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I wonder if "TMS" is just stress

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by music321, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. music321

    music321 Peer Supporter

    Ever since my TMS symptoms started years ago, I've been under quite a bit of stress. A few days ago, a very stressful event occurred. Ever since, I've been having pains that I know, without question, are psychological in nature.

    I wonder if all of my "TMS" issues are not the result of some buried emotions, or faulty ways of processing the world, but simply stress. Is this possible?
  2. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    All people have different thresholds and triggers for events which they perceive to be stressful. We don't all react the same way to a given situation, we have different "buttons" to press.

    In my experience it's not so much "buried" emotions, but learned ways of reacting to what I see as a threat. My biggest thing is fear of rejection, a leftover from my childhood which shows up in "goodist" behaviour to seek approval, therefore avoiding rejection, which I am unconsciously terrified of. This behaviour causes internal anger, because I also don't want to be doing stuff for everyone else all the time.

    All this unconscious conflict sensitises your nervous system, making you more vulnerable to current stressors.

    In answer your question yes TMS symptoms can be caused by stress, but that's not the whole story.

    I hope that make sense.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Mermaid has answered this well. I would just add that it isn't the stress itself which causes our symptoms, but our reaction to the stress. TMS is caused by internal psychological factors, not external factors. We can change the way we react to stressful situations. We can't remove all stress from our lives.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    It also depends on whether the stress energises and invigorates you or grinds you down and infuriates. For most of us it is a bit of both and that is perfectly ok. The rough times gift us with an opportunity to smooth grizzled edges, the easy times give us space to assess the breadth of maturity and soul we have nurtured. The challenge and the passion is to be a huge bundle of love, peace, kindness and humour when everyone else is losing their shit. People use different psychological shorthand to describe this but all ways and means are pathways to the same sublime destination. Machines also suffer stress. Unless you are some weird form of AI you will endure the challenges of stress suffused with emotion. Life is not a problem. It is feckin beautiful. Stop thinking, start living. It all ends too soon so embrace it fully now.

    Plum x
  5. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    TMS is a combination of your "T" personality, your past conditioning experience from life events, (stored in your sub-conscious), to deal with present events, and your current level of stress in your 'RESERVOIR OF RAGE", as some TMS writers have analogized it. How you've been mentally conditioned to view psychosomatic/TMS pain symptoms, will depend on whether you believe in Dr. Sarno's theory, that the pain is benign but all to real real--or what the current medical/industrial complex practices, a structural or chemical approach to treating all pain. So, to make a long story short, it's a blend of your sub-conscious's reaction to life--fight, flight or TMS/freeze.

    TMS pain symptoms are your sub-c's way of trying to protect you from having to face painful emotional life events head-on by using the conscious side of your brain. Dr. Sarno's answer to this is : when you feel the pain--STOP--recognize it's TMS psychosomatic, excruciatingly painful but benign. Hitting your TMS reset button, tells your sub-c that you are taking charge and will deal with the emotionally stressful issues and no longer need the TMS pain for protection.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
  6. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Plum, you are an amazing writer, you have inspired and lifted the spirits of many a TMS sufferer! :):)
  7. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bless you sweetheart. Your lovely comment is the cherry on the top of a gorgeous day :happy:. Welcome to our community my dear. Here's to your healing and happiness.


    Plum x
    butterfly_queen likes this.
  8. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Dear Plum, I don't think the wonderful, sensitive and caring people of the world (and this site) realize the profound level of comfort and hope they give to others when sharing their experiences, their knowledge and most of all... Their love. You really seem to possess a gifted way with words, Plum. Your depth of empathy is healing to me. I cried when I read your heartfelt response. Thank you so much... Having a rough day here, gloomy and raining, feeling hopeful is a struggle on days like this. I try to remember one thing, however small, to be grateful for.. Today it's my new friends here... I fully admit fear is impeding my progress. I have mountains of admiration for the courage of those who have found their way to recovery. I SO want my "old life" back, I find myself repeatedly questioning what I did to perpetuate this condition.. :(
    butterfly_queen and plum like this.
  9. Sonic

    Sonic Peer Supporter

    I think a vicious cocktail of stress and emotions can cause TMS.

