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Greetings from a new member

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by sjcy, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. sjcy

    sjcy New Member

    Hello everyone! I'm glad to be here.

    I'm 61, married, a nurse and social worker, and I just discovered Dr. Sarno's books through this post on one of my favorite blogs: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2015/12/healing-back-pain.html

    I have struggled with anxiety and depression all my life (literally, since age 5), including struggles with hypochondria that led to a lot of TMS symptoms. I had psychotherapy in my mid-30s that helped me learn self-compassion, and in the process I also learned how to avoid or abort the panic attacks that had plagued me since age 21.

    At the present my main problems are GI symptoms, foot pain, allergies, and a kind of depression that is not major but that seems to paralyze me at times. I've dealt with these pretty well, I have a kind and helpful husband who is also a medical person and who has a lot of good insights about how to handle these struggles. But the light really came on when I read The Mindbody Prescription. I am looking forward to working through the programs and I feel better already. I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to be "good" and to live up to everyone's expectations. I had already dealt with some childhood issues in therapy, but I hadn't thought about the burdens I've presently been loading on myself. I get so anxious when I start working on some things that need doing at our farm that I can hardly keep myself upright, and I think my foot pain is related to this.

    I am also dealing with my widowed 83-year-old mother, who still lives independently and is pretty healthy but is in constant pain from her knees, pain that is to me quite obviously TMS related, as it very clearly worsens in times of stress or anxiety. She is under a lot of pressure to have surgery on her knees, from friends and from a hometown family doctor who is surgery-prone, but my husband and I think she would be a poor candidate for it due to some circulatory issues in her lower legs. She gets pretty annoyed with me when I talk about the emotional component in her pain, but she will listen to me. Has anyone else here tried to help a family member with TMS, and if so, how did it work out? Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing from some of you. I am really learning a lot from your posts.
     
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi sjcy,

    Welcome to the Forum and all the wonderful people here, who love to support each other!

    I guess you know we recommend that folks do the Recovery Progam and SEP which are free over at the Wiki. Many people have had success by methodically going through these programs. Posting your responses is welcomed, as you go through.

    I suffered severe foot pain, and used Dr. Sarno's method to avoid surgery, and got my athletic, outdoors life back.

    Yes, I have helped family members. One case used Dr. Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain with great success. Just reading it did not help that much, but doing the journaling, which was difficult at times because of the emotional content it evoked, seemed to do the trick. This family member was willing to do the psychological inquiry, which many aren't, and she was a "believer" because she witnessed my amazing recovery.

    This is a great insight. Each person finds their own keys in this work, and it sounds like you're on your way. The moment-to-moment ways we treat ourselves, to me, is key. So it is the daily life we lead, but deeper, it is the way we "load ourselves." Common, painful, and possible to change...or at least tie to the symptoms. Just seeing the loading can undo the symptoms, because you are seeing the real cause of symptoms, not attributing symptoms to physical reasons.

    Good luck in your journey, and with helping your mother.

    Andy B
     
    sjcy likes this.
  3. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi sjcy

    I have a mother who is now in her mid-90's. She lives independently but has professional home helpers. I can't see her very often as we don't live in the same country but once when I was there she was experiencing some intestinal trouble. On a daily basis she is in near constant pain from the triple whammy (in her view) of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and scoliosis. She did make a point of mentioning to me that while she was dealing with the intestinal stuff the other pain just disappeared. I gave her my view as to why but she didn't seem to take much notice. Despite the intestinal problem reaching crisis point last year and her needing surgery, I am of the firm opinion that this decades-long on again/off again problem was initially a TMS symptom given my mother's history and personality traits.

    About the same time a very good friend had been suffering from back pain, tennis elbow and various other complaints. I had a general chat with her about mind body disorders and took the risk of sending her a copy of The Mind Body Prescription. She read the book and declared herself free of pain for a time. It didn't last but she knew she had the tools to achieve success whenever she put her mind to it. I lent my copy to another friend who handed it back to me without comment months later. Oh well, it was worth the risk in the first case so if there is someone you think may be open to the idea, lend them your book.

    Generally I would advise you to focus on yourself and then say to anyone vaguely interested, "Hey, look at me. Look what I did." If they are at all curious, they'll want to know how you did it.
     
    sjcy likes this.
  4. sjcy

    sjcy New Member

    Andy, thanks for the welcome and the helpful words.

    Reading the story of your foot pain journey was inspiring! My problem has been diagnosed as Achilles tendonitis but my husband has warned me from week 1 that surgery for that is usually not much help, so I've tried PT, stretching, and NSAIDs, which decreased the pain about 50%. Walking around on it this morning, I would have to say tentatively that there is another 10-20% improvement this morning!

    I look forward to being a member of this community and I appreciate your support.

    Susan
     
  5. sjcy

    sjcy New Member

    Thanks! I haven't actually talked to too many people about my foot problem, and I'm able to walk on it without limping for the most part (most of the pain is when I first get up from having been sitting down more than about 15 minutes), so it'll be hard to impress anyone but my husband with my potential miracle cure ;) Since my father's death four years ago, my mother has become very dependent on me and gets quite anxious when I tell her about any health problems I'm experiencing, so I don't tell her about them unless I'm acutely ill. I think she might enjoy reading Dr. Sarno's books, though, so I'm going to get her some copies. I also plan to tell her about Walt's amazing recovery, since she has a lot of anger about her supposed age limitations.

    I appreciate your support! Hope your mom is doing better now.

    Susan
     
    yb44 likes this.
  6. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle



    Thanks, Susan. Your mentioning that you try to shield your mother from your health problems because it causes her anxiety reminded me of Gabor Mate after he had surgery and had to visit his mother, how he stopped himself from limping in front of her so she wouldn't get upset. I hope this is the video that I'm referring to and have embedded it correctly.
     
  7. sjcy

    sjcy New Member

    You did embed it correctly, and I'll watch it when I'm at my mom's later today working on her tax return. We live far out in the country and have terrible internet service with big limitations on our download capacity, so watching a video longer than a few minutes is impossible! It looks very interesting, though, and I look forward to viewing it.

    The biggest reason that my sisters and I don't tell our mom about minor problems is more for our own protection than hers, because then, on top of the stress from our own health issue, we have more stress from her extremely vocal agitation and worry. Her first impulse is not to help, but to freak out because she fears for the effect on her own life if one of us gets sick. But we do tell her if something is major and something she would hear about anyway--we don't go to great lengths to hide serious stuff. We just went through a series of terrible medical/psychological problems with my brother, and she was able to work with us to get him into treatment without going to pieces, thank goodness. Her TMS pain went through the roof, though.

    Susan
     
  8. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Susan. Some elderly people become very self-absorbed, thinking only about themselves. My mother got that way and was just impossible to please. Yours is worried about her health if something happens to you or your sister. That's a tough one to handle, but try to be patient with her. You're probably best off not talking about your health to her. Here's an idea... tell her you feel great and all your health concerns have gone away... see what her reaction is. Maybe she will be more relaxed. Miracles do happen.
     
  9. sjcy

    sjcy New Member

    I don't really talk with her much about my health, Walt, because it makes her so anxious. I've already adopted the approach you advise! ;) She's much more interested in her own pains anyway, which I can tell are considerable and very strongly related to the recent traumas of losing my dad and dealing with my brother's breakdown. With your permission, I plan to use your experiences as an example to her that she can become mostly pain-free at any age. It was wonderful to read your story.
     

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