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Feel like I'm relapsing

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by wilforbis, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. wilforbis

    wilforbis Newcomer

    Hi folks - I posted here years ago but seem to have forgotten my log in so I just re-signed up to the forums.

    I'll try to keep this somewhat short. About 8 years ago, RSI in my hands that had been slowly building for years got so bad that it was very hard for me to use a computer, play guitar and do many things I loved. (Like a lot of people, I switched to Dragon.) I tried all the usual fixes - massage, PT, Feldenkrais, etc. - to no avail. Ultimately I had to stop working full time, move in with my dad and his wife and radically change my life.

    Eventually I discovered Sarno's books and while it took me a while to warm to them, I did and credited his work for getting rid of the pain. I also read Fred Amir's book, Scott Brady and did some of the Schrubiner "Unlearn Your Pain" course. The pain did not vanish suddenly - it would fade, come back, fade, etc. But eventually I had forgotten about it.

    I should mention that in my life I've had a few other symptoms that may be TMS as well. I had back pain in my 20s that kept me visiting chiropractors frequently until I quit after reading Sarno (chiros must hate him.) I also had severe dizziness around the time the RSI got bad. A few docs gave me possible explanations for it but nothing provable and it largely went away though it comes back every so often. I've currently been diagnosed with acid reflux type issues. At various points I've also had panic attacks, depression, anxiety, etc.

    I was basically pain free in terms of RSI for at least five years. I will concede that in that time there' was a voice starting to doubt the TMS process. And I also never really went back to full time computing, probably because of some nagging doubt that it was a structural issue.

    Anyway, a couple months ago I lost my part time job and realized I really needed to dive back in the workforce. So I started boning up on modern web development - javascript, HTML etc - exactly the kind of work I was doing when the RSI first hit. And, whammo, in a couple weeks I started noticing RSI like pains again. Now I have them pretty frequently - sore fingers, sore wrists, tingling in arms - basically all the symptoms I had before. But while they took years to develop, these new ones arrived within weeks. (I should note: one thing I was always dubious about Sarno on is the oxygen deprivation theory. But that is exactly what it feels like - like my arms haven't quite got the bloodflow they need.)

    The total insanity of pain setting that fast and in both hands in not lost on me. I think it's TMS. In a way, it's almost like my brain is conditioned to associate web development with pain. (I will note I've done plenty of "fun" computing in recent years with no pain. Also played guitar for hours on end with no pain. Fun stuff did not bring on pain, web development did.)

    But I concede I have moments of doubting the TMS diagnosis. I'm trying to re-immerse myself in this world because that's what got me out of it. I'm doing the Shrubiner course and exploring emotions. That has stirred up some anxiety and agitation but I can feel its good stuff. I can also see that a lot of my issue is my reaction to the pain - the fear and anxiety it provokes. When I'm calm and have pain it doesn't bother me as much, if at all.

    That said, so far I don't see any decline in the pain. However, I'm trying to keep up some computing and guitar playing.

    So, I'm not really sure what my goal posting here is, but would just like to hear people's thoughts, shared experiences etc. I'm thinking of trying to get an appointment with Schecter to get a diagnosis. (I'm in San Diego, near LA.)

    Thanks for listening.

  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Conditioning is a bitch!
    And most truth is hiding in plain sight. I think you answered your own questions BUT keep in mind that our mind doesn't keep... Meaning that It is re-submitting yourself to the process that will banish the new symptoms. I have been through it so many times that when I get any symptoms I am like "Really! After all these years don't I get some respite?" which is funny because my tolerance for TMS has shrunk with the the knowledge of what it is and what it's purpose is.

    But every time I get the obviously conditioned response, I go back to page one, day one, ask myself all those questions again, look at my low self esteem vs. Narcissism, Troubles I am 'coping' with in personal relationships, new foolish things that I might be trying to believe and the symptoms are always gone before I get to the end of the book. You already have the answers... you just need to review the questions!

    Lizzy likes this.
  3. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Unless your desktop fell on your hands from three feet in the air, it's likely TMS again. Dr. Sarno said that at the turn of the 20th century when there were typing pools of secretaries whacking away at manual typewriters and there was no such thing as RSI.
    Sarno says it doesn't matter whether it's O2 deprivation or not, the gremlin has a myriad of mechanisms to create TMS pain and that we may never discover the location in the mind that creates the psychosomatic pain--it doesn't matter. Doubting the theory does not help the healing--you have to accept it consciously or it won't sink into the unconscious--you need belief in TMS for it to work.

