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It's like keeping up a certain pain level - anyone else?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Birdie, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Hi there!

    Over the time I observed my TMS and noticed a certain pattern. It's like there's a sort of pain level or an "amount" of pain which is determined. To simplify it let's say there're 10 pain units. Actually I've some pain hotspots which always hurt, like shoulder & ellbow and both feet. But there're other places which tend to hurt from time to time and also some general symptoms of unwellnes like flu-like symptoms, fatique and so on.
    Ok, now let's say there're 4 pain units for my feet, 4 for my arm and two units remaining for hip pain. So the hip pain disappears and I am happy. But not very long, because the two units leftover now are either adding themselves to my foot or my arm pain which as a result is increasing or searching for a new place to settle down. Actually I really thought I got rid of my hip pain just to recognice that my "unwellness-units" shifted to my shoulder again so that I am barely able to sleep.
    And there's a vast number of possibilitis how to spread out the "units". All this different combinations of pain locations and feelings of unwellness seem to have something in common: that there always has to be a certain amount of pain. These fictional 10 units are always there, sometimes in times of maxium stress even more units are possible but never less than 10. It's like my TMS tries to maintain a certain and very destructive kind of homeostasis.
    So when some of my pain is improving I am not really happy because I know it will only shift to another place or increase some other pain.

    Did anyone else observe this kind of pattern?
    Sometimes I really feel desperated and doomed because it's like "I don't have to be happy or to get better, there's no way to come below the 10 units"

    In the last weeks I noticed some improvement of my severe foot pain which I have since 1996 (and I mean really severe because since then I was not able to walk more than about half a mile which lead to muscle dystrophy in both feet and legs). One the one hand I am very glad about it because all doctors said I have to live with and there's this strong pain memory which can't be erased. And on the other hand I think "ok, my long-term pain is getting better, that's fantastic...but: is it a real improvment or will it only shift to another place?"

    Is this the symptom imperative at work Sarno described?
    Sorry for spelling errors!
     
  2. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    I think you have cause to celebrate, Birdie, because if the pain is moving that means you're on the right track!! It's hard to see this as progress when you're in the midst of the pain, but when the pain moves, that's your subconscious saying something like, "OK, you've figured that one out...so let me exhibit pain over here!" Sarno has talked about this in his books.
    My migraine pain was the worst. I had more trouble getting rid of that than TMS in any other part of my body. One day the migraine pain showed up in a totally new location--and I knew I just about had it beat!
    Keep working the program! Many of us are living proof that it works!
     
  3. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Gigi, thanks for your answer! To be honest: I am not sure if the "moving around" is a good sign because it moved around long time before I knew about TMS. I always had some very persistent "hot spots" and sometimes, after years, the pain changed the location (from 2 years piriformis pain to one year of arm pain). Most of the time I had minor aches, too. And these minor aches always moved around. I guess when my footpain has gone and will begin to move around this will be a very good sign because it was constant since 1996, not one single day without this footpain. The improvement of this pain meant that I was able to stand for 15 minutes with only minor pain last week, normally the pain kicks in in about 5 minutes. But it's still far away from painfree, walking and standing is still very painful and most of the time I am compeletely obsessed with the symptoms although I really try to work on my anxiety about the pain. This will probably be the hardest part because I was obsessed with worst case scenarios in my mind since childhood (fear about my pet dying, fear about my parents leaving me, fear about others rejecting me, fear about school and of course: fear about lots of symptoms and illnesses like "what if I developped a house-dust-allergy? I'll have to throw away all my beloved stuffed animals!"... very hypochondriac-like :confused:). This kind of thinking pattern is very deeply ingrained.
    Never the less, I will continue with this journey because it feels right and I am very tired of constantly thinking and producing doom and gloom pain scenarios...
     
    Gigi likes this.
  4. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    Birdie,
    It has been a long time since we chatted. Do you meditate? If not are you willing to try? I think it would help you calm a lot of these things that are whirling around in your brain. Calm the thinking mind and let the ancestral mind take over for a while.
     
