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How to be sure I have TMS?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Dijana, May 15, 2013.

  1. Dijana

    Dijana New Member


    I am a 31 year old woman from Holland, who is new on the forum.
    First of all, I am very happy I found these pages about TMS. In Holland there is not much known of TMS, so its kinda difficult to be diagnosed.

    I've read some info about TMS, and I am pretty sure I match the profile, but I still have doubts. I am afraid that the online treatment doesnt work for me.

    I have terrible lower back pain since september 2012. I cant work anymore, ( cant sit longer Then about 15 min) cant do anything around the house and I feel miserable. The doctors told me I have degenerated discs and I tried pretty much everything without results, so I probally have to live with this.

    When I ran into this page, its gave me a little hope, but I still have my doubts. How can I be 100% sure that I have TMS and how can I conveince myself of having TMS?

    I hope someone can help me with this, thank you.

    Greets, Dijana

    Ps sorry for my english grammar, im from Holland ;)
  2. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Hi Dijana
    First let me just say welcome to the forum and there are no apologies necessary for your grammar, it's just fine:)
    The doubts are normal, we've all had them - that's what makes the symptoms an effective distraction - as your confidence in the diagnosis solidifies, the doubts will begin to melt, and with the melting doubts the symptoms will subside as well.

    If you see yourself as a pretty good match to the TMS profile, than by definition you are probably also a driven person who doesn't realize the lack of patience we extend to ourselves. I know for myself, I believed I was a really patient, compassionate person when I found this diagnosis. The more I learned, the more I realized that I was right, and I was wrong. I was, and am, an extremely patient, compassionate person when it comes to others but I didn't extend any of that patience and compassion to myself (which is how I ended up with the TMS symptoms to begin with). Read through the success stories here, read through the older posts. As you read you will likely find that you could have written a good number of them yourself and that will help to build your confidence in the diagnosis.

    Your description of your symptom experience sounds like mine. Cost me a decent paying job (and admittedly a very stressful job), what little self-worth and self-esteem I had, and landed me in a tight knot of pain, depression, and anxiety that had me mostly convinced that everyone in my life would be better off without me. It's really, really hard not to let the negative thoughts take over, but please, please try to be very mindful of your thoughts. What most of us don't realize early on, is that our subconscious (which is generating the symptoms) has no concept of time, yesterday is today, is 10 years ago, is 10 years from now. It also believes everything we tell it. It has no sense of humor, no concept of sarcasm, and no knowledge of exaggeration or lie. It takes words like "always", "never", "can't", and "won't" very, very literally. As soon as a thought (even the automatic thoughts that we all have without them actually registering in our conscious minds) happens, the subconscious believes. The up side of this is that since it believes everything we tell it, when we start feeding it the positive messages, it begins to believe those too! But this is where the patience comes in, because it very likely will not happen over night. It's been receiving and believing negative thoughts for at least 5 months now, and the symptoms are proof that it is fully invested and convinced of those thoughts. It will take some time to fully convince it of the opposites, but it can be done.

    Hang on to that little bit of hope you found when you discovered this site. If you feel that hope slipping from you, post about it and I have no doubt you will have all the support you can imagine from the forum members here. Check out the posts in the support forum, I would specifically recommend one started by Natalie entitled "Really Struggling, Someone Please help me". I think you'll find that one really beneficial. Additionally, be very careful with those thoughts. Can you try approaching the Structured Education Program with the thought that "possibly it can help me" rather than the "probably it won't help me". The subconscious jumps right over the "probably" in that thought, latches right on to the "it won't help me" and gets right to work making that true for you.
    This is not a quick or easy journey, but it is SOOO worthwhile. Besides, it's free, you've got nothing to loose and everything to gain!
    Dijana likes this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Dijana and Welcome to the forum!

