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I need some advice!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Poppy07, Aug 24, 2023.

  1. Poppy07

    Poppy07 Newcomer

    Hello everyone it’s nice to meet you all. I have just joined.

    About me - I am a doctor with a second degree in nutrition, and I have had my own long journey of childhood trauma leading to many psychophysiologic conditions/symptoms including an eating disorder, IBS that led me to cut out almost all foods, gynaecological issues, urinary issues, mental health issues etc. I had a lot of pain in my bladder, and pelvic pain too. I have worked hard through a lot of psychotherapy to come out the other side of all of this, and I am pretty much recovered from it all. I have become interested in Gabor Mate in recent years, which led me to read about similar researchers and eventually to come across John Sarno and his work. I have read ‘the cure to back pain’ and subsequently started reading and listening to the work of similar people like Howard Schubiner, David Hanscom, Nicole Sachs, David Clarke, David Schechter, John Stracks etc.

    I have joined this site mainly because I am in a relationship with a person who suffers with chronic pain, and I feel like I can see quite clearly what is going on with him but I am unsure of how to help him understand and actually embody these concepts. I also wondered whether anyone has any insight into the possibility that after a period of time with the pain, some peoples minds might become closed to actually getting to the root cause because they are so used to living their life in this way that they are scared of how it will be when the pain has gone. My own experience is difficult to compare with because I became interested in this work once I had already recovered from the majority of my symptoms. It happened gradually over time, and I can only see this as the majority of the cause now that I am able to look back a reflect.

    About my boyfriend - he has suffered for many years with chronic back pain, hip pain, joint pain that he describes as feeling very stiff. He gets extremely fatigued and feels significantly worse in the morning when he wakes up. His pain goes up and down, sometimes it seems like he doesn’t even notice it, but sometimes his hands are shaking because it is so agonising. It is mainly lower right back and bum cheek on the right, but it can move around. I can also see the tension in the muscles when it flares up. He also has a lot of brain fog and can’t think clearly, especially in the morning and also after he eats. He also clenches his jaw/grinds his teeth at night so he has to wear a mouth guard. He gets very constipated too, despite eating a lot of fibre, and he now has haemorrhoids which he is waiting for surgery for. He also suffers with insomnia and also finds it very difficult to fall asleep at night. He’s had many tests done that did not show anything, MRI with a couple of slipped discs but I am guessing that is not the cause. He ended up going private (we are in the UK so was NHS before) and had lots of tests and ended up with a diagnosis of chronic lyme disease. He was put on 3 months of antibiotics which have not gotten rid of his symptoms. He takes lots of supplements and drugs, mostly mast cell stabilisers / antihistamine type drugs , as well as low dose naltrexone and some other things. These all came from the same clinic in London, who I think also attribute all of his symptoms to the lyme.

    Having developed quite a strong understanding of mind body syndrome I wondered if anyone could help me understand some of the things that he is going through. He is quite reluctant to discuss these things because I think that he does not want to think about the pain because it gets him down, but also he feels a lot of the theories are conceptual and also probably don’t apply to him specifically because of how linked his pain is with food / diet. He does seem to experience this joint pain immediately after he eats, and if he takes these medications before he eats then the symptoms seem not to occur. However there do seem to be other triggers for his symptoms, like them being present in a significant way when we wakes up.

    If anyone has had any similar experiences I would love to hear about them. I am a very giving person in my relationships and I do a lot for my partner to make things easier for him, but I am beginning to find it more difficult when he is not considering TMS as a possibility because I feel as though I can see exactly what is going on, and he seems blind to it which is becoming quite frustrating and I am starting to worry about our relationship.

    Thank you for reading my very long post!
    HeidiF and Jak like this.
  2. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @Poppy07,

    Welcome to the forum. (I'm also in the UK.)

