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Numerous Questions...Don't Feel Obligated to Answer All of Them

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Lilac, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. Lilac

    Lilac Newcomer

    Hello all! Please don't feel obligated to answer all of my questions, just know that I'm struggling with this whole concept (as you will probably be able to tell by reading my questions).

    1. I received a diagnoses from a doctor that specializes in TMS after a 45 min conversation. Loved the doctor and felt strong after leaving his office. However, now I'm constantly going back and forth with it. Is this normal? In my heart I know it's unresolved issues that's causing my low back pain, but I can't get my head to understand and accept that! As soon as the pain starts the negative little devil starts talking ...Why me? When is this pain going to stop?

    2. Most of the scenarios I've read about has been about people with debilitating pain. My pain is never more than a 3 out of 10. It's never debilitating, but very annoying! This little pain has caused quite a lot of damage though - gave me extreme anxiety for 6 months and at one point I wished I was dead rather than deal with this pain for the rest of my life (currently taking an antidepressant). Is there anyone else that has pain that is chronic, but not debilitating or is TMS just for high levels of pain?

    3. I haven't started the journaling process mainly bc I can't figure out how to start. Do I use a notebook, a notepad, can I type my entries (will this be as effective?), pen, pencil......? Grrr

    4. I keep reading that I need to reach my subconscious. However, I just don't know how to do that. Thoughts?

    5. Why does the pain come and go? I can have really good days and not so good days. When I'm having a bad day I try to think about what is bothering me, but there isn't anything. Clearly I've supressed those feelings. Is this normal in TMS?

    6. Dr. Stracks (Chicago) recommended a great therapist to talk to who specializes in people with TMS, but she's not covered by my insurance. Is there another way to find a good therapist that specializes in TMS that may be able to help me dig deep into my subconscious to get these repressed feelings to surface? Looking for one in the northern Illinois/SE Wisconsin area

    7. So I had a situation at work over a year ago (right before my back pain started) with a colleague. It devastated me (hurt my feelings) and I still haven't gotten over it. I know bc I still talk about it. I'm thinking it's one of the main reasons why my back pain started. Do I need to confront her in order to get better?

    8. Safe to keep track of pain levels? I know that when I don't focus every waking moment on my pain then I don't tend to notice it. So would keeping track me counterproductive?

    9. What do you do when all of sudden you notice your pain is back again? Do you journal - if so about what (especially if your not angry or sad about anything at that moment) or do you just talk to it?

    10. Any other books that you recommend I read? So far I've read:
    They can't find anything wrong! : 7 keys to understanding, treating and healing stress illness
    The Mind-Body Prescription
    Healing Back Pain
    Back Sense
    Pain Free for Life ( my fav so far)

    Thank you in advance for your time. I wish everyone a healthy body and mind!
  2. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi & Welcome, sorry I gotta' go run in the pool right now so can't answer in detail, but according to a current post by Forest the Mod he says Dr. Sarno never mentions journaling, or doesn't make a big deal out of it. A lot of people here get hung-up on the details like the hows of journaling (perfectionist personality) rather then the Just Doing It!--which is the Good Doctor's main message--do what-ever you want with in the boundaries of physics, gravity and your particular physic and stamina.

    Many others here don't get cured because they feel handcuffed into their insurance. They don't want to pay the VERY reasonable (about $600) for a TMS physician's work-up and DX. And if they need a few TMS therapy sessions, a dozen max will do it for a stubborn case, at the standard non-Manhattan/D.C. rate of $150 an hour. I wouldn't waste my time or money on a non-TMS therapist, you can skype or phone with a real one and it will be just as good. Is your life worth a couple of thousand bucks out of pocket?-or do you prefer the $40 co-pay and squandering your life and slowly wasting away ?

    I was dx'ed by two TMS docs, that I DIDN'T have TMS. They said it was arthritis, to get a hip-replacement sooner-then-later, that was over 15 years ago. I'm still playing tennis everyday with a hobble. I would love to trade DX's with you--how much do you want for yours?
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  3. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Lilac!

    #2 Debilitating pain - I don't think it needs to be debilitating, I think the important question is how distracting is it? No one would ever look at me and think that I have debilitating pain. I could almost always walk for an hour and go to the gym. I rarely ever missed work and never failed to make dinner or get my kids where they needed to go... Also, anxiety is a pain equivalent. It sounds from your description that you find the pain pretty distracting and that it is impacting your quality of life.

    #3 As far as journaling, do whatever makes it more likely that you will actually do it. I sometimes write with a pen, type on my computer... I have a file on my computer and I probably type in there the most frequently. I think what is most important is to write unedited. If you feel freer writing and throwing it away or deleting it afterwards, do that. I have frequently done that. Especially when I am just expressing some "irrational" feeling. I think you might be surprised at how good it feels once you get in the habit and then it becomes easier to do it. There is not one way or a right way to journal. Its not the only way to process things either, but it is very effective.

    #4 "Reaching your subconscious" That's tricky because there is a reason its called subconscious. Start with just acknowledging its there and recognizing its power. Years and years ago I did a bunch of brain wave therapy. Its fascinating and there have been whole books written on it so I can't summarize too quickly. But part of my therapy was to work on a computer and to choose a little character to have fly between two lines on the computer screen. I chose a little super woman. The trick was to sit there and let your subconscious do it. It knew because it had heard the therapist and wanted to achieve a better alpha beta brain wave ratio. If I consciously tried to fly that superwoman between the two lines(my head was all wired up with electrodes) then she would just crash. But if I just sat there and relaxed, let my subconscious brain do the work, she flew right between the lines. It was so cool to sit there and witness this other part of my brain at work, the part that intellectually I know exists but don't have conscious access to. You can consciously take a deep breath, but you are still going to breathe even when you don't think about it. When your subconscious creates physical pain in order to distract you from consciously thinking about and processing some challenging emotion, what you need to do is think about and process that emotion. Or you need to recognize that is what you subconscious is doing and not be distracted by the physical pain. Doing both is best but sometimes it can take time or it is not so easy to figure out exactly what your subconscious is distracting you from. I myself have realized more things in retrospect than in the moment when I am energetically trying to figure it out.

