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Hello. I've had an enlightening time scrolling through this forum.

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by crumbsandcarrots, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. crumbsandcarrots

    crumbsandcarrots New Member

    I've had an interesting year with my health. Quite maddening. Confusing. Scary. And I've had a nice break from my normal thought pattern after listening to the Divided Mind audiobook during the long drive to stay with my folks for the holiday.

    It all started (on the surface) in October of 2015. During the time I had pain in my lower and upper back/neck. Some of my work involves heavy lifting, so it's a part of life. And felt normal. Though worse than it had ever been. I had an abnormally crazy year with stress and anger that I had never felt before. It felt other worldly. And I think I fried my nerves after a health scare meltdown.

    I went to the doctor in October 2015 complaining of back pain, odd sensations in my legs, and an odd rumbling in my tail bone. thinking the doc would blame my back, he did a very thorough neuro test and asked lots of questions. I never knew of any neurological disorders but was suddenly terrified. He didn't say what he was looking for, but was confident nothing was showing on the surface and said it was probably stress.

    Rewind to my previous few years of quiet rage and debilitating anxiety that I had defeated on the surface but let bubble on the inside. I went through a break up that just totally defeated me. I'd been through breakups before. Shook them off after a few months and moved on. This one was different. It felt like my soul was obliterated. She felt like the one. And she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. Long story short. It didn't work out. And the gravity was something I'd never experienced before. For six months after the breakup. I would turn off my car when I got home. And just rested my head on the stearing wheel. Dreading the loneliness of walking into a lonely home. Often cussing and punching the roof of my car. Healthy to get out. But it's how I felt on the inside. Anywho. I felt like the Tasmanian devil on the inside for a solid year and a half. And that's after a lifetime of quiet rage that I buried pretty deep.

    So there I am in the Dr's office. After all of that time in a bad way. Being a proud dude and not admitting I wasn't feeling right. Now I really wasn't feeling right. Went home. Gave neurological diseases a quick google to reassure myself that I didn't have them. Literally. The next day. I wake up with my legs buzzing. Then I had tremors. My jaw. My hands. My legs. Internal vibrating. My tailbone was just rumbling like crazy. My system had short circuited. There was no way this wasn't a neurological disorder that I was dying from. Ended up seeing three different doctors in three weeks. One agreed to recommend me to a neurologist. Got an MRI. All clear for any physical anything. No lesions no MS.

    A few more follow ups with neurologists and other new doctors for 2nd 3rd 4th opinions over a years time. The general consensus was stress. And that sometimes the body just goes haywire with stress.

    After being recommended Sarnos early on. I didn't have interest. My main problems weren't back pain. But parasthesias. Twitching all over my body. Burning skin in different areas. Cold legs. Muscle weakness (perceived?).. And just overall health anxiety across the board. A health anxiety that occupied nearly every second of my day. Every new sensation was a death sentence. Physical evidence that my body was disintegrating. The only good news.... I wasn't heart broken or lonely anymore. I now had three or more appointments a week to help my healing. Acupuncture. Physical therapy. Therapy. Meditation. Osteopathy. Etc etc. Any who. Throughout all of those visits. I had some relief with the osteopath. My back pain was severely minimized after a few visits. But my odd sensations still remained. And some were visible. My feet often looked like a popcorn machine with twitching. Benign fasciculation syndrome they said. It was either that or a deadly neurological disorder. My subconscious decided it was the latter and the tension increased. Along with my fear and the sensations.

    So after listening to the divided mind, I had some revelations. And one of oxygen deprivation to the nerves and muscle was huge. That's literally what felt like was happening to my legs. On a rare occasion over the year I was able to stop the buzzing and burning with flippping a mental switch that I randomly could flip.... And I could literally feel my legs expand. Felt the blood flowing. Felt oxygen getting to where it needed. It feels the way that "feeling normal" and at ease is like.

    So this TMS approach seems like an area to explore. While I'm not in full on pain, I am in extreme discomfort. I need to learn how to accept the doctors all-clear-diagnosis and confront the issues in my life that have presented themselves in my body.

