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Day 25 Frustrated on Day 25

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Guseman, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Guseman

    Guseman Peer Supporter

    I'm on day 25 now, and I was prompted to post about how things are going.
    This is my second time through the SEP (I didn't fully finish the first time and figured it would be good to have a reminder of all the lessons and tools I learned). I haven't been using the forum much, but I'm going to try to change that, because I think it would be helpful.
    I've had a lot of ups and downs this time around. I seem to keep getting stuck on my hypochondria of the TMS symptoms I have. For example, I have either intense face pressure or dizziness nearly every day. Its not all the time, it comes and goes (which should be a clear sign its TMS), but when it peaks, I often start to panic a little. I'm mostly worried that its a sign of something serious and untreatable (yes, the stereotypical brain tumor-type hypochondria). I know that it will go away eventually and I'll be fine in maybe an hour, and I tell myself that over and over. But I'm having a problem with only partially believing myself. I'm not sure whats holding me back. The logical part of my brain is fully on board with TMS.
    I've uncovered many sources of my TMS over the past 6 months of so (when I started the SEP the first time). Uncovering many of them has helped a lot in general, but some of them are situations that are very difficult to change, which may be partly why the symptoms keep nagging at me. For example, moving away for a new job this past year I realized was a major trigger, and I was able to uncover many negative emotions surrounding that, but I also can't change the fact that I am still very far away from my family and it is very hard to meet new people. There are a few more examples like this.
    I guess I'm just fairly frustrated at this point in the process. I feel like I'm taking steps backwards lately.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Guseman. It is funny (strange) about how you feel that being very far away from your family causes you stress.
    One of my best friends moved from Chicago to Denver mainly to get away from his mother and brother.
    Different strokes for different folks.
    And remember you can keep in touch by phone and email.

    A move to a new location and job can also cause stress, so you have to be patient and know that you are going to adjust.

    Dr. Sarno says that in order to heal from our symptoms, we don't have to change anything, just recognize the emotions that cause them.

    You apparently still need to work on totally believing in TMS. That can be the hardest thing of all in TMS healing, but it is essential.
    Maybe try telling yourself some positive mantras like "I believe in TMS 100 percent. My pain is not structural, it is from my emotions."

    The second time through the SEP is going to bring you pain-free. Here is encouragement from another TMSers:

    Kevin healed 95 % from SEP

    Welcome to the SEP and to the path of recovery. I am on my final two days of the program and I can say with complete confidence that I am a changed man. I started after 6 months of nasty low-back/butt/leg pain, could hardly walk, stand, etc. was in physical therapy, chiropractor, acupuncture, pain medications, etc.. the usual. My MRI showed 3 disk bulges/herniations touching nerves, so that is what I believe it to be....that is until I read Dr. Sarno and found this site.

    I encourage you to really get involved, follow the instructions, do the journaling, take time to read all the suggested readings, and watch the videos. I'd say I'm 95% cured. There is still some very light lingering "annoyance", but I still have some work to do. I've been walking miles with hardly any pain these last few weeks. But even more, if the pain comes on now, it just doesn't bother me like it used to, I sorta just see it, acknowledge it, and go about my business. It took working the program to get to that point, but 6 weeks compared to 6 months is nothing! I made more progress in the first week than I did from two months of PT!!! It's going to challenge you and your "beliefs" in medicine, but you have nothing to lose. We generally wind up here when all else fails.

    So give it a shot, especially before considering anything invasive like surgery. If you put the work in, you will get better. Have you read Dr. Sarno yet? I assume you have since you're here, but in case you haven't, definitely readHealing Back Pain. Again, it will challenge everything you've believed about your pain, and backs in general. You'll be encouraged to resume life as normal, i.e. stop ALL "therapies" (PT, chiro, etc.), stop taking medications, and most importantly, stop thinking STRUCTURAL problems are the cause of your pain and shift to psychological as the reason.....again, this can be difficult and takes some time to sink in, so be patient and kind to yourself.

    It was a process for me. A few of the bigger moves in my case were: I ripped up and threw out my MRI test results (I found myself obsessively reading over them and comparing them to other results I could find on the web and even here on the TMSwiki site...); I got back to the gym and stopped using a weight belt; and I even cancelled an appointment I had made with aTMS doctorbecause it was more than a month away and it was hindering my recovery (that is, my 100% belief in TMS was lagging because I had this pending appointment, but as soon as I cancelled it, my recovery sped up significantly). Everyone's journey is unique to their situation, but I've found that really committing to the program and brining what I learn from it into my daily life has had profound results. Also, sharing along the way here in these forums has been extremely helpful - there's something about knowing that you're not alone in your TMS recovery that really helps. I encourage you to look through my past posts for some insight into my experience with SEP. Like I said, I'm just now finishing, tomorrow is my final day, and I feel like a changed person. It's amazing. And I feel as though it is something that one carries on with, not just like a one time 6 week thing and that's that...it has helped me to get to know myself and taught me tools to "deal" with my emotions. Learning and accepting TMS is a life changer for sure.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Guseman - you're a pretty far way along as well as this being your second time, so I feel your frustration. Without knowing about your work so far, I hope I'm not telling you something you don't already know.

