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Day 2 Overcoming TMS foot pain

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Mountain Girl, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. Mountain Girl

    Mountain Girl Peer Supporter

    Today is Day 2 of this program. I feel much more centered than yesterday, less panicked about the foot cramps and sensations. (BTW, my counselor suggested I use the term "sensations" instead of "pain" to break my conditioned fixation on the pain.)

    I went for a gentle 6 km morning hike with my pooch in the woods along a creek. I had some sensations in my right foot (sometimes it's the right foot, sometimes it's the left foot, sometimes it's both, sometimes it's neither...thus it cannot possibly be due to structural issues. If I had sprained my left ankle, for instance, my left ankle would hurt all the time, not the right, not both, and not come and go! So take that, brain!).

    I took a break after 4 km to soak my feet in the cold stream, which felt great. Full disclosure: I am addicted to ice packs. I don't take any pain-killers because they never work anyways (note to self - that's because there's nothing wrong with your feet!), but I use ice packs to give myself a break...but it's become a bit obsessive at this point. And even as I filled out the Day 2 questions about which activities I have stopped doing because of my foot sensations (hiking, biking and camping), I stopped at the third one, camping, and realized that part of my fear about not going camping this summer was the fact that I couldn't bring along my ice pack (I do backcountry camping, so I can't bring ice). It sounds like such a ridiculous fear as I write it down...but there you have it. I'm still at the fear stage and it has a strong grip over me, especially when I think of leaving my ice pack at home.

    However, I have gradually started hiking again and that is amazing--it makes me feel happy and free and healthy and young. I am trying to focus on simply enjoying the walk, the woods, my dog, the sounds of the breeze and the gurgle of the stream, the feeling of strength in my legs and feet, instead of being so outcome dependent (as mentioned in Week 0). Outcome independence was a true breakthrough for me. Until I read that post, I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting better this time, despite knowing that it had to be TMS rearing its ugly head again.

    But I was so focused on and obsessed with my recovery: how much does it hurt today? how far did I walk? etc.

    But that's not the point--the point is how little I care about the sensations and how little grip they have on my life and my activities, my mood and happiness.

    This is tough...there are many setbacks, but there are also many small victories. And with each small victory is the strengthened belief (conviction!) that my feet are perfectly fine. I have vibrant health.

    I stopped going to physiotherapy because the therapist told me that my feet were basically fine at this point and that he couldn't really do anything more for me and that it was likely a mental block at this point. This opened the door for me to discuss mind-body stuff with him in a small way. He was very receptive to this possibility and said that he has seen many patients suffer this way, especially with back pain, especially when they are afraid it may affect their work life and thus the fear of losing one's job, not being able to pay the bills, etc. But he said that with me, it seemed even more important to my state of happiness that I be able to go on my daily walks...and that I seemed ruled by and afraid of the pain to a fairly extreme degree. Pretty insightful, I'd say!

    So my main focus is resuming normal activities and overcoming the fear...and of course letting myself feel and experience all the frightening emotions. I am also trying to be kinder and gentler to myself, which I am discovering is tough...because my default state is to be self-critical.

    The battle and the journey continue. But today I enjoyed the woods and got a taste of the old me again. Vibrant and free!

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