  5. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Matthew,
    you're right, it's been a long time since we chatted and I am very glad you responded to my question! Yes, I am meditating on a halfway regulary basis. That means I am meditating about 5-6 times a week. I do a guided healing-visualisation plus either free meditation for 20 minutes or a 20 minute body scan. Some days I do both, some days I only meditate for 20 minutes and one or two days a week I do nothing like that. Sometimes I find it annoying and sometimes I can really enjoy it and catch a small glimpse of silence and freedom! But that's not enough, I want to work more on my negative thinking patterns, using a certain stop-technique combined with visualisation & affirmation.
    Little by little the Bird(ie) builds its nest (oh I really like this idiom because in German it's not a bird but a squirrel ;))
     
  6. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Just the difference in your level of foot pain is fantastic! Way to go, Birdie!
    Anxiety is one of the hardest aspects to deal with. I have read books by Claire Weeks and others, and the "formula" that works for me is this. When TMS pain starts, I scold my subconscious for responding in this inappropriate way. Then I say to the pain, "Really? Is that the best you can do? Bring it!" That helps me break the cycle of fear--that the pain will become unbearable etc. My next step is to consciously focus on something else--some other activity. I find the pain leaves within about 20 minutes.
    After suffering from extreme plantar fasciitis for 2 years, and migraine type headaches for more than 3, I'm pretty much pain free.
    Blessings to you on the journey.
     
  7. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    Birdie,

    5-6 times a week is excellent. I try for every day, and if I get 5 times each week I am ok with that. I partake in 2 -3 guided meditations a week and do silent meditations at home. I think you are doing fabulously! In my opinion I think you want to be cured yesterday! I do that too. Many of us do. Be ok with what you are doing and where you are. It will bear fruit. Because you are DOING it. See the thread I started on are we "walking the walk" or "talking the talk". You are "walking the walk". As you say "Little by little the bird builds her nest". This is a great saying. It is how most people succeed. One step at a time. One other thing about meditation. I have done many types of meditation and I lead others in meditations. I tell people there are no good or bad meditations. What ever happens in your meditation , let it be ok. If you attain bliss, enjoy it. If you are annoyed, noticed it. Don't judge it, or try to fix it, just be curious. Try to see why you are annoyed. THAT will lead you to some real causes of your symptoms. You are getting it done!
     
  8. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    Gigi, I have a question for you. It sounds like to me, your plantar fasciitis and migraine were sever and/or debilitating symptoms. Now that they are gone, do you find you have other symptoms? Not necessarily debilitating, but annoying. I have been "severe" symptom free since 2008. I did have one short relapse (diverticulitis) that was a couple months ago. But I do find I have many "smaller symptoms".
     
  9. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Severe and debilitating were definitely the adjectives! I was in a wheelchair last Fall.
    My primary pain is gone. When stressed, the pain in my head can reappear, and I treat it as mentioned above. However, I've been virtually pain free since end of April. Feels as if I've been reborn!
     
  10. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    How do you stay pain free? For instance you said when stressed the head pain can return. Are you able to head it off?
     
  11. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Yes, I've managed to for about 3 months now.
     
  12. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Gigi, that's right, I really should honor even the "small" efforts as efforts and in fact I am really happy because I never considered my footpain to get better after so many years! I try to focus on something other than my pain, too (like my breath, some part in my body that feels good or something in the nature around me).
    Gigi, it's really awsome that you've managed to be painfree for 3 months now!!!
    You're so right, Matthew. I am often way too impatient with myself and the process. Sometimes I can feel (a little, little bit ;)) of gratitude for my pain because it really teaches me some important lessons how to deal with life. But more often I feel desperated, far away from acceptance for my situation because I really wish I had a "normal" life. Feeling gratitude for what I already have does help me in times when I tend to sink deep into self-pity.
     
  13. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Hello all,

    If acceptance feels like it's a path towards your recovery, one way of inviting acceptance of the TMS, of the symptoms and of the lack of control over the symptoms - even when we know what they are - is to acknowledge when we're not being accepting of them. Perhaps, acknowledging at times that you're desperate and exasperated by the symptoms. Once we can accept that, we may be that much closer to acceptance of the experience in total. The TMS and the pressure we have to rid ourselves of it.
     
    Forest likes this.
  14. MatthewNJ

    MatthewNJ Well known member

    Andrew, great comment. LOVE it! A TMS conundrum! My TMS is causing my TMS!
    Birdie, whenever I got in your place (and I still do), I would ask Dr. Evans when I was going to be better. I remember he would tell me.. "Matthew, it takes approximately one life time". In other words try to stop seeking a destination and enjoy the journey. ENJOY that you have had successes. You will have more of them!
     

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