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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Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Mary80, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. Mary80

    Mary80 Peer Supporter

    Hi , I'm 40 years old and I suffer from chronic vulvodynia and back pain, dizziness, pressure fluctuations and anxiety.
    I've tried a lot of the treatments with no success.
    I bought " The Mind Body prescriptions" and "Unlearn your Pain" and I 'm doing the Doctor's Shubiner program but with no success..the only thing different is that's my anxiety is getting worse.
    Does anyone want to offer any idea or suggestions?

  2. fern

    fern Well known member

    Hi Mary80! I’m happy for you that you’ve found this practice!

    You may have posted here before and I missed it, but just in case: I see you’ve tried different treatments, but I just want to confirm that you’ve talked to your doctor about these issues. The TMS approach works best when your doctor has ruled out “structural” causes of pain (and/or has exhausted the treatment options you’re willing to try). This way you can jump into your TMS work wholeheartedly without wondering in the back of your mind if you’re broken or ill.

    My anxiety increased when I started TMS work, too. Fear was at the root of many of my issues (pelvic pain and IBS, mostly), so when I started reducing the power of pain to keep me from attending to my emotions, those emotions weren’t as hidden from me anymore and I had to actually face them. It’s possible that gently sitting with the anxiety may be your next step. You may have peeled back layers that have exposed a hidden source of anxiety that it’s time to kindly name. This doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds - it should be compassionate, curious, and gentle. People here often recommend Claire Weekes, who did groundbreaking work on living with anxiety, as a TMS-friendly approach to anxiety. I’ve only halfheartedly explored her work, but it has been helpful.

    I’m sure you’ll get lots of other good advice here! I hope you find the relief you’re looking for.
    Time2be and Lizzy like this.
  3. Mary80

    Mary80 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for your reply
    I have seen many doctors but I have never recovered from anything. Vulvodynia occurred after diatermocoagulation which was performed to remove an infection. Dizziness and back pain after an accident, but there is no structural damage. The anxiety appeared after a few years from these 2 health problems. Now I'm going to a psychologist and I've been following Dr. Shubiner's program too..for months.. .with no success. It's tms..I'm sure but in Italy nobody seems to know well what it is and how it to treat it. I'll try to read about Claire Weekes.
    Thanks you again
  4. fern

    fern Well known member

    TMS really knows how to get under the skin, doesn't it? I'm familiar with the feeling that nothing is working, the pain isn't budging. I'm also familiar with the despair and hopelessness that can come from that. I feel for you!

    Since you connect the appearance of anxiety to the arrival of your health problems, I bet you would benefit from Alan Gordon's Pain Recovery Program on this site. I think it's a perfect companion to Unlearn Your Pain - the two resources fill in the gaps left by each. The important thing about Alan's program is that it places a significant focus on the *fear* of pain/discomfort/poor health and also tackles the despair and hopelessness that can come from prolonged pain that won't budge. If you haven't read through it yet, give it a try. And if you have, read it a second time, even slower - just one post every day or two, keeping each topic fresh in your mind as you go about your day. I got a lot more out of the program on my second time through, once my brain was primed to hear what it had to say.

    As you do the work, remember not to think of healing as an all-or-nothing thing. Take hope from your good days and see if there are more and more good days - even if they don't come often. I made the mistake for years of thinking that every flare-up meant that I wasn't "cured" and that whatever cure I was trying had failed. That would throw me into a despair spiral and then I would try the next "cure" until it, too, failed. Now I know that healing from TMS can be a long, winding process, with flare-ups and setbacks. After all, the tension causing the pain may have been with you for your whole life, or it may have been the result of recent trauma - either way, it's not something your brain will let go of easily, since it is using the pain to try to protect you. It takes what can be a frustrating amount of patience and self-compassion to heal from TMS, as you gently peel back layer after layer of mental habits designed to keep you safe, and deal with the anxiety that comes from that vulnerability.

    You may just be dealing with daily pain that doesn't ever abate, but if you do have good days as you do the TMS work, remember to give these the greater focus. Each good day - or hour, or minute - is a sign that the process is working. Our brains are wired to weigh negative experiences more heavily than positive ones, and it takes constant, conscious effort to actually draw more emotional power from the pain-free moments than the painful ones. Doing it takes skill - I really liked the book "Hardwiring Happiness" by Rick Hanson as a practical guide.

    I hope you keep posting and that your journey is fruitful, if winding!
    Lainey and Click#7 like this.
  5. Mary80

    Mary80 Peer Supporter

    Hi Fern
    I bought Hope and Help for your Nerves by Claire Weekes and I immediately put in practice what she says. I immediately felt sympathy for what she wrote because every thought of mine I found written in her "mental chronicle" of anxiety and this made me smile, I felt she knew what she was talking about ...so I tried in person !
    It went just like she says.. it was a revelation...and thanks for telling.
    I agree with everything you write about tms, I read a lot about it, but what's really hard for me is not having a satisfying intimate life,
    I lost all my young years chasing a solution that never arrived, however I still try because I feel that if anything has changed yet, it's because I have not really understood yet...the only thing I understood is that behind these pains there is a great fear of facing things. Claire says this in her book and does not only apply to anxiety... in my opinion is also true for the pain, they are partners.

