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Struggling with emotions for tms approach

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Prokart, Sep 20, 2022.

  1. Prokart

    Prokart New Member

    Hi all,

    I am trying the tms approach for the carpal tunnel/rsi in my wrists but I am struggling with the emotional side of this

    I have got the book “unlearn your pain” and I’m trying the plan in there however I am struggling with emotions for past traumatic events.

    I haven’t had many traumatic events in my life and the ones that I have listed down I have spoken about with friends or family before. The book suggests releasing your anger then guilt and sadness and grief, but I don’t experience the anger or crying when going over my events.

    it makes me feel as if no progress can be made because of this?

    any advice would be appreciated


    Also I see many people have a multiple issues but for me it is just my wrists and occasional eczema(I do suffer from anxiety at times too), I assume this doesn’t affect whether it is tms or not?

    Edit: not sure if it’s placebo but today when I do my trigger actions and remind myself it’s not causing damage it seems to stop stuff from getting worse which is a positive sign
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2022
  2. Fal

    Fal Peer Supporter

    Focus on the eliminating the anxiety and not the rsi and wrist problems.

    Anxiety puts us into a fight or flight state and if you suffer from it long term it will eventually cause bodily pains and digestion issues and various other problems. All your problems will go away once you focus solely on the anxiety, not the pain or any negative thoughts.

    I personally have a lot of muscle tension, and my fingers and hands are stiff but I’ve had every test under the sun and they can’t find a problem aside from some raised inflammatory markers but even that doesn’t indicate any major issue as they have tested for everything that would cause inflammation too. I also lost a lot of weight and various digestion problems but my colonoscopy was fine and so was the endocscopy.

    What I have learnt though is that everything that I’ve experienced for the past few years has been solely down to one thing anxiety/stress and my body being in a constant flight or flight response rather than the rest and digest response. I’ve been so focused on trying to eat more to gain weight, trying to do stretches for my hands and wrist when it’s absolutely pointless when I have constant anxiety.

    I know I have it because I can lay down and I can feel the cortisol/adrenaline pumping through my body and feeling my heart beating which vibrates my body. I’m working on it but have a look up at Shaan Kassam on YouTube and you’ll understand. Just wish I had find this website and him sooner rather than mentally destroying myself
    JanAtheCPA, fridaynotes and TG957 like this.
  3. Prokart

    Prokart New Member

    hmmm that does make sense as from all of the past events I can think of when searching for emotions, most of them I wouldn’t say were the cause of my tms and the few that would be plausible aren’t too much of a fit either. Would you suggest continuing the journaling of these just to work at it but focus on events causing anxiety in my life and fixing the anxiety in general? Sort of like the book “unlearn your pain suggests” where it says notice the emotions when they happen and tell yourself that they are okay and natural

    I will take a look at YouTube now!

    thanks for the reply!
  4. Fal

    Fal Peer Supporter

    Yes, if you watch his videos he clearly says the way out of anxiety is accepting the anxiety and understanding that there is nothing seriously wrong (assuming you’ve been checked by doctors that is) and by just letting those feelings be no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.

    With TMS it says you need to accept it 100% is just that, TMS. The journalling will help at least for you to understand why anxiety started. I’ve had X-rays etc on my hands and it doesn’t show broken bones or arthritis or anything bad, so in my mind I’ve realised that this all started under extreme stress and I play computer games lot. So in my mind the muscle tension from anxiety has affected the things I use the most.

    I take SSRIs as I struggled to do this without them, after a week of taking them I noticed my digestion was miles better when I thought I had a lot of food intolerances and I had a clearer mind and the body vibrations etc all subsided for long periods only showing up every now and again which also told me this was all anxiety causing the problems.

