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Ive beaten everything else, but this continues to stump me:

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by avik, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. avik

    avik Well known member

    Just to preface: 38 year old male, have experienced virtually every single TMS equivalent over the past 12 years, ALL chronically.

    Can happily say I beat it all (including the dreaded fibromyalgia diagnosis) BUT, one thing has eluded me for 12 years...

    I have Chronic Swollen Parotid Glands (the glands under your ear, right next to your jaw joint). They go up and down at will, and when they swell, its incredibly painful.
    Ive had every test known to man, had one exploratory surgery, diet changes and on and on...and NOTHING (ive seen over 30 specialists including the worlds leading parotid gland surgeon). Drs tell me I am healthy as a horse.

    I think this is TMS. I don't know what else could possibly convince me, but I am honestly not 100% of the way there yet. So, what to do now?
    What I did in the past (journalling and then just ignoring) is not working on this.

    Id like to admit one thing: my jaw-line has always been my favorite physical feature. When these glands swell, they completely hide that feature. Is my brain messing with me somehow with the one vanity-related/physical attribute about myself that I really like?

    Just throwing that out there....would love to hear your thoughts/advice.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  2. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Very interesting, Avik! I had to chuckle...my jaw line, or lack of it rather, is my LEAST favorite feature. (Thank you, dad!) And I've actually wondered if I've fueled this characteristic by negative self-talk and fixation over the years.

    All I can toss out is I continue to be SHOCKED at the creativity of TMS. My achilles tendons can swell and look normal throughout a day. I can sit and watch muscles twitch. The list can go on and on.

    The fact that your issue has been chronic AND everyone's come up empty as far as a diagnosis....puts it under TMS, as far as my understanding goes. And if it does bother your confidence when your glands our swollen...might there be something behind this where you're punishing yourself? Again, I'm just tossing that out.

    I have been pondering lately over a persist and painful scar and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm fueling a self-punishment which keeps the scar continuing in its painful growth.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    The symptom that threatens our self-image the most will be the most difficult one to overcome, because we tend to check-in on these symptoms and worry about them so much more than other ones. As Alan Gordon wrote in the TMS Recovery Program: To emphasize, your TMS symptoms themselves aren’t serving as a distraction from painful unconscious emotions, it’s the fear and preoccupation around the pain that is serving as this distraction. That’s the purpose of the pain in most cases, to generate fear. It’s for this reason that runners often get leg pain and screenwriters often get wrist pain (and not the other way around.) It’s for this reason that pain often manifests in a place where you know you’re structurally vulnerable.

    This is one reason why journaling may not be working, especially if you are pressuring yourself to recover. Pressure creates stress and fuels your symptoms. Finding ways to reduce your fear and preoccupation is the best way to get better.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  4. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Forest, your post is of great help to me. My strongest symptoms have been shin splints (I am pretty active physically) and of late, thumb pain (I am a writer).

    Phew. This TMS stuff ain't for sissies.
    Forest likes this.
  5. quert

    quert Guest

    If you have a long history of many TMS symptoms and you've met with some of the best doctors int the world who can't find anything, then something as random as this sure sounds like TMS.

    The more a symptom distracts you the tighter the grip it has on you. Then throw into the maelstrom of distraction the tiniest bit of guilt that you may feel about vanity (or perhaps not) and the fascination with what may feel like your nemesis - the symptom that can't be beat. It's a powerful combination.

    But, how to cure it? That is the million dollar question. Sometimes I think that TMS healing is like mindfulness meditation. The harder you work, the longer it will take. The more than you ache for success, the more that success will elude your grasp. I suspect that this is why Dr. Sarno's books are so effective for some people - they read them and just stop worrying. It is like a gigantic weight has been lifted from their shoulders. Then suddenly their pain starts disappearing.

