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Intro/My Story (New Guy)

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Titus Groan, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. Titus Groan

    Titus Groan Peer Supporter


    I’m new here. I’ve struggled with a variety of chronic pain conditions for the last 7 years and it has dictated most of my life, leaving me incapable of any activity on bad days and often only able to achieve minimal essential tasks on good ones.

    My Story (apologies for the length)

    I trace my problems back to when I was 19 and had started my first year at a private music college. The course was great, but there was a lot of material and I pushed myself hard to make the most of all of it, practising all day and taking copious written notes in lectures. About halfway through the year, I developed severe tendinitis in my right forearm from using a pen to take notes, and soon after that I developed severe pain/swelling/tenderness in my left thumb/palm from playing guitar. I can’t be sure, but I believe that the initial injury was genuine (based on how much I was playing/I wasn’t warming up/ It was winter). I didn’t see a doctor or have any tests done, but went straight to a private physio who said I had torn tissue in the thumb. It was a devastating time for me, but the physio was excellent and I got better quickly.

    Around this same time I started having repeated bladder infections, as well as symptoms of kidney pain. Tests showed nothing wrong with my kidneys, but the bladder infections appeared to be genuine. I had had one a year earlier which was almost certainly caused by not drinking enough, but ever since then I’ve made sure to drink plenty of water every day, so I didn’t understand why was getting one again. These infections became very frequent and I was constantly being put on antibiotics - it seemed like barely a month would pass before I started getting symptoms again.

    Not long after my recovery from my hands I wrote a song with a friend and the college decided to enter it into a competition. A band was put around me to help develop the song and we got into the finals. Following this, the band and I decided to stay together and pursue music seriously.

    Of course, my hand pains returned and severely impacted both my studies and my reliability within the band. At the start of my second year, I bought myself a Stratocaster (previously I used a Les Paul) and the thinner neck reduced my symptoms significantly. However, by the end of the year things became a lot worse and I basically gave up playing guitar completely. When it came to the time to decide whether or not I would do a third year I decided against it - gigs were being cancelled, I wasn’t playing, and I couldn’t see myself physically capable of properly interacting with the course.

    Looking back now, it makes perfect sense that I got more ill. Around this time, I was not only in my band playing gigs, but I was also in a function band as well, playing music that wasn’t really my thing. I had been encouraged by my tutor to take up private teaching, which was the last thing I wanted to do. However, I knew it would grow me since I wasn’t much of a people person, so I dove straight in. My band were also recording their first EP - meaning there was pressure to be playing A LOT of guitar AND be well enough for it. I was also moving church, and struggling to find where was right for me – oh, and I there was relationship AND friendship trouble (classic).

    The following year I stayed in the city and lived with my bandmates. Despite my ill-health, they didn’t want me to leave and they stuck by me. We did however recruit another guitarist to fill in for me while I couldn’t play, and I took on more of a managerial/producer role.

    During this time it was my mind at work - I wasn’t cooking, cleaning, using the computer or anything like that for a long time. Though, eventually I built up the confidence to do these things in moderation and was encouraged to volunteer at a bookstore in town - the idea being that voluntary work would take off the pressure of performing to full capacity. This actually turned out to be really good for me - the staff understood my limitations and allowed me to dictate my hours and level of activity. Customers were very infrequent, so most of the time I was just waiting around (or reading). It also developed into a paid role.

    Year four was when it all went to pot. It started off well, with me replacing music with writing, of which I did mostly using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Meanwhile, band continued and I continued seeing endless doctors, specialists, having endless scans, tests to no avail. Hand and arm pain persisted, infections persisted, kidney pain persisted, testicular pain started, prostatitis started.

    Meanwhile at work, another branch in the chain of bookstores I worked at were low on staff and I ended up working 9-5, 6 days a week, commuting to another city, working for people who didn’t know me and were less understanding of my physical limitations, at a much busier branch. I pushed myself and worked through pain every day, came home, went straight into a bath filled with anti-inflammatory stuff, my housemate cooked and fed me and I fell straight asleep – then I would wake up and the cycle would start again.

    Following this my siblings and I went on a much needed holiday together, much to my relief. But, day 2 into the holiday my brother (also a musician, also recently having developed RSI) started getting pain and weakness all over his body. This induced anxiety and strange tremors in his body and we had to rush him to hospital. Tons of tests – no results. “There’s nothing wrong with him” they said. We cut the holiday short and on the way home we had to do everything for him (wash, feed etc.) – he was virtually paralysed. I was dropped off where I live on the way and my siblings drove him home (6 hours away).

    Shortly after this I reduced my hours significantly at work. I saw someone and finally received a diagnosis (for some things) – Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome and Irritable Bladder. I was put on tablets for pain, which helped temporarily.

