Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Forest, Mar 9, 2012.
And I recommend some TLC and call me in the morning. Doctor's orders.
I too have a real hard-driving dad...he was number 1 in everything himself and I think doesn't fully understand that you can work hard and not get to that level. I'm a lawyer though I don't now practice. when I got to law school, in addition to pressure from my actual father, I was at school all day with people just like him, and the school administration sometimes fostered or at least didn't discourage a lot of what we might call TMS personality traits. I have some doctor friends and I know they had similar issues with med school. So the system itself is flawed and you, like me, may be more susceptible to those flaws if you're a sensitive person, or if you have past issues with perfectionism from your father.
If there's a TMS therapist you can see, I think that would be great. It's also great that you were able to see Dr. Schecter. It sounds like that was only a few months ago so try to let go of thinking about how long it's been (this was hard for me too).
Maybe take a whole week or even just a day off from thinking about TMS? I remember one night having a bad headache and thinking OK, what would I do if this weren't here? I went about the night as planned and the pain faded.
Hope you feel better soon.
There is really nothing to be afraid of. You can only grow from this decision. You could continue to work a program on your own, I stopped in the middle of mine. My pain isn't gone but things have shifted. Am I a failure? I don't feel I've hit on ALL the reasons I'm in pain, but I'm working slowly towards them. And I too have a lot of stress.
I think you're scared because you feel you might "fail". This isn't a test. This isn't school in the sense that you walk up to someone for your quarterly grade in TMS. This is deep and personal work that in the end - will free you from pain. And it's not even ABOUT the end, it's about the journey in which to get there.
Have you been to a therapist before? They are not scary people. They are paid to listen to you and you'll finally get to open up. Get it all out. All of it. And this "paid best friend" will offer support and advice. There isn't anything to fear.This is time that is all meant for you.
I don't have a TMS therapist anywhere near me. The closest is a 2 hour drive away. And then there's the trip back. So that won't work for me. But I do have a therapist I think is going to look into TMS. I announced I was leaving her as a client (after many years) and she responded by purchasing Dr. Schubiner's book. But I'm confident I could do this on my own. I have a good feel for who I am, and I'm pretty honest with myself. Which isn't for a second to say you aren't.
I've done two structured programs - well more like one and a half. I didn't finish because I became overwhelmed. But I learned a lot from both programs and all my writing. I know more what is going on now. My pain isn't tons better, but it's better. And it will take time to leave completely because so many things have been shoved into little places in my mind where I wouldn't have to deal with them. Now it's time to haul them out and either keep them as a good piece of wisdom - or throw them out altogether.
Well now I'm dealing with them. Changing my routine. Trying to enjoy my life a bit "until" (as I said yesterday on my blog) until I hit that "aha" moment.
So try not to be scared Phil. Try to be joyful. You're finally taking the steps that may get you some pain relief. That sounds pretty great to me.
I appreciate all your advice. I have my father visiting me so many of these issues are being indirectly raised. I have learned to be assertive and state my wants and needs without offending other people, which is growth in itself. For example, as distant as my parents can be, they can also hover and smother and say things that are not that nice. So today at lunch I said to them, "I want to thank you for all of the support you're giving me throughout this tough time, but I also believe that we might need to spend some time apart." Lo and behold, they left the apartment this afternoon.
Speaking of which, has anyone else had the experience of fear and worry growing when we're "off" or not otherwise occupied by tasks? I call it the "weekend effect". It's hard for me not to ruminate on the pain when I have a day or so off. I miss the old, happy-go-lucky Phil, but the new, hurty Phil has so much new knowledge about himself that it may actually be worth the pain. I had my older sister--who has chronic neck pain and a long history of "scoliosis" but is not otherwise affected by TMS or fear--send me a long text string this morning asking why she feels that she cannot love herself, why she feels so self-critical, why she has a bad track record with relationships, and why she always feels like she needs to seek love and approval from others. She's otherwise very open to mindbody but can't quite see the neck pain as TMS...On the flip side, I tend to see (hope?) everything I see as TMS, even in my chronic pain patients (there are a lot in my field)...Why? Maybe if I can keep hope alive for them, I can keep hope alive for myself.
