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

Frustrating Setbacks - Common?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by jamejamesjames1, Aug 3, 2020.

  1. jamejamesjames1

    jamejamesjames1 Peer Supporter

    For about two weeks or so I think I had really turned a corner in terms of my general attitude towards the pain and sensations. I was just focused on living my life and having fun - accepting that if the pain was going to stick around I might as well maximize my life instead of just fearing it all day everyday.

    It was a slight shift but had a huge impact on my mood (anxiety, depression, capacity to have fun, etc).

    Before if I was feeling bad it felt like I’d never feel any different and it symptoms were more mild I would just be “waiting for the other shoe to drop”

    The last two weeks the practice has been if it feels bad I say “ah, yeah this sucks, but I’m sure I’ll feel better soon” and if it feels mild I just try to live my life and not even think about it.

    I think this has helped my symptoms some as well as my mood. I was certainly having more fun. In this timeframe I was more able to see cause and effect of situations on symptoms (anger/frustration/annoyance would aggrevate, sitting in specific chairs (lol)).

    What has happened a few times is intense flare ups that *appear to have no reason*. For example, yesterday was just enjoying a nice swing in the hammock, very low pain, not even really thinking about much of anything a blam, it hits. I try to go over anything that could be bothering me but just feel like I’m kicking up some mud. I tried to adopt my recent shift in mindset but I think I was just really worn out and couldn’t muster the energy and fell back on old habits.

    Is this expected? That sometimes for no reason you’ll have big flare ups? And because I was unable to “happy” or “indifferent” my way through it I am currently feeling a little low and scared (well, at least relative to the last two weeks. This was my baseline since developing these symptoms). In these situations, should I immediately keep trying to just keep having fun and ignore or should I embrace these emotions (even though they are reactions to the pain, not generated from the pain itself) for a bit? I know if I let it linger to long I might get stuck in my old patterns which clearly were not working.\

    It just feels like it’s impossible to get out of this maze when you *feel* like you are doing everything right and then get thrown off the horse again and again.
    TrustIt likes this.
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes. It is part of the deal. Like everybody else, I got scared a LOT and there was no forum back then. Many times I thought "Oh my God... I am insane. This has to be real".... but I just got the book out again and kept re-reading it. It made more sense than any of the other BS I'd been told by the doctors.

    One thing in your quote. Even if I 'know' what's bothering me, that doesn't automatically end the symptoms. I might have a mental click like "DOH" (faceplant) but when I have that 'Aha' moment, I turn my thoughts to it and keep them there anytime I catch myself paying attention to the symptoms. This requires a force of effort and it IS exhausting. But it did work for me.

    As a rule, after all this time, Most of the time I get a little relapse 'tickle' as I call it, it is inevitably when I am trying to RELAX. I might be fine on a ladder all day doing demolition dragging chunks of rotten concrete....then when I kick back with a book and try to take a pre-dinner nap....zaaap.... little shot of sciatica down the leg, or spasm in my hamstring.

    So, I have to set the book down and I lay there and go over my day, my finances, my relationships.. oftentimes I don't even have an 'aha' BUT I wake up twenty minutes later, realized I dosed off and the symptom is gone.

    ..and that 'kicking up mud'? That sounds like a trick of the ego to minimize or disparage the process. If Sarno is right, the ego is a main culprit in this problem and disqualifying certain anger makers based on my 'Ok-ness' is a formula for pain. If I have learned anything from TMS, it is this... I am NOT that big. Little petty things 'kick up a lot of mud' in me and that mud is the pain maker. When I give all of those little splashes some attention, I get results. I also get to laugh at myself.

  3. jamejamesjames1

    jamejamesjames1 Peer Supporter


    You know when I'm "doing good" I have the same situation as you. If I am very busy running around with kids, woodworking, exercising, really engaging conversation... symptoms are mild or not present. Also, if I'm doing something like mindfulness meditation and really slowing myself down I can get the symptoms to be mild too. It's the "in between" in life (reading, watching TV, driving around, regular conversations, cooking & cleaning, etc) where my symptoms flare the most by far.
  4. Soph1802

    Soph1802 Peer Supporter

    I can relate to this so much. It is really hard to know what to do. I also find that sometimes, I am just emotionally/psychologically exhausted with being so positive, not bothering about the pain, practicing somatic tracking etc that sometimes it all feels too much. I can be watching tv and have nearly all my pain flare up, and I just feel so exhausted with trying. It’s Like I have a mini emotional crisis and long for the easier, familiar habits.

    I suppose all we can do in these situations is accept that this is a process, be kind to ourselves, breathe through the pain and try and stay grounded. Perhaps try some affirmations. It feels to me that trying to ignore our fear of the pain, or repress our anger at TMS not working, then we are indirectly perpetuating it. The best thing logically seems to be to just relax and accept that as a human, you’re bound to have setbacks/shaky moments. Be kind to yourself and try again tomorrow. But I’m no therapist, and I haven’t mastered the TMS
    and recovered yet so this could well be wrong!
  5. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Hi, Soph (and James),
    Thanks for the post. Soph, I got a laugh from your line about being exhausted with being so positive. It does take work identifying old thought habits and then stopping them and replacing them with more constructive thinking. The effort can seem overwhelming some days. I get tms flare-ups at habitual times, often on weekends when I have to stand in the kitchen and cook for a few hours and always on weekday mornings when making breakfast before going to work. Accepting these moments as tms helps; taking short breaks helps; staying calm and noting my patterns of distorting all-or-nothing thinking helps and then consciously replacing those thoughts with an affirming statement I can truly feel helps. One thought at a time.

