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Multiple Symptoms - I'm Lost

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by tellmestories, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. tellmestories

    tellmestories New Member

    Hello everyone!

    I'm new here seeking some advice. I have already read a lot on this forum and find it a wonderful community!

    I have been having symptoms that I tend to attributing to TMS now for over 20 years I think (I'm 38). My problem is that I have so many different symptoms, all adding up. What I mean is that it goes typically like this: I get a new symptom which is very severe at the beginning. Then I learn living with it or it subsides within some weeks or months, but never disappears completely. Then some months or years later the next symptom occurs. In the long run, none of the symptoms alone could bother me much (unless the pelvic pain, but that keeps coming and going according to my stress level), but altogether they make me suffer and take my happiness away.

    Here is a list of the symptoms in chronological order of first occurrence. Most of them are still present, but to a lesser extent than at the beginning.
    - rashes
    - tinnitus
    - head, neck and back pain, tensions all over the neck and back, different sounds (cracking, grinding) on turning the head
    - anxiety, panic attacks, dizziness, tiredness, weakness
    - symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
    - pain in foot, ankle and achilles tendon
    - pelvic pain, frequent urination, Balanitis
    - pain in wrist

    Most of the issues have been treated or at least diagnosed by doctors, but not all. Diagnoses include Psoriasis, Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD, TMJD), chronic fatigue syndrome, prostatitis and scoliotic pelvis.

    I have consciously accepted TMS as cause for some of the symptoms, but I guess it has not yet settled in my unconscious. For other symptoms I still have doubts. I have learned about TMS in December, read "Healing Back Pain" in January and am now reading "The Mindbody Prescription" and a lot of stuff on the internet, mainly on this wiki. As I live in Germany and there is no TMS therapist anywhere near, I kind of diagnosed myself.

    My problem now is that I don't know how to start really working on getting better. There is the SEP, Alan's recovery program, Dr. Schubiner's lessons etc., and I'm a little lost here. I'm also lost due to the number of symptoms, i.e. should I start a program addressing only one symptom and hope that the others get better too? And how can I get near to sure that it's TMS that I have without a realistic possibility of seeing a TMS therapist?

    Another question I keep asking myself: If it's TMS, why would my mind give me all of these different minor symptoms, adding up, instead of giving me one or two major symptoms? This is not the way TMS normally is, according to what I know.

    I had originally written a much longer text that would take you probably 10 minutes to read, where I described the symptoms in more detail, when they came up and what I have done about them, but I found that a bit too detailed and lengthy (this one is not short either, I know). I could paste it here later if it's of interest or helpful.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you in advance for your effort!
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey, welcome to the forum. Great news, you're not lost. You're here and here is where the healing happens.

    Don't worry about the multiple symptom thing as most of us experience more rather than less on that front, it's just that one tends to dominate and receive the attention. Healing is holistic so again no need to focus on one symptom or another. Throw it all in the pot. Which symptoms concern you most?

    A good many of us (myself included) are self-diagnosed. There are TMS doctors or psychologists who practice via Skype so that is an option if you feel you really need it but I'm not sure it's necessary.

    As for where to start my inclination is to say Alan Gordon but I'm not sure it matters. Let your intuition guide you and learn to trust its judgement for it will serve you well.

    Rather than detail symptoms and treatments tell us about events in your life, your relationships, your hopes and fears...the answers lie here. As Caroline Myss famously stated "your biography becomes your biology."

