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Remembering the mantras

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Beach-Girl, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Looking for some advice here:

    I have come a long way since I started the Structured Program on the wiki and am now working with Dr. Schubiner's book "Unlearn Your Pain". I see this road I've traveled and how I got here. I have good days. I have really bad days too. They are about 50/50 right now.

    For example, I went into the attic of our shop to fix a broken window. I haven't been up there in years (found an old bong from some old rogue employee while I was there) because I'm tall and can't stand up straight in the attic. But I scrambled around, fixed the window, and returned to the main shop to help with a clean up day we had organized. I did a lot of physical work that day andI felt pretty good, sore, but pretty good overall. But I tend to forget the mantras. I have one that doesn't seem to work very well.

    The work I'm doing is fantastic. I hurt almost every day though since I've digging deep. I have bad days where I just want to throw in the towel. Hard to focus on me with a lot of stress at my heals. But the message is working ever so slowly.

    Anyone have a quick little reminder I could tell myself? There is so much to "unlearn" that I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the work. But I think that submerging myself - is the best way for me to get through this. And I'm not going fast But I want to have a short, meaningful reminder each day.

    So,Those of you who Succeeded: I can't be the only one with an overwhelming life. I'd love some suggestions for reminders, other than "I have TMS - there is nothing wrong with my body". Because I'm finding my body begs to differ.


    Just realized that now - my whole body hurts, rather than the stabbing pain in the lower left of my back - this could be GOOD news!
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi BG - me again :^)

    The book that really helped me get over the initial hump, after finding Sarno, was Claire Weekes' Hope & Help For Your Nerves. I think that the main "mantra" in that book, although she certainly doesn't call it that, is one she introduces over several chapters:

    Recovery lies in Facing - Accepting - Floating - Letting time Pass

    My favorite part was the floating - although that could be because the symptom that created most of my anxiety was dizziness or lightheadedness - so I kind of loved allowing my dizzy head to float through my anxiety. It was one of the things that really freed me, and I used it as a mantra often during my recovery.

    When you feel one of the symptoms that causes anxiety, try Facing it (go ahead and feel the pain, explore it down to to its root, and recognize that it's just a message from your brain), Accepting it (let the muscles around the pain relax into it, instead of clenching around it, and let the blood flow), and Floating through it (whatever that means to you - maybe a visualization).

    And then there's Letting Time Pass. You already know how important that one is.

    I highly recommend this book for anyone who suffers from anxiety, because it's full of little mantras. I have come to believe that those of us with deep-seated anxiety - if not full-blown anxiety disorders - have a harder and longer recovery from TMS. My personal theory is that those individuals who can read one book by Sarno and experience instant relief may simply have the rage without the anxiety. Which is not to say they won't relapse, and we can have a whole discussion about that - but I just think that serious anxiety changes the nature of the journey, making it necessarily longer. Serious life stressors like the ones you have don't help, so you have to give yourself a break.

    I love that you're excited that your whole body hurts, LOL! You're probably on to something there.

    Pulling for you,

    Stock Trader likes this.
  3. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Thanks Jan:

    Yes: I have the "full meal deal" - an anxiety disorder to go along with the pain issues. I've got some great "tricks" for dealing with my anxiety, but truth be told, I could always use more. This book you mentioned sounds really good. I read a book on anxiety "Dancing with Fear" that was really good, but like a lot of books - convince you have it but offer no suggestions on how to rid yourself of it. The book you mentioned sounds different.

    I will try and "float" through the pain. It's pretty much here all the time, but I don't notice it as much because it's changing. I'm learning to "speak my truth" - which helps tremendously, and also to be kind to myself. I can really go at myself like no other!

    I'll look for the book. I have two weeks left on the "Unlearn Your Pain" program - and unfortunately have little spare time for reading. But I totally agree (and feel better) about your statement that those who simply read the book and are better don't have anxiety issues. I believe we're predisposed to anxiety but until I found Dr. Sarno and his theories, never thought I could get it out of my life. And my (former) therapist looked dumbfounded when I announced I wanted to CURE my anxiety.

    This work isn't easy. But what keeps me going is knowing someday I will walk free of pain, and free of anxiety.

  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes you will!

    I suppose when it comes to mental and emotional disorders that your therapist isn't allowed to say that you can be cured. Substance abusers aren't allowed to say they are "cured" - they always have to say they are "recovering". Whatever! We can recover - we will recover our lives.

