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Pain substituted with health anxiety

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by HopethereisHope, Nov 1, 2020.

  1. HopethereisHope

    HopethereisHope New Member

    So throughout the past months I have slowly been able to get rid of most of my pain symptoms using tms methods. However, the pain symptoms have gotten replaced by horrible health anxiety regarding other health conditions and it honestly almost feels worse than the previous pain. I know the anxiety is completely irrational but it's like a part of my brain just takes over and suffocates me.

    For the past two months I've had anxiety for getting tinnitus, stuttering, constipation, getting blind, and some other more embarrassing conditions. More specifically, due to having experienced how powerful the mind is I'm scared that my worry of getting a particular condition will create a nocebo effect and in turn produce the symptoms of that condition -- and I'm scared that I will never be able to get out of it again.

    And of course, that's exactly what has partly happened. I started worrying I would get tinnitus and slowly but surely I started getting tinnitus symptoms along with pain in the ear. I was able to talk myself out of it using my tms knowledge, but only a few days later I got scared that I would get chronic constipation -- and of course that's what started to happen -- but I got myself out of that as well.

    For the past two weeks I've been scared of getting blind as I've heard of cases of people worrying about it so much that it actually happened. Now my eyes are sore on and off due to the anxiety, and I just can't shake it. The way I got rid of my pain symptoms and the anxiety for the earlier mentioned conditions was to fully accept that they may stay forever and that I could handle the worst case scenarios. However, I'm just not able to do it with this blindness thing. The anxiety is just too strong and horrible. The tactic of telling yourself that the worst case scenarios are not likely to happen etc has never really worked for me and makes it much worse as my brain just bombards me with all kinds of new reasons for why the worst case scenarios will happen. So now I feel very stuck.

    It feels like this process will go on and on forever and that whenever I'm able to get rid of a pain or anxiety symptom, another one pops up a few days later that is worse than the previous one.

    I don't have much stress and anxiety in other areas of my life as I've worked a lot to remove that as a part of my tms healing process. But maybe that is the problem? Like, through most of my life my mind has been preoccupied either with my pain issues or other life problems. But after getting these areas under control throughout the past months my mind has had little to worry about for the first time in forever -- and it's as if my brain has gotten so addicted to being in an anxious state that it just can't handle having nothing to worry about. So being in a worry-free state is like taking away the drug (fear) from my mind and after a short while the abstinences starts building up into an anxiety attack to lure me back into the fear state. That's how it feels at least.

    So has anyone any idea what is happening here? Is this normal? And will the anxiety attacks get weaker and less frequent with time if I'm able to keep battling them with my tms-knowledge and thus prevent them from getting fueled by my fear. Like, is there a part of my brain that creates these anxiety attack that works like a muscle in that it needs continously supply of my fear to stay strong? So if I'm able to weaken my fear response over time maybe that part of my brain will weaken and as a consequence also the anxiety attacks?

    Sorry this got a lot longer than it was supposed to. Hoping to get some good advice and maybe some soothing words.

    Peace and love
    TrustIt likes this.
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    One of the reasons I still hang around this forum is to see myself in all of the newer people and use it as a baseline to remember how very much angst and confusion God has removed from me , and to see how much I still have to let go.

    Any time my brain is looking for a problem, and it DOES, It is because there is some underlying issue that I haven't looked at yet, or I have acknowledged, but not really stuck my foot in.

    I was seriously cooked when I was younger. You would be hard pressed to find an area of my life and mental health that wasn't F'd-up. Any time some issue would solve itself or just time out, I'd have this happen:
    The simple and short answer is you need to stand up to you... the inner 'quiet you' needs to stand up to the noisy, sick, emotionally overwrought 'exterior you'(ego). Each time you do, the circle game of distractions and symptoms will abate.

    I have suffered from TMS, OCD, eating disorders, Drug and alcohol addiction, anxiety, every 'ism' that exists and countless other affliction's. They are all there as noise to distract me from the 'perceived' intolerable state of being I inhabit. They were also all LIARS. It wasn't that bad in there. Oh yeah, I have had some bad experiences and I have done some embarrassing things, but using all that noise to drown them out was like using a jackhammer to hang a picture frame nail.

    There is peace, freedom from symptoms and 'ism's', and it is available to everyone. We find it by having courage to go inside and look at that painful stuff. When I finally go inside and get on hands and knees and scrub out that mess, I always find it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought and the drama and 'problem hunting and finding' my brain likes to engage in was actually a charade.
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  3. HopethereisHope

    HopethereisHope New Member

    Thank you for your answer. So how do you do this? By just countering the catastrophic thinking with outcome independence and logic over and over again and then with time the attacks will lessen in strength and frequency as you're not giving them the fuel they need anymore?
  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I really don't know what this outcome independence people talk about is... I definitely wanted an outcome and expected one when I did the work implied by what Sarno said the REAL problem was. And I did get the outcome I wanted... I have been virtually pain free for two decades plus. I also believe in this process so strongly I go back to it for lots of other things and I expect it to work every time and it does.