    Having doubts at the beginning, like Leslie said, is one of the most common things for people with TMS. While accepting the diagnosis is key to recovering, you don't have to have 100% believe at first. In fact, you probably won't as it takes time to build up to that level. Educating yourself and gaining knowledge about this approach is how you reduce doubt and gain confidence in yourself. Reading one of Dr. Sarno's books may be very helpful to you. For me, I was able to reduce my doubt by reading forum posts and success stories. Have you read a TMS book yet? If so, it would a great place to start.
    Dijana likes this.
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    After reading Sarno (as Forest suggests), Dijana, you might want to begin the 37-day Structured Education Program (SEP) available on-line at the TMS Wiki. This program provides a series of practical written exercises for addressing the emotional issues behind the appearance of TMS pain symptoms. Another great resource is to watch the videos of Success Stories illustrating how various patients have self-healed from TMS symptoms including RSI, lower back pain and sciatica.
    Dijana likes this.
  5. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Dijana,
    You've stumbled onto the TMS paradox: it's a lot easier to get better when you believe you have TMS, and it's a lot easier to believe you have TMS when you start getting better. In my experience, doing the underlying emotional work doesn't have that much impact if you still believe that the sitting is causing your pain.

    What it sounds like you need most right now is confirmation. If you lived in LA or Michigan or NY, there'd be TMS physician right around the corner who could assess your condition. It's a little trickier given that you live in Holland.

    You might want to contact David Schechter or Howard Schubiner (the info for both can be found on this website) and see if they'd be willing to have you mail or email your test findings and do a phone consultation with you. I believe this may be possible given that you live outside the US.

    It seems like deep down you believe that this degenerative disc diagnosis is the cause of your pain. TMS work usually doesn’t have much impact unless this believe is challenged, and getting confirmation from a TMS doc is the best way to address that.

    Dijana likes this.
  6. Dijana

    Dijana New Member

    I want to thank everyone for commenting, I really appreciate your thoughts and input.
    Its very helpfull to me.

    Leslie thank you so much for taking the time to write me a long and inspiring reply. I must admitt I got kinda emotional reading it, cause for me this is the first time to talk with someone who understands what im going trough. Are you painfree at this moment Leslie?

    Forest, thank you for your reply. Im reading one of Sarno's books right now. It takes me a while cause it is in English so I have to read a sentence a couple of times before I really get it. But I will get there! :)

    Bruce, thank you too for your reply. Ive started the program yesterday, so today is my second day. The succes stories are really inspiring. I hope one day I can write one too!

    Alan, thank you for the tip to contact the doctors. I think that could really help me to be sure I have TMS. I am a little scared of doing that, its sounds crazy but I want it to be TMS really bad, cause that means I can overcome this. It gives me hope. Just like you say, I need confirmation.

    I will keep you posted on my progress.

    Again, thank you all for being so supportive, it means a lot to me!

    BruceMC and LauraP like this.
  7. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I'm happy to help any way I can Dijana. I can certainly relate to the wave of emotions from realizing there are others who truly do understand what you're going through. Pain, depression, and anxiety have a way of making us feel isolated and alone. It's eye-opening to realize that you are not alone and I encourage you to draw strength from that.

    At this moment I am about 90% pain-free, which is an enormous improvement for me. Truthfully, given my starting point, if this is as good as I ever get, I'll take it (but I don't think 100% is out of the question!!). I have finally gotten to the point where I actually recognize the physical symptoms and can see their correlation with my emotions. I can't always identify the specific thoughts (as many of them are still automatic & below consciousness for me) that trigger symptoms, but I can generally identify an overall feeling of anxiety, fear, or anger when the symptoms are happening. Any my subconscious is listening to me more and more each day, which is very encouraging. Today, for instance, I was working in my garden and my symptoms started. I realized that as much as I enjoy the beauty of the garden, the maintenance itself gets tedious and my subconscious wanted to let me know that. Rather than stop when the symptoms started, I had a chat with my subconscious. I told it I was completely aware of what it was trying to do, reminded it that we don't get to enjoy the beauty without the effort, and that if it would stop the symptoms I would take a break for a little while. symptoms stopped moments later!
    Dijana, LauraP and gailnyc like this.
  8. Dijana

    Dijana New Member

    Wow Leslie, so great to hear you are 90% painfree at the moment! Thats amazing! It seems like you have your TMS under control, wich is inspiring to me. I hope to be in control too of my TMS in the future. Right now, im still struggling, cause I think I havent accepted this diagnose yet completely. But thats okay, I am taking babysteps I guess, I need to be more patient. I am constantly aware of my pain, and checking if the pain decreases. How long did it take for you to got where you are now? Thanks again for your reply.

