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 1 Getting started

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by redeemed27, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. redeemed27

    redeemed27 New Member

    After suffering with an ever-increasing host of symptoms over the past 10 years, I heard about Dr. Sarno a few years ago. I devoured two of his books and spent a couple months doing my best to follow his advice. I read, I wrote, thought, read, wrote and thought some more. When I experienced no improvement, I concluded that I was one of the the few that would not improve, or that Dr. Sarno was just wrong in his theory, or maybe I was just too messed up and I needed years of therapy. I moved on to other approaches.

    Two months ago I saw a new doctor, who right off the bat suggested that most or all of my problems may be caused by anxiety. Previous doctors have not really found anything wrong with me, so this made tons of sense! Especially since about 5 years ago I developed daily butterflies in my stomach for no reason, or sometimes for very trivial reasons.

    So back to the books I went. I found a new book to read about TMS (which led me to this website) and also a somewhat different approach in a book about Stress illness.

    To answer the question as to where I am right now in my acceptance of the diagnosis of TMS, I would say that I am there, but with a good measure of confusion mixed in. The fact that I already tried really hard and got nowhere creates a good dose of doubt. The fact that depression and anxiety are significant components of my current and past problems also is a difficulty because I keep finding little disclaimers in this website and TMS literature that express uncertainty about the resolution of those issues. I could easily accept that my current anxiety is just another type of distracting "pain," in addition to various physical pains that I have.

    But my biggest doubts come from the difference between the two books that I recently read. To be honest, the one about Stress Illness made more sense to me. The thinking there is that the symptoms are due to unresolved stress (of childhood issues, current life stress, depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress) that has moved into the body. In this scenario, the anxiety is a cause of the problem, and not a result (a TMS substitute). This directly contradicts Dr. Sarno's scenario, and he explicitly states in his books that this is NOT what is going on, that the various pains are NOT stress that has become trapped in the body. Fortunately, the basic idea of trying to uncover, expose and explore the emotional/psychological causes of the whole thing is similar in both approaches.

    But my dilemma is this: If "accepting the diagnosis" of TMS, that all these symptoms are my brain's effort to hide my unacceptable emotions by distraction, is absolutely mandatory if I am ever to improve, will my uncertainty about the possibility that some or all of it is actually due to physical or mental expression of the various stresses on me, keep me from getting better???? The two theories have a lot in common but in one key area they are contradictory. Yet they both make tons of sense to me. Am I sunk? Furthermore, I've started on medication to treat the anxiety. This is completely appropriate for the other approach, but not the TMS approach. I feel really torn, and confused.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi redeemed,

    Could you please tell me the title, author of the book on Stress Illness you are referring to? I'm not sure which one it might be.

    I think that for many of us, our perfectionist personality traits can get in the way of moving forward on recovery from TMS (or mindbody syndrome). We want to understand it 100% and believe it in it 100%, but making that a requirement to make progress is not necessary. Many people have made progress in treating their TMS while having some lingering doubt about whether all their symptoms are totally due to TMS, or doubts about the different theories of mindbody syndromes that are circulating. I don't think it's necessary to be a "purist" about any of this. I took medications while I worked on my recovery of TMS and still made excellent progress. When it felt right to me, I started to wean myself off medications.

    Ultimately, recovery from TMS is about self-discovery and self-realization. The path is going to be different for everyone. You need to find your own way by doing what feels right to you. You have this knowledge. You just need to uncover it. Thankfully, there are many guidebooks and tools to help us along our way. I agree that it can be overwhelming at times, and there are some contradictory recommendations contained within them. Remember that mindbody medicine is in it's infancy, so it will take awhile for research to be done that will lead to more of a consensus about treatment methods. In the meantime, I suggest just taking it one step at a time, reading what you can and applying techniques along the way. Find what resonates with you and see what works and what doesn't. There is no perfect path. We must all find our own way.

    I wish you well on your journey. Please keep us posted on how you're doing.

    And welcome to the Forum!
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Redeemed, Ellen puts her finger on the reason for TMS pain.
    You heal from self-discovery and self-realization.

    That comes from journaling about yourself past and present, and the people and things that give you
    cause to be angry. TMS pain comes from anger that may have been repressed since you were young.

    Keep at the Structured Education Program and it will help you heal.
  4. redeemed27

    redeemed27 New Member

    Thank you, Ellen for your encouraging thoughts! And thank you as well, Walt. I will push on through the program with renewed hope.

    The book I referred to is They Can't Find Anything Wrong!--7 keys to Understanding, Treating and Healing Stress Illness by David D. Clarke, MD.
    Ellen likes this.

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