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Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by rickm, May 19, 2021.

  1. rickm

    rickm New Member

    Hi everyone,
    I would like to say something about my symptoms (this is mainly chronic 24/7 tension headache can consciously accept that the cause of my headache is due to suppressed emotions. But I have problems with my subconsciousness, which still calls for catastrophic thinking several times a day. It says something like you have a tumor or something related to this. While I know consciously that the headache has been there for a year and a half and the neurologist already called it a tension headache in Feb 20. How can I deal with this? I feel that this is really getting in the way of my recovery. The journaling is getting better and better everyday. This gives me the feeling that I am on the right track. But that anxious thinking is a real problem. This is reinforced by the worries because the pain does not migrate and stays in the same place, namely in front of your head. Do you guys have advice to overcome this?
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Clearly, your original symptom is not headache itself, it is anxiety and doubts/catastrophic thinking. You correctly identified your problem, which is being in this self-propelled endless loop of headache and anxiety. Your nervous system is overstressed and cannot accept rational thinking.

    There are two best ways to deal with it:

    1. Dr. Claire Weekes audios https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/claire-weekes-audio.2569/ (Claire Weekes Audio)
    2. Mindfulness and meditation. There are many schools of it, maybe the most popular is Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn

    Also, feel free to use this forum. There is a good search function, many people on this forum overcame migraines, anxiety etc.
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
  3. fewjoram

    fewjoram Peer Supporter

    Hope you're okay right now, dude.
  4. rickm

    rickm New Member

    I listened to the first audio bit. And wow she was way ahead of her time. I already searched for topics about tension headache but I get the feeling that their aren't as many compared to the more classic TMS sufferers.
    TG957 likes this.
  5. rickm

    rickm New Member

    Besides the TMS I am
  6. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, fewer of those who are not classic back pain people, but our ranks are growing.
  7. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is not your 'subconscious' or 'unconscious' that Sarno is talking about... If you are catastrophically thinking and aware of it at all, it is conscious. Even sitting in therapy and having an 'aha' moment and remembering say, a bully who f-d with you in childhood. That is 'Pre-conscious'. The unconscious proper is unavailable in real time. We can only speculate what goes on there. The insanity of a dream is about the closest we can get at first.

    You might think 'who cares?'. But it is very important as part of our recovery to have a conscious understanding that we don't understand. As insane as that sounds, that is essential. The closest, first glimpse most people can acquire is looking BACK in your life, understanding things from your past and seeing "Oh.. it's obvious now I was unable to deal with ____"

    Then, over a course of self examination you might begin to get a 'shadow on the cave wall' of whats going on inside even though it doesn't give you any conscious feelings. Sarno was careful to make distinctions between perceived emotions (angry, sad, happy, scared) and unconscious ones.

    If your in pain continuously that might be tough, but if you have any way of getting respite , use that time to examine yourself. Even Sarno recommended strong painkillers for people involved in intense attacks of TMS. Don't expect it to last. LIE to yourself if you've gotta. Advertise in your own head.... That neurologist has a billboard there... Paper it over with YOUR idea's.

    Sarno himself was a Migraine sufferer and even after he wrote books, he still had to battle it with the rest of us, but it is winnable. It isn't easy, but it is simple. Whenever you catch yourself catstrophising, tell that voice to STFU. whenever you can, turn your mind to what you might imagine OUGHT to be bugging you, but isn't. What does the pain and discomfort keep you from thinking about that SHOULD piss you off?

    Any time I have a little something something, I think I need an answer, but I usually get better with a question.

    Ellen, backhand, BloodMoon and 2 others like this.
  8. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    It gets better when you see triggers/trauma as something to address, not ignore. Sometimes you'll find something to replace it with, other times you will need to do something because it's something needed that was avoided. As far as the actual headaches go, making sure to physically relax, drink water, get some fresh air, and don't give into fear! I like to take a "nap", I don't usually fall asleep, and in this half asleep state you can get some pretty good insight from your intuition. And if what you're thinking about is something you don't need to think about and is not necessary for you to actually deal with, you can think about something that is important for you to connect to.
  9. rickm

    rickm New Member

    I try to understand you, but I am a bit struggling with this part of your story. Could you maybe elaborate?
  10. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    This is examining and questioning fearful thoughts. The first window to relief is when you realize a flare isn 't permanent. Then go from there, even if you have to do it several times. Symptoms can be unpredictable but you have at least a little control over how you think.
  11. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Most of us who end up here, came here with near continuous symptoms... I have seen a lot of new people say stuff like this
    I assume you meant the discomfort from the Headache?

