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So I think I have TMS...

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by braden101, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. braden101

    braden101 Peer Supporter


    Not sure if anyone will take the time to read this, but I feel like putting my thoughts into writing is going to be the best place to start.

    I am 23 year old male, I have recently finished school and I am a recently qualified heavy vehicle engineer, i have an amazing girlfriend and am in the process of building my first home. I have always battled problems with anxiety and I am the type of person that always had a medical issue of some form but at the same time am always proven to be fit and healthy.

    I stumbled onto TMS, by excessively googling symptoms after being diagnosed with acute epididymitis, only 2 weeks ago but I have since convinced myself I have chronic epididymitis that I will live with forever and worked myself into anxious, depressed, pretty messed up place.

    This is not uncommon for me, last year while in the final weeks of school, I was getting constant one sided headaches and again after working myself up, obsessive googling and numerous trips to the doctor, I was convinced I had a permanent condition called hemicrania continua, until after completing school, the headaches, disappeared.

    Now that I think about it, I can trace these 'conditions' back years and years. 2 years ago it manifested as a tight chest, unable to take a satisfying breathe, this lasted weeks and weeks and after numerous visits to the doctor and ER trip, it just one day up and disappeared.

    The further back I think, the more and more problems I can remember. I have suffered from these problems my whole life, starting in primary school, when the anxiety first started; gastro, chronic headaches, back pain, breathing difficulty, pelvic pain, knee pain, eye problems. In the late teenage years it was mostly chronic back pain, gastrointestinal issues and mild panic attacks.

    You name it, i've suffered from it and after all the doctors visits, googling and working myself up into an anxious mess...The problems eventually disappear. I have period of feeling great, care free, healthy but these periods only last until I start to wonder, how long the feeling will last and BAM, I have another issue.

    Another thing i have noticed is how I always seem to be "sick" leading up to and on the day of situations I have been anxious about. Christmas, birthdays, working away, important days at school and any type of social situations.

    So basically, from the outside I look like I have my life together and am the envy of people around me but on the inside is a constant battle between my mind and my body and I have had enough, the constant worrying, the illnesses and the horrible feeling in my gut of something just not being right!

    Not really sure where to go next, i suppose i'm basically looking for some confirmation that im on the right track, I have ordered the mind body prescription to read, hoping it will sort out the current pain in my groin, so I can get on with my life! but other than that I'm not really sure what the hell to do next!

    Apologies, for the long winded speech, feels good to finally put that into writing!
  2. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hi Braden101,

    Welcome to the forum welcomea

    If you have had all your various "conditions" checked out by a doctor without any specific diagnosis that would certainly point to TMS. From your post it would appear that you do have all the classic symptons. If you feel you need professional comfirmation you could seek out a TMS doctor for a consultation, there is a listing on the home page.

    What I would suggest you do is read "The Mindbody Prescription", then keep re-reading it until you really understand and accept it in your gut. There is some excellent material from Dr.Sarno on Youtube for you to watch, which is really helpful. You also can get started on the Structured Educational Programme on this site, which is a day by day guide on how to get well.

    Basically our brains create pain or other sensations in our bodies to distract us from unpleasant subconsious emotions, we then become afraid of the pain, this creates more tension so more symptons and we get stuck in a cycle of fear-tension-fear. Spend some time on the forum reading the success stories and you will see that you are certainly not alone, and that you too can overcome this 100%. Dr. Sarno tells us that we do not need to know what the subconscious emotions are to overcome TMS, it is the knowledge of the process which resolves the problem.

    I was very sick, I had every symptom in the book, but by following Dr.Sarno and the advice on this site I am now almost totally recovered.

    Other reading which helped me enormously is as follows :

    The Great Pain Deception - Steven Ray Ozanich
    Self Help For Your Nerves - Claire Weekes
    The Meaning of Truth - Nicole J.Sachs
    You Can Heal Your Life - Louise Hay

    Claire Weekes audios are great too, for helping you to lose the fear of your symptoms.

    Relax you are in good company, everyone on the forum knows EXACTLY how you feel and we're all here to help each other along. So you have TMS, it's bascially harmless and costs nothing to fix, how cool is that !

    Bless you :)
    sarah430 and Anne Walker like this.
  3. braden101

    braden101 Peer Supporter

    Hi Mermaid,

    Thankyou for your reply.

