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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Getting Started ~ Day 1

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by nadia, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. nadia

    nadia Peer Supporter

    For almost 17 years I’ve lived with Fibromyalgia. I have also had recent diagnoses of colitis/IBS, acid reflux, hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalance, sciatica and chronic back pain. Several doctors and counselors over the years have suggested to me that these chronic issues are not indicative of a physical disorder but symptoms of mind-body connection.

    Since January of this year I’ve experienced chronic (daily) pain which moves around in my back, right hip and right knee. Through my daily prayer/meditation and journaling I have become aware of deep anger, resentments, fears and anxiety. The other day I was downstairs doing laundry and as I walked through my office I caught site of Dr Sarno’s book on the shelf. I re-read the book and see myself on every single page!

    Four weeks ago I had a complete check-up. At that time, I spoke again to my doctor about my chronic pain and she told me that she can’t do any more tests for me. She suggested that I needed to look at underlying emotional issues. As far as I know she doesn’t know about TMS, but I look forward to sharing with her as she is very open to other philosophies and modalities.

    I am very open to TMS being the cause of many of my health challenges these past 17+ years. Recently I’ve become very aware of intense feelings of anxiety, fear, anger and resentment. I am very hopeful that working through the program will assist me in overcoming the chronic back, hip and knee pain, as well as the Colitis/IBS, allergies and various other health issues I have.

    I worry about making time daily for the journey as the next couple months I am travelling but I am prepared to do the best I can and trust. I have a fear of succeeding...what will that mean to my life? And a fear of failing.

    I am also worried about what is underlying these repressed emotions. After typing the above I experienced intense anxiety...almost a panic attack...which I've not had in years. I am uncertain about how i can do the emotional work and continue to care for our children.

    I am excited to find this group through an online search and have spent a couple days reading various threads, success stories and watching related YouTube videos. The more I learn, the more I see how TMS has (and continues) to impact me.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hiya nadia and Welcome to the Wiki!

    Like you, I had chronic pain symptoms for about 18 years and was diagnosed at one time with Fibromyalgia. Essentially, I had severe pain in my wrists and arms, among several other symptoms. By learning about TMS I was able to become pain free. if I can do it, so can you.

    In terms of setting aside time to do the program, try at first to set aside 20-30 minutes a day. If you are traveling and can't get online, try to just read one of Sarno's books a little bit each day. Reading and re-reading his books can really help the message sink in. Also, if you don't have time to journal, try to simply make a bullet point list of some of the stressful and emotional events/issues that happened that day. That might help you recognize some of the emotions that are going on.

    To recover, we may not need to resolve every issue that we have. Instead, we simply need to recognize what these emotions and issues are that we have been repressing.

    I would encourage you to continue to read success stories. They can really help in accepting the diagnosis, and can give you the courage to continue with this approach. Also, check out the Q&A with an Expert respone: I have a lot of stress. Is it safe for me to start the program? It has a lot of helpful info in it, and may help you out.

    One other thing: you are not alone in this. Everyone in oue Peer Network has been through what you are going through now. We've been there and understand what it is like. The good part is that we also recovered, and so can you. Continue to read and post on this forum and you will gradually see progress.

    Best Wishes,

  3. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Nadia, Welcome!

    For me finding the time wasn't too hard...I had been spending at least 45 minutes every day on PT exercises so when I dropped those I suddenly had plenty of time to read about TMS, journal, etc. Another thing that helped me a lot in the beginning was to go for walks at lunch and think about the 12 Daily Reminders from the Healing Back Pain book. I guess it felt like I was combining TMS work with something else I was already doing (walking) so it wasn't something extra I had to do.

    Fear of success...yes, I have had this too. More and more I am feeling better and thinking OK what is my life actually about if it's not about dealing with pain? Still working on that.

    About the repressed emotions...I think the fear of what we are repressing is also part of TMS. My therapist recently asked me what I see when I think about repressed emotions and the first image that came into my mind was a tidal wave that was going to swallow me up. But I find when I actually do look at the emotions they usually just move through relatively quickly. Even very intense emotions or memories have not led me to feel overwhelmed.

