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Physical Symptoms Shifting to Psychological Symptoms

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by RHCPfan, Aug 11, 2021.

  1. RHCPfan

    RHCPfan Newcomer

    Hi everyone,

    After about 2/3 months of serious TMS treatment, my lower back pain has reduced about 90% (it fluctuates every now and then but it's always tolerable), but now I have been feeling extremely anxious/tense virtually all the time. I always feel like I'm behind despite working so hard, and I get frustrated because I know the quality of my work is so poor because I'm so tense/anxious/stressed. I understand that what I'm experiencing is common, but I'm not exactly sure how to go about treating TMS after the symptoms shift from physical to psychological. I am on about day 14 of the tmswiki structured educational program, I've done a lot of journaling before starting the program, meditation, and regular exercise. I'm really happy because self-treating myself with TMS has allowed me to exercise again which has always been a big part of my life, but this anxiety/constant state of tension has been around for about 2 months now and I'm looking for tips about treating people with TMS whose physical pain shifted to anxiety/constant tension.

    Thank you
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    What you are experiencing is absolutely typical. You need to understand that the primary reason for your physical pain is that you subconsciously suppressed your emotions, such as fear, anxiety etc.

    Now that you learned to release your emotions, they are staring into your face. Until you learn to recognize your emotions for what they are, learn to accept them as part of your nature and learn how to handle them as they come along, you will be in this ping-pong between the two.

    The best authority on anxiety is Claire Weekes:

  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Right after my symptoms left I went into a sort of perma-rage. I was angry all of the time and beginning to act on it, say things that I used to just think about. I was so afraid of the pain returning (it didn't) that I was like a raw nerve.
    After I almost had a fist fight at work, I went and got counseling for the anger, because ultimately that is the source of all of the other symptoms. Rage. Sarno was pretty clear about it.

    Anxiety is not an emotion. It is a symptom of conflicting inner messages. If I didn't give a F, I would have no anxiety.

    E.g.. This guy at work just lipped me and I want to Punch him (RAGE) because if I don't people will think I am a coward (shame). If I do, I will lose my job (shame) and then I'll be REALLY angry (embarrassed/shame/rage)....oops, now the two idea's are arguing with each other. ANXIETY

    It is coursing through my head, veins, muscle....it's a result, not a cause. It is tied up in the human ability to perceive danger or problems that might happen, pushing against the spontaneous wild child that is in all of us.

    There are a lot of ways to deal with it. After you have dealt with it and begin to overcome them, the anxiety subsides because you know that no matter how emotionally charged something is, it will work out. That does NOT mean ignoring it, but evaluating it in detail and trusting the universe.

    A lot of us who have gotten pain free have gotten involved in spiritual/religious type studies to keep from relapsing, because as long as your gonna live, you will keep generating anger. It's good to have a system in place to deal with it. There are many paths to freedom out there. Most importantly, don't let the anxiety keep you from your awareness of the anger.
  5. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    RHCPfan - I agree with the suggestions above and just wanted to join the chorus. What you're experiencing is completely normal. Meditation / somatic tracking is an excellent way to experience your anxiety in a safe way... which in-turn, teaches you to regulate it and better deal with it.
    TG957 likes this.
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love this.
  7. PrincessPragmatist

    PrincessPragmatist New Member

    I, too, have had surges of anxiety, anger, fear, sadness since I began this whole odyssey of self-discovery. I think of it as just that - I'm uncovering what's really down there inside of me under layers of physical pain, cultural conditioning, and the daily treadmill of busyness. However difficult it feels right now, the anxiety is actually a good development for you and probably more authentic (so to speak) than the body pain. The real issue is the feelings, not the physical symptoms, and you're beginning to confront those feelings now that the pain has decreased. In the long term, I believe it's more productive and healthy to deal with any feeling (whether anxiety, compulsion, garden variety sadness) than to deal with IBS, back pain, migraine or fatigue. The combination of feeling horrid emotionally and improved physically probably means you're on the right track LOL!

    Anxiety, fear, and even simple awareness are challenging for me because I lost the genetic lottery with my birth family and extended family, and suffered every kind of abuse as a result. I wouldn't be alive today if I hadn't developed hypervigilance, but now that I'm safe, I understand that I have to give up that once dear friend who's become more foe than friend.

    Sometimes I still worry that the physical symptoms will keep morphing forever or that the feelings will never settle down, but then I remember that worry is part of the problem and if it's part of the problem then how can it be part of the solution? That helps me to stop 'believing' in the worry or lending it credence - that and the fact that 97% of what I worry about never happens.

    As a wise man once said, "What would you do with a friend who lied to you as much as your fears do?"

