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Desperately seeking clarity & insight on my potential TMS...does this sound like it?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by dh627, Nov 15, 2021.

  1. dh627

    dh627 New Member

    Hey all! I did actually post this in another subforum but this one seems to have more traffic, so thought I'd post it here too and hope that's okay.

    I have recently come across TMS, but haven't read a lot about it yet, but I am amazed to have found such a syndrome and such a vibrant community.

    I am not entirely sure if my symptoms are TMS, but it feels like the closest explanation I have had for my symptoms so far.

    To cut a long story short, I was in an incredibly traumatising and stressful relationship/engagement which had to turn long distance when my visa for my ex's country ran out, and we were long distance for 1.5 years. This was really stressful and traumatising, and gradually broke down, which was incredibly difficult when living in different continents and timezones. I believe that she cheated on me (but I can't quite prove it, and the not knowing what happened is something that particularly played on my mind and brought me down) and was with another person before breaking up with me. Once that happened, we blocked each other out of our lives so I guess I have been grieving the loss of someone close to me from my life.

    Sometime during the long distance, I began to feel a lot of tightness and tension in my chest - kind of right down the middle of it and on my right pec. Fast forward 3 years, and I still have it, and it is constant, and it is with me pretty much 24/7. Sometimes it's not as noticeable, but it is always there and is sometimes worse/more prominent than at other times.

    Secondly, during the long distance relationship, I got a kidney stone which i had for 2 months, and it was incredibly painful. The pain would come and go, often without warning, and I could go from feeling okay to 10/10 pain within minutes. My body seemed to slip into a state of hyper vigilance, as though my body was sort of listening out for any signs of incoming pain in the area that my kidney stone was/travelled through. There were so many stressful elements to having my kidney stone, and it was an incredibly traumatic experience.

    When my stone went, I still had a tightness/tension in my left hand side - it's quite difficult to pinpoint where exactly it is, as the tension covers what feels like an inch or two+ of space - it is kind of level with my belly button, and to the left, more towards the edge of my torso. Three years later, and I still have this tension here. This period was also by far one of the worst and most stressful parts of my relationship, and I spent lots of my time bedridden and ruminating on it.

    Fast forward to today, and my symptoms are constantly tense and tight and there's a sort of heavy feeling to them, and they seem to flare up quite easily when slightly stressful things happen, things that would never effect me physically before.

    Unfortunately it is totally ruining my life. My symptoms are always at the forefront of my mind and I am always worrying about them - it ruins my ability to sit (so honestly, anything, from watching a movie to trying to do work at a desk I have huge trouble with), travel, speaking to people, having difficult conversations with people, and so much more.

    Nothing that I have tried so far has really helped, I have been to the doctors several times about it, and they haven't found anything wrong, and have suggested that it may be health anxiety. I have tried meditating, but I end up fixating on the tensions on my body and then that gets me worrying about them again, which makes it worse. One thing that has helped slightly is going to a float tank, but this is only a little bit of a relief to my symptoms, and only lasts a day - however, it has helped me realise that my symptoms may just be psychological, and I think that my fixation on my symptoms absolutely makes it worse, but I feel like I am stuck in a circle and cannot seem to break out of it.

    Does anyone think that this sounds like TMS? I do think so, but from what I've read so far, I haven't really seen any mention of chest issues, or issues in the side like I have and it seems more geared toward back issues. Sometimes it feels like my symptoms move about a bit, especially my chest ones. I am at a point where I am absolutely desperate to reduce my symptoms and be able to continue the life I was living a couple of years ago, before all of this.

    I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of information out there about TMS, so I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations? I am looking to do Alan's 30 day recovery, and I also have the pathways & curable app - though I haven't got a paid membership yet.

    Thank you so much for reading.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello and welcome dh627,

    When I read your report, I can easily list many things which support a "tms diagnosis." So, in short, yes. Most of us get stuck on where the location of the pain is vs the anatomic back based on what we've read about at first too. Just let that go. I had severe foot pain. I could only find one reference to foot pain in all of Dr. Sarno's words. It was TMS. Weird tensions and sensations are actually pretty common in the TMS world.

    You report, roughly these items which all support TMS self-diagnosis.
    --symptoms started in two part of body related to physical and/or emotional stress/pain
    --"nothing wrong" found by physicians
    --starting to move around at times
    --temporary relief with relaxation (floating)
    --symptom changes correlated with changes in stress/emotions

    Worrying about the symptoms, or wondering intensely "what do I need to do to fix this?" obviously does not help. But we've all been here too. As you approach your TMS work, take confidence, and be patient, as best you can. Sometimes it helps to enjoy the non-pain benefits at first: knowing yourself better, learning to feel more safe, more mindful, etc.

    Also, in answer to your question about "what to do from the list of stuff I could do?" It really doesn't matter. Find some program, and within that program particular areas or activities which you're attracted to. Simply start.

    The Structured Education Program at the Wiki is free, and it encourages reflection. Journaling should probably be part of your program. So should mindfulness. Meditation is that chance to practice not being completely identified with your problems and your desire to run from them or fix them. Just sitting and watching these old habits play out is good medicine. You don't need to find peace. We train ourselves a little, which is really good for dealing with scary symptoms.

    Read success stories every day and substitute your symptoms aloud right into the story. It is all the same thing.

    Take this opportunity to learn your life more deeply and compassionately. Good luck!

    Bitzalel Brown likes this.
  3. Bitzalel Brown

    Bitzalel Brown Peer Supporter

    Hi DH
    Our heart goes out to you, the pain is relentless and consumes us. It occupies our whole existence and we can even come to view ourselves only through our pain painted glasses. But the wise words of Andy need to sink in. SIMPLY START. search out your personal way through it , not around. I can tell you personally from many people I have guided that mindfulness is BIG , it is life changing gift and allows us to experience empathy and unconditionalness toward ourselves. As you have stated and Andy enumerated you have many of the signs that should convince you to bite the bullet and take the TMS journey. Good luck and keep a smile on your face

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