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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Day1 - knee and leg pain, thigh pain, weak arm

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by cet, Mar 15, 2023.

  1. cet

    cet New Member

    I’ve had TMS for 4 years and have been trying to recover for 2 years unsuccessfully using various programs, practitioners and therapy
    I have talked myself into being one of those “unhealable” (is that even a word?) people which I know deep down is not true so I am going back to grass roots and starting over again using this SEP which is structured and a good fit for me
    I will take any and all advice to help me progress
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @cet
    Please feel free to ask any questions you have.
    My advice to doing the SEP is to go slow. I found many days were long with reading or watching videos. Some of the lessons I'd divide into two or three days - so that my total "work" on the SEP was about half hour or an hour. Some days I'd skip and perhaps meditate, or other days I'd skip doing the SEP and do a journal of my own current concerns. It took me 2 months to go through, and was totally worth that time. Sometimes I go back to it, when I feel the need.
    The most important tips are not to obsess about doing it, doing it "right", doing the work to heal the pain without understanding that you must do this work with all your heart and soul, be honest with yourself and be OK with everything that comes up...because you will be FINE! You are already fine!
    Best wishes!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  3. cet

    cet New Member

    Thank you for your support and advice
    I definitely will take it slow as I have rushed through and jumped through many different programs over the last two years and never took the time to trust the process
    I will keep to 1 hour daily and come to you with any questions
  4. cet

    cet New Member

    While reading the required article yesterday it was mentioned about the pain free for life program by Scott Brady which appeals to me
    I read through the book today and I want to proceed with his program
    I hope that is ok and I have your blessing
  5. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Do whatever you like! You are here to please yourself, not anyone else. good luck with whatever you choose.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    You're starting to get a picture of how you are sabotaging yourself, which is the very nature of the TMS brain. I'm going to put down a number of my thoughts about this process, perhaps something new will resonate for you, perhaps someone else will get something out of my ramblings.

    The thing is, THIS is your brain on TMS, and it's the most important thing you need to always be aware of and to watch out for.

    The job of your TMS brain is to literally keep you out of danger by distracting you with fear and avoidance. It is very skilled at fooling you into thinking, for example, that doing a program faster means healing faster, which of course is not rationally true. Or fooling you into thinking that "this isn't working the way I expected, so I need try something else". Expectations are just another form of distraction so that you can be disappointed and then avoid the "dangerous" activity (whatever it might be, not just doing a mindbody program).

    If you can think of your brain as this separate entity trying to manipulate you into avoiding the emotional work, you can start to have rational conversations with it, and politely tell it that you see what it's doing, thank it for trying to protect you, and assure it that this is simply not necessary.

    Whatever program you do, expect your symptoms to get worse before they get better - this IS to be expected, and it's actually good news when this happens, but it's also really hard, so it's the point at which many people give in and give up and then try again with something different later on, only to repeat the same cycle over and over again. Happy TMS brain! Miserable individual.

    My main message is this: Don't be fooled! You can do this!
  7. cet

    cet New Member

    I am glad you responded so open and honestly - Thankyou I appreciate that and take your advice seriously - after all this is my life and sanity
    I hope I can weather the storm and will keep your advice in my back pocket as a constant reminder
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  8. cet

    cet New Member

    I have a question for you JanAttheCPA - how long does the increased pain and mind games typically last?
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    That, my friend, is the million dollar question.

    It totally depends upon your growing skill to recognize what's happening, and to be willing to move forward in spite of fear and discomfort. It's all about changing your mind and thus your response. It's self-soothing and self-compassion. It's definitely self-honesty and learning to become vulnerable to true emotions.

    And, it's different for everyone who goes through the process.

    We love clear guidelines and certain outcomes, and we want to know how to do it all perfectly. This work provides none of those things, which makes the rewards upon experiencing change, whenever and however it occurs, even more meaningful.

    Alan Gordon explains it in this long-ago post about Outcome Independence http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/a-word-about-outcome-independence.562/#post-6366 (A word about outcome independence)

    Hang in there!
  10. cet

    cet New Member

    I have been surfing through comments in the forum and have come across a topic I have wondered about , as I have been actively trying to recover for 2 years with very little improvement
    The Topic : is there people unable to recover from TMS ? I started with “sick of success stories” and then read another scary one which I cannot find now but irregardless I feel I am getting worse as time goes on and feel I missed my recovery window and it’s just down hill from here
    Your thoughts ?
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    There's no such thing as a recovery window that is only available for a period of time. That's complete bollocks, and nothing more than a classic example of how your TMS brain is manipulating you into giving up.

    I can't really answer this question definitively because most people pass through here on their journey and we don't know what happens unless they come back later. A number of people check in and report success, others come back for support or to remind themselves of the work when they need a boost. Quite a few are coming back the last few years, having successfully recovered from symptoms in the past, but finding themselves struggling recently. I think that's because the world is pretty dysfunctional and uncertain right now, and we've been told for the last year or more that the world is experiencing a mental health crisis. I give a lot of credence to that because I'm extremely sensitive to world-induced stress, and I myself am not as well as I was when I originally did this work in 2011. Well, also I was only 60 then, and I'll be 72 next month :jawdrop:

    So there's that, but I have noticed certain things about people's success or lack thereof, in the eleven years I've been hanging out here, which I will share with you since you asked. Mind you, I'm a retired tax accountant, not a mental health professional, so keep that in mind.

