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Re-Conditioniong Triggers & Tension

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by donavanf, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    Hi guys. I have a question about triggers & tension. I'm a photographer. My favorite hobby since I was a teenager, it's now a full time profession, and has been since about two years ago. Before my main TMS episode in 2013 (severe upper back pain/neck pain/headaches began after a trip to NYC with dysfunctional family), holding a camera, sitting at a computer, doing anything related to photography never caused me soreness or pain. If I shot a wedding or held my camera for many hours, I might have a few days of mild soreness, but it always went away completely within 3 days at most. I didn't think about it much. In 2013, when my "muscular TMS" hit, I couldn't pick up my camera for 6 months. Couldn't use a computer. Almost gave up photography all together. It broke my heart, because it was my biggest passion. Luckily, I found Dr. Sarno's books, found myself on every page and had a "book cure" which lasted about a week. Of course, it came right back the minute I returned to Physical Therapy. I then found Dr. David Schechter, who confirmed TMS. He told me that my camera wasn't causing my pain. Nor was my computer. My brain was. Specifically, my rage was. After hearing my childhood and life story (a mountain of stuff) he said I had "TMS on Steroids". When I asked him if he was sure, he said, "107% sure, you are a classic case of TMS". I felt better. For a while. I've read all the books, from Ozanich to Schubiner, Schechter to my new favorite, "The Meaning Of Truth" by Nicole Sachs. Brilliant! I get TMS on a MENTAL level. But it's like somehow, it still doesn't feel right on a GUT level. As I write this, I laugh, because some of my TMS is in the form of IBS, which I've had since childhood. PRESSURE is my #1 trigger, and the other night I was pressured to shoot a party (a corporate event) and the family members who all were the initial triggers of my 2013 breakdown were all there. I shot for 5 hours straight, carrying heavy gear, which is a HUGE step forward for me. No pain at all when shooting, just soreness the next day or two. But instead of going away, as it should if it was actually soreness from muscle fatigue, it seems to have "locked in" to my upper back and gotten worse in the week since the party. Worse as I think about it. Every time I think about photography or pressure myself around it, it's like I have a duality in my head. I love it, I make decent money at it, I really want to succeed at it, and at the same time, the success and pressure that is coming my way as I get more shoots makes my neck and back feel like a brick. Side note: I'm not in good shape, not overweight, but lack muscle tone, as I terribly fear exercise...so I wonder if I am just out of shape and that is why I always feel so sore. And there is the rub, pun intended. My mind still wonders if photography is causing my pain. If exercise is causing pain, or lack thereof. I put it back into my body, blame my body, think about my body. My body scares me. Photography, much as I love it, is a PHYSICAL profession, involving lifting and carrying. So no wonder I get pain around it. But I love it, I love it with everything I am! And that makes me equally sad and determined. Sad, because I fear the thing I love most. Determined to break through this, for that reason. Problem is, my source of income requires holding a camera a lot, and using my computer a lot to do PhotoShop (latter is a BIG trigger). I'm typing this on my laptop, almost no pain. If I move to my big computer desk "workstation" I get pain. A lot of pain. If I pick up my camera, "just for fun", almost no pain. If I have a big shoot...yeah. Pain. Dr. Schechter thought it was a sign nothing was physically wrong that the pain came AFTER I shoot, almost no pain during shoots. Also, he thought it was interesting that the higher the pressure around the shoot, the worse the pain. And my pain gets worse around my family, one of whom frequently hires me to do shoots, which is a bummer because they pay well and she wants to give me work. How do I continue to do what I love, and please my family, while still moving through and healing my TMS? I've been "rage journaling" and I have a TON of repressed anger, especially at those closest to me, which I find scary and disturbing. But Nicole Sachs says in her book, this is a good sign. And even as I think on my family, and those closest to me, my neck hurts. They are a trigger. Photography is a trigger. But I want to be able to photograph, spend time with family, say YES to my life, but I don't want this pain anymore. I'm ready to let it go mentally, but somehow, it stays. Like it's trying to tell me something I'm just not letting sink in. Any thoughts or ideas? I feel like I'm very close to cure. Yet, so far.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
    eskimoeskimo likes this.
  2. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Hi Donavanf,
    My hunch after reading this is that you are right on the cusp of feeling better. Just be persistent and keep at it.
    You said that you don't have pain when you shoot for fun but when you shoot for work you feel pain. I used to second shoot weddings and I know there is a lot of pressure. Is there anything you can do to relieve the pressure from shooting like hire an assistant? I remember once a lady hired me to carry her equipment around all day and that's basically all I did.
    But, that's just a suggestion. It really sounds like you are on the right path and are very aware of what is bringing it about. Just keep at it. Your brain is really trying to get your attention isn't it?

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