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Is Chronic Fatigue TMS?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Explorer, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member

    Hi All:

    It’s been a while since I’ve written to the forum. I was thinking I was a month away from writing a success story on the forum. For the new folks, I was diagnosed in June with Fibromyalgia. This put me in a tail spin of anxiety and depression until I learned about TMS. Long story short I got back to my life, but in better way. I was enjoying my work on interesting projects and learned where to focus my time and energy to get that job done. I was spending time with my family and friends and really living my dreams. I did have that last small percent of pain that did not interfere with my workouts or anything in my life for that matter. I was reaching out via phone and helping others as well. The goal is, to eventually start a TMS clinic in my area.

    After learning about TMS, I took all the information in blindly, did the work, saw a TMS doc and therapist and got on with my life. There were not that many TMS success stories on fibro I could find on the wiki, but I surrounded myself with TMS experts and TMS friends and worked through the process.

    Then BAMM, last Wednesday I was hit with chronic fatigue. This symptom is not new to me as I remember having bouts of fatigue in my twenties and thirties that would last a day or so, then last January 2012, I was hit with a bout that lasted almost two months. I couldn’t lift my arms over my head and no matter how much rest I had, I was not restored. Six months later the fibro like symptoms kicked in.

    Only saw two success stories on chronic fatigue. The difference between pain and fatigue, in my case is that with the pain, I could go out and do things such as work out or meet with friends on my lunch hour. These things make me happy. With the fatigue, that’s do-able but exhausting.

    Would be interested in hearing from anyone who had chronic fatigue, a TMS equivalent, and how they overcame it.

    I know that I will figure out what’s needed for full healing on this journey. I anticipate only a joyful, happy life.

    Sienna and Ellen like this.
  2. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Susan

    Your question sounds like it could be a good one for the Q&A with an expert section of the wiki. Perhaps an expert will come along and share their views. In the meantime I will give you the layman's view.

    Anytime a condition is preceded by the word 'chronic' I automatically think 'TMS'. If fibromyalgia is an extreme form of TMS, it stands to reason that CFS would be too. You say that you were almost at the point of writing a success story and then whamo you are hit with another symptom. Remember, every last bit of doubt has to go. If you are asking whether CFS is TMS, it appears you aren't sure, want confirmation and are thus in doubt. CFS is a further distraction, a last ditch attempt to get you doubting and derail your healing.

    On the positive side you are still able to do things like go out and socialise even if you find it exhausting. This is great because you continue to live your life, do what you enjoy and send a message to your brain that you will carry on whatever it decides to throw at you. Last January you didn't know anything about TMS, I presume, so your fatigue lasted a while. Now you are empowered with knowledge and peer support. Be kind to yourself and just take it one moment at a time. You have no deadline. You will write that success story some day. I don't think you can put a measure on which day, week or month but you will write one. I look forward to reading it.

    As for my own personal experience, I had some nasty fatigue creep up on me just at a time when I had decided to get fit and start a walking regime a few years ago. I got very annoyed but at the time I didn't put two and two together. It served its purpose. I stopped the walking, felt lousy about myself and continued to focus on physical symptoms.

    I have been reading a thread on a forum totally unrelated to health. Someone started a discussion about fibromyalgia, ME and CFS this week. Some of the comments made by sufferers were unreal. It made me so sad to hear them acknowledge how there is nothing they can do but live with the pain, the drugs and all their side effects. Take heart that you saved yourself from all that.

    jennyc19, Sienna, Ellen and 1 other person like this.
  3. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Explorer, if this anecdote gives you a perspective on your CFS, good: The only person I ever ran into with CFS was a hard-driven yuppie over-achiever who was working 15-hour days in a Silicon Valley start 'em up after flunking out of a Ph.D. program at Oregon State. Took him about 3 years of round the clock workaholism to start going CFS symptomatic. Weaker and weaker until his GF had to cook for him and he could only come in the office 20-hours per week. He may not have had TMS symptoms (back pain, leg pain, wrist pain), but his CFS certainly emerged from his insane work ethic, which was probably the result of the professors telling him he "wasn't quite smart enough to be one of us". Incidentally, he also had that blank, stoic, impassive stare of someone who was really pressing themselves to achieve while repressing all human emotions. Wouldn't joke, wouldn't interact with the other employees, would only work on technical manuals. I think in the Silicon Valley, they have a name for CFS: they call it "Yuppie Disease"! And based on my experience with this guy, I can certainly see why! So, in answer to your question, I'd quite definitely say that CFS is at least a TMS equivalent that could develop as your TMS symptoms subside by the process Dr Sarno calls "symptom substitution".
  4. RikR

    RikR Well known member

    Hey Susan

    I would not catastrophise it into chronic fatigue unless it goes on for months. An over driven nervous system can switch from the sympathetic arousal system to the parasympathetic that is supposed to calm you but when it is driven too far it causes fatigue and sick feelings.
    Ellen likes this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    This sounds so frustrating, Explorer! I agree with YB and Morcomm - it sounds like symptom substitution to me. You do acknowledge that CFS is a TMS equivalent, so that's good. But when you were describing your recent life and activities, before the BAM!, I was already having a gut reaction that you seemed kind of driven - and now I'm wondering: what's still unresolved?

