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Hello and some questions about my journey

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by gauche, Apr 7, 2023.

  1. gauche

    gauche Newcomer

    Hi folks,

    I'm fairly new to TMS, having recently discovering it almost by accident. I've read through most of Dr Sarno's work (actually, I listened because one of my more recent symptoms is blurry vision and reading has become more difficult) and found myself relating so hard it almost hurt! However, there's is one complication to my health journey - an enormous one, in my mind - and I'd love some feedback on my overall history and, in particular, the complication (which I'll get to below).

    I don't want this to become too long-winded, so am going to summarize in note form, eliding much detail, and focusing more on recent events. But please feel free to ask me for more information should you think it relevant.

    Personality: quiet, introverted, achievement-oriented, perfectionist in many areas of life including work, definitely relate to the "goodly" character traits Sarno describes, feel utterly outraged and depressed when people treat each other poorly.

    Age 0-18: Wonderfully healthy, at least physically. I was the kid who was rarely ill, and bounced right back when I was. I was very active and ate a balanced diet (thanks to my Mum). However, I was brought up in an incredibly strict fundamentalist Christian home, and my father in particular was emotionally abusive. Even in my earliest memories of him (I was about 5) I recall that I was afraid to interact with him. I was also "lovingly" punished by spankings with a wooden spoon and, during my teens, a horse whip (yes, a horse whip, intentionally purchased by my dad for the purpose of punishment). I'm not sure if that counts as physical abuse, but I sure didn't appreciate it.

    19: Fell very ill with glandular fever and tonsilitus not long after leaving home. Took me a couple weeks to get out of bed, but I rushed back to work and my life as soon as I could, probably earlier than I should have.

    23: Married my girlfriend of 4 years.We're still married nearly 20 years later (with two kids, one of whom is now a legal adult).

    23-24: Began seeing doctors due to fatigue that wouldn't quit. Began scaling down physical activity as a result. Began getting occasional back spasms, where muscles in my back would lock up in extreme pain, disabling me for a day or two at a time. Always triggered by a seemingly innocuous movement.

    26-31: Progressively got worse fatigue and neurological issues like vertigo. At my worst I felt like I was living through a dreamlike haze, all my senses becoming blunted and distorted. I didn't know what to do because I had seen so many doctors to no avail, so I did what I could to push through by increasing caffeine and sugar. My body eventually collapsed with neurological symptoms so severe that I almost suicided, and it took improved nutrition and around 3 years to "fully" dig myself out of that hole, though to this day I occasionally feel "flashbacks" of those symptoms, but to a far lesser degree of severity.

    31-41: Life plodded on. I finally saw a doctor who "diagnosed" me with CFS and cautioned me against stress, but I didn't take it seriously enough. I became more and more hesitant to do physical activities, travel, eat foods that would trigger me etc, and lost myself more and more in work (somehow not seeing it as "stress"). I'd occasionally wake with a terrible hollow-feeling ache in my hips, and have to roll over to relieve the pain. Sometimes I'd wake with my calf muscles in the most excruciating cramp.

    After finishing up an enormously stressful job where I was somehow blamed for all the bad outcomes I had warned management would ensure their own decisions, I experienced debilitating fatigue and muscle pains during my notice period. My Rheumatoid Factor was slightly elevated (though it had never been checked previously so who knows what my baseline was), and my then GP suggested I might be developing RA. This sent me into an emotional doom spiral. Fast forward six months and I had basically fully recovered from the RA-like symptoms and in fact was more active than I had been in years. I was far from perfect, but I was pretty good.

    42: After much deliberation, I couldn't make a decision about Covid vaccination and put the decision in my GP's hands. Time was a factor because my dear Grandma was dying in a nursing home, and they of course had vaccination requirements for visitors. My GP was adamant I should get vaccinated and refused to entertain an exemption despite my clear history of CFS and a generally sensitive body. The first Pfizer was fine but the second sent my health into a crumbling, spiralling mess and I've been struggling to recover ever since (19 months now). Incessant muscle twitching, full body weakness and shaking, tachcardia, bradycardia, POTs symptoms, blurry vision, fatigue, internal tremors, involuntary movements, parasthesia, tinitus, ear pressure/popping/clicking, anxiety, depression, suicide ideation etc etc etc - I seem to have experienced every symptom under the sun.

