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Doing more, having more pain. I'm scared.

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by friedmin, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. friedmin

    friedmin Peer Supporter

    Hi there!

    I am relatively new to this forum - and to the work of trying to apply the TMS approach to my pain - and have gotten some really helpful responses from you "experts" out there! So I would love some help...

    This weekend was both wonderful and difficult. I was FAR more social than I've been, went to see a play with my partner and friends (yay!), took a daily walk, and just came back from a super-bowl potluck (hate the game, love the friends!). I dare say that I'm having some fun! This shift has been in motion for the past couple of months, when I decided I needed to begin living life again. This was after months of feeling depressed and anxious, and I had to change the channel for my husband, my daughter and for me! Meditation, stopping a crappy med that was making me a zomby, and a general shift in attitude really helped a lot. It has now been 2 weeks since I've started incorporating TMS into my life...

    With my increased activity level, my pain level has increased. In any earlier thread, some of you suggested that this was TMS trying to distract me from the psychological stuff. I can get my head around that... At the same time, I have been working on my "issues" for a long time, and more intensely this year with this pain/anxiety/depression. I totally believe that pain and fear and other emotional crap is linked with physical pain. But I wrestle with the TMS diagnosis as the singular perspective versus including other explanations for the pain. Sometimes, my "diagnosis" (SI joint problems) rears up and calls out to me - "It's me that's creating your pain." !!!

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I did a Skype consult with a respected TMS doc who said he has no doubt I have TMS. While fear and anxiety worsens the experience of pain, when I hurt, it's hard to ignore. I'm about to begin teaching a class at a high-pressure university in town, so I wonder if the anxiety linked to this new endeavor may be contributing to my pain level. (I've taught a bunch, but not since I've been in this "struggle".)

    Am I experiencing the calendar phenomenon? Like, I want to be one of those people who are out of pain right away when they put on their TMS caps... Is it possible that the pain is partially attributable to structural issues? Is focusing on the pain the culprit? Could "something bad" happen if I don't pay attention to the pain?

    Eeek! You can see how my head spins... Thoughts welcome. Thank you...!
  2. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    It's only been 2 weeks since you've "incorporated" TMS into your life. You're just at the extreme beginning. Slow down, slow your life down. Ease into this new concept. It takes time. Patience is not only a virtue, it's a major factor in the healing process. By learning patience, you grab your life, and stop it from spinning around you. Breathe and let go.

    If you don't believe TMS is the "singular diagnosis" you will have trouble healing. You have to reject the structural diagnosis altogether. Put both your feet into your emotional ballpark, step out of your physical park, and heal.

    Those people you mentioned who heal right away are the extreme exceptions. You need to put them aside and slow down. I understand that your clock is ticking, but you shouldn't follow other people's clocks, follow the rhythm of your OWN heartbeat.

    Slow down in all aspects and I promise you will heal. Or I'll give your money back.

    Ellen, Mermaid and Anne Walker like this.
  3. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello. I can tell from your post that you are a thinking person. I too had a lot of difficulty in the beginning ignoring the potential structural causes(ruptured discs in my neck). In my case I decided I could afford to spend six months on the TMS and address the structural problems later if I needed to. After a few months when my symptoms started moving around it became very clear that the pain couldn't be structural or it wouldn't move around. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to just make the pain go away completely but I do strongly feel that my life continues to improve. I have been working with a Somatic experiencing therapist(which I learned about on this forum) and that has been great because sometimes when I am having a really tough day and I go see the therapist, the pain will actually shift while I am in my session. One week my shoulder was in such a spasm that I thought I really must have injured it somehow and I would have to go and see a doctor. But then as I was working with the therapist, the pain reduced about 80%, to a very manageable level. Each time I have one of these experiences, it really bolsters my belief and resolve. Last week was very challenging because I had a sudden severe pain in my right buttocks down to my foot. It was new and it scared me. At times it was so severe I could barely walk and I wrote about it on the forum because I was discouraged. I like to walk 45 minutes each day and I didn't want to give up my walk. The first day I went out on my walk I was limping and I really wasn't convinced I could make it, but I set out anyway without my cell phone. That was a long walk! The next day it was a little less painful and today I am pain free again! Unfortunately, there isn't a definitive time frame that is the same for everyone in healing from TMS. I know many of us have strong doubts at first that there isn't some contributing structural cause and we see doctors and keep exploring because we are fearful of missing something dangerous. Its okay if you need to do that. It can take time to develop true belief in TMS. I think you are doing wonderful for only working on this for a few weeks. For me there have been a lot of layers. I know it is hard right now, but try to have some faith that if you persistently keep working on the TMS you will improve and be pain free someday. Today was a real success because you got out there and started living again. Don't try to read too much into the increase in pain. Try and focus on what is going on emotionally and psychologically instead. That is the key.
    Ellen likes this.
  4. friedmin

