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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Day 1 Hoping this is the beginning of change...

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Kathryn85, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. Kathryn85

    Kathryn85 Newcomer

    Hi all,

    So day one of the SEP - eek! :) I feel nervous and excited at the same time. Nervous because I really want this to work for me...and excited because if it does WOW my whole life could change.

    My pain started as lower back pain with sciatica at aged 22 at a really very stressful time of life. I got on the train one day and my back was fine. Got off it and I could barely walk. At the time I believed that leaning to cuddle my boyfriend as I sat next to him during the long journey had somehow strained my back. And so the fear of never being able to walk properly again and trips to the chiropractor commenced...

    A couple of months later I started experiencing pain when inserting tampons and woke up the next morning to burning clitoral pain (nice!) which gradually spread to the whole of my vulva. It took a year for me to get diagnosed with vulvodynia and I was told 'we don't know what causes this type of pain. It is a life limiting condition that you will have to get used to.' I was heartbroken.

    Believing the back pain and the vulva pain were connected, I decided to try and 'strengthen my back' and so I went to a pilates class. Whilst bending over to do one of the stretches I felt a sharp sudden pull on the left hand of my coccyx and that's when the anal pain began (double nice!)

    18 months into the vulva pain I stared experience bladder symptoms (IC).

    I have been living with these symptoms for 8 long years now. They have cost me my relationship and my job - I feel as though they have robbed my of my 20s and they chance to build an independent life for myself.

    Looking back I think I have had various forms of TMS from my late teens onwards. Insomnia, hyperhydrosis, sensitive hearing and problems with tinnitus, Raynauds Syndome (just in one finger!), period pain etc but my current symptoms are by far the most upsetting, challenging and life restricting.

    As much as I would love this pain to be TMS rather than something physically wrong with me, my uncertainty with thinking in is TMS is because vulva pain is not featured greatly in TMS literature. It is also partly because I have had two 'muscle pull' incidents with this pain where I have felt like something has physically pulled and because one of my major symptoms is swelling.

    I have completed the bit at the bottom of Day 1 that says 'For me life without TMS would mean...' and for me it would mean FREEDOM!! Freedom to live, freedom to love, freedom to enjoy, freedom to be me! I life without TMS would mean my life would really be worth living!

    Any advice would be so much appreciated! Thank you in advance.
    Alyssa5 and JanAtheCPA like this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Kathryn. I'm sorry you are in pain but you can take comfort in knowing you have come to the right place to heal. The SEProgram has helped me and many, many others to become pain-free. I particularly like the journaling exercises. They led me to discover repressed anger and feelings of insecurity I kept hidden inside of me for years after my parents divorced when I was seven. They later remarried but there was still the uncertainty of whether they would stay together. Their problems were financial. In journaling, I put myself in their shoes and realized they had physical and emotional pain from TMS and was able to understand them better and forgive them.

    Your pain may be from repressed emotions that could go back to your childhood. Or they could be triggered by something recent. Also, you may be a perfectionist and "goodist" wanting to please everyone too much.

    If you have been checked out and nothing structural has been found, you have to believe 100 percent that your pain, no matter what it is, is from emotional/psychological causes and not structural. It is the MindBody syndrome.

    Just one of the many people who healed their pain from the SEProgram is Kevin, who posted recently that it helped him to become 95 percent pain free.
    A few days ago he posted he was 100 percent free. Take a look at his post and it will give you courage and confidence. You are starting on a wonderful adventure of self-discover and healing. Welcome to the TMS club and keep us posted on your progress.

    Kevin healed 95 % from SEP

    Welcome to the SEP and to the path of recovery. I am on my final two days of the program and I can say with complete confidence that I am a changed man. I started after 6 months of nasty low-back/butt/leg pain, could hardly walk, stand, etc. was in physical therapy, chiropractor, acupuncture, pain medications, etc.. the usual. My MRI showed 3 disk bulges/herniations touching nerves, so that is what I believe it to be....that is until I read Dr. Sarno and found this site.

    I encourage you to really get involved, follow the instructions, do the journaling, take time to read all the suggested readings, and watch the videos. I'd say I'm 95% cured. There is still some very light lingering "annoyance", but I still have some work to do. I've been walking miles with hardly any pain these last few weeks. But even more, if the pain comes on now, it just doesn't bother me like it used to, I sorta just see it, acknowledge it, and go about my business. It took working the program to get to that point, but 6 weeks compared to 6 months is nothing! I made more progress in the first week than I did from two months of PT!!! It's going to challenge you and your "beliefs" in medicine, but you have nothing to lose. We generally wind up here when all else fails.

    So give it a shot, especially before considering anything invasive like surgery. If you put the work in, you will get better. Have you read Dr. Sarno yet? I assume you have since you're here, but in case you haven't, definitely readHealing Back Pain. Again, it will challenge everything you've believed about your pain, and backs in general. You'll be encouraged to resume life as normal, i.e. stop ALL "therapies" (PT, chiro, etc.), stop taking medications, and most importantly, stop thinking STRUCTURAL problems are the cause of your pain and shift to psychological as the reason.....again, this can be difficult and takes some time to sink in, so be patient and kind to yourself.

