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Nontypical TMS symptoms - overcoming doubt

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by BinLA, Feb 2, 2020.

  1. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter

    Was listening to a podcast called Mind and Fitness by a TMS friendly host and he had a great guest on who talked a lot about doubt. In fact, his theory is that doubt is probably the biggest obstacle in TMS recovery. Not doubt in that it exists or not... but his patients doubt that their exact situation was TMS-derived.
    Unfortunately, as is so often the case... the podcast only discussed the "whys" and never the "hows"... and ended without much advice on really digging underneath that aspect of healing.

    I've always referred to the condition I experience as "stress disorder" which is oddly similar to Dr. David Clarke's "stress illness" language, which I had never heard. I never used the straight "TMS moniker for myself because frankly, it just never seemed like I was dealing with what other people were in the community.

    While it's easy to say, and even Sarno confirmed... TMS can be anything, not just back pain. It sure seems like 90% of the posts, podcast, recovery stories are about musculoskeletal pain. (Back, neck, feet, shoulders, etc.) We're told soft tissue issues like digestion are part of TMS, and I believe it... though, it's very hard to go out and actually find a podcast with someone who has healed from gastritis, IBS, other conditions. I've managed to find some personal accounts of folks that have really helped me. But very few in the TMS biosphere. (Podcasts, videos, groups, etc.)

    And if you experience a chaotic version where things can change month to month (different body part) ... and perhaps daily anxiety, regular panic (or other things like sleep disorders) are part of the web of symptoms you experience... you tend to fall into a different "crowd." (Anxiety sufferers.)

    Everyone will rush in here to say "it's all the same" and I'll never argue. I'm sure it is! But it's one thing to postulate or theorize, it's another to see proof in practice. Say what you will, but people who recover from back pain had CLEAR examples of exact templates from others who have done the same. No complications. Just back pain. Those with a chaotic, ever-changing collection of symptoms... perhaps that even take periods off where things appear to be improving... we have far less example of how people overcame.... unless we look to other communities. (Anxiety, usually)

    For those who are dealing with non-standard versions of what you consider to be TMS... how did you, do you eliminate doubt? How do you get over the fact that a host will have 40 podcasts avaialble... and not one addresses your condition or even sounds like you? Telling someone "it's all the same" is great, but what did you do to boost the confidence and end the mental chatter on whether your condition is truly TMS?

    I believe doubt is a huge deal, and would love to hear input on how people have move through it in the face of non-standard conditions.
  2. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    I unfortunately have nothing positive to add, but I do want to say I agree totally with you. I have symptoms that don’t fit the typical TMS symptom list and due to this I have a difficult time accepting it. There are days I’m on board and others I’m not. Maybe watch Dan Buglio videos and listen to Nicole Sachs podcasts. They are pretty uplifting.
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  3. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    And same here . Hi tgirl
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  4. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    What took me the furthest into belief was not giving my brain something to deny. This is what I would say to myself: "I am 100% willing to believe that my symptoms are psychological." The word "willing" helped me because it opened the door without my brain saying "this isn't believable." So, I just said, "I'm willing to believe..." Then signs of proof began to show up. Make sure when you notice them that you write it down so you can go back and say, "Okay, I had two hours where I didn't feel anxiety. I was outside cleaning out the garage...." This way you'll slowly increase your belief, instead of feeling self-judgement.
  5. Marls

    Marls Well known member

    Thanks for this great post BinLA, I hope it opens a door and it will be interesting to see how many people do relate to it.
    My “issue” seems like a domino game. First the Tri Gem stuff, awful but calculable (common even); pure TMS and therefore readable and dealable. My analytical brain understood and I would be OK.
    Then, under cover of darkness, this morphed into some sort of anxiety fuelled monster, which is currently effecting how I think, act and do. I thought at the time of changeover that I was getting so much better and yet sooo much worse. Little did I realise something physical was recognisable and so tangible, and therefore understable. But this! I am floundering, ever lurking around wiki, watching for anyone I could relate to, and therefore feel not so alone.
    I fully understand that we are “all in the same boat” and therefore the answers should/would/could be the same. But at the same time, my brain feels somewhat addled, given over to the 24x7 loop of self-talk, not necessarily outright negative, but stuck in WTF Land.
    I feel/know it’s TMS, just masquerading under a very very clever guise. I am ever grateful for the wonders in my life, I meditate, I genuinely self-soothe.
    If I had the energy I would have leapt out of my chair when I saw this post, because I feel “in your crowd”

