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I introduce myself :-)

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by valerio, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. valerio

    valerio New Member

    Hi, I am not sure if this is the right place to introduce myself. First of all, I apologize for my English, I am not a native english speaker (but I currently live in uk!) so probably I will do lots of mistakes!

    This is my story: I was a pianist and during the preparation of my final exam in music school I started having truble with my back. With a lot of pain and under a lot of medications I managed to give my exam but soon after then I had to stop playing the piano. I was planning to continue my pianist-profession, but I coulnd't do it because of the pain.
    Of course I went to a lot of docotr, osteopaths, chiropractor, I did PT and a lot of device that I don't even remember the name right now. During all this time I tried every once in a while to play again, but everytime I had to stop because of the pain.
    I usually had the pain also in my "normal life" (standing up, studing for long time), uniquely in the back, but it was really bad when I played.
    Anyway, after 3 years of trying I gave up, and for a while I didn't see any doctor. I took another path (university researcher, which I really enjoy), but unfortunately I cannot play the piano. I don't dream to be a professionist anymore, but I just dream to play for myself again!

    During this period, for some reason that it's been not clear for me, the pain gradually went away. I don't have pain in my back anymore, but when I try to play piano he is still there.
    A year ago I had for some month a strong neck pain, that I managed to cure by myself using trigger point technique.
    From some months I developed a nasty buttock pain. Sometime it's really annoying, because as you may imagine I stay a lot of time sitted at my desk, and the pain usually increase when I lay down on the bed and when I am seated.
    Anyway, I had some bad days, but I have to say that apart from that my life was pretty good. I don't want to complain to much, expecially after having read some of your story I can consider myself lucky :) The problem is that I still want to play the piano. It may seem childish for you to complay about that, and you would maybe be right. For me it's quite an important thing, though!

    Anyway , I came across dr. Sarno method in the last days and I was fascinated. I am trying to think about my problem in a psychological way, and in the last days I can lay down on my back without noticeable buttock problems, which is quite good. I am still a little afraid that this may be a placebo effect, but I think that I am strating to "deep understand" the process of TMS.

    Anyway, I am quite sure that my problem with the piano is a emotional problem. I decided that I want to overcome it. Yesterday I ordered a digital keyboard so I can try to play the piano here in UK. I *know* for sure that I will be in pain after 10-15 minutes, but I will insist anyway, and I really hope that as time/days passes the pain will go away :)
  2. valerio

    valerio New Member

    I didn't say that when I try to play the piano again now, the pain is not mainly on the back anymore, but it starts on the arm and THEN it goes towards the back. It's strange, because I remember that, in the past, the pain was mostly in the back.
    Anyway, this seems to be the strange behavior of TMS.
    I am looking forward to my keyboard to arrive, so I can try to play and fight the TMS back!!
  3. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Despite finding your way around the problem by settling for an alternative career, you are still focused on being able to play the piano. This is very positive. TMS hits many of us in such a way that it often prevents us from doing activities that we really enjoy or actually have to do because of work, for example, using a computer. Leslie, another forum member, mentioned in another post that I read just now that she didn't believe in coincidences. Neither do I. Pain that prevents you from living your life the way you want gets your attention. You start to worry and obsess. The thing to do, as you mentioned, is start thinking about what, apart from the pain, is worrying you, making you angry, upset and stressed out. Have a look at the Structured Educational Programme on the wiki: http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Structured_Educational_Program to see if that can help you think less about the pain and more about what's going on with you emotionally. As a pianist I can imagine you will be a sensitive person.
  4. valerio

    valerio New Member

    Hi yb44 and thank you for your kind words!
    I don't know if starting the structured program now will be good. I want to wait to have my keyboard here so to tackle the problem when it hurts.
    For now I am trying to treat the buttocks problem. What I did is to get rid of the pillow that I used to sit down ( I *have* to understand that it is useless!), laying down to read (a thing that I've avoided for months and months because it caused pain).
    I hope to be one of that TMS case with shallow problem. At least, for now I fell quite good with the buttock, but I cannot say anything until I've tried to play. That will be painful for sure, but I'll try to tackle it with a positive mind :)
    To sum up: I will surely start the educational program as soon as I have my keyboard here. I will keep reading your story, they are really good.

    Btw, I was persuaded by the fact that in some successful stories the writer used to play the piano and with TSM he/her also had problem in doing this. I know at least two of this stories, and one video as well! This give me a lot of hope. If some of you know some other successful stories in which the piano playing is involved, please let me know :)

    Thank you for your support. See you around!
  5. OtterMan

    OtterMan Peer Supporter

    Welcome. I hope you find solace here:)
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle


    There is one thing I am sure of, and it is that TMS is not a placebo. I had severe chronic pain for 18 years, and, because of TMS, I have been pain free four the last four years. When I had symptoms, I tried every possible treatment to no avail. The only thing that has given me lasting pain relief is this approach. The reason is because unlike every other approach, this one addresses the true cause of the symptoms. Did I have my own doubts at first? Yes, but that was just because I was resistant to recognizing my repressed emotions. Once I overcame my fear and anxiety about having emotions, I began to make significant progress.