    Plum x
    mike2014, Ines, tellmestories and 4 others like this.
  3. MMB

    MMB New Member

    Hi plum, when you say throw it all in the pot, how to do that? I have many symptoms too I think is TMS, I've been focusing on the one that's worse at the time. Symptoms still come and go.
  4. tellmestories

    tellmestories New Member

    Hi plum, thank you for your reply! I have read your story in your profile and was really impressed! I wish I can manage my issues in a similar way! The thing with the tension leading to the worsening of symptoms goes for me too, but this is true only for the pelvic pain thing and to a lesser extent to the neck/back pain. For the pelvic pain there is no doubt for me that it's due to tension, unfortunately not limited to negative tension, but also positive. My last vacation and also christmas were spoiled by it. The pelvic pain is btw the one that concerns me most. But the other symptoms react totally different, which makes it hard for me to believe that all have the same cause. Plus this adding up thing is really concerning me. No symptom ever vanishes completely, new symptoms keep coming. So I think "when is this going to stop?".

    As for your suggestion that healing is holistic and not focusing on one symptom, I can see the point, but it's kind of hard. For example, one of the first things to do in Alan's program is compile an evidence sheet. But for this I need to focus on one symptom. Or make a list for each symptom. And without having read through the program yet I would guess that there are more tasks to do that refer to the symptom(s) one is trying to treat.

    Maybe a problem of mine is that I need a plan to follow strictly without exceptions. This might be counterproductive.
  5. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Although you have many different symptoms, as almost all of us do, they all have the same root cause so there is no need to differentitate between them. Plum is right, they're all parts of a whole.

    It's very common to have several symptoms that come and go and some that are more persistant. Focusing on a particular symptom is counter intuitive to TMS healing; you need to shift your focus to your emotions.

    Many of us think that we are unhappy because we have pain, while that may be true, we actually have pain because we're unhappy. Work on happiness not pain reduction, the one follows the other.

    I too am self diagnosed; I could write a book about the medical mismanagement of the catalogue of TMS stuff I inflicted on myself, before I became aware of what the real problem was.

    It's taken me a long time, and I'm still not 100%, but I've totally reclaimed my life. TMS healing is learning that you're not invincible, you have needs that must be met and limits that shouldn't be exceeded, it's a change of life philosophy, not a quick fix. I've relapsed a couple of times, during extreme stress caused by family illness, but I always bounce back now that I know the cause.

    Don't be daunted by TMS healing; please don't put any pressure on yourself to "get it right", just choose a place to start go with it.

    If you want to put it in simple terms you are chronically tense, due to external and self imposed pressure to be perfect and good, but really who wants to be around someone who's perfect ;)

    Be kind and patient with yourself, you are in the right place to get lots of help and support.

    Bless you :joyful:
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I trust that the two of you will indulge me in a combined reply. @Mermaid is absolutely right, the symptoms are part of the whole; you have one body therefore all symptoms come at the root from the same place. The idea that organs and systems can be examined and treated independently is perhaps the biggest blindspot of modern medicine and it does not serve you well to drag this misconception into TMS healing. We are all Matryoshka dolls. Our soul, our psyche, is nestled within, our emotional body, nested within our mind (or mental body), held safe by our physical body, which is part of our home, our community, our culture, our environment, our era, our species and on and on. We are endlessly engaged in multi-dimensional relationships within ourselves and within our lives. It is not possible to separate them out but for scientific purposes variables have to be controlled and this has led to a very piecemeal, clinical way of viewing pretty much everything which tragically comes into its own regarding health. You cannot help but bring this mindset into TMS healing.

    All the old timers here will recognise the initial emphasis on symptoms. We all do it. We simply cannot see how they are pain flowers connected by one root in the soil that is the Russian doll explained above. Keyword: symptoms. You can sit there plucking petals from the pain-flower for years and it will continue to bloom because you have to pull it out at the root.

    At heart TMS theory teaches us that our physical pain is a distraction from our emotional pain. It is based upon Freudian ideas of the unconscious. This does not jibe well with a lot of people, especially those who do not like mess particularly of the emotional kind. Recent years have gifted us with an alternative explanation of the unconscious, that it is the autonomic nervous system (which incidentally happily marries to Sarno's model, see The Mind Body Prescription for early thoughts on that). Pioneers like Dr. Schu (Schubiner) and David Hanscom are the TMS/mindbody trailblazers on that front. If you need a strict and clear plan of attack then Dr. Schubiner's "Unlearn Your Pain" may be a better starting place for you. (I do think a strict plan of attack is counterproductive. I think most people here need to get down and dirty with their emotions, their minds and their bodies.)