    It was a process for me. A few of the bigger moves in my case were: I ripped up and threw out my MRI test results (I found myself obsessively reading over them and comparing them to other results I could find on the web and even here on the TMSwiki site...); I got back to the gym and stopped using a weight belt; and I even cancelled an appointment I had made with aTMS doctorbecause it was more than a month away and it was hindering my recovery (that is, my 100% belief in TMS was lagging because I had this pending appointment, but as soon as I cancelled it, my recovery sped up significantly). Everyone's journey is unique to their situation, but I've found that really committing to the program and brining what I learn from it into my daily life has had profound results. Also, sharing along the way here in these forums has been extremely helpful - there's something about knowing that you're not alone in your TMS recovery that really helps. I encourage you to look through my past posts for some insight into my experience with SEP. Like I said, I'm just now finishing, tomorrow is my final day, and I feel like a changed person. It's amazing. And I feel as though it is something that one carries on with, not just like a one time 6 week thing and that's that...it has helped me to get to know myself and taught me tools to "deal" with my emotions. Learning and accepting TMS is a life changer for sure.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Kathryn85,
    Welcome to this wonderful community. Just to begin to contemplate that your physical symptoms are based in deeper, repressed emotions --to question the diagnoses, to find your life patterns of chronic issues, all of this--is very powerful. In my experience it does not have to be a perfect "belief" as much as you are opening your mind to it. If you need to eliminate physical causes to have more assurance, this is worth it, even to see a TMS physician if you're drawn to that. Good luck!!
    Andy B.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome Kathryn - I'm really glad you found the forum and the wiki, because with your symptoms, I'm quite sure you are in the right place. The first key is "'we don't know what causes this type of pain". There's a whole book written by Dr. David Clarke, MD, titled "They Can't Find Anything Wrong" - which is, of course, all about mind-body syndromes. Dr. Clarke, along with Dr. Sarno, Dr. Schubiner, and a fast-growing body of medical professionals, DO know what causes this type of pain.

    The reason that vulval pain is not addressed a lot in TMS literature probably reflects the fact that it's still pretty uncommon. I'll tell you what else isn't addressed a lot - dizziness - which is my main symptom that still sticks around. I know it's TMS because I don't notice it when I'm engaged in something active or fun, and it only flares when I'm really stressed out. Anxiety and depression also aren't mentioned a lot, but Dr. Sarno eventually came to think that they are TMS equivalents, which I completely agree with, as I had both when I started my TMS journey four years ago, and I haven't had a hint of either in 3-1/2 years.

    The one fact that you need to accept is that your brain is in charge of every physiological process that goes on in your body, and that includes sending pain messages to body parts. You can't have pain without your brain. But look at the opposite: phantom limb pain. You CAN have pain without a body part! Phantom limb pain exists because all pain originates in the brain!

    So learn about TMS, strengthen your belief in it, and have faith in your ability to heal. Above all, you need to forgive yourself and love yourself - only by loving yourself will you know that you deserve to recover.

    Keep us posted!

  5. Kathryn85

    Kathryn85 Newcomer

    Thank you for all the lovely replies to my post. I really appreciate the time you have taken to offer me your advice and encouragement.

    I certainly have many of the personality traits of TMS - goodism, perfectionism, people pleaser and fear of confrontation. I have always felt a great responsibility towards others and their happiness and worried a lot about what others think of me. Even when I was in my most severe pain and not wanting to live any more I still put on my make up to go to my hospital appointments for fear that people would think I looked a complete mess if I didn't. Madness! The things our mind tell us eh?!

    Just about to start day 2 of the SEP. Excited to see what I learn today!

    Thanks again! :)
  6. Kathryn85

    Kathryn85 Newcomer

    This is very encouraging to know. Thanks Andy B!
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi again, Kathryn. Jan and Andy are wonderful members of the TMS community. Be patient, relax, and be confident that TMS will make you a healthier, happier person.
  8. Renee

    Renee Well known member

    Hi Kathryn. You are definitely not alone in having Vulvodynia. I have had pelvic issues since childhood and I'm now in my 50's. Without the internet and going to doctors who had no idea what was going on with me I pursued a lot of treatments that actually made me worse, including an unnecessary hysterectomy when I was only 27. Every aspect of my life has been affected by this condition. In the 90's I brought Dr. Sarno's "Mind Body Prescription" to a therapist I was going to but we couldn't figure out how my condition was related to anything in the book. Last year I developed neck pain and this brought me back to Sarno. Only recently I've come to believe that Vulvodynia, Vestibulitis, and pelvic pain are all TMS.

    Now that menopause has hit my symptoms have ramped up due to my tissues being compromised all these years from decreased blood flow in the pelvic floor. There are estrogen and androgen receptors in the vulva and because of menopause my levels are low. I'm hoping that with bio-identical hormone replacement I will start to feel better. I've had continuous flare-ups since May. So I'm thinking that even though this is TMS, I have to deal with the both mental and physical components of TMS/menopause. It's funny, I've always dreaded menopause because I was afraid it would make my pelvic issues worse, and that is exactly what has happened. So I was thinking I wonder if this in itself is TMS???

    I have gotten discouraged also since there are so many stories here about back pain, etc., and not much about our condition, but there really are a lot of women out there with Vulvodynia who haven't been diagnosed yet let alone who think it is TMS. We are still in the dark ages with this condition in my opinion. The reason I've finally come to believe this is TMS is because other than my symptoms, I never got any yeast or vaginal infections, my ovaries are fine, and my pap smears always came back fine. I am basically healthy in that area if it wasn't for the Vulvodynia symptoms which are a living hell but benign.
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, ladies. I'm a man so menopause has not been a problem for me. But I think worrying that pain comes with menopause can bring on pain.
    It's what we put into our head that comes out either good or us or bad. Think positive and healthy, if you can.
    Alyssa5 likes this.
  10. KevinB

    KevinB Well known member

    Hi Kathryn,

    Welcome to the community and to freedom. Just work and finish the program, you can recover. I look forwarded to seeing your progress and recovery.

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