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struggling with TMS "light"

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Erik1971, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. Erik1971

    Erik1971 New Member

    What initially started as what many may consider TMS light, mostly muscle twitching or benigne fasciculations, this is now accompanied with severe sleep problems, fear, anxiety and feelings of depression. The muscle twitches are getting worse as do my sleepless nights which is starting to have a real impact on my mental and physical health. There is so much tension and unrest in my body and I can't seem to stop the obsessive thinking and focus on my symptoms. I can't seem to get out of this vicious circle and my doubts that it is perhaps not TMS but there is something physically wrong with me and the twitching (which has been going on for a year now) will never stop. All I do now is worry and fear that symptoms might get worse.

    I have started with the structured educational program (now day 6) an have been practising yoga and meditation for some time but feel like I am stuck in this negative obessive focus on my symptoms. I just want to be "normal" again and enjoy the family and all the good things in life but my negative thinking is sucking the fun out of life.

    I guess I just need some moral support to hang on and it would be so great to hear from people that recovered from this TMS "light" condition or have learn to live with it.

    Such a shame that there are no TMS therapists in my area (The Netherlands) that could help me put things in perspective.


  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Erik, at last a fellow-dutchie here on the tmswiki!! welcomea

    BFS or twitches... been there, done that, still have it sometimes. It has subsided greatly since I approached it as TMS.
    From my experience, dutch physicians are pretty open to the possibility of minddriven symptoms. Did you already have a talk with yours?

    When TMS was at its peak with me, I had a couple of talks with a psychologist. There were soms dams that needed to be broken, from then on it slowly got better and better. I have the occassional symptom once and a while, but most often I can relate it to a stressor. The twitching is difficult to ignore. I did some research long time ago and found a site about BFS. The only good advice that I found was not to worry and keep living your life. Now that I know it is TMS, I have developed different techniques. First one is to just sit and let it happen. I often smile about it, catching TMS in the act. Second thing is to practice meditation or better, mindfulness when it happens.

    That said, I think visiting a psychologist a couple of times could really help you on the right track. Tell him (or her) that you have psychophysical symptoms and I bet he will welcome this approach.

    The most important thing that you need to know is that this process of getting better will take time. Don't feel in a rush, it will backfire. Keep the confidence that you will improve in time. I did and so can you.

    wishing you all the best,
    Ryan likes this.
  3. Ryan

    Ryan Well known member


    Hang in there, anxiety and pain may get worse before it gets better. I know the feelings of doubt and shame begin to flood in, I have been there. Just try to focus on any positive things you can. Living in the present moment and being aware if how much your mind is racing. You need to start being aware of your emotions and not focus on the physical.

    If you have not i would strongly recomend you read "Hope and Help for your Nerves" by dr Claire weekes. It will help you with the anxiety and focusing on the pain. Just try to relax and accept the pain and anxiety. The more you worry about it and try so hard to run from it the more it will fuel the tms. I would also recomend you do Alan Gordans recovery program on the tmswiki and read "Great Pain Deception" if you have not already.

    Ups and downs are part of the process so don't get discouraged. Your mind is a powerful tool and you can change. I have been where you are and I am close to writing my success story. So there is light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to believe deeply you have tms that is caused by your emotions and unconscious. Just give how ever much time it takes to heal. We are what we believe, best of luck and hope things get better for you soon.

    Gigalos likes this.
  4. Erik1971

    Erik1971 New Member

    Thanks. Really appreciate your comments. As you say Giga, the twitching is really difficult to ignore so you get so easily distracted by the symptoms. I am actually speaking with a psychologist and she relates most of it to stress but I don't think she is very good at uncovering unconscious emotions. I am thinking of doing a mindfulness course so I can be more effective at meditation and "accepting" these symptoms. I also checked out the BFS sites but you don't see any recovery stories there feeding the fear that it might never go away. Ryan, I have just order the Claire Weekes book so let's hope that can indeed help me with the fear and anxiety.
  5. Ryan

    Ryan Well known member

    Forgot to post this in first response. Listen to these audio recordings from Claire Weekes while waiting for the book. They are very helpful for acceptance and I listen to them all the time to help it set in my unconscious. Herbie made this thread: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/claire-weekes-audio.2569/
  6. Erik1971

    Erik1971 New Member

    Thanks, I will store them on my Ipod.
  7. Erik1971

    Erik1971 New Member

    Forgot to ask. Any suggestions for the sleep problems. Because of the twitching it is getting more difficult to fall asleep. Will meditation help here as well or any other things that could work?
  8. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    It might, what I also used to do is do affirmations. It breaks the thinking patterns. 'I accept myself, appreciate myself and love myself', 'I am calm, relaxed, patient and confident', etc. etc.
    The trick is to not get worked up. Easily said, I know....

    If you feel your psychologist isn't working for you, you might try another. I wish I could recommend one, but sadly I can't. Beware, is it the psychologist or is it you??......... sometimes people have built such a wall that they don't allow anyone to touch subjects that are connected to it. They point the finger to the psychologist, but it should point towards themselves. Not implying anything, but maybe it is a useful insight.
  9. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Erik,

    I hope you are well, I just wrote a few lines about Chronic Fatigue/sleeping issues on my post. I would recommend, purchasing Dr Schubiners unlearn your pain - 2nd edition, there is a section which outlines how to train your brain to overcome this issue.

    God bless and may your journey to recovery be fruitful, rewarding and without fear.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Erik. For sleep, I've found it helpful not to watch any tv or movie or do anything that excites the mind
    at least an hour before going to bed. In bed, do deep breathing and think calming thoughts, visualize you
    are on vacation on a sunny, calm beach. Listen to the sounds around you.