    Also, I think it is great that your doctors have been so open to the idea that your pain could be psychological. It sounds like you have some really good insights on TMS.

    Hope to see you around.

  4. nadia

    nadia Peer Supporter

    Thank you for the 'Welcome' Forest!

    Reading over some of your posts these past days inspired hope for me. I look forward to the journey on this forum. I appreciate your suggestions for setting aside a block of time each day for consistency. I know for myself i will also need to be cautious of honoring boundaries as I tend toward compulsiveness, when I am immersed in something that I enjoy doing I lose track of time and neglect other priorities and needs.

    It is very reassuring to know that recovery is not based on resolving every issue...but rather learning to recognize the emotions and issues that we repress. Big sigh of relief here! And the article on I have a lot of stress. Is it safe for me to start the program? was just what i needed to read this morning.:)

    I journaled on the Question to Ponder from Day 1: What would life without TMS mean to me?, and that was very eye-opening. My life for the past 20 years has really been focused on my 'Wellness Journey'. How I think, choices I make, relationships I maintain and so forth all pivot around my dis-ease. I have deeper insight to how my physical pain has masked emotional pain and been a protective coping mechanism.

    Additionally, it brings to the forefront what it has cost (and is costing) in time, energy and finance. My husband and I have five children (ages 11 to 23) and for most of these years I've relied on a multitude of therapies which have not been covered by insurance and have put tremendous strain on our family finances with large debt. As a result, we have not maximized retirement savings, our home is partially renovated, and we do not have the funds to assist our older children with their post-secondary education. Often we are living paycheck to paycheck to some extent. Although my husband makes a significant income, we continually have financial stress. My husband is so supportive and encourages me in my quest to be well. I am experiencing regret and guilt over how all this has impacted him (not to mention our kids).

    I feel that I've made positive progress in the past few days. Interestingly my knee pain has diminished as has the mid-low back pain that was waking me at night.

    As an aside, I note on many of the threads that there is a way to quote text, how can i do this? Thank you again Forest for your warm welcome and guidance.

    Onward and upward,

  5. nadia

    nadia Peer Supporter

    Hello Veronica!

    Thank you for your welcoming email! Reading your experience with TMS along with your suggestions to set aside time to do the work is encouraging to me.

    Your comment,
    , recalled a similar experience I had last year during counseling when asked a similar question. For me the image was of a volcano erupting. Literally I could feel the pressure in my gut and lungs building and building until it would spew out of me in all it's ugliness. Although I repress emotions, I was unable to contain them when the pressure got too intense. As well, I realized that through those months of counseling my back pain totally disappeared. I thought this was due to weekly acupuncture treatments. However, this winter the pain came back and acupuncture did not help.
    My husband is very supportive of me exploring TMS and making time to do the necessary reading, journal-ing, etc. I am blessed that I do not work outside the home and can set time aside.

    Thank you again Veronica! I wish you all the best in your journey.

    ~ Nadia
    veronica73 likes this.
  6. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hi Nadia and welcome to the wiki:

    It seems there comes an "end" to traditional therapies and a lot of lucky people find Dr. Sarno et al and their work. Sounds like life is hectic - I can relate. Stress and anxiety are tough to get through on this journey. But you sound as if you have great resolve. Good luck and we're here to answer questions on your journey.

    I dedicated 45 minutes each morning to working the program. I learned a lot, but would have to put down some things when my day "began". Working on quiet moments early in the morning really helped me to understand what I was writing and reading.

    Hope all goes well for you.

    nadia likes this.
  7. nadia

    nadia Peer Supporter

    A whole week has past since I've logged in! I was out of town this week with my husband (he had a business trip) and it was a needed break. Our 21 year old son came and stayed with our 10 & 13 year old for three days, which was so generous of him. Our younger two adore this big brother who is kind and gentle. He is totally focused on them when he is here and they had so much fun.

