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First post.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by sensiblesue, May 24, 2018.

  1. sensiblesue

    sensiblesue Newcomer

    Hello. This is my first time posting on here or anywhere for that matter. I have been suffering with sciatica for probably a good 8 months. I discovered TMS about 3 months ago. Prior to that, I tried injections, PT and spinal decompression which was very expensive and of course, none of that worked.

    When I first discovered TMS, I seemed to improve a little and was very excited. I have been doing the SEP on this site as well as reading Sarno's and Ozanich's books. However, I can't seem to get rid of the pain. I have not allowed it to totally take over my life. I still try to walk and be active. I get sun consistently at certain times of the day.

    I have been retired for almost 4 years and for the first 2 years I had to take care of my husband who needed a kidney transplant. He is pretty good physically now, but has memory issues as a result.

    I have been sick for the past 2 weeks and am finally starting to feel a little better. So I did some work in the yard yesterday. I enjoyed doing it and wasn't in pain during but afterwards my pain was worse than it's been in a long time. I still have pretty bad pain today too. Any idea why?

    Any thoughts or help anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Sue, and welcome to the forum! This forum (or its prior incarnation back in 2011) was also the first time I had ever posted anything online, which was a big step - but I've never looked back, because this is such a caring and supportive community.

    I can't tell if you completed the SEP, or got part-way through, or if you're actually still doing it. I'm a big fan of the SEP, because it's so easy to do a day when you can, soak in the information and the learning, and pick it up again. The writing exercises were what stuck with me all this time, because I still do them when I'm having a setback.

    The thing is, you have to do the writing exercises with complete honesty (I just said the same thing to someone else who talked about struggling to start the SEP). I am going to take a risk here and say that you probably suffer from caretaker issues on top of all the normal repressions and childhood dysfunctions that all of us experience thanks to our primitive fearful brains. So my question is: how much have you really (as in REALLY) examined your emotions surrounding your caretaker role? When you're doing the writing exercises in the SEP, do you list your real emotions? Do you examine your negative feelings and resentment for this turn that your life has taken, or is your brain successfully convincing you that this is not a suitable topic for the SEP?

    It ain't all childhood stuff that we're repressing! There are plenty of current resentments and negative feelings being repressed by our brains, all the time.

    As for your question - the patterns of repression and pain are different for everyone, and they certainly differ by day or by situation as well, but if I had to throw out some guesses, it could be that you did enjoy the gardening while you were doing it, and that it acted as a suitable distraction for a while. Either you expected the pain to return, OR there was some kind of guilt associated with doing something by yourself. Or a combination of both, and that's what makes analyzing the reasons for our pain so difficult - it's like a multiple choice question, where the last answer is often "all of the above".

    In the end, it's all about what our brain thinks is best for us. The key is to figure out what it is trying to cover up, and to decipher the fear messages it throws off, trying to keep you "safe" - and to fight back against it.

  3. sensiblesue

    sensiblesue Newcomer

    Thank you so very much for responding. Wow! I didn't write that much, but you seem to know me. I think I do have a lot of current issues with the situation with my husband. Of course, I love him, but that's not the real issue. I am worried about the future. And also, you are right...this is not how I envisioned my life. I am 68 and in pretty good health. I feel young and have a lot of life left in me. Now that I'm retired, there are so many fun things I could be doing and I'm not. But will expressing all of my feelings about this in my writing be enough to cure my TMS? Do I actually have to change my life or do I just have to express my feelings about my life?

    And, believe me. It's not that I have a terrible life. We do have fun, but I may be worried about what the future holds. Maybe my brain is trying to cover up the guilt I feel about my feelings? I journaled today and tried to express all of that. Is that enough to help me with the pain?

    I do really appreciate your response. It was great and I am going to try to journal more as you suggested. I have not yet completed the SEP, but I am at Day 35. Thank you again for your help. Sue
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Excellent, Sue. You will be successful, I'm sure of it.
    LOL - not my first time around the block ;) And it won't surprise you to hear that I'm 67. I have not been in your situation, and since I'm divorced, it's highly unlikely. But I know plenty of people who have been there, or who are experiencing this, and many more who fear that this in their futures. More so for women, right?

    So you are heading in the right direction. First, though, allow me to help you be realistic about TMS right from the start. TMS is not really a disease that is "cured" as such. Many of us prefer to talk about recovery - and many of us who have been doing this a long time have come to see that recovery is not linear, and it's not absolute. Sometimes we express it in percentages. I often say that I experience about 90% recovery, 90% of the time. Sometimes it's 100%, other times it's less than 75% - but it's never been close to the bad old days.

    Those of us with a history of anxiety have a harder time maintaining recovery than those without. I still have symptoms that crop up, but they are not debilitating, and they don't scare me anymore. I assume that it's TMS, and if things get too bad, I sit down with my pen and paper and start writing. I know without a doubt that I would do better if I exercised more, did more yoga, and if I had a regular practice of mindfulness and meditation! Still - I am in SO much better shape than I was back in 2011 - when I had so many frightening and debilitating symptoms that I was seriously in danger of becoming housebound.

    If you change "cure" to "recover from", the answer is that acknowledging, exploring, and then accepting your negative emotions will probably result in a huge improvement in your symptoms, and you will have the tools to manage your symptoms down the road. It's more than just expressing them - you have to be willing to face them and examine them in detail - allow your primitive fearful brain to see that it's okay for them to be there and to be out in the open.

    Another really important day-to-day tool is to learn to hear the negative fear messages that your brain bombards you (all of us) with all day long. Those fear messages are part of the distraction mechanism that your brain is using to supposedly keep you safe - along with the repression of dangerous negative emotions.

    You don't have to change your life, you just need to change how you feel and react to your life. And you can probably make some changes - try giving yourself permission to enjoy some of those post-retirement activities that you have envisioned, and find ways to make that happen. Acknowledge that the guilt will be there, and forgive yourself. One of the best things I did when I was "doing the work" was to experience myself as a very young child, and to nurture that child as my mother might have done.

    If you have anxiety, I highly recommend a little book by Dr. Claire Weekes, Hope & Help for Your Nerves. It's got invaluable advice for facing and accepting symptoms, and learning to not fear them. This was my second-favorite book after The Divided Mind.

    My third favorite book is When The Body Says No, by Dr. Gabor Mate, MD. He also writes and speaks about caretakers and the physical and emotional toll that they experience. All of his work is awesome - just do a web search and you will find a ton of resources from and about Dr. Mate.

    Good luck, Sue, and keep us posted!

    Lainey and Ellen like this.
  5. sensiblesue

    sensiblesue Newcomer

    Thank you again, for responding, Jan. Your words ring so true. I am going to look into the books you suggest. I will keep you posted. Thanks so much. Sue

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