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Pain symptoms >< sleeplessness >< anxiety - all related, but where do you begin?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by enidid, Nov 15, 2021.

  1. enidid

    enidid New Member

    I've got a pretty much constant bilateral burning nerve pain symptom since 1,5 month which is quite obssessive (now all the other painful symptoms seem nothing next to this one), which led me to develop depression, sleeplessness, anxiety (which were probably already "in" me", by that I mean that I've had chronic pain for almost 3 years - never have had it before - but I have had depression/anxiety in the past about 7 years ago however these were mostly not affecting my sleep).
    I'm on different medications because it's just too much for me at the moment (the meds to sleep are not helping much...), but I want to continue the work on myself as I know it's the solution, but what do I treat first? Or do I treat everything at the same time? I cannot sleep correctly at night, feel anxious about it (mornings are the worst), I feel like I don't get any relief during daytime, because I'm in pain, nights used to be what I was looking forward to. I have had more positive days in the last few weeks (doing Unlearn your pain), but the anxiety is getting out of proportion because I sleep so poorly even though I'm on meds (doing Claire Weekes for that) and the overall situation is making me so depressed that I don't have the energy and don't know where to begin anymore. I wish I could just SLEEP at least to get some relief, but this is just exhausting to have so much going on. So much so that I am afraid my boyfriend (we've been together for ages) is going to leave me, which adds even more stress. Sometimes the knot in my stomach is making me feel worse than the actual pain symptom, I didn't know this was even possible.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. KevinMartilloViner

    KevinMartilloViner Peer Supporter

  3. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had many years of lack of sleep and sleep disturbance. Best advice was from my Mum (who hasn't slept more than 4 hrs since the WW2!) As long as you are laid down and resting - you will be ok. The other one is : This too will pass..... and it is true - it will. Do the SEP, read Sarno etc - make time to be mindful or meditate - be outside in nature every day - fresh air and greenery is natures powerful medicine! Good luck!
    Northwood and TG957 like this.
  4. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You already got excellent advice, especially on meditation, fresh air and mindfulness. Claire Weekes is the best choice for dealing with anxiety and Unlearn Your Pain is another excellent resource. I can only add that you need to be patient. It takes months if not years to rewire your brain. Give it time and stop obsessing over lack of progress. It is will come.
    hecate105 likes this.
  5. fridaynotes

    fridaynotes Well known member

    i have found that some TMS symptoms are solved quite quickly with a stern lecture to the brain! but other TMS symptoms take months of hard work to subside. it’s a process!
    hecate105 and TG957 like this.
  6. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    I picked up on the anxiety struggle in your post. Some standard meditation advice has helped me deal with unwanted thoughts that result in anxiety: let the thought have its way and come in; treat the thought like a passing cloud, thank it for coming by and allow it to float on its way. Let it be there, and for the brief time that it is there don't hook into it. It will pass all on its own. I've also learned that when I get hooked into obsessing uselessly (as opposed to useful obsessing, right?), sometimes the most effective thing to do is turn my attention to some small, physical task like sweeping a floor or making somebody a sandwich. That sort of change often flips off the switch in a way that a lot of grim, forceful thinking never could. Good luck to you!
    hecate105 and Mr Hip Guy like this.
  7. enidid

    enidid New Member

    @KevinMartilloViner @hecate105 @TG957 @fridaynotes @Northwood Thanks to you all for your replies. I've been sleeping better for the last 15 days. I'm taking Xanax (low doses - 0,25 mg morning, 0,25 mg around noon, 0,5 mg one hour before going to sleep) 3 times a day at the moment, which makes pretty much all the allodynia pain go away, which I should be happy about because it gives me relief and rest for now. I've started working half-time again. At least I have a reason to get up for in the morning. But now I'm painfree or nearly so, I can't stop the apprehension about having to reduce the Xanax and expose myself gradually again sometimes soon as I know medication is not the solution and is addictive and I fear I'll become insomniac again... I'm not even able to just enjoy the temporary relief. I'm so grateful for the relatively good sleep being back though. When I'm at work (it's a computer/intellectual work with little disatriction) I am having a hard time doing my actual work. I wish it could be some work where I am in contact with other people or even animals or whatever so I wouldn't have so much time to ruminate and catastrophize about a future that might or might not happen. I obsess about this all day long, the fact that I'll have to deal with the pain and solve this myself, there is rarely ONE SINGLE MINUTE (actually I should be talking in seconds...) that goes by without me thinking about something that's TMS or anxiety/pain related. I'm overwhelmed by all the information I've been reading, I know the priority right now would be to calm my nervous system/hypervigilance down so I will be in a better position/with tools to "face" the pain once I reduced the Xanax, but during working hours my breath is shallow/as if the knot in my stomach is still hiding under the Xanax (mornings are the worst) and I don't even know where I should start to be able to feel safe over time. I am able to sport (but still obsessing all the time while sporting, not being able to think about something else) but breathing exercices/meditation seems almost impossible. Every day I'm thinking I should start implementing little things that will gradually become habits to calm myself down but I don't even know what, how many times a day... As mornings are especially difficult I actually try to have breakfast and start work directly. Meditation would be something I could maybe try later during the day or in the evening. Any tips welcome...
  8. enidid

    enidid New Member

    Also I get the feeling that I'm cheating because I'm on meds. I can do somatic tracking because I still feel other symptoms, but it feels like starting any kind of work would be cheating or useless because I'm not feeling all the pain I'd be feeling without the meds so even if I were to start working on this now I would go back square one when the allodynia comes back (I'm not really fearful of my other symptoms, just that one, the other ones I just find annoying). I know I probably shouldn't beat myself up like that but not knowing what to decide and just keeping with it is making me crazy.
  9. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Do not be too hard on yourself, remember, lack of self-compassion is what contributed to your condition! There is nothing wrong about taking meds when you can't function without them, it is not cheating at all. As long as you understand that meds are a temporary help on the way to full recovery, it is absolutely OK to take them.

    Meditation is a very important component of recovery. It saved me when I was in the same situation as you are now, having just learned about Sarno, being disoriented about the right course and anxious whether I can possibly recover. Judging by the symptoms you are describing, what you have is often diagnosed as CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome). It is one of the most challenging cases of TMS, but it is still TMS. I recovered from it, and so did other people on this forum, and you can do it, too!
    hecate105 likes this.
  10. enidid

    enidid New Member

    @TG957 Thank you for your answer. I read your book with great interest. I remember reading you said you realized at some point that guided meditation was not working for you, probably because of your personality, and also that you thought you only felt you were starting to "heal" after 20 minutes or so. Could I ask for a few links (YouTube...?) to the kind of music you've found useful while meditating (unguided)? Also, how would you describe your unguided meditating? You just put some time aside, put the music on and accept whatever thoughts are coming or do you concentrate on your body and tell things to yourself silently? I'd like to give this a try but I'd like to know about the right mindset to start this. It wouldn't surprise me that I'd be able to just obsess about TMS/pain/anxiety if I were to start this :), but if you are able to describe what goes on during these meditations you've found useful, it'd be very nice!
  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Music is a matter of personal taste and state of mind at the moment. This is one of the tunes that worked for me sometimes but not always:

    Again, put some effort into something that feels comforting and calming.

    As for meditation tips, about once a month I offer a free meditation clinic on this forum.

    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/free-meditation-session.25079/ (Free meditation session)

    If you make this thread watched, you will be notified when I post about my next session. But also just re-read my book, all sections on meditation and mindfulness, there are a lot of tips in those!

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