    When I suffered two serious losses a year after I discovered Dr. Sarno, I had recently learned a bit about Existential Psychotherapy, which I found wonderfully helpful in dealing with both tragedies. EP tells us that humans have four core issues that affect our relationship with our life experiences. These are Freedom, Isolation, Meaning, and Mortality. A lack of freedom can leave us feeling like we have no control over our lives. Isolation results in loneliness, but it can also result from being abandoned. If life has no meaning, the result can be despair. And of course mortality is our ultimate big issue. Humans typically fear death, but deep down, there is also rage over the unfairness of death.

    In your case, the move for work is bound to create setbacks. In terms of EP, you've got a freedom issue (having to move for work) an obvious isolation issue as you've said, and perhaps you have a issue with meaning as well. Mortality may not be an issue in this case, but it certainly has a place in your general psyche. Anyway, it's a different way of looking at your emotions, and maybe it could help you to write about your current emotions from this point of view.

    I also wonder if you could benefit from something that Forest said:
    Sometimes people can focus so much on the things that hurt them that they can amplify them. What I like about SteveO's approach and the approach of modern science is that it focuses on the positive or takes the focus away from the things that hurt us. I think that's why Claire Weekes helps so many people as well... she doesn't run from anxiety, but she doesn't focus on it either. She just floats right by and gets back to living.

    And finally I would ask if you are working on loving yourself? If you're being too hard on yourself (and who of us isn't?) it's impossible to truly heal. We constantly have this negative self-talk going around in our heads - constantly! As you think about how the Existential issues are working on you right now, see if you can forgive yourself and also love yourself as well as the small child that's still way down in your unconscious.

    Oh, and one more thing - we all have doubts that crop up. There's no way we can be 100% on board 100% of the time, because we are fighting a lifetime of conditioning that is completely the opposite of what we now believe to be true. The non-belief is just another distraction, but don't beat yourself up about it. Maybe learn to laugh at it and relax a bit.

    All the best, and keep us posted.

  4. Guseman

    Guseman Peer Supporter

    Thanks for sharing that encouraging story Walt! And Jan, the EP approach makes so much sense! I think you're right, the move really is affecting my feelings surrounding freedom and isolation. I think because of it, I'm struggling with the Meaning too - I think I took this job as part of what gives meaning to my life (I'm a plant biologist and this job is closer to agriculture, aiding the world food supply, etc). But I'm still not sure where it is I want to eventually go with it, and is it all worth it that I'm here away from my family? These are common thoughts that I think I mostly repress. And the Mortality aspect seems to be the biggest way that my TMS pops up - it really seems to grab hold of that Mortality issue and uses it for very effective distraction!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi again, Guseman. Jan has given you excellent advice.
    Many people are not sure they are in the occupation that means the most to them. I like the suggestion of my favorite author, F. Scott Fitgerald.
    In his first novel, This Side of Paradise, he wrote about a young man returned from World War I who did not know what to do with the rest of his life that would be meaningful to him. A priest told him, "Do the next thing. It will lead to the next and eventually to what the Lord means for you to do."

    I suggest you follow that advice. Do your best in the job you have as a plant biologist and it will lead you to your future. It may come in steps, but "do the next thing," whatever seems the right choice for you at the time.

    Mortality is another issue. I am 85 and did not really think about my mortality until I reached 80. I know I was lucky that it didn't trouble me before then. But now is another thing. I am starting to finally accept it as a reality of life and not fear it. Sometimes I think it will be a blessing because I will not be troubled by technology or bills, both of which seem to take the fun out of my life. But I know I am not alone in those concerns. I also think of the many, many people (some of great intelligence) who trusted in the Lord that what comes next is better than what is now. They had faith in the Lord taking care of them after they pass on, and I am drawing upon their faith. While on this subject, I will print here a section from my TMT healing book,
    GOD DOES NOT WANT YOU TO BE IN PAIN, which I co-authored with Eric Watson two years ago. It is available at CreateSpace eBooks.

    NowI have to find that chapter on faith to add here in a few minutes.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here is that chapter of my book, on faith, called "The End Game."

    “The End Game”

    This chapter will be on a subject that may turn you off. We’d rather not think about it, but Dr. Sarno says one of the biggest repressed emotions is our mortality.

    I guess I’ve really been one of the lucky ones because I hadn’t started really thinking of my mortality until I turned 80, and I’m almost 83 now. I’d been to lots of funerals of family and friends, but somehow never thought I’d die. That happens to everyone else, not me.

