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Open Letter to the people NOT getting better, or to those who want it FAST

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Baseball65, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    "Hi. I am (blank) and I have been doing this for 5 years. I still have back pain, heart palpitations, digestive issues and knee pain.... I have tried pushing through and ignoring it and (lists a million new symptom focused treatments that Sarno never ever recommended) don't know why I am not getting better"

    Every single time I read one of these there is NOTHING or very little about WHAT IS GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE????>>>>>> YOUR "INNER" LIFE. The one you are actually experiencing on a moment to moment basis. If your getting pissed at me writing this... THAT life! That is the front line of this battle.

    That is : FAMILY OF ORIGIN. Mom, Dad, Sisters, Brothers, Homes, social service intervention etc. CHILDREN
    PRIMARY PARTNERSHIP. Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Husband , Wife, partner, life mate or... LACK of partner
    WORK. Job , career, Unemployment check, inheritances, LACK of funds, reliance on a corrupt system,etc.
    HOME. Do you have one? Are you a renter? Where do you sleep at night? Are you one paycheck from the curb?
    SPIRITUAL... what the fuck am I here for anyway? Why do I get up every morning and do...? Ontological musings
    MORTALITY... Oh shit... my hair is thinner. My Boiler is growing. I am (blank) years old and have still not finished anything
    MENTAL ENVIRONMENT.... What causes are you on the warpath for? What is the dialogue like among your ken?
    MONEY.... do I have any? Why is it trickling away so fast? Who am I footing the bill for that is a bad deal?
    FEAR. Who, what, why???? How many?

    Most of the people's whose posts I want to respond to always talk about symptoms and how they may or may not have challenged them by returning to activity. That is only one little part of a much bigger program of overall self inspection and growing awareness. In fact, it was probably the easier part once I realized how NOT "OK" I was with the above list. I had major issues in virtually every category but I was "OK". Well, No I wasn't, but to the world I would have said "Everything's fine... nothing I can't handle.....ouch, my back is killing me"

    I have situations still in my life that I am not 100% easy about. BUT, I remain in touch with my unease through regular inspection. ANY time I begin to have a new symptom, inevitably I have fallen asleep on my feet in one of the above categories.. or multiples. I have gotten "OK" again and the new distraction gets a little toe hold.

    I get scared sometimes. I get angry, and sometimes a whole bunch in short order. I worry about the future. I get lonely. I want to be alone.Sometimes,nothing makes sense. That is all Good. When I can see that I remain distraction free.

    Sarno wrote many anecdotes about people with TMS who were stuck. In every case, it was because that person couldn't wrap their head around how angry they were. In fact, many of them denied being angry at all. Inevitably when they began to understand it was in there and REPRESSED for their own 'good',and their symptoms eased up and went away.

    If you have TMS, you know it in your heart of hearts. Focusing on the symptoms will only perpetuate the problem...it's gas on a fire. Dive into that list.... if it is too painful, you might need a hand from a professional. There is no shame in that. I got help. It was worth 10 times what I paid for it in the freedom I got after digging it out. You don't have to keep excavating forever... just leave the hole open so you can glance into it from time to time and say "Wow... I am NOT OK!"

    ..and then you will be ok.
    tag24, Katya, Gigalos and 28 others like this.
  2. Kittyruns

    Kittyruns Peer Supporter

    This is just so good!!!
    Soph1802 and Baseball65 like this.
  3. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    TRUTH!! Many times there is a resistance (refusal even!) to looking at the REAL issues in a person's life. All of my anxieties and obsessions and thought distortions of my life are ONE AND THE SAME with the pain symptoms I had. I dearly hope that those who are struggling read this thread and really "get" this!!! Until one STOPS focusing on the body and the sensations and starts looking at their actual LIFE, they will remain in the vicious cycle of fear, pain, fear, pain, fear. This needs to be shouted form the roof tops lol!
    Northwood, birdsetfree, yb44 and 2 others like this.
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well put here Baseball65!!

    I think when there is success doing this work, then there is more confidence in looking at your list. More ease and trust that the work you describe will help, when things worsen or something new pops up. For those who have never gotten a toe hold in this process, there is often perpetual focus on symptoms, and fixing their psychology. With symptoms comes stress, and pressure to fix.