    Everyone's going to get sick of hearing this from me, but right now I'm totally excited by Dr. Gabor Mate. I've been reading his book "When The Body Says No" and last night watched this video that Morcomm told me about (posted by Jilly): http://tmswiki.org/forum/media/dr-gabor-maté-how-stress-can-cause-disease.39/
    I just wonder if you're a person who regularly has a hard time saying NO. Dr. Mate's premise is that if you won't say NO, your body will eventually do it for you. Of course fibro and CFS are on his list of conditions caused by this syndrome.

    This guy is brilliant - he describes tough conditions, but I find his message to be very life-affirming and inspiring.

    Anyway - if you're as driven as my gut thinks you are, maybe your body (via your brain, of course) is telling you to back off. Perhaps you need to examine why you've substituted physical symptoms (the prior fibro) with this drive to achieve. Perhaps you're secretly (hidden from your conscious self) afraid you won't achieve everything you set out to do and you're beating yourself up. Perhaps you just need to stop measuring your success, and simply start loving yourself (easier said than done, I know).

    Although, it does appear that we need CFS success stories - so I guess you're on the hook for that! :p (no pressure)

  6. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I've never had CFS but I have had short bouts of fatigue that were definitely part of TMS.

    I believe you had seen a TMS doctor before?--maybe you could call him/her and get reassurance that this is just another symptom substitution?

    Congrats on being pain free!
  7. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member

    Hi All:

    Thanks for your support. I am feeling much better now and my energy is returning. I see the last two months now as an endless array of running, running and more running to prove to myself that I had kicked my TMS. Even though I am happy and having fun, I am burning energy that my system does not have at the moment as my nervous system repairs itself. I need more meditation, moderate walking and just a whole lot of self love at the moment.

    I also think I need to focus more on my nutrition. Since getting TMS my diet has gone to heck in a hand bag causing my sugar levels to rise and fall with a vengence.

    TMS fatigue is a symptom imperrative saying - slow down Susan, you've got more to understand.

    Off to have lunch with a friend. The journey continues............
    jennyc19 and Sienna like this.
  8. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    I am currently experiencing chronic fatigue that has been going on for about 1.5 years. It struck when I did the HcG diet July/August 2011. I started seeing a naturopath in February 2012 when traditional medicine didn't work. I do not have access to a TMS doctor so I have had to make a self diagnosis (which I think is why I still haven't completely prescribed to the diagnosis) based on the fact that neither conventional nor natural medicine has alleviated the fatigue. It got a lot better while working with the naturopath but it is still very present.

    I know what you mean about wanting to see more success stories involving CFS... You and I will just have to write our CFS success stories when we've healed! :)

    I also have multiple food sensitivities, cognitive dysfunction (which could actually be attributed to the insomnia, I'm sure), insomnia, anxiety and maybe depression. All "equivalents" with few, if any, success stories. I find it somewhat frustrating that I have all of the equivalents and none of the pain lol. I think pain would be easier to tolerate than being so flat out tired that all I can do when I get off work is come home and throw on PJs, feeling so absolutely spacey that I'm surprised some days that I even still have a job...
    Mclean, jennyc19 and AMarie like this.
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Layne, I sympathize with you - but I also want to encourage you, if nothing else makes sense ("they can't find anything wrong") that you do whatever it takes to continue to accept the TMS diagnosis.

    I am 100% self-diagnosed, and immediately stopped going to two PTs and a cranio-sacral doc. I had very little pain, most of which went away following the "book cure" (after reading The Divided Mind) but my neuro symptoms, particularly dizziness, continue to fluctuate. I've had some really spacey days myself, lately, but recognizing the cause (the emotional cause, that is), and knowing it's TMS, make me stronger and better able to cope.

    Before discovering Dr. Sarno, I thought I was developing food sensitivities, but I banished those pretty fast, because I didn't believe in them in the past, and certainly wasn't going to believe in them "After Sarno" :cool:

    Which isn't to say I don't have firm beliefs about what constitutes a good diet - poor Stock Trader asked a simple question about diet and GERD, and got an earful from me just now :eek:

    Yeah, you two - we know you will!

    Sienna likes this.
  10. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    I really appreciate the reminder on the Gabor Mate stress video. I am also a huge fan. i will try to listen to him this weekend.
  11. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member


    I agree with Jan, when she told me too look a little deeper at causes of my fatigue, it hit me in the face, this is simply TMS symptom substitution. The cause of my fatigue is fear of abandonment and being alone. And let me tell you, these past 10 days of fatigue where certainly a DISTRACTION.

