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Question about recurrence of symptoms

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Wings313, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Wings313

    Wings313 Peer Supporter

    Hello all - I'm a sporadic poster on here but I so appreciate that this forum exists. It has truly opened my eyes.

    My TMS symptom is frequent urination or a near constant urge to urinate. I know that's not a very common one on here, but I know it's TMS. It has gone into "remission" so to speak when my mind has been more preoccupied with something else, or after I first learned about TMS, etc. So I know it's not triggered by anything physical.

    This past year and a half or so has circumstantially at least been the most stressful of my life. My symptoms went away twice, but just recently I felt a recurrence. It's amazing how quickly I then go into panic mode...not thinking that something is physically wrong with me, but the fear that this is back, it's not going to go away, my life will be so uncomfortable, etc, etc.

    My question is - is it normal for symptoms to leave and then come back before you beat this thing for good??

    I did the SEP and even saw Dr. Schubiner in person. I've tried to work through my anger, but honestly, for me it just seems like my symptom is there because I fear it and obsess on it. When I'm in an "episode" I walk differently, focus my attention on my bladder, think about it when I sit or stand up, etc. Could some TMS be caused simply by mind attention and fear? Don't get me wrong, it was good to work through childhood stuff and all that, and like I said I have a ton of current stressors.

    Lastly, what do you do when you feel a trigger to not allow yourself to slip back into a full blown episode?

  2. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi wings,

    A couple of thoughts. First, yes symptoms can definitely come and go at times. I think that perhaps framing your goal as making symptoms "go away for good" could be working against you. The goal is to begin to work with your response to the pain, which I think you understand. We want to address the fear and anxiety that arises from the symptoms; the symptoms themselves are secondary. The goal is to get yourself to the point where, even if symptoms come on, you can remain unfazed because you understand them, you understand their purpose and you know how to provide comfort and stand up for yourself in the face of them. By measuring your success as being only achieved by the total cessation of symptoms, you are giving those very symptoms power over you. Whenever they leave, you'er afraid that, should they come back, it's an indication that you have failed. Let them come! As you yourself acknowledge, they are not structural problems; you are not damaging yourself. The symptoms become secondary to how you treat yourself once you take away the power of fear and failure that they have over you. So when you feel that trigger and the fear and anxiety arise, stand up for yourself! Remind yourself of the evidence you have that the symptoms are not caused by structural damage. Try to remind yourself that it isn't helping you to project into the future and play out all of the anxiety driven predictions of how the symptoms will behave. Bring yourself into the present, remind yourself you're a strong person and tell the pain to back off.
    braden101, Msunn, Ellen and 1 other person like this.
  3. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wings I have had this same TMS symptom. It was really constant and awful about 4 years ago. Then it would go away for a few months and then come back for a few days. Then it went away for several years. As I started working on my TMS about nine months ago it started to come back occasionally. It was so extreme on my birthday in August I canceled my week-end vacation. I am positive it is TMS and I am not sure why it resurfaces but I am so glad when it fades away. I do think that fear of it not getting better really aggravates it. Now when it comes(as it did last week for a day or so) I try to go about my normal activities as much as possible and not avoid certain things like I used to(sex, drinking lots of water...) Having confidence that it is TMS and that it won't last does seem to help.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Wings,

    Frequent urination has been one of my TMS symptoms, too. It comes and goes, but I'm absolutely sure it is TMS. It is usually the worst in social situations and when I'm at work--so the more tense I am, the worse the symptom. As I've been working on my TMS, it has lessened, though not completely disappeared yet, but I'm confident that it will. I treat it like any TMS symptom, and when I'm aware of it, I just tell my brain there is nothing wrong with me, that this is just a distraction technique, and it is nothing to worry about. This seems to help.
  5. Wings313

    Wings313 Peer Supporter

    Alex - I believe you are spot on with what you say. I guess when I talk about "beating this thing" it's really exactly what you said...when the symptoms come, you don't fear them anymore and they have no power over you. I just want to get to that point truly.

    Anne and Ellen - it is encouraging to know that others have had this too. Anne - I wish mine only came back for a day or so...but that's what I want to work up toward..like I said above, so when it does come back (or inevitably, another type of symptom), I want to have a nonchalant reaction to it so that it does indeed only last a short time.

    My fear on top of the fear of the symptom is that what if I never learn to not fear this and therefore it will always be a problem in my life?? My mind runs in circles! It is about living in the present too, because one of the biggest things that keeps my cycles going is thinking about the future and the "what if this never goes away"s...I'm sure many people on here can relate.

    Thanks, everyone! And anyone else with insight, please feel free to chime in!
  6. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Wings, I'm going to suggest you try some mindfulness exercises. Once your anxiety and fear get going, it's like a raging locomotive that just barrels down the track and you have to just hang on until it runs out of steam. Exhausting. Instead, you have to get off of the anxiety train before it leaves the station. Mindfulness can help with that quite a bit. While it seems deceptively simple, mindfulness exercises can help you to engage with the present moment and find some peace there instead of projecting into the future with fear and anxiety. After all, the present is all there really is.

    Here is a video by a fairly well-known mindfulness teacher who describes some of the concepts. It's a piece of a larger talk which you can check out if you like his style.

    Here is a guided talk by my mentor Alan Gordon who has developed a recovery program that is hosted on the wiki.

    With some familiarity of the concept of mindfulness, you will be able to do it whenever you feel this anxiety start to arise. It doesn't have to take a long time, sometimes only 2 or 3 deep, intentional breaths will be enough to slow the fear cycle and give you the ability to step back from your symptoms and the fear they generate.

    Many of my clients tell me that they aren't able to practice mindfulness in the moment when they feel anxiety and stress because they are too wound up. This is like saying you don't want to douse a fire because it is already hot. This is precisely the moment when you can benefit most from trying! I am not suggesting it will be easy at first, and indeed you may notice no difference at the beginning. But I assure that with some practice, you will be able to at least lessen some of the distress that is brought on by your symptoms. And this is the objective: not lessening your symptoms per-se but lessening the effect that they have on your emotional state.

    Remember, the symptom's objective is to create that fear within fear cycle that you are describing. The more you are able to understand that and release that anxiety, the more you will be able to take away the pain's power.
    Msunn, Ellen, Kizaa and 1 other person like this.
  7. Wings313

    Wings313 Peer Supporter

    Just want to touch back to all my old posts because it's always nice to hear how things worked out. :) I am doing MUCH better. My urinary stuff was and is completely TMS/mind-body stuff. I am convinced of that. Not even physical therapy helped. What I've found helped the most is not fearing the symptom, and not changing anything physically because of the symptom (I would walk differently, clench, cut out foods/drink, etc...but now I try not to). Take away the power of the symptom by not being afraid of it! Tell yourself - oh well, even if I have this symptom forever, it's going to be okay, it won't ruin my life, etc. Even the typical TMS/Freudian anger work didn't really help, although it can be a good exercise to do. For me it's all about dismissing it (the TMS symptom), not giving it power, not giving it attention.
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you Wings, for checking back in, with a confirmation of the approaches discussed in this thread. Very valuable reading...
    Wings313 likes this.

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