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Is there anything else I can do to help my Mum?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Catherine20, Feb 21, 2023.

  1. Catherine20

    Catherine20 New Member


    Please can you help my Mum, she has had facial pain for about 3 years, she has seen specialists and had lots of tests, all with clear results. Although it's intermittent, but daily, it does seem to be when she eats or drinks, well the majority of the time or it can be random, it wakes her up in the middle of the night also when she is sleeping.

    I've seen it worsen under stress, 3 months ago she had a triple heart bypass (she is 75), but we have also lost my dad and the family dog in the last 2 years. For about 6 weeks after her operation she didn't have the facial pain, but now it has come back, she says the pain feels slightly different and has moved to another area of her face, her mouth.

    I've told her about TMS and she believes this is what it can be, I've got her journalling and reading a couple of TMS books, but it doesn't seem to be shifting. She finds it difficult to find things to write down. Should I get professional help?

  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a tough one, Catherine. At 75, if your mother has no clue how to access her unconscious negative emotions and fears, it won't be easy for her to learn how to approach that kind of vulnerability while in the grip of the ultimate existential crisis, which of course is the inevitability of mortality. Isolation and abandonment are the other things she's dealing with, and she may be starting to fear losing her independence. And all of these things might be deeply repressed which, voila, leads to symptoms. And at almost 72 I know what I'm talking about.

    I was 60 in 2011 when I found this work, and had not yet experienced several losses in a row, followed by several years of national dysfunction, followed by a worldwide pandemic, and I feel like it had to be easier to work on my lifelong TMS symptoms and learn how to be vulnerable to my negative repressed emotions without those additional distractions. So there's that to take into consideration as well - your mom has got a lot to deal with.

    Therapy could help but only if she's open to it, and honestly, it could take a while because, again, not even a hint of a clue.

    So what do you think? How do you feel about broaching these topics with her? Writing is actually a good place to start, and one thing you could do is let her know that "journaling" does NOT mean keeping a formal journal. When I started out I found that I was holding back and editing what I wrote. I independently decided that I was going to throw everything away, which turns out to be the advice given by many experts. David Hanscom MD calls it "expressive writing" instead of journaling. I call it "writing shit down" and I use old notebook paper and free-write whatever comes into my head (even if the first sentence is "huh, okay, what was on my mind today, and how am I feeling right now?" My handwriting isn't even legible, which doesn't matter since I throw it away immediately.

    One of the easiest (and very effective) writing techniques is the "unsent letter" which can be written to anyone, dead or alive, present or from the past. Not to be read by the other person, of course.

    If your mom enjoys audio programs, Nicole Sachs LCSW is a terrific resource and has a free podcast available on all the platforms (start with the first ones in 2018. Her book is The Meaning of Truth.

    Good luck to you both!
  3. Catherine20

    Catherine20 New Member

    Thanks Jan, that's why it's frustrating, she's always been a closed person, so of course tougher to heal, I'll point out Nicole Sachs to her though, I think just reading and beginning to get some understanding of TMS is helping but obviously not enough.

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