    Well, when I turned 80 that changed. Like when my brother and sister laughed at me for setting out hot chocolate for Santa Claus when I was about six. They said there was no Santa Claus. That hurt, but made me ask, “Then, isn’t there any Easter Bunny either?”

    Yes, I was naïve, and probably still am. It may be part of why dogs love me. Lots of people, too.

    Anyway, I began journaling about my mortality. Dr. Sarno says many people even younger than I tell him of their anxiety or fear about it, and he says it definitely can trigger TMS into giving us back and other pain.

    So I began journaling, Okay, unconscious mind, I do have repressed emotions about dying. To get used to the idea and be as best prepared as I could, I’m praying to God, reading the Holy Bible, saying the Rosary daily, and watching the Catholic and Protestant television channels that take us through the Bible chapter and verse. I’ve learned a lot, more than I ever did at Sunday Mass.

    Catholics and other Christians and people of other faiths believe we have a soul and go somewhere in spirit after we take our last breath and leave our earthly body. Great, I hope they’re right and that we do. I hope wherever I go that there is no pain, no mortgage or credit card or other debt, no computers, cell phones, or other handheld devices. I hope there are dogs. Lots of dogs, and if in our next life I can have a job, I’d like to care for dogs, and/or other animals. I just love animals.

    I admit I’m apprehensive about dying. Everyone probably is. It’s not anyone’s favorite subject, so I won’t journal long on it. I do feel I have faith and believe Jesus died for our sins and forgives us ours, and He is the son of God and we are guided by them and the Holy Spirit.

    Some theologians say that’s all it takes to go to Paradise, the place before Heaven. I hope so. I sure don’t want to go to the other place, the one down under, and I don’t mean Australia.

    I haven’t had much physical pain in my long life, besides the back pain the last few months, but I still am anxious about dying. It sure would be great to be both pain and debt free, but dying seems such a drastic way to do that. So I began going online to see what others thought on the subject, and found considerable comfort. I hope it helps, you, too.

    I think it would be best if I died in my sleep, like my father, mother, and brother. If not, I hope I could die with dignity and courage, like some of my favorite movie stars, Ann Sheridan, Gary Cooper, and John Wayne. They knew they had terminal cancer, but accepted it, like two of my favorite relatives, Uncle Ray and Aunt Maggie. They didn’t go to a hospice, just stayed at home and enjoyed their final days of living, dying a few years apart. Ray did warn me not to smoke. He said he coughed endlessly and felt terrible the last ten years of his life. End of commercial.

    I want to digress for a moment and tell a little about Uncle Ray and Aunt Maggie. He was one of my father’s younger brothers and one of my favorites. After serving in World War II, he returned to Chicago and married a college English teacher, my Aunt Margaret who liked being called Maggie.

    It was because she married into the family that I went to college. That was just for rich kids when I graduated from high school in 1948, and after graduation, only two of my classmates went to college. One of them was a big fellow who got a football scholarship.

    After I graduated from high school, I worked for two years in the Chicago Tribune garage as assistant to the parts manager, then in microphotography for the U.S. Treasury Department. Aunt Maggie made it a crusade to get her new nephews and nieces to go to college.

    When she urged me in that direction I said we couldn’t afford it, so she told me about Navy Pier Illinois, the two-year branch of the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she taught English. I could go there for $40 a semester plus the cost of books.

    I asked my folks if I could quit my job at the Treasury Department which was going nowhere and they said sure. I told Mom on the day I enrolled at Navy Pier, I was really glad to be going to college because “I won’t be bored anymore.” And I haven’t been. All my cousins later followed her advice and went to college. Bless you, Maggie. I’m sure she’s now playing in some bridge club up in the sky.

    Now back to feeling an acceptance of my mortality, I did a lot of online reading of famous people and how they achieved peace.

    It makes me wonder about the greedy rich and others who, far from loving their neighbor (unless they are like themselves), care anything about them. Do they believe in God or a life after this one? This life ends in death, and as they say, “You can’t take it with you.” Maybe they think you can, like the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt.

    I went on the Internet and found many quotes on death and dying. Most were comforting, so I would like to share them with you. I think what they have to say on those twin subjects also can be applied to accepting just about anything, including whatever kind of pain that has been thrown at us, from physical pain to losing a loved one, a job, or a house.

    I think of America’s and Allied service men and women who were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan and how bravely they are learning to live with mechanical limbs or walking with a white cane. They still choose to live, although they have seen their comrades die in war.

    Here, then, are some words on our mortality from a wide range of men and women throughout the years. I think they also can be applied to any symptom from TMS.

    “I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Austrian composer.

    “For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow, but phone calls taper off.” – Johnny Carson (1925-2005) American television host, comedian.

