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DAY 8: Conditioning and Am I normal?

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by cookieheals, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. cookieheals

    cookieheals Peer Supporter

    Hi guys,

    Today's lesson of the day is on conditioning. I went windsurfing today, just to be nice to myself since i'm at the beach. and did a lesson for the first time ever. Afterwards, my toe which I told you all was diagnosed with seismoditis and was in sort of 2.5 pieces and constantly in pain last year- was the miraculously healed when I prayed for it, with a dramatic decrease in pain- rememeber that toe? The one that has gotten much better and did so practically overnight?

    Anyway, foot swoll up. Entire forefoot. And it hurt to walk on- not as much as it used to, maybe I'd just say sore. I'm having trouble breaking the conditioning cycle.

    Two reasons: one, I am struggling to believe the toe pain is structurally caused. Why? There aren't too many cases of seismoditis and fracrured seismods talked about here. But there was improvement after learning about the biblical truth on healing through a couple healing ministers I discovered. And yet I'm struggling to believe. Even though I'm better, Dr. Schechter said I 'probably' had TMS, that he had seen many people with seismod pain recover, even with all that I am struggling to believe

    a) The word of God
    b) TMS

    Why? I don't know. But the doubt permeates me. But so the word of today si conditioning. Conditioning i.e when I do this activity, I expect this pain, therefore now when I did the activity I got pain. How does breaking the fear cycle happen? I've read what Alan Gordon said but it's still hard.

    Feels pain.
    Is afraid of pain therefore tries to walk in way to avoid pain regardless of whether I believe it is TMS or whatever.
    Cycle continues.


    Feels nothing.
    About to engage in physical activity
    Mildly afraid about feeling pain (though today I didn't have this expectation)
    Participates in activity
    Has pain afterwards and even swelling.

    How does one stop this interruption? Fear is crippling me and so frustrating, but also these symptoms have me questioning the Word and TMS basics, and I don't know why the doubt is just relentless.

    Thoughts on all the above? In order: breaking fear cycle, conditioning,

    and most importantly

    Is this kind of reaction to activity normal? Am I normal for having this reaction? Wish there were more seismod-ers out here with crazy MRIs and an injury that explains 'onset'
  2. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    CRPS/TMS Flareup
    It's ok to feel weird about having TMS, I feel that way a lot.
    Just elevate it and ice it if needed. Chill out, let the swelling go down, get it checked if it doesn't go away and you can't walk. Looks like it should get better on its own, and don't stop activity entirely.
  3. cookieheals

    cookieheals Peer Supporter

    Ah okay- so this happens even with TMS flareups? People swell, sometimes need to ice, and then are fine, and life ,oves on, and as activity continues the swelling occurs less and less?
  4. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    You may or may not need to ice. Swelling usually goes away on its own.
  5. Mags33

    Mags33 Newcomer

    I think that swelling can definitely be a normal response to an activity that is new or that you're not used to doing very often. It doesn't have to be TMS (although it's possible that it is) and either way, I don't think it hurts to ice it. Even Dr. Sarno talks about how icing is one of the things that can help improve TMS symptoms by increasing blood flow to the area.

    I still ice my back from time to time when it starts to get painful and I can't bring the pain down another way - even though I know it's just TMS, it still helps, and I don't care if it's a placebo effect or not. I just try not to do it quite so often so that it becomes a crutch, maybe try some other things to calm it down first, and also do my best to disconnect it from the fear-pain cycle (I used to think that if I didn't ice my back before bed that I'd wake up in pain and guess what? I always did. Now, especially on a better day when I have less pain, I don't ice it on purpose to both test and confirm that that's not always the case. And it's not, and that's very encouraging. But other days I still ice - my goal is just to gradually decrease the icing over time and I'll probably continue to need and use it less over time.) I also still take Tylenol sometimes when I get headaches. As much as I don't want to, I've accepted that I will most likely have pain flare-ups again in the future, even though I do believe it's TMS, and that it's normal and okay and that I'll get through it when it does.

    My take-away from the mind-body literature is that the most important thing is to decrease the fear and worry about the pain and the potential causes of it. For some people, they can learn about TMS and just snap out of it, but obviously that doesn't work for everyone. For others of us more prone to worry and anxiety, I think a gradual approach would work better. We're going to have our share of recurring doubts and recurring pains, but if we make a big effort to focus on the faith over the doubts, the improvements over the setbacks, and the positive over the negative - not ALL of the time, just MORE of the time - I think we can gradually start to condition ourselves into that new way of thinking.

    You say you're struggling to believe, and I think for a lot of us with these sets of personality traits and all these years of conditioning, that's totally normal - but we also have a tendency to focus on the "struggle" part instead of the "hope" part. It's so much easier said than done (and don't I know it), but it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Just because we don't believe 100% doesn't mean that we don't believe at all, and also doesn't mean that we should internally put ourselves down or feel guilty about it (that just makes it worse). Sometimes we just have to reframe things - maybe today I believe 60%, but instead of putting the word "only" in front of the 60% and judging or guilting myself for it not being higher than that, I can instead choose to think of that 60% as a really huge win, considering that a few years ago, I believed 0% and last year maybe only about 20%. I've found that continuously adding items to the Evidence Sheet exercise from the Accepting the Diagnosis section has been a really big help in getting my personal belief % to slowly start creeping up.

    I hope that helps! For what it's worth, I think you're totally normal! <3
  6. cookieheals

    cookieheals Peer Supporter

    Thanks Mags! It ended up feeling normal after the night passed. I kept recitiing scripture and the tms principles over and over. It was not fun but got better. AT some point I wanted to walk over somewhere and thought, 'no, you'll get hurt' but I pushed through and it was fine- I was good. I think I am at this point also worrying about not 'I am structurally injured' but if I do stuff with my body, maybe then I might hurt myself structurally.That reinforces fear, does it to you? Thanks for explaining, again.

    thanks for sharing your perspective,,
  7. cookieheals

    cookieheals Peer Supporter

    Yeah, it went away. Still 13% sore, but way better/ Thanks
  8. Mags33

    Mags33 Newcomer

    Oh totally. The pain sucks so much for so long that you just start to fear any pain in general, even the potential for pain. Fear is a really powerful thing. Weirdly enough, I also find that when I start giving into fear in general, like about my body or my pain, I also start experiencing more fear about other things too - work, finances, health, my business, the future of the planet, all kinds of things... Like you said, it can be crippling, and it totally feeds on itself.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  9. cookieheals

    cookieheals Peer Supporter

    Yeah, for sure. Doing the multimedia recovery program at the same time and Alan talks about it so well in Day 6. He said something about if you grew up in an environment where you did not feel emotionally safe ( I check that box) your brain learns to constantly be searching for danger. I am always worrying- constantly. But when he said the thing about when the brain is in a calm state, it is actually dangerous because the brain thinks that if you are not alert, you will drop the ball on keeping yourself safe. Makes so much sense. Yeah, fear is a lot. In the Bible, the phrase 'Do not fear' is mentioned 365 times, which I believe is for every day of the year. I've been telling myself these past few days that it would be unjust of God to say something like "Do not fear" and then give me something that I should genuinely be afraid of, and cannot trust Him about. So that's what's helping me- and talking to my brain too, praying and speaking to my brain and reminding it who's boss.
    Mags33 likes this.

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