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Such severe pain - TMS?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by lina82, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. lina82

    lina82 Peer Supporter

    I have been following the SEP now for 22 days. I have become more active, I have tried to "look past" my pain and focus on what I want to do (how I want to be active) instead of letting the pain rule me and so on. I have been journaling and I have tried to believe in TMS. But recently I have started to lose hope again. I have such severe pain in my feet and my legs 24/7.The pain is around 8 on a scale 1-10 and it's a terrible kind of pain that I can't even describe. I try to not get scared of it, but I have to confess that sometimes I'm terrified. And I'm angry - it's so frustrating to feel this pain during all the activities I try to do despite the pain. The pain is screaming constantly.

    How can I believe that this is "only" TMS? I don't fear that it would be something life threatening - a lot of tests have been done and nothing is found. But it's so life quality threatening. I get so sad and angry about the situation.

    Does anyone have any comforting / hopeful comments or perspective on this?
  2. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    Yes, I do. I understand how hard it is to look "around" a pain that is so relentless and in-your-face all the time. The anxiety and fear made me feel like I wanted to jump out of my skin. I will tell you that once I learned how to beat back the fear, anger, & anxiety and get that to calm down, the pain itself became much more tolerable.

    So my advice is to focus on that first. Practice calming techniques whenever you feel the emotions surrounding the pain. Focus on your breathing and keep bringing your mind back to your breath until you feel the tension in your body release. (This works.) Listen to music that you find calming. Focus your attention on a candle flame and let the random movements of the light soothe you. Look at the random patterns of movement in nature - the clouds, the trees, water - and sink into that, breathe, release.

    This website has lots of resources for ways to learn mindfulness and relaxation techniques. They work. You can buy a recording that will guide you through the process. I found that very helpful. Tackle the fear/anxiety first and then the rest will follow.

    You are not alone. Many of us have been where you are now. It can be better. Let us know how you are doing.

    Wishing you comfort and peace!
    Anne Walker, Ellen and North Star like this.
  3. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dear Lina, Oh yes, I understand. Leg and ankle pain crippled me for years. The worst was waking up in the middle of the night with severe pain. (Then I would lie away and ruminate over the apparent bone tumor…complete with a lovely funeral at the end.) The depression and fear this caused was horrible.

    The only way to know for certain that it is TMS is to see a TMS doc. BUT - you've done the next best thing and have gotten any tissue breakdown ruled out. The other thing I see, which is quite wonderful, is the flare up. Yeah, slap me. I know flare ups are no fun. But I think many of us here have found that flare ups precede a breakthrough. It might be an "AHA!" moment of some of your causative issues or and decrease in pain. (That decrease however can frequently cue to the symptom imperative so don't be surprised if a new ache or symptom pops up.

    I fews I've learned is I've GOT to speak kindly to my body. I took it so far as massaging my leg and thanking it for taking me around. To express gratitude that I have two legs.

    I've spent so many years cursing my legs and the pain and expense they've put me through…I knew I needed to be more defensive in breaking those patterns.

    This website has SO many great resources to help you out. Dr. Schubiner's program, "Unlearn Your Pain" was very helpful to me in that I learned how to change that inner dialog that was so destructive.

    Another simple first step is to go to this thread a practice that breathing technique. That was the first thing I learned many years ago. It took me awhile before I could draw a breath without hyperventilating, I was so keyed up with nervous energy.

    One step in front of the other, my friend. The victory will come.
    Anne Walker, Ellen and Dahlia like this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dear lina,

    So sorry to hear that you are experiencing such intense pain. I've been there, as have most of us on the Forum, and know how hard it is to do anything when the pain is screaming at you.

    You've been given great advice already by @Dahlia and @North Star. I'll just add another technique that works for me when the pain is really strong. Instead of trying to focus on other things, focus all your attention on the pain, but do it while withholding judgment. Try to approach it like a curious observer and experience it as pure sensation without labeling it. Remain neutral. Just note it's characteristics and boundaries, etc. It's not easy to do, but with practice it becomes easier. I have had pain totally go away after doing this for 20-30 minutes. It can be helpful to do it with a guided meditation. Here is a link to some free meditations, and the one entitled Soften, Soothe, and Allow uses this technique.


