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Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Kris, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. Kris

    Kris New Member

    Well, it's 5:00 a.m. here and I've been awake for an hour in pain. Since I have returned from a very stressful overseas work trip five days ago, my TMS pain at night has gotten worse. Over the past three months, I have not had one single night of restful sleep. Not one. Most nights I average about five hours of restless sleep, and it is starting to take its toll on me. For a little while, I was able to shift to a new position and get back to at least a restless sleep, but the past two nights have been agony. The pain from my butt down into my leg is so intense that no deep breathing, positive affirmations, TMS thinking could possibly allow me relief enough to get back to sleep. So I've been waking at 5:00 to go soak in my hot tub. Not to soak my muscles, but to try to relax overall, because even laying on the couch brings no relief. Until three months ago, I had no idea how agonizing pain while sleeping could be. The best way I can describe it is it literally feels like bloodflow has been cut off and my butt/leg is crying out for help as it feels like it is dying. It's like when a body part falls asleep and you get the pain right before the numbness sets in. Except in my case, it's all pain and no numbness.
    I truly don't know where to go from here. It is a vicious cycle that I can't seem to break. During the day, I can self-talk and practice TMS thoughts. But when we're sleeping, there is nothing we can do to stop the unconscious mind and the conditioning from running rampant. The lack of sleep just makes me feel emotional and exhausted. So I'm spending my days feeling a little crazy and like I'm walking through life in a haze now.
    Before you suggest it, NO sleep medicines help. They will keep me asleep until a certain point, but the pain inevitably ALWAYS breaks through at a certain hour. I have an appointment with my regular doctor/acupuncturist this morning and I'm thinking about asking him to prescribe some kind of anxiety med that I can take for a week or two to kind of "reset" myself ad calm myself down enough to hopefully work through this. I know Steve O says that meds just prolong TMS, but I don't know what else to do to get some relief before I end up in the hospital with exhaustion. I also only want to take something very short term because I don't like taking traditional medicine. I am also seeing the therapist that I went to for anxiety a couple years ago on Monday. This will be my first time going to her since discovering TMS, but the last time I saw her she was very helpful, and looking back, I think she was trying to get me to understand the mind/body connection even then.
    I don't know what I'm looking for with this post, because I know that everyone will say to hang in there and be kind to myself and keep practicing TMS thinking. I have ZERO doubt that this is 100% TMS, but I'm just stuck in a very difficult conditioning cycle that I'm not sure how to get out of. TMS work is a lot easier done when you're not laying in bed at 3:30 a.m. in agony.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've been where you are, and know how very hard it is. I used medication to get through it. I think it is fine to do this, as long as you know that the medication is not solving the underlying cause for your pain, restless sleep, and exhaustion. I think part of the TMS personality is to set up these very strict standards for what is acceptable and what isn't for ourselves. Give yourself a break--literally. It will be fine. Then when you feel stronger and better rested, you can focus more on doing the TMS work.
    JanAtheCPA and Anne Walker like this.
  3. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Kris, reading your post I am reminded of the tremendously difficult times when I have felt completely helpless and trapped in pain. Days I layed in my hot bath and cried in desperation it hurt so bad. It didn't seem like anyone could really understand because I felt like I had been clubbed in the back of my head and the time dragged slowly. Many sleepless nights. It will get better. You are doing all the right things. Seeing the therapist and accupuncturist is a great idea. My accupuncturist gave me this tincture called Tranquility. I use it regularly at night before I go to bed and I think it helps me sleep. I also wonder if you have any guided meditations you can listen to. Its so hard not to worry and get worked up when you can't sleep. Anything to help calm your system. You will get relief and figure this out. Hopefully soon.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
    beachgirl and JanAtheCPA like this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Kris, this sounds very discouraging and I'm so sorry you're going through it. I can only think of one thing to try which you haven't mentioned, which is to do a meditation/visualization before going to sleep. The goal is to reset your anticipation and, as we always say, to change the message to something constructive and positive. Visualization and affirmation are very powerful techniques.

    There is a little book (I love the little ones) called Creative Visualizations, by Shakti Gawain, which I found very useful way back in the 80s before I knew anything about TMS. It's still easy to find, both new and used copies.

