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Distinguishing Successes From Failures...

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Shanshu Vampyr, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Thought: Is there a way to actually tell the difference between TMS "just getting worse", so to speak (which induces fear), and the "extinction burst" as Alan Gordon would call it, AKA "symptom imperative"? I'm very hard on myself, I know...but it would seem that if symptoms get worse, symptoms get worse, and it's hard to "cast" that as progress. Does this make sense?
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are falling into the trap your unconscious has set. TMS wants you to think if symptoms get worse, symptoms get worse, and start doubting yourself. During these moments, go over the reasons you have TMS and tell yourself those old tricks are not going to work anymore.

    Times like this are where fully accepting the diagnosis is so important, because you know that the symptoms are caused by psychological issues and that you are reaching that extinction burst. It is not that you are doing anything wrong, it is that you are doing everything right. Continue to think psychological and the symptoms will fade away.
    Beach-Girl and veronica73 like this.
  3. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member


    I can't believe I didn't "catch" that. Thanks, Forest.
  4. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Perhaps an obvious question, then, but: can increasing fear be one of these "extinction bursts" or "symptom imperatives"?
  5. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    That makes sense--I found anxiety increased for a while when my pain first started to improve.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    There is actually a Q&A with an Expert that addresses this called Why is my Pain sometimes replaced by Anxiety. Alan Gordon responded to it, and one of the best lines from it is Imagine a child going to your house on Halloween in a Frankenstein costume. Then he goes home, changes into Spiderman, and comes back to your house for more candy. It's the same child, he's just wearing a different mask.

    The same emotions are behind both the TMS symptoms and Anxiety. It is just a matter of rooting them out.

    I don't really know if I would classify Anxiety as either the symptom imperative or an extinction burst. They sort of go hand in hand together as the symptom imperative can act as one form of the extinction burst. It is simply a new symptom that are unconscious creates to slow our progress and prevent us from fully recovering. It does this because it recognizes that we are making great strides. They serve the same purpose and you can overcome them with the same actions: recognize the role of TMS at play and turn your focus to the psychological.

    There is always a tendency to become discouarged when a new symptom appears, whether it is pain in a new place, a GI condition, anxiety or fear. But it doesn't have to be. Like so many other issues with TMS, it all depends on how we react to it. When you are dealing with the symptom imperative or the extinction burst, all you need to do is recognize the absurd way TMS is acting. Recognize the role of TMS and move on from it.
  7. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter

    Somewhere I read about a person who cried for joy when a new symptom appeared because he knew then he had TMS for sure and could get well. This thought is now fixed in my mind as well.

    Forest, your understanding of the whole process and communication about how it works is so helpful. Thanks,

  8. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Hi guys,

    It's not that I don't understand the theory. I can't imagine ever crying for joy when a new symptom pops up, as it often does. :(

    It's just that there's so much external stress and things I can't control in my life...and even SINCE learning about TMS, it's taken me over a year...and I don't see where I'm going with this, which is a pretty grim thought. If it was taking a long time...and I saw clear progress...then I wouldn't feel so much "learned helplessness."

    I try not to be completely overwhelmed with fear by shouting at fear-brain and internal bully, but honestly, I'm human; the longer this thing takes, the more dejected and sad and upset and fearful I become. About the only time I feel mentally and physically close-to-normal is when I'm on a benzo.
  9. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Shanshu,
    Although some people get better right away by reading TMS books, I think for most people it takes time. One year is probably pretty normal and you have made a lot of progress in that time. You may not see it, but not even knowing you well, I can tell the difference in your posts.

    One thing that helped me was making a list of everything that had improved in my life since I started working on TMS. I think you will see that a lot of things have changed/improved.

    :) Veronica
    yb44 likes this.
  10. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a really great idea, Veronica. Too often we dwell on the stuff that hasn't worked out or situations where we have felt like failures.
  11. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    All righty guys.

    Thanks for your e-support. This thread is entitled "Successes Vs. Failures." Last night I had a success. Due to work stressors, I was able to tap into my rage and really felt the anger and rage and tension rip-roaring through my arms, fists, chest and shoulders. Again the inner bully made some snippy observation, and again I put the asshole in its place. Then the defense-anxiety popped up, as Alan would say, and I started developing a coughing fit, but I breathed into it to bring the anxiety down and tapped back into the rage, twisting a towel in my hands until the rage drained itself out.

    Textbook. I'm making some strides. 1. I tapped into old anger fully, and 2. I bypassed the anxiety distraction (coughing) 3. I showed the inner bully who's boss, and 4. I recognized what was going on.

    Alan would be pleased, I think. I sure am. :)
    Beach-Girl and veronica73 like this.
  12. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Morning my friend:

    I too have the overwhelming task of conquering these symptoms while living a stressful life. It seems impossible at times. However, I've had some success and am rather calm when a new symptom pops up. So hang in there. Our journey may take us a bit longer, but we WILL get there. We know the drill.

    Congrats on controlling the coughing fit. Six months ago - that would not have happened. You are moving forward. Whenever I get discouraged, I close my eyes and recall my successes. It works and the anxiety slows down.

    Oh and you rock!!

    Shanshu Vampyr likes this.
  13. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    *playing air guitar*

    I have had a relatively decent weekend. I feel energized by confidence that I am "getting it" and that I will get there; even though my symptoms haven't been 0, they haven't been 10's either. More like 2's and perhaps 3's.

    I feel like I'm seeing through the TMS charade. There's something profoundly powerful about allowing myself to FEEL the rage at all the bullies in my life: from current and recent bosses, to med school antagonists, to cliques and factions in high school, to playground bullies earlier...and the most primal of bullies, Mom and Dad...I can't believe I've lived with this much mental abuse for this long.

    RAWR!!!!!! *Wolverine with claws out, jumping out of the tank*

    I think I'ma channel my rage into working out from now on. What I wouldn't give to LOOK like Wolverine. :)


    Footsie. LMAO. Not my first thought when I think of Hugh Jackman. :)
    veronica73 likes this.
  14. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    The wolverine is an interesting choice of animals. They are not too common in "the lower 48" anymore, however there have been some sightings. And now we have another! Hiding somewhere with a "bear".

    I will report THIS sighting to "Natgeo" where I watched a program just recently on the wolverine.

    Carry on.

    Shanshu Vampyr likes this.
  15. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Wolverines love bears. It's scientific fact. :)
  16. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Belated realization time:

    Just realized that the "death spiral" of worry/obsessive thoughts/fear/"Is this ever gonna get better"/"Is my body broken?" is all fear-brain and inner bully. Belated, indeed. I will NOT indulge.


    veronica73 likes this.

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