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Long time TMSer, first time writer...

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by PKat, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. PKat

    PKat New Member

    Hi there
    I'm shouting out because i feel a little lonely all the way down/over here in Perth, Western Australia...
    When I read Dr Sarno's books i realised i've been TMSing since I was about 8 years old: Tummy aches, allergies then "growing pains" at 11, late onset asthma at 12, Chondromalasia patella at 14 (my knees would just go from underneath me for no discernible reason), complete loss of voice after high school, RSI - twice, sinus issues all my life, depression - that old black dog hangs around quite a lot, back problems since about 24 (blamed on the usual: spondiololysthesis, bulging discs, small spine curvature) and I had chronic fatigue syndrome for 5 years…and i've always come down with a cold or something in the lead up to anything stressful - classic! Oh and I tick the goodist, perfectionist and low self-esteem boxes too!!

    I stumbled across the writings of Dr Candace Pert when I was 3 years in to the CFS (not being able to work and on disability pensions). I had been told I would never work again. When I read her book, I changed my mindset: everyday my job was to do things to get better - even if all i could do was walk to the letterbox (only 5 m from the front door but somedays that would leave me puffing and panting and in agony…) then it was my job to do it so i could get better. 2 years after finding that book, I had a full time job and left CFS behind forever… and then 3 years later had RSI. *sigh… so back to the drawing board. I figured that if i could mind-talk my way out of CFS I could certainly do it out of RSI. and did! 2 jobs later and 3 years later i had the combo RSI and back…just in time to turn 40!! but i talked and yoga-ed my way out of pain again.

    my back has been the seat of so much pain over the years but now it has morphed to sciatica and oh my, for the last 2 years I have been in such agony. Using Dr Sarno, Dr Schubiner's "Unlearn your Pain" and Steve ozanich, I talked/exercised myself out of the agony and was pain-free for nearly a month…and then it all came crashing back again. I should also say I work in the field of occupational Health and Safety - which doesn't allow me the flexibility to voice TMS theory at work...

    That was 2 months ago. I'm beside myself with mental and physical fatigue. It seems that not many doctors or psychologists in Perth have had much to do with TMS and it feels pretty lonely…

    Dr Sarno says some people shout at the pain. Can you tell me - what do you say to yourself when pain comes?

    Looking forward to hearing from you
    PK :-D
  2. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    What amazing strength you have shown! It also sounds like you are very isolated. It is hard to march forward without a support system. This forum makes up that 'community' that can be so helpful, if not critical, to healing. I am still new here, but I have read posts on how the pain does re-emerge. Examining the cause might be of use. The isolation may also be a factor.

    What do I say? I say this: I am safe, I am safe, I am safe ...

    I also recite mantras, which are simply sayings or quotes or whatever series of words creates inspiration.

    You have done this before, this battle ... you'll do it again. And again. For as long as it takes. It is like building muscles. Strength will improve. It is all a practice, as you may have learned in yoga.

    You can do it. You really can.

    With grace and gratitude,
    PKat likes this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Heya, PKat, thanks for joining. Your story is quite inspiring. You've gotten through your TMS three times already and I am sure that you can do it again. I can imagine that working in occupational Health and Safety would be tough for a TMSer! So many nocebos around. You might want to take a look at our Structured Educational Program (just Google "tmswiki Educational Program" to find it). If you do the forum posts, you will not feel the least bit lonely.

    We love Australia and get a lot of visitors from there, though perhaps less from the West. Check out the following link for some of our best stuff related to the continent:
    It uses our new TMS search engine, which can be found at search.tmswiki.org .

    It seems like different people do different things when the symptoms come. Some people seem to be like yelling and others prefer going in more of a "reassuring the inner child" direction. From what I hear, Dr. Sarno has been trending from being a "yell at your brain" to more of the "reassuring the inner child" direction over time. "Yelling" seems to give some people strength and be empowering, whereas others find that they feel like the person being yelled at rather than the powerful person doing the yelling. The goal with that approach is to feel powerful and inhabit the yeller, not the yellee (can I say that? :)). If that doesn't work, perhaps a part of you just needs reassurance. It needs to feel safe and independent. Sometimes taking the time to explore and soothe that part, perhaps using Parts Therapy, makes you feel better faster. (by the way, you're an old timer, so you probably know most of this, but I'm afraid to say that I'm on a roll. Just humor me... ;) )

    And feeling emotionally better is the goal. The key thing with TMS is mind and body are connected, so that if you want to control the pain you feel in your body, the first step is to listen to what is going on in your mind. When people ask, I encourage them to ask themselves where the tension is coming from, internally, in their own minds. Is the tension coming from worrying about symptoms. That is exactly the TMS's goal and that sort of calendar watching is there to undermine progress and keep our focus on the body. If not, where else is the tension coming from? Us TMSers are often so used to ignoring our own inner voices and just forging ahead that it can be a life changing exercise (it was for me) to start listening to our inner voices and figuring out how we really feel. That's actually why I like Parts Therapy/IFS - I think that it helps people do this. The long term goal, of course, is to be mindfully aware of what the inner voice is saying while still genuinely focusing our lives on the positive, the things that bring us joy and reassurance.

