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My TMS Story

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Howard Roark, Jan 17, 2023.


Do you think I have TMS?

  1. Yes

  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  3. Maybe

    0 vote(s)
  1. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark Newcomer


    My name is Howard, I am 31 years old and I have been suffering from TMS for what must have been almost 20 years by now. I first stumbled upon the concept of TMS almost exactly three years ago.

    In the course of some TMS program that I completed (not sharing the doctor's name for privacy reasons), I had to write down my story, of which I will share an unedited (sorry for the swearing; I did not intend shared my writing with anyone) and almost uncensored version with you here in a jiffy. You don't have to read through all of it and if you only wanna know what my pains are at the very moment, please feel free to jump right to the ending (after the indentation). There you go (the text is from about half a year ago):

    I first started having knee pain when I was a teenager and it not only made me stop playing handball but I started going to the PE classes in school less and less. Now that I think about it, I neither liked playing handball anymore (but I felt like I couldn't stop without having a reason for it) nor did I like PE (I hated football, which we played basically all the time because everyone else seemed to love it). The pain was there for several years, I got a different diagnosis from pretty much every single doctor I went to see and none of them was ever able to help me. At the age of, say, 18ish, the pain just disappeared all by itself.

    After I started studying, I got stressed like a bitch and at the very same time did not only develop a drinking habit but also a bunch of GI-tract issues such as cramps, diarrhea and irregular bowel movements. The cramps went away at some point but the two latter problems have stayed with me to this very day and I am suffering from them as they are restricting my life in a way that I am not living it to the fullest I can as I am constantly avoiding bigger things like traveling or smaller things like going for a hike on the weekends. Throughout the years I saw many doctors and had several examinations such as colposcopies performed on me but nothing serious has ever been found, so the final diagnosis was IBS, which is not exactly helping.

    At the end of my first semester at uni I got eye-laser surgery and three months later, my eyes were fine again. Half a year later I got my eyes lasered again and after that, the dryness never went away again – also to this very day and from this I am suffering even more than from my GI issues as I think about it every single day right after waking up and before falling asleep. Of course, I went seeing shitloads of doctors for that problem as well but nobody could ever help me. Interestingly though, a bunch of doctors I saw said my eyes don't seem as dry as I am saying they feel, that is from an objective medical point of view they look rather fine.

    During my masters I started developing back pain and at some point also pain in my left upper leg, which made me go to see a doctor who sent me to get an x-ray and MRI done. He then diagnosed me with two spinal-disc herniations. I somehow managed to live with the pain and it also got better but never went again. A few years later the pain was back – even worse – after my moving to another city and I again managed to get better (not meaning good), narrowly avoiding surgery (I was considering it for a sec). I have been having lower-back pain to this very day but ever since the last super-bad occurrence it has been manageable.

    At around the same time my right knee started making problems again in the form of a slight pull while walking. My orthopedist told me this was caused by my lower back, so I stopped questioning it. Only like three years later I went to another orthopedist as it got worse, who then quickly diagnosed me with a torn meniscus (it's really bad that I know all these medical terms in English lol) and performed surgery on my knee. As the pain was still there, he performed yet another surgery about a year later. This was more than two years ago and the pain is still there.

    Also at around the same time, I (or somebody else, probably my mom) noticed humps in both my heels, so I went to a doctor and was diagnosed Haglund's deformity. Ever since that discovery, wearing shoes with hard heels got more uncomfortable and was unbearable at some point so that I started wearing running shoes with my suit in my first job, which was absolutely killing every last bit of my self esteem. Two or three years ago I started wearing Reebok sneakers again and I have been doing fine but I am still afraid of wearing any other pair of shoes.

    Shortly before I started wearing sneakers, I started getting pressure marks on my left big toe (probably that was a reason for me to try another pair of shoes than the one I was always wearing). The problem comes and goes but is always there to some extent and it is really annoying as I like having nice toenails. Also, it got kinda worst last few months and I really don't know what to do against it.

    About three years ago I developed pain in my right lower arm and the more doctors I saw, the worse it got. At some point, my doctor told me he was giving up on me as he cannot verify that anything with my arm was wrong and he was running out of ideas. After reading John Sarno's "The Mindbody Prescription" twice, the pain went away and only came back for a short period of time last year. Today I am free of that pain.

    My latest pain is upper-back pain, mostly in my left shoulder. It really only appears when I am stressed, mostly at work, and so far it always went away again after de-stressing in the evening or on the weekend.

    In summary, I myself am shocked how much pain and shit I have been having throughout my life and the last ten years especially. It is annoying, it is restricting, it fucks my life in a bad way and I feel powerless.​

    So that was the story that I wrote down about half a year ago. Ever since, I started developing a pain in the bone below my left big toe; the inflammation around my right Haglund's deformity is back (was gone for years); my right-knee pain got much worse; my lower-back pain keeps flaring up again from time to time; and I developed a completely new kind of pain, which is apparently called TMJ (pain in my jaw right next to my right ear). So things seem to be getting worse for me.

    What have I tried so far to combat TMS? I read John Sarno's first three books over and over again; I read Steve Ozanich's book; I went to see the only TMS doctor in my country and completed his program but neither liked the doctor (in the sense of him giving me a credible TMS diagnosis) nor his program; I completed Alan Gordon's TMS Recovery Program; I went to analytical psychotherapy for two years (just discontinued it a week ago); I tried hypnosis; and I engage in both yoga and meditation on an almost daily basis – to no avail.

    I have also been suffering from a rather severe substance-abuse problem (mostly alcohol and cannabis; but I am highly functional) ever since the age of 15, which I probably used to keep my depression that has been there around for about as long at a manageable level. I also seem to be having OCD and OCPD and yes, I am highly conscientious and a perfectionist.