Finally, does anyone know how to stop the TMS symptom dance in one's head? ("Is this TMS? Is this not TMS? Is this physical damage?") My biggest issue is random, scary joint sounds (in addition to pain) as part of my TMS drama? (I'm not asking for medical advice, which I am familiar with, but personal anecdotes of how this might relate to TMS and whether or not it ever "resolves". I know of similarly obsessive people on TMSHelp.com forums and I don't feel like they ever got "closure".) I have lots of scary pops, cracks, sliding, and grinding sensations since I "injured" my shoulders over a year ago and in other joints that scare the hell out of me. I can't make heads or tails of it. It feels for all the world to be physical (tendons sliding back and forth, etc) but I realize that's TMS heresy. Standard medical advice dismisses them as harmless; and when Dr. Schechter examined my shoulders, he found them normal. I think I still have as a nocebo my "impingement syndrome" diagnosis and the conventional wisdom that "the shoulder joint is the most inherently unstable joint in the human body." (Just like the "TMJ is the most complicated joint in the human body", which was a severe nocebo crippling my attempts to defeat my first TMS symptom--and I still get a very tense jaw sometimes). Ever since I did a backwards locked elbows arms stretch in 3/11 my shoulders haven't been the same. Although an inconstant thing, many times when I internally rotate my right arm with it held out at the side it'll make a huge SNAP that I'm perpetually trying to convince myself is TMS "tendonitis". LOL.
*sigh* And Beach-Girl, I'm in telephone therapy now with my shrink of 5 years (who called TMS on me way back when although not in so many words). I do know what it means to be in the therapist's chair. I'm just afraid that I'll sink a lot of money into TMS therapy when I'm fundamentally damned, a victim of my thinking. I do think I'll complete the Structured Educational Program on the Wiki gradually since I'm only on, like, Day 11. But I honestly think I'm out of options. Veronica, you mentioned taking a week or a day off of TMS. What if even an hour is too darned difficult?
Mindfulness has taught me how to stay in the moment temporarily for brief periods. How does that work when we see our cure as "someday in the future", I'll be pain-free?
Thanks again all.
To wit: How does staying in the present moment help if the present moment SUCKS?
Trying to live these two articles but it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO difficult. Fear, fear, anxiety, more fear, less fear, fear, panic, anxiety, is this working, fear. :'(
Re: the weekend--I get that too. start thinking about things more on the weekend. Maybe give yourself a day off from all of this and read something non-TMS or see a movie or something?
I would have taken more quotes Phil, but you summed it up nicely here for me. Fear and anxiety perpetuate TMS symptoms. I've not had pain in my lower back (except at night) for a few weeks now. But I have a knot I can feel in my shoulder. I started a thread over my excitement about the neck/shoulder pain - but it's getting old too. It hurts all the time.
I would go with a therapist you trust. There has to be one out there. Feedback is important (others may disagree) when you're working with fear and anxiety. I have a backpack full I haul around with me. Probably why my neck hurts.
My neck/shoulder has gotten so bad I've thought about seeing a chiropractor, but ultimately I know this is a TMS victory: my pain is moving around.
I took a break from the TMS work. I come here daily, learn from the journeys of others, and do some free writing. I got burned out on working through all the "me" there is to work out. So I'm still on leave. But not really. And I will say it here since you won't take it the wrong way, but I can't believe there are so many people who face the weekends feeling lonely and like their symptoms will come back. Can't you go on a hike? Or a walk? Or take cell phone photos in the park?
Seems to me the best way to fill alone time (and I crave it rather than get nervous by it) is to get out and do things you love. And I love being outdoors, so I'm heading out shortly to look for rocks and feel the power of the surf.
I would love it if my husband went on vacation. I could have the house to myself for a week, know that I have all this quiet time in which I could read, watch movies, or go outdoors. Enough on that. I don't suffer though from nothing to do and worrying about TMS. I'm just really happy my neck hurts.
And one last thing: how cool that you asked your parents to leave in a way that they could understand and they did. That is progress Phil. That is really coming a long way in a short time.