    I have already found a bunch of success stories that I can almost relate to word for word! I figure if I'm going to obsessively research symptoms, this forum is the best place to do it and not a bunch of random medical journals and forums, which just seems to add fuel to the fire!

    I live in Western Australia, so I haven't had much luck finding a tms doctor per say, but have found some local psychologists that specialise in chronic pain and the role the mind plays, so I will be looking into that.

    I have also seen a chiropractor off and on since I was 16 after finding out I had a very slight scoliosis of the spine (My only proven medical problem). Funnily enough my back never even actually hurt until I found out I had the scoliosis....Go figure.

    Will be patiently awaiting the arrival of "The Mindbody Prescription", but til then I will keep lurking these forums.

    Already feeling relieved I have found people that understand what I'm going through!
  4. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hi Braden

    I'm in the UK so we're not overwhelmed with TMS docs either. I'm doing great without one so don't worry about it.

    What you have to do to get the hang of TMS healing is to think emotionally not physically when you have symptoms, in other words don't think about the pain, but concentrate on the events and emotions which you think may have caused it. Even if you can't pinpoint the cause, the mental act of searching for it can lessen or stop the pain. Dr.Sarno chased off his own migraines in this way, he didn't know what was bothering him, but the act of thinking about it worked anyway.

    Chiropratic is only another way of keeping your focus on your body, which is where you want to shift it from. If it was going to help you it would have by now. Dr.Sarno recommends that all physical therapies are stopped in TMS healing.

    You could just try starting the S.E.P. and see how you go before you consider a psychologist.

    I'm glad you feel encouraged having found this site, you will be fine I promise. It just takes time and patience to absorb the new ideas, it's a a learning process that takes practice. You may have ups an downs along the way, but there is all the understanding, advice and encouragement right here to help you.

    Go Braden !! dancea
    Anisha_d87 and Anne Walker like this.
  5. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    What Mermaid said above!

    You mention there are psychologists in Australia. One in particular is Dr James Alexander who occasionally posts on this forum. He's written his own book - The Hidden Psychology of Pain - and is featured in a recent thread.


    Gaining knowledge is the first step towards recovery but don't feel as if you have to cram it all into your noggin in a short space of time. This is where the Structured Educational Program comes into its own because it gently guides and paces you so you don't feel pressured into reading and doing everything now, now, now.

    Best wishes to you.
    Anne Walker, braden101 and Mermaid like this.
  6. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hey Braden,

    How are you feeling today ? :)
    braden101 likes this.
  7. braden101

    braden101 Peer Supporter

    Actually not too bad. Pain in my groin has improved slightly today. The pain actually moved from my groin to my leg and knee as I was reading the book last night, which I haven't felt before.

    Also today have noticed some really tender spots in my hip/glute area. Is there any links to the trigger points Dr Sarno looks for in his patients?

    I did day 1 of SEP and will be reading a little more of the book tonight. Having a hard time giving up the pain meds though, as soon as I look at the time and realise I havn't taken them for a while, the pain starts to conveniently act up, but I am weaning off them and have stopped using icepacks for the pain.

    Still have those anxious doubts in the back of my mind but 1 day at a time I suppose, thanks for the message Mermaid!
  8. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    I can tell from the tone of your message that you're feeling more upbeat today, hope is good for the soul !

    It's great to finally find out what the problem is, and quite exciting getting started isn't it. As yb44 said yesterday, there's no rush with this, just go with it a step at a time. TMS takes a good while to develop, and it's very, very unusual for it to disappear over night. You're re-educating your subconscious, which takes a little time.

    Congratulate yourself on lessening the pain a little (this stuff works doesn't it). It's good that it's on the move, it's knows you're on to it. I also had tender spots in my hip/glute area, they're mostly gone now. From what I've read it's just the nerves being a little sensitive from all the tension fear of TMS symptons has created. JUST IGNORE IT.

    Pain related to pain meds is just a conditioned reaction. Again there's no rush, go slowly and only cut down when you feel you're ready. Well done with losing the icepacks.

    Just keep at this, it takes persistance and patience. Occasionally, you may get an increase in symptons as you heal, this is normal and a good sign. It's just your subconscious fighting you, fighting it, just stay on track and you will find that when it's calmed down you actually feel better than before it happened, you've stepped further away. This is the point where some people give up, BIG MISTAKE just stay on course.