    Hot milk before bed also works for me.
  11. Pingman

    Pingman Well known member

    Hello Erik -

    I had logged into the forum to post an update on my continued success from TMS when I read your post. It was as if I was writing my first post with my issues. I was a regular on the forum from November 2013 to around April 2014 when things finally clicked and I was able to heal my TMS.

    My issue started slightly different. The twitches, jolts, spasms, needles in my leg and foot were not the first issue. I had originally started obessing that I might have MS due to reading about it and finding a symptom in my normal life. From their I started symptom checking for the spams and twitching related to MS and sure enough they started. At its worst, I began to think I was having light sensitivity and loss of sight. I went to a Neuro Dr., my GP and 3 eye dr. who all said it was stress and stress alone.

    I was convinced they were wrong and there was no way stress could do this to my body. I began to fear what my life as a cripple would be like. How I couldn't enjoy outside activities with my son. For 6 months you would never recognize the man I was or who I had become. I developed severe anxiety but refused to medicate aside from an occasional small dose of xanax to sleep. My sleep was horrible....I was sleeping maybe 3 hours a day and for the life of a software programmer and father that is not a good combo. The sleep deprivation just fueled the anxiety and TMS. My legs were spasming and twitching and my head had a constant dull tension headache in my temples....so that worried me that i would never get rid of that.

    I decided to see a therapist. The first one did not work well for me. He asked me to talk to my inner child and to be honest, he was thinking my issues were repressed emotion from my past. Many times this is true but in my case no. My second therapist gave me the intial tool to get better. She said I simply was having irrational worries about things in the future which there was no evidence that wold come true and I had to get myself grounded back in the present.

    So I began to ask God to help me stay in the present and I began to slow down and when I got anxious I would watch my son or the trees or anything to get my mind into the present.

    Then I relied on the great members here for advice. I listened to Claire W. tapes and it reinforced what my therapist said. I began to tell myself I was worrying for nothing and I was fine.....over and over and over until I started to train my brain to think that I was.

    Within a short time the twitches began to leave and my vision cleared....well it was always clear I suppose. I sit now and I can't believe that I ever fell into the dark place I was. It is like watching what you eat. If you don't watch what you feed your brain....work on being happy and positive in life then the emotion builds up until it covers you in a fog.

    Challenge yourself.....you have had twitching now for a year and it doesn't appear to be getting worse. Most neurological issues after a year would progress to the point you would know. My Neuro dr. said if you had a neuro issue you would know. You don't have twitching for a period. You wake up one day and can't move you arm or leg.

    So have you been out and went for a run? If not...do it!! It convinced my mind that my body was not broken. As far as sleeping, realize that you are functioning now without sleep so stop worrying about it. My father in-law spends most nights watching TV on and off..getting 4 hours a sleep and he manages a huge company. He only needs 4 hours which for me would be hard.

    I didn't sleep for 3 months like you but now that I don't worrying about a restless night....I sleep most nights like a baby.

    Try and get your thoughts off the future and keep telling your brain you are ok...you are fine. There is nothing wrong with you and you will train it back.

    On a positive note.....once you get past this you will be 100 times stronger. I will never return to that place after dealing with it head on. Now..I twitch when I am stressed and my vision gets blurry. Its my bodys reaction to stress and once I recall that it goes away.
  12. Erik1971

    Erik1971 New Member

    Hi Pingman, thanks for sharing you story! I went to my GP yesterday (visit to neuro and blood work did already confirm that I have nothing structural/ physical wrong wih me) and I mentioned to her that I am already seeing a therapist specialized in psychosomatic disorders. Fortunately my GP is very open to mindbody syndromes and she confirmed that this is the most likely cause of the twitching/ sleep problems. She said the first step is awareness that psychological factors are the cause - most people don't even get to that awareness and only are looking for more physical evidence. The second step is act on it and that part still is somewhat difficult for me although I have taken up the advice on becoming more physically active.

    Pingman, your comment " I began to tell myself I was worrying for nothing and I was fine.....over and over and over until I started to train my brain to think that I was." struck me. Did you reeducate your brain by using daily affimations or did you do something else? How can you most effectively reeducate your brain and how long did it take you before the symptoms subsided?

    I have also been rereading SteveO's book and must say I have great respect for the way he has dealt with these severe TMS symptoms for so long. And you are right this forum and the members are really great. Living in The Netherlands, it really feels like having an overseas (TMS) family that understands and supports me!
    I definitely try to spread the word here as I see many people around me showing TMS symptoms.
    Tennis Tom likes this.
  13. Pingman

    Pingman Well known member

    Erik -

    The first step for me was buying into the TMS theory 100%. For me, I was so focused on having a long term issue it took steps to get there. I would say 3-4 months of my dr. telling me I was ok, people on the forum and my therapist. Once I finally believed it was TMS, I did the daily affirmations to myself that I was ok. I also kept telling myself that my fears were simple anxiety about things I was afraid of happening in the future without cause fo concern.

    The training of my mind didn't take long at all. I was back to 75% normal within a few weeks. One thing that was big for me since part of my issue was a OCD about my issues was deciding I was fine and walking away from the forum, books, etc..... I just went back to my life and stopped even allowng my mind to hear aout TMS or issues.

    That last action healed me. I had to step away because TMS was starting to become another obsession which allowed my mind to keep thnking I could have health issues.
    Gigalos and Ryan like this.
  14. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I know what you mean, Pingman, about TMS becoming an obsession. The more we can forget about health issues and get on with
    enjoying life, the better. I find that distraction helps. I have lots of ways of distracting my thoughts from pain or stress.
    They are hobbies, movies, music, reading, surfing the web to learn things, and playing with my dog.

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