    Next – I got a call and found out my brother had attempted suicide 3 times off the back of what happened on holiday (and not getting any better). Following this I suddenly developed the same symptoms as my brother (violent shaking limbs, weakness, unable to walk, burning and tingling). At the time, I was wondering why I didn’t really feel anything in response to what happened to my brother. I felt guilty for feeling numb, and thought there must be something wrong with me, because I knew I cared - I just didn’t feel it. It wasn’t until later that I realised this was because my emotions were too intense, and all the physical symptoms that “coincidentally” came upon me were my mind’s way of protecting me (some weeks later I broke down over the situation).

    Naturally, I stopped work for a while. The symptoms escalated very quickly and I ended up being submitted to hospital, where I was unable to move for a large portion of the nine days I stayed there. Many tests were done, nothing showed anything wrong (except a benign cyst at the base of my skull). Funny thing is, during this entire period I felt so incredibly calm – I wasn’t worried at all – in fact, I was in the best mood I’d been in ages. Once again, I later attributed this to my negative emotions being voiced physically.

    Now, here comes the funny part - It was during December 2015 that I was in hospital, and there were three things going through my mind (“this is ridiculous”, “I don’t want to be here over Christmas”, and “I DEFINITELY don’t want to miss the first showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!”). The doctor said it was unlikely I was going to be out in time, but I wouldn’t have it. Gradually, day by day, I managed to move a little more, walk a little further. Eventually, I was walking back and forth the hospital room without too much trouble (often with crutches), though I definitely felt I was pushing it and my legs would occasionally give way. When the day came that I was meant to see Star Wars, I said to the doctor – “I’m okay (I wasn’t), I can leave.” The doctor wasn’t so sure, but I insisted. They said “if you can walk this distance down the hallway and back, without crutches – you can leave.”. So I did, and at the end of it, I felt like I had completely depleted the capacity I had to move. But I put on a brave face, and they dismissed me.

    Guess what happened straight after? Burning, weakness and a new symptom - extreme anxiety. But it was too late, they dismissed me and they wouldn’t take me back. My housemate came and picked me up, took me to the car in a wheelchair, then took me to my bandmates house (whom I would be seeing the film with). Being with them calmed me down, and when the time came, I was carried to the car, driven to the cinema, carried into the theatre and placed into my seat, ready to watch Star Wars.

    Not long after this, I was diagnosed with “functional movement disorder”, and was told that my shakes and weakness were from anxiety and stress. Knowing this allowed me to slowly overcome those particular symptoms completely.

    Not long after that I was told (still) that there was nothing wrong with my arms EXCEPT a trapped nerve in my elbow (Ulnar). Of course, the problem in my left hand was chiefly my thumb which is normally linked to the carpal tunnel - so this made no sense whatsoever. However, it was all I had to go on, so I had the recommended surgery. The operation itself went fine, but after healing I felt zero difference in any of my symptoms. I found this extremely discouraging and along came my first bout of heavy depression.

    Later I moved house, and the new and better environment helped my mental health a great deal. I also began to recognise that my “chronic pelvic pain” and “Irritable Bladder” were most likely anxiety based and so I slowly managed to overcome them completely. I still get “threats” from time to time, but I just calm myself and pray away the pain.

    Over the years I continued to try many different treatments for my arms/hands - some of which produced great results, only to then stop working later down the line. The most significant and recent of these was the technique of self-massage, particularly “fascia release”. I.E. take a ball, find the painful spot and make the muscle move beneath it. Like magic, this seemed to completely cure me for a time. Of course, the symptoms kept coming back, but each time they did I massaged them away hands-free and managed to get into doing normal activity again. The problem with this though, was that I literally had to spend hours on self-massage every day just to get myself to function for an activity - and even then there were some activities I still had great difficulty with (like guitar).

    Later, I came across Sarno’s book “The Mind Body Problem” (about 2 years ago) and found it helpful, but ultimately found it difficult to apply practically and still attributed part of my problems to a physical cause. The relief I found from simply reading the book enabled me to pick up guitar again for the first time in years, but my symptoms never completely went away and still limited me greatly. I practiced guitar for around five minutes a day when I could, sometimes as much as half an hour on good days, but I found little joy in it - it was always an uncomfortable activity and I always felt like I should be using my limited capacity to prepare for gigs rather than playing for leisure or writing new material.