  9. Sheree

    Sheree Well known member

    Welcome Dijana to the site. I was wondering if you are aware that Dr Sarno has a CD available of his book. You may find it easier to listen to him.
    Dijana likes this.
  10. Sheree

    Sheree Well known member

    I just wanted to add how wonderful for all of us the Internet exists. Without it the chances of me finding out about Dr Sarno would have been pretty remote. And to add to that all the contributions coming from people from all over the world on this site - well its just GREAT!!
    Dijana likes this.
  11. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dijana welcome aboard
    you will get your hope back
    Sheree nice to see you here
    you already sound like you got that hope
    I remember when I started my journey
    I was wishing this would be it, id lost my confidence and as I slowly applied
    sarnos methods, my confidence went through the ceiling
    this site is a hope and healing site
    we have retraining of our thoughts and then we begin to heal
    after my retraining I was on fire- im 100% healed other than a headache the other day
    I just know what to do now if I get a issue , the sed- structural education program helped a lot
    and all of alan gordons post and teachings are awesome- im glad you got sarnos book
    it truly is a nice place to be
    Leslie , Bruce and Forest are full of wisdom
    you wont be disappointed
    Dijana likes this.
  12. Sheree

    Sheree Well known member

    Thanks Eric - I also know from the posts that you have helped a lot of people. It is good of you to take the time.
  13. jessedas

    jessedas Peer Supporter

    I'm also brand new to the forum, and just finished the Mindbody Prescription. The support here looks amazing.
    Thanks all!
  14. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    thank you jessedas, Shereee, and Dijana
    jessedas likes this.
  15. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    The more I learn the clearer it becomes that I've had TMS in one form or another since a young age, early grade school years. I discovered this site, Dr. Sarno, and TMS December 2012 when I was very, very close to the end of my rope, so it's taken me 5 months to get where I am. It was not, and many days still is not an easy road. It's full of bumps and turns and hills and they can all be very discouraging, which is where the support here becomes crucial. Also, it's only been within the past 2-3 weeks that the "habit" of checking on my pain has started to go away. It's all been baby steps for me and it's hard to notice them all adding up until someone from the starting line reminds you where you came from. This past weekend I spent time with a great friend who reminded me of something I said to her late last Sept or early Oct that I had completely forgotten about. She hadn't forgotten because it made her really sad to hear and she was really worried about me. My symptoms had been so bad for so long I was almost entirely without hope and I told her, very honestly, that if someone told me that I could have one whole week completely pain free, but the cost of that week was that it would be my last week of life, I would have taken the deal. I completely forgot saying that but it was GREAT evidence that the baby steps add up because they've taken me quite a distance from that place in my head.
    Dijana and gailnyc like this.
  16. Dijana

    Dijana New Member

    Thank you all so much for your replies! Ive started journaling a couple of days ago, but im not sure if I do it right. I do write about everything thats bottering me, but mostly current things. I have a hard time to go back to my "inner child" and I dont know why. I just cant seem to recall emotions from when I was a child. In my opinion I havent experienced anything traumatic as a kid, so how can I figure out if I have repressed emotions from my childhood?
  17. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    There's no wrong way to journal Dijana. Whatever comes out is exactly what is needed at the time. There are baby steps in journaling also. I'm pretty sure if you were to look back at my posts during the first few weeks of my trip through the SEP you'd find one about my journaling struggles. They were completely void of emotion at first. In fact, I'm fairly certain one of my posts actually describes them as more like "news reports" - just the facts. It's hard to do, but try to remember that things are repressed for a reason. Your subconscious has been "protecting" you for a long time, it's not just going to let it all come rolling out at once - that would completely go against it's main objective because every person can only take so much. Be patient with yourself. Just write about whatever comes to your mind, eventually you will get to the point where you start writing about something and when you get finished you'll look down at the paper and wonder "where did all that come from" because your subconscious will bypass your conscious completely and just connect with the pen.

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