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Putting Out Fires.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Huckleberry, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Last night I was desperate...the pain was blatting away and I was full of the usual fear and frustration such a flare up always brings. Over the last couple of weeks whilst this flare was taking hold I was doing a variety of things...meditating, thinking psychological, trying guided imagery, reading all the TMS sources and of course coming on here, posting in pain and panic and spending hours and hours reading over old posts in the hope something would resonate and help once and for all.

    Now, I know some of these behaviours are good and that some are counter productive but the point I noticed was that when the pain got bad I immediately defaulted to the 'problem solving' mindset. When I thought about this and the period before my current flare up, when all was quite stable and manageable I thought about what behaviours and actions I was doing that I know I should be doing to attempt to quell TMS and the bottom line was that if I was totally honest with myself I was doing nothing...I was thinking acting and doing exactly the same way I always had.

    I think that is the problem for me in so many ways. When I am not on a flare TMS is always on my mind as a back burner issue but because the pain isn't crippling I just seem to live with it...the thing is I'm actually hearing it every single day BUT and I'm suspecting this may be crucial I'm not actually listening to it or acting upon it. I think that because the idea of having to ignore the TMS symptoms as best we can is such an entrenched idea this can cause an issue as ignoring them is all well and good but ignoring them whilst plodding along generating the same tensions and internal stress doesn't seem to really solve anything. I can't help but think that maybe in such circumstances TMS will have no option but to shout louder.

    It appears to me that really my issue has now developed into the stage of constantly chasing my tail and putting out the fires of painful flares. The thing is when I'm on a flare of pain I am very present minded with it and 'assume' that the flare is there due to a present moment issue...I rack my mind trying to think of what could be going on at that moment that has generated this pain but fail to recognise what has predated that flare which is probably a couple of months of low level discomfort during which I've bumbled along totally failing to address any issues as I'm sort of feeling OK. I suppose what I'm getting at (yep, in a long winded fashion) is that I'm understanding that dedication and consistency is probably a far far more important factor in all of this and until I actually apply clean thinking and mindfulness into my life as a daily habit rather than just blindly forcing it on me during a pain flare then nothing will change.

    Just as a brief aside...last night I unearthed some diazepam (10mg) which had been prescribed to me for anxiety a while back, I had never actually taken this. Pretty much in desperation I took just the 10mg and found that it did chill me out a touch (as I suppose its supposed to) what I have found rather interesting is that I seemed to sleep incredibly well last night and woke with probably an 80% reduction in pain. It was actually quite strange to wake with pretty much zero leg pain...I've been up for about 4 hours now and the difference in pain between yesterday and today is pretty much night and day. I realise that Diazepam is also a muscle relaxant so I'm not sure if this is a coincident or not. What is weird though is that whilst I never really have sleep problems (other than often getting weird dreams) when I woke this morning it almost felt like my sleep had been different in some way...almost like deeper or more refreshing. This is quite interesting as it is actually quite common for my flares to see to come on over night....like I can go to bed with back burner discomfort and then wake on a painful flare, this does make me wonder if that there is something going on in my subconscious whilst I sleep that contributes to this.

    Anyway, apologies for the long rambling post and thanks for sticking with it if you did. Any thoughts or opinions grateful received.
    breakfree likes this.
  2. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree that the Diazepam would have put you in a relaxed state and this lessened your pain. So now you know that relaxing can lessen pain, how can you mimic the effect of the drug without actually taking the drug? You do seem to monitor your pain an awful lot, if you don't mind me saying. This will keep it coming. I can relate to your first paragraph where you scramble around trying to do everything you can think of, reading all the literature and basically throwing everything at the pain all at once in desperation. This is a manifestation of fear and panic. I've been there, done that and even bought a TENS machine.:D None of it helped because I was trying to force the issue, trying too hard to get better and winding up travelling down the road in the opposite direction. So perhaps when you have the urge to hit the books and study TMS, do something different to mix it up like take a walk, have a bath, watch some telly, phone a friend and have a chat.
    Ellen likes this.
  3. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Cheers for the reply...I don't mind you saying about how much I monitor my symptoms and I'm well aware I do it, to be honest I've never actually thought I do it more than many others who post on here but maybe I do.

    Yep, it would appear that the diazepam did help. After a few hours this morning the pain did seem to return for a while but certainly not to the intensity of yesterday. I did bite the bullet this afternoon and went for a 5 mile hike on my usual route...the pain was annoying but bearable but I was really nervous about running as I was petrified of the flare returning. About 2 miles in I just thought bugger it and broke into a jog which was ok but did feel jarring on my back...for whatever reason I decided to break into a full blown sprint and as I did this my tightness seemed to ease hugely. I must have done about 5 sprints on the walk of about 150/200 meters all out effort and I could do these no problem...I was spent cardio vascular before my body hurt. I have taken a huge amount of significance form this as surely if you have a structural issue that can cause this amount of pain there would be no way you could do sets of sprints like that...there surely would be a huge ramp up of pain trying to do it and also some restrictions etc.

