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Getting worse...physical pain = emotional distress

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Kris, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. Kris

    Kris New Member

    I hate making this post because it feels like I'm admitting to feeling defeated by TMS. Almost a month ago, I had a relapse, and I can't seem to get myself out of it. My pain is actually feeling WORSE, not better. It's in a totally different location this time- on my right side, starting deep in my outer glute, traveling down my leg, and into my calf. It feels like it has gone after nerves this time. In addition to the pain, which can feel like a sharp stabbing pain in my glute when I roll over onto it, the worse part is that it is keeping me up at night. My glute and calf ache and throb throughout the night. I have tried taking a sleep aid, which usually works until about 3 a.m., and then I wake and pace the house trying to get rid of the pain before I can lay back down and attempt sleep again. I've been doing all the usual- journaling, thinking psychologically, and began reading Steve O's book, which came in the mail last week. I have also been working out, but I have incredibly limited range of motion because my whole right leg is just so tight. I can run on the elliptical, but if I try to do any stretches with my right leg, the tightness and pain immediately stops me before I can even straighten my leg. I keep telling myself not to TRY so hard to get rid of TMS, but that is very hard to do in itself because I just want to be rid of the pain. I got a taste of life without pain for almost three months and it was glorious. I want that back so bad, but what I did the first time, clearly isn't working this time. This time almost feels worse, because I feel more helpless to it. I KNOW what it is, yet I can't get my brain to cooperate.

    I've been crying literally on a daily basis because I feel SO incredibly frustrated. I feel like a prisoner to TMS. At this point, I don't even think it is the repressed emotions that are prolonging this. I honestly think it is the fear and obsession with getting rid of it. I just don't know how to NOT fear and NOT think about it when I have stabbing pains in my body that are only getting worse and pain that is keeping me from getting much-needed rest.

    I have an out of town wedding coming up in less than two weeks and at this point, I don't know how I will be able to enjoy myself. I'm trying so hard to not put pressure on myself to feel better by that point, but I also don't know if there will be any point in even going if I don't feel better. I feel like I will be miserable and bring everyone down.

    Has anyone ever been in this position before? Any thoughts or words of advice? How can I KNOW it's TMS, but yet my brain just won't let go and won't give me peace?
    mike2014 likes this.
  2. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Kris, I am really sorry to hear you are suffering. I can totally relate, it's by no means easy trying to overcome the fear barrier and start to believe it's a psychologically induced ailment.

    It seems you've been putting far too much pressure on yourself to feel better, but really need to take a step back and be more gentle to yourself. You will heal, but try not to add increased levels of stress which will fuel your amygdala and stress response which controls the intensity and severity of the pain.

    On the plus side, you've established a Mindbody link, the pain has moved around. This is known as symptom imperative. Try and think psychologically at all times and if the pain becomes to intense, try some self talk and read through Dr Sarnos 12 daily reminders to convince yourself your pain is due to repressed emotions.

    I know I've said this before, but please be gentle to yourself. TMS feeds on fear when you realise this, the sensation of pain will reduce somewhat.

    Hoping you feel better soon.
    JanAtheCPA and Kris like this.
  3. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Kris. I know how difficult it is to be relaxed and take one day at a time when you are in pain. Pain feels like an alarm is going off and it is a call to action. We race around trying to fix it and that is precisely what makes it so effectively distracting. I know you understand all this and it is very frustrating. It is okay to cry every day and acknowledge how frustrating it is. I know I had times like this. Unfortunately, if we could make the pain go away by focusing on how much we want it to go away, none of us would be in this position. When I have had relapses like this, powerfully ignited by moving to another location, it is like the TMS flame is raging at full force. It is times like this that it is the most powerful and has the greatest hold on you. Understandably so, it hurts!!!! The only advice I can give is to try any strategies that dampen the flame a little. For instance, anytime you find yourself thinking about when the pain will go away and whether it will be there in the future, you are feeding the fire. Worry, thoughts that generate fear add a lot of pressure. Fear based thoughts and anxiety dominated my thoughts for many, many years. They do nothing really but generate more fear which makes it that much more difficult to think of anything else. Humans are predisposed to this kind of thinking, so be kind to yourself. Hyper vigilance is what kept us safe, and it is difficult to disentangle in todays world when we are safe. I know the glute and calf are very painful and perhaps you want to see a doctor to reassure yourself, but I imagine other than the pain, you are perfectly fine. You are not doomed and it will not always be like this. You had three wonderful, pain free months. It might be years the next time, or you might never be in pain again. The important thing is to gain the knowledge that this is all temporary and could change at any moment. The more confidence you have in the TMS diagnosis, the less likely these episodes will be able to have any lasting hold on you. Easier said than done!! You will get the hang of it and you will figure out strategies that consistently work for you.
    North Star, JanAtheCPA and Kris like this.
  4. Kris