    I hope this helps. Hang in there. It can take longer for some us to find relief, but it will happen. Let us know how you're doing.
    Anne Walker, North Star and Dahlia like this.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi lina82,
    It sounds like you are in a lot of suffering right now. Here are some things I might add to what others have said in support:

    The Dr. Sarno approach works. Period. For 10,000s of people. Irrefutable evidence.

    Read my story. Severe foot pain, 14 doctors, most of whom wanted to cut somewhere! The medical industry knows very little about pain. Dr. Sarno is the master. Take it from me. Less than a year after I took up the Sarno approach, I skied around Crater Lake, a three day trip with backpack, solo. This, after I thought my life was coming to an end.

    You are taking a huge stand against the mind-body pain strategy of distraction. I hear that it would be easier if there was more progress, but try to disconnect the two things: your steadfast SEP program work and progress, and the experience of pain.

    You are in stress and anxiety. If you can find some moments when you are relatively relaxed, ask yourself what your mind-body really needs (what techniques, approaches) in order to understand what you are trying to teach it. Each of us on the forum have found our own ways, within the basic approach.

    Here is Dr. Schubiner's link on fear. Notice how he suggests several ways...


    Find some moments to simply hold yourself in your arms and feel the fear and pain, in empathy for what your experience is like lately. You are afraid, and you are in pain. It is extremely hard, and you have been trying so hard.

    I hope you don't give up, and stay steadfast. It will work. If you're still bogged down in another month, you might add a counseling approach, and there are many resources listed on the Wiki.

    I hope any of this might be a help.

    Balsa11, Anne Walker and Dahlia like this.
  6. Buckeye

    Buckeye Peer Supporter

    Wow, I just tried this for a pain that I'm having today. I picked one pain of the many that popped up today. And, it's like I angered gremlins. By the end, that spot is in fact pain free, but new pains popped up all over my body and even in my head. My first instinct was to switch to chase all these new pains, but I decided to stick to the one that I'd started with because it was the worst when I started. Even now, that pain is still gone... but, I feel like I made the gremlins mad and they're on a bit of a rampage now. This has to epitomize TMS.
    Dahlia likes this.
  7. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Buckeye,

    Yikes! Sounds like you experienced the Symptom Imperative gone wild. I've had pains pop up in other locations after I got rid of it in one location, but never all over my body at once. They say that experiencing the Symptom Imperative is a good sign, because now you have the pain "on the run". You have certainly demonstrated to yourself the power of the mind to effect pain in the body. Keep doing what you're doing, and soon things will improve.
    Dahlia likes this.
  8. Buckeye

    Buckeye Peer Supporter

    hehehe... googling "Symptom Imperative".... still new to this stuff and am still learning... but nice to know there's a name beside "grumpy gremlins" for it (I think) :)
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    TMS has a word for everything. It's good to know because it tells us that we are not the only ones with pain or other symptoms
    that are caused by our repressed emotions or perfectionist and "goodist" personalities.

    I'm still learning not to let it anger me when friends or family call and talk about people they know but that I don't.
    They go on and on about these people who are total strangers to me.
    I just hold the phone away from my ear and do some deep breathing, even laugh to myself.

    I also try not to let it bother me about how with all the new technology giving people ways to communicate,
    how little they really do communicate. I mean just calling if they're going to be late.