    My own symptoms were different from yours, but you can absolutely take hope from Ellen and Anne, because they DID IT.
    beachgirl likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Kris. You've gotten excellent advice and encouragement from others and I echo the,.
    Mindfulness meditation, living in the present, has helped a lot of people and has become especially popular in TMS healing.

    I am going to post a new thread in the General Discussion Subforum in a few minutes which is more about MM. Hope you will take a look at it.

    I also agree that it is okay to get some medication from your doctor so you can sleep better.
  6. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just posted it in the General Discussion subforum about mindfulness.
  7. beachgirl

    beachgirl Peer Supporter

    Hi Kris,

    I know when you are in that much pain it seems virtually impossible to believe that a book, a mind approach and a Dr in NY who most will never meet can help conquer those symptoms but it's true. THe most powerful thing to help for me was to read and see hundreds of people who have gone through the same thing and gotten better. So I hope being one of those people and sharing that will help in banishing your symptoms. If I did it so can you.

    I had debilitating back pain, been to 6 drs and told a I had two degenerated discs. At one point the drs thought I had a crack in my spine the pain was so bad. I saw my MRI and my "flattened" discs and how the docs all said that was causing my pain. At 35 I was told to have those discs removed and have spinal fusion. I could not sleep, sit stand move eat, nothing. I remember even lifting my salad bowl or a large bottle of Poland spring water was excruciating. Then after weeks of focused prayer to get better I stumbled upon an article by Andrew Weil about Dr Sarno and every thing changed. I remember feeling just a 1% change in my pain after just reading that article but any change at all told me there was something to it. I bought Healing Back Pain and Mind Body prescription read one, then the other, then back to the other over and over again. Change was slow but any change at all told me there was something to this so I kept at it. I really had to apply this stuff, think it so hard it hurt my brain but it worked. After 6 months I had a 50% resolution in symptoms. Huge. Then I got my ass on a plane and went to NYC and met Dr Sarno and went through the course. No small thing since I couldn't ride five minutes in the car when I started and here I was on a plane to NY. By a few months after that pain was all gone. Today I can back bend in full upward bow pose in yoga dn am 100% cured. A flare up comes once in a while and I just laugh it off and it goes right away.

    About 5 yrs after that I decided to apply Sarnos techniques to a chronic coughing condition I would get 3-4 times a year after a cold. My coughs were a life long huge problem and came on after every cold or flu so bad Id be in need of heavy medication and feel like I'd almost end up in the Emergncy room. Every cold or flu ended in these debilitating coughs which would last a week or more and keep me up all night - I know the exhaustin you're speaking about. So Same process, same results. Read read read some more then think it through till my symptoms stop. And Cured. Could not believe it nor could my family when I banished my first cough. It is tough work but I apply these Principals till my mind hurts if I have to, 24/7 over and over.

    That was all many years ago and I am pain free today. I am current,y working on banishing my new symptoms with the faith of this experience behind me which is no small thing. But I can tell you without a doubt as far as pain goes, Cured. Plain and simple. I will say a prayer for you when I am back bending in yoga today. If I can do it so can you.
    Anne Walker and JanAtheCPA like this.
  8. Murmur

    Murmur New Member

    Hi Kris, I came across this post because I feel like I'm in the exact same boat. My TMS flared up about a month ago just before a major change in my work. I'm out of town and away from home for another month and really freaked out because, like you, I know this is TMS and like you the pain when i try to sleep is excruciating. I hope that things since you last posted have improved. I've been reading The Great Pain Deception and this weekend have been able to make some gains in turning down my pain by regarding it with love and compassion. I tried yelling at it the first few weeks but now I'm trying to view it as a small frightened child and just give it my love even as it sends bolts of agony up and down my leg. Sometimes it actually works. It's a new approach for me. I wanted this pain gone ASAP but am starting to realize that fighting isn't working for me.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  9. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    How about taking Some pain meds along with some sleep meds the combo can work and get u some needed sleep so u can start your healing process for both of u
  10. Crissyxox

    Crissyxox Peer Supporter

    Awwww kris. I'm so sorry. That's so hard. I like the idea Jan and others had to meditate before bed. Is that something you have tried?

