common diagnosis of "tennis elbow tendinitis". This seems to really confuse doctors and health practitioners every time.

    The pain started four years ago when I started working as a behaviorist with "high-end" autism including other populations with severe disabilities. I was constantly in a state of fight or flight in general and I gripped my steering wheel tightly with clients I transported in my back seat or even when driving alone to or from work simply thinking of their extreme and sensitive cases. I would continue to use my computer mouse and keyboard daily for years even when my entire body was screaming in pain to take a break. I was double loaded with client reports and wanted to give 110% of myself for the "sake of the children". I did not known the word "NO". My boundaries were weak and my self-care went down the tubes. I now accept full responsibility for 99% of it since I allowed it to happen.

    Doctors did a neck MRI, X-rays, completed nerve conduction tests, checked me for carpel 5 times, and sent me to PT who told me to ice it, wear a brace, stretch more, and try not to use it when possible. It was the fifth doctor that examined my arm in her exam room who told me she thought it might be all in my head. When I told my husband this he commented the same a few times, infuriating me. My pain was real and I was angry and felt hopeless. Now on day 4 I agree that it is a little of both. The pain was not ALL in my head and I did no good by fixating on it and letting it lead my life. I do believe that the level of pain seems much too great given the diagnosis. I also notice that the minute I am stressed, upset, tired, or anxious the pain goes from a level 2 up to a level 7 sometimes within only minutes.

    Two years ago I quit working in that stressful and demanding field. I had burned out. I thought burnout was emotional but I now see it can also be physical. I have learned to meditate, exercise daily (doing zumba, boot camp, and yoga) and I eat as much whole live food as possible. However, the physical part of the burnout is killing me (although I strangely feel NO PAIN when working-out, especially when dancing). The high level of pain has impacted my work and my relationships family and friends including my husband of fifteen years and my two boys. I often cannot use my arm past four and feel constantly exhausted by then. I usually go to sleep early or opt out of participating in watching their tennis tournaments, going to the beach with them, or doing other fun events. At times I am in so much pain that I can not get myself to even leaving the house because I feel so terrible and guilty so I get anxious. I have lost part of my children's lives by not "feeling well". :( I am tired of that so I am ready to face myself head on now to change those things.

    I am beginning to see now as I work this program that the pain does not have to run my life or severely limit me. I can learn to take charge by acknowledging what is emotional going on for me in the moment or acknowledging what happened in my past that is now triggering my pain response in the present moment.

    Does it sound like I am on the right track? Any comments are welcome. I am new to this program and it has given me hope. I see a light at the end of a tunnel now, thank God! dancea
     
  2. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, jamie. You had been in a very emotionally draining job. You probably did get stressed out. Now you need to accept that the pains you have come from those emotions. They are TMS, like your doctor said, they are all in your head. Be glad there is nothing structurally wrong with you and believe 100 percent in TMS repressed emotions and you will become free of the pains.

    I am a former newspaper reporter and a journalism professor once told our class, that to be a reporter we have to assume "an attitude of detached studiousness." I had trouble with that, as you did in your work. A psychiatrist friend of mine burned out from trying to help his troubled patients.
    Even just replying to these posts sometimes drags me down.

    I suggest you focus on yourself now. You helped a lot of people, now help yourself. Find a job you like, that lifts your spirits, or if you can'd find that, then evenings and weekends do things you like and that relax you. You have come to the right place, this web site, and the SEProgram. Be confident you will get well again and you will. Have a great day and keep us posted.
     
  3. Moppy

    Moppy Peer Supporter

    Hi Jamie. Walt is right. Its time now to focus on yourself. You've spent years focusing on others and it clearly didn't work, did it? I think it's a bit patronizing for your doc to suggest its "all in your head" as it sounds like he/she thinks you're imagining it. Dr Sarno is quite definite that the physical pain is real...but the causes are NOT physical. They are psychological, and this is where the TMS journey comes in and you are obviously embracing it. There is a lot of support and assistance in this forum so do post about anything you are worried about or need help with. It is a wonderful journey,not necessarily easy but you will heal. Be confident of that. I wish you all the best as you travel through this amazing TMS landscape!
     
  4. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Welcome, Jamie. I find it hard not to get defensive when I hear the "all in your head" comment from people, in part because it's correct.
    The pain is VERY real, as all of us can attest. The source just happens to be our own subconscious, thinking that it's helping us by sending pain in response to stress.
    I find that I prefer the phrase "stress-induced pain" when speaking to folks who don't understand TMS or MBS. Most lay people understand the concept of stress.:eek:
    Blessings on your journey. The SEP is an amazing resource.
     

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