    First I don't believe there is any such thing as someone who can't recover from TMS symptoms. HOWEVER, there are definitely people, particularly those with childhood adversity, who are extremely resistant to doing the deep emotional work which is required in order to recover. The characteristics I've seen in these people tend to be:

    Giving up on a program or a therapy as soon as it makes them uncomfortable, claiming that it's not working.

    Seeing themselves as victims, and being very attached to their victimhood.

    Unable to be emotionally vulnerable in a therapeutic program or setting. Sadly, the brains of some emotionally resistant individuals can be extremely skilled at blocking the efforts of even very skilled therapists to break down walls that have been created over a lifetime.

    Childhood trauma/adverse childhood experiences are almost always associated with emotionally resistant brains, which is why Dr Sarno recommended psychotherapy for people with trauma. Unfortunately the resistant brain will find a reason to give up quickly.

    If you're interested in finding out more about adverse childhood experiences and their effect on adult health problems, I suggest this article: https://www.npr.org/sections/health...e-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean
  12. cet

    cet New Member

    Thank you for your detailed response
    I think best to stay in my lane and just do the work and not scare myself
  13. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Not scaring yourself = Repression
    Repression = Symptoms, or worse

    You definitely won't get anywhere if you don't take emotional risks. This IS the bottom line between those who experience recovery and those who do not. That being said, since I brought up the issue of childhood trauma I must also say that if someone has trauma, doing this effectively and without creating more trauma requires professional therapeutic support, not self-help programs.

    I guess the real answer to your question is that anyone CAN recover, but there are definitely some individuals who won't be able to do so with self-help programs, because their traumatized brains are simply too resistant, and too skilled at maintaining the repression that was required in order to survive the trauma.
  14. cet

    cet New Member

    I’m back and should have just listened to you JanAtheCPA in the first place and stayed here to fully commit to this program
    I need structure in my life and really need the support of the Wiki family members
    I am on Day 1 again today
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  15. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well okay, then @cet:D! Welcome back, and remember, we are here to support your journey, especially when it gets tough and you feel like you want to quit. That's when you have to fight back and ask for encouragement to stay the course.

    Be sure to re-read @Cactusflower's first response to you way above, about effectively doing the SEP.

    And as far as listening goes, let's see... you do want to see if you can learn to listen to the irrational negative messages in your brain, so that you can then talk back to it with rational and constructive messages.

    In my opinion, this is one of the first skills to learn - and it's not easy when your brain is creating symptoms, because the whole point of TMS symptoms is to force you into fight-flight-freeze mode, right? You cannot rationally talk back to your brain when it's got you in panic mode, so the first step is to get out of panic mode - and all you need to do for that is to breathe.

    If you've never practiced therapeutic breathing, just look it up, there are tons of good resources on the web - pick the ones from educational sources to avoid ads and click-bait.

    Once you're breathing deeply and calmly, the second step is to identify the negative messages underneath the panic. Turn your focus inwards to the fearful thoughts that are unconsciously filling up your brain with a bunch of negative chatter, swirling around like a cage of squirrels. There will be a lot of "what if..." thoughts, among others, which are pretty easy to identify. "What if this feeling (whatever symptom) gets worse?" "What if I have to leave work, or miss an event" "What if I'm stuck somewhere with this symptom and can't get help?" "What if I embarrass myself?" "What if this symptom never goes away?" "What if I end up alone because of this symptom?" - and so on and so on, endlessly.

    Once you've identified and really heard this negative messaging, the third step is to talk back to your fearful brain - with compassion. What I literally say to my brain, usually out loud, is something along the lines of "Thank you, brain, for trying to protect me, but I'm really quite safe! There is no physical danger here, and these thoughts, and these symptoms, are really not necessary"

    You can also write down your constructive and calming message on whatever piece of paper is handy. Writing or speaking out loud are powerful, because they interrupt the internal chatter.

    To summarize: the three steps for effectively doing this work are: Stop, Breathe, Talk Back. Repeat as needed.

    Note that I am characterizing your counter-message as "constructive and calming" rather than "positive". The reason for this is that you have to watch out for what I call "false happy-face" affirmations. These are an attempt to cover up negativity with cheerful, happy, positive messages. False positivity is actually just a form of emotional repression. Mental health professionals do not engage in it, because they know that facing and acknowledging your negative thoughts and emotions is the only way to eliminate the power they hold over you. Calmly telling your brain that the fear messages are "not necessary" is truthful - and it's also constructive because when you can start eliminating the negative chatter, you've achieved a true positive outcome.

    Good luck!

  16. cet

    cet New Member

    Thank you and I’ll be back tomorrow
  17. cet

    cet New Member

    I’m not sure if I keep going on this thread or start a new one?
  18. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Whatever feels right. No requirement to post at all, really, although the rest of us appreciate hearing about progress from time to time. Some people like to have a complete record of their progress in one thread, others prefer a new post based on the "Day". Significant discoveries can be worth sharing in a separate post that might help others.

    I guess you could say that the uncertainty is part of the journey :D

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