1. 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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New Member - Help Please!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by brandon, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. brandon

    brandon New Member

    Hello World,
    I hope this reaches you all well. I am a 26 year old male and I have been dealing with whats been diagnosed as interstitial cystitis for 6 years. Its been just awful. It began as constant urinary urgency but has graduated to bladder and urethral pain which can knock me over when I'm walking on the street.

    I was either ignoring the pain or going through outrageous medical procedures and taking an outrageous amount of medications all for no benefit for about 6 years. I finally gave up on that and discovered Sarno about 3 months ago.

    I see an LCSW now, try to focus on mental and emotional issues, and I believe I have TMS and was diagnosed by a TMS doctor as having TMS. I consider myself a goodist, having perfectionist traits and above all a worrier. I am just now starting to journal.

    Any advice for a guy like me? I know that my pain has no basis in physical reality but its so bad I have considered making my first ever trip to the emergency room. Anything and everything is appreciated..
  2. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello, Brandon! I'm pretty new here too. Congratulations on your new journey....I've only been at this for just a few weeks but have already seen remarkable improvement in chronic pain that has pretty much ruled my life for nearly 20 years.

    I just want to encourage you that regardless of the manifestation of the pain you will find a very loving and encouraging community here.

    Here's a few tidbits that I've been clinging too. I talk to the pain, "Knock it off ankle. You're fine. This is TMS, a benign condition. What emotion is REALLY bothering you?"
    I'm hanging out here and reading the success stories...the similarities are amazing. I'm also re-reading Dr. Sarno's book as well as others on TMS. I am also celebrating my victories...walking without pain...swimming without pain.

    Take a deep breath, Brandon. You've started on a wonderful new journey to a new life. You're in great company here!
    Ellen likes this.
  3. brandon

    brandon New Member

    Thank you very much for the thoughtful response. My problem currently is that the pain is really, really bad. I have strong pains all over my body but concentrated in my bladder area, fingers, toes, back and knees. I am surprised by how much the pain is transferring now, its limitless, I have been getting pain behind my teeth even.

    Its just awful. Does anyone have experience wherein the pain gets worse right before it gets better? I am hoping that my mind is trying to throw me from the trail of emotional roots now. I am spending a lot of time reading Sarno and journaling.

    Wish me luck please. :(
  4. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Brandon, the first day after I read the book, every trigger point in my body was flared. (I was diagnosed with "fibromyalgia"...but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's TMS). I was hurting. Bad. And then I had some dramatic improvement the next day. I seem to be maintaining pain free walking but some of those symptoms have been replaced with a nasty tightness in both my calves. It's just crazy how this TMS will move around. It's like your brain is wandering around checking locked doors to see where it can sneak into!
    I was encouraged by some on this forum that if you do have a flare, be encouraged that you're on the right path. I am finding that out to be solid wisdom.
    So good luck, and if you don't mind...a mama bear hug too. :) (My son is nearly your age.) You'll get through this!
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Brandon. I'm a perfectionist and worrier too. I had bad back and side pain last year and learned about Dr. Sarno's book and TMS
    and journaled and found out about a lot of repressed emotions I had hidden deep inside me. It took a few months before I believed
    100 percent in TMS and then I healed.

    I hope you keep thinking your pain is TMS because even a doctor said so.
    You don't even have to figure out what repressed emotions you have. Dr. Sarno says just believing you have them convinces
    your subconscious mind so it lets up on you.

    MontanaMom gives you good advice. So too does Steve Ozanich, in the posting below:


    If a medical examination shows your pain is not caused by structural damage, it is very likely caused by TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome), a reduction in oxygen to parts of the body caused by repressed emotions that can and usually go back to our childhood.

    Steve Ozanich, author of The Great Pain Deception, says:

    I think you do know what the conflict is (the repressed emotion such as anger, guilt, rejection, desertion, a perfectionist personality, physical or emotional abuse from a parent or sibling or others, etc.).

    But if it's too emotionally painful, or taboo, or unthinkable, then you can't allow it to surface, thus the physical symptoms. It wants to be let go, but the TMS stops it in its tracks.

    You don't have to know what "the" thing is that is causing your pain, or unpleasant symptoms. Over the past 12 years I've seen people get worse by trying to find the magic healing bullet. But it doesn't usually work. And--if you read the new Foreword that Dr. Sarno wrote, he said it was "fruitless" to try to make the unconscious become conscious.

    So, I tell people to look at your current life, and to forget the past for now. Your past is what got you here, it formed your personality, and how you respond to stress in your adult life. But it's gone, temporally. So you have a certain Type T persona, and your current life has you under the gun. As I wrote, I believe it is all about relationship. Check your current relationships, and let go of the past ones. Your TMS is there due to some fragmenting of a relationships, or relationships.
    TMS occurs because of a reaction. Your physical body is reacting to something. If your body didn't react, then you wouldn't have any symptoms. But the presence of TMS shows that your body is responding. The response is to over stimulation. Most people can recognize a physical reaction to stress, and tension from stress. But they usually aren't aware of "how much" they are responding due to repression and ego. The ego covertly hides how much things are bothering us. The ego is also the thing that causes the reaction, or response. If we placed no attachment to the criticisms or rejections, in relationship, there would be no TMS. The ego is the thing that causes the over reaction.

