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New here - my story, need advice

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by smendi, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. smendi

    smendi New Member

    Hi guys. I'd love to share my story with you and hear your feedback.

    My pain started about 9 months ago. At the time, it has been two years since I started a new job (fresh out of college) - and I didn’t like it at all (to say the least). I had (and still have) a terrible boss - highly critical, childish and unprofessional. It was also one of the most stressful times of my life. Two weeks before my pain started, I moved from sitting with my colleague to sitting with my boss in the same room. I was miserable and felt like I should be someplace else, doing something else that suited me better, and wanted to work for a manager I would like and respect. When it started, I felt emotionally overwhelmed. It started “out of the blue” - a dull ache in my middle back. I thought it’s nothing and decided to give it a few days to go away. But it didn’t. And I got nervous, because it started right before a very important trip abroad - a special delegation from work to a remote village, where I was to live for three weeks. I was terrified something happened to my back. The pain grew stronger and I couldn’t sit in front of the computer. Every Time I stood up and walked, the pain would stop. It seemed like the only situation where it hurt was when I was sitting at my desk working. I thought it has something to do with ergonomics. I thought I had herniated disc. I was freaking out. But I had no choice but to fly abroad and hope for the best. And then, a miracle happened. A day or two after flying away, the pain disappeared. Nothing. Like it never happened in the first place. During that trip, I was sitting for long periods of time and working with my computer, but the pain didn’t come back. I thanked God and thought it was just stress and that I’m done with it.

    After a blessed month, I was back at work. And then, after about two days at work, my pain started again. I was angry and miserable and didn’t know what to do. I went to the doctor who said I have nothing wrong; he even refused to send me to MRI because he thought it would cause hysteria. I went to Physiotherapy and Acupuncture which helped a bit but not for long. I started swimming. I went to Osteopath. Didn’t help. I changed my chair and slept with no pillow and what not. Nothing helped. BTW - I ended up doing a CT that revealed nothing but a bulging disc in a place unrelated to my pain. I was healthy.

    One day I found Sarno’s book and the things he wrote resonated deeply with me. I’m an overachiever, perfectionist, worrier, anxious and emotional person. I fear criticism, I need to be perfect and in control, and I constantly think of “what can go wrong.” When someone says something to me that I don’t like, I think about it all day. Anyway, I decided to go to a TMS doctor who diagnosed me with TMS, and I started his 6-week program. It helped in a way, but the pain persisted. It never went away. It did change locations - from my back to my hips, to carpal tunnel syndrome, to headaches and even pain in my foot. I’m happy to say that today it’s just around my shoulders.

    I'm doing Dr. Schubiner's program now, and it helped too but my pain still lingers. Most of the time it feels like I have tight muscles in the shoulders, shoulder blades and in the chest. Somedays it's worse than others. At first, I couldn't sit for long periods of time and work or exercise. But today I can work and I'm fully active - I do yoga, I run, I lift weights. But somedays, even though the pain is not debilitating, it's just so annoying that it freaks me out. I JUST WANT IT TO BE GONE ALREADY.

    I know it has to do with stress. And emotions. When I'm in an uncomfortable situation - whether it's I'm cold, bored, annoyed, fighting with my husband, in a very noisy place - I feel my muscle tighten.

    I'm in the TMS business since June 17, and I don't know why I still struggle. It makes me doubt the diagnosis. I'm so into the TMS treatment I sometimes feel it's in itself overwhelming and time-consuming. I avoid any type of treatment, but sometimes really want to go to some kind of treatment that will release a bit of the tension in the shoulders.

    I meditate daily and journal and suppose to leave my job in a few month. I also use positive affirmations (which helped).
    BTW - my husband and I really want a baby and I'm delaying it because of TMS. I can't imagine how life would be when I have pain AND need to take care of a baby.

    I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks and happy new year!!!
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi smendi, and welcome!

