1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Returning after 7 years

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by samantha, Feb 23, 2023.

  1. samantha

    samantha Peer Supporter

    I entered the structural education program in 2014 and left the forum in 2016 having eliminated recurring back pain. I recommended this site to a family member who has also been relieved of chronic headaches. I've returned because I am now experiencing unexplained arm pain and heart palpitations (I have had tests in the past which reveal no abnormalities and I have no other symptoms like shortness of breath). I go about all my activities but I find that I am fearful and focused on the symptoms. I know I've been under a great deal of stress. I'm on day 2 of the program. If anyone else has had this experience, I'd love to hear from you.
  2. Rotanzania

    Rotanzania New Member

    Oh my goodness, it felt like I was reading about myself! I was cured about 7 years ago of severe back pain via John Sarnos book and this forum. Recently I’ve had to resign from work following severe chest pain and arm numbness, pain, dizziness, tingling in joints, fatigue etc, just getting worse even after stopping work. I’ve been checked out- not much wrong, then I suddenly remembered TMS. Why oh why do I have it again? Why hadn’t I remembered before? Ok, so I’ve been throwing myself into work, overworking, over- caring for everyone around me, neglecting myself etc. does any of that resonate with you? Apparently it’s not uncommon for TMS to reappear. Perhaps we need to find out what it looks like to care for ourselves better?
  3. samantha

    samantha Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the confirmation. I'm in a high stress environment, facing retirement in 2 years which will necessitate a move to a new home. I agree that self-care is paramount. Good luck to you as you navigate new challenges!
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey @samantha - I'm sorry I have to welcome you (and @Rotanzania) back - along with a bunch of others. Relapse seems to be the biggest theme of 2023 so far - although in my estimation it's been a growing trend since 2020 - you know, that year when a bunch of s*** went down?

    Don't discount the stress of current affairs. In a way, the sudden onset of the pandemic itself was a huge distraction, causing massive symptoms in people with extreme health anxiety and obsessive behaviors, but I think for many others (probably like yourself) it allowed them to focus on something concrete (work and school logistics, caring for others, pulling together...) depending on what was going on in their personal lives. In others words, each reaction to the pandemic was unique.

    But now we don't have that one threat to focus on, and we no longer have concrete actions we can take. What we have now is equally horrifying, but less obvious, which is a slow and incremental buildup of world dysfunction. If you sit down and start listing all the things that are just plain wrong right now, it's a long list. And there is very little that the average person can do - masking and washing your hands will not stop the drought in East Africa or the invasion of Ukraine. So even as the pandemic eases up, we've got all this other stuff hanging over us, creating uncertainty, unease, and an existential sense of dread that, unlike the pandemic, is not being discussed as often as it was in terms of mental health.

    (Edit: my therapist confirms my thoughts in the above two paragraphs - this is a significant factor being seen by her and her colleagues)

    I think it's a big factor for all of us. I struggle all the time. In my case, age doesn't help. And you said you're two years from retirement? My big TMS crisis ("before Sarno") was in 2011 when I turned 60, and it was the rage of aging that was one of my biggest issues. I finally fully retired last year (at 71) which I was very happy to do, but now I'm facing the existential crisis of "now what?" And sure, I keep very busy and active, but really, am I just biding time trying to stay physically and mentally healthy until I kick the bucket:eek:? Talk about a TMS trigger! Eesh.

    Fortunately, thanks to my mindfulness (ie: TMS) techniques, at least I can acknowledge this openly to myself and keep the TMS mechanism on a low simmer instead of a full boil :rolleyes: And the bottom line when it comes to the TMS mechanism is to get those things into your consciousness, because it's not just childhood issues that are being repressed - it's ALL the negative thoughts that your brain represses because it thinks they are fatal to your ability to notice the sabre-tooth tiger hiding behind the next tree.

    So yep - revisit the SEP, reacquaint yourself with the writing exercises, and check out some of my favorite TMS resources on my profile - I've got info about Nicole Sachs' podcast, a great audio program called "Meditations to Change Your Brain" (about how we are wired to be fearful all the time - and what to do about it) and others. For writing topics, check out my discussion about Existential Psychotherapy - something I have found incredibly useful and easy to incorporate without a psychotherapist. For me, the key to writing is to think of it as a brain dump. Don't edit what you write, don't worry about legibility, and throw it away when you're done. You're more likely to be honest (at least I am). Dr Hanscom calls it "expressive writing" rather than journaling, and both he and Nicole Sachs advise not keeping it.

    Good luck to us all!

    Last edited: Feb 23, 2023
    Ellen and Rotanzania like this.
  5. samantha

    samantha Peer Supporter

    Thank you for the additional resources. At 67 and counting... I am in the existential crisis. I didn't see the connection between pandemic and now. I was able to navigate the pandemic by putting in extra work and being the 'go to' person in my community. Now that I no longer have that distraction, it's been a very difficult transition. I appreciate your insight.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  6. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Samantha, you are going through a lot of stress. Heart palpitations are a sure sign of anxiety. I would try Dr. Claire Weekes audios and books and also meditation. I know at least one case when quite serious heart palpitations disappeared after 6-7 months of daily 1-1.5 hr meditation sessions. Good luck!
    samantha likes this.
  7. samantha

    samantha Peer Supporter

    Thank you! I just visited the link and it sounds very promising. Since re-starting the program, the palpitations have lessened. I know it will take awhile. Lots of stuff to deal with!
    TG957 and JanAtheCPA like this.

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