    So you have TMS because you are reacting to life. How you are reacting is how you learned to react as a child. You can change all that through letting go. Letting go is a book in itself, with many ways, and many takes.

    Healing is a personal thing, in that, no one can show you how to forgive, or to have faith or belief. No one person can tell someone how to have courage and strength. Those things come through personal revelations within the self.

    This struggle you go through to gain peace inside is life itself. This is what life is all about, the overcoming of fear and darkness through personal struggle. You don't want to jump to the end, you want to live each day turning the pages slowly, growing.

    But, there are core concepts that we all can follow. Let go, laugh more, help others, stay physically active, and socially engaged, live with a purpose, stick with a daily transparent act, never think of the body, see light where darkness exists, and BELIEVE you will be ok.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    A great place for any one to start is with Alan Gordon's TMS Recovery Program. It addresses so many issues that you will face when recovering from TMS, especially our obsession over our symptoms. It is amazing at how much we are all obsessed with our symptoms. We spend so much of our time fearing them, wondering when they will go away, what it could mean, and when will it return. In my case, my fear and obsession of my symptoms was way worse then the actual pain I experienced. When your symptoms move or increase, which they will, it is because your unconscious is desperate to get you to obsess over your symptoms again. From the moment you learn about TMS, you are beginning to realize that your symptoms are not structural and your fear of them begins to gradually reduce. The only way your unconscious can get you to obsess over them again is to either increase them or create new symptoms. Your symptoms are moving because you are becoming more aware of what is going on, and are reaching a point where you fully believe that your symptoms are benign.

    There is a great section in the program about Outcome Independence that addresses this very issue, and provides terrific advice on how to overcome it.
    MontanaMom likes this.
  7. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Great response, Forest. Brandon, in my experience, the more severe the symptoms, the more difficult it is to practice outcome independence.

    Sometimes calming the body down can help subdue the symptoms, decreasing their severity. Slowing down the breath, focusing on the breath, doing a progressive muscle relaxation, can help take you out of a fight or flight state, and reduce overall pain levels (as long as you're not constantly monitoring the pain while doing this.)

    Once you're able to reduce the severity of the symptoms, practicing outcome dependence becomes easier.

    Here's a link to breath meditation that might help slow down the body:

    Forest likes this.
  8. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    If the pain continues after you have used the breathing meditation, what should you do?
    Do you challenge the symptoms by continuing to do the activity or do you rest on the couch
    trying to breath and talk to your brain; and investigate what is going on psychologically?

    I read a lot on this wiki that when the symptoms move around that is good sign. Can you
    explain that? Is that what extinction burst is? Does it mean anything if the pain increases?

    I listened to many of your audio tapes in your section, they were very helpful. I had some
    good cries and felt better. Thank you for your time and your expertise. I am gleaning a
    great deal from your forum.
    Forest likes this.
  9. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi GR, the symptoms moving around is often talked about as positive because it reinforces that there is nothing structurally wrong with just that initial part of the body. It can also indicate that causing pain in one part of your body isn't "working" anymore, so the mind is desperately trying to find another way to try and scare you, so it's "on the run" so to speak.

    In your specific case, both challenging the symptoms and talking to your brain would both fail as strategies. You know why? Because your goal in both is try and eliminate the symptoms. The harder you push, the more invested you are in the outcome, the more resistant the symptoms become. I can imagine you at home challenging the symptoms, and as the pain persists, you fall into a deep disappointment, "this isn't working..." I can imagine you lying on your couch talking to your brain, subsequently feeling defeated, "this isn't working..."

    I think the number one thing you can work on is outcome independence. I know it's hard, but the best way to alter your symptoms is by lowering the stakes. "If the symptoms go down, that's fine...if they stay the same, that's fine too. I'm going to work on taking care of myself, being nice to myself, and breathing..." When you practice that, and when you truly mean that, the symptoms will begin to lose their power.

    Ellen, Forest and Anne Walker like this.
  10. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    Thank you for your quick reply. I think you are right. I am always trying to challenge the symptoms.
    When the symptoms move and fear tries to take hold of me, I feel the pain intensifies.
    I think I am going to relax with the symptoms and be loving to myself. I am not going to worry
    if I get anything done that day. What do you think of that? I find when I distract my mind
    if I am getting the pain and go to my computer; the pain seems to fade.

    Thank you for your input.
  11. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Sounds like a good plan. Once getting rid of the pain is no longer the goal, the pain often begins to lose its grip on you.
    MontanaMom likes this.
  12. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Man, this is tricky stuff to get your mind around! Every time I feel like I get a handhold, it slips! Especially since this stuff feeds off our drive to tackle this stuff head on and DO IT RIGHT, by golly!
    G.R. I take comfort in what you share; I can totally relate!
    Alan- Thank you so much for all the time and expertise you share so freely here. You too have become a soothing presence in my mind. :)

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