    I had stiff arms two years ago and after 3 months of ssris back then my arms released and felt normal, but I stupidly went off the tablets as I thought I was fixed. That was my first indication of TMS and anxiety but I didn’t notice it at the time.
  5. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Part of the genesis of much anxiety is the way your brain protects tms-ers from experiencing and feeling many emotions within the body. We become emotionally numb yet physically pained. Many personality traits develop as coping mechanisms, so along with recognizing anxiety it’s important to recognize the mechanisms behind personality development - to a degree. Your book will help you explore things like people pleasing, or whatever you personally, to block the emotions surrounding tramas etc. You may not cry etc, but see if you can note a physical response. Maybe a tightening of muscle, a feeling in the gut - often very subtle. The brain often quells these because we’ve somehow learned experiencing that emotion is taboo, or too much for us to handle or whatever. You don’t necessarily have to dig too deep - just recognize the mechanisms that perpetuate the same patterns in your current life.. triggers. Some folks see increased symptoms around this. It will eventually calm down again.
    JanAtheCPA and fridaynotes like this.
  6. Prokart

    Prokart New Member

    thanks for the help, I’ve found so far when doing my trigger activities that I know of, I can do them with only a bit of elevated pain if I remind myself that is tms and the pain isn’t causing damage which I think is a good start, however my symptoms seem to be constant and get worse as the day progresses if that makes sense.

    I think I need to convince myself it’s 100% tms as I still have a small bit of doubt even if I don’t think I do so that’s an area to work on.

    I believe my anxiety could have quite a lot to do with it so will focus on accepting anxious situations and processing the emotions rather than stressing out whenever something anxious happens. This approach goes for most emotions i feel

    I think I mainly just struggle with the going over traumatic events as because I struggle to feel reactions to it (I will keep an eye out for reserved ones), I don’t think it’s doing anything to benefit me. I guess it’s hard for me in that sense as because I don’t relate to too many traumatic events in my life it may be harder to discover the root cause

    thanks again for the messages, it is appreciated
  7. Prokart

    Prokart New Member

    A small update for everyone here, I think I am going to visit the doctors again as I think my doubt isn’t helping things with my journey.

    Come to think of it my doctor didn’t really test me much for anything so it makes sense that I have this doubt, I just assumed his judgement would be correct.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Eczema and anxiety are key indicators that anxiety plays a huge role in your symptoms. Even if someone has an obvious injury or illness, anxiety and negative thinking will impede normal healing, and you don't need to believe in TMS theory to accept that, because the entire medical establishment accepts that.

    I didn't have childhood trauma, but for a number of reasons my mother was overly anxious about her pregnancy and my birth (before she went on to have three more and figured it out) and when I did the emotional work back in 2011 (the SEP on our main wiki) a lot of memories and things she'd told me over the years started to fall into place, and I realized that I'd had pretty bad anxiety my entire life, affecting all kinds of things in childhood and creating multiple situations that I'd repressed for decades out of embarrassment and shame. Acknowledging and accepting these events, and also finally realizing why I had it (and my siblings didn't) was very freeing, and really helped the harder work of conquering it.

    Eventually getting control over my anxiety was vital to my success over many other TMS symptoms. Am I 100% recovered? Nope, but that's okay, because I definitely got my life back, whereas I was in serious danger of becoming housebound 11 years ago at age 60. In spite of the inevitable aspects of aging (and I do have rage about that!) I'm in way better shape at 71 than I was at 60. Getting back on track when I allow anxiety to slip back in is much easier, and fear no longer rules my life.

    Listen to @Fal and tackle your anxiety. The sooner the better! There are tons of free resources for this. One is a little book called Hope and Help For Your Nerves, by Claire Weekes, which has helped thousands of people around the world for decades.

    Good luck,

  9. Prokart

    Prokart New Member

    Thank you again,

    I am going to go to the doctors just to double check for anything major but also work on the TMS stuff in meantime.

    I think the main area I’m struggling is finding the repressed things whatever they may be and conquering them. I’m aware I have been anxious for a lot of my life (first started in secondary school for me) and my mum used to be anxious when she was younger so I assume I get it from her, I’m just not exactly sure how I get my brain to accept these things. I would also say I think I have fear relating to my injury itself. For instance I think the reason it has flared up again is due to the fact I’m starting my first job post uni soon and I’m worried about starting in general and if I will be able to cope with my injury. So I think my symptoms are maybe to do with anxiety and the worry of what actions I can do without ‘injury’

    edit: would I be right in assuming that I may not have too many repressed emotions but my slight anxiety in certain situations and fear of ‘injury’ is basically activating my fight or flight system which is causing my symptoms?