    I believe 'outcome independence' was phrased by one of the other TMS doctors. Sarno merely said to 'not count days, or turn anything into a ritual' and of course 'not get discouraged'. There is an obsessive component in all of us who suffer from this.... I have seen new people on here freaking out cause they are not better in a week after having read and understood the text. There was No internet when I got better and I think that was actually a positive. Any time I got scared, I went and re-read the text and asked myself questions. Sarno's explanation was more 'real' than their(the system's) BS pseudo-science. That also imprinted the idea deeply into my unconscious...reading the text over and over. Using my obsessive trait as a plus rather than a minus.

    when I understood Sarno's concept, I immediately dove head first into looking at and facing up to as much of the ANGER in my life I could stand by making detailed lists of stuff I was consciously angry about. Whenever I caught myself 'catastrophizing' I said out loud "No...bullshit!" and then went and got busy writing about anger, using the format of the 4th step from the twelve step program (it is a resentment inventory)

    That of course is only dealing with 'perceived emotions' as Sarno called them BUT the fact that I used that tool when I became aware of TMS symptoms, which are necessitated and reinforced by unconscious emotions, it sent a message to my unconscious that I knew what was going on and the gig was over! To this day if I get ANY symptom I immediately 'hit the paper' and start doing inventory.... it has also kept me sober too!

    ..as far as the catastrophizing goes, That is just one of the SYMPTOMS of TMS. Reading Eckhart Tolle and learning about the 'Pain Body' was really helpful. When he explained that there is a certain part in all of us that eats and breathes the SHIT in our Brain and actually wants a problem, it got easier to become the 'silent watcher' inside and separate what was and wasn't the authentic 'me'

    "Oh my god, what is that lump? Ouch, my leg hurts, I probably tore something. I feel a spasm...Sarno must have been wrong...maybe , in spite of identifying with virtually all of his book , MY pain really is structural and this wont work for me."

    stuff like that is the SHIT pile in my brain. I can now watch it the way I might watch an annoying, whiny younger sibling... Yawn..."is that all you have to say today? Thanks for sharing"

    and when I stopped taking the voice so seriously and learned I could recover from any 'symptom' the confidence just grows and grows over time. More importantly, my faith in things larger than my ability to think and process (like.... GOD) has also grown and all of those evil little voices have been relegated to the dark shadows they belong in.

    Marc (me) is over thinking, cynical, fearful and angry. God is at peace, confident, and a rock. When I open up to that (or whatever else you want to call it) all of the noise is revealed as powerless and trivial... I let other people be the 'smart ones'... I have lost interest in what Marc has to offer me.

    Than it gets quiet, I don't care about the outcome...and everything is fine
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
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  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is so true...all of it. For me it translates into yin and yang. My peaceful, grounded centred self is primarily yin (the darkness with the small dot of white) and feels profoundly sacred, feminine, soft and compassionate. TMS is yang. Too judgemental, hot, fast, jabbering, fault-finding and fearful but the cool patch of yin is ever there to redress the excess and find balance.


    We all have our unique ways of understanding this and this tends towards preferences in language and explanation but if you scratch the surface the selfsame dynamic is in play. As time passes you’ll see your patterns with such clarity that as Marc says, it becomes somewhat pathetic. However much we know this consciously we have to repeatedly remind ourselves that the mysterious unconscious is powerful and seductive and to fall prey to these patterns is something that befalls us all. There truly comes a point where you’ll find yourself at peace in the eye of the TMS storm and it will all melt away. The surety of this eludes jargon but feels very much like home.
    TrustIt, Celayne, Balsa11 and 5 others like this.
  6. HopethereisHope

    HopethereisHope New Member


    Thank you so much. That gives me hope that there actually is a way out of this mess. Through all my years of physical pain and weird symptoms I always thought that if I would just be able to get rid of the pain my life would be good. So I got a little shocked and demotivated when finally I got rid of the pain it just got replaced with horrible anxiety. Thinking about it the anxiety is some sort of a pain as well.

    So I just need to learn to handle these anxiety attacks as they kinda caught me off guard.

    Thank you. Yeah It's crazy how seductive this stuff is. These anxiety attacks are incredibly sneaky and sly. It's like they're just waiting for a tiny slip up to attack with full force. I will keep fighting though and over time I believe I will get on top of it.
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  7. jimmylaw9

    jimmylaw9 Peer Supporter

    On the nail again baseball cheers
    Baseball65 likes this.
  8. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    I can relate to this. So much. First time when I read dr. Sarno's book, I was pain free for a week. Got so so angry that it put me in the hospital. Could not sleep anymore , would read and reread the book (OCD), so angry I was and in shock. Didn't know what to do with so much anger. Never expressed anger in my life before that. Never. Not even swearing, because "girls don't swear like a trooper".

    Went into therapy at the time. Got the courage for it.
    I'm still scared sometimes...it's a process. Takes time. It wasn't so bad, I know. The drama and all...a circus. A freaky circus.

    This also I appreciate. Stillness instead of noise. It's nice to feel it. When I'm open to receive it.

    Take care.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
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  9. Celayne

    Celayne Well known member

    Anxiety is just another expression of what has previously shown up as pain and other physical symptoms. It happens a lot. I got rid of a lifetime of anxiety, and my pain intensified. Treat it all as the same thing.

    Since you have health anxiety, you might consider not discussing your symptoms in detail. Just think and speak in generalities, digestive problems, soreness, etc.

    Going into great detail just reinforces them in a brain that is eager to absorb the imagery. I’ve found that it’s better for me not to even read details of other people’s symptoms because my very flexible brain likes to take on problems I’ve merely read about.
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