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Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by eskimoeskimo, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    I hope I'm not coming across as recalcitrant here, but that is my forte ...

    I thought that Sarno said that we don't have to actually solve all our problems or become serene individuals, but that we just need to recognize the trick that's being played here and then, the jig is - supposed to be, anyways - up.

    I think I remember him saying something along the lines of "meditate, relax, sure ... but to what end?"

    Relaxing is hard for me and always had been. I'm not by any means saying that I'm unwilling to work on it ... but do I really have to relax to get rid of my pain?

    Thanks as always Plum,

  2. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    This is exactly what I have been doing, only recently I am learning that I have allowed healing to become something else I must achieve, do properly, do as quickly as others.

    I need to remind myself every day that this is MY journey.

    And I need to relax and stop putting so much pressure on myself.

    After all, that is what got me here in the first place... wanting to live according to the standards set by my parents, comparing myself to others, never feeling good enough, beating myself up all the time, being soooo hard on myself.

    It sounds too simple, that the answer is simply to let go and relax, and get on with life! My personality type doesn't understand this. I find myself wanting an exact schedule, a prescription for daily activities that will surely bring me healing.

    I also fall into the trap of thinking that once I am 'healed' (no symptoms) then life will be just perfect. Whereas I am learning life will never be perfect, with or without the symptoms, but life is what you make it.

    It's funny how so many of these old phrases you hear all the time are actually real TMS wisdom!

    I do find myself resonating more with the advice of the likes of plum, Ellen and Jan - the softer approach maybe more suitable for me as a woman? I don't know. But it feels the 'f*ck the pain' and 'tell the pain and symptoms to go away you dont need them' kind of approach just doesn't work for me.

    I've experienced so much aggression and violence in my life that I think this approach is too much for me, I need to be soothed and told I am safe. I increasingly realise that only I can provide this soothing for myself :)

    This thread has been so lovely to read and be part of.
    plum, eskimoeskimo and Time2be like this.
  3. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    I kinda see this as the same thing you know... the purpose of 'realising the trick' is to reduce the fear and turn off the 'fight or flight' response

    So technically Sarno's advice is to relax your attitude about the pain/symptoms? This in turn relaxes your body, as we all know the way that fear impacts your body physically

    I think Sarno, and a few others on the forum, approach TMS from a scientific or knowledge perspective. I found this was enough to help with pain specifically, but not with other symptoms such as dizziness, insomnia, tiredness etc.

    I also think there is much more to my TMS than repressed rage, there are layers of low self esteem and lack of self worth to work through, which requires a softer and more gradual approach

    But I don't know and hopefully plum gives her input here!
  4. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Just to chime in, as far as I remember secondary gain is simply the gain you get from being sick and from receiving care and affection from others. That could be comfort and emotional care, but also that they make you tee etc. You don't need to exaggerate or make it up. All illness includes a secondary gain. It get's problematic if the gain keeps you in the sick role.
    eskimoeskimo likes this.
  5. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    I just can’t seem to get out of the cycle of fearing the pain, wanting it to stop, becoming preoccupied with it.
  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Maybe try a paradoxical approach. Try to get the pain to escalate and get really angry at it. Stay in bed with it. Give it your full attention. What happens then?

    I'm only comfortable giving this recommendation because you have confirmed that you have TMS ,and therefore, the pain is not harmful to you at all. And you seemingly have exhausted all other approaches. Time to think "outside the box" perhaps. It may lessen your resistance to the symptoms by saying "bring it on". And resistance is a form of fear (as Alan Gordon pointed out to me).
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
    eskimoeskimo likes this.
  7. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Alas, I’ve tried this approach too. But I think may be worth revisiting.
  8. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    What a terrifying hell
  9. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member


    I get what you mean when you say: i can’t relax but maybe its a matter of not making that the goal (Yes sorry its same like ‘not thinking about pain’
    I took another approach : not : Well now i am going to relax : changed that to: for the next hour or so (babysteps..) i allow myself to enjoy myself !
    ‘Enjoy ‘ is to me a lot less pressure ,
    Also ‘alow ‘ is much better than ‘must’
    Its like funny stickers i saw : now i MUST relax , that not working !!
    But maybe try to give yourself permission to watch a movie (just an example) and allow yourself for that time not to think about pain/ future / other stuff but just enjoy the movie , maybe the company, that’s also a way to relax. From there on more can follow. Teach yourself how it can be.
    So don’t make it a do’ thing (must relax now) but make it a ‘let go’ thing : for the next hour , or so, allow myself not to be worried, etc but just have some time outside my worried head ‘ afterwards decide if you enjoyed it and had some relaxtion. No pressure : just taking short breaks from working on everything. That’s a challenge too! Remember us tmser are so good analyzing , worrying , must do this must fix that’ Well maybe taking breaks from our worried minds should be a real topic on that ‘to do list ‘
    ‘Let go list’
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2018
  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Relaxation is our natural state of being. It's not something we do but something we are.

