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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Hello! New here. Introducing myself!

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ren, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. Ren

    Ren New Member

    Hi all!

    I've been browsing this forum for a couple months, but felt it was about time I made an account and introduced myself.

    Firstly, I just want to say a huge thank you to all of you, in particular to the regular contributors here. You've helped massively with my understanding of TMS, and it's allowed me to feel understood and supported, even if I haven't been joining in with discussions directly.

    Anyway, to give you a quick rundown: about a year and a half ago, out of nowhere, I woke up with this bizarre pressure sensation in my head. No pain, just the feeling of my head being squeezed, particularly around the side of the head, and around the bridge of the nose. I'd never felt anything like it.

    I freaked. The symptom wasn't even that bad, but I had quickly convinced myself it was debilitating. It drove me mad to no end. My GP and I agreed that we thought it was a sinus problem. After a CT scan, blood test, eye test, other various tests, which all came up blank, he concluded that it wasn't, as well as going on to indicate that he had effectively no idea what was causing it.

    It just got worse from there. Over the next couple months, I started to get regular headaches alongside the pressure. These were mostly at random, aside from running, which was a major trigger (no surprise there, since it's my favourite thing in the world, and I'd had issues with tension in the postural muscles from poor running form in the past, and at this point in time, I was starting to believe this whole thing was a postural issue - clear connection for my brain to make). Eventually, the headaches gradually became more frequent, until I no longer had headaches, but an intractable, chronic headache, that was there day and night, 24/7.

    I was a complete mess. I was convinced I had NDPH (new daily persistent headache), for which there was no cure, and the thought of having to live the rest of my life like this sent me into deep despair. I had to drop out of my university course and move back home with my mum, as I could no longer deal with the stress of my studies (especially since it was a teaching masters - one of the most stressful of all). I thought this would make the pain a little easier, as I would no longer be under such intense stress. I didn't know about the mindbody connection at that point, but I reasoned that stress couldn't help. Going back home actually just made things worse (on reflection, likely because I had conceded that something was seriously wrong, and that normal life wasn't possible).

    Anyway, to cut things short: I eventually discovered TMS, Sarno, etc etc. It all made immediate sense. I was very quick to accept the idea. I had (and have) the archetypal TMS personality - perfectionist, people-pleaser, rule-follower, put immense pressure on my self, etc. I had some doubts initially, but these were very quickly resolved, and I committed to the diagnosis. So, having realised I wasn't one of the lucky ones who is cured overnight after reading a Sarno book, I did the things that people told me to do, all with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism: meditation, journaling, self-discovery, etc. Mostly, though, I just tried to relax, and not put pressure on myself (with admittedly limited success!)

    It took a long time before I saw any real improvement. At times, I'm still a little unconvinced I've seen much improvement at all, until I remember I had an intractable, 24/7 headache a few months ago, and now it's back to being intermittent. Instead, I get pain popping up in all kinds of weird areas when it's not in my head (knees, ankles, fingers, back, calves), but I'm able to confidently tell myself that this is just TMS, so it finds it's way back to my head eventually. Of course, I know my headaches are TMS too, but despite my best efforts, they still really bother me, so unsurprisingly, my pain finds itself most comfortable locating itself there.

    I'm under no illusions as to why I'm still in pain. My defence mechanisms, ultra-rationalisation and intellectualising being the most prominent, still run rampant. I find myself constantly trying to 'out-think' my TMS. I also find myself guilty of creating logical thinking loops that I am constantly trying to figure out. Of course, there are no 'right answers' to these loops, and so I am stuck ruminating perpetually. The most recent one is this: I can't figure out the difference between suppressing an emotion, and letting it go. I can't seem to figure out how to feel my emotions, so to speak, and so I become terrified that I am constantly repressing without being aware of it. Because being in touch with your emotions is a vital part of TMS recovery, at least according to many, my mind is constantly trying to register whether or not I'm in check with how I'm feeling at the moment, as well as attempting to logically deduct how I'm feeling. The fear machine has told me that if I don't figure this out, and get my right answer, you'll be in pain forever, because you're not in touch with your emotions. It's not helped by the fact I knew, even before my experiences with TMS, that I repressed my feelings (mostly because of early childhood experiences, like a lot of people). Even now, I'm tempted to ask for advice on this, but I'm resisting the urge, because, ultimately, I know it's irrelevant, and I just need to let go.

    Despite knowing that all of this acts as a distraction, and that I'm throwing coal on the fear-burner, I'm still guilty of all of it, daily. This creates frustration in and of itself, I feel like I'm failing, and I beat myself up. Then I feel bad for treating myself badly, which I know doesn't help the TMS, get frustrated at my own harsh self-treatment, and the cycle carries on, ad infinitum. Basically: my idiot brain is putting up a hell of a fight.

    Anyway - thanks for listening to my story. It really does help to get it all out there. You can only talk to friends and family about this so much before you and they start to define your relationship through your (perceived) illness, and that doesn't help anyone. It certainly doesn't help the TMS.

    One thought I've been trying to hold onto recently: this, in the end, will be a blessing. Even before the pain, I was a huge worrier, always anxious, stressed over minor details, guilty at the tiniest infractions, bullying myself incessantly. Living life like that, pain or no pain, is seriously unfortunate. There are more fulfilling ways to be. My experiences with pain, however horrible they have been and are, are starting to teach me a new way of seeing and experiencing life. I'm not there yet, and maybe I never will be, but at least I know I'll be trying to get closer.

    Okay, sorry, one last thing - I am going to give into temptation and ask a question. Say you have a TMS sufferer, who, not unusually, has a well of repressed emotion underneath the surface. However, after following, say, Alan Gordon's program, they take to it brilliantly, and are fully able to not give into fear. For lack of a better term, they completely stop giving a s**t. According to Alan, this would then cut off the source of fear, and therefore the pain. Do you think they would be relieved of their symptoms, even though they still have all of that unaddressed emotion under the surface? I realise that this question is likely quite reductive, and reality isn't as simple. I just can't help but wonder, as someone who definitely has a lot of nasty things lurking in the unconscious, if I simply stopped giving a f**k, about the pain, about my future, about everything - would my symptoms resolve? I feel it would be a source of great comfort to me if the consensus were to be that they likely would. Largely because I currently feel such pressure to deal with my unconscious emotions, as well as emotions in general. And I am really, really struggling with that, both conceptually and practically.

    Anyway! That's quite long enough. Thank you sincerely to anyone who read all that, and thank you if you have any advice. Much love!
    plum likes this.
  2. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

  3. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle


    I can tell you this. My cousin has worked for years at a nursing home for Alzheimer patients. She said they will come in with health problems...like bad backs, knees, body pain, headaches, nerve problems, numbness, many chronic problems. As their Alzheimer progresses, many of them FORGET that they have these ailments and suddenly they no longer limp, or walk bent over, or complain about headman, or nerve pain....or act like they have any physical issues at all.

    So, to me, that is kind of proof that our mind and our fears and worries create our physical manifestations.
    I don't know if this helps you. Of course, not one of us would want Alzheimers, but it definitely is a good reason to practice "outcome independence." Do what you want to do without worrying if you have the pain or not. I find, for myself, that taking the pressure off of caring about it usually makes it disperse and disappear.

    best wishes!
    Kati, plum and Ren like this.
  4. Ren

    Ren New Member

    Ok, great! Thank you very much for sharing that. It definitely does help. To be honest, when I reflect on things, I've been mostly the same way. When I've been able to just let go, as if it were, even if haven't had much success with emotional work, the pain and pressure sensation in my head alleviates, if only a little. I think that tells me a lot.
    plum likes this.

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