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SEP - Day 1

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Steakandeggs, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    Hi, I've been browsing the site for a few weeks now and gone through Alan Gordon's course. Tonight I've started the SEP and this is my first post in the forum.

    I'm a male in my mid 30s. Around 6 years ago, out of the blue, I developed symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB) - frequency and urgency. This came out of nowhere and I had no idea what was going on with my body or what had caused it. I was referred to a urologist and had various tests done - nothing untoward could be found and I was just told I had OAB. I was prescribed drugs and physio, neither of which made any difference. Since then, I've tried various homeopathic remedies - only my first session of acupuncture gave me temporary relief from the urgency. But I've continued to search for an answer.

    I've had some very low points with this condition but always done my best to move forward. However, there is no doubt it has caused me anxiety, frustration and anger. It's impacted on my personal relations and social life. My marriage is probably at rock bottom. I think this has partly been caused by my symptoms, which have left me angry and frustrated at times. I'm not the happy go lucky person I once was but I know that person is still inside me and it will return.

    A few months ago, an ad on my Instagram feed for the Curable Health app caught my attention. I don't normally click on these ads but for some reason I was intrigued. What I read on that site was like a light bulb being turned on. I knew from that moment on that I was suffering from TMS. I've since read books by Sarno and Hanscom, Schubiners website, and done exercises from the Curable app. The personality type that tends to suffer from TMS is me down to a tee. The books I read could be about me, it's just uncanny. The pain also began around a very stressful time of my life. I could not be more convinced that I have TMS - I completely accept that.

    The last few months has seen my confidence increase and I have less anxiety about the OAB. However, the intensity of the symptoms have not really decreased. I truly believe it is only a matter of time though and I will continue to work diligently on this journey back to full health.

    I would be grateful for any support and advice along the way. I'm looking forward to the journey.

    Thanks for reading.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
    Velvet_Hidden, Aimee88 and Hayley like this.
  2. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    Day 2 of the program. The most surprising thing for me from the Kim Ruby article is that it's not necessary to eliminate nor manage stress. To eliminate my TMS symptoms, I simply need to identify and acknowledge the unacceptable emotions that are threatening my self-image.

    The exercise on the 3 things that make me sad was enlightening. Mainly that I have forgotten how to enjoy life, even just to smile regularly.

    I realise how much of an impact the TMS symptoms have had on my life. However, I'm fully committing to the program and I'm intent on eliminating these symptoms.
    Aimee88 likes this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Steakandeggs,

    Welcome to the Forum and Wiki and SEP. It sounds like you're completely on track: engaging with support programs and, despite some real challenges, doing your best to maintain your attitude about life, and symptoms.

    Part of the key message here is that by applying effort and engaging the urge to fix and "do things right" we're unconsciously engaging the personality propensities which cause TMS. In a way, this cannot be helped, because we bring to this who we are. But what jumps out at you in your post points to an important piece in this work. When you see you're trying to fix things, or if you're under attack that you're not doing it well enough because "otherwise I would already be better," then my hope is that you'll see this pressure with clarity and compassion, and learn to witness this, connect to symptoms, and not even have to fix this either!

    Also, spend some time reading a success story every day, and when the symptoms don't match yours, simply read yours into the story. It is all the same. Also, find ways to engage in fun activities, pleasure, soothing, sensual, nature, connecting with others, music, movement, etc. This is a variation of Dr. Sarno's "have a glass of wine and forget about getting better for awhile" --I"m paraphrasing to be sure. Endless focus on getting better is not helpful. Enjoying life, regardless of your symptoms is helpful.

    Aimee88 likes this.
  4. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    Hi Andy

    Thanks for the welcome. It took me a few reads to understand your point but now I have it. I am once again doing what I've done my whole life - striving to do everything I can to reach an end goal (my TMS symptoms clearing up) and perhaps getting a little frustrated with myself that despite doing the right things, I've seen only a little improvement in my symptoms. Especially compared to some people who read one book about TMS and are cured.

    Well, from here on in, I'm going to cut myself some slack. I'm going to look upon this as an opportunity for a new beginning and a new outlook on life. It may not happen overnight but things can only get better.

    I actually had a rare day off from my business today and didn't stress out about how this will affect my earnings. Well it's a start.

    Aimee88 likes this.
  5. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    Day 4 of SEP - the most disheartening thing my GP said to me about the symptoms was that it was just something I would have to live with, after having tried various different drugs. This frustrated me as I'd always believe that every problem has a solution. To be honest, I didn't really believe him when he told me this and I continued to search for a homeopathic remedy.

