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Doubt following visit to Tms dr

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by ellie freegan, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. ellie freegan

    ellie freegan Peer Supporter

    yesterday I had a Long awaited appointment with a doctor recommended on the wiki. However when I told him I've been working on the Tms approach for about a year and a half and done the online program as well as The one in Howard Schubiners book he said that he didn't think it's the right approach for me and I should basically give up on the Tms approach. I was quite upset because I hoped he would confirm the diagnosis but did the opposite. He did however refer me for autogenic training as he said that maybe my autonomous nervous system has come out of balance. Come to think of it isn't that what happens in Tms anyway? Autogenic training there is for reducing the stress response, aiding relaxation so maybe this is one approach to combating TMS after all? I'm not sure I'm quite confused any thoughts on this would be appreciated thank you very much
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    I've written a lot on this subject. It will probably suffice to say that the confusion rests on differences between pure TMS and more expansive, more recent neuroscientific approaches. Classic, pure TMS sees the cause of pain as repressed emotions with concomitant oxygen deprivation. The neuropsychological approaches are wider embracing and at their heart agree that sympathetic dominance is also a key factor. Pure TMS theory does not make this distinction and does not acknowledge the role of the branches of the nervous system as being integral to the genesis of pain.

    The fact is emotions are the mediating factors in the nervous system (which means both emotions and the nervous system interplay with one another) so essentially if your TMS doctor has suggested you give up on the TMS approach, he is telling you to stop going down the emotional route. It simply doesn't work for everyone. Many people, myself included are recovering because we are healing our nervous system by bringing the parasympathetic back into its natural state of dominance. Our bodies are designed to be predominantly in a state of rest and digest, not agitation and vigilance.

    I'm happy with the expansive view. It is corroborated by science and experience. It embraces stress and other causes of chronic pain. In no way does it undermine Sarno's work, it simply adds to it and means more people heal. That can only be a very good thing.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  3. ellie freegan

    ellie freegan Peer Supporter

    Thanks Plum that's very helpful and reassuring. What are your techniques for recovering your nervous system and bringing the parasympathetic back to its natural state of dominance?
    Do you think it's still worth doing affirmations and visualisations of myself doing things such as sitting at a computer without pain and trying to slowly build up my tolerance for doing things by doing a little more each time?
    Also forgot to mention that the doctor I saw was trying to blame my pain on hyper-mobility as well and saying that I needed to do strength training I tried this technique for About a year and a half with no reduction in pain before I found out about Tms
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellie, I think that visualization is a powerful tool for lifelong physical and mental well-being, and I don't see how it could interfere with any other healing process. I use it all the time - sometimes more successfully than others. And not just for TMS symptoms, but at the dentist, and for avoiding viruses (combined with placebos, which I see as a tool to help the visualization process - you know, like extra Vitamin C and echinacea if you feel like you might be catching something). I used it when I broke my hip in 2008 ("before Sarno") to visualize my muscles healing and reconnecting as I did my PT after having pins inserted, and to visualize my femur accepting the pins and building healthy new bone around them.

    And I love Plum's response to your important question- I'm bookmarking it.
    Lily Rose and plum like this.
  5. MrRage

    MrRage Peer Supporter

    What have doctors and other experts recommended for accomplishing this goal? I am having more and more good days now and I am able to see the light at the end of the tunnel more and more. However on many days I still have TMS pain and it can really ruin the entire day. Today, I woke up with a horrible pain and the headache has bee annoying me for most of the day. Then I have a depressed/anxious mood for thirty minutes to an hour and then I will go back to having a headache.

    My pupil are often times dilated and I feel like my fight or flight response probably kicks in more than it should.

    What techniques exist besides journaling and besides further integrating the knowledge that the pain and depression is a mask for unconscious feelings of rage?
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    ellie, yes it is worth continuing with affirmations and visualisations. They are great techniques. I'm going to be with my family over the next couple of days (mum hasn't been well) so I'll post something here as soon as possible. Take care and relax! Everything will be alright.

    Plum x
  7. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'll pen something over the next few days my dear. Congratulations of all you've achieved so far. I'm always delighted to see people recovering :)
    ellie freegan likes this.
  8. MrRage

    MrRage Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the encouraging words! It's always a pleasure to read your thoughtful posts.