    I wouldn't get too hooked on what 'Sarno said'. He was a great man but he wasn't a psychologist or a neurologist and his insights into those fields were limited. These limitations were my stumbling blocks for years and that's the key point of my story, kicking those ideas into touch. I followed what Sarno said, I followed the well-intentioned advice of zealots at TMShelp and I got worse, as unbelievable and wretched as that was.

    So when I say I gave up on healing I mean I absolutely with every fibre of my being gave up. I resigned myself to suffering for the rest of my life. I indulged in suicidal ideation every day. I was in hell. I hadn't had any relief or diminishment of pain for years. I couldn't eat, drink, smile, brush my teeth...my life was ruined. I had no support, no help. I couldn't afford therapy. This forum was brand new and yet to escape the stranglehold of old school Sarno. All the advice seemed circular. All it did was give me another tour around the circle of hell.

    Amidst all this I still had to care for my partner. Joining the baths was for his benefit. For me it represented yet another round of chores and frustrations. People with Parkinson's are full time members of the awkward squad. It's not their fault but their motor functions don't function and this is even harder to deal with when they are wet and cold. It's very stressful and wearing. And yet within this frustration, I began to experience pockets of nice feelings. The Jacuzzi on my back just felt good. The blue water of the pool was warm and inviting. I had these rare and precious moments for myself, and slowly, so very slowly it began to gain momentum.

    Tragically this beautiful flower of hope was crushed by a man who stalked, harassed and finally sexually assaulted me. After he was arrested he was banned from the pool so I knew I could go there and not be afraid. My partner came too for a while but after the trial he decided it was too much for him. So I started to go alone and I swam and enjoyed the Jacuzzi. It took some time to relax about being there after what had happened. It's taken me 18 months to deal with the conditioned fear of using the spa and sauna area because that's where the assault occured. I mention all this so that you have an insight into the intensity of the situation I was in, how compromised and confusing everything was. My devotion to healing and my faith in the tiny, tiny window of relief the waters gifted me with kept me going.

    It would have been so easy to give up. But then what? Unrelenting pain and misery? Or taking the leap of faith and trusting that the eeny, weeny tendrils of ease were worth exploring. I'm so glad I followed my heart. Over time I have come to derive great pleasure and solace from the baths. Mostly it brings down my tension levels but it also gifts me with movement and friendship too.

    You say there are things that bring a measure of relief, a lull in your hell. You have to give yourself to these things and cease the self-sabotage and second guessing. There is no magic bullet. Healing is a crafting, unique to each of us. We take these small boons and insights and weave them into our day, into our thoughts, into our actions. On and on and on, moment by moment. Falling down and picking ourselves back up again and again.

    I had a very bad flare-up yesterday. I was plunged back into the mind-set and the madness of TMS. But I know it is nothing more than a neural circuit that is a knot of pain, of certain thoughts, of certain beliefs, of memories and behaviours. I rested all day, my bleating nerve kept warm on a hot water bottle. I watched the charade. This morning I am better although not on form by any means. The obsessive negativity is gone again. It is that obsession, those ridiculous mindgames that are the real TMS. It is not the body that ails, it is the minds interpretation of the emotions. It's the endless self-absorption. It's the story you keep telling yourself. It's the grinding negativity. It's the way you are as tight as a nut. That is TMS. That is the Dragon to slay.

    Every day I employ a host of non-Sarno approved methods to further my healing. Every day I use affirmations and visualisation to keep my head straight. Every day I choose to kick the addictive TMS demons into touch. The four people who mean the most to me are all disabled and between them and their various care needs there are a million ways of losing the plot. Having experienced a good many of them and consequently had ample opportunity to compile a nightmare cocoon of thinking due to it, I am crystal clear that thinking is the place to target. It is the preoccupation with negativity that is the problem. That is what you have to face down. It's a day to day thing. A moment by moment choice. The faith, the insights, the ease will come and go. Good days. Bad days. They come and go too.