    For a while, I felt like I had the perfect balance of managing my symptoms. I did not feel capable of work, but I managed to find a way of getting through the everyday. Enabling myself to get washed, dressed and prepare simple meals. Eventually, I found myself able to use the computer for quite long stints and was starting to get confident that I could go to work again. Low and behold, right around the time I started looking for jobs (and when I was particularly stressed about something else computer related!) I had one of the biggest flare-ups I have ever had. One touch of the mouse and I had shooting pain going up both my arms, and what felt like severe inflammation. Pain and throbbing went right down my arms and into my knuckles -this lasted for a very long time and my “self-massage” techniques did nothing bar some very slight relief. I put it down to not being able to find “the spot”, and so I hired a sports therapist to come to my house every few weeks and give me massage. He told me my problems were my neck, my shoulders and my back - so when he wasn’t around I focused my self-massage there. All this helped, but I could never shake this vague tingly pain in my arms that I had ever since the flare-up. Around this time, I also started to have pain bouncing around all over my body, particularly around the neck and shoulders (surprise, surprise). During one of my sessions with massage, the guy told me he couldn’t find anything wrong with the muscles in my body, which puzzled me to no end, and I once again felt deflated.

    Eventually, I gave up using my hands and started using my feet. I used my feet to use the TV remote, a mouse and keyboard, my phone, flushing the toilet and many other things - only using my hands when absolutely necessary. A combination of my feet and Dragon dictation software worked well for a time, but guess what? I developed RSI in my feet and, for fear of not being able to walk, stopped using my feet as well. I became housebound most days, doing very little and often having to get others to do things for me.

    This side of Christmas, I was diagnosed with mild scoliosis at the base of my neck. I also had another bad flareup and was pretty much at the end of myself (again). In desperation, I decided to ignore the pain in my feet and use them to Google random things like “overcoming RSI” etc, in the hope of stumbling across some kind of miracle cure in a blog somewhere. Much to my surprise - I did.

    The blog I clicked on was a success story of someone who suffered from severe RSI, among other things, and how they overcame it via the mind-body theory. I recognised the name Sarno and was like “oh yeah, that guy”. I also saw them mention the SERPA approach and there was a link to Georgie Oldfield’s website. I clicked on it and read through it and noticed that as I did, my feet stopped hurting and my arms hurt less. Feeling brave, picked up my phone and started using my hands instead (first time in ages) - they still tingled, but there was no pain.

    That evening, I played poker with my housemates, drank whiskey (sensibly – and not through a straw!), ate cake and helped clear up afterwards.

    A Positive Spin

    Despite this struggle, it’s been a journey, and one which I continue to learn from. I am a Christian and I truly believe that these last 7 years have been a process by which God has been refining me. Through the periods of sickness I’ve had to learn new skills; I’ve discovered new talents, like creative writing; it’s caused me to rely on community more, meaning stronger relationships being developed with my family, friends, band and church; and it’s caused me to come face to face with insecurities and start a process of conquering them.

    I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression, I’ve had my doubts, and it’s been very frustrating, but ultimately I know there has been and IS purpose in it.

    I’m pleased to be here, I’m looking forward to getting to know you all and I’m excited for the journey ahead. :)

    Application and Result (thus far)

    Since poker night, I’ve stopped self-massage and stretches, I’ve been reading free material online, I’ve ordered Georgie Oldfield’s book, I’ve read a free sample of The Great Pain Deception and have signed up here. I’ve spent the last week typing (combined with dictation software), playing guitar, tidying and other things. The symptoms have not vanished, but I’d say I’ve had a 70% reduction and activity has felt much less daunting. I still don’t feel a hundred percent confident in the diagnosis (for all my symptoms), but I feel like I’m on the right track.

    I have a million questions (some are below) and my activities are still in short stints. My biggest concern is of my left hand symptoms when playing guitar and not knowing whether there is danger of me re-injuring it or not – this is due to the fact that I probably am weak from not using my hands for so long, I play fast and complicated guitar parts, and I don’t know whether my initial injury was an actual injury or not (an intermittent throbbing pain did come on gradually before the injury, but I foolishly ignored it).

    Diagnosis Overview

    • Mild Scoliosis
    • Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome
    • Irritable Bladder
    • “Bilateral Hand Pain”
    • Tendonitis
    • "Torn Tissue" (left thumb)
    • Functional Movement Disorder
    • Anxiety
    • Depression

    TMS in the Family?

    I've already said about my brother. My younger sister also has trouble with anxiety, stress levels and is on tablets of thyroid trouble.

    My older sister has IBS and RSI.

    My mum has recently developed thumb pain, but she has a history of anxiety, chronic migraines, M.E. and neck pain. She also has some really bizarre dietary requirements in order to avoid stomach problems (apparently she's allergic to wheat, but not gluten).

    My dad has depression, different types of artheritus, chronic back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, kidney and bladder trouble, glucoma, diabetes, heart trouble and a botched op on his knee has put him on crutches. ( I've probably missed some). Some of these are side effects from medication he was put on.

    Questions I have are:

    Am I right? Are/were all my symptoms a result of TMS?

    Is RSI a real thing? Or is it always TMS?

    Is guitar so strenuous an exercise that I actually tore tissue? Is it possible to do genuine damage playing an instrument? Or is it always a result of TMS?

