1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Stop trying to get better.

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by m8888888, Jun 27, 2023.

  1. m8888888

    m8888888 Peer Supporter

    It is your constant and never-ending strive to overcome your symptoms that keeps your nervous system in a state of high alert, perpetuating the mindbody cycle you’re currently in.

    Any attempt to figure out or get rid of the symptoms keeps you firmly in this cycle and adds more stress to an already stressed out nervous system.

    Realise deeply that you’re actually OK, stop trying so hard to get better because there’s actually nothing wrong with you and live your life.
  2. 1speechpick

    1speechpick New Member

    I know you're right. Spot-on. But when you're first starting out, this is much easier said than done.
    crookedintheuk likes this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Okay, @1speechpick, here's a little trick for you to practice, which is to notice your tendency to say, in some form, "Yes, But...".

    THIS, in fact, is your brain on TMS.

    The goal of your brain on TMS is to think negatively at all times so that you live with the assumption that there is danger waiting for you around every corner. Your brain believes that as long as you are always worried about danger, you'll be safe and you won't die.

    This is no way to live.

    Your rational brain acknowledged the truth of @m8888888's assertion, then your TMS brain immediately jumped in to prevent you from accepting it as true for you.

    I call it Yes But Syndrome. YBS.

    AND, I would love to see you kick it to the curb so you can actually do the work with a constructive outlook.
    Soph1802, Cap'n Spanky and TG957 like this.
  4. 1speechpick

    1speechpick New Member

    Thank you so incredibly much!!!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  5. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

  6. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    I fully agree with the need to realize deeply that you’r actually O.K. Dr. John Sarno stressed that a person cannot succeed without that. For the rest of the above sentence, my agreement is qualified. I would say it’s maybe different strokes for different folks. There was more to recovery than realizing there is nothing structurally wrong and living life for none other than Sarno himself. When he talked about repressed anger in Healing Back Pain, he wrote:

    “I do that [repress anger] a lot. I have learned that heartburn means that I’m angry about something and don’t know it. So I think about what might be causing the condition, and when I come up with the answer, the heartburn disappears. It is remarkable how well buried the anger usually is. Generally for me it is something about which I am annoyed but have no idea how much it has angered me. Sometimes it is something that is so loaded emotionally, I don’t come up with the answer for a long time.”
    Dr. Howard Schubiner--in a book coauthored with Dr. Allan Abbass and written to teach clinicians how to treat TMS and its equivalents--listed eleven "cognitive behavioral interventions” to use. The last one is Resume Life. Schubiner gave the following advice to clinicians about that technique.

    “For those patients in whom the symptoms persist, some of the above [ten] techniques can actually become counterproductive if the patient is putting pressure on themselves to get better and focusing too much on the symptoms. In these cases, it is often necessary to focus less on their recovery and more on resuming their life, despite the persistence of symptoms. Many studies have shown that the keys to health include positive social connections and meaning and purpose in life. Therefore, it is often more important to focus on those issues, rather than the symptoms or their recovery efforts.” (Emphasis added by me.)
    I don’t view that as a ringing endorsement of resuming life as a first-choice treatment technique.

    TG957, backhand and crookedintheuk like this.
  7. crookedintheuk

    crookedintheuk New Member

    Everything in the original post is true. However, I completely understand, and more importantly believe, that my back pain is not related to anything medical, yet I remain in pain. I also know deep down that everything which plays on my mind is a falsehood and that everything is going to be okay. Yet the pain persists.

    If we want to analyse language, then the statement "Any attempt to figure out or get rid of the symptoms keeps you firmly in this cycle..." seems to categorically discredit the very existence and engagement in this forum/community. It essentially suggests that there is no point addressing underlying issues.

    The statement in the original post is worded in a way that places a lot of blame with the individual, by the constant "you/your" in the statements.

