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On my way to recovery from rheumatic arthritis

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Fee, Mar 25, 2021.

  1. Fee

    Fee Newcomer

    Dear all,
    I am 53 and I am joining you from Germany. I hope my English is sufficient for this forum. I would like to share my TMS story. I have read Dr. Sarno´s books (Healing Back Pain and the Divided Mind) in 2012 when I was experiencing arm and frozen shoulder pain for several months. At that time I was changing jobs and had emotional stress. Since the pain came - at that time - out of nowhere I was pretty sury that it was a psychosomatic disorder. But I think my TMS story started much earlier:

    When I was in grade 6 at school I had difficulties finding friends and fitting in. Coincidentally I developed headache for several months which vanished when I was able to make friends with classmates. Beginning of age 20 I had much stress with my family and at work. I developed carpal tunnel syndrome - it accompanied me for 12 months. I went thru different therapies and one doctor told me that I would never be able to peel potatoes pain free.... The pain vanished when my life circumstances changed. At the age of 30 I was unhappily in love. I suffered for several months and developed Hashimoto Thyrioditis at the same time.

    But my real TMS trip started in the unhappy marriage to my former husband (I am divorced for 3 years now). Soon after our wedding ceremony I developed a skin rash at the whole body which could only be cured with Cortisone and lasted several months... (later on I discovered that my husband had had an affair at the same time with a work colleague).... I think my unconsciousness wanted to protect me from my extreme emotional stress...

    Since my former husband was very successful in convincing me to stay in the marriage I tried very hard to play the happily married couple. It took me some time and couple therapy to come to the conclusion that I should leave him. And that was the time my body rebelled. Soon after I had left him I got a frozen shoulder. One week it was at the left side and the other week on the right side. Additionally I developed knee problems and achilles tendon pain. In the beginning the pain was coming and going. But after a few months it got worse and I was diagnosed rheumatiod arthritis (RA). Even my blood parameters were supporting this diagnosis. I was pretty sure that all the pain had a psychosomatic background. I was sent to a clinic for further diagnosis with x-rays and further blood tests. The diagnosis (rheumatoid arthritis) was confirmed.

    I still was not convinced and tried everything (starting from Ayurveda, changing my diet etc) in order not to have to take the medication. But in the end I agreed to take Cortisone and later on MTX which is the standard medication for rheumatic arthritis in Germany. I went thru a very hard time (including my divorce). I even had to accept a new job offer since the company I was working for was taken over... And I have to admit that first Cortisone and later on MTX helped. The swellings vanished and after 6 months I was able to go jogging again.

    ...and then the miracle happened. While I was succesful in my new job and had found a nice flat - surrounded by my best friends - I healed - at least mentally. I did my homework and went to a therapist who was able to help me - even though she was - not specialised on TMS. But I started reading the books of Dr. Sarno again. 2 Years after my divorce I met a nice honest and caring man with whom I fell in love with. And 3 months ago my doctor told me that my blood parameter for rheuma have been decreasing for the last 9 months. He agreed that I could try to skip the medication which I did..... At the moment I am pain free - taking no medication at all. I know it is very early to hope for a miracle. But considering even rheumatic arthritis could be TMS I am very enthusiastic to overcome this illness.

    Does anybody else in this forum has made a similar experience?
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
    Balsa11, Kellso, TG957 and 2 others like this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello Fee, and welcome, and Thank You for your story! I feel like it belongs in our Success Stories subforum, and with your permission, I would like to move it there - if you're okay with that.

    Congratulations on achieving remission from RA - that's outstanding - and it's also my goal.

    I was diagnosed with what felt like sudden-onset RA last June, which I said from the start had to be stress-based - because there was no other explanation for it, especially at my advanced age (69 then) with no family history of any autoimmune conditions whatsoever on either side. And the stress level I was experiencing a year ago was pretty intense, due to several factors with the pandemic contributing, of course. I consulted with Dr. Schecter, who said that I needed to be a good patient and follow my rheumatologist's recommendations (low-dose methotrexate, and short-term prednisone to get started) but that I should absolutely consider it to be mindbody in origin. Dr. Schecter suggested therapy, and recommended a TMS therapist (who across U.S. state lines is required to call herself a coach) who I have been seeing virtually since then. We're down to every two weeks now, and I look forward to each session because I often need a reality check on how I allow my brain to keep putting pressure on myself rather than care and compassion. I'm great at advising this for others, terrible at putting it into practice, by the way! I see clearly how a lifetime of anxiety and perfectionism and stressing out over interactions has left my nervous system with what is essentially an addiction to being in a high state of anxiety and pressure and negativity. Attempts to calm such a heightened nervous system will create symptom imperatives, because my brain thinks that I'm at risk if I'm not maintaining that state - anything else feels dangerous and unacceptable. It's an interesting manifestation of the syndrome we call TMS, and one which I had not really understood - or at least not taken to heart - until recently, even though there has been plenty of discussion about overly-sensitized nervous systems.

    I do believe that a consistent practice of meditation would result in significant improvement, if not outright remission, but I struggle with my resistant TMS brain to make the commitment. I've been much better lately at checking in with my breathing and with my negative thoughts and at quick self-calming. Still a work in progress.

    Again, thank you so much for contributing your success story to the forum!

    Fee likes this.
  3. Fee

    Fee Newcomer

    Dear Jan,
    Thank you for welcoming me and for sharing your RA story as well. I was not sure where to put my story. If you recommend to move it to the success forum I gladly agree. I do hope that my TMS journey continues on that path....and that you will join me there...

    I think it is very difficult for many people to stay positive in these depressing Covid19_times. Meditation has helped me, being able to doing sports again and having now the time for it since I am working from home.
    Best, Fee
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
    Balsa11 likes this.
  4. jimmylaw9

    jimmylaw9 Peer Supporter

    Wow put this on the success stories page as others might miss it inspiring
    Balsa11 likes this.

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