    My activities have been so minimal over the years that I’ve almost certainly had a lot of muscle wastage - is there any chance that I could injure myself by diving straight back into activity (especially guitar!)?

    Is it possible to do genuine damage from using a computer?

    How do you discern between muscle fatigue and TMS?

    Is there any benefit to stretching/warming up before/after activities like an instrument/computer?

    I understand that TMS can actually CAUSE physical symptoms such as inflammation and tightness of muscles – Have I got that right? If that’s the case, how can one push through symptoms knowing they aren’t causing physical damage? Surely, even if your brain is responsible for the symptom, if you’re continuing activity with tight muscles, there must be danger of injury?

    To be more specific in regards to my left hand pain (most frequently provoked by guitar), the symptoms are:

    Tightness, aching, and vague discomfort on the chunky bit of the thumb/palm, as well as (sometimes) slight tingling around the area and at the tip of thumb. When pushed too far, it typically becomes inflamed and tender and the thumb joint becomes weak and trembly. If I push beyond that: pulsating pain and burning. It’s been a while since I’ve allowed it to get that bad, but when it has been I’ve typically avoided activity for 48 hours before feeling any significant reduction of symptoms.
    cdub likes this.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Titus Groan,

    Welcome to the Forum and Wiki!

    I believe you're in the right place, to treat yourself as having TMS. We can't diagnose here, because we're not physicians, but we can support your self-diagnosis, which you are doing.

    Your history points to a combination of emotional and physical symptoms, and you have some family history of same. Importantly regarding evidence for TMS, you've tracked changes over time: improvements, recoveries, and then relapses or other symptoms.

    Interestingly, the man who started this site, Forest, suffered from RSI, and then when he used DragonSpeak to use computer, lost his voice. Similar to your feet getting RSI: the symptom imperative.

    You ask many good questions, all of which you have to tackle yourself, reassuring yourself with more research, success stories, looking deeply into the medical diagnoses you've recieved looking for evidence that they are stress-based (which you are doing).

    This journey with TMS is very individual and personal. So the more you read, the more you take in, and the more you apply it to yourself, and allow doubts and follow them down, the deeper your learning and relief will be. The same is true for other aspects of treatment: find out through your experimentation and intuition what resonates with you as you go through different books and programs.

    To answer a couple of concerns of yours, I'll respond to your fear of something physical caused by TMS, the lack of exercise you've had, any possible injury from increasing your use currently:

    The body is not nearly as delicate as most of the therapists believe, and coach us in, in my experience. For instance for me, who barely used my feet and was on crutches, casts, wheelchairs for years, I was afraid to use my feet vigorously. They had me picking up marbles with my toes, or gentle stretches, fearful of weakness, strain, more pain etc.

    I went from barely walking to climbing mountains in a matter of a few short months. I suggest you be sensible, increasing activity slowly over time, as I did, but that you treat your fears about this as TMS, and pain when it arises as just more TMS. A gentle pushing/challenging what your limits are is fine. You don't have to "do battle." Yet many have, and this can be a short cut for some. I prefer a steadfast, gradual approach.

    Your fear about swelling, and the possible problems with that, I suggest you treat in a similar way, if you've been cleared by physicians to be active. Treat with ice or anti-inflamitories and increase activity. It is the worry and fear that needs the most attention (or lack of attention!). This is courageous, heartfelt work, over time.

    We have programs at the Wiki which give you structured ways to investigate your symptoms and fears as TMS.

    Many here have been through similar journeys and come out fine. Read success stories every day. The symptoms don't have to be the same. Read how the person's learning grew, what worked for them. Use your prayer, or inner guidance/intuition to see what feels right for you. Be patient. Pushing yourself to do it right or do it quickly is not helpful.

    Finally, about your spiritual understanding of this journey for you. I think this is very important. I'll suggest that as you've hinted at, you're being invited into a deep understanding of yourself, and a deeper love for your existence as a human, one of "God's children." As you stay with your TMS process, you'll become a more compassionate person for yourself, and others. This will probably become a sort of gift to give back to this beautiful world, a "thank you." I guess it already has. Your presence in the world will touch others, even without you trying.

    If you can focus on this inner growth, understanding, insight --and less on symptom reduction, this is a good path. The symptom reduction will come as you connect what you're learning about you, and connecting this to your TMS education, and learning to think more and more "psychologically."

    Andy B
  3. Titus Groan

    Titus Groan Peer Supporter

    Thank you for your response, Andy B!

    Thank you. I have seen many specialists and had many tests over the years, and none have showed anything (except the recent mild spine curve at the base of my neck). Any diagnosis I've received is either outdated (I've since recovered) or has been fairly speculative on the doctors part. So I guess self diagnosis is the way to go.

    The fact that you moved to climbing so quickly is incredible, and so encouraging to hear!