    This past weekend, I took my teen son up to the Northshore for his first solo backpacking outing. We had a glorious drive up and my body felt great -- normal! Next day, with my son out on the trail, I was getting ready to hike myself (after a long struggle to get to that point and after a hard year) and--bang!--a back spasm. So, now I'm home, on my back and recovering. The difference is that I'm disappointed but not depressed. I choose to see the spasm as tms and as a gift. The timing of it was exquisite. The last spasm I had was in May, right after my father's death. So, I'm looking at what this means, at how it pushes me into re-thinking my thinking. I'm reading Louise Hay, as I 've heard others on the forum refer to her. Her book You Can Heal Your Life is nicely practical and has some great analogies to make one's transformation process easier to visualize and grasp. She compares the early stages of changing your thoughts like planting a tomato seed. When the seed sprouts you don't get upset with it and stomp it out because it doesn't look like a tomato plant. Rather you celebrate it, weed around it (pulling out the old, crappy thoughts) and nurture it on. Eventually when you stick to it, push through your resistance, you get something the looks like tomatoes.

    Wish everyone well!
    Soph1802 and Baseball65 like this.
  6. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That book has some great QUESTIONS in it. Most importantly for me was the "where did this idea come from?" "is it mine, or did I just start believing it?"

    Most of us at the level of our ego would be outraged if someone told us that our thoughts were not our own. Having inspected many of mine using Louise Hays prodding, I realized I have a LOT of idea's that were just planted in me with NO say in the matter. If I didn't adopt my environmental idea's, I wouldn't have any at all. Might as well agree with the people in the room, right?

    I was raised by ivy league, 'its all relative' mushy thinking,philosophic hipsters. Upon close inspection, a lot of the mushy thoughts are consistently ironclad in their certainty that people who have a firm idea are WRONG (LOL...conflict theory they got from Harvard)

    Nowadays when I am around my family of origin I must remain silent because they continually spin the old narrative I used to believe. They are also all in a lot of pain (mostly back pain).

    One thing I have also learned. A CRIME in our modern world is to not have a well developed opinion about EVERYTHING. "I don't know" is usually a safe place for me, until I have a first hand experience with stuff...and even then my idea is prefaced with "well, in my experience...."

    And, anytime I have a tickle, it's usually one of my idea's crashing into reality. Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius both agreed it is not what happens but our thoughts about what happens that cause us grief. Ellis wrote REBT theory and had a lot of success with that simple idea.

    Most of my setbacks in life have been me having to review what I think. Recovering from TMS was a reset on everything I thought I knew about physical stuff, values and priorities.
  7. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Eckhart Tolle: "The greater part of most people's thinking is involuntary, automatic, and repetitive. It is no more than a kind of mental static and fulfills no real purpose. Strictly speaking, you don't think: thinking happens to you. The statement "I think" implies volition. It implies that you have a say in the matter, that there is choice involved on your part. For most people, this is not yet the case. 'I think' is just as false a statement as 'I digest' or "I circulate my blood.' Digestion happens, circulation happens, thinking happens." (A New Earth)

    I'm seeing how much I'm in the category of "most people." What I'm realizing is that automatic negative thinking makes periodic incursions into my conscious mind: put-down messages that say I'm inadequate and that I should just die, that sort of stuff. And in my conscious mind I usually see it for what it is, dispatch it intellectually, and feel that I've done my work. What I didn't realize was that down under at the less conscious levels those messages were operating off the chain 24/7. And for years. These really pernicious messages--and they are as relentless as they are destructive--have gotten into my flesh and as I age are finally catching up with my health.

    I'm more awake to this now than I have ever been. If Louise Hay says look in a mirror and tell yourself you love yourself fifty times a day, I'm there. It makes sense. And it's utterly different than what I've done without success. Knowing our thoughts and loving ourselves, these are ways to clear the intractable debris of ego-error. And some trusting. The universe plays its how-to's face down. I'm turning each card as it comes, and going from there.
  8. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    I see this message over and over in the various books I read in the TMS world. So much starts with a thought. And, of course, it would come round to the body.
  9. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Learning to detect the crashes is an art. What's useful about many of your posts is that you articulate the nuances of a collision. The little stuff that is really the big stuff. It gives me, at least, something to consider when I examine my own days. When I had that spasm up along the Northshore, I had a lot of semi-conscious and unconscious stress about being able to hike again, and some envy toward my buff, physically powerful son, and after I dropped him off, I couldn't find a campsite (everything in the county full) so after driving for two hours I wound up sleeping in my car above a quarry, and I was angry about the politics up there, the class hostilities and the poverty and the privilege and the encroaching overuse, etc. All this going on in mind like a low-frequency uneasy static. I think it all came together to produce the acute pain the next morning (NOT that sleeping in the back of Honda Fit!). Good to review Sarno on spasms, btw.
  10. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    Lost count at the number of times the pain seemed gone but came back.

    It’s all part of the process. Accept that it’s there. Know it will leave.
  11. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    and that is just your PRE-conscious...the part you can access with patience, self study, memory... Now times that by 10 or so and that's how much rage is festering at the bottom. It's an act of speculation and creativity.
    Soph1802 likes this.
  12. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Whew. Got some work to do. (Long day.) But, yeah...
  13. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    RE: I don't think any of us in this lifetime ever get a full picture. It's just acknowledging it's there. It usually takes about 2 weeks to 30 days for our unconscious to loosen up when it's holding on tight.... The longer you try this the shorter that time gets.

Share This Page