    I have also realised in certain actions like the gym, if I’m positive and concentrate on the gym I don’t notice the pain no where near as much and today a separate injury which I did a few months ago miraculously wasn’t affecting me much today unless it’s placebo
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022
  10. Prokart

    Prokart New Member

    Would I be right in assuming this video is the same concept of tms just without the repressed emotion part? If so it is further reassuring my belief that my nervous system has become to sensitive and I think that will be where anxiety comes in too.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Indeed, an overly sensitized nervous system can be a major source of symptoms. You might be interested in Pain Reprocessing Therapy as developed by Alan Gordon, LCSW. Check out the new wiki https://www.prtwiki.org/prt/The_Pain_Reprocessing_Therapy_Wiki (Pain Reprocessing Therapy Wiki)

    There's a new forum dedicated to reading and discussing his book, The Way Out.

    My personal theory is that we all have repressed emotions to work through, even if we didn't suffer outright trauma or adversity in childhood. At the very least, the writing exercises that are part of most programs will help uncover the little resentments, guilt, shame, and rages we hold deep inside. Acknowledging and accepting them is very freeing, which has been my experience.
  12. Prokart

    Prokart New Member

    Thanks again

    My thoughts are that I originally injured my wrist from repetitive strain which over the years has healed but I am still over sensitised which is causing the pain. I think my anxiety is a big feature of this as this can contribute to the sensitisation so I am going to tackle that. I am also going to continue journaling to try and see some success from that.

    I think where I am struggling is that although I am trying these things and trying to continue normal activity my pain still ramps up throughout the day like you would expect from a repetitive strain injury and the techniques do not seem to alleviate it at all.

    Do you have any ideas regarding this?
  13. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    QUOTE="Prokart, post: 136662, member: 21203"]Do you have any ideas regarding this?[/QUOTE]

    If you're looking for specific RSI advice, we are here to provide advice on how to treat mindbody conditions that mimic things like RSI, along with just about every physical symptom that our bodies are capable of producing. We avoid focusing on specific symptoms, because when it's TMS, the details are irrelevant. Above all, we aren't health professionals, and we obviously can't analyze or diagnose. Note that if you've never seen a health professional for your symptoms, that should be done in order to rule out any obvious conditions that require medical intervention.

    Before your appointments, you could certainly go to our Success Stories subforum and search for RSI stories. First, though, read the Profile stories of founder @Forest and prominent long-time member @Enrique. Please do not expect to ask questions (Forest and Enrique can't answer personal questions, and some of the Success Stories were posted a long time ago). The two profiles and the stories really contain all of the TMS information about RSI symptoms that you need to know, and I think it would be very beneficial to have this information before your appointments with medical professionals - because the stories will teach you what to expect from going the medical route.

    Going back to something you said in your first post:
    This is excellent news and proof that the TMS brain mechanism has something to do with your symptoms! But I want to also say this: do NOT underestimate the power of the placebo! The placebo effect has a negative image for most people, but it is actually PROOF of how our minds can literally affect our physical sensations. By extension, it is also proof that the TMS brain mechanism can cause our symptoms. (sideline: google "Ted Kaptchuk placebo" for fascinating research into the power of the placebo effect - and his desire to harness it. You'll find Harvard Medical articles, and at least one Ted Talk - worth checking out if you need to learn that we CAN heal ourselves).

    Also, just in case you're not aware of this: the condition that Dr. Sarno called TMS is what I mentioned twice above - it is a primitive brain mechanism that evolved as hominids developed - and which hasn't changed since primitive times. It was designed to keep us alive and always worried about danger - therefore it is a normal brain function. And still primitive, which makes it less than effective for modern times. Our big problem is that in today's world, this mechanism is under constant bombardment from stress, and it goes into overdrive because we are surrounded by intangible stresses that are too numerous to count, and we worry too much about the future because we live too long. None of these things were true for early humans, whose lives were short, and whose daily stresses were relatively few and very obviously dangerous.