    Just realizing we're not OK, that we probably don't feel safe down deep, gives a deep support for why we can have such powerful symptoms. If we can use your contemplation about this, with compassion, and curiosity, and some bravery ---this is helpful.

    plum, Baseball65 and TrustIt like this.
  5. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    Right on! Sarno-patient, Howard Stern, described TMS as "our version of a nervous breakdown." That quote has helped me often in shifting to the psychological. Maybe it's not a complete breakdown, but there is certainly an underlying crisis happening when a person gets pain/symptoms. It could be gigantic or a pile-up of smaller things, but it's still a significant conflict within the unconscious mind which becomes enraging on whatever level. A quote from another Howard, Howard Beale, seems appropriate: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
    Baseball65 and miffybunny like this.
  6. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    If it were not for Howard Stern, I don't think I would have ever known about Dr. Sarno! I remembered that he had dedicated his book to him and I knew that Howard was a neurotic guy but I couldn't remember the name of the doctor. I can't even believe I managed to remember it or even make the connection (since the pain wasn't in my back) but I had listened to him for so many years (at least 20 years starting in 1982!) that it must have been in my subconscious somewhere. First I ordered Howard's book just to find the name lol! Then I ordered 'Healing Back Pain" and that day changed my life.
  7. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    I didn't find Sarno through Howard Stern and wasn't a listener, but once I started getting into this, I realized that he really understood this process and helped to clarify it for me, especially through the Larry King interview that is posted on here somewhere. That you remembered the dedication is amazing. I found out about him through an article about "caretaker personality" which is actually in the SEP I now realize. So I had an inkling of what was going on but couldn't put it all together. "Luckily" I was having bad back pain at the time...
  8. Drew

    Drew Peer Supporter

    This is sooo good and soo right one every way possible. I guess I’m stuck in the loophole of knowing I’m NOT OK and have problems in every field you mentioned. But at the same time feel helpless to be able to change anything in any of those and so my life goes day by day with the same anger and emotions pent up inside knowing I wanna make all these crazy changes in all of the above but I feel unable to maybe cause I blame all my symptoms cause they make life very hard (imagine having to make changes in all those fields not just one or two and then you have to deal with full body symptoms). I know the answer is to just jump in the deep end and start making changes and not take the symptoms as a clutch since they are only there until things change to the way that make me OK inside but after years of suffering with all this it becomes you and you get used to being broken and it being the main sole reason you can’t make any change in any of the above. And again day by day you stay the same wondering why nothing is changing. I always use and analogy where it’s like I am locked in a cage of symptoms with lions around each lion representing one of the fields you mentioned above everytime I step to change one damn I get bit hard so I put my head down and go back in the cage. And blame my symptoms for me not being strong enough to be able to handle and fight the lions.
    hope that makes sense. Would love your advise on it as to how to convince myself to I am enough the way I am to fight those lions and these symptoms are just a mirage of and just concoction of my brain made up to keep me busy so I don’t have to look at all those major things every day.
    TrustIt and zclesa like this.
  9. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    It's not as if I didn't know..... but I've been separated from my little seven and five years old cousins since March 12th. I've been their childcare since they were each infants. Of course I knew..... but I ignored it. Their parents are working from home and so we didn't know when they were going to need me again. I have seen them three times during this interval. Here's the thing, my cousin just quit her job and today was her last day. AND! She doesn't plan to go back for at least a couple years. I've already been asked to do childcare for another family, it isn't the money, it's the relationship, the day to day interaction with them. Thankfully they are family and I will always be in their lives..... but my sciatic nerve is screaming and crying and carrying on like a two year old!


    Duh, right between the eyes. Of course I knew. I knew if it wasn't bothering me, when it does if I or they are on vacation, then I AM SUPPRESSING IT!!!!!

    Thanks baseball. I've now done a journal rant, and have been in touch with my feelings a bit. Mostly I noticed I couldn't write fast enough and my heart was pounding. I'm getting there.

  10. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you so much for posting this! This is why I always ask people what's going on in their lives - it's so true!

