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Daniel L. Having trouble overcoming doubt

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by raccoondude, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. raccoondude

    raccoondude Newcomer

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    Question
    I can't convince myself that I have TMS 100%.

    Hello,
    Recently I have been experiencing RSI symptoms from computer use. My symptoms are forearm pain, elbow pain, and hand pain, all of the classical symptoms.

    My symptoms started 2 weeks ago after I spent 3 hours on the computer and held my hands in an awkward position and when I lifted my arms, the essentially went extremely numb and cold. Although the numbness and coldness is not there I still experience forearm and elbow pain when typing or writing, (although the elbow pain is and on and off).

    After learning about TMS last night I feel as if my symptoms feel better when I convince myself that the symptoms are purely emotional but I am not experiencing 100% relief instantly as I expected.

    A reason I am havign trouble accepting that I have TMS is because a month ago I took an antibiotic (only 1 pill) that has listed a sideeffect of muscle aches and pain and my brain is convincing itsself that the pain is real coming as a side effect.

    What can I do to further prove to myself that I have TMS and not a real physical underlying condition. It's hard to 100% convince myself
     
  2. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    Answer
    First of all, If you haven’t yet worked through the recovery program here on the wiki, that’s your first step. In it, you’ll go through the process of proving to yourself that what is going on with you is TMS.

    That said, I think sometimes people get a little stuck on the idea of 100% confidence in the diagnosis without understanding why it’s important.

    The honest truth: you actually don’t need 100% confidence to get better, you just have to find a way to soothe your scared brain. The reason that confidence reduces the symptoms is because it is soothing to your brain to know that it’s just TMS and not something else going on (“a broken arm!” “A scary disease that no one has heard of!”). It’s nothing more than your brain acting up, and it will calm back down. If you’re able to soothe your brain even while experiencing symptoms, then you actually don’t need that confidence.


    Here’s a story: Imagine a 5 year old who is laying in bed, scared out of their mind because of noises coming from the closet. They’re terrified that there is a big scary monster in there. They yell for their parents, and they rush to the room and do everything they can to comfort their anxious child. They then prove to their kid that there’s nothing in the closet (they open it, turn the light on, and nothing is in there). Great! Now their kid can rest peacefully. Their anxiety about a monster has disappeared and they now are able to sleep.

    But what if the kid has a more fearful personality, and even though their parents showed them that nothing is in the closet, they’re still afraid? In fact, they’re not convinced that the closet is empty. Showing them again that the closet is empty won’t soothe them. Well, in that case, the parents just stick around longer, saying as many comforting things as they can, rubbing the kids’ back, etc. until the fear/anxiety has lessened and the child falls asleep. It may take longer, and a bit more work on the part of the parents, but eventually the child’s anxiety will decrease.

    In that second instance, the child did not have 100% confidence that there isn’t a monster in the closet, but was still able to fall asleep because they felt comforted.

    That’s the same way that TMS works. As long as you’re able to soothe yourself (even if you’re not 100% confident in the diagnosis), then you can overcome the symptoms. Your symptoms are just your brain’s way of saying “I’m scared.” And the only way to not be scared is to comfort yourself! Most of us that develop TMS are not very good at comforting ourselves, so we have to make a conscious effort to practice it.

    It’s important to be confident in the diagnosis, but it’s equally important to take care of yourself and try and comfort your brain. Do that and your symptoms will decrease.


    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

     

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