    I'm so happy that you've found the way to get well. I'm with you all the way :happy:
    Ellen likes this.
  9. braden101

    braden101 Peer Supporter

    Was doing okay most of today, after journalling for the first time, I actually felt really good pretty much all day long...Until a couple hours ago, had a wave of anxiety come over me and then the pain came back.

    I know its only the start and I need to expect ups n downs...I'm just a very impatient person!
  10. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Branden, I can't believe you are only 23 years old! Its amazing really. You have been through so much and clearly you have TMS. I have had all the symptoms you described and a few more only I spread it out over 25 years. As I started working on TMS my anxiety really skyrocketed. It was very uncomfortable. Anxiety plays a similar role to pain in TMS. The good news is that my anxiety is vastly improved which is amazing since it has been my companion my entire life. It is still visiting me occasionally but I sense we are going to part ways soon. The exciting thing is you are young, and the time you invest now in healing from TMS is going to dramatically impact your future. So try to be patient if you can. This is time well spent. As Mermaid said:

    "Just keep at this, it takes persistance and patience. Occasionally, you may get an increase in symptons as you heal, this is normal and a good sign. It's just your subconscious fighting you, fighting it, just stay on track and you will find that when it's calmed down you actually feel better than before it happened, you've stepped further away. This is the point where some people give up, BIG MISTAKE just stay on course."

    I think you are going to do great!
    Mermaid and Ellen like this.
  11. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hi Braden

    That's fantastic news to make such progress so soon ! dancea

    This next bit is VERY IMPORTANT.......when you get a wave anxiety and pain, just try to ride with it DO NOT PANIC. Fear is what keeps symptoms alive, you want to work towards breaking the FEAR - TENSION - FEAR cycle. The symptoms are unimportant, it's your emotional reactions where the work needs to be done, pain is only a side effect.

    Its just a bad habit your brain has gotten into, it takes time and practice to re-train it. It's a bumpy ride at times, but well worth the effort. None of this is rocket science it's just basic common sense when you think about it. You've been revving your emotional engine too hard, foot off the gas now !

    Keep going you've made a great start, once you've got it on the run there's no going back :D
  12. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hi Anne,

    I never suffered from anxiety in my life, I just went straight for the pain ! It wasn't until I the pain reduced that the anxiety kicked it. I knew what it was from all the TMS reading I'd done, so I wasn't too concerned. It's gone now, except for sometimes in the morning if I haven't slept too well. I had terrible insomnia, after I withdrew from all medication, but thankfully that's a thing of the past too. From what I've read in your posts you and I seem to be at round the same stage of healing, very close to the finishing line ! :happy:
  13. braden101

    braden101 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the advice and encouragement!

    Really helps to wake up to posts like this. Im at work today and so far not feeling too bad, as soon as the pain strikes i'm doing my best to focus everything on my emotions.

    Mermaid, rolling with the anxiety is something i have never tried, i have always fought my way through it which i actually got pretty good at but not long after that my physical symptoms got worse!

    Thankyou for the wise words! Much appreciated!
    Mermaid likes this.
  14. braden101

    braden101 Peer Supporter

    Not sure if my Anxiety is getting worse or maybe it's just because I am paying so much attention to my what my mind is doing and not allowing myself to fight off the anxious feelings.

    One interesting thing happened today though, I was getting out of a truck and slipped on the kerb and rolled my ankle, nothing really serious, but it hurt like hell for a couple minutes, in those few minutes and a short amount of time after, whatever pain was in my groin disappeared.

    It's been a really uncomfortable day, pain wise was not so bad, but have been feeling really anxious all day long.
  15. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hi Braden

    How exactly do you "fight" your anxiety, if you're using breathing exercises, positive self talk and visualization that's fine, but if you're fighting it with negatives that could create more tension, which won't help you in the long term.

    With practice you will be able to go deeper into your emotions to see what is beneath the anxiety.

    Things seem to be starting to shift for you already which is great. I know you want this to be over, we all do, but in this case the saying "more haste, less speed", really does ring true. Get along with the S.E.P., and do the work and you'll be fine.

