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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New Program Healing after 30+ Years of Multiple Symptoms

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by helomary, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. helomary

    helomary New Member

    I just want to start by expressing my appreciation for this community. In my early 20s I began an over 30 year journey with chronic, widespread symptoms including neck/back pain, sacroiliac "sprain", facet syndrome, RLS, IBS, interstitial cystitis, frozen shoulder and many, many more! Many of my symptoms were initially attributed to the fact that I only have one arm, and perhaps I "overused" the stronger side. In addition, I was working as an occupational therapist, which required much lifting and manual work. As my symptoms would continue to increase over the years, I became more preoccupied with the pain/symptoms as well as fearful of further"damaging" myself. I finally had to move to a work setting that required very little physical activity, as my symptoms continued to spread throughout my body.
    One day during the first week of my psychology residency I passed by a bookstore and noticed the book "Healing Back Pain" in the window. Out of curiosity I went inside and started looking through this book. Of course, I saw myself on every page, and for the first time I realized what was going on: my body was not fragile and my brain was creating the symptoms! I contacted Dr. Sarno, who generously agreed to see me, even though I was out of state. He confirmed the TMS diagnosis.
    While I made significant progress over the next two years, new symptoms would continue to appear, and my (once helpful) journaling and "thinking psychologically" began to seem to be in vain. During this time I also began experiencing severe bladder pain/urgency, and began using benzodiazepams to help with insomnia.
    It wasn't until I began to truly realize and understand the major impact that my tenacious inner- bully was having on my whole life that I was finally able to develop a sense of deep self-compassion and calming of my scared "inner child" and frazzled nervous system. My final extinction burst hit when I went through benzodiazepine withdrawals.
    I am so grateful to be able to say that at age 60, I've been pretty much symptom-free for the past several years, and am stronger and more physically capable then I've been since my early 20s! I travel, hike, carry, my 15 pound cat around (with one arm), and basically do/eat whatever I want without pain/symptoms!
    Paigeee, Tennis Tom, Durga and 5 others like this.
  2. readytoheal

    readytoheal Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. So very encouraging! Congratulations!
  3. BarbMast

    BarbMast Newcomer

    Thank you for taking the time to write this. Can I ask if you feel your inner bullying relates directly to your statement that you have one arm? You seem to have a very successful, productive career in spite of your challenge. I ask because I was born with hip dysplasia that left one of my legs shorter than the other. Its not significant but my inner bullying is increased due to my insecurity about being 'different' all my life. It's not even significantly shorter but of course, even in my mid-50's I carry with me the hurtful bullying I went through as a child. My self esteem has suffered and that inner child is angry I was 'different' and had this challenge all my life.
  4. helomary

    helomary New Member

  5. helomary

    helomary New Member

    Hi BarbMast- I'm absolutely certain that the experience of being different, and always having been made to "adapt" made me especially vulnerable to a hefty reservoir of rage/ inner bully. As you experienced, it's painful for a child to feel alienated from peers, and so often those of us who have apparent differences believe we need to work extra hard to be accepted. Eventually it takes its toll. Hello TMS!
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  6. Everly

    Everly Peer Supporter

    This is very inspiring, thank you for posting this helomary. I think that is the missing piece for me too. I do all the TMS things I am supposed to getting somewhere in terms of discovering who I am and why I am like that but getting nowhere in terms of symptom reduction. And it bothers me, of course. But instead of being self compassionate I just put more pressure on myself and create inner tension and that keeps TMS alive. So your post is very encouraging, do you mind expanding on how you personally cultivated self compassion and calmness?
  7. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you for this testimony helomary! Another case where working with the Inner Critic and self-compassion/soothing the Inner Child made all the difference. This confirms my personal experience. This kind of work is life-changing regardless of TMS work! These old inner relationships are a source of deep suffering for many of us here at the Forum.
  8. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

    Dida8349 likes this.
  9. Timbercat

    Timbercat Well known member

    Helomary. I am always inspired when I read a story like yours. It gives me hope to keep going. So happy for you! I have many of the symptoms you described and a 15# cat! I only hope I can lift her up and take her where I want to go without problems. Right now I am working my way through just a lot of pain that won't stop...I'm so glad to hear your story. Thank you.
  10. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Thanks you Helomary! Your testimony is very inspiring! I am right now a bit frustrated about being so old and still not at a place where I am all calm and settled. Your story tells me that it is worthwhile to still hang in there ...
    helomary likes this.
  11. helomary

    helomary New Member

    Hi Time2be-
    Yes, it truly is worthwhile to hang in there with this! And while I'm far from being "all calm and settled", I am finally able to live my life without symptoms holding me back!
  12. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Your message is so timely for me. I spent the better part of the weekend re-reading Dr. Sarno's Mindbody Prescription.

    Writing notes and dissecting what my childhood had taught me and how what I had lived through had given me the propensity for my TMS. I needed to not only know the traumas and pains of my early life, which I had already beat to a pulp, (so to speak), but what those traumas taught me about myself, vis a vis others. This is what I was now, finally, able to glean from a third reading of this particular book. I can see how my reaction in current circumstances has kept me struggling with TMS. My brain is wanting to protect me from further hurt, but with this recognition I now own, I can now understand that my brain is trying to save me from my past traumas, of hurt, neglect, anger. I can recognize the feelings that bring me to this state and immediately begin to send calming, helpful messages to my beleaguered brain.

    So, when it is suggested that we read and then re-read Sarno's books, I can fully agree.

    Thanks for your posting. So glad you are on the waning side of this.

    helomary likes this.

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