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Day 1 My first post

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by kristin_sholl, May 13, 2013.

  1. kristin_sholl

    kristin_sholl New Member

    I read Dr. Sarno's book last week, and it took me less than 48 hours. It's just what I was looking for, and is completely in line with my personal beliefs. So many of my physical ailments make sense now, especially my back pain, which started in a mild form about a year ago...right around the same time as a traumatic life event. It surfaced again as a kickboxing injury a couple months ago, which had me lying flat on my back for weeks. I was told I had a disc injury. Although my back pain is gone, I now have excruciating pain in my leg. I'm only 36 years old.

    Although I believe Dr. Sarno's TMS diagnosis, I don't know what to do about the pain when I wake up sobbing in the middle of the night. I can intellectually understand why it's happening, but even as I flip through all the reasons in my head...the reasons for anger, fear, rage, etc., it doesn't help my physical pain at 3am. I run the gamut of emotions...fighting, acknowledging, ignoring, overcoming, accepting, surrendering...and back to fighting. So I do what I can to treat the physical discomfort (walk, stretch, and usually the eventual hydrocodone) while attacking the issue mentally. Maybe the process just takes a while, but I'm struggling with how to deal with the pain...because although the underlying reason may be psychological, the pain is physical, and it's real.

    I'm in the middle of a very stressful and difficult life situation that will probably not end anytime soon. I just need to learn how to deal with it before it impacts my physical and mental health even more.
  2. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Welcome Kristin,
    You have come to the right place. I struggled like you with the pain and, too, believed Sarno's book described me perfectly. Keep working this program to get a deeper understanding of the role your mind is playing in your pain and developing the tools to manage your thoughts.

    It is hard to be patient when you have so much pain. As you said keep thinking psychological. You can do this.Work the program one day at a time, Yes , your stressful situation makes it more challenging but your learning will be deeper.
  3. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Hi Kristin
    Being patient is probably the most difficult part of TMS healing, especially when the symptoms are bad. The process does take a while, one of the TMS authors estimates an average of 6 months to 2 years. As much as everyone here would have loved to have a "book cure" they are relatively rare. Try to reframe your thoughts about the pain. As unpleasant as it is to experience, try reminding yourself that ultimately it is there as a protection for you, your mind is trying to do you a favor. Look at your symptoms as an emotional barometer, when the internal pressure is rising, more distraction is required. Most importantly, be kind to yourself. This seems to be a relatively foreign concept for the majority of TMS sufferers from what I have seen, but it is super important.
  4. kristin_sholl

    kristin_sholl New Member

    Thanks, Stella. I truly feel that this "injury", and then stumbling across this book and the TMS diagnosis, is a great gift. Patience isn't one of my virtues, but I'm trying:)
  5. kristin_sholl

    kristin_sholl New Member

    I know exactly what you mean, Leslie. I'm in a very introspective phase right now. I just read "Women, Food, & God" and am learning how to be nicer to myself. Instead of attacking my recent 15-lb. weight gain with another diet, I'm learning how to slow down and be present instead of just creating another "project" for myself. I like this way of thinking much better!

    And if I'm in pain at night, I give myself full permission to take a hydrocodone before bed and get a good night's sleep. I feel like a real human being the next day, and for the first time in months, I woke up today with no pain. None! And it lasted for hours. It crept back in eventually (which it tends to do when I sit in the car...difficult not to blame on a "physical" reason), but it comes and goes, which I consider to be real progress.
  6. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I'm in this course of study myself! And I completely agree, this way of thinking is much better!
    You're off to a great start Kristin! The mindbody needs sleep to heal and if the meds help that to happen right now than right now they are part of the solution. I've read plenty from others beating themselves up for not being 100% psychological right off the bat. I'm glad you're not going that route. It's completely illogical to believe that you could go from thinking 100% physical to 100% psychological instantly, humans are creatures of habit, we take time to change. And pain free for hours!!! That is incredible - celebrate it!!! As for the car, my guess is that is programming/conditioning, which is why it's so hard not to blame a "physical" reason. You're used to experiencing pain in the car so when you get in there, after a while it shows up. You're so used to it, that you likely don't even notice the thoughts about when the pain will start, they're completely automatic. There's a few things you can try to break the programming. Some would find the pattern break just by being in a different seat in the car, for others it would break by being in a different car - of course both of these could be out of the question if choices of cars and drivers are not available. What helps me is telling myself, out loud if reasonable, that the pain is conditioned and that it will not happen. I repeat it as often as I can remember before I start whatever the conditioned activity and then while I'm doing it I tell myself I am fine, there is nothing wrong, etc, etc. The subconscious believes literally everything we tell it, and it has no concept of time. If your automatic thoughts are that you will have pain in the car, then your subconscious will follow your instructions and provide the pain for you. This is where the patience has to come in though, because the subconscious is used to the message of the automatic thoughts, it too will require some time to change and listen to the new instructions.
  7. kristin_sholl