    Obviously, you'd turf that loser!
  8. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Same I'm just yo yoing between fear, numbness, and pain. When ever I want to change things up I get more symptoms, I don't like having to rest to make things easier. I have to get accommodations for my school and am not looking forward to getting them for work. It's not an illness that has a cure yet it is very limiting in every way. I feel like applying for accommodations is making disability happen and I want health to happen. I hate how it has limited me in my past, and worry about the future. It's hard for me to hold on to those good moments because there's so many new things I'm learning. I haven't had a single symptom free day since SSRI withdrawal over a year ago. I wish I could just put this behind me instead of being stuck in this mind-body cycle. I'm constantly fighting for some normality and I keep getting lost. I don't know what to explore in my life and pain limits my capacity to do things and grow as a person. I just want it to stop because it's wasting so much of my time. I don't want this to become a more serious illness later on in life. I can't have this for the rest of my life!!!!

    No matter how much I educate myself on this forum my symptoms just keep coming. I get better, then worse, then better again.

    I'm still in college and I want to build a good future.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2021
  9. PrincessPragmatist

    PrincessPragmatist New Member

    I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling so much. Sometimes when you reject the symptoms with such force it actually aggravates them. I've made more progress through outcome independence, acceptance of the symptoms' impact on my life and generally trying to calm my central nervous system. The more you fight it and worry, the more that stress activates those neural pathways in the brain that produce the TMS symptoms. I highly recommend Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain, which is a structured program that will give you a taste of many different tools or approaches that might help you, such as body scanning, affirmations, meditation, visualization, journaling, ISTDP, etc.

    Try not to worry so much about your limitations and life passing you by. I've survived TMS equivalents for decades and I managed to build a life that was eventually truly wonderful. And as I've had marked improvement after 30 years of daily symptoms, I think there's hope for everyone!
    Balsa11 and Cap'n Spanky like this.
  10. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I sense a lot of frustration, anxiety and struggle to accept yourself for who you are. This may be the primary cause of your setbacks.

    If you don't like giving yourself rest and making things easier, you are pushing both your mind and your body beyond their limits. No wonder they rebel against you! It takes a lot of patience to accept that getting rest is as vital as pushing yourself to overcome challenges.

    You need to stop fighting and rushing yourself through healing. It takes what it takes, and setting the timetable is a big mistake. You'd be surprised, but the 2 years it took me to get better were the richest years of my life, mainly because they were years of self-discovery.

    Education is great, but inner work is more important. Reading about subject is not enough, you need to make that knowledge part of your inner self.

    Have you tried meditation? I heard from a lot of people that they tried and it did not work for them. Guess what, it did not work until it finally did. You have to do it right. For years, I could not stand meditation. Now, I can meditate for over 1 hour and truly enjoy it!
  11. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Thanks for all your kind replies.
  12. tmstraveler

    tmstraveler Peer Supporter

    I feel like I’m in this as well. I’ve been slowly chipping away at my obsession with physical symptoms, have had some really great stretches. As a result, I’ve had pain flares, pain going away almost completely, rinse, repeat.

    And now I’m battling the insomnia I thought I left behind. I’ve tried to approach it with an open mindset but I’m severely struggling with sleep, even when there isn’t much pain.

    I choose to look at this as the repressed anxiety coming out from behind the distraction of pain but I’m pretty broken down by it. My sleep hasn’t been this bad since it all began. I take some comfort in the idea this is normal, but it’s really really hard.
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  13. PrincessPragmatist

    PrincessPragmatist New Member

    I've had insomnia, too, but I believe it's more authentic or healthier somehow than pain or digestive issues or whatever tms is producing. I really believe it's a sign of progress. If our symptoms truly originate with feelings or thoughts, it makes sense that pain relief would reveal strong emotions or sleep issues. Now we need to deal directly with our feelings, which is what - in an ideal world - we would've and should've done years or decades ago before the physical symptoms began.

    Insomnia is truly strange for me because I've never had it consistently in the past and because most of my insomnia is 'contented', i.e., without any negative feelings. I think that I've developed insomnia because the pain was sooooooo exhausting for me that I used to fall asleep in two minutes and stay asleep for nine plus hours every night. As I don't want to get trapped in a vicious cycle of reducing my activity level because I've not slept well and then not being able sleep well again because I've reduced my activity level, I'm forcing myself to continue exercising and working (within reason) even on days when I've slept very little.

    After seeing significant pain improvement after decades of suffering, I just have to believe that the insomnia will resolve, too. I'm going to continue doing all the things that have worked for the pain, such as journaling, ISTDP, meditation and affirmations.
    Cap'n Spanky and tmstraveler like this.
  14. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Remember that it is also very typical to experience what Dr. Sarno called extinction bursts, which is sporadic rise in symptoms. Stay the course and be patient!
  15. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    I enjoy it when I'm feeling good but still am not symptom free.

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