    In the meantime, the following video might help you work on not fearing your symptoms :

    Stick with it ;)
  16. braden101

    braden101 Peer Supporter

    I've been fighting the anxiety for years, ignoring it and pushing through it is how I've always gotten by. I guess after years of fighting, it is a shock to the system to be letting myself feel it and consciously being aware of what I am feeling.

    The concept of the Anxiety being another symptom rather than the thing causing symptoms, is very new to me. I just really feel like my mind isn't liking all this scratching around I've been doing in there lately, sounds weird, but it almost feels like it's trying to defend itself.

    Got a couple of Social things to go to this weekend, so it's going to be a bit of a test, thinking about it, it's probably why I'm feeling so strung up today.

    Thankyou for the link Mermaid, can't thank you enough for all the help. You could almost send me a bill for a psychology consult haha.
    Mermaid likes this.
  17. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    You really are beginning to understand TMS very quickly, well done you !

    You're exactly right in thinking your subconscious doesn't like you wanting to change things. Think of it as a little kid who got to go to bed any time he wants, all of a sudden you fix his bedtime to 8 pm. He'll resist, make a fuss and not want to go, but soon enough he'll get used to the new routine and forget about before.

    As I improved I was almost glad if my symptoms flared up, because it showed me something else I needed to work out.

    Being able to identify what may trigger symptoms is very good, you need to try and figure out why you have a strong emotional reaction to that situation.

    What you might find helpful before your social events this weekend is to write yourself an essay on how you want it to go, talk about yourself being calm and relaxed and having a great time. When you've done this close your eyes and visualize the events you have written about taking place. Do the visualization several times so your brain gets the message. Go to sleep visualizing yourself feeling great, all calm and relaxed. Just try to go with it, however and whatever you feel is still OK. Don't put yourself under any pressure to feel different, again this creates tension, which isn't helpful.

    All the changes on the road to healing happen in their own time, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Being impatient adds more tension, which will only prolong things, you will get better while you're not looking if you get what I mean.

    I hope my suggestions help you, they work for me so it' worth a trywavea
    braden101 and yb44 like this.
  18. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Braden. Mermaid has given you some good suggestions.
    I'd just add to try to enjoy the social events coming up. Take a vacation from TMS thinking.
    Writing about the social events in an advance and visualizing them to be pleasant is excellent advice.

    You've been doing a lot lately, what with finishing school, becoming a heavy vehicle engineer,
    dating, and building a new house. That's a lot on a young man's plate. You need a little vacation
    from activities and the social ones may be just the right medicine for you.
    braden101 likes this.
  19. braden101

    braden101 Peer Supporter

    So social events didn't go too badly at all :)

    Groin pain was hanging around all day and started getting worse closer to the event, went for a drive and did a bit of yelling at my brain, it settled down only to be replaced by TMJ pain soon after, which I haven't actually felt for a very long time! I quickly associated that with TMS and it disappeared.

    I then drank a few too many and didn't feel much of anything for the rest of the night haha.

    All the symptoms I've had over the years, seem to come in cycles, 1 or 2 at a time and can last weeks to months, but since being aware of TMS, I seem to be experiencing every symptom I've ever had in short periods of time, sometimes for only minutes, apart from this groin pain, which is my main battle at the moment.

    I can actually think of a few issues around the time the scrotal pain started and it was a stressful few weeks leading up to it, not to mention I had a friend diagnosed with testicular cancer a month prior to my pain starting and he ended up having a testicle removed.....coincidence?

    I seem to be able to attribute the symptoms with a social aspect, I almost have a sense of not being good enough or that I am inadequate in some way (I have been a pretty self concious person all my life), but I don't really know, Journalling last week I touched on a few issues in my childhood that I have never really given much thought until now, which I feel could maybe be contributing to those feelings.

    It's a start anyway, I think I am on the right track.

    Hope everyone is having a good weekend!
  20. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Hi Braden

    You're making tons of progress, the comments you make about how you think your groin pain started are interesting, I think you're definitely on to something there. The "not good enough" thought is with many of us, it's what leads the TMS personality to put ourselves under pressure to be perfect all the time. Some good reading for you to do around this would be "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay or "Learning to Love Yourself - a guide to becoming centered" by Dr.Gay Hendricks.

    Have a watch of this too,

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend ! ;)

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