    I've been under the care of various physicians and of course changed my GP since I couldn't bear to even see the one who recommended vaccination. They've identified immune system dysregulation and it's abundantly clear to me that autonomic dysfunction is at the core of my health woes (I do have some diagnostics to show this as well, not that I needed them). My HRV has been terrible - as low as 7ms - though slowly improving over the months since vaccination. My Rheumatoid Factor has actually elevated even further, though now it's considered "in range" because they recently went and changed the ranges!

    My symptoms always worsen at night. Even if I go to sleep feeling relatively OK, I'll often be woken with varying symptoms in the dead of night - feverish, hot tight feet, a feeling of my blood being stingy and "poisoned" for lack of a better description, GI upset, or random pains like a throbbing ache in my lower back. Even if I do sleep the night through, there is very little restorative feel to the sleep.

    So that's a high-level timeline, and my dilemma is likely obvious to anyone paying attention to what's being said about vaccine injuries outside the narrative that continues to deny I exist, along with many thousands of others like me. Whilst I'm supremely confident that TMS explains everything up until my vaccination, I don't know about how to eliminate physiological causes of everything thereafter. Sarno himself makes a very strong point to work with physicians to rule out any structural issues, but no one knows how to do that yet. Some physicians are offering compelling evidence that spike protein is at the core of injury woes, and have no definitive protocol for eliminating it from the system. Since these vaccines are so novel and no one is being funded to investigate adverse events (because they don't happen, remember!?), it's simply too early.

    I'm aware there is also an emotional component to my vaccine injury. I can't help but dwell on the fateful decision and all the things that led up to it, beating myself up for not trusting my gut. And of course, there's the toll that the gaslighting and censorship takes on us injured folks.

    So my dilemma is: how do I move forward with TMS given that there may be structural, physiological reasons for my body's inability to regain homeostasis? How can I remain informed on the latest research and treatment options whilst pursuing a TMS-based approach at the same time? Are these even compatible goals?

    Thanks for any help or advice you can offer.
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    You surely have had a LOT of anxiety in your life.
    Being beaten and physically punished by parents is ABUSE. I'm so sorry for how you were treated, and I relate. Not a horsewhip but a wooden spoon on the regular and when I was a teenager, the metal vacuum extension. My mom blocked that one from her mind the moment she did it, and has never admitted to doing it.
    Your Covid vaccine "symptoms" are anxiety and I bet some anger at being "forced" to get the vaccine. This is not an uncommon complaint on these forums, and 99% of the symptoms are not founded by medical science. Doctors will try to use many things to explain unexplained symptoms because they are pressured to find answers, and like you, don't care to be blamed for "not doing their job" when they can't. In all reality, you probably really just don't like having no control over things like having to get a vaccine, and when you are forced to, for the best interest of others, your subconscious fights back. I think it's a subconscious conflict of many goodists. I've had all my shots willingly, and recognized that I truly had absolutely no internal conflict about doing the best for others, and for myself and used this specific situation to examine my own values and truths. Sometimes we like to think we are absolute goodists, and we are really not. Absolutely nothing wrong with this, but this goes against your internal identity as a perfectionist, creating conflict.
    Your night time symptoms are fairly typical of nervous system disregulation. They are benign symptoms and you may have them more at night because that's when your subconscious is running wild - it's sensing all kinds of threats and mixing them up from past and present because it has no sense of time. Things that happened to you as a kid are just as threatening now as they were then, and it is related one kind of threat to another.
    What this simply means is that you are a fantastic candidate to do inner TMS work, and there are two free programs here to take you through them. You'll find them here; https://www.tmswiki.org/w/index.php?page=The_Tension_Myositis_Syndrome_Wiki (The Tension Myositis Syndrome Wiki) under programs, along with loads of other useful information that can take you farther into your TMS journey.

    I myself have had almost all the symptoms you relate (and many more) - and I have overcome MANY of them in a year. Several of them in just a few months. Sometimes they come back for a short period when I am stressed, but I now see them for what they are, and within a week or two they go away.

