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My experience: From blurred vision restoration to TMS

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Martin-96, Jun 26, 2023.

  1. Martin-96

    Martin-96 New Member

    Hi there,
    this is my first post on the forum. As I have started to follow the Structured Educational Program (currently day 8) , I'd like to tell you about my discovery of Dr. Sarno's theories and my experiences thus far.

    At the beginning of 2022, the inspiration I felt about my work and my life had subsided. I didn't have external obligations, and i felt no fire to continue the way I was going.
    Many years ago as a kid, when I got prescription glasses, I had looked into possibilities of natural ways of healing the eyesight together with my father. At that time I could not really apply it in my life, but the idea of sometime making a serious effort always stuck with me.
    At the Christmas holiday I found a book at my fathers house about healing eyesight, and I thought now is the perfect time to dive into it and really go for it.
    The basic premise of the book was that blurred vision is caused by strain in the eyes, which is caused by mental strain. I recall a warning that when the eyes start to heal, (old) feelings and physical ailments can come up. While putting most of my days attention towards finding ways to relax and applying the habits that are prescribed in the book, and by other people dealing with natural vision restoration, my vision improved miraculously. I had been quite skeptical as to if it would work at all, as I had seen no improvement as a child. At first when I would get a flash of clarity I wasn't sure if I was making it up, but later I couldn't brush it off as my imagination anymore. In general my vision improved in the first 2 months, approximately from 25% to 50%, and when I would sit down and take some time to see relaxed and mindfully I would be able to see almost always 20/20, until I would get on with my day again. (Furthermore I started to see much more of my peripheral vision, which is an amazing experience, and I didn't even know it was possible to see that way).

    However the rapid progression and the excitement wore off. I noticed I was falling for the trap of trying to relax and improve too hard. Anxiously checking if my progress was still there throughout the day. I began to feel more fear that I wouldn't make it, and felt disappointment at no further progression.
    This was about the time I came across Dr. Sarno's theories, and I realized I had very perfectionist traits. I was immediately very inspired by the way he explained things. Finally I felt some ground towards my suspicion that many of my ailments had mental causes. I was already quite sure about stress being able to disrupt and damage the body, but that there doesn't have to be any real physical damage ( that's not immediately reversible) to experience pain, was a totally new insight for me. That posture, or a wrong move could all be completely irrelevant to the development of pain and the like. However the idea that pain is a distraction mechanism, seemed unlikely or not intuitive to me. I have grown accustomed to the idea, but I still feel like there might be a more precise formulation or explanation. I feel like the TMS symptoms serve the same purpose as eating very spicy food, wrist-cutting, various addictions etc. Just being relaxed and in the moment, being aware and open can feel too uncomfortable, so a distraction is wanted from this uncomfortable feeling. In that way I can understand it as a distraction.

    I found many similarities between what Dr. Sarno says and what natural vision healers hint towards, which has led me to investigate if TMS theory can be applied to blurred vision. As I mentioned earlier, I was warned for ailments coming up as my vision improved. This first happened in the form of a bladder pain, which I had experienced more often as a child. Later tooth pain started to come up. I thought I should be careful with panicking and going to a dentist at this moment, because it could very well have started due to the process I was in. With the insights of Dr. Sarno I felt strengthened to investigate if this tooth pain was a form of TMS. Also because I had heard about multiple examples of the body being able to recover from tooth problems (for example caries) by its own. It turned out that the pain came up at times that I thought I was eating something bad, sometimes also changing its exact location. I managed to get rid of it through really recognizing it as TMS, realizing that I don't have to be careful with it, leaning into the pain, just feeling how it exactly feels mindfully and relaxed, becoming unafraid of it, and remembering that it soon will go away as it did before. One time I thought about that I really don't care if the little tiny doubt I have that the tooth will rot away, turns out to be true. I will still be me, worthy and at least pain free, I imagined. The pain felt pretty okay with me when I was not fearing its consequences, and it subsided quickly after.

    I have come to the realization that I have many TMS symptoms, that all seem to alternate, never leaving me unhindered, at ease. These are for example; pressure on the head, eyes and nose, itching mainly on the head, mild lower back pain, mild tinnitus, mild shoulder and neck pain, mild pain in the wrist that I broke when I was 10 years old, headaches, feeling very nauseous-like, like I can't stand up anymore and have to collapse, exhaustion, paralyzed feeling, anxiety, depression, raynaud syndrome, tooth ache, brain fog, summer lethargy, low blood pressure etc. All seemingly connected to certain situations, places and activities. I honestly suspect that blurred vision is also a TMS symptom but it is generally permanent/chronic (even though it fluctuates between clearer and blurrier since I started improving), as opposed to the others that for me come up and subside.

