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Ego versus Self

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ralph99, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. Ralph99

    Ralph99 New Member

    Hi everyone. I have been battling TMS for over 3 years, and less chronic symptoms much longer. I only understood that's what it is about 2 years ago after reading John Sarno's books. I have worked with Derek Sapico, and he is great. I have had many different symptoms over the years, starting with cervical neck issues causing great pain in the early 2000s, to various IBS issues that come and go, to something called "BFS" or benign fasculation syndrome ("random twitches"), to headaches, to gastritis 3 years ago, to an 8 month stint of depression/anxiety, and now to GERD/IBS which causes me to have asthma-type symptoms. I have been to every doctor possible, including a neurologist, gastroenterologist, pulmonologist, cardiologist, ENT, and primary care doctor. They all come to the conclusion after numerous tests that I suffer from anxiety and that is the cause of most of my problems. However, my gastroenterologist diagnosed me with mild IBS and GERD. After recognizing that I am having trouble breathing at night because of GERD, I realize that TMS is not my friend. It can kill me if I don't fix it. Silent reflux can cause damage to my esophagus and I could stop breathing at night. My TMS is relentless.

    I am tired of looking for some deep down emotional pain that I need to release. I really don't think that is the cause of my TMS, as I have explored all of that in therapy, journaling, exercises in "Unlearn Your Pain" from Howard Shubiner, etc., etc. I realize that my childhood wasn't great and my parents/childhood have caused my protective/fearful/perfectionist personality and thus my TMS. I have released or at least uncovered my anger toward them for the way they raised me. But that hasn't stopped my symptoms. They just move around ("the symptom imperative").

    I recognize that at this point my brain is having me focus on GERD/IBS because it is the most concerning to me medically. I recognize that it is not safe. All of the other benign issues I have been able to get over using Sarno's/Derek's techniques of not fearing them and facing them head on. But GERD/IBS is not one of those things. I don't think it is a good strategy to go eat 2 double cheeseburgers to prove to my body I am not fearful of this (although I have done that and it has ZERO impact on my stomach or GERD--which proves this is TMS). What I eat has no impact whatsoever on how my stomach feels or if I wake up with wheezing. However, I think part of TMS treatment is treating your body and mind with love, which means trying to eat better, not pushing my stomach to prove it is healthy. That being said, my problem-solving personality is making me go all out to heal my stomach, which is what TMS wants me to do--center my entire life around my symptoms. So for the last month I have begun taking a PPI, started eating super healthy, juicing cabbage and potato juice (they supposedly heal the stomach lining), reading internet sites on GERD/indigestion solutions, never taking a sip of alcohol or soda, eating lots of fiber, and yesterday I bought probiotics and yogurt. That hasn't really helped much. I realize that is also not the solution to this issue to become neurotic about my stomach.

    I have reached the point now where I recognize my ego is the problem. My ego has always been trying to protect me from harm, but now it has become a monster. My ego thinks it is the reason for all of my success in life. My ego is out of control. It has even go as far as to start getting mad and yelling at God for allowing this. Telling God "you don't know what you are doing--you can fix me anytime but you must hate me because you are just sitting there watching me suffer." I realize now that my true self has become separated from my ego. My ego is in control. My ego is selfish, perfectionist, and controlling. It does not want to let go. I think once I get to the point where I do not listen to my ego anymore, it will lose its power. I am starting to seriously begin mindfulness practices like a daily body scan, meditation, and I think I need to start yoga. I need to marginalize my ego or it will destroy me. I need to reconnect with my true self and get rid of this fake controlling monster. It's hard though. It's like I am in a fight with my own self. But I think that is the key to me feeling better again physically.

    Anyway, I will write a success story one day once I figure all of this out. I just felt like posting on here to share my story and let everyone know that TMS is real and most likely there is nothing really wrong with you if you are reading this board. There is a lot more going on beneath the surface than you understand.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
    Mad, Steve J., riverrat and 1 other person like this.
  2. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Great insight. Thanks for sharing.
    Mad and Ralph99 like this.
  3. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ralph, I recently posted my question on another subforum (see link below), for similar reasons: my recovery has plateaued recently and is more of a "stop" than a "go". I was wondering whether my problem was that I just could not get to the source of my rage. Your insight is very interesting. I am quite impressed that you were able to identify your ego as a problem. I can't even figure out my ego, let alone pick it apart like you did. How did you arrive on your conclusion? Very interested in how your progress goes down this route.

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/do-i-have-to-identify-the-source-of-my-repressed-rage-in-order-to-heal.13722/ (Do I have to identify the source of my repressed rage in order to heal?)
  4. Ralph99

    Ralph99 New Member

    Hi TG957. I don't know for sure yet. I am just working through my issues like everyone. Like you, I was hoping to find a smoking gun of repressed emotions to uncover and that would be the key. Therapy helped me while I was active, but I stopped once I felt better a year ago, and my symptoms creeped back. I still have a lot of anger inside, mostly over TMS I logically think, but maybe it is something else. I think deep down I am not living the life I should be, and I think my ego wants it that way. It wants me to be safe and risk free. It wants to be in complete control of life, to build a wall around me and my heart. I think that protection comes from my ego, but I am not sure. My ego is very controlling and selfish. It only cares about me. It only cares about feeling good. It cares about making sure everyone likes me. It thinks it knows what's best for me. But deep down I don't think that's the real me. I think maybe my real self is dying to get out, and that is causing the struggle. I don't know this for sure--it is just my theory. I will update the group as time goes on. But I am pretty sure I am not going to find some hidden repressed childhood trauma at this point that is going to be the end of TMS for me.
  5. Mad