    Those of us with anxiety (like you and me) are more prone to this than others. Therefore, working on your anxiety is first and foremost to improving your life, and that would be absolutely true even if you had an obvious and treatable injury or illness. The entire medical community acknowledges the fact that all conditions are made worse by anxiety, fear, and negative thinking

    Read the RSI stories before your appointments, but I think that your first priority should be to forget "treating" your RSI for now (which you're probably overthinking anyway) and work only on treating your anxiety.


    PS: more FYI - or maybe TMI: the growing community of what used to be called TMS practitioners is now using the terms MBS (Mind Body Syndrome) and/or PPD (Psycho-Physiological Disorder). All of the best-known practitioners have joined together to form and operate The PPD Association, which you can find at PPDAssociation.org.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2022
    Balsa11 likes this.
  14. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    I think the fact that your brain is telling you, "nope, nothing to look at it here" when you examine your past is a 100% indicator that there IS stuff to examine. As Jan says, even those of us with nice, normal childhoods had moments that were "traumatic" from a child's perspective. Something as simple as a favorite doll being left in the rain and ruined or a time your Mummy yelled at you for something bad that you did.
    Through an adult lens these things are trivial, but if you can get "into the zone" when you are writing, journaling or meditating you can find the little sad, hurt, guilty child who is holding on to those micro-pains.

    I uncovered a whole swath of stuff about the doll being left out in the rain because it was little me's fault that my mistake killed my 'baby'!
    Guess who doesn't like to mistakes now?

    You might find that you don't have any emotions about the past, but I'll betcha there is a little you tucked inside that does.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  15. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Hi Prokart.

    I overcame RSI back in 2007.

    Regarding this:
    "I think where I am struggling is that although I am trying these things and trying to continue normal activity my pain still ramps up throughout the day like you would expect from a repetitive strain injury and the techniques do not seem to alleviate it at all."

    For me, this can be frustrating and difficult. What helps me is to do the best I an to practice outcome independence. Meaning that I will not judge how well I'm doing on the healing journey based on how much pain I am having. Instead, I focus on other things I can control, like my daily practices such as meditation, journaling, or whatever I may be doing at that time. And have faith that you do have a mindbody symptom and there's nothing wrong with your body. It takes time, but this works for me.
  16. Prokart

    Prokart New Member

    Thanks all for the help.

    I have been continuing to work on the programme and I have made some progress. A lot of it I am noticing with me I think intertwines with the outcome independence model. I often dwell on the pain and notice it getting worse then start overthinking it, which must be feeding the cycle. However I was out with friends yesterday and my wrists were off my mind and I didn’t notice pain once which to me points highly to the TMS diagnosis.

    I have my first day at my new job tomorrow and although I’m nervous and anxious I am going to tackle it with a positive attitude, say any pain is fine and attempt to use outcome independence when needed. I am also going to start doing gym again as that is something I miss which I believe helps release mental stress.

    I have contacted a local TMS therapist as although I have made progress I still have my ups and downs when dwelling on the pain and I think it will be good to talk about these things and the emotions, even if it is just for a few sessions.
    Enrique and JanAtheCPA like this.
  17. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    When you're having a hard time getting out of negative emotions/feeling "nothing" but there's trapped emotions under, and/or there's a lot of focusing on the pain, forgive yourself first thing. It takes a little while to work in the short term, and while there still might be flare ups there will be more pain relief and happiness.
    Enrique and JanAtheCPA like this.
  18. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yup - absolutely what @Balsa11 said (and I often need to be reminded of this!) Self-forgiveness and self-compassion are essential - and our unconscious fear brains are not willing to provide them, so you must be willing to do so consciously. Not always easy for us to do!
    Enrique and Booble like this.

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