    I don't know whether your boyfriend would be open to viewing it, but TMS coach Dan Buglio (who recovered from 13 years of back pain) has a video on YouTube regarding whether Chronic Lyme Disease can be TMS (something mentioned in the video that I found interesting is that animals can get Lyme disease but after appropriate treatment apparently don't appear to suffer chronic symptoms from it). Apparently, Dr Schubiner is in agreement that Chronic Lyme Disease is likely to be TMS. Here's the video:

    And here is a success story from which your boyfriend might find some encouragement to try going down the TMS route:

    I sympathise with you, it's a difficult thing to discuss the possibility of TMS with anyone who does not appear open to it -- as the saying goes, 'you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink'... people need to want to 'drink' and believe it's TMS, in order to start to have a successful outcome. There can also be the tendency to not want to talk about symptoms and/or to 'shoot the messenger'... I remember another forum member (long since recovered from TMS) saying that when a neighbour suggested that his disabling back pain might be TMS and told him about Dr Sarno's book Healing Back Pain, it made him so angry, he felt like clobbering him (as at the time he wasn't open to his all-too-real excruciating pain being a mind/body issue). For years I was offended by any suggestion that my own pain was mind/body. I once went to a chiropractor who said that my pain must be "psychogenic" and I was not at all happy.

    I don't know whether your boyfriend is scared of how it would be if the pain went, but it's possible because TMS is all about suffering from a brain that is fearful, a brain that senses danger in all manner of things and is on a mission to keep us safe.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2023
    HeidiF and JanAtheCPA like this.
  3. Jak

    Jak New Member

    You’re an amazing person. I have quite literally pushed every single person except my husband out of my life because so many horrific things happened between 2015-2019. One of the things that increases my pain is when he texts to tell me he’s coming home. Working on that (he knows) but you sound like a fantastic friend.

    I found TMS/MBS a week and a half ago (8/18/23) searching for the 1000th time trying to understand what is going on in my low back . It was the day my pain mgmt doctor and I were going to discuss surgery. I wasn’t going to have surgery.

    If “l” hadn’t happened on this on my own, like if my husband found it for me, I wouldn’t have even looked. I would have probably gotten angry actually and would have immediately assumed he thought my pain was just in my head (actually true for everyone I’ve been reminded but I digress). I’m a skeptic. Things don’t really happen easily for me. If there’s a lovely paved path around the muddy lake, I’ll walk through the muddy lake. That’s me. I do things the hard way. That’s how I learn.

    A week and a half ago and at least the 4 previous years, I was spending much of my day laying on my back or side. Today I’m sore from jogging! I am still stunned. The first story I saw was about the construction worker who landed on a nail that went through his shoe & the incredible pain he was feeling until the Dr took his shoe off & the nail had missed his foot completely.

    Is it possible that your boyfriend thinks this is in some way belittling his pain? Could he think that you think it’s not real pain? I was explaining all that I’ve been learning to my neighbor. He knows I’ve had terrible back pain since we moved to Vegas in 2019. His text response was exactly this ⬇️ :

    “well, my pain comes from an injury at work. I was transferring a patient from the gurney to the CT bed and something popped and it was my back herniated disc and I won’t get surgery. I just keep taking my meds and doing pretty good”

    I was a bit confounded. We weren’t talking about his back pain. I actually had no idea he had back pain, but his response to what I am learning seemed like he was saying “well mine is real”. I thought it a strange response.

    Anyway, my point is: does he think that TMS makes his pain less real? Clearly my neighbor did…
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. HeidiF

    HeidiF New Member

    Hi @Poppy07 I am in a similar situation with my husband who doesn’t believe in TMS and has had two back surgeries and is still in chronic pain. I used to try so hard to get him to see things my way and along the way I am sure I explained TMS as all in your head and aggravated the situation. But after an appointment with a well known TMS physician (not being cryptic, respecting privacy) he told me even his own wife didn’t believe in TMS. We had a good chuckle and I decided to let it go.

    There could be so many reasons he is reluctant to discuss these issues, have you asked him why?

    I know with my husband it is because he doesn’t believe there is a connection between emotions and pain because as a TMS newbie I said it was all in his head. Cringe. Once he heard that he shut me out, which I would have done as well. What I wanted to say was your pain is real, but instead started off by putting him on the defensive. I made it sound like it’s all in your head, that it’s not real. And that is not what I meant at all, at the time I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain TMS and was so excited about my new discovery and that I was feeling better.

    I tried to explain TMS in a more loving and compassionate way, but he wasn’t having it and it was is important for me to remember that when my own therapist suggested my pain was mind body I pooh-pooped the idea. I didn’t revisit the mind body connection until I saw an add for the Curable app two years later.

