1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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It's a process...

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow! I really enjoy reading your prompt Forest, and the responses above. I feel like my process is implicitly understood on may levels, and I am grateful for the support here.

    I am about 18 months into my recovery from severe foot pain.

    My learning/relearning right now is around “thinking psychologically.” I think this is the beginning of the process and the end too. It is so fundamental. And a long-term project for me, which has revealed deeper and deeper layers.

    This resonates with me:

    There is one thing to avoid. We don't want to take the same obsessional tendencies that got us in trouble in the first place and turn those to a different process.

    Let me explain. I notice an uncomfortable or “stiff” sensation in my feet and all the thinking patterns from my long days of pain emerge--almost unconsciously—I want to recoil, delay movement, reduce flexion, reduce weighting on the foot. All of this is very subtle. I'm hiking vigorously up a hill, but these patterns are activated just below the surface. These processes activate and they are taken for granted at a semi-conscious level. In my mind, subtle fears arise that the many “physical diagnoses” doctors assigned my pain may actually be correct. I entertain fears of more pain. All these activities arise together as a sort of “script” which seems to have a life of its own. The discussions on “nerve pathways” resonates with me here, both in the body, and in the brain.

    Thinking psychologically has many levels. I remind myself that as my foot pain dropped off, I started getting some migraines, and then this summer I saw that those were TMS and they went away. My old whiplash pain, from two accidents, lingering for 10 years, is gone all by itself, without working on it... ”Sarno is right, and that is why I am hiking up a hill instead of nursing scars from nerve surgery.” I notice that when the discomfort arises, I inquire about what kind of pressure I feel I am under, both from myself and from others.

    But deeper, I can feel compassion for the mind-body suffering that I have endured. With my compassion also comes a sort of matter-of-fact appreciation for this TM syndrome. It just is. It is almost universal in humans. It doesn't make me wrong. That said, what kind of action can I take? What do I know works? What works is seeing the syndrome in its truth, and how my conditioned patterns of thought fuel that syndrome.

    This is growth for me, to have compassion for my suffering, rather than beating myself up for suffering, or catastrophizing, pouring more fear onto my fear. This approach, of observing the syndrome get activated, and dealing with it directly by witnessing and not going along with it, and not beating myself up for having it, is a notable growth for me. This easeful approach is more naturally at hand. It addresses fears too: I remind myself, and understand that I can use the techniques that cured me, if pain arises.

    With this, the thinking patterns that I was dealing with around “maintaining a perfect cure” are softening. This is a relief. 12 months ago I was more run by beliefs that I shouldn't have any stiffness or pain, or believing that I am a failure for still having some symptoms. I was more caught in believing my super ego ideals about what my experience “should be” if I was “more perfect” or “less wrong.” I see this loosening around the inner critic, and loosening of constricted beliefs about who I have to be in order to be “safe” is part of the grace of the TMS. The softening is hard-won, coming from witnessing these difficult patterns. The world of a constricted suffering Andy, in physical pain and psychological pain is not gone. It is a dimension of experience that can arise and subside, and that's OK. The less I worry about it, the more quickly this suffering subsides. This level of acceptance is important to me now, and part of a deeper learning about “thinking psychologically.”
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Andy B what you have written above is just incredible! There is so much wisdom there, and it is so beautifully and thoughtfully written. It is something I'll reread often.

    Thank you
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  3. tigerlilly

    tigerlilly Well known member

    The old nerve pathways of pain will always be there, programmed in our brains and waiting for an opportunity to rear their ugly heads. What we choose to allow our brains/mind to do with those signals is entirely up to us. It's empowering to learn that we can control those pathways - to make a choice to let the old ones go and to allow the new ones to become stronger.

    How do I do personally do that?

    I make a choice to let go of the fear. The bottom line is that fear = pain. If you can learn to let go of the fear, the pain will leave you. When I start to feel pain crop up, I will simply say "There is nothing physically wrong with me" and I will push through and ignore that pain. I must choose, at that moment, to quickly make a conscious effort to dismiss that initial fear that quivers in my gut when I feel a twinge of pain. That mind process that resonates deep in my belly and goes "oh no - what if?" I choose to ignore. To dismiss it. I push through. At the times that I do have pain, I respect it. But I won't fear it. I choose to be stronger than the fear, and I won't let it feed off of me. I won't be its victim. It is a conscious decision that I find I need to make on a daily basis. I won't over-think or analyze it anymore, however, I do feel that doing so is definitely healthy in the beginning of discovering yourself through TMS. You must become immersed in it - you need to do this in order to discover yourself and to find out what makes you tick - and to learn how to create those new positive nerve pathways within yourself.

    Here is some information I just posted for another TMS'er. Hopefully you can glean some pearls along the way. I am now 99% pain free and am able to live a normal life, after having been in excruciating bedridden pain for almost a year.