    I also had to look hard at how my superego was driving me over the last few months. I really never gave my body a chance to heal fully.

    There is hope. Today I feel much better and the fatigue is lifting. That said, I did a lot of crying to friends and family over the last week which helped me greatly with the stress of –“oh no, I’ll be sitting on the couch for the rest of my life” thinking.

    Also, I am being careful not to label myself as a sick person. I bought the book called CFS Recovery which contains 50 stories of people who fully recovered from CFS. There were dozens of methods used to heal, which made me believe that once these folks got their emotions under control they got back to living fully healthy and productive lives. Be careful though, some of the stories are grueling, but they all end well. CFS is TMS.

    One common thread that I did see in the book was good nutrition. I tend to eat well about 50% of the time. Not good. I thought about seeing a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist, however, my TMS MD advised me not to because it places the focus back on the body. I also don’t want nutrition to become my TMS.

    I think what helped me overcome the fatigue, and I still have a little way to go, I to just love myself exactly as I am. Yield and overcome as they say. I also talked to my husband about my fears and started eating a lot better.

    There is more work to be done on my end………. I have to relax and enjoy the journey…………
    Sienna and JanAtheCPA like this.
  12. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    It's crazy that you mention nutrition as your TMS... I really believe that I have done just that. I eat healthy 100% of the time. It's ridiculous. Right around the same time I began getting fatigued, the diet I was on was REALLY strict and that's when I found out about all the "sensitivities" and my menu of available foods got smaller and smaller and smaller until now, the only things that don't set off a cascade of anxiety and GI issues can be counted on both hands. Seriously.

    I am not giving up but Jesus, enough is enough. This diet thing really, really angers me and has for a while. It's beyond frustrating.
  13. RikR

    RikR Well known member

    Haivng anxiety transferred to food is so commom - I have been there and I have a friend who is there now. All he can eat is white rice, peas and chicken breast......anything else he is convenced willl flare him
    Layne likes this.
  14. Explorer

    Explorer Well known member

    Hi All:

    Just a little clarification. We don't want nutrition to become our TMS. Limiting foods, for me, would make me angry, exactly what Sarno says causes TMS.

    I truly believe my body has all it needs to become whole. But for me that starts with my head. Working on my fears is a number one priority. These fears hurt my body. Taking the time to talk to my family and friends this past week was so healing. Just to cry, cry and cry some more and talk about my emotions was wonderful.

    Today I feel good and will go to the gym and do a gentle walk versue beating up my body as I've done for the last month or so.

    The one thing that was more important that anything in the book I mentioned, was that sheer will that folks had to get well. Recovery stories are so inspiring.

    So bottom line, today I will eat healthy, because it makes me feel good, tomorrow I may have a cheese burger. Who knows... :p

    Have a great week!!!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  15. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great discussion, guys and gals - and Explorer, this is great news! I'm happy for you!

    But Layne - I am distressed for you! Life is WAY too short to not enjoy what you eat! What are you doing to work on that? You don't want to end up like Rik's friend!

    I mentioned that at my worst, I was on the verge of believing that I had food sensitivities - Thank You, Dr. Sarno, for saving me from that! When I read how IBS and all the weird digestive issues were TMS equivalents, I was pretty happy. I would love it if you could be happy with that knowledge, too!


    PS Explorer - nothing wrong with a burger every once in a while - just make sure it's a GOOD one. That's my theory about food - everything in moderation, just make sure it's good quality. No fake food allowed in my life! :cool:
  16. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    The thing with the food sensitivities is that my naturopath fully endorsed them. Every time I would see her I would have developed a new one and she just laughed it off - "add another one to the list!" she told me... I love her dearly and I wouldn't be where I am without her, health (psychologically and physically) wise but I definitely think it was her belief that solidified my belief. I didn't know much about TMS then. BUT! I have good news - the other night at my Dad'd birthday dinner I decided to indulge in some foods that I would have avoided before and guess what?! No reaction! I think the amount of sugar I took in was a little overwhelming for my body but other than that I was/am fine! I am heading in the right direction!

    As for what I am doing to address it, Jan, I have journaled a bit about it, but I need to go deeper I think. I know that it has to do with a fear of getting fat again. I have always struggled with overeating under stress and at one point I was really heavy. I lost 70 pounds and am really scared to gain any of it back. That could be the perfectionist. It could also be a form of punishment. I always felt SO guilty for overeating and also I notice the all or nothing thinking here - when I would overeat I wouldn't be able to keep it to once or twice. I would think "well, I did it yesterday so I can do it today, too" which would turn into doing it for weeks, months... Or I would deny it. For example, I would tell myself "it's not like I do it all the time, I can do it this once." But I would say it over and over again until it clicked that yeah, I did do it all the time now. It's like once I start I can't stop. So I think it's my subconscious' way of protection against getting overeating and getting fat. Only problem is it creates a great deal of anger and isolation.