    When I say chuck it all in the pot I mean stop paying attention to one symptom or the other. Symptoms do jockey for attention and this annoying tendency is explained well by the symptom imperative. It is nothing more than your emotions free-wheeling around your autonomic nervous system and popping up in different places. Remember emotions are real, they have a physiological and a psychological/mind-based component. These co-exist. The nervous system is a closed system which means that without appropriate release the actual chemicals have nowhere to go and they lodge somewhere which is where you get symptoms. This place does tend to have a symbolic reference for the individual; often it is the site of a former injury or more usually it is in a place they fear or worry about (hence the distraction). Why multiple symptoms? Probably because a constellation of ailments grabs the attention more than a single one and serves to further the illusion that you are suffering from 'something'. Loads of people have suffered from multiple symptoms and healed.

    But you know, these are early days and at this point in healing what you need most is reassurance and for that most people like to hear about someone who had what they have and have got better.

    @tellmestories here is a link to @ezer's Success Story.
    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/pelvic-pain-healed.8680/ (Pelvic Pain - Healed)

    @MMB success stories of overcoming back pain are legion so on that front you're made. Regarding nerve pain, read My Story for starters.

    What you both need to do is become more general in your approach. Focusing on an individual symptom is way too specific. You don't need to create an evidence sheet for each symptom. It is exactly this kinda rigid thinking that creates TMS in the first place. TMS is all and only about how your personality navigates through life, how this generates huge amounts of tension, how this cranks up the sympathetic branch of the nervous system, how we take this self-same intensity and rigidity into healing...until we don't. And then we start to heal. We relax, we loosen up, we are able to laugh at ourselves and all the stupid shit we have taken so seriously.


    Plum x
    zclesa, mike2014, Ines and 9 others like this.
  7. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Such a perfect way to express this concept!
  8. tellmestories

    tellmestories New Member

    @Mermaid, @plum, thank you so much for your words! It's weird, but I know much of what you wrote because I have read a lot. But somehow, hard to explain, I didn't relate all that to myself before you addressed me directly. Stupid in fact, but I'm really motivated to start now and confident that I'm going to be better.

    So thank you again for your motivating words!

    plum, one more question. Could you explain what you mean by this:
    Mermaid likes this.
  9. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Every last one of us gets our natural spontaneity, playfulness and wildness knocked out of us. It may be by parents, siblings, bullies, teachers and others during childhood through to the many institutions that govern adult life. No one escapes it. We have all been small in a world of big.

    Somewhere along the line we learn self-restraint, and this is often imposed at the behest of crushingly low self-esteem. Many of us are sensitive souls and bruise especially easily, and a lot of us become very anxious due to this.

    We learn to manage our anxiety and curb our spirit in countless ways. We learn to control and micro-manage our fears. We learn to toe the line, bite the hook, bite our tongues, stuff it down and be good, be orderly, biddable, rule-followers (and maybe weekend risk-takers) but we are rarely natural, trusting our instinct, listening to our intuition, being boundlessly creative and free. We are born to live: to hunt, to love, to make love and make babies, make music, dance around fires and die having lived fully and well. But we don't. We even cage our animals and render them neurotic. We decided God was dead and watched as secularism destroys the sacred and wonder why we are in such a confused mess.

    Wow. Our superego does a first class job of keeping us in line at great cost...but then we start to hurt and none of the usual methods soothe or work anymore because we are the problem we are trying to solve.

    Our bodies blossom from nature what is natural feeds us as nothing else can. Can you see how not living a natural life creates problems? Freud wrote about this and Sarno saw the massive internal conflict and tension generated by a battling superego and id.

