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Day 1 Starting over (and over)

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by alicebr, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. alicebr

    alicebr New Member

    My TMS journey began in 2001, when I was pregnant with my son and stuck in an editing job I hated. A good friend had developed RSI, and she told me to be careful, because I could possibly get it as well. Like magic, my symptoms appeared. I then told a few of my friends from my graduate writing program about this RSI problem, and they began to suffer as well.

    I had to go on disability for my RSI problems (dang! And miss that awful job?) but they only got worse as my pregnancy progressed. The birth of my son did not help as I had hoped, and pretty soon my RSI became my full-time job whenever I wasn't with my baby--I was going to physical therapy 3x a week, plus an RSI doctor out of town, taking Neurontin, lidocaine patches on my arms, you name it.

    I was also seeing an Alexander Technique instructor, who mentioned Sarno to me. The moment she explained his theories, I knew they applied to me. What else would cause RSI to spread among my friends? Wasn't I in a job I hated? And trying to write fiction in my free time, and terrified of rejection and failure?

    I stopped the meds, the PT, everything. I read Sarno, and within weeks I was significantly better. A few months later I was cured. My friends who had been suffering: also cured.

    Then I developed vertigo. Massive, dramatic vertigo, the kind that would send me falling to the ground with no warning. Years before I had developed vertigo and had done all kinds of tests (nothing was conclusive, of course) so I assumed I was being revisited by my old friend. Then it hit me: TMS.

    The vertigo disappeared.

    A few years later, my bladder began acting up. I had constant bladder pain. Not like an infection, but a spasm of the bladder. I would wake in the middle of the night with it. I had a cystoscopy (ow) to check for interstitial cystitis, but nothing was found. I spoke to my old Alexander Technique instructor, who said this whole thing was TMS-related. And it was gone.

    In short: I believe in TMS, I have seen that belief do its magic, but I am currently experiencing TMS pain that, for whatever reason, has left me uniquely dispirited.

    A couple of months ago my neck went into a massive spasm. This appeared the day after I had a terrible fight with a relative. On my birthday. The neck spasm was not a huge surprise.

    Although I knew it was caused by stress, I went to an acupuncturist, and had it treated as a physical problem. In retrospect, this may have been a mistake. While it got better, the lower back pain that's been nagging me for years promptly worsened, and I developed an impressive case of sciatica down my left leg. I was also experiencing pain in my tailbone. I went back to the acupuncturist a few times--again, totally discounting the TMS possibility--but didn't see any real improvement, so I stopped.

    It has now been about six weeks and the pain in my left hip, running down my left leg and into my foot, is at times breathtaking. The thing is, I know it's nonsense. There is no injury, no structural reason why I should have this pain. I can run on it, do lunges, etc. with no problem. It will hurt, but I can do it. But when the pain really hits me, it hits hard, and leaves me feeling exhausted and upset. The chronicity of it is wearing me down. There are times when I can't catch my breath, there's so much pain. After a long car ride recently I considered going to the hospital, my pain was so great. But what could they do for me? Tell me it's all in my head?

    Although my husband is well-versed in Sarno and his teachings, it's hard for him when I'm in pain. He wants me to see a doctor. I do have a checkup scheduled (just for routine stuff) and considered mentioning it to my GP, but as I am certain there's nothing really wrong and she'll encourage me to go to an orthopedist, I'm sure this is a waste of time.

    I am aware of the stressors that may be at play right now. I'm dealing with ridiculous amounts of drama (financial problems, health crises) going on in an extended family that has Issues (capital I) to begin with. I know it's bringing up major abandonment feelings, sadness, and yes, rage. The thing is, I'm really good at expressing my feelings. I was joking to my husband, where's all the rage that I'm hiding when so much of it is right OUT HERE? I'm like an iceberg! A terrifying iceberg!

    That's where I am right now. I realize this is awfully long. I applaud anyone who's read all of it! I so appreciate the existence of this forum--it's already been so helpful, just reading through it.
    Endless luke and Stella like this.
  2. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Alice, you have come to the right place. I ,too, have had a lifetime of numerous physical symptoms. You will be learning so much about yourself from this site. You are on the road to recovery. Welcome
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Alice,

    Your story about RSI was really similar to my own. I was a programmer and you would hear about RSI all the time as something to watch out for. Sure enough a little bit after hearing about RSI, I got RSI. I suffered from a wide variety of TMS symptoms and have since recovered. I do get the occasional new symptom from time to time, and it can make me worry for a period. Most of the time I can remind myself that the symptoms are benign and are caused by repressed emotions, and they will go away. There are sometimes though when my symptoms are more difficult to overcome. In these cases it can be helpful to try a some new techniques. You can try to journal or practice mindfulness, or another technique.

    I do think that going to a acupuncturist only reinforces the structural. Our mind wants us to view our symptoms as structural so once we begin to treat it structurally, it goes, yes I win. It can be challenging to not give into the voice saying you have a structural problem, but if you continue to practice turning your focus to the psychological your symptoms will eventually reduce.
  4. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    When ever a new symptom arises...I notice it without judging and reacting to it, accept it as just a TMS symptom that is alerting me of my repressed emotions, and choose to let it go. Then I notice the thought or emotion that is causing my symptom without judging it or reacting to it, accept the thought as just a thought (that is not attach to the true me) as it is, and choose to let it go. Then I move on with my life in the present and stay mindfully with peace, happiness, love and forgiveness.
  5. alicebr

    alicebr New Member

    Thanks, all! I have been really encouraged by how much my symptoms improved even from writing that post. That night they were worse than ever, but after that, there's been a definite improvement.

    Despite my experience with TMS and success with Sarno's techniques, I didn't realize how much I've been conditioning myself to believe that certain behaviors (sitting, car rides, standing) were causing back pain.

    This weekend I was in the car for a long time and it was the first time in forever I didn't suffer terribly from sciatic pain during, or afterward. Every time a twinge came on, I would tell myself I didn't have to feel it, and that sitting was okay, and lo and behold--it passed!

    I've been really interested in the idea that emotional problems, like anxiety and depression, are TMS symptoms. These are pretty much my main issues. Today I had a little bit of a panic attack on the subway, until I asked myself what I could be angry about, and the feeling subsided. That said, I've had major depressive episodes, and I'm more than a little reluctant to give up antidepressants. Thoughts?
  6. KathyBee

    KathyBee Peer Supporter

    I have been on anti-depressants before. I am also anti anti-depressants based on my personal experience.
    There is a theory that depression is based on repressed anger and I think that fits in nicely with TMS. I have had three episodes of depression and they all occurred when I was going through very stressful times. Looking back at the times, they were things I could have felt angry about but instead I turned it inward and it became depression.
    I feel that anti-depressants give a physical solution to a psychological problem. It lets people think: It is not about me having problems handling my emotions, it is just a biochemical imbalance in my brain, a medical condition. Another variation is thinking that because your brain chemistry is messed up it is beyond your control and the only way to help is with chemicals.
    However I would use caution getting off them. There are withdrawal symptoms getting off them. If you get off them slowly and gradually you still may have some withdrawal symptoms, but they are lessened. I am a bit ticked off that I was not told this when I was prescribed the anti-depressants.
    So if possible try to take it easy during the transition process. And it is best to do it under a doctor’s supervision.
    Endless luke likes this.

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