    That was a few years ago and I must admit that more recently I'd actually started to think that maybe he was right. However, the discovery of TMS has 100% changed my view on this and I'm looking forward to the journey ahead.
  6. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am happy you got my meaning! Yes. Part of the TMS work is to understand our self-pressures, how we cause ourselves inner stress ----and in the beginning we may be almost unaware of it.

    For many, this journey-to-understanding through TMS work is life-changing, particularly as this deeper self-investigation unfolds. I'm encouraging you to be gentle with yourself, patient, and try those little (big!) changes like:

  7. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    I prioritised myself today, which links in well with SEP day 5.

    I went for a long walk with a good friend and revealed to him what I've been going through the last few years. He couldn't have been more supportive and gave me some great advice.

    I came back home feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, just from talking about it, and also because I went and did something for myself that I wanted to do. I then noticed that I was significantly happier around my family and enjoyed spending time with them, and being in the moment.

    Part of my journey needs to include me regularly allocating time for activities like this, and not feeling guilty about doing so.
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes! It is a joy to read your entry. I appreciate seeing your expansion, and you reaping the rewards.
  9. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    SEP day 6 - I was journaling about a past event tonight that has caused me to internalise a lot of anger over the years. I don't want to go into details on a public forum, but I have always felt that I didn't say enough at the time to the person who had wronged and always regretted not saying more.

    I only remember uttering four words to that person to express my disgust in what they had done. However, I realise now that actually what I said was enough. Because after I had said it, the person stopped doing what they were doing (as far as I know and believe). And I've only just realised that, 15 years later!!

    Really enjoyed the 5 minute body scan meditation after the journaling. My mind didn't wander like it often does during meditating and I felt very relaxed. I kept repeating, "I did enough".
  10. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    Just a side note on today - intended to have a full day off from work but I ended up doing some work and some family time. Did feel quite stressed during the day about a couple of aspects of my work, and both times I got very strong headaches, which is unusual for me. Whether this was the TMS symptoms moving around, I don't know, but thought I would just note it down. I'm not going to overthink it though.

    One thing I do know is that if I intend to have a day off work then I really need to turn my phone off, otherwise I tend to not fully switch off, which just isn't healthy. Something that I know I need to work on.
  11. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    Day 8 - on the subject of whether to keep a record of your pain intensity, I would say, for me, definitely not. I don't find it helpful at all.

    I saw a physiotherapist who specialised in OAB and she had me keeping a detailed record of how many times I went per day, at what time of day, how much liquid I passed, and how intense the urgency was, as well as what I was eating and drinking. Several years later, I now believe this was not at all helpful as I could think of little else all day every day. I find it unsurprising that the symptoms showed no sign of improvement during this period.

    My symptoms trouble me the least when I am not focused on them. When they are completely out of my mind or at least tucked away. There's nothing like being completely immersed in something for hours at a time such that the TMS symptoms don't once enter my mind.
  12. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is something to know and be aware of, celebrate. Focusing on symptoms does not relieve them! It does the opposite.
  13. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    Day 9 - the exercises today were ideal for dealing with some anger and frustration I felt today, and as a result, a slight flare up in symptoms.

    I realised there were several small issues that I was getting frustrated about at the time. However, today I learnt to address each of this issues in a loving and compassionate manner, and how I could deal with them better in the future to avoid frustration.

    Actually feeling what my true emotions are, those that are being repressed by my anger and frustration, is something I need to work on. I must admit I haven't felt any when focusing on the area of tension in my body.

    As for being overly self-critical, this is a recurring theme for me. I have always had high expectations of myself (and others) and always striving to achieve more. When you have this mindset, it's very easy to self-criticise. However, I need to remember that I always do my best at the time and that's all I can do. There is no point beating myself up about something that has happened in the past and which I can do nothing about now, other than learn from it. That's the key, I think - rather than being critical and getting fruatated, instead be compassionate to myself and think about how I'm going to learn from that experience and move forward.
  14. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    SEP Day 10 - I feel my TMS treatment is going well. I'm really enjoying this course and getting deep into journaling. I feel more confident and less anxious about the TMS symptoms. However, despite this and being 100% convinced that the symptoms are TMS, I really haven't seen much improvement in them.

    I believe the reason for this is not having yet dealt fully with some emotional issues and not finding true contentment in my life. I find it difficult to find a good work/life balance, while also having some time to myself.