    Just to clarify: My main issue these days is my mood. Most of the time I feel normal. However, I probably feel depressed 3/16 of the time. When depression and anxiety come on, whatever pain I am feeling will drop in proportion to how bad my mood is. There is a direct correlation between the pain and emotions 9/10 of the times.
  9. Avy

    Avy New Member

    When I was a kid my friend noticed that my pupils are dilated most of the time. She was joking that I could get high and nobody would know since it's something I always have. I haven't even thought about it until now, less that it could be caused by flight or fight.

    I experienced something similar the other day - my headache and stomach ache went away but I was feeling horrible emotionally. Guided meditation and deep breathing are helping me.

    And Plum, I'm sorry to hear that your mom isn't well. I'm looking forward to your response, you always give such great advice.
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  10. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Mr. R -

    I can totally relate to this. When I was at my lowest point (five years ago, summer of 2011), I had multiple TMS symptoms, anxiety attacks, and borderline depression. Many of us believe, along with Dr. Sarno, that anxiety and depression are TMS equivalents, and it's all too easy for them to plague us just like physical symptoms. They are just another form of ill-conceived distractions created by our primitive and imperfect brains.

    Depression and anxiety are really insidious, because if you can't control those, your ability to heal from the physical TMS symptoms is seriously hindered.

    I was pretty successful in taking control of my anxiety after reading Hope & Help For Your Nerves by Claire Weekes (my #2 favorite book after The Divided Mind) and I seem to recall that she also touches on depression - meaning the type of depression that tends to go along with anxiety, not bi-polar or something else clinically more serious. I was developing a different relationship with my anxiety, and Dr. Weekes had convinced me that I had the ability to accept and move past it. By then I'd also had very good success in banishing many of my other physical TMS symptoms and I was feeling a lot of hope for the future.

    I don't think I'll ever forget what happened one morning a little later on that fall. It had been a couple of months since I had felt any of the depression I experienced in the summer ("before Sarno"). I can't recall how I was feeling when I got up one day, but I remember I was headed to the shower, when I suddenly felt a wave of depression coming over me. The weird thing is, it was a very concrete feeling - almost physical - like a curtain being drawn across my awareness or something. This sensation made me pay attention in a very odd way: it was as if my conscious brain stood back and watched as the depressive sensation and thoughts tried to take over the rest of my brain. And as I watched this happening, I realized that I had a choice. I could see (feel!) that I had a really strong urge to just give in and let the depression take over. It was exactly like the urge to eat another cookie or slice of cake, for no good reason other than distraction. Or like the call of the Sirens, in Homer's Oddyssey, luring sailors even when they know it's to their deaths.

    Sirens aside, I'm hopeless at resisting another cookie or piece of cake - but I was damned if I was going to give in to this depression, because I knew it would be a major setback. In other words, I was highly motivated to succeed in my recovery process. I simply said (perhaps even out loud, which is actually surprisingly effective for self-talk) something along the lines of "NO, do NOT go there - this is NOT necessary - I have a choice, and I choose to change my thoughts. Depression is NOT for me!" or something like that. The really amazing thing is that this totally worked. The depression left, and it never came back.

    That's a long post, so here's the takeaway: if you can really hear the negative self-talk that your brain is inundating you with, you can also change it. The neuroscientists are telling us that we CAN re-wire our own brains for the better, by changing the unconscious self-talk. You have to find the motivation to do so, then open your consciousness to hear the negatives, and replace the negatives with something constructive. Saying your constructive things out loud, or writing them down is known to make them real, and it makes them work better.

    This process can definitely be helped by the practice of meditation and mindfulness, as Avy mentioned.

