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oh my clever little mind!

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by blake, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. blake

    blake Well known member

    As we all know, one of the basic tenets of tms healing is resuming all activities, right? So the first time I heard of this, the very next day I went back to the gym and went for a run. I then resumed strength training and spin class. All activities I had stopped due to the pain. I was feeling pretty proud of myself, especially since I did all of this without much fear. What was all this fear talk about, anyway, I asked myself.

    But here's the thing. If someone is a runner, they get tms in the knee. If someone is a guitar player, they get tms in their hands. What kind of tms pain does someone whose passion in life is to do research, analyze and write? We get debilitating neck pain and headaches!

    Resume all activities for me has never been about resuming exercise. Exercise is fun, but it is not a passion for me. Resuming all activities means facing my fear that I will get pain and not be able to keep working. I have been scaling back my hours because of my neck pain for the last 5 years. My professional life revolves around accommodating my pain. I refuse contracts out of fear that I will not be able to handle them. My tms had totally outwitted me for awhile. But I get it now.

    And I know what all this fear business is about! Oh boy, let the soothing begin.
    Seraphina, Ellen and Anne Walker like this.
  2. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    Hey Blake. I can totally relate to this..
    I'm an analyst at an investment bank, doing research, analyzing, writing, typing, and sitting everyday.

    While I was suffering from a real ankle injury, TMS came to my other ankle in order to make me fear "just another injury that makes me give up walking."

    As my ankle is recovering and I'm resuming my walking and basic movement, being able to focus on my ordinary work, the TMS is recently attacking my butt (especially the sitting bone) and hip joint--now making me feel difficult to sit and do the actual work!

    I still have fear of sitting because I'm afraid of having more pain (as TMS's revenge) and not able to sit at all. So I still use a soft cushion at work, but I know this lingering fear is what feeds TMS. I need to work on this.... still a lot work to do...!
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
  3. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi Seraphina,

    Pain when sitting must suck. Sorry to hear that. We have to hand it to tms, though, it's really sneaky, isn't it?. Is there anything you have found particularly helpful in facing your fear?
  4. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Seraphina, "Sitting bone" huh--I bet you do yoga. Dr. Sarno says you can't hurt your butt by sitting--the same as you can't hurt your neck or back while sleeping.

    Throw that cushion away!

    What's bugging you in the back of your brain??? that you're repressing???

    Here's a link to just one of many threads that discuss this here:

  5. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Resuming all normal activities means both, losing your fear of work or play, and also becoming more physically aggressive. Aggression might mean different things to different people though. Some people might see becoming physically aggressive as walking a mile, others may see it as a triathlon. But you have to lose your fear of activity, the physical movement retrains your brain to react differently to movement.

    If you don't lose your fear of moving you're still TMSing, and imprisoned in physicophobia (it's somewhere near Tennessee I think).

    Fear is the driver of all symptoms. And fear is defeated with confidence.
  6. blake

    blake Well known member

    Thanks for your feedback, Steve and tennis tom. Working hard on facing my fears now and am feeling really hopeful.

  7. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    Hi Blake,
    As I'm still quite weak (mentally) and easily scared by pain, the only thing that makes me volume down the fear effectively is the actual reduction in pain. Other methods do or do not work time to time, but the feeling of pain subsiding literally kicks the fear's a** off.

    I do get scared again when pain comes back, but I try to remind and persuade me that resuming this specific activity didn't make much pain before, so it should be and will be 100% TMS and that I can beat it by not fearing it.

    The weak point of this approach is that I need to feel pain reduction at least once for each activity. I can only try each and every activity a little by little to see if I have a meaningful decrease in pain, which means it takes longer time than just resuming all physical activities simultaneously and enduring any outcome to be eventually pain-free.

    In that sense, just resuming all normal activities, as Steve suggest, I think, the fastest way to front the fear and beat it. I'm, however, still afraid of a head-on game with pain :confused:

    @Tennis Tom Hi Tom! thanks again. I found that you were one of the "hip guys" or "hip experts" in the other website, and I'm gradually absorbing your advice on them specifically.
    The butt pain... Since my chair at work is ergonomically designed, it's still softer than a metal chair, but I used to add an additional soft cushion there to avoid the butt and thigh pain. Yesterday, I accepted your word and put my cushion away at work.
    Guess what? the pain was not that different! The extreme soreness and stiffness around the buttocks and the thigh were at the similar level. I'm not sure if that's because the cushion had not been helping at all, but anyways I'm not using the cushion anymore at work. Thanks for that!