    This is a first person investigation into yourself conducted by yourself. That means your gonna interface it in all kinds of different conditions... in pain, in discomfort and occasionally outright agony. (That is when it is appropriate to take something, but not expect it to last too long) All of us who have recovered have worked through periods of intense pain. They are oftentimes the most instructive.

    If your gonna recover it is gonna come from inside of yourself., through the process of investigating , which entails asking yourself questions. Important ones about the substance of your life. This here:
    is not the thinking that investigation is a part of... that obsessional component is part of the Malady proper. In fact, if you weren't anxious about it and it wasn't a little obsessive, you wouldn't have TMS (LOL)... it's a mutual exclusivity principle that Sarno outlines well in the psychology chapter of HBP.

    You don't "overcome it". You have a realization that it is part of the distraction, and Ignore it completely as you recognize it for what it is..

    I have always found questions better than journaling. If I am in charge of the dialogue, but my mind is part of the problem, I might run myself in circles. If I ask myself questions, I don't get to give the Obsessional component any control.

    When did this symptom start occupying my attention full time?
    What was going on in my life that I was 'OK' with that maybe I am not?
    (personal relationships, family, career, finance, living situation, education,etc,etc)
    What was going on in the important parts of my life when the symptom came to stay?
    What activities ameliorate or exacerbate the distraction and obsessional parts? (not the symptom)

    As the questions get better and I ask myself them on a continuing basis, the distraction can't gain any traction in my head, the obsessional component is fried and the symptom goes away.
    Ellen and Balsa11 like this.
  12. rickm

    rickm New Member

    @Baseball65 that is some long story you wrote their. ;) I think that I am in the moment of overcoming TMS where the TMS is trying to stay in place, while at the same time I am really making progress to be honest with feeling emotions. I think two days ago I journalled and actual tears appeared. Since childhood I think that I have never felt that way. So on one hand I feel improvement. While on the other hand my mind is tricking me into believing it is not TMS. I know I have to renounce such doubts. And the support here helps me with that. So I am thankful for that.

    But about your quenstioning type of TMS work. If I understand it correctly. Every time you feel something coming up you start to ask questions. Or do you take some moments a day to do this work?

    Oh, and I also want to add that I did two sessions of mediation of Kabat Zinn. Really strange (not in a bad way), and afterwards I had the feeling that it was easier to sort of get in contact with myself. Real strange so for the first time
    Balsa11 likes this.
  13. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    @rickm , here is from my blog about 5 stages of TMS healing. It talks specifically about CRPS, but equally applies to every TMS condition. Hope it would be helpful:

    Stage 1. Disbelief. Almost everybody starts with disbelief, because it is very hard for them to accept the fact that their pain is induced by the brain. Their brain, trained in the opposing theories, offers many ways to go back to convenient knowledge:

    1. My pain feels so physical, it must be structural.
    2. I have a herniated disk, and I have my MRI to prove it.
    3. My EMG shows that I have a carpal tunnel syndrome, there is a structural damage to the nerve
    4. Doctor such-and-such told me that I have a pinched nerve
    5. Swelling or skin changes cannot be induced by the brain
    I am sure, this list can continue forever.

    Well, multiple studies were done to show that back pain is not a result of a herniated disk, but rather a coincidence. Study after study show that spine deformities are equally present in those with chronic pain as they are in those without chronic pain. Here is one of them, from the United States, and another one, from Japan. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bruce Moseley conducted a clinical study comparing an arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis to a placebo one. He found no difference in the outcome. Now, for those who are still stuck on skin changes: it has long been a well-accepted notion that acne and rosacea are known to be triggered by stress.

    Disbelief is normal. Every revolutionary idea starts with disbelief. And that’s OK. What makes a productive revolutionary idea different from an unproductive revolutionary idea is that it stands the trial by practice. Thousands of people around the world have proven Dr. Sarno and the mind-body method right by simply using it and healing. If you are in disbelief, you are welcome to continue questioning this theory. However, keep your mind and eyes open to the facts and try to accept them instead of resisting or ignoring them. Only then you will progress to the next stage of healing.