    I know that it's a hard leap of faith to buy into TMS and ignore everything the doctors are telling you. But you MUST - you must divorce everything you have learned conventionally and you must believe TMS 1000%, no matter what. I don't care how much it makes sense on paper and in your mind to say that "x symptoms = a structural problem." Trust me when I tell you that I know how hard that is to do. Your mind will never give up in trying to convince you otherwise, even after you've made progress. I don't know if you have read my other posts or not, but the BOTTOM LINE that I have learned from the pain is this: PAIN EQUALS FEAR. Everything that you want is on the other side of fear. Remember that. It's an important mantra as you start this journey. Conquer the fear, lose the pain. It's that simple. And yet, that difficult. We live in a society where fear reigns supreme. If you stop and ponder that, you will see it. All the fear from the media. Entertainment (books, movies, TV, etc). All the doctors journals and ads telling us about all those diseases that are out there. Fear. Fear. Fear. Divorce it - do not buy into it anymore!!!

    What is interesting is that as I was starting to make progress, my back would "go out," or at least that's what I would call it. That horrible crippling feeling where you can hardly move, and you feel like the only thing that will help is by going to get a chiropractic adjustment. That's what I used to do in the past. This time, I ignored the pain, and I did as much as I physically could do (albeit in slow motion!) I would repeat over and over again that there was nothing physically wrong with me. Three days later, guess what? The pain went away. I didn't need a physical adjustment; I needed a mental adjustment!! It worked. After that, no matter what my mind/brain tried to get me to believe, I fought it and repeated over and over again (silently and out loud depending on the situation): THERE IS NOTHING PHYSICALLY WRONG WITH ME. And then I would move forward in doing as much as I physically could do in that moment. The pain eventually started to melt away...........SO slowly. But it did melt. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't experienced it myself. So you are probably going through all of those doubts right now that everyone experiences on this journey. Use this forum to read success stories and build up your faith. If you fall momentarily, be determined to get back in the saddle. You WILL be successful.

    Here are the tools that helped me personally to heal, for whatever it is worth:

    • Healing Back Pain (Dr. Sarno) - both the physical book and the audio book (there is something soothing about hearing Dr. Sarno speak, and you can replay it over and over again as you have doubts)
    • The Great Pain Deception (Steve Ozanich). Nothing short of amazing. A must read.
    • Hope and Help For Your Nerves (Claire Weekes) - both the audio version and the book. Again, hearing Dr. Weekes voice on the audio is so helpful - it is like she is holding your hand through the journey.
    • Journaling. I created a journal on Microsoft Note, and typed my little fingers away. Face the past. Face the fears. Let the tears run. And allow yourself to heal.
    • Breathing exercises. Meditation. I didn't do this as much as I would have liked, but found it to be very soothing and helpful in calming my nerves and pain.
    • My three favorite mantras that resonated within me (and you will find your own that works for you): "There is nothing physically wrong with me." "Everything that you want is on the other side of fear." "I am fearless."
    Cheers to all - you are a wonderful group of support. I couldn't have done this without all of you!!
  4. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    OMGosh! The richness of this thread! What a great topic you kicked off, Forest. Love, love, LOVE everything you all have contributed.

    Here's my daily routine: (Well, almost anyway…we just got back from holiday and between that and our move 2 months ago, things are still a bit in pieces.)

    Read daily about TMS. My most dog-eared book from frequent references is SteveO's book.
    I listen to Dr. Sarno's voice narrating Healing Back Pain.
    I started re-listening to Dr. Schubiner's teleseminar….this is especially comforting to me since I got to have an appointment with him this past summer.
    I exercise daily.
    I frequently speak affirmations aloud.
    I practice mindfulness several times through out the day but especially in the afternoon where I do a 20-30 minute guided imagery by Dr. Martin Rossman or Jon Kabbat Zin.

    I could go on and on….TMS really has changed how I live my life and I think I'm a better person because of it. (The goodist in me is pleased at that thought. ;) )
    But like you all say, it's a work in process. Some days are great and some are not so great. Some are just downright shitty. But I acknowledged it and try to remember that I am not my feelings. And I sojourn on.
    hecate105, JanAtheCPA, Forest and 3 others like this.
  5. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow Andy - wow. Awesome brother. You have Won. Thank You for so much Wisdom of Your knowledge.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  6. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a Great list too North Star. Awesome
    North Star likes this.
  7. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a Wonderful Post, Love it. Thanks tigerlilly
    tigerlilly and North Star like this.
  8. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Herbie, it's great to read your posts again. TMS, as we all know, comes and goes as we live our lives and react to current stresses.
    I always keep positive, telling myself what my Mom always told us kids: "This too shall pass" and "It'll all come out in the wash" (the laundry.)

    I've been finding some really good videos on YouTube related to meditation and "goodism":

    "10 Minute Guided Meditation to East Anxiety, Worry, Urgency."

    "How to Meditate -- the No B.S. Guide to Meditation."

    "How Your Brain Can Turn Anxiety into Calmness."
    From Dr. Martin Rossman, University of California Medical School.

    "How to Stop Caring What People Think of You."

    It's all good MindBody stuff to help with TMS healing.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  9. riv44

    riv44 Well known member

    I am beginning to make changes in stuck relationship patterns and how I treat myself. I am amazed at where this work takes me in two months. I am optimistic about the future for the first time. Ever.
    hecate105 likes this.
  10. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    great segment

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