    Where do I start? A journal? A visit to a tms doc? What should I do next?
  2. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member


    As I'm sure you are aware this is a textbook presentation of anxiety that becomes physical anxiety and then turns into health anxiety. It is indeed a well trodden path.

    Much like you I had all the neurological stuff with anxiety and this then led to me falling into a decade long spiral of health anxiety. Also like you I read Sarno early on and dismissed his work because I didn't have back pain so it didn't seem to be that pertinent to me.

    The twitching drove me bonkers and this led me to the about BFS forums which instead of calming me only panicked me further and turned my long standing MS worry into the terror of ALS...this too is an incredibly well worn path. It was with time and understanding how true neurological conditions present that I overcome this fear. I still twitch and have the internal buzzing and vibrating sensations but these no longer scare me. I then developed back pain. Go figure.

    Another book I read very early on was Hope and Help for your nerves by Claire Weekes. I readily dismissed this as well as she talked about panic attacks and the like we didn't resonate with me, my issue was the neurological symptoms that anxiety produced and the subsequent health anxiety. It is only with time that I now realise that the key to healing all forms of anxiety are encapsulated within her words. If you haven't read this book I strongly advise you to do so.

    I am not cured...far from it so to take advise from me would seem somewhat foolhardy but the reason I wanted to reply to your post was because you appear to be in the word for word situation I found myself in before the chronic back pain started. At the moment you are stuck in the classic anxiety>physical anxiety>health anxiety loop and this becomes a self perpetuating and insidious way of life. At this stage and with the physical symptoms you have my advice would be too basically take a break from all the research and information gathering. Read Claire Weekes as it is all you need to know and apply her steps to recovery. I can pretty much guarantee that after a few months of quitting the body self absorption (this leads to somatic amplification) and allowing your nervous system the time to recover you will feel so much better. At this stage I wouldn't even suggest a need to journal or whatever to be honest...just stop pouring more gasoline on the flames of your health anxiety and see what a difference this makes. The treatment protocol for TMS is always here if you require it but I strongly believe you can recover with the steps outlined.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome crumbsandcarrots,

    I think you have come to the right place, and I am glad you are embracing Dr. Sarno's approach. I had several surgeons ready to operate to relieve my foot pain, and they were all wrong. Your doctors seem to be confirming that there is nothing basically wrong with you, so that is a good foundation for this approach.

    Visiting a TMS doctor is not a bad idea. It can give you support in using this method. After all, Dr. Sarno's record of healing was based on his physician opinion, expressed to the patient. But most people use this approach these days without seeing a TMS trained physician, so you'll have to inquire about how important this is to you.

    You understand the possible psychological roots/trigger for your symptoms, which is helpful.

    This is insightful, in my opinion. Something "didn't want to be felt" and so then scary, complex, medical things seem to "start happening." And keep going.

    And this above is very supportive.

    As you know, much of what Dr. Sarno found was that the knowledge of the real cause is enough to undo the syndrome. That you don't have to change your life or personality. In a way then, you're most of the way there with Dr. Sarno's method. You know what caused this. Then you have to to work with the fear, and the obsessing about other syndromes, etc. Mindfulness --the ability to stay present and observe your thoughts and not be swept away is one very helpful practice. Simply watching your breath is a simple way to start.

    You are welcome to use the two free programs at the Wiki. The first I always recommend is the TMS Recovery Program, which teaches skills and has some great recordings exploring the psycho-dynamics of TMS clients. The next is the Structured Education Program, also at the Wiki, and free.

    Over all, read Dr. Sarno's work daily, and keep "thinking psychologically." When the symptoms grab your attention, mentally link them to "what my Inner Child is probably feeling about _____________" Assume then this is the reason for the symptoms --as a distraction from these feelings, and turn your attention to something else. Repeat thousands of times.;) You are retraining the mind.

    Good luck and ask questions and post your responses to the programs.

    Andy B
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Huckleberry posted right as I hit post on my long post. I love the quote above...