    Hang on. You can do this. Don't be afraid to reach out for help. Tms therapists are trained in exactly what the do in situations like these. On the short term I think the hot tub is a great idea. Any relief is good.
  11. Kris

    Kris New Member

    Hi everyone. It's been almost two months since I initially made this post, and a little over a month since I got past my suffering. Yes, that's right, I am no longer suffering from TMS!

    Murmer, and others, I hope that my update can help you, because I know that I certainly clung to hearing people's recovery stories when I was at my darkest. As I have mentioned in other posts, this last round of TMS, which began back in July, was actually my second battle that I was aware was TMS. I certainly had other battles prior to even knowing what TMS was. This time, knowing it was TMS, was actually harder for me. Instead of battling some unknown physical condition, like I did in the past, I was battling my own brain, and I felt helpless, I felt betrayed. When this recurrence began, I felt like a victim to my own brain. I felt helpless and frustrated and I saw no end in sight. I fought my brain SO hard. I pored over TMS books, I tried every relaxation tip I could find, I spent hours on this board. I yelled at my brain, I spoke gently to my inner child, I analyzed my every childhood experience and current emotion. I tried my hardest to do everything I could to fight TMS. And then I realized that was the problem.

    How did I finally get past it after over three months of battling pain, sleeplessness, helplessness, and anxiety? For me, I think the answer is three-fold. First, I did start going back to the counselor that I saw previously for anxiety issues (she is not a TMS therapist and actually isn't familiar with TMS, but does embrace the mind/body effect). However, I have to honestly say, even though I am still seeing her occasionally, that I don't think that was the true key to getting past my TMS. I think it has helped me a little to just get my emotions out, but I think it was probably the least of the three things that I did. I still to this day have not found the "smoking gun" traumatic experience or event that causes my TMS. For me (and everyone is clearly different) I believe that my TMS is caused more by my personality traits. (Which, yes, were developed as a result of many childhood and lifetime experiences. I just want to make a note that I think too many people read these boards and the books and get caught up in trying to figure out what that "thing" is that gave them TMS, and that can actually create even more stress and pressure. Sometimes it doesn't need to be specifically identified, as long as you are aware that there is something in you that is causing this pain distraction.) The second thing was that I listened to Sarno's Healing Back Pain on audiobook again. I had previously listened to it on a car trip at the beginning of my recurrence and I felt like it didn't help that time. Maybe it was the timing of the next time I listened, maybe my brain was just so exhausted, or maybe it was the fact that I put my ear buds in and really listened to it. I'm not sure. All I know is after the first hour of listening, I felt a little stronger and a little less like a victim. The third thing I did was start to read Dr. Claire Weekes Peace From Nervous Suffering. My dad gave it to me years ago and I never got into it because I had started reading it once and felt I couldn't relate to the emphasis on agoraphobia in it. However, I started reading it again and changed the words in my mind to "fear," "anxiety," and "pain." I read her four simple rules:
    • Face; do not run away.
    • Accept; do not fight.
    • Float past; do not arrest and listen in.
    • Let time pass; do not be impatient with time.
    As I read these, I realized that I had done the exact opposite of all four of these rules throughout my recurrence battle. I didn't face it. I tried SO hard to run away and force it out of my brain and body. I didn't accept. I fought it tooth and nail and tried to control the pain and the fear. I didn't float past. I dwelled and stewed and feared. I didn't let time pass. I constantly focused on how long I had been in pain, thought about all the events it would affect, and worried that I was simply meant to be a lifelong TMS victim.