    As for myself, when I get symptoms, I tend to be an ignorer. I figure that the goal of the symptoms is to get me to focus on my body, but there are so many other interesting things in life to be interested in. I just remind myself that I am 100% certain that my symptoms are merely TMS. I know that it is harmless and that it doesn't need my attention and just allow myself to focus on something else.

    I'd be very curious as to what others do in this situation, especially people who are fairly new. What do you do when your symptoms flare up?
    Lily Rose, PKat, Ellen and 1 other person like this.
  4. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Forest, this was very well written!
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    The first thing I do is try to shift my thinking about the symptoms from the physical to the psychological. I ask myself what emotions am I repressing now, and why am I repressing them? I find that this is best done through writing it down on paper, as it forces me to slow down my thoughts so I can look at the emotions underlying them. This has gotten easier over the 6 months I've been doing it as there are some basic emotional patterns that resurface over and over.

    If I am still experiencing physical symptoms after doing this, then I use a guided meditation that actually has me focus my attention fully on the symptoms. But the difference is that this attention is done without judgement--just accepting them and exploring them as a curious bystander. This coupled with deep breathing will usually release the symptom.
    Lily Rose and PKat like this.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, Anne!
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    And you know how I shrug off TMS symptoms: I laugh.
    It really works. We can't be miserable when we laugh. I takes over the pain or depression.

    Laugh even when there is nothing to laugh at. Our unconscious mind doesn't know we're
    laughing for no reason. It registers as laughing and that releases natural pain-killers in our body
    that drives away the pain.

    I've never been to Australia but have seen some excellent movies and tv shows from there...
    "The Thorn Birds" was wonderful.

    And I love Opera Australia, after having seen a televised version of "La Boheme" that was
    so moving. David Hobson as Rodolfo became my favorite tenor. For opera lovers, it's an
    experience, available on DVD.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  8. PKat

    PKat New Member

    Thank you Lily Rose! it's good to hear what works for you - I like your saying… I'll borrow that :)
    And thank you for your encouragement too - it's inspiring. I actually haven't been able to do yoga for the last year and a half…I used to use it to distract from my anxiety attacks, which worked so well. I think you're right, the principle is the same.
    Thank you :)
  9. PKat

    PKat New Member

    Hi Forest - thanks heaps for taking the time to respond in so much detail.
    You're right about the nocebos at work - it's pretty tricky to constantly fend off the misinformation. I feel like the Karate Kid some days…wax on, wax off o_O
    I really like your comment about soothing and reassurance - the over-achiever side of my personality tends to be pretty unsympathetic…thank you! I'd love to be able to ignore this but the pain is so severe even with pain medication that I sometimes find it hard to be in my own skin… but i reckon i'll use your ignoring as my next stage in my healing/recovery. I'm interested in the Parts Theory you mentioned, so i'll have a look…

    I've done so much on my own with a little (but significant) help from a friend in Melbourne who showed me this website… - and a psychologist that looks at me askance when I talk about my feelings causing the pain!… so although I'm an 'old timer' as you say, i'm grateful for any suggestions that might help me leave this phase behind…
    Thank you very much for your support. it means the world right now :D
  10. PKat

    PKat New Member

    hi Ellen, thanks for sharing those techniques - much appreciated. I have to confess i quickly read your post before heading off to work this morning and when the pain struck at work, went across the road to a coffee shop and started trying to write down the emotions i was repressing like you said… it worked!! I had about 2 hours without pain back at work - thank you!

    Do you have a favourite guided meditation that you'd recommend?
    Thanks again
    Ellen likes this.
  11. PKat

    PKat New Member

    Hey Walt
    Laughter - what a great idea! Thank you… sometimes it's so hard to see light at the end of the pain that laughter seems so far away - but that actually sounds like the best medicine :)
    I love Opera Australia too! David Hobson has such a lovely light tenor. Did you know he's recently turned his hand (voice) to music theatre? He's a very talented singer.
    have you seen their latest recording of Don Giovanni? It's worth a look if you have a chance and a love of opera...
    thanks for your kind words
    PK :D
  12. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm so glad writing down your repressed emotions worked to lessen your pain!

    Unfortunately the guided meditation that I use for pain is part of a large, expensive program and not available separately. I should email the person who developed to see if he would sell it by itself because it is really quite good. But I think the strategy called Focusing might be similar to the technique used in the guided mediation I use. I'll research this a little more.

    Best wishes

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