    That's what I feel happened with me.
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  10. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    I couldn't agree more Sonic.. Trick is how to stop it from becoming so ingrained amd habitual. Seems like the longer it continues and the more you struggle for relief, the less relief there is. I always say I feel like a hamster on a wheel in a cage. Trapped doing the same thing over and over with no results. What scares me most is running out of answers, of things to try, and suggestions to implement and just remaining idle...and to me means the pain continues unabated. I suppose my posts are indicative of my "newness" to the TMS approach. It's just so hard to keep hope alive when you're a Hypochondriac and medical Drs either have no remedy to offer or scare you to death with endless possible maladies and even scarier treatments that may or may not even work!! One back surgery was enough for me. I never want to go there again! :stop:
  11. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Maybe it's because we've been through the fire ourselves that we understand so
    deeply; it's a compassion borne of experience. I give you my word that you can heal and that you will. At this point in your healing I recommend being incredibly gentle with yourself and relaxing your expectations around healing. It is such an individual thing and one which you will discover with time.

    You mention in a later post that you had surgery. In light of this I strongly recommend you explore Dr. David Hanscom. He is salvage spinal surgeon (which basically means he fixes botched back ops), but he mostly employs ways of calming down the nervous system through sleep and psychological methods.

    I credit the turning point in my own healing to him. His name in this post should link to his site. Have a little read around and see what you think. Some of us need a wider embrace of methods and that is ok.

    With love x
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  12. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Hi Plum, it's a bit of an irony that you mentioned Dr. Hanscom as I have read several of his posts on his blog here, and watched his interviews on YouTube... It was a revelation to find a Neurosurgeon who was NOT so quick to recommend surgery, but far more conversative measures, especially his belief in the mind's perpetuation of chronic pain. My only question in the validity of this is the difference between Dr. Sarno's theory of oxygen deprivation being the cause of symptoms and Dr. Hanscom believing it to be "learned" neural pathways or a hyperstimulated autonomic nervous system due to stress or perceived stress, anxiety, etc, etc...
    In the brief time I've been associated with this forum, many of the commonalities people who post here share are perfectionism, sensitivity and anxiousness.. And the tendency to over-analysis of everything! (me, in a nutshell!!) So, I find myself questioning and re-questioning, and reading, reading, reading.. You get the idea... Overwhelming myself, determined to find a solution. It's beyond frustrating. Thing is, my surgery was a little over 20 years ago and I considered it a huge success. I was able to return to work (in childcare, a very physically demanding job) for over 18 yrs with nary a twinge with my back.. It's only been an issue in the last 4 months, following several other injury/issues not related to my back. It's like it did awaken old pain neural pathways I can't seem to quiet.. It's occurence is also directly paralleled to some unprecedented STRESSFUL events, including an abandonment issue and near homelessness..
    Thankfully, some of that has stabilized, but still the trauma remains with me daily. Lots of fear, lots of depression, and rivers, rivers of tears. Sometimes, I don't even know where it's all coming from, it's so deep down...
    I am seeing a counselor, but even that has been a tough journey, just finding one who "feels" like a good fit. It's just when you've tried so many things, doctors, counselors, medical case managers, friends, books, medication, PT.. You just feel wrung out and exhausted. Empty.. Hopeless.
    I am sooo sorry for my rant. Like I mentioned earlier... Rough day.
  13. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    I agree with you Mermaid. I'm the type of person who seldom represses emotion, I pretty much feel everything... And I think that is what generates my pain issues. Whenever anything stressful occurs, I react, usually with more than average emotion... Which usually results in anxiety. Then, the question is, does the anxiety generate the pain and does the pain ramp up the anxiety? They seem to feed each other, a vicious cycle that's left me in a state of frustration and limbo.. Still new to this, though I've read extensively on the topic of mindbody syndrome and TMS and to be frank, am still a bit skeptical. I truly believe the mind can influence health, but with my obsessive need for a scientific explanation, or proof.... It's just so difficult.
    Mermaid likes this.
  14. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Page 59, Monte Huftle, "GET RID OF THAT PAIN IN YOUR BUTT NOW" : "You are not going to be asked to re-live some dramatic trauma. Just start to observe yourself right now, not in the past, and not imagining some future outcome, just watch yourself now and when you feel painful sensations in your body just observe what you are thinking about and how you are feeling."
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
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  15. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    But, what do you do when you've experienced some recent trauma and a series of horrible events and right along side of it a variance of physical pain syndromes? All at once. My response was a proactive and straightforward conventional medicine "journey".. Dozens of Drs, medications, xrays, MRIs, a couple of blood work-ups, urgent care clinics, ER visits, physical therapy.. All of which only served to heighten fear and keep me stuck and afraid.
    It seems like I am stuck there, reliving it. (I have terrible health anxiety, I've struggled with it most of my life, but moreso now than ever before..) So, it's an "always present" traumatic event.. Not a past one. So hard to explain, but I'm sure others have felt "stuck in fear" too..
  16. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Rest assured there are countless people who have been where you are and have healed. People who find themselves on this forum have often suffered years of pain, terrible traumas, awful childhoods, a life-changing incident...it goes on. Scratch the surface and most here could break your heart with their experiences. You are not alone in your pain, confusion, fear, anxiety, sadness and anger. We all know it well. Those of us who have recovered have had times of immense struggle but we come to see that the only way out is to embrace it all and do what needs doing anyway. It's not easy but it is doable.