    Now I just tell him I’m sorry he is in pain and not feeling well and that I hope he can find some relief, which is just treating him with kindness, similar to how we heal ourselves with TMS work. I remember when I was in chronic pain all I wanted was basically someone to say to me I see you are suffering and that must be really hard. If someone had said that to me I probably would have burst into tears, because they were actually listening to me, not trying to solve my problems. I remember feeling like doctors looked at me like I was crazy with all my ailments and I wasn’t crazy, I was in emotional pain, but I didn’t know how to express that.

    I also read Codependent No More by Melody Beattie, which helped me see my own codependent behavior and to stop trying to change my husband, because I cannot.

    I would ask your boyfriend why he is reluctant to discuss these issues. He may not agree with you or believe in TMS, but at least you would have a better understanding of how he feels.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  5. mbo

    mbo Well known member

    Since your brain is in your head and the brain is the factory of the pain, of any pain!....

    your pain is in your head, all pain is in the head and is nor imaginary, fake, virtual

    neither typical of weird people. Period.
    HeidiF and Jak like this.
  6. Jak

    Jak New Member

    Of course. But that wouldn't have been helpful for me to hear if someone told me about it. I know myself. I would have gotten angry. There's a few things that I happened upon 14 days ago. The nail through the shoe, the Boulder Back Study, I saw a picture of an fMRI that showed changes in the brain in chronic pain patients and the life-altering question "What was going on in your life when or shortly before your pain started". Boom!

    I knew I was about to get an education. I actually started bawling like a babe. I rarely cry. I flesh things out to death and chew on them like gum and keep chewing long after things are even relevant and I wallpaper my brain with hard things that have happened, putting layer over layer over layer. I started tapering the next day.

    No clue how I got there on that day after thousands of Google searches because my pain didn't make any sense at all.
    JanAtheCPA and HeidiF like this.
  7. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Fellow cud chewer here!
    Dr. Hanscom is working on a book about what he calls “unpleasant repetitive thoughts” which he finds goes hand and hand with TMS for some people.
    I had never thought about wallpapering in my case. I know that happens with one of my family members.. but I certainly have done it. Perhaps all of us tmsers do.
    It’s a very good analogy!
    JanAtheCPA, Jak and HeidiF like this.
  8. theacrobat

    theacrobat Peer Supporter

    @Poppy07 You might want to read my success story. I had brain fog, chronic fatigue, severe back+hip pain, digestive issues, constantly and associated with eating. There was also a whole massive list of other symptoms. It got very bad, almost to the point where I couldn't eat (I was down to 1000 calories/day for 4 months). Anyway, I found Sarno's books and made a full recovery. The eating thing was 100% a conditioned response, sparked off by my belief in misguided theories about 'leaky gut' and carbs driving autoimmune conditions. It was resolved by journalling about trauma (the most serious things from years ago, not minor current stressors). https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/recovery-from-back-pain-foot-pain-stomach-pain-intolerances-possible-severe-autoimmune-disease.26991/ (Recovery from back pain, foot pain, stomach pain, intolerances, possible severe autoimmune disease)

    I too was convinced some 'bug' (enterobacter) was causing my illness and did actually find severe dysbiosis/SIBO via stool test. These kind of issues are either physical manifestations of a deeper problem (i.e. not the root cause), or a case of finding what you seek, when many people have similar physical abnormalities sans symptoms (the best example being all of those herniated discs Sarno's patients presented with, which are actually pretty common in people over 40 who have zero pain. There are studies proving this.) The idea of a physical cause is scarier, ergo more distracting/repressing and therefore popular.

    When it comes to persuading people about TMS, there's a few things you can do. The idea of 'why not read a book, there's nothing to lose and no possibility of side effects' persuaded me in the end. You can show him the science, since so many people believe in science nowadays. You can share success stories of similar cases like mine and hope they 'see themselves on the page'. @lowella also had a very strict diet for her MS and has since recovered via mind body methods. Rebecca Tolin is another example of a restrictive diet for brain fog, CFS etc that didn't really work, and eventual resolution via mind body methods. Probably the best thing you could do (if possible) is get your husband to talk about the emotional cause of the problem – as you know, most of the time it is anger relating to serious childhood trauma –in no uncertain terms ('I am angry at so and so for such and such'). Then ask if the pain has decreased. Sometimes seeing/feeling is believing. However, I will admit the prospects for persuasion probably aren't good. Nowadays I give people one TMS speech and if they don't believe me or 'get it' I just give up, since experience has shown it is a total waste of time to press the issue.
    JanAtheCPA, Jak and HeidiF like this.

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