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realized i'm still really upset by and afraid of degeneration

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by eskimoeskimo, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Hi All,

    I'm going through the SEP again and realized that in the back of my mind I'm still really afraid of and upset by degeneration. Back when I was investigating the pain the more mainstream way, the only MRI diagnosis that ever came up was some disc degeneration and maybe a bit of facet arthritis. Some doctors mentioned this, some didn't. I guess it's stuck with me more than I previously realized. It terrified me to think that at age 22 I had 'degenerative disc disease.' It made me feel that I was deteriorating, falling apart, damaged goods and that worsening pain would be inevitable if I was already in this bad condition at such a young age. It also made me angry... why is my body like this. I felt screwed.

    By the time I saw the doctor who made the biggest deal regarding this degeneration, I had already become familiar with Sarno so I think I tried to push the fear and anger regarding this structural explanation out of my mind. But it's definitely still in there bouncing around my psyche. Actually, ever since a particular appointment where a doctor pointed out that the degeneration was most pronounced in my neck... my pain has mostly been in my neck, whereas before that appointment it was mostly my back. You'd think that would be enough to dissolve the structural fear but it's still definitely troubling me.

    Part of it is that I don't like the idea of aging and damage and deterioration even if it's not the explanation for pain. I want perfect, pristine health and the idea that my discs are shrinking up frustrates me.

    So I guess this is partly just journal sharing, but also... I'd appreciate any encouragement and insight regarding the red herring, gray hairs of the spine. I've got to find a way to better assimilate the anti-fear and come to terms with the state I'm in.

  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Eskimo. It's terrible that doctors have told you your back and neck are degenerating, at your young age. They are wrong. You have some emotional stresses that are causing your pain. The SEProgram will help you to discover them. The first and maybe main thing for you to do is put out of your mind the fears that doctors have given you. Your pains are not from deterioration, not at age 22. It is a matter of the MindBody connection that Dr. Sarno writes about. His 12 Daily Reminders are excellent in helping believe in TMS. Another member of the TMS community, Herbie, wrote an extended version that I think will help you:

    Herbie’s Extended Version of Dr. Sarno’s 12 DAILY REMINDERS

    1. The pain is due to TMS. This is real pain or anxiety but it is caused by subconscious tensions and triggers, stressors and traits to your reactions and fears and also when at boiling point your conscious tension can and does also cause real pain.
    2. The main reason for the pain is mild oxygen deprivation. This means that when you get in pain or anxiety then the blood is restricted from going to your lower back, for instance. The blood being restricted causes oxygen deprivation which causes the pain. Remember, where there is no oxygen then there is pain in the body. Also, the pain stays because of fear.
    3. TMS is a harmless condition caused by my REPRESSED EMOTIONS so even though you think you can harm yourself from the years of pain you have felt and how you feel in general -- so far no reports have been heard from TMS healing knowledge causing damage to anyone, it only helps.
    4. The principle emotion is your repressed ANGER -- this means under your consciousness lies something that happens automatically to everyone. TMSers have repressions that are stored because of our personality traits, traumas, stressors, fears, strain, etc... When these stored repressions build and build, then eventually they cause the brain to send pain into your body to keep you from having an emotional crises. The mind-body thinks it is helping you.
    5. TMS exists to DISTRACT your attentions from the emotions, stressors, tensions and strains of your personality traits because if you can get distraction then you won’t have to be in emotional turmoil. When you don't face and feel your emotions and they get repressed because you didn't want to deal with something -- they are just adding up in this beaker, ready to pour over and create real pain and anxiety in your body.
    6. Since my body is perfectly normal, there is nothing to fear. So in reality when I fear the pain or anxiety I just cause myself undo strain and tension adding to the beaker of pain. If I fear, then I feed the pain, If I fear, it’s impossible to recondition. Fear keeps the pain and anxiety alive in the body through focus.
    7. Therefore, physical activity is harmless. If I want to work against the pain I could but it’s better to lose some of the pain so when I start my life over I have to be in pain trying to heal because facing the repressions and all the other activities that cause the pain and reversing my fear and focus to them, then I can heal.
    8. I am resuming all normal physical activity. I don't fear moving anymore. I believe in my body’s ability to heal now. I can move as I want. I will not fear moving with a bent back anymore. I will also practice going out and acting normal again, not in fear of what pain might do to me.
    9. The pain is unimportant and powerless. Its only power is how it is hidden -- its illusion, its fear.
    10. I will keep my attention on the emotional issues. I will think about my emotions and feel my emotions throughout the day. I will not judge, criticize or fear my emotions. I will not run from my emotional issues but face every one of them. I will feel my emotions fully and cry if I need to. Then I will release the emotion and get my mind and thoughts back to my life and living in the present.
    11. I am in control of all of this. This is how I recover.
    12. I will be thinking PSYCHOLOGICALLY AT ALL TIMES. This means I will keep my thoughts on psychological issues like happiness, fear and anger -- traits and triggers, conditioning and journaling -- The science behind mind-body/TMS healing, etc.... This way I will not feed my thoughts to the body -- that is a trick of TMS. TMS will always try to get me to focus on the body caused by the pain until I break its show and flair. When I get my attention off physical symptoms and on to emotional issues and psychological issues then I will not feed the fear of the physical issues anymore, thus making the TMS of no pain effect on the body. This will in return, give us the cure and become pain-free.
  3. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Hey Eskimo