    It is almost like in order to truly heal, you have to reach such a state of equanimity you don't care whether the symptom is there or not, because you just don't concern yourself with it. It is peripheral - just a brief harmless psychosomatic symptom. That may be what it takes to beat the pain strategy and break the pain cycle. After all, if the symptom is making you tense, then somewhere in your mind, something is thinking about the symptom. Perhaps that is why the parotid glands have been such a challenge. You care about them too much, so you can't reach that state of equanimity.

    I say: see if you can get to the point where even if the glands were to continue like this forever, the fact of their persistence, itself, wouldn't bug you. If you can face that possibility with courage, you life will almost certainly be better, whether the pain disappears or not.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Steve Ozanich says that we heal faster when we don't acknowledge any pain. We need to know it's caused by TMS repressed emotions,
    but not dwell on what those are. He says to find positive distractions to take our mind off the pain. Dr Sarno says we don't even have to
    identify what the repressed emotions are, we just need to believe they are causing our unconscious mind to give us pain by reducing the
    oxygen sent to a part of our body. It's enough for our unconscious mind to know we believe 100 percent in TMS. But it can the unconscious mind a while to give up and stop the pain. The more we forget about it, the better.

    Not easy, I know. But if you're like me, if I watch a good movie my mind is on it and not pain. We need pain distractions such as movies, tv, music, books, a hobby, being with someone you like or love, spending some time with a pet.

    I like your advice, Quert. We're on the same wavelength.
    Balsa11 and linnyc87 like this.
  7. avik

    avik Well known member


    I appreciate this response but I am really not giving (and have not over the past year or two) much attention.
    Much in the way that I overcame all of my other issues, I am really just ignoring it.

    That said, I think I am applying more pressure on myself to recover form this specific equivalent as relative to all of my others. Im not sure why (other than of course the vanity reason).
    Also, it might be because there is still just a hint of doubt in my mind as to whether its indeed TMS.
    When I overcame all of the my other problems I HAD NO DOUBTS.
    The doubts regarding my parotids come from the fact that a medication I was on when I was a kid (albeit in a very small percentage of people) causes parotid gland damage. That in itself creates the doubt that I have.
    Howveer, why then would the glands go up and down if I stopped taking that medication 7 years ago!

    I have no idea how to approach this.
    Any recommendations on how to decrease that pressure and associated fear?
    Would it be wrong to approach this with (for example) acupuncture? Or does that just defeat the purpose being that you are not supposed to "treat" TMS?
    I ask because I think acupuncture might calm me down, hence relieving some of the stress that might be feeding this TMS equivalent.


    Thank you for your thoughtful (and thought-provoking) response.
    I agree with you whole-heartedly.

    This one is so tough (not only because of the remaining doubts that I still have listed above) but because you always see your face!
    And when you dont see it, the glands bother me when I talk, eat, yawn, smile, cough....virtually anything I do with my face and neck.
    I talk on the phone for a living! I wear suits to work, whcih constrict my neck and rub on my glands (which I would never notice if they weremt swollen).

    Its like there is no escape from them...
    Forest likes this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Avik.
    All I can add to what Herbie and others have posted is to keep believing your pain is from TMS.
    Maybe some really deep repressed emotion you have buried so deep you haven't thought of it in years.

    Then also, have you added faith to your healing? Faith that God will heal you?
    Even if you may not be religious or have problems with religion, it's worth a try.

    Too bad you don't live in England, if shirt collars and ties aggravate your pain.
    British men wear soft silk ascots. They look great.
    linnyc87 likes this.
  9. Leonor

    Leonor Peer Supporter

    Hi Forest,
    That is interesting! I never had a symptom that was visible. In my family looks was not a dominant factor, so because I guess I never felt threatened (unconsciously of course) with my physical appearance I never got a visual symptom. I do feel threatened intellectually (was unconsciously, not any more) so I did get memory and non-visual symptoms. My father and his friends would always criticize intellectual mediocrity and I guess it unconsciously threatened me. Amazing how this works!

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