    You're obviously very self-aware, and congratulations for finding and committing to the TMS diagnosis. It occurs to me that perhaps the missing link in your knowledge and belief is something I learned a few months after I discovered Dr. Sarno and did the SEP.

    I found an audio program called "Meditations to Change Your Brain", but Rick Hanson PhD, and neuroscientist Richard Mendius, MD. This program really helped me because they explained how our brains are wired to be negative, constantly scanning the horizon for danger, and keeping us on our toes by worrying about threats. That worked okay back when the world was primitive and we only lived long enough to breed the next generation, but it is a horrible mechanism in today's modern world, where we know that we have to plan and live for many decades, and our brains put us into full fight-or-flight mode when someone cuts us off in traffic!

    Six years later, I know that my symptoms are TMS, but I still fall out of the habit of mindfulness, and slip back into the stress mode of our incredibly complex lives, and various symptoms come back to harass me. It's kind of a constant battle. The HUGE difference is that I don't fear them anymore - they're just bloody annoying.

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
    MindBodyPT and Sita like this.
  3. smendi

    smendi New Member

    Thanks Jan!

    I think sometimes I'm just tired of it all :) another meditation, another trick, another tool... I think the best option is to learn how to manage stress in a way it doesn't affect me physically. TMS has definitely helped me take a more positive outlook towards life. In a way, it gave me a present and changed my life for the better. But some days I'm just afraid it's going to be like this forever...
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Perhaps I should have explained that the audio program is mostly lectures on the topic of how our brains are wired. I never got around to doing the included meditations, but the awareness of how my brain was sabotaging my well-being with the constant negative danger messages is what became an important turning point in my recovery.
  5. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi smendi,

    Welcome to the forums! Like Jan said, it sounds like you have a good handle on your TMS pain and have been putting in a lot of effort. There are so many good tools out there, different ones work for different folks. A couple thoughts for you- it sounds like anxiety is playing a role in your TMS, as it does for so many of us. Have you looked at Claire Weekes' books and videos? They are really great for learning to calm down and be less worried about your symptoms, they really helped me take some anxiety down.

    Another thing to consider is that a lot of us have this perfectionist tendency and are so hard on ourselves. It's not just outside stressors that contribute to our TMS and anxiety but also our reaction to them. Learning to care a little bit less has been SO helpful to me and I think really helped my TMS healing. Taking a break from the programs/strategies and deciding you aren't going to worry about finding the perfect solution, paradoxically, can be just the right thing sometimes! Same goes for how you react to your TMS symptoms...noting that you feel a symptom but deciding not to focus too hard on it and care less about it can be healing.

    And remember that the stories you tell yourself can help you heal...keep repeating to yourself it WONT be like this forever! This too shall pass. Simple but so powerful to beat TMS.
  6. smendi

    smendi New Member

    Thank you both for your kind answers!

    I know it will end one day. I'm sure of it. It keeps on getting better everyday. I'm just impatient.

    Also, I think one barrier to me getting better is the parenting thing. I'm afraid of being a mother, and I know deep down that if I don't have pain, there's no reason not to get pregnant. And then I need to face my fears. Does this make sense?
    Lizzy likes this.
  7. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    It does make sense! It sounds like one of your underlying issues is related to fears around parenthood and that the pain might have been a distraction from these fears...sounds like you already have a handle on recognizing that, which is awesome. This is so common with TMS, we all had issues we didn’t want to face that the pain helped distract from. Sarno discusses this at length.

    I believe I had some similar issues, my husband and I hadn’t been on the same page about kids and talking to him about this was an issue that came up for me as well in my TMS journey. I think a lot of people have intense feelings around the idea of parenthood, I know I do! I’m expecting my first baby in about 7 weeks so it’s on mind often. TMS healing wound up helping me work through my fears around pregnancy and parenting in the end, but that process with be different for everyone.

    The TMS healing journey is a tough one that requires you to find your truth and face your emotions honestly. It’s a worthwhile but challenging process, go at your own pace.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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