    Sarno didn't speak about courage and compassion either but those are two of the most powerful emotional states you need to nurture and from these you build resilience. I know full well how hard, how impossible it seems. I've lived through crushing moments where the choice was suicide or life. Life wins every time. It does get easier. The new neural circuitry gets stronger and stronger with practice and patience and time. The old pathways do fight back but it gets easier to shrug them off, to not indulge them anymore. And then one glorious day you feel at ease with yourself, and it is the most natural and beautiful feeling in the whole wide world. It feels like home and belonging and the soft animal of your body* profoundly relaxes into it.

    Plum x

    *Mary Oliver
    Sita, Lizzy, JanAtheCPA and 2 others like this.
  11. westb

    westb Well known member

    Ah Plum, as you so often do, you have written something so helpful, it sheds a light of the path that I too am endeavouring to follow. I'm having a flare too today after a couple of really good days and yes, I am observing it. Swearing a little about it now and again if I'm honest but not all the time. I know from experience that it will pass. We're on a journey that isn't clearly lit or shown on a map, and where the destination is unclear, but the key to not getting lost is to do these, often small, things that give pleasure and joy and a modicum of peace. I hope your flare continues to recede.
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  12. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank You for these kind words my dear. You are so right about not getting lost because that is so easy to do. We all need these small touchstones on the way back to well-being, the self-soothing practices that bring great comfort.

    May your pain ease into peace and pass soon. xxx
    westb likes this.
  13. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Amen, sister Plum.

    Your story, your courage and persistence, your wisdom and compassion are a gift to us all.
    Lizzy, plum and JanAtheCPA like this.
  14. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    "Like" doesn't begin to come close to what I feel about this post. So much love here.
    plum likes this.
  15. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    You've highlighted something very important here. The softness, the gentleness, the yin, the very essence of femininity rests at the heart of my healing. I find I draw healing and goodness to me in this receptive state. It is a place of being, not doing. Once again the wisdom of letting go and not actively chasing down recovery.

    I recoil from suggestions that we should push through and ignore the messages of the body. After all TMS teaches us that the body is fine and it is the mind and our thinking that ails so why in the world should we translate this into a smash and grab approach to the body? It makes no sense to me at all. If anything it distills a desire to go the other way, to treat my body with respect, love and tender care.

    I too have endured abuse and find treating my body badly only served to open old wounds. So many lessons that teach one truth, to care for ourselves. To truly care for ourselves by cultivating our own safety and our own soothing. For me healing is embodied. Making peace with being a woman, and our sacred cycles and mysteries. I love it. I love being a feminine woman.

    There is much healing in this thread. For some it is nascent, for others it is realised. It truly is a lovely exchange.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
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  16. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    Don't think of them as combos (this isn't Micky D's). All strategies are tools in your toolbox. You try a different tool or tools for different situations and you will get to know what works best for you in different situations. Sometimes it's the most difficult one to use that ends up working the best though. For example, if you hate journaling, it's most likely your mind putting up blocks to it trying to keep you stuck.
  17. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    I don't know what to say. While I'm extremely appreciative of all of your support, I am not getting anywhere. I don't see any way forward that I haven't already tried countless times. I feel hopeless.
  18. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    I worry that, regardless of the cause of the pain, it is permanent. It gives me no comfort at all to think that the pain is psychological. What difference does it make to me if the pain is a result of something in a vertebrae, or something in my brain? In a way, the fact that it is psychological is scarier. I fret constantly about how this experience has changed my brain.
  19. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle


    I'm so sorry you're struggling and that this is so hard. I know you've worked on this for a long time in different ways. I can understand fearing the fact that pain is psychological (that it doesn't make it less scary than due to your back), i've heard others say that too. But the difference is this- brains are constantly changing and you have the power to change your brain through neuroplasticity. It may feel anxiety provoking to think that your brain changed because of it, but our brains are changing constantly with every experience we have, that is just how they work. This is NOT a permanent change, I promise...TMS never is. I don't have any specific suggestions for you except to take a deep breath and get your mind off all this for a bit with some distraction, then come back to it when you are ready.
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  20. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    Plum, I don't know if you are a Game of Thrones watcher; Tyrion Lannister who is the wise one in the series said in one of the earliest seasons, “Death is so final. Whereas life, ah, life is full of possibilities.”

    You are a beautiful writer with an enormous warm soft energy. I hope we see a book from you some day.
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