    And it does not help when someone's entire life revolves around TMS/the mind-body connection. I don't say this out of judgement, and I can't judge anybody because I've been there in varying degrees. If you're putting everything else in your life on pause until you "heal," you're only working to further amplify the symptoms. Note that I put "heal" in quotations; we're already healed, we just need to relax our sympathetic nervous systems.

    The mind-body connection will always exist and everyone is always going to be subject to it. We have to learn how to embrace it and not give in to fear.
    Gigalos, zclesa, Soph1802 and 5 others like this.
  11. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    Very good post. In retrospect there were so many things that I just considered normal, so they were invisible. Anger, frustration, etc were the norm. The entire process is about self awareness and acceptance of what you find.
    Baseball65 likes this.
  12. Latitudes9

    Latitudes9 New Member

    Okay, I'm one of those people who has been doing this for a long time and not getting any better, so let's give this a go:
    FAMILY OF ORIGIN: Have a regular nuclear family (mom, dad, 2 brothers, 1 sister). Get along well with all of them, don't feel any tension about them. No issues here.
    PRIMARY PARTNERSHIP: No partner. But I'm only 25 and have never felt the need/want to have a partner. My family/friends are my main support system.
    WORK: Had a job that I liked decently, but had to quit working due to pain. Being 25 and not being able to support myself has caused some stress, but that's because of the pain. Luckily, my parents are supporting me financially right now. If the pain went away tomorrow, I could go get a job no problem. Or even if the pain doesn't go away, I could still force myself to get a job, I would just have to "push through" the pain and my quality of life would suck.
    HOME: Have one. Used to rent but currently living with my parents. At least I don't have to worry about being homeless.
    SPIRITUAL: I wouldn't really consider myself a spiritual/religious person, but I do think I was put on this earth to hopefully use my skills/talents to help others/do some good in the world. I think that's what bugs me about the constant pain...it prevents me from using my skills to my full potential. If I can't use the gifts I was given to do some good in the world, what's the point? Pain has disabled me in this way.
    MORTALITY: This is tied to the above. It feels so unfair to only be 25 and already have my quality of life cut so short in this way due to pain. I've realized that it really is about quality, not quantity of life. If I'm not going to have a good quality of life, it's not worth living. Okay, so I have to improve my quality of life. But in pain, that's almost impossible. What would help? I've tried introducing more enjoyable things into my life. I exercise, read, meditate every day. But with no money and no job (see above) it's really hard to improve.
    MENTAL ENVIRONMENT: Ever since the pain started, I've been depressed, which is obviously a natural reaction. I am on antidepressants, but they don't seem to help. I do find it hard to be positive and convince myself that the pain WILL go away. I didn't want much from life...to be able to live independently, have a job I don't hate, make enough to support myself. But now all of that is taken away until I get the pain under control.
    MONEY: Don't have much right now, but since I can't work due to pain, I don't know how to make more right now.
    FEAR: That the pain will never go away, and I'll be stuck living in this half-life of pain and forced to rely on others for basic needs/food/shelter forever, unable to do the things I want in life. I've tried somatic tracking and meditation to deal with this, but the fear will be there until the pain goes away or hits a more manageable level.

    So, okay. Obviously, I am angry, but all the anger seems to stem from the pain, so it feels like a vicious cycle. I'm angry and fearful that the pain won't go away, but I can't get rid of the anger and fear until it does. How do I break the cycle? Have already tried somatic tracking, visualization, meditation, etc. Suggestions?
  13. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    Hi Latitudes9,

    You could start by doing something new every day. Something small. Something for someone else, or something for yourself. It doesn't need to be spectacular. But you have to complete it that day.

    It could just be:
    - cooking a meal for your family; even just making a salad (that you never made, it must be new/so you experiment);
    - planting some basil in a pot, or a different plant, you choose;
    - offer to vacuum the house one day. Do it! Take many breaks if necessarily, but complete it that day. Do not think that you're in pain while doing it, just do your best to finish each room. And then rest. And then continue with other room and so on;
    - put on some makeup (could be just some lipstick) and a clean/comfortable nice outfit and get out and take a walk around the house. 10-15 min;
    - listen to some music, something new (jazz, classic etc), for 15 min;
    - do the laundry that day for your family;
    - do some stretching for 15 min, choose from youtube/books/other sources online. Concentrate on the moves and breathing in and out.
    - read about:..........for 30 min. It must be something that interests you or that used to interest you in the past. It must be something new about the subject. A new study online about .....It could be about pets, history, art, music, paintings, economics, anything that interest you/used to interest you in the past.
    - etc etc.

