1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Introducing myself

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Barb M., Jan 10, 2015.

  1. Barb M.

    Barb M. Peer Supporter

    Hello, I've been reading a lot on the wiki the past few days. I had Dr. Sarno's books probably five or more years ago, but my intellectual mind wouldn't let me absorb the ideas. My brief synopsis – I am a 52-year-old psychologist. I have had lots and lots of computer use – written four books, dissertation, etc. During a period of very heavy typing I started having what I thought were carpal tunnel symptoms. My story sounds much like other people's on here with RSI. Saw lots of doctors, had lots of PT, and ended up with a cervical spinal fusion. It did nothing to help me, and I have gotten worse over the years. I now only work part time, not by choice, but because my pain limits me. Lately, I have been extra worried and think maybe I can't work at all. I have an appointment with a neurologist in a week and a half, only because my husband urged me to make it. I have waited six months for the appointment, so I guess I will keep it. But I don't have a lot of hope. My husband is also psychologist, and a long time ago worked in the pain management center – long before all of my pain problems. He actually did not like Dr. Sarno's books and discouraged me from that line of thinking. I think he feels like I am minimizing my pain by going that route. I'm trying to explain things a little bit more to him, because I feel like I need him on board. Thank you for this great resource! I can't believe how much information is on here. I'm not sure which program to try first. I have had this pain for about nine years, and I kind of don't think I'm going to be one of the lucky ones who can just read a book and make it go away. I also have a long history of depression and anxiety and have every personality characteristic that is listed as going along with TMS. I just found a therapist/counselor who actually seems interested in exploring this avenue with me.
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  2. Buckeye

    Buckeye Peer Supporter

    I'm just starting out and just wanted to say hello.
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  3. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's my opinion based on what I've seen and heard about spinal surgeries that Dr. Sarno's methods work and that surgery emphatically does not. Sure, some people seem to get better after spinal surgery for a couple of years, but then IT comes BACK, which suggests to me, as it did to Dr Sarno, that surgery probably acts as a very strong placebo for some individuals.

    Glad you've dropped by and good to hear you like the range of TMS materials available here.

    If I were you, I'd start out by doing the SEP (Structured Education Program) available on the TMS Wiki. It should take you a bit over a month to complete and provides all kinds of opportunities for interacting with TMS Forum members.
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome Barb,
    When we're in pain, and we've tried everything, it can be hard to reach out and trust a new approach. At least for me. I was headed for surgery, could hardly walk, and a friend tried to get me "do Sarno" for months. Finally I began, right before surgery, and the first thing I did was --and you could do this with your counselor---was inquire into why I resisted the TMS diagnosis. This opened the door for me.

    I could feel a fishiness in me about my doubts, and wanted to get extremely clear. This inquiry, with the help of Ken Malloy exposed my super ego activity/self-rejection/doubts:

    1)I know so much about myself, how can this sneaky thing be happening?

    2)I have a psycho-somatic illness, which makes me weak, wrong, and non-aware (after decades of inner work); I am a miserable failure

    3)I should have known all along this was TMS, and "how wrong I've been to spend so much time and money on no relief so far"

    Once I saw these attacks and identifications and disengaged, the pain began subside immediately.

    When I hear you tell your story, there is a lot of evidence and part of you is convinced, and there is also doubt about this being true for you, this TMS explanation. So I wanted to share my story about inquiring into obscurations there. When I got done with that inquiry, I had my first short pain free 'pleasure walk' in several years. I was in tears.

    I understand your need for support in your state of pain and suffering. Part of the TMS learning (for many of us) is about individuation. If it was me, I would do the one month of this


    and ignore your husband, lovingly :):) for now.

    And Sarno in no way ever minimizes people's experience of TMS pain. That is the whiff of smug doctors who unconsciously "blame the victim" because they feel helpless to stop pain in so many people. It is a basic misunderstanding about what mind-body pain is. It is loving of your husband to feel that your pain is very real. It might help him to understand that Dr. Sarno writes that the TMS pain he witnessed and helped cure was as excruciating as any real injury could cause.

    Also, you have no idea how quickly the symptoms will resolve. In my case, just seeing the connection between my incessant super ego activity, habitual self-rejection, anxiety, etc. (I already was well aware of all this) and the TMS symptoms made the way surprisingly easy. Your self-understanding may also provide a lot of help on the path...

    Anne Walker likes this.
  5. Barb M.

    Barb M. Peer Supporter

    Thank you Bruce and Andy. I do put a lot of pressure on myself, and feel some shame even, that here I am a psychologist and have this problem. But I am human, and anyone can have this.
  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Most, if not all, of the therapists and doctors who treat TMS have had it themselves. Personal experience is often what motivates practitioners to become involved in the treatment of TMS.

    So you are in good company, Barb.