    My best friend once asked me, never to come over without first phoning. He asked everyone he knew to do that.
    I agreed and we stayed friends until he died. I think he had a good idea.
    lorrie and Anne Walker like this.
  10. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    Some great advice from all these wonderful people....this is why I love this site so many caring people going threw the same issues....I suffer the same issues and the first thing I do is self care which means I take some pain meds to help me with my tms journey there is nothing said that you can't take pain meds while you go threw your journey even Dr Sarno says you can take them if it's that severe and it sounds like it is go threw your sep, journaling self talk and meditation and a little prayer goes a long way?
  11. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Lina. I bet you can gather from all these responses that most of us have been in the position you are now and are very sympathetic with the struggle to believe that the excruciating, relentless pain can actually be caused by TMS. Its not all that difficult to believe that it could be the case for others, but when it comes to ourselves we have to convince ourselves over and over, moment by moment, in the face of a very powerfully distracting force - our pain. I used to complain to those close to me how they expected the pain to be easier to deal with just because I had been experiencing it for months. But the reality for me is that it hurt each moment, and it was as hard to deal with after months as when it first started. Some days it was like a bad horror film and I would say to myself "How can this still be happening?" When pain is being generated for emotional and psychological reasons, there are not a lot of good options unless we can somehow develop the strength and awareness to face it, or to mask the pain for temporary relief or stumbling upon placebos. I did this for over 20 years. You asked the question: "How can I believe that this is "only" TMS?"
    I am one of those that could not just step into 100% belief in TMS recovery. At some point I made a choice to commit to it regardless of whether I believed 100% or not. I made that commitment because I had explored so many other options before - medical and alternative - and was not able to 100% embrace any of them any more. I was in limbo. It seems like that may be where you are now because I do not sense from your post that you truly believe there is a structural, medical cause for your pain that you have not explored. You can do as I did and just commit to the TMS recovery and when you notice that you are having a hard time believing it is TMS, recognize that this doubt is part of what fuels the TMS. Try not to give yourself a hard time for having doubt. Keep an evidence sheet and make note of any little successes or inconsistencies in a structural diagnosis. I found this very helpful. Read all you can about outcome independence and try your best to not monitor your pain. If you notice you are obsessively thinking about your pain, look for something else that you can focus on or bring your attention to. I had a certain game on luminosity that took at lot of focus and attention. I would play this game just to get my focus on something else for a while. I know it sounds counter intuitive but if you can find a way to follow a TMS recovery program and not judge the success based on your pain levels and find little ways to lessen your focus on the pain, it will get better and you will find relief. Once that happens, the belief will come. I know some people can step right into it, and for some of us it is more of a process. What we don't talk about a whole lot is how we can be so much happier and manage things even before we are 100% pain free. I went from "I don't know how I am going to live with this pain" to "even if I am never pain free I can still live a happy and meaningful life."
    So it is not always as difficult as it is right now. You may feel considerably better tomorrow and you need to leave the door open for those little successes. They make a big difference.
    Ren, Mala, walllc643 and 1 other person like this.
  12. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Anne, Your whole post is so clear, so supportive. It addresses doubt, and that progress can be made even in the face of doubt, and how to do that by finding some little progress, and building on that. That was kind of how my progress went. Thank you for the contribution.
    Anne Walker likes this.
  13. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    Hi I'm new too. I hear you pain and my heart goes out to you. Just wanted to offer a different perspective and say - if you feel in your heart you need to try out different treatments that focus on the physical in addition to exploring the idea of TMS I support you. I first read Sarno's book Healing Back Pain four years ago and it had no affect on me at the time. I then went to see a Craniosacral therapist and that helped enormously - Craniosacral is subtle bone and tissue manipulation using the cerebral spinal fluid but also can incorporate Somatic-Emotional Release. I then went to see a Nutritionist/MD who told me I had a network of food allergies. So I did a major diet change. My digestion is much better. These things were unbelievably helpful, and so I don't regret my path, and the process of my healing. However four years later I was still in somewhat severe and very annoying pain. And it wasn't until working with a psychotherapist and rediscovering Sarno's books and the idea of TMS that I have experienced relief. It is still a day at a time but I know there is something to this mind-body stuff!! :)
    Dahlia and Boston Redsox like this.
  14. Back-To-Golf

    Back-To-Golf Peer Supporter

    My problem is lower back pain. Trust me, I am sure a lot of forumers here with LBP will tell you LBP is the most debilitating.
    I am not trying to compare which type of pain is worse. I am sure whether its the hands, leg, neck, shoulders or whatever, it will be the 'most' painful to the person who is suffering from it.