    Last week I started the program, to see if that could help me further. I have been succesful in making trips with my girlfriend, which wouldn't have been able before without me taking many breaks and naps and feeling overall quite horrible. Now as the symptoms started to come up I could recognize them as TMS and go through them without succumbing to the seduction of laying down and feeling bad. I still felt bad many times a day sometimes feeling very panicking and overwhelming, but it would go away and I could stay active and feel quite good most of the time. This was really amazing for me, and very promising for the future, as it would mean I would regain a joy and interest in doing things outside my house.

    Still I deal with moments where I zone out when I'm alone, and I see no way to continue any activity, feeling like I'm in some sort of detached void. I have to lay down when I cant find something else to do that can serve as an alternative to surrendering to the feeling of tiredness and dizziness. (this is not normal tiredness, it is not real tiredness due to a need of rest. It is TMS, in my carefully examined opinion) And then I sink away. I feel then that I am surrendering to the TMS. I don't know how to deal with that yet. It is more easy for me when I can join someone elses activity, but when I have to initiate my own, any activity seems like very dreadful and tiring in my head. Then I can't say let's do that, to whatever I can think of, because it seems uninteresting and like I will faint or become extremely depressed if I start doing it.
    The biggest thought I got this week from reading a success story, is that I don't have to be careful. Symptoms always seem like there is something wrong that needs to be very carefully handled or it will turn out bad. It is such a nice and freeing feeling, to not have to be careful.

    Anyway I'm optimistic for the future, and I am very thankful that I came across Dr. Sarno and this forum. I have gained so much already from these discoveries.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a great post, @Martin-96 - and welcome!
    I found this fascinating, right off the top - classic Symptom Imperative behavior!

    Absolutely - I haven't seen any recent discussions of addicative behavior, but many of us understand that addictions are just another form that the TMS brain mechanism can exhibit:

    Nice. And I just want to assure you that at around this time in the program (Day 8 is very common!) the Symptom Imperative will often hit people like a brick wall. And, like a brick wall, it sometimes stops people from going any further. Our advice for dealing with increased symptoms or new symptoms or increased anxiety/depression, is to give yourself a break, have a lot of compassion for yourself, and remind yourself that this is a sign of success. Be kind to your poor fearful TMS brain, and assure it that you are physically safe, and that doing this work is good for you, not dangerous.

    Keep us posted!

  3. Martin-96

    Martin-96 New Member

    Thank you for your very kind reply. I was quite anxious about how people would react, so to read this feels heart warming. I have noticed that self compassion is a very good calming feeling, but there is also something within me that doesn't want any of that. It resents the self compassion, and is also disgusted by the image of a kid receiving compassion. I am looking to address that part of me, give it attention and see what I can do with it
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Beautiful posting which I see has you in the midst of so much learning.

    To me, you're noticing some activity of the superego or Inner Critic. This can be an important part of your healing journey, knowing this activity, how it may create feelings of unsafety, how it feels like one is set against one's self. Simply, it is a disruption, or an attempted disruption of a more basic feeling, because that more basic feeling is considered not OK by some aspects of you. Perhaps in this case a sense of closeness or tenderness to yourself.

    Most people notice a fairly clear connection with this aspect, this Inner Critic, to the tendency toward perfectionism.

    To me this aspect is very important because it is this activity which which produces inner "Tension" ---one inner experience in opposition to another inner experience. There may be many inner tensions we aren't aware of directly, but your experience is pointing you at an area where this conflict is clear. I think you're right that this might be a good place to study.
  5. Martin-96

    Martin-96 New Member

    When you lay it out like that, that's really helpful. Thanks! Yes you're probably very right it creates feelings of unsafety and I think also some loneliness.

    I just resumed thinking about self-compassion, and I felt a feeling of being strangled. I decided to go on with that with a method that Carl Jung called Active Imagination. Through that I arrived at a vision of elks (deer) around my heart. This evoked a feeling of protection and strengthening of my heart.
    The funny thing is I heard a thought containing little voices which said "put it (your heart) on the elks", and I first had to look up what the word elk means as I didn't know. But it turned out to be a good advice

    Anyway, I think Carl Jung's ideas can be quite helpful and inspiring for coming into contact with the unconscious, and to figure out where the tensions in the psyche are. As you mentioned where there are inner conflicts.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Visualizations are a very powerful mindfulness tool! Good for you for opening your heart to this experience!
  7. Bitzalel Brown

    Bitzalel Brown Peer Supporter

    Yes this post really hits a home run in showing the difficulty while struggling with TMS

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