  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've heard great things about Claire Weekes' book as well. Another great thing about it is that it's cheap! (only $4 at Amazon)

    Some people have found Dr. Sarno's 12 daily reminders very helpful:
    1. The pain is due to TMS, not to structural abnormalities
    2. The direct reason for the pain is mild oxygen deprivation
    3. TMS is a harmless condition, caused by my repressed emotions
    4. The principle emotion is my repressed anger
    5. TMS exists only to distract my attention from the emotions
    6. Since my back is basically normal there is nothing to fear
    7. Therefore physical activity is not dangerous
    8. And I must resume all physical activity
    9. I will not be concerned or intimidated by the pain
    10. I will shift my attention from the pain to emotional issues
    11. I intend to be in control - not my subconscious mind
    12. I must think psychological at all times, not physical.
    Perhaps you can find a mantra in there that resonates with you.

    One guy even made them into a video:

    I think it's also helpful to remember that you don't have to be a perfect TMS/PPDer every day. Some times you'll have a bad day and you'll regress. Just keep thinking psychologically and you'll get through it.

    This really makes sense to me. Sometimes when I listen to people with TMS/PPD, I visualize a spring, tightly coiled up. Anxiety fits in to this, as does pefectionism, goodism, and the need for control. It can be tremendously hard to let go, but I think that this is what we have to do; let go and relax. Of course, this can be impossible when you are facing a huge amount of stress. Like meditation, it's also almost impossible to do when you are trying hard to do it! I wish I had a silver bullet, but I'm still searching for it, myself, for my own personal growth. Life is a journey, I suppose.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
    Endless luke likes this.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I realized that what I was trying to say about how a tendency toward anxiety can make TMS recoveries slower is very closely related to what Alan Gordon wrote in his Breaking the Pain Cycle essay. In it he argues that in TMS, our unconscious mind distracts us not just by the pain itself, but also by our obsession with the pain. This makes a lot of sense because pain is naturally scary, so it's completely natural for us to obsess over it. At the same time, that obsession can perpetuate the syndrome. Alan thinks that that might be a significant reason why some people take longer to heal. He offers tools for how to heal, but is very clear that it's hard and takes time. Interestingly, the tools that he recommends don't seem that far from the tools we were discussing above that Claire Weekes recommends. Alan discusses mindfulness and Weekes discusses facing the feeling, accepting it, and floating by, but in both cases, it's about acceptance and awareness of what you are feeling without letting those experiences take control of you.

    Anyway, I agree that obession with our pain can be a major issue in our recovery. I notice that when I have a relapse, as I occasionally do, what makes the pain really go away is when I decide that it is irrelevant and forget about it. It's like my unconscious knows that it can't fulfill it's intended purpose and gives up.

    ... So it makes an awful lot of sense to me that anxiety would increase the obsession and slow down the recovery. Putting it simply, it's easy to become preoccupied by the fear, which keeps us distracted and reinforces the pain. The preoccupation with the pain doubles the distraction power of the pain, which only encourages the unconscious to keep doing what it's doing. What needs to happen is breaking the cycle of preoccupation.

    Or at least that is what makes sense to me. What do others think?

    Here's the link to Alan's essay:
  7. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Well heck - Yes I have anxiety issues, but don't really know how much they play into my pain issues. I just have a lot of worry right now. But there is a line I won't cross. Maybe I'll get up the nerve to cross it. (code....BG code.....) - lol
  8. Karen Lerum

    Karen Lerum New Member

    I read and worked my way through Unlearn Your Pain last year. It was quite amazing to me that when I would pick up my pencil to write some of the exercises, my hand would not cooperate...it refused to hold the pencil properly. Hence some of my writing is more like scrawling. I told my hand, out loud!, to knock it off. That I had work to do and I needed the use of my hand.
    I still have bouts of pain these days, but it is easier to figure out what is triggering it and thus deal with it.
    Be sure to listen to the meditation CD included in the book...I still listen to it quite often.
    Keep working. I have looked back at the things I wrote (some are almost illegible due to my hand refusing to work) and can see from reading what I wrote that I cleared a lot of "stuff" that caused me pain for years and years.
    Best wishes. KL
    Forest likes this.
  9. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Obsession is a huge part of my problems. 10 years ago I had panic disorder and worse than the panic itself was the constant obsession with when the next panic attack would be. When I started to get chronic headaches, the fear of when the next headache would be, how bad it would be, etc. became the new obsession.
    I have Claire Weeke's books and they're good. I also like the Panic & Anxiety Workbook. I find that with both pain and anxiety the key is breaking the cycle and distracting yourself with something else--journaling, meditating, reading, watching tv, anything. When pain and/or anxiety get past a certain level I find it becomes really hard to distract myself. It's easier with anxiety because I've had it so long that I know pretty well how to manage it. Pain still has more of a hold on me--I've only been working on TMS for 2 months so this is very new.
    I hope you are feeling better now, BeachGirl!
  10. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Perhaps you could give me some suggestions? I am "stuck" on Part 3. Seems confusing and I had a small (well big) crash in the middle so I'm taking a break. I am kind of lost between my "child self" and the "grown-up" (and I use the term loosely) self. There's just SO much. So it was suggested to me that I start over with a list of stressors and anger/rage and write from there. I didn't listen to all the meditations, I didn't have time. Is there one you like better or would suggest over another?I've been getting up at 5:00 am to work on this and still got overwhelmed.

