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Outcome Independence - Any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Alan Gordon TMS Recovery Program' started by dbarro, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. dbarro

    dbarro New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I have started reading the TMS Recovery Program and wanted to get some ideas on the concept of "outcome independence." My biggest hurdle is focusing on my back pain when I am in the car. I constantly monitor and think about the pain. I wanted to see what has worked for you. Any tricks or things you may tell yourself would be a great help.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    In order to gain outcome independence you need to fully believe your symptoms are benign. Try creating an evidence sheet where you list all of the reasons you have TMS. If you symptoms are benign, then there is nothing you need to worry about and no reason to monitor your symptoms.
    Anne Walker likes this.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I remind myself that my goal is not a pain-free life, but a happy, fulfilled life--one in which I'm connected to others and pursuing the things I care about.
  4. ajayddave

    ajayddave Peer Supporter

    Forest..or anyone else that might be interested in responding.

    I've found the below approach/advice works well for something like back pain or RSI. However, I am having difficulty fully applying it to cold / allergy type symptoms that I have that I believe to be TMS-related (I've had some success but not the clear-cut success I had with RSI in college).

    Even seeing the symptoms as benign I still often worry about my allergies coming up in an awkward situation (say during a date or a massage or a meditation sit). Unlike back pain where there might be fear of damaging one's back I have no fear of my nose being damaged..haha. There is though lots of fear about not being able to live fully due to cold / allergy symptoms.

    Any thoughts / tips?

    debbi1955 likes this.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    No perfect solution, here, but I wonder if it might be worth asking, how bad would it really be if the worst happened? Suppose you had a sneezing fit during a date or a massage session. Could you just make a joke of it and continue? I know that in my life, these things often feel catastrophic, but with a little distance they don't feel quite so bad.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I like the idea of making light of a sneezing fit or other such thing when on a date or in a massage session
    or anywhere, even in church. Just put a handkerchief over your nose and mouth and take a short break.
    Then return and explain it's just an allergy. People will understand.

    A sneezing fit is not catastrophic. Just a minor inconvenience. Try not to worry it into anything bigger.

    It's not as bad as having a rectal gas attack while at the altar getting married. That didn't happen to me,
    but did to a friend. The girl married him anyway. Of course, they later divorced, but not because of that.
  7. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Outcome Independence has really been key in my recovery and one of the most difficult concepts to put into practice and achieve. Have patience with yourself. The evidence sheet does help as Forest suggests. Much of it is where you put your focus. If you are constantly thinking about and monitoring the pain, then you naturally base your recovery success on your pain levels. Its almost impossible to tell yourself not to care or not think about your pain and succeed. Instead it is best to think about what you can do to make it a little less, a little more manageable. Focus on things you enjoy doing and are excited about even if at that moment it seems impossible to enjoy anything with the pain. The more you switch your focus and simply do the things you enjoy and know are good for you, the easier it will become. When I say good for you I mean spending time with friends, taking a walk, sitting in the sun, smelling some peppermint, taking a bath.... when I first started forcing myself to do these things I would cry because I remembered how good they used to feel to me. But the more I stayed focused and did them, the better they felt. And then one day I realized that I don't wake up monitoring my pain first thing anymore. I am not by any means painfree yet, but it truly doesn't matter. I know that I am okay regardless and I can enjoy te simple things again. I owe this to outcome independence.
    Ellen likes this.
  8. debbi1955

    debbi1955 Peer Supporter

    ajayddave - Boy, can I relate to that. I had excessive allergy symptoms for years. I was having a bad, bad runny nose day when I had to be in a conference for work. I used the tissues I had in my pockets, and realized they were not going to be enough, and I brought a box of tissues into the room on break, and by the end of the day I had used them all - I had a pile of disgusting little used tissues at my feet that I had to gather up at the end of the day. I was trying to blow my nose quietly, but I knew it wasn't fooling anyone. And it was embarrassing, and I was uncomfortable, and some people did make comments - both jokes and that maybe it would have been smart to stay home if I was sick. I've also had days when I sneezed and my nose ran so much that I couldn't accomplish much because I had to keep my head up between sneezes to keep from dripping until I could reach a Kleenex. But it really didn't stop me from anything. It was more of a temporary inconvenience than a show-stopper. I felt sometimes that I might be eventually be totally incapacitated by it but in the end my desire to keep my job, make a living, and not lose all my friends always won out. I knew deep down I would never draw that line in the sand, saying today's the day - I'm not going to work or leave the house anymore because I'm just too embarrassed to be out there. Yeah, it embarrassed me sometimes, and yeah, some people got snarky about my symptoms. I found when I could separate myself from the inferiority and shame that the snarky people piled on me and observe their behavior in general (and that was hard, because when people are nasty to you, suddenly everything they do seems personally directed at you, doesn't it?), I didn't really have much respect for a lot of their opinions or behavior that didn't relate to me, and it helped me to put less value on the ones that did. And the people that were my friends joked about me always having to hide my used tissues before I could let anyone in my car, but it was well meant and accepting of me the way I was - my own personal lovable quirk, so to speak. If you can break the connection between the fear of what will happen because of your allergies and the allergies themselves, you have a better chance of forgetting the fear, and by doing that relieve the tension and possibly reduce the allergies. The allergies are real - the future you see in your fears is not. I still have allergies, but the kind where I just have a bit of sinus pressure and occasional stuffiness or runny nose - I haven't had the days where they are non-stop all day in quite a while now, so there can be relief.
  9. ajayddave

    ajayddave Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the responses! For some reason the alert that I had been responded to ended up in my spam folder (which I just checked) so I thought nobody had replied and kind of forgot about this thread.

    I totally see the possibility here with allergies. Maybe even the frequent colds too..though I feel a little less certain about that.

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