    However, when I sit on a hard chair (e.g., on subway) the pain feels different. It literally feels that their is no soft tissue between the chair and the butt bone and that the bone is squeezed... (so I'm still using a cushion when commuting by subway).
    I can consider the soreness as TMS (since it feels as muscle or tendon issue), but it's still a little hard for me to think of this kind of "bony pain" as a pure TMS. I don't even remember if the bony sensation is normal or not... *sigh*
    I recently lost about 7.2 lb during the month of cast and crutch due to a real injury (remember...?), and I'm mostly attributing my "bony pain" to this fact (that I lost fat and muscle a lot especially around the butt) or a possible abnormality with the butt bone (?) I think an ordinary doctor under traditional medicine will just tell me I have to strengthen my muscle there unless there is actually an abnormality there (unlikely though). Not sure what to do about this :(
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
  8. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Seraphina, viewed from a TMS emotional perspective, could it be that riding on the crowded subway with a bunch of strangers, increases your TMS stress level--or the impending arrival at your destination at the end of your subway ride is TMS stressing you out??? BTW, your English is excellent, where did you learn it, in Korea or abroad?
  9. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi Seraphina,

    Congratulation on putting away your cushion at work. Every time we make a change like that we are telling our tms that we will no longer be controlled by it. I find it's a daily, moment-by-moment thing. I have noticed lately how closely tied my mood is to the pain: if I am pain free, I am optimistic; if I am in pain, I am more pessimistic about my life. Noticing how I do that has been so helpful. Now I realize that I can choose to be happy even if I have the pain. I need to practise this all the time though. It's what Alan Gordon calls outcome independence. I really love that concept. If you haven't checked it out yet, it's on the tmswiki website.

    The biggest payoff for me in facing my fear is that I am starting to reclaim my life. My professional life doesn't have to revolve around my pain. I can now set goals for myself and feel like I can reach them no matter what. It's a work in progress, of course, but on most days now, I no longer feel like I am a slave to my pain. Maybe identifying what you will gain from facing your fear could help.

    Sending healing your way,
  10. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    Hi @Tennis Tom !! Basically, I learned English in Korea until I graduated from high school, but luckily I had an opportunity to absorb it more naturally by going to an American college. I came back to Korea for work after college graduation. :)

    Oh and your comment was deeply helpful! During the weekend, I thought about any possible stress or anger I might have accumulated inside. I mean, commuting by subway 1.5 hour (total 3 hour for a round trip) itself is truly a stressful thing, but there was bigger complaint, anger, and even sense of inferiority behind that. I think it's all connected to the dissatisfaction with my family, my workplace, and myself having chosen such life direction (this emotion, I think, is mostly related to the sense of inferiority).

    I acknowledged such emotions, naturally felt the feeling of them, and decided to acknowledge them whenever I feel uncomfortable or pain in the subway. I still feel the pain (today I felt more of upper back pain than butt pain), and sometimes there are even more severe pain coming up like electric/nerve pain. This still scares me for the moment, making me fear if I'm doing something wrong, but I try to calm myself down and think "this too shall pass." There's a still loooooooong way to go, but I think it's a good way to start learning about myself, isn't it?

    Hey @blake, I defintely agree with you on outcome independence. I read Alan's article on it a month ago and I knew that was the direction I should follow, but I still keep finding myself getting scared first.

    BUT! coming back to this forum, reading success stories, and hearing other TMSers' cheering up with good advice for me definitely makes me calm myself down and slowly but gradually change my attitude toward pain.

    Yes, thinking about what I could gain from facing my fear and from eventually healing is helpful, too. I still think about the possibility of suffering from chronic pain or of pain growing even more than this. This only gives me more fear and pain. As soon as I acknowledge myself doing this, I quickly start to change my thoughts to what I can do without pain or without the fear of pain. This way I become more hopeful.

    I hope you're healing well, too! We can do this!

    Sending you all my best prayers from Korea,
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
    blake and Tennis Tom like this.
  11. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, keep focused on healing and how great you'll feel when you've conquered fear.
    Being fearful is not living in the present. Living in the present we keep our minds focused
    on what we are doing, not thinking about the future that is really unknown.

    Our present moment may have us in pain and anxiety, but we need to tell ourselves
    it is not to be worried about. It will pass. It may be uncomfortable, but it is not fatal.
    Seraphina and blake like this.

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