    As @JanAtheCPA often points out, you are an excellent candidate to look at your ACE's. The wording in the ACE's 'assessment' is very open to being subjective - like you, I think a lot of people assume that parental punishment is not considered "abuse", but what is abuse is the mental suffering, the developmental form of coping you needed to create to try and avoid these punishments and the creation of self-identity that they helped form. Abuse doesn't have to be being locked in a cage and flogged, or starved...it can be many things, so take that into consideration. In many families, mental, physical and emotional abuse is very subtle. Aces: https://www.acesaware.org/ace-fundamentals/ (ACE Fundamentals - ACEs Aware) Stress that is often created by Aces: https://www.acesaware.org/ace-fundamentals/the-science-of-aces-toxic-stress/ (The Science of ACEs & Toxic Stress - ACEs Aware)

    What do you do now? Focus on getting some nervous system regulation. That means you must convince yourself that you are safe, because you are SAFE. In this very moment you are alive and breathing, and Sarno's 12 daily reminders can help you with this. It takes time to get your mind and body to believe you, but you can do it. Doing one of the programs can help you on your journey. Participating in self-care is also very important. Do things you love, or learn new things you can enjoy like meditation. Learn to slow down in life, to stop feeling like you must always do, perform, be the best and the most - because that's a struggle that takes you away from enjoying life. It hasn't been working for you lately. Time to try and find what can work for you.

    It's hard.
    It's worth it.
    Booble, Ellen, gauche and 1 other person like this.
  3. gauche

    gauche Newcomer

    Thanks a bunch for your response, @Cactusflower - really appreciate it!

    In light of my self-education around TMS so far, everything you say makes sense and is relatable to me.

    Regarding vaccines, my sense is that many of the afflicted are in my boat, exhibiting neurological and immune dysfunction with no physiological basis as a result of TMS. Unfortunately for some, it is leading to autoimmune complications. I also think it's very important to acknowledge that there are people being killed and severely injured by the vaccine, likely through an entirely different mechanism (such as the Bolus Theory, wherein the lack of aspiration results in injection into the bloodstream and rapid dissemination of mRNA throughout the body). Moreover, there is evidence that not only are the vaccines ineffective (failing to prevent infection or transmission), but that they are also inhibiting people's immune systems making them more susceptible to severe Covid. I'm happy to provide resources if desired, but don't want this thread to become focused on the vaccines.

    Having gone deep into this over the past couple of years, I honestly feel like one of the lucky ones. You have to understand that no one is more motivated than I to be convinced that the vaccines are safe because my wife and kids also had it (before I had connected the dots on my own injury - I was being told it was completely unrelated by my medical practitioners).

    I've been reading and following the advice in Viner's The Mindbody Syndrome (believe it or not, I hadn't heard of Dr Sarno until I began reading this book - I was completely green to TMS and just wanted a lay-of-the-land), as well as consuming other incredible books like When the Body Says No and The Body Keeps the Score. The pieces are all coming together for me logically, so I feel it's now a matter of applying the practical advice. I'm going to find a good psychotherapist to help me on the journey.

    Thanks again!
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    100% everything that @Cactusflower says, @gauche!

    As you do this work and read Success Stories, you will find that CFS is just another TMS equivalent, and that "a generally sensitive body" is the same as an "overly-sensitized nervous system" which is the same as a "hyper-sensitive individual" and that these are all symptoms of the primitive TMS brain mechanism which plays hell with our mental health in the modern world, along with anxiety, non-clinical depression, and many many other neurological symptoms. They are all "TMS" (currently more often referred to as MBS or PPD by today's practitioners).

    Your vaccine "reaction" is congruent with your psychological history, and your background of childhood abuse is congruent with TMS.

    Here is what I hope you will consider to be positive information: I've been around here for almost twelve years now, and we've only had COVID for three, and we've only had COVID vaccines for two, so COVID-related stories are comparatively rare, but every single person who has reported post-vaccine symptoms here, has also reported fear and resistance about getting the vaccines. Those people are few, I think, because the people who come here and decide to join are already open to the possibility of the mindbody connection. Your vaccine fears will receive the same amount of traction here (which is zero) as any focus upon physical symptoms, but you can nonetheless give yourself credit for being here at all, and for being open about your fears. The key to success is to focus only on the psychological, not the physical.