    kristin_sholl New Member

    Thanks, Leslie. I tried to go the 100% psychological route for the first few days, but I think that only intensified the pain. I would beat myself up for "doing it wrong"...because the pain was still there, so whatever I was doing wasn't working. Then I thought maybe I didn't believe the TMS diagnosis enough, all the while getting more stressed out and increasing the pain. Enough of that...so hydrocodone it is! I just don't want to get sidetracked from fixing the problem by treating the symptoms.

    I'm actually very aware of my fear about getting in the car now. The pain is in my right leg, and when I press the gas/brake pedals, I feel it instantly. I won't take hydrocodone if I'm going to drive, so the pain is usually worse then anyway. But I almost feel like my brain is trying to keep me shut in my house and away from doing things that take my mind off of the pain (which will never work because I'm a fun-loving extrovert). So I tell my brain that I'm on to its games and that I acknowledge my stress, anger, and sadness, and there's no need to create the pain. And I reassure myself that I'm not structurally injured. Hopefully, my brain will stop sending these pain signals soon!
    Leslie likes this.
  8. valerie

    valerie Peer Supporter

    Hi Kristin,
    I too had so much pain in my leg I was afraid to drive anywhere for months. My husband was driving me everywhere and sometimes i drove his SUV and didn't feel any pain so for a few weeks i was actually considering replacing my sedan (that would have been the most expensive accommodation yet :). It's taken a while, but this weekend I drove 2 hours by myself to visit my mom - I won't say I was always pain free, but I kept telling myself it was psychological, and I survived without issue. When I got engaged in listening to the radio I forgot it was even there. You will get there too!
  9. kristin_sholl

    kristin_sholl New Member

    Thanks, Valerie! I'll be taking a two-hour road trip later this morning, so wish me luck! I just took a couple ibuprofen to take the edge off. I'm a little nervous because it's raining, and I might not get a long walk in first, which always gets the blood flowing and reduces the pain, but I'll just keep talking myself through it.
  10. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    that's a great example of conditioning Valerie. symptoms with a physical cause would not change just because you drove a different vehicle, all the actions are the same regardless. i had a very similar experience several months ago - no pain driving my husband's truck (unless I had to put it in the garage - then the fear generated pain) but as soon as I would get behind the wheel of my own vehicle there the pain was!
  11. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    It's really amazing to me how many of us, with all kinds of different pain symptoms, suffer the same consequences of not being able to drive/walk/get around. It is like TMS is trying to sap every bit of fun out of our lives. Kristin, you could be right that it's trying to keep us away from doing things that take our mind off the pain. I don't know what the reason is. I just know it's by getting back into doing things despite the pain that we start to feel better again.
    Leslie likes this.
  12. Gilly

    Gilly New Member

    This is my first post. It is day 9. I am so grateful to you all for your honesty and openess. It is very refreshing. I am getting to the place where lm less angry with my body for creating these symptoms. Im not happy with it but lm beginning to take on board the fact that it has created these symtoms for a reason. Despite understanding the theory behind TMS l still have that horrible fear and a nagging voice in my head saying just because others have recovered doesn't mean you will.
  13. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    That voice stayed with me for a very long time too Gilly. I think that's what is so wonderful about all the different tools available to work through TMS, there is something that works for everyone, but the same thing won't work for all. For instance, Forest has posted that journaling wasn't very effective for him, but reading other people's success stories gave him hope and courage. Such is not the case for me. Journaling does help me (even though I can't always bring myself to do it) but I am just now getting to where I'm finding the success stories to be helpful. I tried reading and listening to them when I first found all the info and truthfully, all they did was make me angrier (and jealous). I think part of my reaction to them has to do with the fact that comparison criticism was a popular manner of behavior modification when I was a child. The "positive" traits of my friends, schoolmates, and siblings were pointed out to me followed by the "why can't you.....?" So I think it was a very natural thing for me to get angry when my own symptoms were so bad and it was me doing the comparing to myself. I would encourage you to reframe that thought. You don't have to completely believe the reframed one is true, but if you think about it long enough I think you'll have to admit that you can't 100% know that it's not. Every time you hear that voice, say back to it (out loud if possible) the fact that others have recovered means that it is possible and anything that is possible can be possible for me!
  14. Gilly

    Gilly New Member

    Hi Leslie
    Your reply is very helpful. I think the reframing is a valuable suggestion that will help me. It is something l would never have considered.
    Leslie likes this.

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