Was feeling really frustrated so I went to the gym and hit the weights again like I haven't in a few weeks. Still click, pop, crack, click. I just don't understand it. I was standing there with weights dangling from my hands and didn't feel any fear when my shoulders shifted a little and I felt the change. Yet when I'm at home, I'll rotate my arms a certain way--or like as not, just be using my arms normally--and CRACK!!! Really scary, and I don't get it. Is it TMS, or is it not TMS?
I wish I could get to the mental space you are Beach-Girl. Where I welcome my symptoms instead of fear them.
Is anyone here familiar with the movie, "The Matrix"? I find so much of relevance in it. To wit:
"Neo, sooner or later you're going to realize, just as I did, that there's a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path."
"You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt and disbelief. Free your mind." <jumps hundreds of feet off a roof onto another roof>
I'm just not good at letting go of something I care very much about (becoming pain-free). I've written letters to figures from my past that haunt me. This includes dear old Mom and Dad. I've also written dialogues between "me" and "Insecure Phil". I'm going to write another one between "Critical Phil" and "me".
Very disappointed in myself because I woke up trying to live Monte's words about re-directing out of worry thoughts and spent the entire day worrying just as usual.
I feel a little silly, but:
Critical Phil: You haven't finished your Screening presentation. You haven't even started much.
Me: I've read tons of UpToDate articles. Rome wasn't built in a day.
Critical Phil: You're on call all day tomorrow and working a regular day Monday. How are you going to finish?
Me: I'm living in the moment. Shut up, Critical Phil.
Critical Phil: You failed at not obsessing today. You fail at everything. You just generally suck.
Me: I'm not in this to live up to YOUR expectations. Nobody could function with the pressure you put on them.
Critical Phil: I HAVE to put pressure on you. You're just too lazy to have any discipline or motivation of your own.
Me: For a lazy person, I've sucked up a lot and done an incredible amount of work. I've gotten through 3/4 of intern year when YOU told me I'd never get hired again. I've gone to work day after day in a lot of pain and given 110% and only called in sick 1 day which I needed to do to preserve my sanity. All you ever do is complain. I'm tired of you. I'm not going to listen to you anymore.
Very good. Critical Phil IS a jerk and you should ask him to quiet down. Just like you did.
This is interesting because it doesn't sound like "you". It sounds like another voice in your life. Just a hit I get. Could this be someone else? Because truth be told, you DO put a lot of pressure on yourself to succeed. But I don't think it started with you as a little kid putting pressure on yourself to get your legos put away just right.
Also: Really? You failed ALL DAY at obsessing? Or did you simply catch yourself a lot therefore you noticed which is a good thing? I bet you had some time during the day where you weren't obsessing. Too hard to do it all day long.
Again: this doesn't sound like you. Is this the voice of someone you know? And if so, who do you think it is?
Good stuff Phil. Keep writing if you feel like it.
You are incredibly perceptive, Beach-Girl, making me see things I never did. Are you sure you don't have a secret identity as a TMS therapist?
I see that voice as Mom or Dad in my head. Only, you know the drill, it's become a part of my personality.
I'm onto you. You think you're clever by tripping up my mind at odd moments, but you're really just an evolutionarily preserved false emotion that's alerting me to dangers that aren't there. Right now you're a malevolent presence in my life and I shall endeavor to shine the harsh light of truth upon you whenever I can. Sometimes I feel you wresting control of me at odd moments. I can never predict when you're going to arise because you're evil and devious and exploit every mental weakness I have to creep in.
Yet look at it this way. Your entire presence is dependent upon my survival. It is dependent upon my being your prey. I have involuntarily chosen to flee whenever you have menaced me. In doing so, I have given fuel to the chase, and indirectly I have powered you up for each encounter. When you masquerade as obsessiveness, I flee from doubt in ways that end up just giving you more power. By seeking comfort in Googling, I increase the stranglehold you have on me. No longer will I run away. I will stand my ground and face you. If you try to intimidate me by making me afraid to use my shoulder, I will use my shoulder all the more. If you try to scare me by creating TMS, I will embrace TMS symptoms until they run out and I expose you for the charade that you are. If you try to stand in the way of my approaching a woman socially, I will approach 10 women in quick order. Stand up against the firing squad and I will prove that you are only shooting blanks."
