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 there! Day one on the structured program

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by HilaryK, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. HilaryK

    HilaryK New Member

    Hi! I'm Hilary and though I'm not new to TMS, I am brand new to this wiki, and am already so thankful for it. I would like to briefly introduce myself and my journey so far with this. It is reassuring and touching to find others who are going through the same things and who don't think I'm crazy for believing these physical issues are originating in my mind.
    I have had some back pain throughout my life. I was a talented sprinter on my high school track team and remember having back pain during the season, though now that I look back on it, it was likely due to putting pressure on myself to be the best. I also slipped on some ice during college and fell on my back, resulting in pain that wasn't too terrible but disabled me from throwing pottery (I'm an artist) for a couple weeks.
    The first time my back spasmed I was moving in with some friends out of an apartment I had loved. We had just finished moving a heavy couch up a flight of stairs. I reached out to pull back a much smaller chair and felt a terrible sudden pain. But even that didn't phase me too much. I had just run a half marathon and continued to run long distances.
    Fast forward a couple years. I was 25, newly married, and working at a new and surprisingly stressful job at a florist. I was out back bent over spray painting a shelf and noticed a sudden limitation in my movements. I tried to stretch immediately, as I recognized the feeling from when I'd moved the couch, and couldn't get up off the ground. I stayed at work the rest of the day even though the pain and stiffness was unbearable. I could hardly drive myself home. When I got home I tried to sit on the couch, but even moving from my standing position seemed impossible. I could hardly walk or do anything for that matter, and when I did stand up my spine was at an angle. I grew up in a family that relied more on holistic wellness, so I saw a chiropractor. He took and x-ray (my spine had popped out around L4, hence the crooked standing) and adjusted me and gave me some stretches to do. I could never tell if all this really helped. Fortunately for me, my older sister who had also suffered from back episodes at the same age gave me Dr. Sarno's The Divided Mind. I read it and it helped a lot, though I still had some pain most days. I was still visiting the chiro, taking epsom salt baths, and getting massages regularly…so treating it physically and reinforcing it, I now see. That summer we were able to travel. We lived in NYC and I would walk around the city in flat shoes all day and didn't have issues. I could hike and run. Then we came home.
    My dad got pneumonia pretty soon after we were back home. We didn't worry. Then suddenly he couldn't breathe. We took him to the hospital where they held him and put him on oxygen. He went in for a doctors appt. and they said he had lung cancer. He died 6 days later. It is the most devastating thing that has happened in my short life.
    Not surprisingly, my back pain increased during this time. 2 weeks after his death I was bending over to get a hair tie out of my bag and I felt it. My back "went out" again. I was scared and devastated. There was a lot more fear surrounding the whole thing this time. For awhile I was taking 3 baths a day and had to lay in the back seat of the car whenever we went anywhere. I got out my old Dr. Sarno book, but it was just so hard trying to sort through everything. I was in so much pain and so tired and so miserable. Focusing on the emotions surrounding my dad's death seemed dark and impossible. So I committed to doing Dr. Sarno's program religiously for a month last January. It helped some but not enough. I started going to psychotherapy. My husband finally convinced me to see a Doctor this past May. The day I went to see her my back kept getting tighter and tighter. She couldn't find anything wrong with me but ordered PT for me. By this point I was obsessing over the pain, convinced it was something structural now. By the time I went to PT 2 days later, I could hardly walk again! I got better, since I was already at my worst, and my physical therapist said she expected I had a disc bulge down near L4/L5. I did my little exercises, stretched, the whole thing. Still I couldn't sit up in the car. Still I couldn't walk or be on my feet long. My husband and I moved to a new town and I started a new very physical job doing retail display design. I was able to perform at work but would lie in bed the whole rest of the time after I got home. Then I remembered Dr. Sarno. I listened to a couple of his interviews one day and noticed a marked improvement after that. I remembered that it wasn't physical! But I didn't journal. I didn't read. I didn't keep up on it. Then yesterday I felt the stiffness coming back up. "I CANNOT DO THIS AGAIN!" I thought. And I got online looking for more Sarno resources and found this. I read the recovery program, listened to the clips, ate up all I could and recognized myself in the stories on here. I needed someone to spell out how to practice getting rid of TMS and found that here. I have been in a lot of pain all day, but I am not letting it scare me. I am saying no to the fear. Before, this undoubtably would have turned into an episode that would have confined me to bed. But I went to work today. I did dishes. I put away laundry. I sat on the couch instead of laying in bed, even though it hurt. I can do my life in spite of the pain because I'm not letting it scare me. It's hard, and my brain feels tired, but I'm on the road. I want to beat this. I want mine to be a great success story. I don't want to be restricted physically at 27 years old.
    Thanks for letting me share. It felt good to get my story out.
    intense50, Lily Rose and G.R. like this.
  2. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    You are doing amazing!!!!! Sounds like you are getting a good understanding of TMS.
    Just remember this is a season in your life and it will surely pass.
  3. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Welcome Hillary. It sounds like you are on the right path with some ups and downs that we all have.