    I don't play the piano, but I do type on a keyboard pretty much all day long. My biggest symptom was hand pain, so I know what it is like to not be able to us your hands to do something you love to do. Every time I had to work on a computer, I thought to myself, how long will it be today until my hands start to hurt? Will I be able to make it 30 minutes without pain? While it is natural to worry about your pain levels, I found that part of the reason I had so much pain when typing was because I expected to have pain when I typed. My fear and anxiety about typing fed the pain cycle, and was a major reason I had so many symptoms.

    I see some of these same fears in your posts, which again is normal for someone starting out. For me, progress came when I no longer feared my symptoms. Once you understand that you do not have a structural problem and that you are not damaging yourself, you can be active without being afraid of the symptoms. When you begin to play the piano, remind yourself that the piano is not the cause of your symptoms. Repressed emotions are.
  7. valerio

    valerio New Member

    OtterMan and Forest, thank you for your kind reply!
    Forest, I have seen your video on youtube the first time I discovered about TMS, and it was REALLY important for me! You successful story is really great and source of great strenght!
    My piano should arrive in the next 2 days, and I am looking forward to play!
    Of course, I am afraid and of course I still have doubts. Since I have a bad posture I often blamed it for my pain, or maybe I blamed the strain or the tendins or whatever. Today I read this article http://www.bettermovement.org/2010/back-pain-myths-posture-core-strength-bulging-discs/ in which it is said that there is no clear correlation between bad posture and other spinal problems with pain. Since I am a research I was really curious about that, and I looked for some reference, and the references actually existed http://www.ejradiology.com/article/S0720-048X(04)00362-6/abstract
    This led me think that my posture is not the cause. Neither is the tendinis, or any other muscular problem.
    I still have to accetp *deeply* this fact. but I hope I will.

    And of course I have "odd" feelings about the piano. This happens when you are good at something, but you are not REALLY good. I was really a good pianist, and I probably could have become a teacher or a concertist. But I wasn't EXTREMELY good, and I was aware of it. In some sense, if I had persisted in playing and make it my career, I would have been unhappy. So yes, my pain probably made me a favour. The point is that now his favour is not needed anymore !

    Now I want to ask you an advice. What should I do when I start playing and I will be in pain? Should I keep playing? For long? Or should I stop immediately? Or something in the middle?
  8. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    The posture idea is an interesting comment. When I first started having symptoms, I thought that if I used the perfect posture I would be okay. So, I went out and bought every sort of device to ensure that I always had the perfect posture. Guess what, none of it helped. No matter how correct my posture was, my symptoms continued to get worse. Now, I have the worst posture ever when I type, read, or do anything else, and I have no pain at all.
    valerio likes this.
  9. OtterMan

    OtterMan Peer Supporter

    My question is this: when you realize you are angry, have done the journalling (ad nauseum), have had extensive therapy and now believe your back or body part is fine, how do you deal with the emotions? I am so angry all the time, i have been crying etc. Does this go away? I am accepting and not fearing them but i feel like a crazy person. Anyway just wanted to know how you deal with anger, and if your anger was directed at someone? Does not being afraid of your emotions allow them to regulate and feel better in the long run? This is the part i am not getting. Emotions.
  10. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    The short answer is yes, it goes away. But the faster you want it go away, the slower it leaves. It's like the Chinese fingercuffs, the harder you pull, the tighter they get.

    How do you get rid of anger? It's so personal an issue that each person must find it within themselves to move on. Anger is holding on. I've actually thought about writing another book on just Anger. But I think if I can write another one it will be called, Fear. Fear is more powerful and mysterious, and intriguing. Fear is darkness. But they are both folds of the same person.

    Anger, where do you begin with such a complex topic? It's an energy force. Anger is energy stored in the body. When you hear people say it's "organic" that means that you only feel anger in your body. Anger tenses your chest, and muscles, and your heart races, etc. Anger is an organic response. But a response to what? Ego plays a big role. If we didn't have an ego, our bodies would never react to anything. People would let everything roll off their backs if it didn't sting their egos. Ego means "me." The word ego actually means "I" which means "it's all about me." Someone who only cares about others will never respond in anger (in theory), but we can never get rid of ego and so it is always present because we also exist apart.

    I suppose I could go on and on explaining what anger is and isn't but you want to know what to do about it. On the radio shows the hosts tell me they believe in TMS and mindbody effects, but then always ask, "but what do we do?" Well, that's part of the problem of why people have TMS. They want the answers to questions that have no direct answers, and so tension rises from the frustration. It is within the seeking that we find the answers. So by asking for answers we lose the goal which is the continuous learning and growth. Every time you have a breakthrough in understanding your anger lessens as the unknown becomes known.

    Almost all anger comes from being separate, or "me" as in "what's in it for me." When we finally realize that we are not as separate as we think we are, that the other people are in fact, us, then our anger begins to ease as the mindbody lets go of more.