    Taking it slow, but treating pain as TMS is what I've been doing so far, though I think I often neglect to realise how much of a factor the fear and anxiety can be as well. It's only today that I've really started to pick up on when I'm anxious, and tried to recognise where it's coming from - tricky stuff!

    Reading some of the success stories has tempted me to "do battle" - but maybe that isn't the best approach. Either way I feel like I'd need more information before diving in completely.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Titus, and welcome!

    You mentioned just now that you are recognizing your anxiety, and battling with the concept of doing battle - or not. You might benefit from a little book that has helped, probably, thousands of people for many decades since it was written in 1969, which is Hope & Help For Your Nerves, by Claire Weekes. It's available everywhere, including used copies from Amz. The language might seem a bit quaint (in addition to writing 50 years ago, Dr. Weekes was Australian) but the soothing and simple advice which she offers is not. This was, in fact, the second book that saved my life, after Dr. Sarno's The Divided Mind, so I personally recommend it very highly.

    Good luck, start doing the Structured Educational Program, and keep us posted!

    MWsunin12, cdub and Titus Groan like this.
  5. mister_burger

    mister_burger New Member

    hey man,

    I read your post twice (long read lol). You went through a lot.
    I'm not 100% healed but reading Dr Sarno's "Healing Back Pain" book really helped me. The second thing is I started journaling, following the Structure Educational Program (linked in the post above) almost on the same day I started his book.

    I saw you mentioned it in your post, I also have a copy of "The Mind Body Prescription", but I haven't finished it. "Healing Back Pain" is shorter, and reading the Thank You letters at the end really made me feel like reading those online testimonies, of people with similar struggles. It definitely helped me.

    I also use the 12 daily reminders, that I repeat everyday.

    At first I was skeptical, like most people who went through Dr Sarno's books. I mean we all suffered from various types of chronic pain. Reading the instruction saying we should resume all physical activity and just shout to our brain... Honestly I thought it was impossible. But I had nothing to lose and I went out, started walking and even pushing myself through the pain. I kept on following the instructions and repeating "it is only TMS, nothing structural, only TMS, I have TMS, you have TMS!"

    It was super scary. Last year, I couldn't walk, couldn't stand, for more than 5 min at some point. So going out 2 hours in a row, this week, I couldn't believe it.


    Your questions :

    1. Is it possible to do genuine damage from using a computer?
    Yes, I had some wrist and hand tendon issue. But it was solved.

    2. How do you discern between muscle fatigue and TMS?
    In his book "HBP", page 93 Dr Sarno says :

    "That’s easy. When you’ve done some unaccustomed physical
    activity and wake up the next morning with aches in your arms or
    legs, it’s a good kind of ache and it’s usually gone by the following
    day. The pain of TMS is always nasty and it doesn’t go away very
    quickly, if at all."

    3. Is there any benefit to stretching/warming up before/after activities like an instrument/computer?
    I never stretch before. It can actually do some damage. I stopped all stretching because they caused me more pain.

    4. I understand that TMS can actually CAUSE physical symptoms such as inflammation and tightness of muscles – Have I got that right? If that’s the case, how can one push through symptoms knowing they aren’t causing physical damage? Surely, even if your brain is responsible for the symptom, if you’re continuing activity with tight muscles, there must be danger of injury?
    In his book, Dr Sarno even mentions TMS causing allergies, skin problems, IBS. Dr Schubiner mentions diarrhea when he was a med student. The thing is, if you have been cleared by a physician and you know there's nothing serious, then you can decide if you want to take up any activity again.

    It is very scary, but it's part of Dr Sarno's instructions to resume all physical activity. It took me a lot of reading through many people's testimonies on this website and also Alan Gordon's program, watching some more videos about Dr Schubiner and Dr Sarno before having the courage to face the pain. It's a fear, but I kept telling my body it was TMS until I managed to walk again.
    Titus Groan and JanAtheCPA like this.
  6. Titus Groan

    Titus Groan Peer Supporter

    Yeah... Bit of an essay - sorry! Thank you for taking the time to read it.

    I keep thinking of reading Healing Back Pain, and then dismissing it because I assume the emphasis will be on people with back pain (which isn't my main issue). Maybe I will give it a go though.

    I have been reading lots of success stories, which is helpful - still hard to shake the "but what if this is different?" voice from my head though.

    It can also be confusing coming across different people with contradicting views - Eg. one person might be like "don't worry - RSI is TMS - you won't hurt yourself! Watch out for tendinitis, though - that's a real injury!", whereas others claim both are TMS, which is confusing.

    This is where I'm at now - it's been great for the last week. But now I've got pain in my forearm from using the mouse and keyboard (feels like my tendinitis from years ago) I just can't tell if its real. "Should I push through or not?" "Have I actually injured myself?" It's really hard to tell!

    Scary is right. I remember what it was like pushing myself to leave the house on my own after hospital. Sounds like you're conquering it though, which is awesome to hear!