    And what I hear Huckleberry saying is "don't obsess about fixing anything using Dr. Sarno's work." This is important advice, to not increase effort or anxiety about progress. Sometimes less is more...

    What Huckleberry has done with the body sensations is learn to not catastrophize about them. Accept them. This is very powerful medicine!! We know that when we quit worrying about a symptom, it looses its potency as a distraction, and becomes less, disappears, or does not matter, even if present. This is important to know. And learn to practice...
  5. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Crumbsandcarrots, I can relate to you more than you know. You can look at some of my posts if you'd like but the crux of it is I have weird sensations that have been tested extensively. I'm telling you this because you should know I've been told they are stress related and nothing dire, so if you've been given the all clear believe it! Best of luck dude.:)
  6. crumbsandcarrots

    crumbsandcarrots New Member

    I'm sorry you've been through the neuro ringer as well. Yes. The ALS BFS MS path is well worn by many anxious types. I also had to stop visiting hypochondriac forums because those folks introduced me to many symptoms that I just didn't need to know. Which planted fear seeds in me even further "if you can climb stairs and do your normal activities, you don't have ALS." Yeah totally. Except I can't do my normal activities. My legs feel weak. Guess I've got ALS. etc etc. fear fear self diagnosis etc.

    I also came to Claire Weekes on my own just last month. I think I googled nerve tension or hypersensitive nerves. Because that's what I'd been feeling. And came across Weekes. Sensitized nerves rang a bell. And so did her bit on how easy it is to have a nervous reaction if the "wheels are already greased". Which is very true for these symptoms that I continue feeling. The bodies reflex to stress or anger is now simply physically guarding or protecting my emotional turmoil. Shutting off oxygen. Tension in odd areas. The wheels are grease. I've had a few patterns of stress storage that I was able to defeat. Usually took a year or two. Throat tension. Butt tension. Neck and shoulder tension.

    I've had some really interesting rage/symptom revelations that seem to fit well with some of the info in the Divided Mind. One afternoon I ran into my exes new boyfriend at the grocery store for the first time since I'd heard the news. We knew each other. I acted kind and shook his hand. We did some small talk. Said goodbye. I went for a hike and my IT band was killing me for the first time in years. I got home. Drank a glass of wine. Got into bed. And my legs buzzed (louder then they ever did or would) for the first time. I finally put that together. I didn't at the time. That breakup was huge for me. And finally meeting the new BF. Too much for me.

    Things finally would culminate physically about two months later. After a few successive business failures that put my type A (when it comes to business at least) personality to its limit.

    And yes. BFS. impossible to not be reminded of bad things when something is knocking and tapping on your skin 247. Please share any neuro revelations you've made.
  7. crumbsandcarrots

    crumbsandcarrots New Member

    Thanks for the suppotive words. Scrolling through your posts, I certainly relate to a lot of your concerns. It almost seems like regular old pain (while extremely uncomfortable and debilitating) isn't as scary as all of these bizarre neuro sensations. And we know that fear increases tension and stress which perpetuate and intensify the vicious cycle.

    What's the longest you've been able to feel relief? I've gone about 10 days. I'd let my sensations roll on without clinging to them. I was also on variation with a big group of friends. I think I'd need a few months of relief in order to reset my system.... in which case I could already see myself anticipating everything starting over again.

    This TMS seems to offer its own traumatic stress on top of the stress we were trying to get relief from.
  8. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    It's strange, but my symptoms went away twice for 2 years at a time, but when I have the symptoms I notice them every day. It's depressing. My doctor gave me a prescription for Zoloft, but I haven't filled it yet. He thinks I am ruminating about my symptoms and that Zoloft might help. I do ruminate.

    I guess what haunts me is that the first time I got this I had the flu, so I think, did that have something to do with it. The last time I experienced it I was going through a very stressful time. My doctor really thinks I'm healthy and it's a response to stress.
  9. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's the definition of TMS--you have a very enlightened doctor.
    tgirl likes this.

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