    I plan on regrouping and starting Part 3 again. But it was so overwhelming, it became like my life. Perfect me was trying to do the writing parts and then go back to Parts One and Two? TOO MUCH! I lost it.

    This is all to say as well, there is an abundance of stress in my life right now and I'm not sure how to resolve it. So I am sleeping a lot for a few days, trying to be kind to myself and plan to start again. But I just felt Part 3 was over my head.

    I'm up for any suggestions from people who have done Part 3 of Unlearn Your Pain.

  11. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    I hear you Veronica! I too am only two months into this. I've relied on meds for anxiety and pain since my life is literally lived on a dead run. Day in and out. But since The Big Crash I just spoke of, ^ I've been sleeping a lot in the afternoons - and Netflix has become my friend. I love movies. I love to read. But I never do this consistently because there is literally no time. Until I crash. Then I can't do anything else.

    I feel like my head is spinning sometimes. Do I work on my anxiety? Do I work on my pain? Oh look! Here comes a panic attack! Oh look! My back is raging. I think I need to get a new start. A couple days ago, I thought I might quit. But I know now, I'm not giving up since there IS a tiny bit of improvement. Have some ideas and a lot more knowledge than I did two months ago.

    And some pretty awesome support here. Thank you!

  12. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's been a while since I read Schubiner's book. Would you be willing to remind me what Part 3 is?
  13. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Well, there's a lot of writing, - you have a choice of three parts per day (I set it down a bit ago) and then you review parts one and two and a meditation. This is assuming you are moving right along, which I'm not.

    What I've decided is working best, is free-writing in the mornings and listening to one of the meditations each day. This is working for now. It's so incredibly hard to work with "past issues" and then turn around and face a day of a lot of stress. I had to slow down, remind myself this isn't a race, and regroup. I'm trying to spend more time outdoors too. This is the BEST thing for me at the moment. So "in the moment"I'm trying to reflect on all I've learned, and will return to the book when I'm feeling less stressed. Or when I feel more able. I simply got overwhelmed.

    This IS work. But I've learned so much, doing the Structured Program on the Wiki, and as far as I got with Dr. Schubiner's book, that I think a reflection time is in order - for me at least.

    And spending more time with my dog.


    Oh and saw my doctor today. He's never heard of Dr. Sarno and I noted he didn't even bother to write his name down. Has absolutely no intention of looking at what I'm trying to do. Ugh.
  14. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    It sounds like you are 100% on the right track. You're listening to your feelings and your needs and taking it at a pace that feels comfortable to you. In making it through the structured program and as far as you got through Dr. Schubiner's program, you've already made tremendous progress. It's all about listening to your inner voice and doing what feels right.
  15. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh, well if you can figure out how, you absolutely HAVE TO upload a picture of your dog. (You can embed it in your post, too; just use the button that has a picture of a tree on it in the edit toolbar where you type your posts) I absolutely love dogs.:D
  16. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    It's not working dang it. I would love to show a photo of my best bud!
  17. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    SO CUTE!!!! And so wonderful to be out on the seashore. I can almost smell the sea...


    For the tech stuff, the key is that Flickr makes it insanely hard to find a link to the actual file. When you click on "Share," it just gives you a link to the Flickr web page for the photo, not the photo itself, so you get an error. To get a link to the actual file itself, you have to go to "View All Sizes" and then "Download the Large size of this photo."
  18. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hey thanks! So cool to see my boy! He's 8 and we've been wandering the beach together since he was 7 weeks old. My best beach partner. Needs to have his winter coat trimmed a bit (out door dog - doesn't live with me). But we're best friends. And he's a lot of fun to have along. If I can figure out how, I'll post a few more photos of some of our wilder adventures. Thanks for the tips Forest! On the photograph and also the great reminder on TMS.

  19. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    I would have NEVER figured that out. I use flickr for another site, and always grab the code, but it didn't work here. THANK YOU!!!!
  20. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Man's (or woman's) best friend! Cool.
    Beach-Girl likes this.

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