    I believe doubt is a huge deal, and would love to hear input on how people have move through it in the face of non-standard conditions.”
    Well …. Me Too! This will bring on a new chapter.
  6. Marls

    Marls Well known member

    Marcia, I think you might have hit a button for me here. "Self-judgement" was almost in neon to me. Crikey, I do self-judge. I sometimes think "how did I let this happen to me, I was doing great and then I dropped the ball" and worse "and now I'm not handling it" (Funny, sometimes I am "I" and other times I am "YOU" in my self-talk). We all seem to have a slightly different puzzle and this is another little piece of mine. Thanks, marls
  7. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    What you just described reminds me of where I was 4 years ago. Yet I healed completely. My conditions were non-standard and changing. The multitude of changing symptoms is the main indication of TMS. Read my post under Success Stories.
  8. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter

    Do you have a direct link? Hard to know which one is yours from the group. Thanks in advance!
  9. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter

    Glad the post resonated with a few people, or... maybe not glad actually? lol. I don't want any of this for anyone. But feeling like a "TMS Outsider" is a thing, and might be worth some of the experts spending more time with. I know Dan Buglio has touched on this some. And I know the chorus from the TMS community is always "but it's all the same thing!"
    Again, easy to say... harder to put in practice....

    High level IBS for months, then clearing... then extreme rolling daily panic, anger, anxiety.... then a couple good months... then groin pain... then a few good days... then headaches.... then they're gone.... then gastritis and extreme, scary stomach pain....

    All of the while working on the concepts, working on building up better responses to fear... and assuming along the way as these things leave and better days come... maybe I'm on the right track? Only to get kicked back down. Rinse and repeat for many years. (This isn't an extinction burst that lasted a few weeks)

    I think those of us who experience things this way are prone to becoming angry and distrusting the process. Again, never to underestimate back pain. (I've had that too! 20 years ago, debilitating) But, from our perspective... you can almost resent the story of the guy with back pain who didn't know about Sarno, read a book... journaled a few times and saw progress on his one and only symptom... only to fully recover. (And of course start a podcast later lol)

    I deeply appreciate what this community has done for people in pain, including myself. It's helped me regain so much of my life back. But... doubt is a big deal.
    And those who don't fall in the standard TMS protocol are going to be more prone to this doubt. It's a natural response.
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  10. Goldy

    Goldy Peer Supporter

    I'm dealing with the same. I have improved a lot (mind and body), but when I don't hear my exact symptoms repeated in the tms community, my mind goes to the what ifs and it creates doubt. I still hold Dr. Sarno in the deepest respect, but I don't read his books because they focus on "back pain" for the most part. I listen to Dan Buglio (he refers to tms as "too much stress") for his wonderful videos and Steven Ozanich because he had a huge variety of symptoms he overcame. I have to be very careful on this forum as well because people list their symptoms. It's not healthy for any of us to focus on symptoms, AND if I don't see my symptoms, it creates doubt for me.
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  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    here it is:

    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/cts-carpal-tunnel-syndrome-crps-dystonia-raynauds-full-recovery.22242/ (CTS(Carpal tunnel syndrome), CRPS, dystonia, Raynaud's - full recovery)

    I did not mention in the post migraines, rosacea and couple other things that I recovered from. Sarno mentioned IBS in his book as a TMS condition. My CRPS was briefly mentioned in his book and that gave me the drive to recover, despite lack of hard evidence or success stories.
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  12. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    In my opinion, doubts are inevitable and inescapable part of the process. Thinking psychologically is not easy, you have to abandon many of the dogmas that have been pounded into our brains by mainstream medical practice.

    I do believe that if you accept your doubts as norm and stop comparing yourself to the lucky Sarno patients who recover by just sitting through his lecture, you will only expedite your recovery. Doubts are in the very nature of a TMS personality. Accept it as a norm and start looking for ways to convince yourself. It took me at least a year to fully convince myself not in my brain, but in my heart that I, in fact, had TMS and that I would recover. And so I did. I have been where you all are. If it was not for @balto, who responded to my desperate posts about spasms and swelling, I would be still struggling. He did not give me much explanation, he kept telling me to continue trying.