    Kris New Member

    As always Mike, you are SO right. I have been putting a ton of pressure on myself. I just keep thinking, "I've healed from this before, what is wrong with me that I can do it this time?!" I know that putting that pressure on myself is not kind and not fair to myself. Because I am a problem solver, perfectionist, do-er personality (shocker) I just want to FIX this and move on. I literally journal and think to myself the whole time, "Maybe this will be the topic that gets to the heart of my pain and I will get up and the pain will be gone." I know this is not only unrealistic, but also obsessive. I need not put so much pressure on myself, and also not be disappointed in myself for "letting TMS control me" again. I know I will get through this and I feel like I will have lessons from a relapse that I didn't have the first time around.
  5. Kris

    Kris New Member

    Thank you so much for your response Anne. The racing around trying to fix my brain and my pain is definitely what has been consuming me and causing the pain to stick around. I admit that I have been feeling weak and beating up on myself for letting TMS back in. I thought that once I knew about TMS and conquered it the first time, it could never get me in its grasp again. I've always believed that knowledge is power. I still do, but I also know that my inquisitive busy mind still creates a fertile ground for TMS to creep back in.
    Honestly, the hardest part is the sleeping. The second half of the night is very painful, and that can be very demoralizing. My hope is that once I can get my mind to be less occupied with thoughts of pain during the day, the nights will follow. Even though I had a very rough night last night with little sleep, I have been working today on not obsessing and freaking out so much. I know I just need to go on living my life, and that is what I am trying to do.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Kris, I feel your frustration! Mike and Anne are both right on, as you clearly know. The one thing I don't see that you've tried is meditation. It's not something I am able to do on a consistent basis, but I've found that even short meditations for a specific purpose have a positive effect.

    A lot of people who come through here have found that meditation is the answer to long-term recovery, because it is the one practice that truly calms our racing minds - and you already suspect that's a big part of what is holding you back. It ain't easy, I know that for myself (and I suspect we have similar personalities). I'm quite sure that I would benefit enormously from becoming a consistent meditator, but I'm here to tell you that you don't have to be either consistent or an expert to achieve at least some benefits from it.

    Here's one little meditation that has worked for my sudden pain symptoms, which is to visualize the other (non-painful) leg/arm/hip when I'm obsessing over the painful one. I find a relaxing position, do some deep breathing and calm my brain, and think about how good my non-pain side feels. Then I visualize the painful side being just as pain-free. It doesn't take long, but if you can do this several times a day, and especially when you go to bed, it might help after a while. The last time I tried it for some right-arm pain that had been bothering me for a month, I realized after a week that the pain had gone, and it didn't come back. Right now I'm having left-shoulder pain that I keep trying to ignore, so as I'm writing this, I'm making a vow to take my own advice!

    I've never taken sleep aids, but I will take an Ibu or a Tylenol if I'm feeling particularly stressed and having symptoms. OTC pain relievers have been found to ease emotional as well as physical pain, and in the world of pharmaceuticals, they are pretty benign.

    Keep in your mind the positive thought that you ARE going to that wedding, and visualize being happy and having fun!

    mike2014 likes this.
  7. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    You need to take a med calm yourself down so u can rest to deal with this new attack of tms don't be a hero it seems the mind is back and it's going to make it tough you need your sleep. Even the great Sarno says it is ok
    Kris likes this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Kris. I'm sorry you are in such pain and am having trouble sleeping. You are not alone. Many people post here with the same symptoms.
    If you haven't yet, I urge you to start the Structured Educational Program which is free in the subforum of this web site. It helped heal me of severe back pain by discovering repressed emotions going back to my boyhood, and that I am a perfectionist and "goodist" people pleaser.

    Meanwhile, practice deep breathing to relax. Inhale through your nose to the count of four, hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale through your nose to the count of 5. It is profoundly relaxing, sending healing oxygen to the brain.

    Also, Dr. Sarno says it's okay to take some medication if needed. I had trouble sleeping and found a great help in a pill from Kirkland called "Slee
    Kris likes this.
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Damn computer. It stopped.