    Would you be willing to go into more detail on this? This is where my paranoia is at and where people seem to contradict each other. How did you know it wasn't TMS?

    I'm going through Alan's program now, but I haven't gone through the main program yet (which I should). I'm doing most things by the book, but addressing the fear and "what if?" are the toughest.

    Thank you so much for your answers!
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
    cdub likes this.
  7. mister_burger

    mister_burger New Member

    Yes the title is very misleading. I first learnt about the book months ago, completely dismissed it since I didn't have back problems. I'm glad I went through it this time! Dr Sarno later expanded from back/neck pain to limbs, tendons, etc. I read it in just a few days this week, I'm re-reading passages, like many have suggested before. Also I thought it was an exaggeration that people would be healed by just reading a book, you know. How is that possible? But my pain went down a lot. I still can't believe it because after it should NOT make sense, yet I'm here haha.

    I feel you. Because even now, I still have this lingering doubt of "but maybe what my physical therapist said is true, my tendons are tight and there's scar tissue", etc. We've been conditioned for decades to believe these doctors and PTs, because they represent authority. I just decided to take a leap of faith in Dr Sarno and Schubiner's advice, just to try, since the doctors who'd treated me so far couldn't anything.

    Sure, it was years ago, before I knew about TMS. It was temporary, so the physician concluded it was tendon inflammation. I rested my hand (no more piano, computer, games) and used ice/massage. I recovered. It was temporary. However I had those tendon problems in other areas and the problem lasted months, some even years. I now know these are what Dr Sarno calls a "charade" (page 68 HBP). I've been fighting against severe achilles tendonitis for over a year. I can tell you I thought I would be walking with crutches for the next decade. I went out everyday this week THROUGH the pain, and just repeating to myself it was TMS I managed to calm the pain down.

    Like Dr Sarno said in a video, the initial injury can be real. But if it continues hurting for years, then the injury should have healed and this is TMS.

    At 53:30 the lady asks a question and Dr Sarno gives his reply :

    Though I think the whole video is crazily good. Hope you find the strength. I re-watch some of his interviews on youtube quite often to face the fear.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
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  8. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    1. You need to find out your own self
    2. No
    3. No
    4. No
    5. No
    6. TMS feels gross..soreness feels good
    7. No
    8. No

    I numbered them for convenience sake. Your story was fascinating. I have been TMS recovered for 20 years this year but I always like interacting with 'newcomers' because it reminds me of how Hellish TMS can be and how grateful I am to God that I found this way of life.

    I am a guitar player. There is NO such thing as 'causing RSI'. I have played for 10 hours a day for days on end with zero warm-ups. I also throw baseballs really hard with zero warm-ups...and lift weights and ride bikes and anything else you can think of...warming up might make you perform better but it has NO bearing on the activity you are about to engage in as regards pain, injury etc. Mythology. Period.

    TMS goes after the thing you need the most to distract you from the realm of emotions. Most of the times it is anger... and the pain has to be good and scary to occupy your attention.

    The human body can heal anything. My thumb was severed in 2013. It remained attached only by a little skin. The surgeon got it back together and I raced home to check if I could still play guitar (I could... and I tore the stitches and had to go back to the ER....and got blood all over my guitar). I have full feeling in that hand and have been able to play guitar since the cast came off at 5 weeks. The body can heal ANYTHING... remember what Jesus says to every single person he heals.."Your faith has healed you"...and "Your sins are forgiven".

    The word Sin means 'error' or 'not getting it'. It comes from archery. It doesn't mean some wild rejection of morality and God's laws...just 'not getting it'. When I had my shitstorm maelstrom of symptoms (starting with my back, but eventually checking every box) I was 'not getting it'. I was living in 'Sin'. Reading Sarno I began to inspect my life and find out I had quietly acquiesced to a lot of stuff I did not agree with or want in my life. As I compared Sarno's truth with my 'Sins' My symptoms began to go away...fast. I also mixed in a complete rejection of the foolishness that I had learned from Chiro's, Doctors and PTs. They all meant well and wanted me to get better... they just weren't treating the right problem.

    You too will be able to play guitar as long as you want, every day. You will be able to do whatever you want. The Miracles in the new testament are Not Metaphors. There is something to 'get' here in Sarno's work and as soon as you get it you will be free. Period.

    Message me if you have any questions.... and I would get TMS too if I had to play a Strat over a Les Paul!
    HattieNC, Titus Groan and JanAtheCPA like this.
  9. Titus Groan

    Titus Groan Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much for this - it's really encouraging to hear a success story from a fellow guitarist. Here I am struggling from symptoms off the back of torn tissue in my thumb, and yet you fully recovered after having your thumb severed!? That's incredible!
  10. Titus Groan

    Titus Groan Peer Supporter

    So today I played guitar for two hours in the afternoon - longer than I have in years. I was in discomfort towards the end and my left hand was shaky and tender - normally a sign that I've overdone it and will have a flare up. Instead, I told myself I was fine, it's TMS, I am physically capable of playing Guitar.