    Good luck!

    juderocketqueen, plum and Ellen like this.
  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellie, to plum's point (and she is one of the wisest people on this site), my impression is that there are no two identical cases of TMS. It is not a trivial cold or flu to run the course same way through most of the bodies. I can see how people are trying various things and keep what works for them. Some find journaling the best, others work with therapists, many meditate, others just start working their muscles while ignoring pain - you name it. Try everything and find what works for you - you are unique and what works for others may not exactly work for you. I found this site very helpful:

    https://www.dharmaocean.org (Dharma Ocean)

    Reggie Ray's book Touching Enlightenment is my daily read now. Although it is not same as Sarno's targeted TMS approach, it gives understanding of Tibetan Buddhist somatic psychology which is extremely mindbody-oriented. Best of luck to you!
  12. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Jan, this is an excellent post, it resonates with me very much! I firmly believe that depression and anxiety are TMS. Count in insomnia, which results from over-excited nervous system. I have been reading a lot on Tibetan Buddhist psychology and somatic psychology (which seems to be rooted in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition).

    Tarthang Tulku, one of the Tibetan lamas who established Tibetan studies in the US, says that the biggest problem with our ability to handle negative emotions is that we don't give them enough time - sounds like a paradox at the first glance. He teaches that negative emotions are natural bodily responses and there is nothing wrong with them, but that we need to meet, greet and transform the emotions as they come into our system. If we don't handle them properly, they will store in our bodies and minds and impact our health. Sounds like TMS theory to me, but coming from a thousand year old tradition of studies! Tarthang Tulku also recognizes attachment (aka obsession) as a negative emotion of a kind, which TMS doctors also are able to treat by the same approach.

    You were able to meet your wave of depression, greet it and recognize as such and transform it in a positive fashion. As a result, it did not take the hold in your mindbody, it just washed over you, in full accordance with what the dearest Claire Weekes is teaching us to do. When I fall into despair, I listen to her distinctive, reassuring and moving voice which tells me: if you wish to recover, you will!
    plum and JanAtheCPA like this.
  13. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is awesome! We know that Dr. Sarno went back to Freud for much of his theories, but it doesn't surprise me a bit to learn about a much MUCH older awareness and study of mind-body theory.

    Dr. Gabor Mate, MD tells us the same thing, in When The Body Says No, but he is not part of the TMS community, and he goes radically WAY beyond what TMS practitioners generally focus on. His is #3 on the list of books that changed (and saved) my life, after The Divided Mind and Hope & Help For Your Nerves.
    plum likes this.
  14. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yep. It is only from this guy I am now learning how to meditate. As a matter of fact, he is making a strong point about disembodiment of the modern people and the rise of chronic pain and neurological disorders as a result of it.

    https://www.dharmaocean.org/ (Dharma Ocean)
    plum likes this.
  15. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    And practitioners of western medicine don't have the tiniest clue what that even means - nor any desire to get a clue.
    Lunarlass66 and plum like this.
  16. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Jan, don't get me started on this - but since you did, here it goes:

    One of my symptoms besides pain is that fingers just tensed mightily, curled in and would not straighten out or bend any further.

    The director of pain management clinic at Kaiser told me that:
    1. He had a problem with Sarno because Sarno was going too far
    2. You (meaning me) are doing better, right? - when I asked if he had anything to offer beyond epidural injection

    The funny thing is that he complained to me that his finger was getting bent and stuck in that position at times so he was curious what to do about it. I thought for myself that he should be getting injection straight into his brain :=).
    Lunarlass66 and JanAtheCPA like this.
  17. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    :hilarious: :hilarious: :hilarious:
    TG957 likes this.
  18. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Seriously! Geez, obviously he's never read Dr. Mate.
    TG957 likes this.
  19. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you Avy. Mum is slowly getting better so hopefully I'll have chance to write my reply here very soon. Much love to you my dear x
  20. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    TG, I adore Reggie Ray. I first encountered him on a Sounds True podcast where he spoke about dark retreats. These are seriously hardcore practices which involve total isolation with no sensory stimulus at all for days on end. I'm aware such things exist within shamanic traditions too but his description was so raw and human it made a huge impression on me. Dharma Ocean is a great oasis of wisdom. There is something utterly sublime about the Tibatan tradition. I don't know it well but I very much appreciate my trysts with it.

    I also adore your presence on the forum my dear. You a possess a refreshing and fierce compassion that cuts to the core of the issue in a clean, precise manner. Little wonder you enjoy Reggie Ray so much. His path is absolutely not for the feint of heart.

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