    Stage 2. Doubt. Regardless of how much or how little time you spent on stage 1 – a year or just one minute, you will inevitably enter stage 2, which is doubt. If you have not sufficiently disposed of your disbelief, with every spike in pain your mind will continue going back to the concept of structural damage. Why? Because your mind is searching for easy solutions: a pill, a surgery, an injection. Because the advances of our modern medicine in fighting bacterial and viral infections, in developing amazing surgical techniques and painkillers or amazing diagnostic technologies conditioned us to believe that there is an instant solution for every illness. Well, mind-body healing is hard work, and it is slow, especially for CRPS, which manifests itself with very complex and widespread symptoms. Usually, there is no instant relief and no instant gratification. But eventually you will convince yourself that slow but successful healing is better than an endless search for a magic pill. Sometimes people even accept that some of your mind-body symptoms (for example, pain) are psychosomatic, but the rest of them (swelling, rash or spasms) are not. Acceptance is often a gradual and painful process.

    Still, once you get over those doubts and firmly convince yourself that your pain is, in fact, of psychosomatic origin and can only be defeated by a mind-body approach, there is another doubt waiting for you. You begin to doubt yourself and your ability to beat your pain. This one is the biggest obstacle on your path to recovery. This doubt comes in different shapes and shades. You may be worrying that you are not going through the right steps, or that your choice of the methodology is wrong. It may be that you decide that you are lacking skills or even capacity to re-wire your brain. My advice to you is very simple: as long as you understand that everybody has doubts but most of us succeed with enough effort – you will eventually overcome your doubts and move on to the next stage.

    Stage 3. Disappointment. This is another likely period for those who made it past doubts. You have done all the work understanding the mind-body connection with regards to pain, you are now diving deep into your emotions, you are working through your childhood traumas, you are meditating every day, but your pain is not going away. Or maybe your original pain is down, but your anxiety is now through the roof. This is the time when you start wondering whether you wasted all of your time on this Dr. Sarno mind-body business and you would be much better off by just getting a prescription for an opioid painkiller or look for a good surgeon to fix your problems.

    However, I have very good news for you: you are closer to success than you think. Increase in the levels of anxiety, depression or OCD is in fact a very good sign. It indicates that your pain has psychosomatic origin. The same applies if your pain moved to a different location. Everybody goes through this period. Why? Because good things never come soon enough and because there are no free lunches. People who developed CRPS often have a long history of stress, difficult life situations and even tragedies. It takes a lot of damage to make the nervous system fall apart to the point that it creates symptoms of such intensity in different parts of the body. But that also means that you must put a lot of time, effort, and patience into climbing back to normal. And with time, patience, and effort, you will get to the next stage, Determination. But for now, keep working!

    Stage 4. Determination. This stage, when I switched from despair and anxiety caused by my CRPS to hope and determination, was maybe the most exciting time of my life. My hard work was paying off and the sense of personal achievement in beating this officially incurable illness was exhilarating. I felt like a mountain climber feels being a hundred feet away from the peak of Mount Everest. So, what one should expect at this stage? By now, you have seen small improvements. You were able to achieve occasional reduction of some or maybe even all of your symptoms. You are no longer fearful of pain because you know that you can improve. At this point, you are working on your healing with renewed energy. Congratulations! You should be very proud of yourself! Still, I have a word of warning for you: do not get overconfident or easily discouraged. Your success may still be temporary, with setbacks and long plateaus when you seem to be stuck without any progress. Continue your work. You will know when you are fully healed. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen. Keep working!

    Stage 5. Defiance. At this point, you are symptom-free. You are walking on clouds and confident that your pain and the rest of your symptoms will never return. Life is great and you regained your normal lifestyle. Enjoy your victory but be mindful that pain may still come back if your emotional problems reoccur under pressures of life and stress, and it would be more than you can successfully cope with. Don’t be defiant, be vigilant instead. You have a playbook at your fingertips, try it again, and you will be fine!
    Balsa11 likes this.
  14. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Both. If I get a mystery-out-of-nowhere symptom, I do the questions. But I also set aside time every day to 'keep track' of anger inducing stuff.

    What I was mostly addressing was the doubt part. That's Part of the deal. People with broken bones or cancer don't doubt they have them, but people with TMS do (LOL)
  15. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    @rickm Also in Stage 3, and pretty much throughout the cycle, your body is discharging stored tension, and sometimes you'll feel what's called an extinction burst. You'll feel it more emotionally which means your nervous system and body is responding, which is a good thing(it will be quickly followed by post flare relief!)
    TG957 likes this.
  16. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    @rickm Another way to handle the out of nowhere symptoms is to combine self-inquiry with belly breathing to calm down any overactive sensations or tension and help your body get out of the chemical stress response faster. As the adrenaline lowers, you will be able to think more clearly and do more psychological/cognitive work once the nervous system is stabilized by your breath.
  17. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    @TG957 This would be a really helpful post to have on other parts of the forum, like Success Stories etc.
    TG957 likes this.

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