    On Friday I received my recent book order from Dr Sarno's site was waiting in the mail: The Mindbody Prescription book & DVD, as well as The Divided Mind. I've been reading and reflecting on Healing Back Pain the past couple weeks, and am happy to have new material. My goal this week is to set aside 30-45 minutes to continue working through the Structured program, I am currently on Day 3.

    I've been trying to tune into the emotions behind my pain. So far I can't say that I've noticed a decrease in pain, recently I've had acute pain is in my right knee. At the present my knee is unstable and I am having difficulty with stairs in particular. I think my Dr had both my knees x-rayed about a year and a half ago when they did an in-depth investigation of my right hip pain (sciatica). The only thing that came up from all the x-ray's and scans was very mild scoliosis which I've had since childhood. My Dr even commented that there was little evidence of any degeneration of the joints for someone my age (47). But with all that said, my knee has been a royal pain, literally! I am looking forward to getting started with the structured program to see how all this impacts the migrating joint/back pain and praying that soon I can be walking daily again.

    ~ Nadia:)
  8. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Welcome back Nadia -

    Hope you had a nice trip. As to the program, I did this as well. I set aside time in the mornings to work on my journal and the day's activity. I learned a lot, but had little let-up in pain. I am not you. You may have a totally different experience. We're all different, so keep on with this great plan you have, and don't let my outcome sway you one way or another. MANY have found the program to help them quickly. I'm actually thinking of doing it again.

    It can be a journey that leads you where you least expect it to. Keep on with the program and don't have any expectations of the outcome. Of course we all want to be out of pain. But I caution you to not expect this for yourself. This way you stay more open to what "it" is and if you still have pain when you're done (hopefully not) - then there are follow up programs we can steer you towards.

    Good luck! And welcome back.

  9. nadia

    nadia Peer Supporter

    Hi Beach-Girl!

    Thank you so much for the warm welcome and encouraging words. I am grateful for you taking time to respond to my posts and for you sharing your experience on this journey. I have been reading through various threads and am inspired by your insight as you encourage and affirm others. At this point I am not sure what to expect. I was thinking today that regardless of what happens in terms of the physical health issues, learning to feel and accept all the emotions will bring deep healing and peace within my soul. When I was initially 'diagnosed' with Fibro all those years ago, I knew there was an emotional/spiritual component and worked with a Counselor who focused on pain management and taught me various lifestyle management techniques. Much of our sessions were focused on identifying and managing anger. I learned a lot from that gentleman, but overtime forgot many of the practices as life became so busy. At the same time I participated in a 12 step program 'Healing for Damaged Emotions' which was a lifeline for me when I my world was spinning out of control. I had tremendous reduction of my physical pain over the time period and was able to function at quite a high level of health. However, many of my 'symptoms' continued to come and go at various levels of intensity. The past 4-5 years I am dealing with more frequent relapses and of course, the SI pain which has prevented me from exercising.

    I love your comment that this journey will lead where I least expect...the past few days as I've worked on my lists, I've realized that I have a LOT of anger! Actually, over the past 17 years there are many more hurts, issues and painful realities that I've stuffed down, ignored and denied. Now that I am opening myself to this process of awareness, many painful and sad emotions and memories are bubbling to the surface. Right now I am just trying to 'be' with the emotions and to allow myself to feel without judging, trusting that all will be well.


  10. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hi Nadia:

    The 12 step program sounds interesting. And it sounds like it worked for you - except there perhaps were some unresolved issues (anger etc) that weren't covered in your program. I'd be interested to hear more about this program.

    Written like a true TMSer! I know what you mean about anger in particular. I am not an "angry person" and know I stuff emotions as well. I hope to work through these other emotions. I haven't been able to take the time in the mornings as I was, but will again soon. Like starting tomorrow! I know there is more I need to "get out of my system" - literally - so that the pain, like the unaddressed emotions are gone.

    Keep writing and good luck!


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