    “The years seem to rush by now, and I think of death as a fast approaching end of a journey – double and treble the reason for loving as well as working while it is day.” – George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) (1819-1880) British novelist.

    “Death is one of the few things that can be done as easily lying down. The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.” -- Woody Allen (1935- ), American movie writer, actor, director.

    “Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death.” -- Earl Wilson (1907-1987) American author, journalist.

    “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” – Marcus Aurelius (121-169 BC) Roman emperor.

    “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” -- Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist, actor.

    “It is better to spend one day contemplating the birth and death of all things than a hundred years never contemplating beginnings and endings.” – Gautama Buddha (563-483 BC) Indian founder of Buddhism.

    “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” – Jerry Seinfeld (1954- ) American actor.

    “Death is the beginning, the birth of births, a rebirth, a second chance to fix all mistakes. Death is the beginning.” – Marc Lampe (dates unknown) author.

    “Death is but the next great adventure” – J.K. Rowling (1965- ) British author (Harry Potter).

    “Fear of death increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth.” – Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) American author.

    “I look upon death to be as necessary to our health as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning.” – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American patriot, author, printer, inventor.

    “Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.” – Socrates (469-399 BC) Greek philosopher.

    “I have good hope that there is something after death.” – Plato (424-348 BC) Greek philosopher.

    “Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies or the cost of their funeral.” – Francois-Marie Voltaire (1694-1778) French philosopher, writer.

    “If you brood about disaster, you will get it. Brood about death and you hasten your demise. Think positively and masterfully, with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience.” – Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) Indian philosopher, yoga teacher.

    “Once you accept your own death, all of a sudden you’re free to live.” – Saul Alinsky (1909-1972) American writer, community advocate organizer.

    “Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German theoretical physicist.

    “I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” – Woody Allen

    “She did but dream of heaven and she was there.” – John Dryden (1631-1700) British poet.

    “Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life… If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.” – St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) Spanish Carmelite nun.

    “Death, the last voyage, the longest, and the best.” – Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938) American author.

    “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” -- The Holy Bible.

    “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” -- The Holy Bible, Romans 6:23.

    “Wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.” – The Holy Bible.

    “In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.” – Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher.

    “We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream; it may be so the moment after death.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) American novelist.

    “Most women do not grieve so much for the death of their lovers for love’s-sake, as to show they were worthy of being loved.” – Francois La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French author.

    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher, nonviolence protest advocate.

    “There is no death, only transition. Knowing that we are spirit incarnated on Earth to discover our true self throughout physical form, and knowing that Spirit does not die, then we can understand that death is nothing to fear because it is then really only a transition and a ‘return to home.’” – Deepak Chopra (1946- ) Indian-American physician, holistic health advocate.

    “Death – the last sleep? No, it is the final awakening.” – Sir Walter Scott (1771-1982) Scottish novelist.

    “Death is nothing else but going home to God, the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity.” – Mother Teresa (1910-1997) Albanian Roman Catholic nun, savant of the poor and destitute.

    “I believe there are two sides to the phenomenon known as death, this side where we live, and the other side when we shall continue to live. Eternity does not start with death. We are in eternity now.” – Rev. Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) American minister and self-help author.

    “Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions, and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, ‘Did you bring joy?’ The second was, ‘Did you find joy?’” – Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998) American author, educator.

    “As a well spent day brings sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” – Leonardo DaVinci (1452-1519) Italian painter, sculptor, architect, inventor.

    “No man goes before his time – unless the boss leaves early.” – Groucho Marx (1890-1977) American comedian, actor.

    “You live on Earth only for a few short years which you call an incarnation, and then you leave your body as an outworn dress and go for refreshment to your true home in the spirit.” – White Eagle (1840-1914) Native American Ponca Indian chief.

    “So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” – Tecumseh (1768-1813) Native American Shawnee Indian chief.

    “I intend to live forever – or die trying.” -- Groucho Marx.

    “Be calm. God waits you at the door.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-) Colombian novelist.

    “Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.” – Walt Whitman (1819- ) Author, poet.

    “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne (1907-1979) American actor.

    My favorite and most comforting thoughts on accepting my own mortality come from Irish writer C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) who said,

    Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.

    That’s what I call wisdom, and acceptance. More of Lewis in my chapter on faith.

    My own conclusion and advice to myself: If you believe in God, you should not fear death; you should welcome it.

    I’m trying to take my own advice, and that of Buddha, whose philosophy on death could be the best one on life -- living our lives emotionally, spiritually, and physically without pain:

    “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

    I’ve also wondered, even worried, about whether I’ll see my beloved doggies in heaven. Martin Luther (1483-1546) assured us that our canine and feline and other pet friends will join us there when he wrote: “Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.”

    To close this part of my final chapter, Billy Graham gives us some comforting thoughts on our mortality: “I’ve read the last page of The Bible. It’s going to turn out all right.”

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