    #5 Why does the pain come and go? Good question. I know in the beginning of my recovery the pain went away very infrequently, than it came and went in a very confusing fashion, now it rarely comes(unless I type something like that haha). You should really spend some time researching outcome independence, because it is one of the most critical, frustrating, confusing and problematic concepts in TMS healing. I would resist it and be darn right mad at the whole idea of it frequently. If you are actively working on something in order to become pain free, how can you not think about whether you are in pain and be looking for a cause and effect. You take all the time and effort to think about why you are in pain, so why is the pain still there? Why doesn't the pain follow a predictable pattern. How is it you can do everything right and still be in pain? All I know is that if you stick with it, practice outcome independence, you will at some point have a new relationship to the pain. I am much more focused on my life now and not only do I not think about the pain so much, I am not really having much pain.

    #7 You do not need to confront her in order to get over your pain. I would journal about this though and perhaps write her some letters. I had a situation with someone I worked with for a long time and was deeply hurt. I started a new life/career but this person is pretty well known and so it has been a difficult to get away from. It has taken me a while and recently I have been writing letters and expressing all the things I truly want to say. It has surprised me how much the hurt has turned into anger, and the more angry I have allowed myself to be in the letters, the better overall I have been feeling about the situation. I do not plan on ever confronting this person. I am not saying don't confront her. That is really for you to work out what works best for you and your situation. But it is not a prerequisite for becoming pain free.

    #8 I would not try to keep track of the pain levels. The less you monitor, the better.

    #9 What to do when you notice your pain is back? This week-end I went to celebrate my birthday in a nearby city. I had actually planned a similar birthday trip 3 years ago and cancelled last minute because I had extreme bladder pain(felt like I had to go when I didn't). As we were checking into the hotel, I suddenly started to have very bad bladder pain. My first thought was something like "oh no, I really wanted to have a fun day." And then I stopped myself and thought "its okay. I can still have a good day. And whatever happens, its just a day. This pain is not going to last." And then when we got to our room, I took a little time and reflected on what was going on 3 years ago. How hard that birthday was for me, what was going on at that time, some things I have already gone through and processed but were hard for me. I asked myself if there was anything else going on and it felt pretty clear that this was some old stuff, my body just remembering how hard it was. I am not sure exactly what point the bladder pain went away that evening, but definitely the next day I noticed that it was gone and I was fine.
    The best advice I can give about what to do when the pain returns is not to react too much. Eventually, it won't come so often and if it does, it won't be that big of a deal. Focus on your life, how you are feeling, what makes you happy, and do the things that help to reinforce that you are okay, worthy, healthy, and loved....
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
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  4. Zumbafan

    Zumbafan Well known member

    Can I just comment on no. 4, have you tried visualisation?
    I liked reading Anne's experience of brain wave therapy, never heard of it, but so interesting.
  5. Lilac

    Lilac Newcomer

    Thank you everyone for your responses. It's funny how when I'm not in pain I don't think about it, but the second I start to feel a twinge everything just goes to sh*t! I've been talking to my pain and have been trying to do it with force, but I think there's a part of me that doesn't believe that it will truly work. I know I have to believe in order for it to be effective.

    I haven't read about outcome independence, but will definitely look into it. I have recently read a lot about meditation as a way to calm the mind. Anyone do this? Is there a right or a wrong way?

    I've read a lot of different posts regarding people stopping exercises and doing activities that they once loved. Thankfully, I'm still running, playing volleyball, going to yoga, educating children...etc. However, there are times when I look at a picture and flashback to that time when I was miserable bc of this pain that consumed me. Sometimes I think I need to take that picture down and throw it out so it's not there to constantly remind me of that time in my life, but then I say to myself "Screw that!" Today, I almost reconsidered going on a trip to Chicago with my girlfriend bc I knew we were going to do a lot of walking (walking/standing seem to trigger my pain) and the last time I was in Chicago my back hurt, but I went and had a great time! I know that I need to keep doing things, especially the things that have bad memories bc of my back pain.

    I think I'm getting better bc I went an entire week without noticing my pain. Then when I said it out loud to my amazing and extremely supportive hubby, the pain returned within the hour. Grrrr....

    Anne, you say not to keep track of pain levels, but I feel like doing this program will constantly keep me aware of TMS. No?
  6. Lilac

    Lilac Newcomer

    BTW, I've had X-Rays, kidney ultrasound, blood work, and went to a chiro (3x week) for two months. Everything came back fine. Chiro mentioned slight curve. My regular physician has always felt it was muscle pain and therefore never felt that I needed an MRI. I have been diagnosed by Dr. Stracks with TMS - however he only met me for 45 minutes and then made that decision. I'm 90% sure I have TMS, but the 10% comes from the fact that I haven't had an MRI. I overanalyze everything and am constantly saying to myself..."What if... Why??" As I'm typing this I'm just plain MAD that I've let this personality of mine do this to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Lilac. When you are focused on and thinking about your pain, you are being distracted by it and not thinking about what is really going on in your life. So no, following a TMS program should not have you constantly thinking about and monitoring your pain. Just the opposite. I personally am doing a lot less thinking, obsessing and analyzing, and a lot more living. Fear, anxiety, worry just feed the pain. You are doing great. The fact that you went a whole week without noticing your pain is fantastic. Just keep exploring and stick with it and things will change.

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