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Just joined, but not new to TMS

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by hilbie, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. hilbie

    hilbie New Member

    Hi everyone. I guess this is my first post so hello to the forum. I first came across Sarno about 10 years ago and got through a bout of pretty crippling back pain fairly quickly. I was a member of the tmshelp board and that definitely was a good place to hang out and I got a lot of support there. So I'm very familiar with the TMS theory and have no trouble buying into it. It all makes sense. However recently I've been thinking about the fact that my 'buying in' is all very intellectual.

    So my situation currently is:
    I feel like crap!! I'm in pain (my back), I'm super anxious, depressed and completely unable to enjoy anything. I've been reading steveo's book which I thought was amazing, and I've also just finished The Meaning of Truth which was also very insightful.

    One of the reasons I'm posting is that I've been browsing the wiki and came across a post (can't remember by who unfortunately) that explains the way depression is a TMS equivalent. Something clicked and I realised I've been ignoring this simple fact for years. I've also being ignoring the dizziness that's been plaguing me for 20 years.

    I need to get on and do the emotional work but I find myself really stuck. It seems to me right now that I just have a sucky personality that I don't want, and that I'm stuck with it, and that in itself makes me feel angry/hopeless. I just don't want to feel like this, I don't want to be this personality type! The classic INFP, smiley and supportive on the outside, growling inside, lost, lonely, hurting and feeling like the world is passing me by and my life is hopeless and that I have unsolvable problems. I admit I've got emotional issues, I feel fucked up beyond redemption!

    I needed to get that out. I don't say this stuff to ANYONE in my real life.

    Where do I start with all this? I want to stay in bed and cry! - but I've got a job, 2 year old, a life!!
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, hibie. Welcome to the TMS club. Or back to it, since you had good luck with it before.

    Your state of mind is to be expected but it can change. You have to believe it will.
    Have you discovered your TMS repressed emotions? They may go back to your childhood, as mine did
    with anger because of family matters. Through journaling about them I was able to understand my
    parents and older brother better and that they too had TMS repressed emotions. That led me to
    forgiving them and it led to me no longer having severe back pain.

    I suggest you begin the Structured Education Program in one of the forum which will lead you
    through steps toward healing pain.

    You might also contact one of the TMS therapists who are offering their service free at


    They are especially helpful in hearing from TMSers in need of psychological healing.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hilbie, we're so glad to have you here, and I surely hope you can find some relief. Three years ago, I was teetering on the edge of real depression for the first time in my life, seriously afraid that I was on the road to becoming house-bound, and suffering, among a growing list of symptoms, from increasingly-debilitating dizziness. In September of 2011, I discovered Dr. Sarno and this forum, just in time to save my life.

    I've also had life-long anxiety (probably my first TMS equivalent). What helped me the most with the anxiety and depression was, first, "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" by Dr. Claire Weekes and then an audio program that I downloaded from Sounds True, called "Meditations To Change Your Brain".

    Claire Weekes calmed and comforted me, and taught me how to "float through" the worst of my various symptoms, especially panic attacks. Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius taught me how our primitive brains are wired to be negative, to constantly be scanning the horizon for danger - which simply doesn't serve us at all well in our modern lives.

    I really think it was the combination of these two resources that allowed me to flip a switch in my brain - the switch that allowed me to accept that I could, admittedly with effort, change my mind about how I was experiencing any given moment. I've often described the first moment of awareness as one in which I felt like I stepped outside of myself and watched my negative brain trying to induce me to give in to depressing thoughts and to panic. It wasn't easy, but I fought back with the tools I had learned, and the result is that I got my life back - I was out of bed, and out of the house again.

    In addition to checking out the SEP and "Ask a Therapist" resources as Walt suggested, be sure to check out the upcoming webinar with Nicole Sachs, during which she has offered to work with people one-on-one! All of the information has been posted by Forest on this post:
    I wonder how much of your current crisis is related to having a two-year-old? Nicole, as you already know, can relate, so I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity if there are still openings!

    Good luck, keep posting, and keep us posted. You already know you've come to the right place, so give yourself a big hug and love yourself for that, okay?

    Anne Walker likes this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Hilbie,

    It may have been my question to the Ask A Therapist that you saw, as I have struggled with depression as a TMS equivalent too.


    Walt and Jan have given you great advice. I'd just add another resource that has helped me a great deal with this issue, and that is the ebook by Dr. Howard Schubiner Unlearn Your Anxiety and Depression. It is available on Amazon.

    Just take things one day at a time. A structured program like the SEP is a good way to do that. And be very kind and forgiving to yourself. Being a mother to a two year old is one of the most challenging jobs there is and it is certain to trigger TMS in most people. It certainly did for me.

    Welcome to the Forum. We are glad to have you here. Please keep us posted on how you are doing, and feel free to ask for support at any time.

    Best wishes....
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
    JanAtheCPA and Anne Walker like this.
  5. hilbie

    hilbie New Member

    Thank you all very much for such a warm welcome to the forum. Ellen, it was your question that I'd found earlier so thanks for linking that! The reply you got was very helpful to read. It was the first time I'd ever read such a clear description of how depression could be TMS.

    I will start the structured programme this week. I've been aware of TMS for such a long time but never got my act together enough to actually 'do the work' properly.

    Thanks again and I'm sure I will be back with more questions.
  6. hilbie

    hilbie New Member

    Ok, I've just read Ellen's thread again. I don't know how to do a quote but here is the cut and paste answer that she received:

    Depression is a defense mechanism, just like mind-body pain. The basic gist of the idea is that when unconscious feelings arise, the brain employs defense mechanisms to protect you from these emotions which it identifies as a threat. Depression is not an "emotion" but rather a cognitive/physiological shutdown response that prevents you from connecting with your authentic emotions. Feeling genuine anger, sadness, or shame is MUCH less uncomfortable than being in a state of either depression or physical pain but the primitive brain doesn't know that. It just senses something which it perceives as a threat and defends against it.

    This is quite an eye opener for me. Depression is awful and when I'm in it I truly think its the worst place to be and that no other feeling could be worse than this. But if I understand this correctly, depression is simply a symptom of TMS that acts in exactly the same way that back pain works. It is not actually an emotion, but a way of not feeling 'genuine' emotions. This is difficult for me to totally understand because depression 'feels' as if it's made up of other 'feelings' such as isolation and shame.

    I do however see that getting obsessed with / fearing the depression is exactly the same as getting obsessed with pain or dizziness and therefore acts in the same way. I am also interested to see that anxiety and rumination, my two other favourite, are also included in the TMS symptom category.

    I think last time around I pretty much healed my pain from reading one of Sarno's books but this time some deeper work is going to take place. I'm a TMS personality poster girl, so there's no way around it at this point!
    JanAtheCPA, Anne Walker and Ellen like this.
  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    From personal experience, hilbie, watch out for perfectionism getting in the way of doing the work - the truth is, there's no such thing as doing it "properly" - the key is to jump in and do whatever you can, a little bit at a time! Just reading or watching the daily exercise in the SEP is something. Doing the daily journaling or Question to Ponder is certainly even better, but if you don't have time (you did mention a 2-year-old) don't worry about it.


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