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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Successful Recovery from Years of Pain; Hope There's Something Useful Here for You!

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by Northwood, Jun 6, 2023.

  1. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    Hi, All,

    Nice to be back! I was regularly involved with the forum a couple of years ago, and wanted to follow up with my success story. When I was dealing with symptoms I remember how overwhelmed I felt as I waded through SO much information, hoping to find advice that would to speak pointedly to my situation and help me. With that in mind, I’ll try to be as usefully concise as possible.

    My background:
    · As of this writing, I’m 64. I’ve had low-back, hip and buttocks pain for much of my adult life, including crippling spasms from which it often took weeks to recover.

    · I, too, did the “medical mill,” working with PT’s, deep body workers, a Rolfer, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and a somatic trainer. I’ve done yoga, and spent thousands of hours stretching in all kinds of ways, trying to fix the problem. Nothing worked.

    · In 2001, I had major low-back surgery to widen passageways of nerves through the spinal processes of the lumbar area. The surgeon also performed an organic fusion. The surgery alleviated some excruciating nerve pain burning down into my foot, but the spasms and pain persisted.

    My mind-body journey:

    · In 2020, a PT introduced me to the theory of mindbody pain. (For all I’d been through, I’d never heard of it.) I read Sarno’s first book, then Schubener’s work, and I discovered the tms.wiki site. I went through a period of reading everything I could about mindbody syndrome – most of usual luminaries of the field, notably Hanscom, Ozanich, and the ever-cheerful Allan Gordon.

    · I got great support from members on the wiki site and hired a one-on-one tms coach for a few months. In my case, I found working with a coach assuring. In so many ways, the information is all the same. But sharing it with someone who gets to know you and can kindly point out the places where you are stuck—I found that really helpful. And I felt less alone, just knowing that my coach was out there, and that she knew me and really cared. She was skillful, and I took a ton of notes After a few months, I had absorbed enough that I could take the work we’d done and apply it on my own.

    · I also worked with Dan Buglio’s “Pain Free You” online support group for several months. Again, I took a ton of notes. I worked his program. Dan periodically expresses amazement at how many people pay to join his groups, but then don’t show up or do the work. It’s important to commit and find your sweet spot, that place at which you’re invested in transforming your thinking about your symptoms, but you are able to pull back from becoming too grim and intense about it all.

    · I tried the Curable app, briefly. This could be useful for some, but I found I needed to connect more with people. Working alone, I prefer reading and marking up books.

    · I was deeply involved in therapy for over two years. That work included EMDR, trauma therapy, and some past life/life-between-life work. In my case, all of this played a central role in unlocking the unconscious stuff that I was unable to access and that was manifesting as physical pain.

    · Months of embracing mindbody theory (however imperfectly) as well as counsel from other adherents, gradually taught me the incredibly difficult lesson of getting out of my furiously thinking Type-A brain and into the complicated feelings of my body. I learned to view my symptoms as fundamentally psychological, not physical. I was able to release a lot of rage, grief, self-hatred, and in that same way that you can’t nail the precise moment you fall asleep, my symptoms let up.

    · The huge thing for me was discovering that I am transgender—a trans woman. It’s no coincidence that this came out in therapy so late in life, and just months after the death of my angry, gas-lighting, alcoholic father.

    Where I am now:

    · After 30 years of marriage, my wife and I have decided to separate. While the process is painful, we have become better communicators. We are honest about what we each authentically need, and we do our best to be loving and supportive of each other as we go through this. Tough as this is, I’m going through it all without the majority of my old symptoms.

    · I am still dealing with a troublesome foot symptom – so I’ll be back on the forum for that!

    My advice (my two-cents worth):

    · Learn as much as you need to, but not a jot more. There comes a point of diminishing returns. Once you’ve got the fundamentals down, it becomes a matter of applying them and being kind to yourself as you do.

    · Find what works for you. There are differing (and animated) opinions about what works and what does not. For example, some people believe that “digging up the past” is not necessary. Simply apply mindbody principles to the symptoms you have, whatever their source. This is sound advice for many people. Yet, in my case, digging up the past—and I mean really, really digging, is exactly what I needed to do, and that I knew I needed to do, regardless of what other people advised. The digging got me through the strongest of my unconscious, protective blocks which for sixty years prevented me from recognizing that I’m a woman living in a male form. Most of my physical pain and much my emotional suffering—a sense of emptiness that I misconstrued in so many ways—find its source in this fundamental disconnection. I’ve experienced a lot of joy and lightness in the realization, and that makes it clear how much stress my body was under as I coped with living with such an unconsciously fragmented sense of self.

    · Find a community, a few positive, solution-oriented people to be in touch with. I found that here on this lovely site and its forums. (In that spirit, if anything I’ve put out here is useful to you and you want to follow up, feel free to PM me.)

    Shameless plugs:

    · Alan Gordon’s The Way Out distilled everything useful I learned into one slim book. I read it several times, a little bit each day, as a grounding meditation in TMS basics.

    · Dan Buglio’s “Pain Free You” is a trove of solid TMS wisdom. I found his calm YouTube posts consoling and instructive (and free). His weekly Zoom groups are helpful and, I thought, reasonably priced for all that he offers his clients.

    My best wishes to everyone!

    Northwood (Jennifer)
    BloodMoon and Ellen like this.

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