This is the official thread for Section 2.1 of the TMS Recovery Program donated by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center (PPC). This section is entitled "Accepting the Diagnosis." Neither Alan nor the PPC necessarily endorses this thread or any of the viewpoints presented in it. Please keep these official threads on topic and put your best thoughts down, as these threads will be read by many people. All posts in this thread should all relate to section 2.1 of the TMS Recovery Program: http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/TMS_Recovery_Program#Accepting_the_Diagnosis In section 2.1, Alan writes the following: Accepting the Diagnosis It all starts with acceptance. Accepting the TMS diagnosis (believing that the pain is psychologically caused as opposed to structurally or physically caused) is a very important component of recovery. But as many of you have probably found, that’s easier said than done. Even after reading the books, seeing yourself on every page, and even possibly getting confirmation from a physician, some of you may still be struggling to fully accept (both intellectually and on a gut level) that your pain is generated psychologically. The following clip is a talk I gave at the 2012 TMS conference. It addresses why it can be so hard to fully accept the TMS diagnosis and what you can do to overcome these barriers. As you watch, see if any of the concepts mentioned apply to you. (Do you have any conditioned responses? What counter-evidence can you compile? Have you had any “exceptions”? Etc.) (The talk was geared toward psychologists, so feel free to disregard any terms you’re unfamiliar with. Also, don’t be confused by the term PPD, it’s just a fancy way of saying TMS.) See if you can identify your conditioned responses. Do you have pain when you sit? Stand? Type? Walk? Run? Swim? Read a book? Drive your car? Shampoo your hair? Go to the dentist? The majority of TMS sufferers have at least one physical position or activity that’s linked with their pain. And it’s these conditioned responses that makes acceptance so difficult. Below is Patricia’s evidence sheet, as discussed in the video above: Evidence Sheet Sat for 2 hours watching NCAA basketball tournament with no pain. Had a therapy session where pain went from 4 out of 10 to 1 out of 10 while sitting the whole time. Pain gets worse when husband stresses me out. Was diagnosed with PPD by respected physician. Spend some time compiling your own evidence sheet. Have physicians told you that there’s nothing wrong with you? Have there been inconsistencies with your pain? Do you possess the personality traits that are common with TMS? Did a stressful event precede the onset of your symptoms? These all belong on your evidence sheet. You can add more evidence as you discover it. Look at this evidence sheet often. Repeat these pieces of evidence to yourself throughout the day (especially when your mind starts injecting doubt). Accepting the diagnosis is generally an ongoing process, so don’t feel like you have to achieve 100% acceptance before moving on. It’s true, acceptance can lead to a reduction of symptoms, but even truer is that a reduction of symptoms can lead to acceptance. The video in this section of the TMS Recovery Program is “Working Toward Acceptance” (of TMS). This may be the hardest for many people to accept because they may have been told by doctors or others that they have a slipped disc or other structural damage. Alan Gordon says this belief may be reinforced by “associated learning.” He cites the case of a client, a 70-year-old woman, who said she was in pain when sitting. She became conditioned to expect pain when she sat even for short periods of time. Other clients said they felt pain when they walked, ran, or just bent down. Pain became a conditioned reflex to certain activities for different people, but Gordon, like Dr. Sarno and others, maintain that the pain is psychological, not structural. Gordon says, “Acceptance that the symptom is TMS-caused takes the power out of the pain.” For me, at age 82, my severe back and shoulder pain went away about 90 percent after reading Dr. Sarno’s Healing Back Pain and accepting that it was from TMS and not structural. The rest of the pain held on because I withheld about 10 percent in that belief. I thought that because of my age, I could expect pain from aging bones or muscles or if I lifted something the wrong way, as I had. It took me a while to further accept that as Dr. Sarno said, pains in older people are just “gray hairs of the spine.” I had discovered repressed emotions going back to my childhood that caused my psychological pain, but needed to believe my remaining pain was not from a normal aging process. It came from not believing 100 percent in TMS. When I finally did that, the pain went away.