    Your lucky you're so close to Schechter, see him for a TMS dx, it will convince you if it's TMS, which from your narrative that's what it sounds like. Let us know how it turns out.
  4. wilforbis

    wilforbis Newcomer

    Thanks - It's interesting and reassuring (in a way) to hear that relapsing is common. I was just listening to a Howard Stern segment where he makes clear he relapses. I hadn't felt symptoms in so long I had really forgotten about it.
    georgethee likes this.
  5. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's actually awesome and a good testimony to it's efficacy. ... and you seem to have 'caught it' very quickly.
    wilforbis likes this.
  6. Rsoup

    Rsoup New Member

    I’m actually in the middle of a relapse right now even though my mind gave me 2 weeks of forewarning and I did nothing about it until it came at me full force. I think that we tend to over complicate things during recovery. Don’t look too deeply in the “rules” for success or what actually qualifies as TMS. You know what you need to do, you’ve done it before. Good luck
    wilforbis and plum like this.
  7. wilforbis

    wilforbis Newcomer

    Thanks, you too!
  8. Solange

    Solange Well known member

    Hi Wilforbis, I have just had a relapse too, though not with RSI, following taking up an activity which led to a big flare up. I posted on here too because I couldn't convince myself it was TMS. I hope I can help you. Check out first with your doctor that he or she agrees it is 'RSI' and then you can change those three letters to TMS and proceed from there.

    Well, as you know the panic and fear sets in gradually and your mind goes into overdrive. Have I really hurt myself somehow? Is this a real injury? Why isn't it getting better? Why is it getting worse? Let me read everything ever written about TMS. Don't distract me while I do my meditation, mindfulness, journaling, feeling the feelings, affirmations, calming strategies, repeating Dr Sarno's daily reminders etc etc. Oh my goodness, it hurts when I sit down, get in the car, out the car, stand up, walk, bend. Will I ever get back to enjoying my life again? Anxiety attacks, churning stomach, aches and pains in other places too and not where I. Would normally get them.

    Relentless churning of the mind like throwing lighter fuel on a fire for days until I exhausted my capacity to think straight. I totally tired myself out! Now on to the helpful stuff.

    First, I wrote down what had been going on recently in my life in great detail. There was a lot of stuff.
    Next, I wrote down all the reasons it was probably TMS- like you there was no actual injury involved.
    After that, I kept telling my brain that even an actual injury would start to heal in a few days so if this is dragging on then it has to be TMS. I even wrote that down a number of times, like Bart Simpson doing his lines!
    Finally, I realised that I hadn't really been taking enough time out to ' meditate' or journal and things had been stacking up without being addressed but that devoting too much time each day to doing this after the relapse was actually creating more pressure and I was just trying too hard. You can't catch up by doing all this stuff at once in my opinion, you have to space it out.

    The other thing I realised, is that I'd just not been taking enough time to do the things that bring me enjoyment and happiness. I had been spending too many evenings just watching TV and not much else. I'd not really been treating myself as kindly as I should have been so I took myself off over a couple of days and had a coffee with a friend, went for a drive out and did stuff I wanted to do, refusing to let the discomfort stop me.

    So, how has it ended?
    Well, I'm not quite recovered but I am feeling a whole lot better and my symptoms have really died down.
    I'm sure yours will too, just try to have faith, and don't get stuck in the loop of looking for answers- you already have them. It's simple but not easy to do all this but I think from reading your post that you already know to be suspicious of this 'RSI'.
    Good luck! Perseverance is all.
    wilforbis, plum and Tennis Tom like this.
  9. wilforbis

    wilforbis Newcomer


    All and I can say is "yep, yep and yep." For the past week I've been going through a lot of what you discuss--- the whole "overdoing the reading up on TMS" thing, the mental buzzing, the not giving myself a break thing etc. I've been rectifying that and feeling better. Going for a visit to my favorite park later today. Not out of pain, but better and with a better attitude towards the pain.

    I do think there is something very calming about scenic driving. Like it occupies the subconscious in some way and distracts it from the create pain mission.

    I've also found the work of David Hanscom to be a nice complement to Sarno's ideas.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and encouragement!
    georgethee and plum like this.
  10. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yep, for the price of a tank of gas I get a lot of enjoyment, fun, (maybe thrills), and relaxation--versus 50 minutes at a shrink's office for $150-250, and sulking out feeling worse then when I came in--(except for TMS counselors-- they help).
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
    wilforbis and plum like this.
  11. wilforbis

    wilforbis Newcomer

    I thought I would just post an update here. I'm definitely much better. Been journalling every day and re-immersing myself in the TMS world. When I was dealing with this 5-6 years ago, it seemed like Sarno was the only one out there really exploring this idea, but now there's so many others. I like David Hanscom's approach in particular. While they all have different takes on things, it seems like they all advocate the same fix which is journalling. I'm really enjoying the process this time. Sleeping better, much less hand pain, all good improvements.
    Lizzy likes this.
  12. Jackhammer

    Jackhammer New Member

    wilforbis, I have to agree that David Hanscom’s DOC site has been very helpful with tips on how to calm down my nervous system with the journaling and the active meditation. I am reading his 2nd addition book this week and can highly recommend it, even though most of the material seems to be on the DOC site.
    The lesson of not talking about my pain has been the hardest so far, but has helped me catch myself playing the “victim” many times and that awareness is key for pain free.
    Best to you!

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