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I could use some advice/encouragement

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Msunn, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    This is a bit of a long rambling post, but I feel like I'm in a safe place to ramble!

    As some of you know I’m a guitarist and a play a solo guitar gig 2 nights a week 4 1/2 hours. I do this on average 3 out of every 4 weeks at this point. I have RSI problems with my hands.

    I’ve definitely seen progress since accepting the TMS diagnosis, so I’ve been gradually increasing normal activities with my hands, home improvement projects, stacking firewood, recording in my studio etc.

    I did a good amount of those activities last week and had a harder time playing this past weekend. In typical TMS fashion the problems I had were with my right hand/arm where as before the majority of symptoms have been with the left hand.

    I guess where I’m a little stuck is that I have fear that if I “overdo it” the TMS symptoms will resurface and prevent me from continuing to work. If you were in my position would you back off of other activities or keep increasing normal use of the hands?

    The second area where I’m having a problem is in accepting that this is 100% TMS.

    I guess the most convincing argument in the other direction is that I’m 61 I’ve been playing guitar daily for almost 49 years and it seems logical that as I’m getting older my hands have been used a lot, and I may just not be able to do what I used to do guitar playing wise. I know that is true in other areas of my life!!

    On the other hand I do have an evidence sheet that lists the changing, illogical, moving symptoms, how taking off work 3 months didn’t consistently help, getting worse with physical therapy, tests from doctors that couldn’t pinpoint any definite physical cause. I've also played guitar pain free all my life before the TMS problems.

    I think when I’ve read that I have to accept this 100% for it to work, it keys up my perfectionism, and when I have doubts etc. I feel discouraged, or feel I won’t be able to fully recover, since I definitely have at least one voice in this crazy mind that can always find the negative. I do also have positive grateful voices, it’s just the committee of 50 in my head!

    I do believe talking about something takes away it’s power. I’m sure others here have dealt with similar problems and I’d really welcome your insights and feedback.

    I’m very grateful to have found this site where others are going throught this same journey.
    Thanks for your help.
  2. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    To offer the gift of your music is to offer rain to the parched earth. Not only does it soothe your soul, it pulses outward in ripples, expanding to touch lives far outside your immediate awareness. Are you aware of the Butterfly Theory? (also known as Chaos Theory). The flap of those beautiful wings can create a windstorm across the world. A musician is a Butterfly.

    Is everything 100% of anything? The webs of that question are too complex to answer. We can believe, which creates faith, but does that make it real? It can, as the strength of our minds can manifest very different realities.

    That said, I will offer my own contemplation on this. It is important, even critical, to work on our subconscious fears. To address that which creates disharmony. To seek new paths, open our minds to new ideas.

    It is also just as important to address our physical health. Playing our guitar creates body patterns, which can lead to muscle stiffness or contractions, which then compresses over our blood, nerve and lymph vessels. If you have addressed the physical, given relief, opened up those tangible, physical pathways ... then moving deeper and more thoughtfully inward naturally follows. Basic needs must be met first. Air, water, food. Once those are taken care of, then we can expand our care into the realms of our emotional life.

    Our bodies age, change. It is difficult for us to alter our habits to accommodate this shifting tide. Change creates stress. Our ability to adapt to stress makes us stronger, more fluid. Elegant, even.

    Ultimately, the answers you seek are already within you. Your body knows. Listen. Just ... listen. And believe in yourself.

    I believe in you.

    Everyone here, those who gift this forum with their perceptions and wise-words ... they, too, believe in you.

    Thus is the nature of this amazing community.

    with grace and gratitude,
    Msunn likes this.
  3. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Thanks for the very thoughtful and wise reply, Lily Rose. The reference to 100% is from the Steve Ozanich book, The Great Pain Deception which is really a great book, but he does state that unless you are able to 100% accept that the pain is psychological, symptoms will persist.

    I do look at playing music as a gift to the people I play for, and also for me. It's something I still really love doing, which would make it the most vulnerable area for my subconscious to attack!

    Thanks for you insights and positive thoughts. Peace
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think that getting to that 100% belief is not a linear process, nor a stable one. For me, I've had times when I did believe 100%, but doubts creep it or old habits return and I begin to think that my pain has a physical cause, or at least a part in it (such as thinking of it as part of aging). Then I am able to get almost to 100% again, and so on. Such is life. I feel it is possible to continue to make progress even if we aren't at 100% belief, but continue to believe in the value of the work--the TMS healing techniques. That has been my experience. I am so much better than I was 6-7 months ago, but not 100% free of TMS. But even with the bumps and dips in progress, my overall trajectory has been positive. So my advice is to just keep moving forward with the work, don't give up, and you will see progress.
    Msunn, Solange and Lily Rose like this.
  5. Solange

    Solange Well known member

    Msunn, I agree totally with Ellen. We all have times when we hit 100% belief and others when doubt creeps back a little but as long as the overall progress is in the right direction, a few peaks and troughs along the way seem to be a common experience. Doubt and fear are part of the TMS and can form a deadly cocktail when mixed with perfectionism. Just keep chipping away at it and don't be too hard on yourself when you fall short of the standard you have set yourself. Your hands are not the problem, your brain/mind/subconscious is. Tests have found no physical cause so believe the good news, have faith, be kind to yourself, examine your interior life and then tell your brain firmly, clearly and frequently to stop messing you about!
    Ellen likes this.
  6. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Thanks for sharing that Ellen. My experience is very similar to yours. Two weeks ago I had a weekend where I played almost pain free, which is why I increased activity the following week, and of course showed up with the expectation that it would be even better. I guess one of the hard things with TMS, for me, is the recurring and changing symptoms, especially when it happens at the beginning of my gig!! I can't just say I'm having a bad TMS day can I come back tomorrow?, which of course feeds worry and anxiety. I've definitely been able to see that worry and fear make my symptoms worse.

    It does feel very unsettling to have this part of my mind that can throw many forms of sabotage at me, understanding of course that I'm stuffing feelings etc. which make that happen. I guess ultimately, in my case, I need to leave the results to a power greater than myself, (sometimes easier said than done).

    In the recovery community we say "progress not perfection" so it helps to know others aren't able to do believe 100% everyday, and still make progress.

    Thanks for your kind encouraging comments. Wishing you the best.
    Ellen likes this.
  7. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Great observations Solange. Doubt and fear mixed with perfectionism are a deadly cocktail! I really relate to that, and do get, that the fear is in many cases a much more powerful distraction than my other symptoms. It does go better when I'm more accepting and kind to myself. It really helps to get your thought on this. Thank You!

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