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Struggling with Thumb Pain TMS

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by rosieluna, Feb 15, 2023.

  1. rosieluna

    rosieluna New Member

    Hello! Long-ish term lurker here. First off, I want to say I'm so glad I found this forum. It's helped me get out of a spiraling headspace, but I'm still struggling.

    I've been dealing with a pain in my right thumb joint since late October. The pain started in my left thumb after a long shift at a fast paced food service job. It was acute pain with swelling and I treated it with NSAIDs, ice, and rest. It has since gone away. However, I made the mistake of mentioning my pain to a coworker/ friend who knew I had recently taken up drawing and she suggested that my pain may have come from "drawing too much." Low and behold, my right thumb started aching shortly after, and I went down the doom spiral of Googling symptoms of RSI from drawing and of course, the first things that always pop up are the most distressing: people who had to quit their passion, quit their jobs, go on disability, etc.

    All my signs point to TMS: I have the personality for it, the pain came up at an extremely stressful time, it stops me from doing something I finally felt passionate about... but I still can't heal entirely. I have read Sarno's book and listened to Tell Me About Your Pain, the latter being more useful. I know this is a long game and not everyone can heal after reading Amazon reviews, but I wanted to come on here for a little more support. TMS is lonely, and can make you feel absolutely mad - like you can't trust yourself.

    Should I try to work through the pain program on this site? Sometimes I wonder if thinking about the pain too much only makes it worse. Finding a balance isn't easy. Thank you so much for reading and I appreciate any input.

    Wishing you all healing and peace.

    - Rosie :)
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @rosieluna and welcome.

    My answer to this common question is always: why the heck not? Both programs are free, require no signup or registration, and you can (and in fact should) take things at your own pace. TMS knowledge and awareness will improve your life and lead to better self-awareness, better health, and better recovery even from actual injuries and illnesses (this phenomenon is well-known in the medical world, though not widely acknowledged).

    You hit the nail on the head - this is kind of the million-dollar issue when doing this work. The key is to completely let go of any focus on symptom details, and always, always, always go to the psychological. You have to become mindful enough that you recognize when your fearful TMS brain is ruminating about physical symptoms, and then be strong enough to consciously talk back to your TMS brain and assure it that the symptoms are unimportant, and that you are safe and healthy.

    Do one of the programs with a goal of being mindful while doing the exercises, so that you do them with complete self-honesty. Your TMS brain will try to convince you to speed through the modules (going faster will NOT result in faster healing, it will result in totally missing the point and not doing the real work). Your TMS brain will try to convince you that certain topics from your repressed emotions and memories are "not important" (they probably are, even if they are merely embarrassing or shameful rather than earth-shattering). You have to be willing to fight against taking the easy way out (that your brain will convince you is just fine) and address these things anyway - and here I am speaking 100% from personal experience.

    Keep us posted!
    rosieluna likes this.
  3. rosieluna

    rosieluna New Member

    Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate it. I'll go ahead and work through a program and keep you posted on the results - I truly think this is something worth fighting for, no matter how hard it is to trust myself or the process.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. Khetu

    Khetu New Member

    I'd like swing by and say I had exactly the same problem as you, albeit it spread all over the place but the fear of not being able to draw made the pain worse, thus making sure I couldn't draw - it was a cycle of fear that kept me from doing anything.
    It took a good three months after following the program and doing daily journalling before I got rid of the pain in my hands and arms - it does work, and I wish I'd done it sooner.

    I wanted to reassure you that you're not alone with the fear of your ability to draw being taken from you. Don't let it feed off that fear, you'll draw again and there's nothing TMS can do to stop that. :)
    rosieluna and JanAtheCPA like this.
  5. rosieluna

    rosieluna New Member

    ...albeit it spread all over the place but the fear of not being able to draw made the pain worse, thus making sure I couldn't draw - it was a cycle of fear that kept me from doing anything.

    I've definitely experienced the pain moving around as well. I agree that fear only worsens the pain! I've noticed that taking a couple of deep breaths when the sensation in my thumb is intense can really make things feel better.

    Thank you for your input! I still haven't tried much journaling, so maybe I should give it a try.
    Khetu likes this.
  6. Khetu

    Khetu New Member

    One section of the program that helped me the most was actually concentrating on the pain in a completely neutral manner, (if I recall correctly it was Somatic Tracking, Dr. Gordon goes over it here,) when I really focused on it and wasn't afraid of feeling it (it helps to lie down and relax whilst doing this,) it would dance all over the place like it was desperately trying to distract me - especially the more I knew there was nothing wrong with my hands. Once you're not afraid of the pain anymore you begin to defeat it.

    I wish you all the best!
    rosieluna and JanAtheCPA like this.
  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Worth repeating, Thank you, @Khetu!
    Khetu likes this.

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