    So when I say we take this into healing I mean we take the controlling, anxious, micro-managing, rule-following, tick box mentality into healing and expect it to produce results like a conveyor belt.

    We suffer from analysis paralysis. We expect someone else to produce the answers in the same way as we buy stuff from stores.

    We are freakin terrified of creating our own healing in case someone judges us (they probably will), or in case we 'do it wrong' (there is no right or wrong), or because it's not part of the "Sarno Says" tool-kit, my god...anything.

    You have to throw yourself a curve ball, shake yourself down, have the guts to be yourself and stop trying so goddam hard. :)

    Action over perfection.

    The forum keeps bumping me out so I shall post this stream-of-consciousness as is and hope it conveys something that helps.
    mike2014, Ines, Lunarlass66 and 4 others like this.
  10. MMB

    MMB New Member

    Thank you Plum for your excellently detailed explanation
    plum likes this.
  11. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    My pleasure honey. x
    MMB likes this.
  12. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Geez, @plum , you just knock it out of the park at times. Blown away.......
    Ines, Lunarlass66 and plum like this.
  13. tellmestories

    tellmestories New Member

    @plum, you really know what you're talking about. Thanks again for the detailed thoughts!

    I have understood that it's all about emotions, but it's not exclusively repressed emotions from the past, childhood etc., as Sarno said, but mainly emotions we feel (or don't feel) today.

    I'm sure you're right, but I feel like I need some kind of manual how to do that. Is this what I get by following one of the programs? Which of the programs is best for that? In the thread you have linked (ezer's success story), I found another program

    http://www.runningpain.com/master_practice_program (The TMS Master Practice Program - The New-Sarno TMS Program - Dr. John Sarno's Genius..."The most important factor in TMS recovery is that the person must be made aware of what is going on...information...is the 'penicillin' for this disorder." --Dr. John Sarno--------------------- "The Master Practice Program has the most updated information and experiential knowledge on how a person can successfully communicate to the TMS Pain/Distraction Strategy and how to efficiently and effectively change the cause of TMS 'inner tension', so that you can live an active, pain free life without fighting the pain/symptom cycle."--Monte Hueftle, TMS Mind Body Coach)

    which seems to have helped many with TMS. But as far as I can judge, that program focuses on yet another aspect. I'm confused again, some say re-reading Sarno's books is the best you can do, others say stop that and learn about your emotions, some say both is good. Am I right if I say that everyone has to find the approach that works for him/her? So this would mean try one of them and see if it works, and if not, try another.

    Edited: Sorry, I didn't manage to just copy the link to Monte Hueftle's program. The editor just adds the long text to the URL.
    MMB likes this.
  14. MMB

    MMB New Member

    I'm confused on which approach is best too, I've read many different opinions. Don't really know what to do first.
  15. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Don't worry, essentially there are four elements that jog along nicely.

    Go read this post:

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/do-some-never-heal.14869/ (Do some never heal)

    At about midway through the thread I outline 3 steps and towards the end I add a 4th.

    The steps are not linear and can be done simultaneously but I think it's best to focus on one aspect lest you overwhelm yourselves.

    If you feel that you need structure I would start with the SEP. It's a six week program and if you post on the SEP Forum we'll be able to support and encourage you throughout.

    As for getting down and dirty, there is no manual for that. It's in the doing. Start by getting your hands into actual stuff: cooking is a fabulous place to start. Enjoy the sensations of washing and prepping food, relish tasting your cooking as you go. I suggest cooking because we all eat and given we do that at least twice a day it is already a weave in the fabric of our live. Plus it ensures we look after ourselves better by eating god-given natural foods instead of processed junk.

    Any other sensual pleasures and tasks are good too, such a gardening, giving someone an oily massage, playing with kids outdoors and any of the creative arts (clay, charcoal, threads and needles, paint etc).

    Anything that fosters a good and healthy relationship with your body is excellent.