    As for my own experience, I don't know a single person with post-vaccine symptoms or syndromes, and in addition to my family, I have a very large circle of friends, co-volunteers, and condo neighbors. Many of us are older, and all of us are very happily vaccinated (we celebrated with relief and many long-awaited hugs). I had friends sharing stories and advice about what it took to get on an appointment list, because the vaccines were so in-demand where I live. I have RA (stress-induced, and that's another story I've written about often) so I simply made sure my rheumatologist put me on the list for my HMO's earliest available shots. I've had all of them (four now, due to my age). As the virus has mutated, people I know have contracted COVID, but no one has had a serious case, not even my 89-year old neighbor last summer (she's 90 now, and still going strong). I feel like the last time I had the flu was worse than what they've described - that was in 1996 and it was so bad I've been getting the flu vaccine ever since.

    I live within 20 miles of that first nursing home in WA state, where so many patients died in February 2020 as COVID was spreading, and in my condominium, there was someone who went to a nursing home in May 2020 for rehab after surgery, and died there from COVID. Getting the vaccine before going to your grandmother's nursing home seems like the right thing to have done - perhaps you can allow yourself (and your GP) that much.

    Occasionally I think about how I (how we all) put my safety in the hands of countless products every single day, with sometimes completely-unjustified faith that I am safe when consuming or using them. From processed food to raw food, from body care and supplements to household cleaning products, from appliances and the electricity where they are plugged in, to my vehicle and the roads, bridges and overpasses I drive on or under, never mind traveling as a passenger with someone else driving - every one of these carries a risk, and many of them are subject to far less testing, research, and oversight than the vaccines. And let's not get started on soil depletion, food degradation, pollution, extinctions, habitat destruction and climate change - and probably more pandemics - these are the existential crises which are contributing to a world-wide epidemic of mental health distress, which in my opinion is the greatest risk of all.

    Life is risky, but thanks to modern medicine our lives are a lot longer and far less physically risky than than they were for our primitive ancestors, which is when the TMS brain mechanism was actually useful for survival.
    TG957, Booble and Ellen like this.
  5. gauche

    gauche Newcomer

    @JanAtheCPA Thanks for such a thoughtful response.

    Indeed, life is a series of calculated risks. Even turning a tap on requires some faith in the infrastructure and that the government hasn't tainted the water (oh wait, they put fluoride in my water supply, so there you go).

    > I don't know a single person with post-vaccine symptoms or syndromes

    I'm really glad to hear it hasn't affected you or anyone close to you. I know one personally (formerly a marathon runner, now suffering heart issues) and have met several as a result of my own injury.

    > Getting the vaccine before going to your grandmother's nursing home seems like the right thing to have done

    Indeed I thought it was based on the state of things at the time: the promise of two injections being enough to end the pandemic, and that those injections would provide immunity. Alas, I never saw my Grandma before she passed. For 6 months post reaction, I was in such a bad state that I was certain death was on my door. I could barely leave my bed let alone travel interstate to see her.
  6. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    This comes down to choice. You can continue to believe that you are damaged and incurable or you can open your mind to the possibility that something else is happening with you and many people who have been so called “damaged” by these vaccines and that you can become fully well again. It takes work and commitment, and brutal self honesty. It takes the realization that at times our minds think things that are not true. That is the entire basis of Dr. Sarno’s work.
    Like many people who come here is ANY ailment, your doubt prevails. You Stevie and rationalize, and that’s usually a lot of fear.
    I never saw a single thing that said vaccines would eliminate the pandemic. Everything I read or heard suggested they would help manage the severity of symptoms.
    Many people including myself have been bed ridden due to symptoms. My TMS coach basically spent 13 years unable to do much of anything. Major symptoms similar to yours. She is fine! Yes it sometimes is hard to wrap your head around the fact that what you think may not be true. Just because it happened to someone else does not mean it dictates your fate. Dr. Google and Reddit and Facebook groups are ripe with horror stories (even many tms groups). Look at the news. Our society is currently enmeshed in negativity- rarely a positive thing. Is that real? No! Of course not!
    A lot of the tms work is sorting thoughts from truth on many levels. The #1 is self perception.
    Booble likes this.
  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ditto, 100%.

