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Still working on it - recent successful incident

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by JanAtheCPA, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    At the end of June (2014) I was clearing out my mother's condo down in California. My sister had left with the rental truck to drive back up here, and I was left to pack everything up for Goodwill before flying back home. My last night there, I woke at 3am and suddenly this massive pain radiated from the top of my neck and across the top of my head. Although I rarely have headaches anymore, I recognized this one, but I had never in my life felt it SO intensely. It was so scary that my bowels literally, as they say in books, "turned to water" which was also really scary.

    I took a single Tylenol and drank a bunch of water. I didn't feel sick, but I was freaking out more than a little. I lay back down, started taking deep breaths, and told myself #1 that I didn't have an aneurysm, this was the same old headache, just a lot worse; #2, that the purge was a "fight or flight" response, and was also nothing to worry about; and #3 - how was I feeling about what I was doing?

    I was able to realize that since arriving, I'd been stuffing my emotions - and those were that I felt guilty about going through all my mom's things, taking apart her life, and throwing so much of it away. And I also hadn't acknowledged to myself that when I left the next day, that this was it. My mom is gone, her life has ended, and I will never see her again. And that this is a Big Deal even when you're 63 years old and your mom had a good and long life and was ready to go.

    Now, this was not as easy as I'm making it sound! It was actually really hard not to just give in to the physical and psychic pain and especially to the anxiety. I had a very strong desire to curl up in a fetal position and moan and worry. I had to force myself to keep taking meditative breaths, to lie on my back and relax all my muscles, and to assure myself there was nothing wrong with me - AND to do all these things well enough that I could cast my mind about for what was really going on.

    But I stuck with it - and the headache was completely gone in 20 minutes. I went back to sleep and woke in the morning feeling fine. In the old days, I would have been popping multiple ibuprofen every couple of hours, and I would have spent the entire next day recovering.

    Thank you Dr. Sarno, this forum, Forest and everyone else, and all of the wonderful supporters and practitioners and authors following in Dr. Sarno's footsteps and helping us to understand how we can heal ourselves from our emotional and physical pain. It's a beautiful thing.

  2. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love this Jan. You proved once again why you are a survivior and how to overcome the most fearful of times. You told the cold hard truth but with the knowledge and your courage you pulled through, so glad to hear your success story. Thank you so much for letting us know. This works in all areas of life, not just to overcome pain but to maintain a hopeful life without all the dread to carry us down, it keeps helping us over and over, such a wonderful story.
    Bless you my friend.
  3. blake

    blake Well known member

    What an inspiring story! Wow. Thank you so much for sharing, Jan.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Happy Sunday, Jan.

    You were bound to have a doozey of a headache and other symptoms after doing all that work
    in your mother's condo, reliving the past, hers and yours, and throwing out stuff.

    You handled it wonderfully. I always find deep breathing very helpful for relaxing and
    fighting off anxiety. When a loved one passes, I try remembering the best times we had together.
    The laughs, the hugs. Think of them being happy in heaven.
    JanAtheCPA and North Star like this.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, guys! I was telling this story on the Saturday chat yesterday, and realized that it qualifies as a Success Story and might help others.

    Knowledge - Belief - Faith

    I have knowledge about how my brain creates symptoms for reasons that are emotional rather than physical
    I believe that there is nothing wrong with my body
    I have faith in my own strength and ability to change my brain and heal myself

  6. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi Jan,

    Very nicely put. It's the third element - faith in my strength - that gives me the most trouble. It's always great knowing other people are having success. Gives me hope!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    If I can do it, so can you, Blake. Hang in there!
    blake likes this.
  8. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is so encouraging to me, Jan. I feel like I have the leg pain FINALLY on the run…but the headaches, my oldest and most persistent symptom…still continue. Thanks so much for sharing!

    BTW, I am so sorry for your loss. Sorting through my mom's things after she died was so difficult. So many conflicting emotions.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi North Star, it's good to see you again, and thank you. It's something I wouldn't have wanted to miss doing, but yes, there are so many things going on, not the least thinking about one's own mortality.

    Congratulations on banishing your leg pain! That's a success story! My hardest symptom to banish is dizziness/brain fog/fuzzy head/ or something - not even sure what it is, but it changes and often disappears when I'm fully-distracted, so I know for sure it's TMS. Harder for me to visualize it being gone...

