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Fear and removing it to heal.

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Chris GR, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. Chris GR

    Chris GR New Member

    Hi All,

    It's quite obvious that my biggest challenge with TMS is fear. I have a history of presenting with TMS symptoms, getting checked out, then having the pain disappear almost instantly, for years, sometimes to never return. For example, when studying for the bar exam I developed a tension headache that lasted 24/7 for an entire week. My doctor ordered a CAT scan. Once I got the negative results, the headache disappeared instantly and I was headache free for years. A few years later the tension headaches were back when I was in a stressful law practice environment but this time the headaches were longer-lived, for about 4 months before I decided that maybe there really was something wrong this time. So I went to a neurologist and he ordered an MRI and guess what? The moment I got the negative results, the headaches disappeared for another few years. They returned for a third time and after having them for a few weeks I mentioned them to my psychiatrist. He gave me a baby dose of Elavil and the headaches were gone within a week of starting the medication. I haven't had a single headache now for 18 years. Interesting to note that my brother, during my law school years and before my first headache episode, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

    Now, my second TMS symptom, testicular pain (in only one testicle), developed after I started dating a girl in college. The pain only lasted a couple of months then faded away on its own. The pain came back many years later when I was in law school, but was short lived and faded away again on its own. Then it came back year later in my late 30s, and for months would just not go away. I saw a urologist who said nothing was wrong and sent me to a pain management doctor. On my first visit to the pain management doctor he performed a testicular exam on me to check for lumps and found nothing. As soon as I left the office the testicular pain went away. It was years until the pain returned. Another interesting fact here: my cousin had testicular cancer and I remember that even being traumatizing to me as a young child. Unfortunately now I can't seem to get rid of the testicular pain and its been present (but intermittent) for years now. My question is, why can't I shake the fear this time? If I had testicular cancer I would be dead by now. Do I need to get some medical testing done to alleviate my fear? Could anyone theorize why the TMS is now "stuck"?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Chris GR,

    I can give you an idea, but of course it will be your own work and discovery which will unlock your question.

    If you decide to get medical testing, this cannot likely hurt, or make things worse, especially since you've had success with this before. So why not?

    As to why it might be stuck now, I suggest that your inner work might go deeper. Many times people find that "just knowing there is nothing wrong" is all that is needed. But sometimes when this has worked in the past, and is not now, then this requires deeper inquiry and understanding about your history, personality, your inner relationship, your inner critic, self tension etc. You made no mention of this aspect of your process in your story. It may be a good place to start.

    We have the SEP which helps you gently explore aspects of yourself related to TMS, and Howard Schubiner's book Unlearn Your Pain is like "therapy in a box." These are good places to start, and if you don't make progress there, seek out a therapist or coach to help you unravel a little more deeply. This is my generic advice to folks who have made progress in the past relatively easily, and then find themselves stuck now. It is as if your life wants to know more, and become more clear. So it has problems...

  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Also Chris, you can check out Alan Gordon's program listed at the top of the page. It is rather direct explorations of how we get activated and stuck in symptoms, and it has a lot of good material on fear.
    TG957 likes this.
  4. GatorAlley

    GatorAlley Newcomer


    Like above, my feedback is totally "un-professional" -- so take it for what it's worth.

    However, it sounds like you have a personality that needs "proof". It craves facts, data, and physical affirmation.
    So just thinking/assuming, even if you're 99% sure, doesn't sound like it's enough. You need a doctor/specialist to confirm to you that, "nope, there's nothing wrong" -- and then once you have it, you're good to go and you're able to make the TMS symptoms disappear.

    As for the question of "why" you're that way? No idea -- and it might take a psychotherapist to unbox that question by looking at your past.

    For me, personally... if I knew that finding out for sure that nothing was wrong was all it would take to convince my brain (and in the process cure the pain), as you've proven in the past, then I'd simply make that appointment.
    You can then decide whether digging deeper to answer the "why" question (via a therapist or some other means) is worthwhile. But for now, I'd take care of the pain and ease my mind.
    TG957 likes this.
  5. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Chris, to alleviate your fear you need to learn how to manage your fear. Fear is a normal biological process in our brains and our bodies, it is an evolutionary mechanism to stop us from going over the edge and prevent injuries and deaths.

    It is the oversized or repressed fear and catastrophic thinking that is dangerous and may lead us to developing mental and physical illness. You are probably the best person to figure out how to handle your fear and control it safely without pushing it inside, as fear is part of your Id. If your Id really needs that little reassurance from the doctor before it agrees to negotiate with your rational self - then give it to him :=).

    But the only way to alleviate your fear is to face it, understand the root of it and figure out how to walk yourself through the bout of fear. Mindfulness, as an ability to see your own behavior from outside, is the only way to sort it out for yourself. Sometimes, people are able to resolve it without help, but sometimes they have to find a trained therapist to guide them through. I believe that if you choose the latter, it is very important to find a person who is a good match, with whom you would have a high degree of trust.

    Judging by your post, you are half way there, since you already understand clearly that your condition is TMS.
    miffybunny likes this.
  6. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Very well put posting. Fear is a more powerful distractor than pain according to Dr. Sarno. How can we learn to be with it with compassion and skill? A life-long journey, and a learning which will help us in all areas of life.
    TG957 likes this.
  7. AlexCaro

    AlexCaro Newcomer

    I didn't have a chance to read this book, but a friend of mine suggested me to read another Schubiner's book Unlearn Your Anxiety and Depression. I was skeptical when I bought it but it helped me resolve long-standing emotional and physical issues. The exercises are insightful and very cleansing.
  8. Mclean

    Mclean New Member

    Im going on 25 yrs with TMS symptoms and dove back into the educational material every time a new symptom occurred. My first TMS was four years of back, leg, sciatica which left suddenly one day before I knew about Sarno and TMS. In hindsight, I had instilled a few main TMS ideas, mostly out of exhaustion and frustration of the merry go round of treatments and meds. I stopped seeking a diagnosis, resumed physical activity, and decided to stop being afraid of the pain. The last two for me went hand in hand. and one day while walking to class, I realized it was all gone. Not knowing about TMS it came back to the shoulder and then to the wrist before I found Sarno's books. Since then I have used exercise to assure me to not be in fear of so many TMS symptoms that popped up. I haven't been perfect by any means, as recent wrist pain found me in PT, etc. For the most part knowledge and exercise has served me well. I now have stabbing ear pain with some dizziness, metallic taste in mouth, etc with seemingly no cause. IT started with a sore throat that I thought was reflux related. The fear is back and I find it difficult to use physical exercise to eliminate this fear. And I know I need to have some more testing to eliminate serious causes, however CT scan negative and ear and throat are cleared by ENT. Not getting away from catastrophic fear has been tough for this symptom and its the first time I've felt the seriousness of anxiety and panic. I'm working through it.
    TG957 likes this.
  9. Chris GR

    Chris GR New Member

    Wow, thank you all for such thoughtful, compassionate, and insightful answers. It's good to know that I don't have to continue this healing journey alone!!


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