    Here is a link to something I posted ages ago just to give you an idea of where I have come from. It's a snapshot but it does explain how I got from hell to here. Take a look:

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/lessons-from-claire-weekes.3873/page-3#post-74814 (Lessons From Claire Weekes)

    My post is from a thread on Claire Weekes. She is essential reading for anxiety sufferers and there is loads of information on this forum about here.

    There are plenty of sage healers whose work deals with the nuances of chronic pain. Our healing journey is utterly unique but we are responsible for it. Conventional medicine can't help because it doesn't understand the nervous system enough yet and we rely on the pioneering work of people like David Hanscom and Dr. Schubiner. They don't contradict Sarno but elaborate upon it. Neuroscience didn't really exist as a field when Sarno was writing his books.

    Take heart my dear.

    Plum x
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  17. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Housekeeping call to @Forest.
    David Hanscom has a new URL. It does link through. Thought I'd mention the loose end.
  18. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    The more psychological healing endeavours you engage in, the more balanced you become and this leads to healthier emotional experience and expression. Extremes of emotional feeling are a sign that stress has amplified things. Also, be aware of the difference between the brief rush of emotion and the world of thoughts that accompany it. You need to get good at recognising the interplay between them. Pain is a vicious cycle. You can break it at any of the different points.

    A good many people have struggled with classic TMS explanations but do much better with neuroscience. At this point it would be incredibly easy to overwhelm yourself not the least because when we are in pain we just want out of it and we will be a glutton for anything that promises that. It takes time to learn about this stuff, and then it takes a while for it to sink in and become true knowledge that we can relate to. The beauty of this place is that there are many old timers who each have their own unique way of explaining stuff. We are all saying the same basic thing but we have a rainbow of colours, like a prism of explanation. Pick your favourite shade and shine baby :p
  19. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    My Gosh Plum, I feel quite foolish really to complain about my trials and tribulations when clearly you (and many others) have suffered equally or far worse than I. Your experience left me deeply affected. (you know the drill... HSP personality)... So much affected, that I couldn't reply immediately. Your courage leaves me awestruck and ashamed simultaneously. How come I can't make this work when so many others do?? (self loathing..) Part of me wants to say F*** this, TMS is crap. But, I've been at it so long now, down so many "Western medicine" avenues, I can't back out now...
    Thank you for sharing your story. Even oceans of distance doesn't impede your warmth and compassion and COURAGE from shining through. It never ceases to amaze me how just sharing a post or two can make ALL the difference in someone's world. You're an inspiration. Truly.
    My boyfriend kinda thinks I'm nuts to put so much emphasis on "words". I, however, am just the opposite. I feel like well chosen words can change a person's life, either for better or worse...
    Expecting snow here by nightfall. Already (anticipatory anxiety) fearing the dreaded shoveling. Last time it snowed here, I was bedridden for a week with LBP... Aghhh, the heating pad was my BFF!
  20. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Skip the shoveling and stay in bed ;)
    All the best people are nuts and the finest philosophies are rendered beautifully in poetry. F*** It is the ultimate spiritual mantra.

    Here's a meditation for you:

    (Bad language warning). It's an oldie but a goodie.

    It's ok to complain. It's part of our story and needs witnessing. It's safe to do that here because you're with kindred spirits who have the benefit of experience to boot.

    Plum x
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