    friedmin Peer Supporter

    Hi Anne - Thanks so much for your reply. I really appreciate your very accepting approach to this process, and your encouragement to persist. It's also very helpful to hear your experience... I too have tried to just tell myself - work with the TMS "model" - give it a chance. Sometimes I'm impatient and just want the pain to go away! I also have very uneven sleep (I'm up now - EST - and wish I were sleeping!), which I know affects mood and the experience of pain levels. A bit of a vicious circle. My cousin is a somatic experiencing therapist - and she has given me a taste of that approach. Interesting to hear how it is working for you. Your last line is great - "don't try to read too much into the increase in pain."... Especially the "don't try to" bit, because it implies that it takes effort to read into pain, which it does! Again thanks... and soon I'll give sleep another try!!! (yes, it does seem to take effort to sleep!)
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had trouble sleeping, too. Worried about everything possible. Somehow, it finally registered on me that it was keeping me awake
    when I took my worries to bed with me. Instead, I've been breathing deeply and thinking peaceful, happy thoughts, imagining myself
    on a sunny beach, hearing the waves washing against the shore, the birds singing, the breeze in the trees, and warm sunlight pouring
    down on me. Sometimes I remember being with a loved one, playing baseball or swimming together.

    When all else fails, I count backwards from 100 to 1. If I'm not asleep after the first count from 100 to 1, I am after the second.

    I also calm my mind down during the hour before going to bed. I listen to soft music or meditate, but don't watch tv news or action shows.
    Nature shows are fine.
  6. friedmin

    friedmin Peer Supporter

    Thanks so much, Steve, Walt and Anne!

    Steve - I also found some of your wise words on another post:
    "To simplify:
    1) You should become physical, doing what you want again, without worries
    2) But don't do what I did, attack it with extreme aggression. This undermines your goal which is to forget about what the body is doing altogether.
    3) So you do whatever you want to, but never with the purpose of eliminating pain. This plays right into your brain's hands, as it were. Your brain wants you to challenge it, to focus on defeating pain--never do this. What it has done, if you fall for this, is once again allow you to avoid the emotional cause. Be careful of your brain it's smarter than you think."

    As a former dancer and a bit of a perfectionist at heart, I crave movement - and have been known to go overboard, especially in my younger years! Finding the right balance between "doing what you want again", not letting the pain rule - and not attacking it "with extreme aggression" is tricky for me. I am walking much more and loving it, despite the pain. I am managing to believe (!) that the walking is good for me, even if it hurts. I also have a set of exercises that I love - that in the past were linked to feeling good, but now sometimes hurt. I know I bring some fear to doing them now... My plan (which I've been working up to) was to go back to the gym and work with a trainer (someone who listens well). So back to your comments, Steve - "do whatever you want to, but never with the purpose of eliminating pain": My exercises are about stretching and strengthening, and have for years made me feel good about my body. I will keep in mind your comment about not doing them to eliminate pain, because I may experience pain while doing them. Key I believe is to think that I'm not hurting myself while doing them, and to pay attention if something really doesn't feel right.

    Walt - I, too, realize that taking worries to bed is a recipe for disaster. I've tried journaling before going to bed and telling myself to put them aside for the night... Sometimes it's hard to fight them, but I have a variety of techniques to push them aside. But lately, I have no trouble falling asleep; it's the wake-up in the middle of the night when I worry about not falling back to sleep! Argh... I have various meditation techniques that I use when I awaken - including the beach images (yum!) and breathing, body scans, etc. I appreciate your words, and thanks for the advice/reminder about winding down. I used to write a blog called "Mindy's Muses", focusing on caregiving issues, women and work, saving the arts, and more - including a piece I wrote on insomnia! For some spare time reading (!): http://mindysmuses.blogspot.com/2013/05/insomnia-stories.html

    And Anne - again thanks for your thoughtful insights.


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