    Reduce severity, reduce deaths, and hopefully reverse the increasingly rapid depletion of medical resources and personnel. But "end" the pandemic? Nope.

    What does this tell you, @gauche, about the accuracy and rationality of your perceptions and beliefs? This is a serious question for you to ponder privately - I'm not looking for a public response.

    I am glad you're going to seek psychotherapy, @gauche, because you're not going to get the answer you initially asked for from this forum, and I'm quite sorry for you in that regard. The nature of the work we do here is such that it requires completely letting go of victimhood in addition to thinking psychologically rather than physically, in order to recover. Your TMS brain will fight you every step of the way, because its job is to keep you stuck in fear. This is much more difficult for individuals who suffered childhood abuse.

    The work is available for you when you're ready to take on that fight, but skilled one-on-one help is probably the better choice for starting out.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2023
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    PS, in our world, fibromyalgia is also TMS. It's the classic diagnosis for when they can't find anything measurably wrong. Which, you know, please consider accepting as good news.
  9. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Hi and welcome!
    You've given the answer in the early part of your post. Nobody survives an abusive father with a horsewhip unscathed. Period. End of story.

    Everything you have experienced INCLUDING what you are attributing to vaccine likely stem from this.
    You were obviously petrified of the vaccine (me too --- I have had all of the CFS symptoms and spent a lot of time on the main CFS/ME forum --- you'll see me there with the same user name - Booble). You were pressured and scared and all those emotions POPPED after the second shot.

    The good news is that there is such a clear connection to emotional trauma that created your goodism and ultimately lead to your body saying -- "not going to deal with this so I'm going to distract you with this, that and the other thing!"

    For a lot of us, we lived seemingly normal, everyday, childhoods. We had no overt traumas....and yet we STILL have tucked away emotions that need release. I'm excited for you that you have found TMS. Focusing your time, energy, focus, thoughts on your emotions rather than your symptoms is going to do wonders for you.

    To answer your question directly (I haven't yet read the other responses):
    So my dilemma is: how do I move forward with TMS given that there may be structural, physiological reasons for my body's inability to regain homeostasis? How can I remain informed on the latest research and treatment options whilst pursuing a TMS-based approach at the same time? Are these even compatible goals?

    Give yourself permission to forget about any structural, physiological stuff for now. It's not going to kill you to set all of that aside.
    STOP reading anything about "vaccine injuries." 99% of the people you are reading are having psychological reactions manifesting as physical. STOP reading it now. STOP symptom searching. STOP spending time in forums with others with "physical" illness.

    Instead start focusing on getting your emotions out. For me the "writing shit down" is what changed everything. I write and write and write. I swear in my writing. I sometimes write mean things about people I love. I let my little child me take the pen sometimes and let her write. Or I have written conversations with little me. It almost feel trance like. And when I do it, symptoms start fading away.

    I had to stay off the CFS/ME board even though I became friendly with many of the people because of the endless details about the medical interventions they that try, etc. All generally to no avail. I go back to say Hi every so often.

    Let us know how we can help. If you go for it, you are in for an amazing journey.
  10. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    My answer is very simple: TMS treatment does not have any side effects, is non-invasive, and often free (except for some people who have to see a coach or therapist). You have little to lose and a lot to gain. For many of us who fully recovered, our TMS journey brought about a dramatic improvement in quality of life, better understanding of who we are and why we are living on this planet. In a way, I have to thank my horrific experience with CRPS (google it up to understand how scary and debilitating it is) to give me a shake-up and make it very clear that I needed to change the way I live. It was a path of self-discovery and self-realization. My advice is to go all in and forget about possible or potential structural issues which may end up not being structural. I had experience with someone who kept telling me that she had a systemic issue with elevated heart rhythm and CFS which had nothing to do with TMS. Guess what - her heart rate fully normalized and CFS was gone after less than a year of TMS method.
    Ellen likes this.

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