    I don't like advertising my book here in my every post, but I think I said in it everything I could on the subject of doubts, and getting over the hurdle of doubt is the KEY. Short of copying and pasting the whole thing here, which would make it unreadable, I suggest that you try to read the entire 160 pages. People seem to find it useful. It is priced as low as Amazon allowed me to go, the entire 99 cents. I just released a Nook version, too, on Barnes and Noble web site.

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  13. whitewatersmetta

    whitewatersmetta Peer Supporter

    Doubt is such a drag, isn't it?

    I'm not sure exactly what non-typical symptoms you are dealing with, so I don't know if you'll find my experience relevant, but here it goes. I have had a lot of different areas of musculoskeletal pain. 14 different areas of my body, (and that's not counting the parathesias that move all over the place). That's what originally brought me to TMS treatment.

    But as I've moved through the recovery process, I've also noticed massive improvement in other symptoms, that I wasn't even really focused on when I started this path. IBS, extreme skin sensitivity, eczema, warts, those parathesias I mentioned above. I have had each of those symptoms for at least 10 years and they are GONE. Well....sometimes the IBS and/or skin sensitivity returns for a few moments but I can get it to fade very easily. I've also really reduced my problems with motion sickness. Oh, and a toenail that had been cracked, incessantly painful and swollen for 5 years is now perfectly normal AND it stopped hurting months before the nail could actual grow back properly. So even though it looked like it was a physical injury, beyond the acute trauma when pain was appropriate, it never needed to keep hurting for all that time.

    I also have seen improvements in my tourette's syndrome.

    I'm not cured yet...I'm still working on a few symptoms. But hopefully my success with some non-typical symptoms will help you keep going! Don't give up!

    Oh, and Alan Gordon's Pain Recovery Program (the new one with the list of different days) on this TMS Wiki has a section where he talks about the different symptoms he cured in himself. You might find that helpful and in general, I found his program to just be amazing--much more useful to me personally than Sarno (who WAS a genius, I just personally got more out of Gordon's program) so it's worth checking out if you haven't already. Also, Howard Shubiner has a book called Unlearn your Pain which lists very common (but non-musculoskeletal) TMS symptoms. It's very good! You can do this!
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  14. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Amazing post! It brings it all together. The root of many problems in the body is unbalanced nervous system. This is why meditation works for seemingly unrelated problems and why so many symptoms disappear once you calm down your nerves. I was never convinced by the explanation Sarno gave to back pain in early 1970s, but then neuroscience was in a cradle. His genius is in finding a solution without maybe truly understanding the cause. Supply of oxygen to the muscles cannot explain many other non-muscular symptoms that clear from TMS approach, but neuroscience has a clear explanation because brain controls so many functions in our bodies, including auto-immune and hormonal.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  15. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    I would be very grateful if you could post a link to this section, I can't find it, and thank you for your post!
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  16. whitewatersmetta

    whitewatersmetta Peer Supporter

    nowa, here is the link to the list of symptoms that Alan Gordon cured in himself before becoming a TMS therapist.

    I'm actually including the link for the whole program, because I want people to know it's there. So use this link and then click on Day 1 to get to the list I was talking about. And if you haven't tried it, I gotta say that the program was life-changing for me. It just used concepts that really made sense to me, personally.

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/ (Pain Recovery Program)
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  17. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter

    Thank you for this post! Very helpful.
  18. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter


    Just got your book. Quite interesting and kudos on making it so clear and straight forward. Will continue reading.
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  19. nowa

    nowa Peer Supporter

    thank you,I have tried starting the program, but I am too distracted by fear about a possible diagnosis of PARKINSON'S disease, and I will be seeing the neurologist tomorrow, unfortunately she won't be able to give me a diagnosis tomorrow because i need to have a DAT scan first, and i refused it initially because it measures the amount of dopamine the brain produces and i have been on opioids which can stop dopamine production for about a year, but it has now been a year since i came off them, i imagine that that is what the appointment is about. I am terrified of the Scan because it involves swallowing a radioactive substance and having an injection of something to protect your thyroid, plus i have had dopamine deficiency symptoms for years now... But i will have to face all this tomorrow.
  20. BinLA

    BinLA Peer Supporter

    Going through tests can be very hard. Praying for you to find some extra strength tomorrow... which I know you will. Hang in there. It’ll be over soon, and you’ll be on with your life.
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