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Sometimes It's Not Pain

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Murphy, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Hey Everyone,

    As I learn more and more about what TMS is, I really learn about myself. I learn about self doubt and fear and all the other layers of the onion that I have so carefully secured in my 42 years.

    Today I obsessed about my symptoms. I went to the forums and looked and looked for symptoms of others that are as specific to me as possible. I had to find someone with the exact same symptoms as I have to satisfy me beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I have is psychological. Can I assume that this is typical of some of us who start down this road? I may be overdosing on learning. I am also trying to not be outcome dependent and fully accept that the symptoms have a psychological Genesis. This part seems tough because I have spent many years programming myself to worry. My job is so stressful that I assume it is what has brought on a lot of my recent symptoms.

    It wasn't pain so much today, it was tightness and weakness in the muscles of my forearms, shoulders all the way up to my jaw. I actually felt a strange heat that would accompany the sensations. Really quite uncomfortable. I'm trying really hard (maybe too hard) to realized it is a protective mechanism causing the symptoms. That it is basically benign. I started journaling about things that were bothering me and I felt some pretty good anxiety. Hopefully I am not overcomplicating things. I am going to continue with the SEP program and hope for results.

    Thanks for the great community.

  2. Ftaghn!

    Ftaghn! Peer Supporter

    Hello Murphy,
    Simply remember that healing takes time, and accept that. A few people will get better just from reading the books, but the majority take months, and sometimes years. As for convincing yourself, it takes reading. And time, lots of time. Realize that what you just described is pretty classic perfectionist behavior at work. Perhaps start by thinking about how pain is okay. It's okay to be in pain(or weak/numb/etc) for now. Accepting might help with stopping the focus. At least, that's just my two cents -- it helped me quite a bit.

    PS: Also, for disarming these anxious, stressed states, it helps to consciously catch your anxiety level going up. Simply, when feeling tense, realize it consciously rather than falling into anxious/obsessive thought patterns. It's odd, but it works!
    veronica73 likes this.
  3. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Thanks Ftaghn!,

    Yes, I'm sure you're right. It is taking me time to accept. My aim is to go through the SEP program and really focus on this. The more I become aware of what PPD/TMS is the more I am able to - slowly - see patterns. I tend to wake up in the morning feeling fairly pain free. As I lay in bed for a few minutes and some of the cares and worries of the day start to invade my thoughts, I feel pain, stiffness, burning start to set in. I am going to use what works best for me and try not to put too much pressure on myself which is almost always how I operate. I tend to get a course of action in my head regarding a path to healing (Dr. Sarno or Dr.Schubiner) and if I read something that deviates from this - even on the forum - I tend to feel a bit overwhelmed. I'm working on it.

    By the way I really like your avatar. Is this some kind of HP Lovecraft cartoon?

    Thanks again,

  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    One thing that everyone doing this approach needs to understand is that role our personality plays in both the development of symptoms and in our recovery. By this I mean, how perfectionism and obsessive thoughts can hinder our recovery.

    In a similar way to you, I also thought I had to search for success stories that had the exact same conditions as myself. If the symptoms weren't exactly the same I would think, well even if it worked for them, my symptoms are unique and different so it won't work for me. Looking back, this was just my unconscious developing a reason to keep me focusing on my symptoms. The idea that our symptoms come from repressed emotions is very threatening to our ego, so it develops any excuse to make us write off TMS.

    I also think part of me was afraid to accept that I had TMS, so I created an almost impossible situation, i.e. I would only accept that I had TMS if my symptoms lined up completely with someone elses. Again, this is the ego and our TMS personality at work distracting us from the true cause of our symptoms. Luckily, once you understand that this is going on, you can begin to overcome it. Knowing that the specific symptom doesn't matter will help you become more open and accepting of TMS.

    The TMS personality most commonly comes into play in a person's recovery with trying to do everything exactly right. You are in pain, so of course you want to overcome it as quickly as possible. This is probably why you feel overwhelmed when you read two different views or approaches to getting better. You have to ask the question of what is the right approach to take. The problem with this is that the right approach is the one that works for you. Also, this entire idea that you have to do everything perfectly is only your unconcsious mind distracting you, and keeping you focused on the physical. Remember, the key is not to become pain free, but to understand the repressed emotions creating the pain.

    If you are feeling overwhelmed by the education then try to incorporate something else. Dr. Sarno said, "the most important thing that patients must do is to resume all physical acitivty including the most vigorous." Being active really helps you accept the diagnosis, gain confidence in yourself, and reduce fear of your symptoms. If you are looking to incorporate something else into your recovery plan, seriously consider increasing your activity level. It really helped me, and it could help you reduce some of your feelings of being overwhelmed.
    veronica73 likes this.
  5. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter


    This perfectly encapsulates my current thinking, and quite frankly how I always have felt about my symptoms. I would think "Yes I have pain similar to theirs, but they didn't mention the popping sounds I hear or the strange weakness or warm sensations I have. This quote from you "Remember, the key is not to become pain free, but to understand the repressed emotions creating the pain" is what I know intellectually, but, need to work on truly believing in my gut.

    Thanks again for all of your encouragement Forest, I really appreciate it.

  6. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    We ALL do that. You must dismiss your symptoms and focus on the things that are driving you to focus on them vs what's really going on. This means accepting the TMS dx. Kind of hard way to approach it since pain is a constant reminder and we're taught: "Pain = something wrong". But in fact that the opposite of what you want to do here. Keep reading, keep on with the program and you'll begin to take your symptoms less seriously, and your recovery will be faster.

    Good luck!

  7. Murphy

    Murphy Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the encouragement. I will indeed keep reading and continue with the SEP. I may follow that up with "Unlearn Your Pain" as I hear this is a great resource.

    I appreciate your help.


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