    I have also been thinking about how it's almost a "proof" that I am different. I have always felt like the outcast, the black sheep, the one everyone picked on. Food is a very social thing and so the social aspect of eating has been severely limited by my sensitivities. I can't eat where everyone else can eat, etc... It's almost like my subconscious is using it as an excuse to show me just how much of an outcast I really am.

    I have started tapping (eft) on food and it has made a huge difference so far. I am going to keep using that and see what happens. :)
  17. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Layne, this is very insightful, and I'll bet that you are headed in the right direction! And congrats on the dinner party! Maybe it wasn't the sugar, maybe you were just high on success! :D

    I hope you can use your insight to really love yourself and giving yourself credit for how far you've come. EFT uses positive affirmations, right? (I think?) You know what your negative and unloving thoughts are - the challenge will be to cut them off in the moments when they occur and replace them with positive ones that make you feel good about becoming inclusive and "not different". You'll have to be able to recognize when the negative thoughts come up and think of your EFT affirmations even if you're in a situation where you can't do your tapping.

    You've got a really difficult balancing act going on! Losing 70 pounds is a tremendous achievement and something to be proud of along with the health benefits, so you have every right to focus on maintaining your healthy weight. Try to replace the self-imposed negative warnings and fears with positive reinforcements.

    By the way, you described perfectly the conversation I have unconsciously had many times with myself as I try to justify a new eating habit that is simply self-indulgent and results in weight gain and/or sugar fog. I am going to try to remember this the next time I am tempted to go on some kind of pointless snack binge - so thank you for that!

    AMarie likes this.
  18. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    PS - I meant to say something about your naturopath. So many alternative practitioners really mean well, but they don't realize how much of their advice just feeds into TMS distraction theory. Focusing on food sensitivities works as a placebo - until it doesn't, then you "add another one to the list" and everyone laughs a bit. While crying inside.

    I had a chiropractor who I saw for years and years, who was actually a bit frustrated that she couldn't "fix" me. She recommended massage, exercises, swimming, and different specialist PTs. I dropped her like a hot potato when a craniosacral doc told me I didn't need it - and I dropped him a year later when I discovered Dr. Sarno and diagnosed myself with TMS. Interestingly, when he told me I didn't need chiro, my A-O joint stopped going out, because he said I could keep it in by myself. And I did. A year later, I discovered why.

  19. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Some "alternative" practitioners still have the same structural/something-is-wrong-with-you-you're-fragile view that a lot of Western MDs have.

    (I'm an alternative health practitioner myself and that attitude drives me insane!)

    If your naturopath is someone you work with a lot, maybe you can tell her about TMS? My acupuncturist learned about TMS through me and was a big support. She was willing to change the whole focus of our treatment so we weren't talking about getting rid of headaches, but instead working on overall balance/emotional healing.
  20. AMarie

    AMarie New Member

    I realize this is an old thread, but hoping to get some help here (and this post is cross-posted in other threads about chronic fatigue). I'm a true believer/survivor, as I suffered from chronic back pain years ago and recovered after learning about TMS, visiting Dr. Schechter (I lived in L.A. at the time but I'm on the East Coast now), watching his DVD and doing his 30-day workbook. It was incredible. AND years before that I had a food allergy that would only occur while I was at work -- I quit and it went away. But for over a year I've been chronically fatigued, and I can't get it to go away. There isn't something physically wrong with me, and I know that the stress of my life (pre- and post-COVID) weighs on me, as I'm a single parent not making much money. But I used to be able to tell my back pain to go away when it would creep in, and it would work. It doesn't work with the fatigue!
    Part of the problem, I think, is that with pain the main goal is to be pain-free. But with fatigue, the main goal is to go to sleep. I don't want to feel alive and energized, I just want to go to bed. The other idea is that there is so much literature about pain, plus the DVD had so many different people with different pain stories, the workbook specifically addresses pain, etc., but there's barely anything I can find that specifically addresses fatigue and overcoming it with your mind. I think it makes me doubt that it's really a do-able thing to make it go away. I've been sooo exhausted for sooo long. It took a couple of weeks just to get myself to type this! I need help. Any thoughts, stories, resources, etc. would be so appreciated. I feel like I'm wasting so much of my life because of my lack of energy to do things and the brain fog that keeps me from being creative or moving forward. I've been doing the 30-day workbook (although admittedly it's taken me months to do, because at night I've been too tired to do it!) and it hasn't been helping. I'm going to finish it and do it again though.
    Thanks for anything and everything :)

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