    The discomfort didn't leave, but it didn't get worse. Later I had a band practice and normally I would watch/direct/give feedback - I chose to play again. 2 hours later - I felt the same: Tender, a little shaky, tired - but no flare up. No swelling and no actual pain.

    I would also NEVER play twice in a day, because I never felt good at the end of a session. Well, I didn't feel GOOD but I didn't get any worse so...

    I would also do zilch with the hand after playing, but this time I packed down, carried gear to the car and now I'm typing.

    Progress? I think so!
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  11. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Remember this day Titus. Let this go deep!
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  12. cdub

    cdub Peer Supporter

    Wow. I see some of what I'm currently going through in your story.

    Best of luck to the both of us!
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  13. Gusto

    Gusto Peer Supporter

    Wow that was painful to watch though... Questions were so scripted!
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  14. Titus Groan

    Titus Groan Peer Supporter

    Tomorrow I have a day of recording guitar - I won't necessarily be playing for the whole day ( boy, would that be step up), but I like to tell myself that I could if I needed to. Nevertheless, I'm more than a little nervous about it. Particularly after doing so much today (stacking hundreds of chairs before and after church - more lifting than I've done in 5 years at least), and also practicing guitar for half an hour (on my les Paul). And typing most of the afternoon.

    So my old mindset is, I've done so much today (and I feel tired!) - how can I possibly handle tomorrow? I've had some minor niggling symptoms, so I'm fighting for a positive mindset right now. To convince myself that I can and will record tomorrow and that any symptoms I have are false.

    Encouragement or discouragement - whatever might be appropriate - would be greatly appreciated around now.
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  15. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    So your new mindset - which you might consider saying out loud, and/or writing down to make it real for your brain, is:

    "Wow, I've done so much today, and I'm tired, but it's a GOOD tired, and I'm going to sleep really well tonight and be totally ready for tomorrow! "

    Self-talk, sometimes characterized as "affirmations" is surprisingly powerful and many people here can attest that it WORKS, myself included.
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  16. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I believe you are about 10 days off from the start of this string? That oughta be encouragement enough. It's written in your own hand!

    I have all sorts of scribble and DATES all over my copy of HBP specifically because ; later if something new or scary happens I have a documented, time stamped memory of something painful and scary that went away...and it always goes away...completely. Sarno used to tell people (cautiously) that most or all of their symptoms would resolve in 2-4 weeks. That has been my experience. Depending on a few different factors, it takes about that long to delete all those old tapes (your old mindset) ...the unconscious is a bear, where our thoughts are rabbits.

    Jesus , who had a pretty awesome 'cure' rate told us to take no care for the morrow...what you'll wear, what you'll eat. You can throw how you feel in there too. As soon as I stopped worrying about how I feel, I have actually felt pretty damn good...and after doing this for years and always winning in the end the score keeps getting more lopsided.

    you seem to be on your way to complete resolution of your stuff.... now what are you gonna do with all that new freedom?
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  17. Titus Groan

    Titus Groan Peer Supporter

    @Baseball65 and @JanAtheCPA - Thank you so much for your prompt responses. I was able to read them before leaving to record and found them helpful and encouraging. I was practicing self-talk last night - this, combined with scripture enabled me to calm down a bit and sleep well.

    I woke up with discomfort in my hand that had been there since lifting chairs the previous morning. Sure, it hadn't gotten worse, but it was nonetheless a little discouraging. Even though my left hand symptoms are familiar, the consistency of them tends to throw me off, since these particular symptoms don't tend to jump around that much like TMS is meant to. All the same, I recorded today and played around 5 hours of guitar, with a couple of short breaks in between. Longest so far.... the discomfort increased a bit during, but I tried my best to ignore it. Once again, it didn't seem to be a whole lot worse afterwards, and tbh is feeling a bit better now as I am typing.

    Crazy how hard it is to keep faith in this thing, despite the evidence. I guess everytime I push myself a bit further, particularly on a new activity (like lifting chairs) I immediately assume when the symptoms come that it is possible that "this time I really have overdone it!" Especially considering I've been inactive for so long and so I just assume I'm more vulnerable to strain.

    It's actually possibly coming up to around 3 weeks since the start of the process? Though I only started pushing things with guitar within the last 10 days or so, I believe.

    Most of my more recent symptoms dissapeared quite quickly, but they got replaced with old ones. Right forearm pain and left hand/thumb weakness and inflamation were my original symptoms 7 years ago. They always pop back up now and again and that's what seems to not want to go away currently. The difference is I'm trying my best not to listen to them!

