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TMS RoundTable How to get a friend to see the light

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by eightball776, Jun 20, 2022.

  1. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    I’m looking for some recommendations for how to approach someone who I feel needs something of an intervention. It’s not like we haven’t talked about TMS & mind-body disorders at length many times before. I’ve nudged, pushed, and have switched to ‘tough love’ mode in the past, but never really broke through.

    I have to bite my tongue every time I hear about more MRIs, hormone & blood testing, experimental migraine drugs…It’s way past initial due diligence for any of it, and somehow, she continues down the rabbit hole, ratcheting up the side effects, risk, and ultimate disappointment. I had a lump in my throat just listening to what actually sounded like excitement when she relayed the news that a doctor “confirmed” the chronic Lyme disease diagnosis. She is married to a surgeon (happily), which has to complicate things in this domain. He was actually nice enough to review my MRI years ago, and incidentally was one of 4 neurosurgeons to recommend spinal fusion, which would have been a huge mistake.

    The latest issue is persistent insomnia, snoring, and general inability to get restful sleep, which we all know is a huge factor when it comes to pain & general healing. The resulting fatigue is of course labeled as “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” (another pointless label, no doubt coined to assign a billing code for the insurance company). I could hear the exasperation in her voice as she was telling me about the series of sleep studies and testing. She didn’t have to add it, but I know the same inner dialogue was playing in her head: “I’m a terrible mother because I can’t be present. What if I’m too tired to notice something that leads to a terrible accident”, etc. This constant worry has been fueling her TMS for years. I’m probably even leaving a few of them out, but it manifests in the following ways:
    • Extreme migraines (definitely worst of the bunch)
    • Chronic debilitating low back pain
    • “Chronic” Lyme Disease
    • Lifelong TMJ
    • Insomnia/snoring sleep disorder
    • Bipolar/anxiety/depression
    • Long COVID
    • Chronic Fatigue
    • Thyroid issues/adrenal deficiencies
    • Intermittent neuropathy/sciatica
    I almost shouted into the phone the other day: “do you really think it is just a coincidence that you suffer from every textbook mind-body disorder that’s ever been documented, all at the same time?!!”. She’s not one of these people who’s just incapable of understanding the definition of a psychosomatic illness, unable to separate a psychological source from something that’s entirely imaginary but like that group, will become defensive and cling to all of the scary diagnoses she’s been labeled with if I challenge her. Someone so completely averse to risk when it comes to her children, but has absolutely no hesitation when it comes to experimental medications or treatments because she’s that desperate.

    What can I do to convince her that there’s an answer out there that’s not at a doctor’s office? Is there anything left that might get her to open up "Back in Control" or commit to some similar program? It's different than others I know, family who can't watch the Sarno documentary or read "Healing Back Pain" because they just think it's nonsense... I know she believes in the mind body connection..but for some reason just can't apply it to herself.
    Cap'n Spanky and suchi like this.
  2. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I know this is no help. But I've never had much luck convincing people. I guess people are ready to hear the message or they're not. All you can do is plant the seed.

    Good luck! Maybe someone here can actually offer something helpful. :)
    Booble likes this.
  3. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I’m with Cap’t Spanky. You have given her information, she knows you have resources and knows where to find them when she needs it. There is nothing you can do to force her to “get it”.
    It’s not your job to fix her.
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  4. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    I guess what I'm struggling with is just how to bring it up again in a way that doesn't sound like a lecture. I know how it makes me feel when someone, even close family members who should know better, imply that if I ate a better diet or would just avoid gluten that my Crohn's Disease would go away. I imagine it feels a little like that on her end, like I'm implying that all of the suffering she's endured for all of these years is her fault and it is probably terrifying to think of the possibility of discovering that it has been within her power this whole time.I know it's not my job to fix her, but after hearing of another suicide recently ... I dunno, it just makes me worry that there's a time limit to all of this.
  5. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Does she know about your journey?
    What if you let HER come to the conclusion? And talked about,
    "I recently read this story about this lady who had __, ___, ___ and she cleared everything up by _________. It was really incredible. All she did was ______. Her unconscious mind was causing all that and she was able to clear it all up. It's amazing the power of the mind."

    And see how she reacts.
  6. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    I know someone with a far milder version of the same situation and decided not to force it. Ask her if her symptoms get worse when she's stressed and better when she's feeling alright. Talk to her about how she's feeling. Eventually she'll figure it out or a doctor will tell her or she'll find something on the internet or she'll get tired of doing the same thing over and over only to pay lots of money. Support and connection are important in the healing process. Don't force her to make decisions, feeling helpless to the symptoms. A need to feel in control drives TMS. As long as you're not going along with a structural cause, that's fine enough. A few stories of how you dialed down some flare ups is ok later on. Also, if you're a man, know that symptoms tend to worsen around the luteal and menstrual phase for some women, TMS and female hormones that are sensitive to stress is a whole 'nother level of discomfort. Think about how hard it must be to skip work, rest, budget your time and energy with all these symptoms while having a family to take care of. Mind body work is a long journey and not a quick fix at all.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2022
  7. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Even when it all clicks, new symptoms can arise at any time, it's not a quick fix. Plus it's tough being a woman because you're expected to put on many hats and put yourself last. Women barely have time to chill with their loved ones yet alone have some worry free downtime. They do more of the emotional labor and do the majority of chores/childcare. Women are also more likely to get autoimmune diseases and have internalized perfectionism. The recent Roe v Wade decision probably isn't helping ease worries either.
    Booble and Cap'n Spanky like this.
  8. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    This is such an important point. Somebody really has to want to do this, because it is NOT an easy or quick fix. It takes commitment. That makes it doubly hard to convince someone who is reticent.

    They really have to convince themselves and take the bull by the horns. It would help a lot if doctors would pitch in.
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yep, been there, done all that. It's very very frustrating.

    Perhaps come at it a different way. Remind (or educate) her that the entire medical profession acknowledges that stress and anxiety can increase inflammation and make all health problems worse, and encourage her to try some easy, science-based or pragmatic meditation to "just take the edge off" and experience more calm.

    She could read "Ten Percent Happier", by ABC news anchor Dan Harris, who had a well-publicized on-air panic attack a number of years ago. He tells of his journey to discover the benefits of meditation, and he barely goes into mindbody issues, if at all. He's supremely pragmatic on the topic, and a very good writer. The premise is "we're not promising miracles, but wouldn't you rather be even 10% happier than where you are right now?"

    I've been a subscriber to his Ten Percent Happier meditation app since the early days of the pandemic, and I highly recommend it. Free trials available! There are courses/series to get started, simple breathing exercises, and there are a ton of single meditations in different styles, on different topics, by different teachers - sorted by topic or teacher or type. Most of the meditations have the ability to choose sessions of different lengths - some of the simpler ones can be as short as 5 minutes, while most have a 10- to 15-minute short option. You can sign up for the weekly newsletter and listen to their podcasts for free.

    This is only one resource about meditation - I thought of it because it's a practical and pragmatic one, easily and immediately accessible to anyone.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2022
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.

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