    We are angry because we didn't get what we wanted. It's placing the self at the center of life, wanting things to go as we would want them to, and not as they were planned for us, or in seeing any greater good that may arise, for our own good. The most common phrase for this is "the silver lining in the clouds." It's a good proverb. Every cloud has a silver lining. If you see only the raincloud then you're angry. If you see the dark cloud and look past it, to the good, then you don't hold the energy in your body.

    Then there's anger as a social reaction to fear. When we are in fear we are simultaneously angry. Cause and effect. Dr. Sarno did a nice job of explaining that anger is the social reaction to fear, in the attempt to overcome its source. So we naturally fear in some instances as a survival response. If we see a tiger approaching, we fear to ignite the survival response to run, to live another day. I suppose some may choose to fight the tiger, but they will not see the other day. If someone jumps out behind the shrubs to scare you, your first response is to get angry at them for scaring you. While they're laughing at how high you jumped, you're slapping them around yelling, "don't you ever do that again!!" We respond to fear with anger--to overcome its source.

    So there are different reasons for the mindbody to produce rage. Some of it is a natural response for survival, to manufacture energy to fight or run, to live another day. But with TMS we are talking about unnecessary anger; and that comes from the ego, and the rage of not getting what we want, as we place ourselves at the center of life.

    So ridding anger is not easy, but rather an ever evolving process as we grow and mature. Carl Jung had divided life into two halves, the natural phase and the cultural phase. Between them is midlife where the great crisis of life occurs.

    In the first "half" of life is the natural phase where we develop our egos. This comes from wanting to know "what's out there in life?" This is the ego-development phase. In the second half is what he called the cultural phase of life where we no longer care about what's out there, and we begin the long slow painful process of looking inward in our lives, beyond ego. He called this "ego-transcendence." In this latter half the anger normally wanes as we go through a grinding phase of our lives in the greatest spiritual growth period. I call the first half of life, the partying sex get all I can out of life phase, and the second half as the "what the hell just happened" phase? How did I get this old so fast?

    As we grow beyond ego our anger begins to lower. This is called letting go. Remember, you own your anger, you created it, it didn't come to you--but now it owns you. It's there because you couldn't see beyond something, or didn't have the strength to forgive someone, or to let go. So people ask me, "Are you saying I'm weak?" No, not at all, but you're afraid. To let go is the most courageous act of all, especially if you're hanging by your fingertips on the edge of a building. I began my Anger chapter with the quote from Buddhaghosa Visuddhimagga (it sounds just like it's spelled). "You are like a man who wants to harm others and picks up a burning ember--he only burns himself." Anger actually owns you, you do not own it. So it's very personal on how to get rid of anger. It is not something one man can explain to another, or give to him. You cannot see my journey, or me yours.

    I can't tell someone how to forgive someone (to let go). I can only show him more about himself, from there he must make the hard decisions.

    If you step into the lion's den, or get ridiculed by a coworker, and you don't react organically in anger, then you no longer see yourself as the center of life, or serve your ego. You have transcended ego and you see nothing but silver linings everywhere. To me it is a spiritual journey, as was my TMS healing. Do I still get angry? Yes. Do I still have an ego? Yes. Do I fear? Yes. But much less than I once did. We are all works-in-progress. I am still being molded into a new form, or my proper form. But I hold less anger than I once did when I had critical TMS. But I'm still human, with an ego, and I still have a temper, although it is less dangerous to me and to those around me because I now see silver linings in people.

    I know that isn't a straightforward answer on how to rid anger, but nothing in life worth having comes easy. If life were easy we would be bored to death, and we would never grow. It's living in the mystery that gives life meaning and flavor.

    That's all long term stuff. In the short term you can exercise, laugh and have sex. Anything that is pleasure to you reduces tension (the good doctor's rage-to-soothe ratio). But if the ego is still in charge the seeds of anger grow back. But at least you're still having fun in the meantime.

    And of course therapy is highly recommended if anger permeates your life. And as always, it is the separation panic that generates the most intense rage. Dr. McKenzie helped me with my manuscript through the years with sage advice. He's such a sweet and kind man. He worked some with serial killers and others who lashed out in great rage and harm to others, and they always had similar backgrounds of losing a mother early in life. The earlier mother is absent, or not there, the more helpless the baby is, and the more helpless the baby is, the more panic and fear and rage are generated.

    Fear = Panic = Rage.

    The Newtown shootings were another example. The kid's mother told him she was putting him away and was now going to go teach those little kids. Her threat of separation caused him to panic and go into a full rage (which means his first separation rage was very early on, probably causing his ADD, or ADHD , ESPN, or MTV, whatever he had). So--he goes into a blinding rage and kills the little kids because he sees them as the ones taking his mommy away from him. In his mind, they were stealing her attention away. In the inside cover of my book I said. "We all need to be heard." He was heard all right.

    So, if your anger is great and you can't seem to ease its hold over you, then look back and see if you felt abandoned, or were abandoned in your life, and if so, work on forgiving. But remember, understanding why someone did something to you does not mean you forgive them. Forgiveness is a personal revelation of growth. All current anger is most likely overlay from childhood, especially if it's not controllable.

    Try reading the book, Facing the Fire by John Lee. And go easy on yourself, be kind and have patience. Hope that helps a little.

    Good luck,

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