    I agree with the sentiment of the post, but is delivered with the sensitivity of a "snap out of it", which makes me feel a little stupid for even reaching out.
    Cactusflower likes this.
  8. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I totally get you.
    Recently @JanAtheCPA made a post about rigid thinking. When I see people post cut and dry “get over it” posts, I think of this type of ridged personality in its wording.
    Basically it just means you gotta get out of your own way. Which is all TMS work strives for.
    TG957 and crookedintheuk like this.
  9. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is very interesting. I looked up the book you mention and I gather that it's called "Hidden From View". It seems that it might be out of print (copies are very expensive on Amazon.com and no copies are available on Amazon.co.uk, the UK being where I live) so I was wondering if I could trouble you to list the remaining 10 of the 11 cognitive behavioural interventions (that is, if they can be listed succinctly so as not to cause you a lot of work).
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2023
  10. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    Hi Bloodmoon. I remember that you live in the UK.

    Yes, the book is Allan Abbass & Howard Schubiner, Hidden from View: A Clinicians Guide to Psychophysiologic Disorders. The authors abbreviate the term "psychophysiologic disorders" as PPD, which is the same thing that Sarno called TMS and its equivalents. Here is the cornerstone of their book: “Our premise is that medically unexplained illnesses are psychophysiologic: the brain creates these symptoms in response to psychological stress via learned neural pathways. The physical symptoms are not caused by structural disorders but rather by reversible physiological processes."

    Schubiner’s other ten cognitive and behavioral interventions are the following:

    Symptom Tracking: Notice Antecedents
    Reappraisal of PPD Symptoms and Reduction of Fear
    Conceiving of PPD as as Bully
    Top-Down Cognitive Interventions (aka affirmations)
    Behavioral Interventions (graded exposure to extinguish conditioning)
    Meditation and Mindfulness Practice
    Compassion for Self
    Expressive Writing
    Emotional Awareness (Abbass, an ISTDP psychiatrist, wrote the chapters on deeper emotion work.)
    Examining Life Situations

    BloodMoon and TG957 like this.
  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I would read it differently. There is no blame, there is rather a blunt talk that some people may need to wake up to the truth.

    Obsessive tendencies are quite common among TMS personalities - speaking from personal experience.

    It took me a while to figure out that by being laser focused on my symptoms I got to the point precisely described in this sentence: "Any attempt to figure out or get rid of the symptoms keeps you firmly in this cycle...". I went into downward spiral, and one of the things that got me out of it was understanding how my obsession was aggravating my condition. It is not easy to pull yourself out of the 24/7 drumbeat of thoughts about the devastation you find yourself in. Even more so, I started with the classic Sarno approach (examining life situations), looking for the smoking gun of childhood trauma, and the more I was looking, the less successful I was.

    As @Duggit wisely points out, there are many techniques, each suitable for a specific personality and life situation. All we need is to figure out which ones work for us. It can be a combination of several, or just one (although latter is rather rare). My way out was an eclectic mix of techniques described above, even though I did not know of several of them at the time, I was just winging it myself.
    BloodMoon and JanAtheCPA like this.
  12. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

  13. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Many thanks for that, @Duggit. The 'Conceiving of PPD/TMS as a Bully' intervention is something that stands out to me - for me to look into in practical terms. I've never before viewed my PPD/TMS as a 'bully'.
  14. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    @TG957 said “Even more so, I started with the classic Sarno approach (examining life situations), looking for the smoking gun of childhood trauma, and the more I was looking, the less successful I was.”

    yep. Fell down that rabbit hole with an ISDTP therapist but..she eventually realized it was not an event but patterns of learned behavioral/thought to cope with my parents personalities. I don’t thin Sarno ever thought that most (patients he chose and were successful without therapy) had any real trama. He really just wanted them to understand learned coping mechanisms that persist thinking patterns no longer serving you and how they can now be triggers.. and move on. He clearly learned he had the tendency to hold onto anger or resentment and it triggered reflux. He couldn’t just recognize anger and let it go, he had to know where it came from. That’s one of my take aways from your personal story, we can simply learn to let these things go by recognizing we actually can let them go.

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