    I will also read Hardwiring Happiness, thank you so much
    have a nice day:shame:
  6. Ewok2

    Ewok2 Peer Supporter

    Time2be likes this.
  7. Pietro Carloni

    Pietro Carloni Peer Supporter

    Good morning Mari80,
    I intervene on this post because I have my sister who for years has been suffering from Vulvodynia with irritation of the pudendal nerve that has made her life a sick person. I understand indirectly how much this disorder can be debilitating, she also tried unsuccessful medications she was visited by dozens of doctors, she practiced very invasive massages, she took antidepressants that calmed down a little pain, but did not solve the problem. Lately I gave her the book of Sarno and she too as I was immediately identified in the profile of TMS.
    The nature of her traumas is profound and I don't believe that a single book can bring benefit to her, because the nature of her problems, I know her story, are very deep and rooted.

    What I want to say is that the path is difficult, but it is important to start at least to get out of the nightmare of drugs and doctors who don't know what to do in cases like yours. My advice is to continue on this path and as they said in the previous post to maximize the moments of well-being, because from my point of view they are the bricks through which you will build your healing, day after day.

    If you have undergone unsuccessful psychotherapy, then perhaps it is time to change psychotherapist, perhaps you could find what is capable of bringing out what is most hidden in a corner and that is no longer able to come out into the open.

    Even if I am at the beginning of the journey, I am doing things that I never would have imagined to be able to resume and I can not always manage to get out of this vicious circle, but there are times when I am amazed at how pain can disappear only by "feeling" certain emotions that I thought had disappeared forever.

    good luck
  8. Mary80

    Mary80 Peer Supporter

    I hope your sister is healed!
    I follow the program described in "unlearn your pain" and read a lot. I faced my repressed emotions and now I just have to get better.
    good luck to you too
  9. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    What about the pain is scary? What can it do to your life besides make you feel pain?

    Your anxiety will go away as you heal. Change your life no matter how drastic the changes are.m to remove that fear. Practice outcome independence. Cure the anxiety and you will be very close or already there as far as healing the pain.
    Mary80 likes this.
  10. Mary80

    Mary80 Peer Supporter

    I'm practicing the claire weeks method to reduce my anxiety and I was thinking that maybe I could try this method also for vulvodynia, since even in the last part of Dr. Shubiner's recovery program is written to resume all the activities that I do not do it anymore because of the pain but this would mean to suffer a lot during and especially after sex. what should I do? how can I practice outcome independence with this awful pain? does anyone have any input? or books to recommend to me? what method can be used ?
    I tried to write to a therapist here on the forum because I honestly stop at the last part of the program and the pain is the same as before.

    thank you so much
  11. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    Your interpretation is a bit off. The idea is that you do the things the pain has been preventing you from doing, but only if you want to for reasons having nothing to do with TMS.

    You can do this because just doing those activities is progress toward healing your TMS. Then accepting that it may or may not hurt without getting worked up about is more progress. If you do this successfully the pain loses its power over you and it makes no sense to care anymore. The pain goes away.

    Knowing with certainty that you will one day be healed is helpful.
  12. Mary80

    Mary80 Peer Supporter

    when I tried I've been very sick for many days..bladder infections, local inflammation, low-grade fever and I had to make antibiotics, ointments and NSAIDs .
    in addition to telling myself to overcome fear what I can do practically. I'm terrified I have to admit it .
    What can I say to my mind to calm it down?
  13. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    I would devote time daily to reading the tmswiki with Alan Gordon’s program. Listen to the audio as well.

    There isn’t an act you can practically do. You have to do nothing, so all this trying and attempting to force a timeline prolongs the symptoms. I speak from experience. Just learn.

    The goal is to not care about the pain in spite of it being there because you know it is just a signal from the brain that will turn off if you don’t let it get you worked up.

    In my personal experience going on a low dose antidepressant helped me calm down initially to kinda kickstart things. They aren’t without side effects though.

    You will know when you are making progress. It’s not linear so don’t worry about a “bad day.” Weeks go by and you notice pain lessensed.

    For me all anxiety was lifted by working the program and digging deep into what was bothering me. Accepted things in life that seemed inconceivable. Big progress.

    Now just recently and working with a therapist I’ve learned not to fear the pain. That was the kicker. Not easy to do. I’m having good and bad days, but not enough from stopping me from doing anything. I care less and less. Just a matter of time.
  14. Mary80

    Mary80 Peer Supporter

    I've already tried low dose antidepressant .
    Now I'm focusing on " facing, accepting, floating and letting time pass" by Claire Weekes for anxiety and pain but it's very hard!
    I hope I can do this and I 'm reading tmswiki and Alan Gordon's program..It's just sometimes I'm afraid of doing something wrong.

    Thank you TMS_joe

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