    It's called "Sleep Aid" and I bought it from amazon.com. It's cheap and you get 100 tablets. One or even a half puts me to sleep all night.
    It has all natural ingredients and is not habit-forming.
    Kris likes this.
  10. vanessa

    vanessa Peer Supporter

    Dear Kris, I so related to your post. I could have written the whole thing. I am exactly in your boat. I have had 15 weeks of it. and a day or two here and there, and then a month of pain. I did the SEP, I read steve o's book, i journaled. Everything from childhood to present day stresses. I am taking a formal meditaiton class today, on top of meditating. Sometimes I cry in frustration, and then try and think psychologically. And I finally am seeing a TMS therapist, who said, you know everything in brain and you are working so hard, so hard, but your ID is not unerstanding you, and your nervous system is out of whack. My glutes tighten and pain moved from sciaica to glutes. This is suppsed to be a good thing. And I yell, I sooth, and it still tenses. I take hot yoga, and was doing well and then It was so painful. So this is my list of crazy stuff that has calmed my nervous system down. Also, when I have to work, perform, be at airports, see people it can get worse. So I try and see peoples' heart. Steve o is all about sub C, and it is heartbreaking what this guy went thru to heal. Anyway here is my list:

    Breathe in and hold it, for 10-20 sec. it activates para sympathetic nervous system. Mantra. constantly, "I have nothing but love and compassion for myself and others", using spikey ball for almost 10-15 min. on glutes, and as I am using spikey ball and getting blood into glutes, I keep thinking about what might be stressing me out. I was relieved of pain for almost a day, and then it went into lower part of leg. And I got angry at it. I said, "Get out, I know what you are doing. I was firm but gentle. I was yelled at alot as a kid, so I don't think yelling works for me, it didn't work for steve, i pretend i have a 3 year old that is having temper tantrum and I say, ok, you got my attention what is going on, come on. I talk to brain, "Please stop cutting off my oxygen, I know what you are doing and I am in control. Also, reaching out to others, and then distraction, youtube video, reading. I keep saying, "I am healed" I am already healed, thank you. (say/ wa) not correct spelling is old chant by chinese healers. It helps a lot. And when I walk down the street and it's going off, I listen to the cars, birds, people, it's hard for brain to stay in pain when you do moving meditation and just practice being completely present. I pretend I am a cat, noticing everything around me, and I am so present. It takes a while. But I hear you, loud and clear. I hope today is better. I am in and out, but doing everything I told you. And I also say, "OK, you're here, ok, I accept. I wont judge, what do you need to teach or show me. And sometimes I lose it, I start screaming and swearing to god, and blaming myself, what did i do, will this ever go away. I am a mess. Or I just get really depressed. I don't socialize like i used to, and i excercise in pain, but i am gentle as Dr. Sarno says, movement and excersise is the greatest healer, to retrain nervous systyem.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is important information, Vanessa, thank you for sharing that, and your whole post which is awesome.

    I have often felt like my nervous system was "out of whack", which I'm sure is a result of chronic lifelong anxiety. The crippling panic attacks are long gone, thanks to this work, but I can still get completely riled up and off-kilter with new stresses which bring on new repressed emotions (although of course they are just more recent versions of the same old emotions from childhood). Which is when it's time to get back to the basics: do some calming breathing, listen to some guided meditations, and get out the pen and paper.

    I'm wishing you all the best as you keep figuring this out.
  12. ter456

    ter456 New Member

    I am relatively new here and am grateful for your comments. I have been doing this work for about 6 months and ever since I started reading the TMS books (before I even started to journal and work with a TMS therapist, my pain has been getting worse --even more so after journaling because I have been focusing on a lot of emotions and imaging what is in my subconscious mind (Sarno says to imagine it in "volcanic" terms such as the rage, intense sadness, emotional pain, etc.). I know Steve O said that when his pain increased he was happy because it meant that his subconscious/brain were becoming so desperate and he felt he was winning. I wish I could think like that and at times I do...its when the pain gets so bad that I am crying or on the verge of crying, it feels nearly impossible to do this. I can't wrap my brain around the idea of "ignoring" or becoming "indifferent" to the pain when it is that bad. I have multiple pain locations so with me it isn't so much switching where I just have one being substituted for another. I have been trying to speak to my brain with more compassion since I was yelled at a lot as a child and also in an abusive first marriage, but at this point it doesn't seem to respond no matter what method I use. I start to scream and yell at it when I feel like I am at my breaking point. I try to journal everyday and read a bit from one of the TMS books, but sometimes I feel like I am on information overload. I exercise (only for about 10 minutes) 2X a week with ankle weights because I have lost a lot of muscle tone and still do it even when I am really hurting. Just feeling so discouraged and depressed today. Thanks for reading this...

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