    After I read these things and realized what I had been doing, I put these four reminders in my phone and looked at them every time I felt the fear start to overtake me, and I worked on putting these four rules into action. It didn't happen overnight, but it happened. The second thing that I found incredibly helpful in her book was her description of first fear and second fear. First fear is almost biological. It's our brain's instinctual reaction to things going on in and around the body. It's not necessarily something we can control. Second fear, however, is our reaction to first fear. I call it the "pile on effect." It's the "What if..." It's the "Oh no, that hurts, I wonder how long that's going to stick around." It's the, "Well if it hurts when I move this way, it will hurt when I move this way again." Once I recognized this, I started to react differently to the shooting pains, the inability to move certain ways, the fear of sleeping. I started to tell myself that just because I have this pain now, doesn't mean I will have it two hours from now. Just because I had pain while sleeping last night, doesn't mean I have to have it tonight. Slowly, sometimes very slowly, things started to improve. But it's important to note that the improvement began first in my emotional reaction and outlook before it improved physically- not the other way around. I began to realize that I didn't have to always feel 100% to be happy. Pain in our bodies is just sometimes there, and that is okay. That doesn't mean it will be there forever, and that doesn't mean I have to analyze it, and that doesn't mean I have to let it ruin my day.

    I read on here that there are some people who will suffer off and on with TMS their whole life. I don't and can't think that way. I feel like that would be setting myself up for round after round of recurrence. Instead, I choose to focus on implementing the things I have learned throughout this journey so that I don't have to be a lifelong sufferer. I want to stay in the positive now that I've come out of the darkness. I hope this helps someone else who is suffering or feeling fearful. Please feel free to ask any questions.
    jart_jart, yb44 and Lavender like this.
  12. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    And for anyone reading this who has not yet picked up their copy of Hope and Help For Your Nerves, you will find this, as well as the discussion of First Fear and Second Fear in there also. This is Dr. Weekes' signature advice and IT WORKS, I can tell you from personal experience.

    This is wonderful news, Kris - Congratulations and thank you for letting us know!
    Kris likes this.
  13. Crissyxox

    Crissyxox Peer Supporter

    Kris!!!! This is such fantastic news. Among the many wonderfully powerful things you said, you touched on something at the end that I see as great significance and that will and has dictated your success. I don't think you have to suffer as a lifelong tsmer. That's just more fear. What you are doing though is building a very powerful toolbox of strategies so that IF in the future you need them, you know exactly how to employ them effectively so you don't have to have round after round. You and I are very alike in that thinking. I know I'm getting better and not just right now. For a lifetime. ;)
    JanAtheCPA and Kris like this.
  14. Crissyxox

    Crissyxox Peer Supporter

    Ps. You should feel really proud of yourself. :)
    Kris likes this.
  15. Branson

    Branson Peer Supporter

    Good for you Kris! Those are powerful words.

    I dabbled in treating tms years ago. I tried everything all at once all the time. If this little treatment is good then much much more is better. Nope that would make it poison. Sarno said, here spend an hour, think psychological. Now that is a medicinal dose. The rest is panic OverDose. Thank you for helping me see what I dont want to do this time round.

    To sit for tea with Granny Weekes will always set you right.
    Kris likes this.
  16. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    This post is so good that it merits its own thread in the Success Stories subform. I've highlighted my favourite bits above.

    You cover so many crucial topics which have been discussed before ad infinitum but we can't mention them enough, especially for all the newbies and lurkers. These include:

    *Trying too hard to heal
    *The endless quest to find the root cause
    *Changing our reactions

    Bravo, Kris!
    JanAtheCPA, Kris and Misha like this.
  17. Simplicity

    Simplicity Guest

    I love this! Good for you!
    Claire Weekes changed everything for me.
    I've been refocusing lately and doing the work and my sciatica is gone for a week now, no migraines for months, less neck/back pain and anxiety levels decreased. Once I made some major changes in my life; simplified, accepted things as they are, etc a major shift occurred. I was able to accept myself for who I am and starting to treat myself with kindness for the first time in my life. Kindness is key.
    No matter how long you've been suffering you can heal.
    I agree that this needs its own thread as a success story.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2015
    Kris likes this.
  18. Misha

    Misha Peer Supporter

    Well done, Kris! I am so happy for you! And thank you for the inspiring explanation :)
    Kris likes this.
  19. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    Great Post….
    Kris likes this.
  20. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member


    I read your post…and the most important thing you need is SLEEP without it your body will break down and you will not have the energy or will to deal with your tms …talk to your dr tell him or her your process and get some med ( for the short term) to sleep. TRY AMBIEUM this will put a horse to sleep

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