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Swollen Tongue Related To Thoughts- Maybe Someone Here Can Help?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by LuluBell, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. LuluBell

    LuluBell Newcomer

    Ok, I'm afraid that this might be a really weird post. But what the heck - hopefully someone here can help me! There might be some triggering stuff in here so please be aware before reading...

    I'm a little over 1 week into this tms stuff. Started with Dr. Sarno's book and just finished Steve's book.

    It was spooky reading Steve's book - when I got to the part where he talks about when his symptoms started... in engineering school... red face... me too!!

    And then he talks about his swelling hands. Ok. I have a swollen tongue. I'm guessing this is just another incarnation of TMS.

    This next part is probably going to sound really dumb to everyone - but I'm really struggling here...

    Break out your tiny violins... I went to this really bizarre - intense - horrible university. The professors were terribly verbally abusive, the suicide rate was so high I would go to class everyday and look around to see if everyone had survived the night... etc. etc. etc. This is the source of my TMS.

    Something that happened on a regular basis was I would speak up against what was happening, file complaints, voice my opinion/ideas - and every time I was just totally knocked down, put down, punished, etc. . By professors, the dean, internship interviewers and supervisors, my classmates, even family, and my closest best friends...

    An example would be - the very first time a student had committed suicide I remember finding out during class and being absolutely in shock. Devastated. And all I could do was say things like: "oh my God. oh my God. How? Why? What do we do? Should we do something?" Looking around and seeing that no one else seemed to care I started saying "Doesn't anyone care??" My peers started yelling at me: "You're totally crazy! Why do you even care at all??? You shouldn't care! It's not like a big deal or anything."

    After years of this... it seems like now whenever I have an original or different thought my body goes into meltdown mode. My tongue swells up, I feel so sick all over, a lot of pressure, headaches sometimes. I have racing thoughts like "You're stupid! You're wrong! You're crazy! You're going to fail!!" I feel SO SCARED. It makes what I'm trying to do/think about excruciatingly difficult, uncomfortable, or impossible. I deal with this daily.

    I'm guessing that this is a conditioned response: "Stray from the crowd and bad things happen to you."

    And that this is just a part of TMS trying to protect/distract me.

    But it is so intense and I have been having these problems for so many years now. Also, it feels like I'm fighting with my brain.

    My question is - has anyone here experienced anything like this? How do I go about not doing this anymore. I just came to the realization that this is probably just TMS and not "real". Like even though it feels real - like the thoughts are real - that they are probably just beliefs that aren't true.

    (Ok I hope I don't sound like I'm completely insane.)
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi LuluBell,
    You have support for a TMS diagnosis in Steve O's description of his symptoms of swelling somewhere on his body. I had forgotten that...

    This sounds like an amplified "super ego attack" or Inner Critic attack. Inner Critic attacks/activity are common in all of us, but you may have an acute awareness of this. So there is greater reactivity: fear, anxiety, and TMS symptoms...

    Using Dr. Sarno's work, the question which might be helpful is "what does my Inner Child feel (the feelings) about being made to feel wrong or stupid about a thought I am having?" Tune into and "use your imagination" about what the Inner Child might be feeling which "should not be felt." Rage? Hurt? Frustration? Fear?

    As painful as your experience is, of the combination of psychological and physical suffering that you describe above, the good news is you can easily see the relationship between the psychodynamics and the symptoms. Just knowing where your symptoms come from can provide relief. You don't have to change anything. Just see the real cause. Change will come in time as you see more, and the patterns relax. What you're describing is not uncommon. I have worked with many people with mean Inner Critics. This is common and OK. Observe and connect to Dr. Sarno's work. This exact approach is what helped me so much: seeing how the Inner Critic, the inner dynamics were creating incredible tension.

    My Inner Critic did not have to stop in order for the pain to go away.

    Andy B
  3. LuluBell

    LuluBell Newcomer


    Thank you very much for taking the time to write your reply. I really appreciate it. I am going to look into everything you wrote in detail.

    Yesterday I spent the day thinking about what I wrote. And eventually I realized something - yes I have "extreme" moments where I have a very noticeable reaction: swollen tongue, headaches, fear, etc. etc.

    But, it turns out my entire day - morning to night is being ruled by "this".

    I have very unproductive and tired days. I thought I was depressed. This is very unlike my pre-trauma character. Like, completely the opposite of "me".

    I used to decide I wanted to do something - then do it and not fear the outcome.

    Now it's like I cannot make these decisions - or I want to do something - but I can't. I can't organize the day or even make a to do list. My physical symptoms keep me from doing it. Or, my brain feels like cement and prevents me from thinking about it.

    I think it is like this: "If it is an idea/thought coming from me - do whatever you can to make it impossible to do the thing - so you are not hurt."

    I originally thought maybe I'm afraid of failure or it was self doubt or lack of confidence. But now I'm thinking it is actually a TMS thing.

    I have been trying to rid myself of this for years - I feel like I have finally figured out the "trick" my brain has been playing on me - to protect me.

    Now... to stop it. Like you said, awareness should be a huge help. But it is still scary - I have been doing this for so long - it is hard to imagine my life not doing this.
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, it seems that you have a fairly clear picture of what is happening. There is anxiety, fear, and it is around "protection" or not getting hurt. Decisions and action are obviously related to this, as you surmise: "If I don't do anything, there is less chance of failure or hurt."

    You might be interested in this at the wiki:
    http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Overcome_Anxiety_with_Dr._Claire_Weekes (Overcome Anxiety with Dr. Claire Weekes)

    Mindfulness, accepting anxiety, accepting ourselves for our experience of anxiety, soothing self-talk, taking action while being with our anxious selves in a loving way --these are some things which come to me about this.

    Andy B
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have come to have a very wide view of TMS, which is that it's just one variation of the many mechanisms that our primitive brains use to supposedly keep us safe from the dangers of the primitive world. In other words, fear of failure/self-doubt/lack of confidence - these are all variations on the same theme, and that theme is just another variation of the "OMG DON'T DO THAT YOU MIGHT DIE!" syndrome that keeps us down. Our primitive brains have only one goal, which is to keep us alive just long enough to breed the next generation. This is totally unrealistic in the modern world and it's horribly damaging when experienced over our lengthy life spans!

    Recognizing this for what it is, and learning to counteract the fear and negativity, is what the work we do here is all about.

    And LuluBell, you are doing great work already - keep it up, and as Andy advises, soothe, love, and cherish yourself.


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