1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day One

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by cain aven, Jun 21, 2022.

  1. cain aven

    cain aven New Member

    I'm currently reading Sarno's Mindbody Prescription, so I'll probably use some of the terms/concepts in the following:

    My childhood was mostly one of continuous social anxiety and insecurity, growing up in an economically depressed small town that was quite toxic in several ways. I was nearly a complete social outcast, starting to make friendships around the age of 10 or 11. My father and mother gave me love and support, but had their own issues, acknowledged and not. I eventually "moved on" from my hometown and life and became modestly successful as a teacher. However, I began to experience RSI in 2014 (tennis elbow and carpal) and general "uneasy" feelings around spring 2015, before turning 40. I had been very physically active in my 20's and early 30's, but had drifted into less activity. I smoked 1-2 cigarettes in the evening (now I can see why: to manage my anxiety), a habit I developed in my late 20's.

    I went on a vacation in the summer of 2015 to visit family on the east coast, and our car began to break down repeatedly across the thousands of miles. I experienced panic attacks while driving on the freeway that it would break down, we'd be killed, etc. We returned home safely but I began to experience roving muscle pain and tension in my shoulders and arms. It grew worse through the fall, as I had a new position with a very toxic co-worker who continually initiated drama & attempted to sabotage my career. The pain was mostly in the forearms; I visited a massage therapist, who said I had muscle knots from computer work and, after a number of sessions and no cessation of the pain, suggested I see a doctor.

    The pain continued until February 2016, when it abruptly changed. I had quit smoking the day before and felt sick, a strange, throbbing burning pain started to manifest in my palms. I became quite sick with a viral infection that went around the school; the pain did not leave upon getting better, in fact it got worse, moving to the bottoms of my feet. I consulted Dr. Google, of course, and received the full gamut of what it "might" be. Check ups and blood tests revealed nothing. I went to a neurologist in 2017 and he told me the neuropathic pain was just stress, and "good luck."

    Eventually, in 2020, the pain began to recede. It had been all day, all the time from 2016-2019; of particular note, as I discovered in late 2016, it would go away for an hour or so if I smoked tobacco. Thus I was caught in a spiral, enduring the pain until the evening when I could smoke away from my kids, and sooth the pain enough to fitfully fall asleep.

    I'm not sure what exactly changed, but the symptoms began to reduce across 2020--I believe it had to do with working remote, and not moving as much / managing students as much. The recovery was very erratic and even now, in June 2022, I still get twinges of nerve pain, though only 10% of what it once was, and generally easy to either "breath out" or dissipate through movement. The feet pain dwindled first, to the point that I rarely feel it, while the hands experience discomfort in brief or moderate phases maybe 6 times a day.

    Symptom imperative kicked in, though. I suffered an impact to my left (good) eye in the summer of 2020; six months later my vision started to go blurry--but an inconsistent blurry, where it would be clear some times, "soft" later (I think this is due to ocular spasms). I went to an optimologist who looked at the eye and said everything was fine -- oh, I "had some floaters, too". I had very rarely glimpsed these, usually while taking a shower, and dismissed it. About a month later, I visited my parents and experienced enormous emotions regarding my father's decline in health & my own fears of declining and dying, and suddenly on the drive back, guess what I could now see bobbing through my vision? Yep, the same floater that had been present before but was almost never perceived; now, every time I shifted by eyes left to right, it would dash into my vision. This caused more anxiety, even though I read about how it was harmless, a natural process, etc. etc. Through reading stuff on the next I found the thread here at TMSwiki and began to investigate. I wish I had found this site in 2016! The floaters are my main psychological challenge, now: sometimes I go outside and don't even see it (it is mostly just one, the others are too faint unless posed against the sky), and it has 'blurred' to some extent when it does pop out--though sometimes, usually in a stressful moment, it will pop in big and defined. Pretty sure this is my brain trying to throw a distraction at me to avoid the pain/stress of the moment. I've tried to initiate a coping strategy where the floater is my breathing buddy; when I see it, it's a reminder that I need to breath deeply and calmly. Sometimes it will "bleed" in and out of vision, appearing and disappearing.

    Another thing I noted: my new symptoms began during times of specific stress. I started to experience the blurry vision (which is mostly gone now) during the disputed election of 2020 (I am a history/econ/government teacher btw). The floaters appeared after feeling severe intensity to dealing with pre-grief over my father. Recently I have begun to experience hyper-salivation and uncomfortable feelings in the mouth, especially if I drink caffeine.

    I have this summer off (my kids go to a day camp) and am attempting to work on myself to reduce the pain further / gain peace after 6-7 awful years of just getting by.

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