1. Our TMS drop-in chat is today (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern U.S.(New York) Daylight Time. It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support. BruceMC is today's host. Click here for more info or just look for the red flag on the menu bar at 3pm Eastern (now US Daylight Time).
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  2. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day 1 My First Post

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Bugs, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Bugs

    Bugs New Member

    I am a very private person. It’s really difficult for me to post all of this, but I am hoping that it will aid in my recovery.

    I have or have had more than my share of TMS equivalents: chronic headaches, stomach issues, back and neck pain, TMJ, fibromyalgia, arm pain, sciatica, foot pain and leg pain to name the most problematic. This started around age 18, and I’m nearly 56, so basically all of my adult life. In the 1990s I was able to cure myself of my back pain using Dr. Sarno’s techniques, but wasn’t successful in applying it to headaches and my other issues. However, I managed to keep everything under control with conventional approaches until about 5 years ago, when I started having major foot and often leg pain which has gradually become extremely debilitating. I tried TMS approaches for this, including rereading Dr. Sarno’s books, re-watching his video, journaling, and seeing a TMS therapist via Skype, but was never successful. I think I never completely accepted the diagnosis. I also could never stop focusing on my pain, which had become all-consuming. However, recently, I had back spasms followed by severe back pain which took me a while to get over (by going back to all my Sarno material). During much of this, my foot, leg and fibromyalgia pain went away. Of course, its returned (along with some other TMS equivalents) now that my back is better. That has made any doubts I may still have had about it being TMS go away.

    I had looked at this website a long time ago, and thought I would try it, but life got in the way and I forgot about it (perhaps my unconscious mind doing its thing). I just rediscovered it yesterday while looking for new TMS books and material to help me. I have made an internal commitment to stay with it this time. I have the classic, (major) TMS profile: I had a physically and emotionally abusive childhood, am perfectionistic, desire order, very conscious of what others think of me, always try to do the right thing, and am extremely self-critical and overall very hard on myself. So, perhaps I have my work cut out for me. But I now fully embrace the TMS diagnosis for all my ailments. It helps to know that there were other “hard cases” out there who are now pain free. Starting the Structured Program is giving me some hope again.
    scrat26, Ines and plum like this.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Bugs, and Welcome!

    I suggest you start with the TMS Recovery Program at the Wiki, because it is short and gives you skills to work the other program with, the SEP. If you scroll down to the bottom of the TMS Recovery Program you will find additional, supplemental work to integrate the program more fully.

    Yes, there are some very "tough cases" that have worked through this and gotten much better. Your renued commitment, and your deeper acceptance of the diagnosis are very positive, in my opinion. I wish you luck and courage, and patience in your endeavor.

    Simply seeing that you have the personality types, inner dialogues, inner tension between parts of yourself and connecting insight to your symptoms and history of symptoms is hugely powerful. I hope you are gentle with yourself, steadfast in a trusting way. The education must go deep, with time. Pushing, expecting, pressuring yourself ---all the typical traits that got us into this syndrome to start with, may arise as you engage this new effort. I hope you can watch this, and not completely engage the pressurizing tendency. Acknowledge and have compassion for your old mind habits, connect these to symptoms. None of your personality habits have to go away, they just have to be seen lovingly, allowed, and connected with the symptoms, using Dr. Sarno's approach.

    Andy B
    plum and Ellen like this.
  3. Bugs

    Bugs New Member

    Thanks so much for the kind words, support, and advice. I'm working through the TMS Recovery Program in parallel with the SEP. I felt that since I finally had the motivation to start journaling again that I needed to get going right away. I'm also reading (about 10% per night to stretch it out and think about it) "Think Away Your Pain" by David Schechter. I really like it so far. I feel that I have read and reread Dr. Sarno so many times that when I revisit it my brain more or less goes on autopilot, and the words don't resonate like they once did. I'm finding that reading Schechter, who says basically the same thing but obviously with a different style, is helping me to once again internalize the concepts. Same goes for the Recovery Program.

    I really appreciate your support and final paragraph above, and will do my best to take your words to heart.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Bugs,

    I'm also a fiercely private person so I completely understand the reluctance you feel. Kudos for taking the plunge. Andy B has pretty much embraced everything sage and kind in his response though one cannot emphasise enough the gentle and compassionate approach. As much as we are healing, we are growing and learning a lot about ourselves.

    I'm also someone who took a break from the whole tms thing and on returning have found much of the reading has matured into bone-deep knowledge, and that if anything you become more of who you are, not less, and with that self-acceptance comes freedom. For people who care an awful lot what others think it does well to reach a place where you can playfully shrug it off.

    I wish you all the best

  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Bugs. I echo the others with their good advice.

    I am 86 and healed from severe back pain through TMS knowledge more than two years ago. I found journaling very helpful in discovering I had been repressing emotions since my boyhood when my parents divorced. I also find meditation very helpful.

    Meditation is a time-honored way of relaxing the mind and relieving anxiety, mental stress, headaches, and even physical pain. There are many ways to practice meditation, but many consider the most successful to be a technique called the Relaxation Response (RR).

    It is a wonderful way to practice TMS Mindbody Healing because it changes harmful thinking in the subconscious mind which Dr. John Sarno says causes pain in many people.

    The RR, practiced daily for a few minutes has a profound positive effect on the subconscious mind, relieving or curing everything from inflammation and pain to headaches, stomach problems, insomnia, high blood pressure, to even aiding in recovery from cancer.

    RR is like Transcendental Meditation which is taught by TM specialists who charge hundreds or thousands of dollars. But the RR is free and you can do it yourself.

    It is done 20 minutes once or twice a day, before a meal, and works best if not practiced within two hours after a meal. I do it in bed before arising in the morning and again in bed before falling sleep. Often, I only do it 5 or 10 minutes and it works to calm me and put me to sleep.

    Just sit in a chair (or lie in bed in the morning or at bedtime), close your eyes, don’t listen to any music, and try to avoid outside noises. Let your mind think of a word such as "One " which has no real meaning or association. Or say a calming word such as “Peace,” or add the faith or spiritual element by saying a favorite religious word. Breathe in through the nose, hold the breath for a few seconds, then say the word when you exhale.

    Say the word silently over and over. At the end of the 10 to 20 minutes, picture and feel yourself as you were when you felt your best, and in a place where you felt that way.

    When distracting thoughts arise during the RR, as they will, just tell yourslf, “Oh, well,” and go back to repeating your chosen word. Transcendental Meditation teachers will charge hundreds of dollars to give practitioners a word, but the word you choose yourself in the RR works just as well.

    There are several free videos on Youtube about the Relaxation Response. I especially recommend these two by Dr. Benson:

  6. Bugs

    Bugs New Member

    Plum - I agree that the state of knowledge has really matured. Although a bit overwhelming (I need to keep telling myself I don't need to look at everything!), it is so great to have people that can share specific techniques, as well as to have the SEP. I think that was one of the shortcomings of the original Sarno material, and this site has really filled in the details! And "playfully shrugging it off" is something I will definitely try to remember!

    Walt - thanks for the info. I've tried meditation and self-hypnosis before without much luck, but your approach is much simpler and maybe will do the trick.

    Thank you both!

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