    Mad Peer Supporter

    You put that all so well, about your ego. I can empathize. I had already worked through my various traumas before TMS really took hold of me. I'm confident that I don't have any leftover repressed emotions. Once I really understood that my mind (logically and emotionally) was the root of all this,bam!... 98% of my symptoms vanished. Go figure! Now I have to keep my ego in check.
    Ralph99 likes this.
  6. Thelauriebelle1

    Thelauriebelle1 Peer Supporter

    Ralph99 your post sounds just like me!! Even down to BFS!! I came across TMS after searching for answers to my bladder problems...IC. I have been diagnosed with everything it seems like! All the "syndromes"! IBS/Gerd, BFS, IC, you name it! Last week my bladder started burning again and I used my mind body techniques to rid it and it vanished yet again! So powerful! But soon after came this severe gerd/IBS crap again and it's being relentless!! I'm not sure how to solve this one as TMS! Naturally though this time I have a weird esophagus twitch that has had my brain scared it's my heart! Unlike you, I don't feel like my ego is trying to protect me. I feel like my ego always wants me to have something physically going on to be afraid of. Maybe I'm wrong but that's how I feel. I feel like I'm missing a big part of this puzzle! Thanks for sharing!!
    Ralph99 likes this.
  7. Ralph99

    Ralph99 New Member

    Hi Laurie. Don't worry--I feel the same way a lot. I haven't figured all of this out. You are not missing anything. A lot of times I believe my TMS is evil and trying to harm me and scare me, not protect me or distract me. I am just hoping the TMS practitioners and most of the books I read are correct that it is not intended for my harm. But I totally get how you feel. I think we both at least know now for sure that our symptoms are TMS and not symptoms of some horrible disease. So that always puts my mind somewhat to ease and generally eliminates my fear, but not always my frustration at what is happening. I have all of the "syndromes" as well :) I went to the hospital once for what I thought was a heart attack, and my BFS of course then erupted in my chest, so I assumed that was part of a heart attack. I literally remember sitting in my hospital bed thinking my heart itself was twitching. But it wasn't as usual. It was just the nerves in my chest wall. My heart was perfectly fine. The ER discharged me 2 days later without the cardiologist even coming by to see me, because nothing was wrong.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
    Thelauriebelle1 likes this.
  8. Thelauriebelle1

    Thelauriebelle1 Peer Supporter

    I am going through that now....deciding whether or not to go to the dr. My gerd is back and I'm having periodic flutter like twitches in my esophagus area. Is it my heart? I am also extremely gassy and constant belching. The fluttering is freaking me out. I need some reassurance as always so I can move on but my crazy mind wants to think there's a tumor in there!! Ugh!!!
  9. Un0wut2du

    Un0wut2du Peer Supporter

    In AA we work very hard to deflate the ego as self-centered thinking is at the heart of our disease. Getting 'right-sized' in our worlds is imperative to our sobriety. Take a look at some of our materiel and see if they can help. An oversized ego is quite simply a 'false self." And deep down one knows this. Its damage is unending until we bring ourselves to being right-sized. Take a look:

    http://www.barefootsworld.net/imemine.html (A.A. Recovery -- The Elimination of the Ego-Self)
    Ralph99 likes this.
  10. Ralph99

    Ralph99 New Member

    thank you! This is excellent information.
    Un0wut2du likes this.
  11. Infograbber

    Infograbber Newcomer

    I absolutely believe you will be a success story and I can't wait to read it I've just begun so I'm quite jealous that you know so much more with me I have major panic attack and have had a life full of hell to say it in the best way possible so its hard for me to grasp the fact that I am causing panic attacks especially when I wake up with them sometimes but like I said Im just starting and I think just in my short time getting something to laugh at has helped or watching something Im deeply interested in has helped just keeping my mind busy and we all have ego problems so don't beat yourself up we have a problem we can solve and when you do just think of how much of an ego booster that'll be. Best wishes if you need distraction Im here. Thank you
    Ralph99 likes this.
  12. Ralph99

    Ralph99 New Member

    You are in the right place and on the right track. Thank you for the kind words and I think the same thing for you!
  13. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is an example of the power of observation, using Dr. Sarno's work. It is less about changing anything, and more about connecting the dots, understanding the real reason, the real cause of symptoms. This is my experience also: I did not find an 'exact cause' at onset. Rather, what helped me was seeing that there is a "war going on down there" and connecting this to Dr. Sarno's work of inner tension, or psychological conflict.

    It may be that a more relaxed approach will also serve you. Simply observing yourself over time gives the ego less fuel, makes it less believable. It might be less about fighting the activity of the ego, and more about "seeing through its drama." Good luck in this deep work!
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
    zclesa and Ralph99 like this.
  14. Betsy4ever

    Betsy4ever New Member

    Thanks Ralph for sharing these wonderful insights. Problem identification (self assessment) is the most difficult aspect i guess. Fighting yourself to burst ego bubble is the accomplishment i made at a cost.
    Ralph99 likes this.

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