    When I started a break from every and all kinds of drugs at the beginning of this year (have been hanging on for more than two weeks now – yay!), my pains got massively worse and new ones popped up (see three paragraphs above).

    The reason I am writing all of this is that I am extremely desperate. I mostly believe in TMS (I really want it to be true and there is just so much evidence it is), but doubts keep popping up and the pain is there, despite my ascribing it to TMS (the pain below my left big toe is killing me in this very moment). I am starting Alan's new program tomorrow but other than that I don't know what else to do.

    I am very much curious on your thoughts and cannot wait hearing from you, guys.

    All the love,
    Baseball65 and map76 like this.
  2. map76

    map76 Peer Supporter

    Hi Howard. I can relate to your myriad symptoms and substance issues. I’m no expert, but it certainly sounds like TMS, and it seems you are still trying to convince yourself of the diagnosis.

    I get it though. You don’t see progress, so doubt creeps back in. I wish I had the answer, but I’m going through the same thing.

    One thing I’ve noticed recently is that while I understand the concepts of TMS, I am extremely uncomfortable discussing or feeling my emotions. It’s completely terrifying to me. I can see how my mind wants to avoid it.
    Howard Roark likes this.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Therein lies your main obstruction to getting a good start. Reading the books over and over is important but only in context of thinking yourself a sufferer of TMS...otherwise, it's just more info. TMS people LOVE Too Much Info... "Haglunds deformity?" Never heard of it... New way to blame unresponsive-to-treatment foot pain, I assume? The list is endless

    The medical industry faced with their failure to diagnose and heal people with pain has created a long list of new 'diagnoses' every single year. I do not need to know more academic information to recover.. I need to know more about the action and mechanics of MYSELF. My ego..my personal problems, acknowledged and otherwise.

    However,that information will not mean anything until your ego lets go of the stranglehold it has on thinking of yourself as suffering from 'something'. I was in therapy many times in and out of rehabs and detox, but I was only motivated to dive deep once I embraced that I had something waaaay down there causing my pain. Sarno lists many similar situations. One of the joys of TMS is finding out your average. The ego doesn't like it, but my body does.

    Minus the college, your story reads very much like mine. I also suffered from numerous 'ring-around'the-rosy' symptoms until back pain took me down for good in my early thirties. I also had a horrible substance abuse problem and I supported the expenses by being involved in 'ongoing criminal enterprises' . But, The TMS became unbearable when I tried to STOP being a dope fiend and criminal. When I started being a good, ethical, citizen my unconscious, that wild child who would never abide by any rules to speak of went NUTS.

    I did not vote in your poll. in fact, that sort of question is perhaps at the root of your lack of results. What 'I" think has NOTHING to do with YOUR recovery. And until you believe it I don't know how much TMS treatment will help. It's like being ' a little bit pregnant' . Sarno has long lists of stories of patients who never got better until they had exhausted the idea that there was a 'physical' cause.

    The best help I could offer would be this; consider the opposite. Do you think all of your thousands of forefathers and mothers , winners all of them, fought and strived and naturally selected to create a failure? Or if you're of the spiritual persuasion...do you think God wan'ts you in pain? Both of them are absurd propositions!

    Be sure to compare fairly...does the systems explanation of your ongoing symptoms make sense? or is there some hole in the physics? I was once told "You have a weak body core" by an overweight hunchback doctor. I was in near-boxer physique when the pain began..."How many thousand sit-ups a day do I need to do?" . I am now old with the beginnings of a boiler and do Zero sit-ups a day. ...and I haven't been in pain for a long time. Which story makes more sense?

    hit me up with any questions. Not a TMS therapist, just a grateful recovered guy.
  4. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    A doctor told me to work out daily to improve my core muscles. I said:"I do that, 30 minutes/day every day." She replied fast:"Then increase it to 45 min/day every day and you'll feel much much better!"

    She was "the expert"...
    map76, JanAtheCPA and mbo like this.
  5. mbo

    mbo Well known member

    Such «old school» doctor should reinforce his core understanding about the interplay between mind and body.
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle


    Don't feel bad about the lack of poll responses, Howard - many new members ask the same question and sometimes try to ask it with the poll feature, but the longer some of us stick around, the more we respond as Baseball said - that there is no such thing as a straight yes or no answer.

    One of the ways I answer the question is to say that all humans have the TMS mechanism in our brains, because it evolved in the primitive world as a survival technique. The real question is how the mechanism is working for any particular individual in today's modern world? There is no black and white answer, and the path to finding answers, followed by healing, is definitely not linear, nor is it the same for any two people.

    The good news is that you're in the right place to find resources if you're willing to "do the work. "
    Howard Roark and Baseball65 like this.
  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @map76, and of course anyone else reading this, I will probably end up posting this recommendation as a new thread, but I urge you to listen to Nicole Sach's most recent podcast, titled Am I "Journaling My Way Into Depression?" She addresses, very clearly and convincingly, the necessity of getting through this phase of recovery, which is the scary emotional part. It's only a 30 minute episode.

    She has a couple of links to podcasting sources on her web page here (you have to scroll down for the podcast section) but it's also available with Google Podcasts (that's where I get it), plus Amazon podcasts and probably most of the others.

    Anyone who doesn't know anything about Nicole should probably listen to her very first two podcast episodes, Season 1, episodes 1 & 2, from October 2018.
  8. map76

    map76 Peer Supporter

    Very interesting. I experienced something similar. I was trying to get my life right (stop drinking, stop sleeping around, exercise, meditate, finish college) when my pain started. I was exercising so obsessively I assumed I injured myself but there was no injury.
    Baseball65 likes this.

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