1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day 42 Fini!

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by hopeful_guitarist, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. hopeful_guitarist

    hopeful_guitarist Peer Supporter

    Today I finished the Structured Educational Program. Day 42 asks what I have learned so far about myself.

    First, a quick recap of my TMS journey (most of which I'm only recently becoming aware of):
    • 40+ years with a goodist personality -
      • happy childhood, good student, hard on myself despite reasonable authoritative (not authoritarian) parents
      • deep need to be liked
      • careful not to express any opinions that might raise disagreement
      • introverted and medium awkward socially - can fake it for an hour if I need to
      • take things personally - hate political discussions, feel like a criticism of something I like (music, sports, etc.) is a criticism of me
      • avoid activities that might result in failure
      • easily annoyed but good at hiding it
      • quietly hypercritical of others (including self). Seemingly calm and patient. Very vocal inner critic.
      • "good guy" on the surface with some secret unhealthy coping mechanisms.
      • unexpected death of brother in his early 20s - seems to have aggravated my fear of death and aging. I used to feel invincible and this proved I'm not.
    • 5 years ago - brief bout with sciatica, went away after some physical therapy
    • Nov 2015 - back "went out" after some Thanksgiving Day football and helping someone move furniture. Bolt of lightning in my lower back as I lifted.
      • Right leg pain set in a week or two later and never went away.
      • Saw at least 8 doctors, 3 chiropractors, bought every back gadget Amazon offered. Got x-rays, MRI -- herniated disc L5-S1, spinal stenosis, the usual.
      • Pain was nearly constant and got bad enough that I was using a cane to get out of bed in the morning.
      • I gave up racquetball and basketball, but was able to stay active by biking and walking.
      • First spinal steroid injection worked wonders for about 6 months - dropped pain to manageable levels. Second did nothing.
    • Jan 2017 (3 months ago) - discovered Dr. Sarno's books - within a week had a dramatic reduction in pain, which came back after a few days. Have been reading voraciously ever since. Found this site later that month. Quit my hour+ daily routine of stretches, hot and cold packs, inversion, etc. Canceled my appointment for a 3rd spinal injection. Experienced some ups and downs, but overall downs in pain over 3 months.
    Current state
    Pain is very manageable and I go several hours each day without noticing it. Conditioning brings little (sometimes sharp) twinges of pain back in certain situations, especially in the car and most evenings. It's hard to compare, but I'd say my pain is about 5% of what it used to be. Flights used to be pure misery and now they're fine -- as long as I have a good book and movie to distract me and I don't sit next to someone who likes to talk the whole flight. :)

    Lately my leg has become an immediate alarm system for repressed anger/anxiety -- I can feel pins and needles rush in when I'm in a stressful situation (even if I'm not consciously aware of the stress). It's kind of useful -- not that I want it to be that way forever. But I'm using it as a teaching tool to be more aware of things I need to deal with in a healthy way. For example, I realized last week that I feel a huge amount of stress/anxiety at my kid's sporting events. It's just city league - just for fun and exercise - but I'm quietly very competitive and I feel this odd and unnecessary pressure that I need to figure out how to deal with. My son is just happy if he gets a snack afterward.

    I'm no fan of pain, but I'm grateful my body decided to send me on this journey while I still have some life in me. It has been fascinating to learn more about my mind and body. I assume at some point I'll get tired of reading books about it, but not yet. (Currently reading Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior by Richard O'Conner - fascinating!)

    A reduction in pain has been my primary focus, but I've experienced many other benefits along the way - increased confidence, optimism, happiness, gratitude, and so on. It has also helped me become less critical of myself and others. This has felt at times like an all-consuming problem that very few others were aware of. That makes me realize that others are working through things I can't see -- and that might explain why they just cut me off in traffic or why they overreacted to something I considered minor. We're all doing our best with the information we have.

    Many thanks to the creators and maintainers of this site and to all of you for contributing to the forum. I don't feel alone in this.

    Best wishes to all of you!
    MindBodyPT, HattieNC, MSZ812 and 3 others like this.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi hopeful_guitarist,
    I appreciate your story, and what you've learned. The paragraph above speaks so much about growth, maturity, awareness, and love. I am very happy for you.
    Andy B
    hopeful_guitarist likes this.
  3. Lydia

    Lydia Peer Supporter

    Thanks for sharing. Happy for you having your life back, and functioning 'normal' again. Great how you are supported by your leg, to be more aware of rage inside. Isn't it beautiful how nature just organizes such inner tools, and all for free?! Hope you can smile about it too (-:
    Wish you great insights and joy on your (inner) way, and may be someday you'll write a book yourself!
    hopeful_guitarist likes this.

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