    I hope this helped a little. All the best!
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
  14. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    PM sent
  15. kimbob369

    kimbob369 New Member

    This post is exactly what I needed today!
    I DO have issues in all those catagories, and know that my symptoms returned for the most part after last month which was super stressful.

    I had to put my cat to sleep after 15 years
    My dentist told me something I did not want to hear
    I quit my job of 5 years in a nursing home due to Covid19 fears
    I "fired" my therapist after about 6 months
    My dog was having health issues (which by far was the hardest of all these)
    Continuing living so isolated and fearful I may get Covid19
    Getting tested for Covid as mandated by my workplace (negative)
    Living alone with no support system in this city

    The above was all in the last month!
    I too have thought I don't have any anger, fear yes,but anger?? No.. Well, YES if I dig deeper!!
    MWsunin12, Lizzy and Baseball65 like this.
  16. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is the crux of the deal.... We are not wired to get or stay angry. Society , our friends and culture all shun it. Then, it by-passes our conscious mind all together and becomes a symptom. Your list there is insightful, because a lot of those things could be 'thought' away from anger... You have mortality, Finance, personal relationships, partner issues and ontological musings all vying for your attention in one month. That's a lot of stuff!

    My shoulder began to spasm Thursday. I had done a new hard workout, BUT It wasn't soreness. I started 'TMS musing'...that is, browsing my life. Friday it switched to my right arm..... Hmmm. So I review that same list.
    1. My GF is moving in. We are getting along well, and I have the space. Seems FOOLISH that she is renting her own place when she is over here so often anyways (REASON) A Good Male partner should want his GF with him... (but the 5 year old loves my autonomy and lonely=freedom to me..screw common sense and sound financial decisions)
    2. My Dog got a weird bite on her foot. I love her and want her to be as healthy as possible... but if that bite was on me, I wouldn't go to the doctor, i'd just clean it and forget about it... but a GOOD owner is supposed to shell out the hundred buck for them to say "It's just a bite" (My rejection of conventional medicine makes me resent all organized endeavors..even veterinary)
    3. We have no work... I just finished a few projects and my Boss has nothing for me to do... BUT he hired some other guys, who make a lot less than me, to build some fences.. why was that Job not given to ME! (I have other jobs to do, but that would require gumption and I'd rather someone else be in charge and me to show up and be prima ballerina... I should always be given first right of refusal)

    So, I went out in the yard and had a good old fashioned Punk Rock rage... with cursing and bat swinging thrown in for good measure. I am certain I terrify my neighbors... but I feel GREAT!

    ..and I wake up and find... Oh. No symptoms. It just left. I didn't ponder what's wrong in my body... I directed to "What is going on in my life that SHOULD be bugging me but IS NOT. Symptoms gone. Period.

    ...and since you have your beautiful Dog in your pic, I will add a side note of complete nonsensical, very real truth. I am closer to my dog than I am with a lot of people. I didn't choose to be this way, It just is. The only other people in the world who ever got this much care, consideration and attention from me were my sons... who no longer need me for much. When My Border Collie died in the nineties, I was more disturbed and grieved longer and harder than when some of my family and friends have died. Makes no sense, is totally screwed up and 100% true.

    In my original copy of HBP , which I still own, there is a scribble like "Life vs. Music. Vs. Painting vs. Baseball" CONFLICT... Sarno was really clear about the need to raise our awareness of the RAGE that it creates, to de-energize the system. That's it. Period. All of this other complicated stuff I read seems like an evasion. The check list I have there I learned from the 12 step world... My alcohol/drug problem were a result of the same things that gave me pain. Magically, the same awareness shuts them both down. Our life is not compartmentalized, but it has a few different facets. When I clean each one, the light shines through again and I am just me... not special, not different... just free and graced.... and pain free.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
    tag24, Katya, plum and 2 others like this.
  17. kimbob369