    The thought process you describe is pretty much the exact one I have gone through and that led to my development of health anxiety...the idea that our body always has to be a perfect 100% functioning entity for it to be serving us correctly.

    To test thinking in relation to this I always like the idea of a wooden splinter. I suspect most people who get a little splinter in their finger would possibly have a cursory effort to remove it and if this proved tricky would just let it be reassured in the knowledge it would work its way out in due course. I know for myself and for people with a similar bodily fixation this 'let it be' philosophy would be a no go as all the while the splinter remained the body is somehow perceived as less than perfect in some ways...I know in the past I have made a terrible bloody mess of my finger in removing a splinter all because I couldn't relax with it in there and couldn't just let it be.

    In regards your situation (and this happened to me) you have had a double whammy of the planting of a powerful nocebo in the fertile ground of your insistence of the requirement for perfect health. The fear of ageing and our mortality is I believe a huge issue in relation to anxiety and stress illness but generally this does arise more in middle age than in our early 20's. Once we start going down the route of becoming concerned with our health as somehow failing we often then fall into the trap of over-catastrophising what this will mean and this just leads into that vicious circle of FEAR-PAIN-FEAR-PAIN.

    Bearing in mind your young age and the fact you are already having concerns regarding ageing and somehow having less than perfect health it could possibly be a good idea to actually examine where that thought is coming from. Yes, the Dr has planted that nocebo but many people are also given incredibly powerful nocebo's and do not allow them to taint their thinking...I know for myself what helped hugely for me (bear in mind I am 48 though) is to read around the meme's that society likes to put out around ageing and illness and to realise that they are actually often far from accurate and often don't actually represent any form of reality. You also need to take store that the body is a constant of repair and not just degradation and at your young age the repair side of things is definitely going in your favour.
    Susan1111 likes this.
  4. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Thanks Walt! As always, your encouragement, guidance, and kindness are a big help. - Eskimo
  5. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member


    Thanks so much. Your reply really 'got me.' TMS has a tendency to convince me that I'm an enigma and these problems are too big, messy, and un-understandle to engage with. But then a post like can yours can remind me that other people have gone through the same thing and that I've got the diagnosis.

    The splinter analogy is brilliant. I'm absolutely the sort of person that would pace around the room and go to strange and unhelpful lengths to remove a splinter rather than go forward with my life and let it work itself out... and I have been like this for as long as I can remember, long before the pain started.

    The aging and deterioration fear was reinforced in a few really nasty ways in my late teens and early twenties. There were all these triggers and reinforcements ping ponging around. I went through a painful breakup, started college, and started obsessing over self image and feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. For months at a time it'd be an obsession with my teeth, then my weight, then my hairline, etc etc... some stranger than others. Then somewhere in the midst of all that anxiety and depression, I realized that people started reacting surprised when they found out my age. On trips home from college, old high school colleagues would be surprised how much I'd changed. This was devastating to me, and the link between FEELING BAD and ACCELERATED AGING was solidified. That's still very much at the center of my experience. Even with regards to neck pain... what I'm really concerned about is how chronic pain is affecting my aging. The pain is never that terrible on the physical pain scale. But every minute of pain, for me, is directly linked aging. It's a bit difficult to explain, and I think it's very different from vanity. I haven't looked in a mirror or seen a photograph of myself in 10 years because I'm convinced depression, anxiety, and neck/back pain have turned me into a kind of monster. I can't think of anything scarier than a room full of people trying to guess my age. Is this making any sense?


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