    I am aware of issues I need to work on and have ideas about how to improve my contentment, including taking up new hobbies/re-starting old hobbies, and starting a new business that will provide me with more satisfaction than my current business. The difficult thing for me is finding the time to do these things, and this has been an ongoing problem for me since we had kids. I do feel though that if I am to see significant improvement in the TMS symptoms then significant changes need to be made.
  15. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    SEP - Day 12
    Tonight I journaled about my controlling personality trait. It's something I've become very aware of recently and it's creating a lot of internal anger and resistance.
    I've noticed I'm particularly controlling towards my eldest son. For example, judging what he should be watching on TV. I may not view what he wants to watch as particularly educational or beneficial. However, what I forget is that he is interested in it, he works hard at school and extra curricular activities so why shouldn't he have some downtime and watch mindless TV?! I know I was the same when I was a kid.
    I also realise if I carry on down this route then not only am I perpetuating my TMS symptoms but I'm also damaging the good relationship I have with him, which is even more devastating.
    The funny thing is that I am nowhere near as controlling towards my two younger children! I think I focus on my eldest as he has always seemed very similar to me so it's almost like I'm trying to mould him him in to someone like me. However, I want him to be his own unique person, and grow up in to a happy, well rounded individual.

    I'm putting this out there on the forum as one example of my controlling behaviour, and, from this point forwards, I will work on being less controlling. I know it will have a positive impact on my life and my family, in so many ways.
  16. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    SEP - Day 13
    Just a quick post to check in. Feeling less stressed currently and quite happy after resolving to work on my controlling personality trait. I intend to keep it up!

    Undoubtedly, the book that really cemented my belief in TMS was Sarno's Mind Body Prescription. I was engrossed in it and so many parts of it could have been written about me. I was fairly convinced anyway before I read this book but this just confirmed it.
  17. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wonderful understanding!

    The other thing about our controlling personality propensities that you may observe is that we do this internally to ourselves. So part of the TMS inquiry can be, as Dr. Sarno advised: How does my inner child feel about being treated this way?

    You may find, as many do, that there is a very granular specificity to the coercion, attacks, pressures which you do both to your son ---and yourself. Familiar beliefs, fears, pressures. The way to see this most easily is to accept and see this with your son, forgiving yourself, gently changing behavior. Then this softening may happen internally, internally in your inner relationship to self. This softening is very helpful for TMS symptoms.

    Keep up the good work SandE!!
  18. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    Thanks for the advice Andy. Undoubtedly, I engage in a lot of internal controlling of myself. How does my inner child feel about it? I'm sure he thinks that he'd just like some time to have fun again and relax. Instead, he's being told we have to complete xyz on our to do list today and we can't possibly chill out in the evening and watch Netflix because how is that going to help me to progress to the next level?!

    It's crazy. It reminds me of an audio clip from Alan Gordon's course where one of his clients said he's like a sergeant major both to himself and his kids. That really resonated with me.

    I'm pleased to say though that I have already consciously begun to change my controlling ways towards my son. As a result, I'm definitely feeling happier and our relationship is less strained/tense.
  19. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    SEP Day 15 - I did a written dialogue technique in my journal tonight between me and my wife over how to get the kids to sleep. We have different opinions over how best to do this, which has caused a lot of frustration and anger in me over the last few years.

    However, this exercise allowed me to realise that my solution to the sleep issue (which we never implemented) would have caused my wife anxiety. Obviously, this cannot be a viable solution then as I wouldn't want to put my wife through this pain, but it has never dawned on me until now. It's amazing how a few minutes of journaling can dig up revelations like this over things I've been stressing about for years!
    Hayley likes this.
  20. Steakandeggs

    Steakandeggs New Member

    SEP day 17 - I read Monte's blog post about thinking psychologically rather than about synptoms
    https://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/MonteH:_Investigate_Your_Emotions (MonteH: Investigate Your Emotions)

    One thing I really related to was asking myself if my thoughts are creating tension within me? This is something that i find happens a lot of with me - this morning being the latest example. I was frustrated about a situation I was in as it meant I had to rearrange my plans for the day. I felt quite frustrated and a little angry all morning, and my symptoms flared up. I was fully aware that it was this frustration within me that was causing the flare up but I couldn't stop it.

    Any suggestions on how to stop these thoughts that are creating tension? In the end, i did a HIIT workout, which definitely helped to burn that frustration off but what else could I have done? There are times when doing a workout is just not possible at that point in time.

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