    Sort of relating to this I was thinking about the concept of TMS earlier and recall that its often referred to as a 'pain syndrome' now, this description has always past me by in the past but it resonated today due to the sprinting stuff. My back and leg issue are all about pain. In the past I have had a huge number of somatised symptoms that have sometimes lasted days or in the case of chest tightness over a year but I think I got over these by basically just 'forgetting' to monitor them. The difference now, and probably why this has been going on for so long is that because this symptom is painful it is far far harder to forget about and stop monitoring as its always there knocking on the bloody door asking to come in. The thing is though is that if I step back from it the symptom is really all about pain. Yep, I have stopped doing a lot of the things I love activity wise because on a subjective level the pain eats into the enjoyment but the bottom line is I can do them if I needed to. If I had to run a half marathon tomorrow I'm sure I could MTFU and do it...yep, I would probably be in pain but I could probably get to the finish line. Now, this just makes no sense really cause surely if you have a structural issue not only do you have pain but you also are objectively limited in some ways that make such an activity if not impossible then very hard to do...I suppose what I'm trying to get my head around is that surely if your body is generating such amounts of pain then this pain should exist alongside other objective issues. I'm sort of getting the crux of why this is a pain syndrome I suppose.

    Anyway. there I go again waffling on and monitoring and analysing. Like you mentioned earlier I now need to get my body calmed down to a degree but without the use of the diazepam...I actually had a whole strip of 20 tablets left but I've given them to my wife to dispose of as I'm well aware how addictive they are and I feel that they served their purpose last night really.

    Once again thanks for taking the time to reply.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    I agree with @yb44 's advice above completely.

    Something that really helped me when I was over-focused on monitoring my pain, and spending too much time in my head trying to think my way out of TMS, was to shift my focus outside myself--onto nature, my sense perceptions, other people, animals, etc. For example when you go on your next walk/run, try to shift your awareness to what is happening outside yourself--what does the air feel like, how does the sky look, how does it feel to have the ground moving under your feet, what are the trees around, which birds are singing, etc. This is where joy and pleasure can be found.

    You mentioned that you practice mindfulness meditation, which helps with the process of first being aware of where our focus is, so that then we can shift it. Like anything it becomes easier with practice.
  5. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Good point Ellen.

    A while ago I caught myself in the act of thinking whilst on a run and was quite shocked to realise that I was actually about a mile further into the run in my head than I actually was in reality...it was actually worse than that feeling of being on autopilot as this was actually projecting myself into the future as if I just wanted to get the run over and move onto the next thing. I stop myself doing this now as best I can and try and do as you say, stop and smell the roses as they say. This whole thing ties in with something that Ace1 mentions in his keys to healing in that we often feel uncomfortable and have an underlying anxiety in a given moment and we also feel the urge/itch to move onto the next thing...this resonates with me an awful lot.
    Ellen likes this.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Huckleberry, while running, you were a little ahead of being in the present moment.
    But you stopped and smelled the roses. You're handling it all very well.
  7. Sheree

    Sheree Well known member

    Huckleberry, don't worry about rambling on. I, for one, have got a lot from your posts on this thread. Well thought out and you make a lot of good points. I wonder if you lead your life in a similar way to me. Although most of my family, friends and work colleagues know I have a pain problem, I never talk about it, grit my teeth and get on with it. Well at least that is what I think I do. As my husband said to me recently "you endure your day". So rather than enjoy my life, I am just getting through it. How to change this? I can see that I need to, doing is not so easy.
    As for the Diazepam. Although I have never gone down this route myself, I have sometimes wondered if it would be sensible to take a very short course. The last thing I would like to happen is an addiction. I can do without any more problems, but I sometimes wonder if giving my body a rest from all the worry and fear could be beneficial. I know the correct way is the meditations etc, etc, but sometimes it seems that it may just give a calmness and relaxation that breaks the pain habit.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I found that a tranquilizer to relieve anxiety did not help me and just made me dependent on it.
    Then I had several weeks of withdrawal symptoms.

    I find deep breathing and switching my mind from worry and anxiety onto pleasant thoughts
    such as being on a sunny beach to be better than medication. A cup of hot tea or milk does wonders.
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I also suggest another kind of distraction... Youtube. I am amazed at how much is there
    to take the mind off of worry and anxiety. And it's free. Look at a movie, a tv comedy show,
    a nature or wildlife documentary. Anything that interests you.

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