    Plum x
    mike2014, Mermaid, MMB and 1 other person like this.
  16. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I failed to answer this question earlier, sorry about that. I'm juggling replying and caring so loose ends abound.

    Yes. Everyone's healing is unique but the broad strokes really make it easier in the early days. We all need to do some emotional work even if it's simply heightening awareness. Most of us need to do some deconditioning around triggers. Others need to focus more on anxiety (a la Claire Weekes). Nothing is ever lost in the greater scheme for we are ever growing and learning about ourselves.

    An organic, relaxed attitude will serve you well whichever approach you choose. Also your needs may change as you go along. You may need some breathing space, or some time to consolidate, or a new life situation pops up that demands a change in tack.

    Do your best to keep things playful, light-of-heart and creative. There will be tough times and developing a more expansive sense of humour will make those easier.

    As I state in My Story I had to deal with over-sensitisation and tension-release before the emotional work gained real traction. You'll work it out and we're here to help you find your way.

    Plum x
    mike2014, Mermaid and tellmestories like this.
  17. tellmestories

    tellmestories New Member

    I can see that, and I can only repeat, thank you for your very helpful words! Amazing how much advice you have to give!
    plum likes this.
  18. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Once again, you provide not just "food for thought", but a bountiful feast for it.... Amazing, insightful.. Such incredible insight to the intricacies of the TMS ridden brain. Thank you a thousand times over... Nancy x
    plum likes this.
  19. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm confident that I can speak on behalf of many old timers when I say I know what it's like to be out of your mind with pain, terror, confusion and panic. I would gladly spare anyone that and while I don't have a magic wand I do possess many years of bittersweet TMS experiences and I am happy to share all I know to help others. We are a community and an oasis. One day Nancy it will come full circle and you'll find yourself doing what us old timers do. :happy:
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  20. tellmestories

    tellmestories New Member

    As I'm still at the beginning of my journey out of TMS symptoms, learning and thinking a lot about this, questions keep popping up. I'm so grateful that there are people like @plum here willing to help others! I really hope I'll be one of those members too in the future.

    So some more questions...

    The pain I have in my right wrist (being right-handed) came with no special cause like e.g. an injury, but responds heavily to (over)use. It's generally never present when I don't use my hand, but only if I bend or flex my wrist. For example, it had decreased a lot, being merely an unpleasant feeling when flexed. But when we renovated our bedroom during one week, finishing last weekend, that pain got worse. Now rather small bending/flexing causes pain. Is this a case of conditioned response? And how should I react now? Should I keep my wrist calm for some days/weeks (because I know it's gonna be better then), or should I ignore the pain and use my hand normally (which will probably cause the pain to stay or even worsen)?

    Following the former, how much physical treatment of TMS symptoms is generally tolerable/useful/advisable in order to not focus too much on the physical? E.g. massages (also of trigger points) to relax muscles that are tense, baths to relax the pelvic floor, cream on rashes. I reckon it's no problem to get some relieve by this if it's still clear that the cause is psychological.

    Now for the emotions. Relapses of my pelvic pain keep coming in stressful times, without exception, including positive stress. I never get relapses without having stress. Triggers have been vacation I had been looking forward to for long, christmas, and renovating causing some mess in the house for a week. Does this mean that I have rather strong emotions around these events? Or is it just stress?

    I have learned from several sources that it's important to feel our feelings. I have not yet figured out when and how to do that, but I hope this will come as I go along. I have two questions concerning that.
    I've learned that when there's an emotions, I should consciously and physically try to feel that emotion. Is this true for anxiety? I'm a rather anxious person (I tend to worry mainly about my own health and the health of my close family, i.e. my wife and my children). It's counter intuitive to me giving the anxiety power by trying to feel it deeply.
    Something I've read about anger is that I should not break out in rage when anger comes up, but rather try to feel it and keep calm outside. This is counter intuitive to me, as it seems like keeping the emotion in and repressing it instead of releasing it.

    Still confused...

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