    I certainly hope so! It's certainly strength to strength atm.... Still in shock and finding it hard to believe tbh. I just can't shake the fear of a relapse.

    What will I do with my freedom? Well, right now I'm just busy with band and writing and learning how to be a bit more "normal" in daily life. It's a busy season and now I'm well enough to be involved I feel like I'm quickly going into the deep end. Very aware that I've got to not let myself get overwhelmed, since busy-ness and stress of life no doubt got me ill in the first place. Right now I just want consistency and to build my confidence up, then what I really want to do is either get a job so I have income to fuel my creative projects, or go and study literature and creative writing at uni (or both). I'd like to learn to drive as well (started years ago). Biggest challenge right now though is learning how to manage my time properly after years of inactivity!
    Baseball65 likes this.
  18. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    There seems to be two kinds of symptoms in TMS. The surging changing ones that are 'local' meaning being inflamed by the environment or a particularly difficult to repress emotion (My Mom trying to scold MY kids...rage!!) and then the background noise 'stable ones' like the one you say is discouraging you. The ones that seem to sit there and Not move.

    I found that these 'non-movers' were the ones that were deepest CONDITIONED into my day. I can give you an example.

    Months after resolution of 98.9 % of my symptoms and complete indoctrination and practicing Sarno's principles I STILL got sciatica (mildly) on my drive home from work...after working 12 hours hard labor outside in the desert pain free, simply sitting down in my air conditioned car gave me pain! (ridiculous).
    I was pissed. ALL my other symptoms were gone but that one lingered. Upon inspecting it I realized I got in the car, turned on the radio and 'zoned out' on the drive home. It wasn't that bad, which is probably one reason why I had 'allowed' it to remain...like cleaning up 98.9 percent of your room but leaving a pile of unsorted socks.

    So... I turned off the Radio and spent the whole long drive home being a detective...a screaming lunatic...talking to myself...gestalt, inquisition and prosecutor. People in other cars probably assumed I was insane (it was before blue tooth)
    It took about 3 hours (3 commutes) before I got results. I was in a rage that I had to drive 50 miles home. I hate driving and I hate traffic and I hate the news and I hate talk radio and I hated the wasted time that could be spent with my kids or playing baseball or guitar.... (sigh)

    and all of a sudden,I inadvertently noticed the sciatica was gone. It no longer occupied my attention, so it gave up and went home.
    It tried to come back a few times, but I would just turn off the radio and start over..and it would go away instantly.

    The biggest blow to our intellectual ego's in this process is that no matter what our SAT or ACT score is.... we are all as condition-able as rats in a Skinner box!!!! The same 'mind' that is typing this post is tricked and conditioned EASILY by a few repetitions.


    Pavlovs Dog
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  19. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ah, you don't want to make the mistake of assuming that TMS symptoms are "meant to" do anything at all in particular - EXCEPT keep you guessing and keep you worried by behaving in ways that you absolutely can not predict or anticipate.

    I forget if your hand symptoms have been checked out medically - if they have, and if "they" can't find anything wrong, then you already know the answer. The oldest symptoms often are the hardest ones to eliminate - just like old habits. This is thought conditioning, and brain conditioning. Changing the old thought patterns and changing the old pain pathways are all part of doing this work!
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  20. Titus Groan

    Titus Groan Peer Supporter

    Yes, I did get checked out medically - a lot. Granted that was a while ago (for left hand), but the symptoms haven't exactly changed. I had an x-ray and an MRI of the hand as well as scans of my neck/spine, bloodtests and such etc. All fine. A physiotherapist once theorised I had some kind of arthritis, but that wasn't an official diagnosis. Only physical thing picked up that was thought to possibly be connected was a very slight side curve of the spine at the base of my neck, but even the doctor thought that unlikely... Sports therapist once told me that scar tissue build up was probably restricting my movement, but I'm guessing that's a load of rubbish too?

    So yeah, you're right. I know the answer! Just hard to battle paranoia in the moment sometimes, I guess. Doing well though... Very gradually starting to move into a place where I don't even have to go through the thought process of "Can I... should I ... Yes - it's TMS - I can!", but actions are beginning to become more natural and second nature. Picked up the Les Paul (my "injury" guitar) the other day and played for a couple of hours very freely. Just jamming and enjoying playing without practicing for anything specific and it was a wonderful feeling. Long may it continue!

    The danger I'm aware of currently is the desire to just "settle" for where I am and ignore some of the things I know need dealing with internally. Emotional and relational stuff which I've barely scratched the surface on. I know that if I leave it it's likely to just build up and bring the symptoms back - but I'm also aware that it's just a good idea to be emotionally and spiritually healthy! What I really think I need to do is to get into a good routine of journalling... and maybe even do the TMS course that's on here.... I've done Alan's program, but I've only glanced at the other one on here... so I should really give it a go...

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