    kimbob369 New Member

    Baseball65.. Thanks so much for your reply this morning.. "You're the bomb"!
    I've been reading some of the posts you have written and can surmise that you have helped a lot of people on here with your words..including me!..
    TrustIt and Baseball65 like this.
  18. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    I can relate. I've dug into a lot of the issues that Baseball sites. The thing that preoccupies me and brings up the fear and anger is the pain. I continue to chip at breaking the cycle. Small things help. Every night I write down three things that I'm grateful for from the day. I write them down and think about them a little bit. Last night, I looked over the long list of things I was grateful for over the past month: summer sun, bike rides, time with my wife, kindnesses from people around me, appreciation for things I take for granted, like all the things in my life that work so well and escape my notice. I found it moving to see page after page of so many things to appreciate. That helps.

    I have spent a LOT of time over the past five months doing a deep dive into learning about TMS and figuring out how to work through this. Dorado's comment gives me pause. I wouldn't say that I've put my life on hold as I wait to get healed, but the learning and applying this stuff in an appropriate, balanced way is my current focus. And I'm intense and incline to obsessiveness (hence, the pause). Anyway, for me it's been a hit-and-miss accrual of a lot of little stuff, gathering of small insights, trusting, remaining open, not capitulating to despair by reaching out to others and not shutting down--not beating myself up when I make another mistake.

    I am grappling with the structural vs. psychological source thing (which I've mentioned elsewhere). It's good to admit that here, for a part of me says, hey, you've read so much and pushed so far into this, and you're STILL looking at structural stuff? Oh, you should be kicked out of these forums, lol. But, seriously: a lot of shame messages for being pulled in that direction, and just feeling shitty about all of it. But isn't that just what this is all about: noticing how the mind is working? Noticing your own noticing. Noticing the limits of earlier ways of noticing. Trying to see Oz behind the curtain, as someone here has said.

    Also, Latitude, I find daily mediation is helping me to notice. In the past, I never had the patience for it, wasn't ready for it. But I've been sitting for about half an hour a day. What I'm discovering is that just sitting there watching my thoughts is really giving me new perspective on my thoughts. I can see how it all runs (and runs) and runs. This gives me a way to slow down, reconsider.

    You know "in your heart of hearts" if you have tms, says Baseball. I'm not sure what I know, but I do feel that something inside of me falls without a net when I think it's all a mind-body thing; that I have to fall without a net (fully commit to the process) in order to get better. I glimpse it, I experience it, I lose it; can I accept it? Can I not hate on myself for not getting the process "right"? I recall a line by the Indigo Girls: "Nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal." Aiming to bring grace and humility to my improv. Working on kindness, not least of all to myself. All that seems awfully important, and funny how it's not a conversation about pain. But connected to it!

    Best wishes.
    TrustIt and Lizzy like this.
  19. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @Baseball65,
    How do you square this type of thing with your autonomy-loving, freedom-loving 5 year old so that, e.g. your GF moving in, won't/doesn't continue to cause you TMS symptoms?
  20. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have a very loud, unblocked channel. I Privately acknowledge to myself that I really would never live with anyone if I had my 'Druthers. I have a very candid and frank talk with her about economics and her financial responsibilities... I don't waffle around like I used to and hope 'love' will fix everything. (Most people's LOVE is addictive clinging). I remain financially independent and rely on NO one, or the least amount of people I need to.
    ..and ultimately and at my base, I realize that everything in our life, is a passing experience. This isn't my gf, my pad, my car, my kids, my anything. Life was given to me and I get to experience it. I don't own anything. It's a fiction of my Ego.

    That was easy to think when I first read it... but i have had some very real situations of letting go...some by force, some by choice. Regardless, it's all going whether I am aware or not. Raising my awareness makes it all less painful, physically and spiritually.

    "Hey, am I lucky?"
    "I don't know... your Not dead yet"

    Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and Eckhart Tolle are all good at shaking us free of foolish painful notions. I am certain there are other spiritual teachers that are equally good that I am not aware of yet.

    Knowing that all systems ultimately fail, rather than make me cynical made me appreciate and Love and Live a much higher quality life. It's all a gift.

    "Become as a Passer-by" -some first century carpenter
    plum, TrustIt, Drew and 1 other person like this.

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