    We're having an interesting discussion about what it takes to let go, here: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/posts/33510/

  10. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, Jan. Yeah, we've been preoccupied with getting ready to close on our house on Oct 3. Hopefully, things will continue to move forward. We've hit a bump in the road so it might be back to looking for another buyer but I digress.

    Yeah, the leg thing. I've been back to walking 3 miles relatively pain free and then at night pain wakes me up. After 5 or so minutes of me telling it to shut up, it fades away. Last year, I would have been rummaging for more ibuprofen and the heating pad.

    I'm going to check out the conversation you mentioned!
  11. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star, walking 3 miles sounds wonderful. And telling the pain to stop and it's just TMS is, too.

    Keep up the great work.
    North Star likes this.
  12. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, Walt. I have many, many more miles to go! I love walking and hiking. With our house sale moving forward (not quite as steadily as I'd like but oh well), I think about all the wonderful hikes awaiting us in the deserts of Arizona.
  13. TrustIt

    TrustIt Well known member

    i have the same symptoms you describe as dizziness/brain fog/fuzzy head/ or something" i have had the hardest time describing this. i finally just started saying "i just feel OFF", certainly not normal. comes and goes in waves. i will feel perfectly fine for a day or a few, and then it will suddenly hit me. the ridiculous extent i have gone to to "figure out what's wrong with my body" eventually turned into health anxiety with accompanying digestive issues, altho they have become much less knowing it is ALL TMS. i am slowly accepting. i do need more patience however.

    also, i am losing both my brother and my sister simultaneously. they are both now in hospice. i have been in both of their houses recently
    clearing out and going through their things and taking a few things - with their permission and encouragement of course, but nonetheless strange. i have been feeling quite numb as far as any expression of grief is concerned. i don't fear death myself and don't believe it is a horrible thing to be surprised by. in fact, i often look forward to the transition, as i believe it is quite wonderful (not suicidal, mind you, just not fearful). that said, i surely must be repressing some emotions...can't seem to get to them.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  14. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is very sad to hear, @TrustIt. It's good that you're not finding your own mortality to be an issue - but I tell you, when I lost my youngest (and best) sibling, it left a great big gaping hole in what I had visualized as the rest of my life - having ignored my own first rule for success, which is "don't assume anything". I also realized at some point that I felt abandoned, which really helped me to process my emotions, then and now.

    But that was a number of years ago. Today I'm processing a visit from yesterday, with a friend who several of us suddenly learned, only a few days ago, is in hospice. I'm upset (we all are) that I didn't push harder to try to see her before now, because she kept putting us off after her diagnosis (which was sudden and out of the blue). And now she has no strength left to communicate. Her big smile when I came through the door was something - but I'm so sad, and feeling such a sense of loss and regret - and dire unease. I dragged myself to the gym this morning, where I ran on the treadmill like something was after me - strange.

    They can surface at any time - not, of course, on demand. Always have something handy to write on, or use your phone's voice recorder, or whatever works. I find that a random thought or idea will suddenly arise in my mind, having to do with something that's lurking in my subconscious and contributing to a current concern or unease. I am learning to record it immediately, because otherwise I invariably have a hard to recalling it later that night, which is when I've taken to doing about ten minutes of free writing before sleep. Just the act of writing something down is a powerful memory tool (and the free-writing is a powerful mind-clearing tool).

    For something so hard to describe or pin down, it's surprising how those of us who experience this wildly variable symptom can instantly recognize the description of another sufferer. It's the hardest of all my prior symptoms to shake once and for all, perhaps because it's hard for me to visualize not having it - and/or hard to breathe into it and allow the accompanying muscles to relax. Both of those techniques have worked and continue to work for me for all kinds of pains and GI symptoms - but not what I've decided to call "my vestibular symptoms".

    Note that I say "symptoms", and not "disorder", because I do not believe that I have a disorder - I have TMS!

    Dorado and TrustIt like this.
  15. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    I'm so sorry for your loss Jan. Thank you for sharing this success story, you are a brave woman and we appreciate you.
  16. Jeather

    Jeather Peer Supporter

    Yes, I recognize the fuzzy head as you describe it - sometimes I sum it up as "carbonated brain." Definitely TMS.
    TrustIt and JanAtheCPA like this.

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