    When my LBP strike, its unimaginable to think that there is nothing structurally wrong. Yet, when the pain goes away (and it will), you just can't have any more reason for it.....other than....well you know.
    Lunarlass66, Dahlia and Anne Walker like this.
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    LBP can be persistent and mean. I still get it at times, mostly when stressed and angry about something.
    It goes away so I know it's not structural. I have to keep reminding myself that it is TMS from repressed anger and guilt
    and the pain stops. I have to keep forgiving others and myself. That's where the release from pain comes.
  16. lina82

    lina82 Peer Supporter

    Thank you all for your replies! I haven't had time to write, because my life has become quite turbulent lately... One week ago my boyfriend (we are living together) told me he doesn't want to be with me anymore and that came as a chock to me (even if I know it has been a very VERY demanding year for him). So this week I have been trying to deal with that. I did some journaling and some drawing, but it's hard to get to the emotions - I'm quite numb. And at night I have terrible pain in whole my body. A kind of pain that I haven't had in some months. So it's clear that it's stress-related.

    I don't really have the energy or courage to fully believe in TMS now, but I'm definately sure that the pain is stress-related. I'm reading a lot about the nervous system and I'm going for somatic experiencing every month. I'm not giving up yet, but I don't now for how far I can go on.

    And I don't know at all what I think about this boyfriend situation. The pain is taking all my energy (which of course is the whole purpose of TMS).
  17. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member


    You are not alone in your situation young lady....first feel good about your self that you know where the tms is coming from breakups can stear the emotional pot pretty good bring up all kinds of things. I would suggest the first thing to you is self care take care of your pain wether its meditating journaling prayer hot bath laughter be with people you enjoy doing something you love they all can help you with pain....and lastly if needed medication, a lot of people on this site say to stop them, I say stop them when your ready or if you are into much pain you will not be able to work on your healing.
  18. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lina, Marco has given you the best advice. A broken relationship can cause TMS pain. It may even trigger past traumatic situations.
    You need to keep journaling about your life now and going back to your girlhood for repressed emotions. And you need to believe
    100 percent that your pain is caused by TMS, repressed emotions and/or a perfectionist or "goodist" personality.

    You wrote that your boyfriend had a very difficult year. He may very well be trying to deal with that, and a relationship may be too much
    for him now. Maybe he can work out his problems and then come back to you. I would keep hope that that could happen.

    You might give him a copy of Dr. Sarno's book Healing Back Pain and tell him you believe in it and hope he will give it a read,
    but meanwhile, keep working on your own TMS healing.

    For pain at any time of day or night or in bed, practice deep breathing and tell yourself positive mantras. My favorite is
    "Every day in every way I am getting better and better." Another is what my mother always told us, "This too shall pass."
  19. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    You can journal about what it feels like to be numb. Feel it, feel the texture, look at how you feel about it, or attack yourself about it, or think it "should be different." Notice how it might feel like a refuge. Maybe it feels good in some ways. Start where you are. It is OK to feel numb.

    Numbness is a great indicator, as you say, that there is huge stuff going on inside. Knowing that those tectonic plates are moving down deep in the dark is enough to connect to your symptoms, and therefore you can begin to undermine their distraction work.

    You may not feel the rage, hurt, sadness (or similar feelings) about your boyfriend, but you can imagine it is there. Very painful and wants a distraction...soon you may have a huge cry, and you will feel closer to your own precious heart. There will be a release of sorts.

    No doubt there is huge pain, and really, how can any of us feel the depth of this, the hurts in our life, fully? TMS is there to distract.

    I am sorry about you losing your boyfriend, and I wish you healing. Walt and Boston give compassionate advice...

    North Star, Ellen and Ryan like this.
  20. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    Oh honey my heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry to hear it. I had terrible pain in the last relationship I was in and when I was out of it for awhile I felt better. Take some time and space and your emotions will come :) take care


    One week ago my boyfriend (we are living together) told me he doesn't want to be with me anymore and that came as a chock to me (even if I know it has been a very VERY demanding year for him). So

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