"Fear wears my face and calls itself Phil Chow, but it is not me."
PS You have a backpack full of therapists? Wow.
No I haul around anxiety and fear. I love what you wrote above to your fear . You should copy it and paste it in every wall in your apartment (take them down when you have a girl over)
No. I wish I was because it would mean I've cleared the last hurdle. I can see things in others, but have a very difficult time applying the same to myself. My shoulder and neck are still very sore. Could be from beach combing (I'm tall and looking for rocks requires hanging your head down) but truth be told, I'm not sure what is going on. I know it's TMS. It's been stationed in my lower back for10 years and recently it went to my shoulder and neck. So, no, I'm not even past the finish line yet. But I can feel your angst and see things in your writing. I've always been this way. Sucks for me because I can't see it for myself even though I walk my talk.
Yes! This is what I saw too, only if I told you, you wouldn't have made the powerful statement to your fear below. Also: you asked them to leave yesterday in a nice way and they did. This is progress. This is a power you now hold over them. You can ask and they will follow your wishes. Huge step!
This is great. You are really telling it in a way *I* believe you are serious. Do you? Yes fear does sneak in when we aren't aware of it and takes over. The "dish runs away with the spoon" as I've phrased it. All kinds of false things run amok in your brain and when all is said and done? It turns out the "fear" started it. So I like this a lot. Again, very powerful.
Don't you mean "your survival is dependent on me?" I don't think you need fear to survive. I think that the fear feeds on you. The fear that runs around in Phil - needs Phil for survival. If Phil stops listening to it, it has no power.
Does this mean you "flee to doubt?" I do. When fear pops in I run to doubt. Doubt myself, my life and everything around me. It's the domino effect. Everything just goes into overdrive and you have "fight or flight" to deal with. That is the part where you are giving it power. You believe what fear is telling you. Good on you! This is the whole point!
Very cool. You are inspiring me to do the same although my left shoulder is killing me this morning. I had planned a day of nothing, but maybe I'll go to the beach anyway! I have said before: answering questions helps me too.
This is all very boldly written. I think this is the new voice of Phil. Winning Phil. Successful Phil.......Happy Phil.
I'm keeping my promise. I no longer expect to be pain-free right away. I woke up this morning with the typical aches and pains (plus sore from my chest and shoulder workout to boot). But I've said to my fear and symptoms consistently today: "Come on in. Stay awhile, or stay forever. I won't be intimidated by you." I had a lot of pain moving around on Rounds this morning (yes, I am working Easter Sunday...*sigh*) and I laughed it off. Because if I'm going to have pain, I'm damned well going to have pain on my own terms. If it's going to hurt to do things I love to do, I'm going to do them anyway. Tired of being kicked around by my own pain!
Plus I just evaluated a patient on Labor & Delivery (as coincidence would have it). Took some courage for me to go up to that floor, but it went smoothly.
I think you should go into counselling Beach-Girl! You're good at it.
Well listen to you! I think in a few days, once Confident Phil has been here awhile, you should go back and read some of your old posts. Gone is the frustration. You've replaced it beautifully with acceptance. I think that's awesome.
And this will lead you to right where you want to be.....
I don't believe in coincidence. I think you were sent there on purpose, but those are my beliefs, not necessarily for everyone. How cool is that? You may be working today, but what a joy for those people having their baby on Easter. I was a coach for a friend who had her baby on Easter Sunday. It was so very cool.
Thank you Phil. I don't think I would be that great at counselling, but I'm honored you think so. I just love hearing this New Phil. He's a much different guy than the one who's been posting on this thread!
I think it may take more than a few more days for me to grow into it. I will consider it the role of a lifetime.
And I continue the work. TMS therapist and when I have time today, the Structured Program. Later perhaps I can crack open Schubie's book. I'm intrigued by the meditation CD.
There is actor Phil again. Wonder if he'll ever stick around?
Dr. Schubiner's meditation CD is really good. I should devote more time to it myself, only I haven't been. Nice way to calm yourself (myself) before or after a stressful day. It just brings down the whole nervous system to a "liveable level." For those of us with anxiety.
I love the sound of the New Phil!
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