    This is a great place to get support. It's been very helpful for me to learn that for many of us the healing takes a while.

    All the best
  4. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    Yes, sometimes healing takes a while. I just got home from a two hour car ride and I could nearly
    walk because I think my muscle in my buttock tightened up. I literally had to have my husband
    help me up the stairs to my bedroom. I am trying not to get discouraged. Tomorrow is a new year;
    a year of New Beginnings.
  5. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    I've been there GR and I know how frustrating that can be. On the other hand symptoms seem to move and leave very quickly too.

    I'm seeing real progress in my case where I'm playing guitar almost pain free at times, so it's cool when there is progress. I do also have the recurring pains at other times. It's an unsettling process!

    Wishing you continued healing and insights in 2014.
  6. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    Msunn, I am so happy you are playing your guitar. Just keep playing. It is such a great feeling when there
    is progress.

    Have you done much journaling?
  7. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Yes I am journaling every day. There is so much info here sometimes it's easy to get stumped as to what to do next. I've been following the recovery process in The Divided Mind, and I've also been seeing a TMS therapist on Skype. I think it's helping since the almost pain free times are happening more consistently. When I'm playing, trying to relax into the pain, as opposed to getting upset or anxious seems to help it lessen also.
    G.R. likes this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Hillary. I'm glad you're doing the Structured Educational Program and are finding help from it.
    Many people have reported healing results from its teachings.

    You've been through a lot, but have come to the right place to get help.

    It's important nor to let pain or fear of it get us down. Dr. Sarno and others like Steve Ozanich
    say we must keep doing normal daily activities despite any pain. We need to forget we feel any pain
    and focus on pleasant thoughts, activities.

    A lot of people have healed from TMS awareness. You're in a healing club.

    Have a great and pain-free new year.
    Msunn likes this.
  9. HilaryK

    HilaryK New Member

    Wow, thank you so much for all of your support. It is truly amazing.
    I did better at work yesterday and only laid on the floor a couple times to get a little relief… my coworkers must think I'm nuts. Reading the article from Day 2 was so helpful that I felt a great reduction in pain after reading it when I got home. So helpful, in fact, that I wore high heels to take my mom out to the symphony last night for new years. I haven't worn heels for a long time. I've conditioned myself to think they cause pain. But I just wanted to give the pain a big old kick in the teeth! Had a great night, mostly pain free for the span of about 4 hours which is wild. Some pain before bed last night and today, but hey. I'm pushing through!
    G.R.- my husband has to do stuff like that for me all the time too. I have made a resolution: fear not in '14! I will not be afraid of this pain because it is benign. I will laugh at it because it means nothing. I won't feed it's cycle. We can do it! And thank you for reminding me this won't last forever, it is only a brief season and will pass. On my way.
    Msunn and G.R. like this.
  10. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    Hilary, I love that you laid on the floor at work. I was cracking up!!!! I think you are absolutely right Hilary not
    to feed the cycle. For me, I do try to push against the pain and not give in and am also very loving to myself.
    I have to remind myself often these symptoms won't last forever.

    I am so happy you wore heals last night and enjoyed the symphony. What a major victory!!!! I was wearing
    heals but then I had a new symptom arise and stopped wearing them again. You have encouraged me
    to get my heals out again.

    I think one very important element in TMS healing is believing we are healing in the midst of symptoms.
    Lately, this has been difficult for me but I keep telling myself, "You are doing well and you are healing."
    Right before I go to bed I say tomorrow you are going to do even better. I am going for the goalie. G.R.
    Msunn likes this.

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