    Welcome to the Forum!
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  7. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Barb. Welcome. My husband says he understands TMS theory and has read about it, but I can tell he doesn't really believe it. Sometimes I wish he would really spend the time and invest himself in understanding more thoroughly so he could be a better support, but I don't think he's ever going to. He pretty much agrees that my pain is psychosomatic, but where it falls apart is the need to think psychologically and address my emotional conflict. I believe he feels I could just ignore the pain or think it away, which is what he does when he is in pain. When I started this work a little over 18 months ago, I had been in one form of chronic pain or another for over 20 years. I now only experience a fraction of the physical pain I used to struggle with. But I still have some anxiety and all the emotional conflict and self esteem problems that were perhaps causing me to distract myself with pain to begin with. I read Dr Sarno's book 20 years ago when I first had a ruptured disc in my back but had a hard time accepting what he was saying and ended up getting back surgery. Perhaps this time around I didn't feel like I had anywhere else to go, a true last resort, and my healing was slow, but I have experienced so many things in the process that have confirmed without any doubt that very real and stubborn pain conditions can be created by our sub-conscious in response to and as a distraction from emotional distress. I am not someone who easily believes in anything so it means a lot for me to be able to say that. About 8 months ago, as I was getting over a chronic right-sided neck/head pain, my left shoulder started hurting. It was very painful and I could not lift my arm. I tried to apply everything I had learned from TMS but the pain did get to me and I started googling and trying to figure out what it could possible be. It really felt like an injury. After some research, I concluded that it was probably a torn rotator cuff and I found some exercises that might help it. A few days later, mid exercise, I stopped myself and asked "Really? What is the liklihood that I would suddenly get a torn rotator cuff just as my pain was subsiding from occipital neuraligia? I don't even remember how I could have injured it!" I wish I could say that the realization it was TMS suddenly made the pain go away. But I did decide that I was not going to see a doctor or do anymore exercises. I was going to treat it as TMS because I knew it was TMS. It really did its best to convince me that it was structural, but I had enough experience with TMS to be more persistent. I think you are going to do extremely well with all of this and your experience as a psychologist will only help.
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  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here I hear a lot of self compassion Barb. May this flower even more as a rightful way to hold your awareness. Simply knowing and accepting this observation you made is a big start to working skillfully with TMS: how your structures and emotional life might create symptoms, and (wonderfully) allowing this awareness with acceptance.
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  9. Barb M.

    Barb M. Peer Supporter

    Thank you, everyone! Now I'm obsessing that even though I believe it is psychological, I'm such a mess it will take forever, or be impossible, to get through all of my issues! I also had the realization that I may need my pain still and I should take it slow. I am a huge overachiever and worked myself way too hard. The pain is the only thing that stopped me. How can I reassure the scared little me inside that I'll protect myself from myself? I am afraid if I was out of pain today that I'd be overwhelmed--I'm so used to structuring my life around the pain? Would I get a full time job? Write another book? How will I know what I truly want to do and not let those pushy parts of my personality take over? Even if it is for a good cause... Just over the weekend a health writer I really respect asked if I would moderate a forum for her on a website she has started. I want to do it, because it's a good opportunity and I want to help her out. But it's more computer time, which is what I "think" makes my pain worse. And I'm just starting this TMS work...
  10. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Barb. I think so much of this work has to do with allowing ourselves to listen and pay attention to the voice that tells us what we need AND accepting that we deserve to have our needs met, that it is possible. I grew up very young and took responsibility not only for myself but for those around me. Rarely did I think about what I needed, what I needed was to help my family survive the chaos. When I look at my children and reflect on all the things I worried about and took care of at a much earlier age then they are now, it is easy for me to see how demanding and hard I have always been on myself. Retraining a lifetime of thinking patterns and a survival mode mentality has been a real process for me. I can very much relate to the fear of overwhelm for all of life's many aspirations without the pain. You are anticipating this before it has even happened and I have spent the last year and a half getting completely overwhelmed whenever the pain subsides! I feel I need to make up for lost time! I am prone to dramatics and it is pretty much pain or change the world and difficult to be satisfied with anything in between. But I am learning. The biggest takeaway for me is the old cliche of taking things one day at a time, and being in the moment. I am a planner, a producer, a mover of mountains. I can manage what no one else can! And then I can't manage at all. Practice telling yourself that when you truly feel ready and want to moderate a forum, you'll accept without doubt or hesitation. Think about what you do know well and explore what it might take and how you can step into a different way of relating to the world. I know for myself, I know how to achieve, get things done, take care of others, worry, predict all the things that might happen in the future and prepare for them. I have had to relearn and discover how to do the things I enjoy(and enjoy them!) laugh, sleep, drink in the sunshine, feel that all is right and okay with the world. I had a conflict with a client at work today. It got pretty emotional and heated. Afterwards my right shoulder and head was super tight and in pain. In the past I probably would have had a big reaction, wondering why my pain had come back, berating myself for not successfully overcoming TMS, worry about my future... Instead I just noticed that this was my body's reaction to a difficult situation. By the time I got home, the pain was gone. And here I am writing this. Try not to worry about how long your healing is going to take you. Have confidence that it will come and you will enjoy the process along the way. Very little has unfolded the way I thought it would. What is happening today, what can you do in this moment to take the edge off, to make it just a little bit less? How can you be kinder to yourself? How can you take the pressure off? Trust yourself. Overachievers don't just stop achieving(unless they are in such pain that they are forced to!) but you can still get plenty done and enjoy life as well. It is possible. I had a wonderful therapist tell me once that there is enough time for the things that matter the most. I love that.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
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  11. Barb M.

    Barb M. Peer Supporter

    Anne, thank you for taking the time out of your evening to write this, especially after your stressful day. I am going to print out this whole thread and keep it with me and reread it OFTEN. So much wisdom and kindness.
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