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symptom questions

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Leslie, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I've found quite a bit of information about symptoms changing or moving around and how it is considered progress. I'm wondering if anyone has an experience with the addition of symptoms. Situations where the original pain location continues but additional pain (much milder and shorter lived so far in my case - but new nonetheless) appears in other spots. Is this a common occurrence?

    I'm also wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the relationships between pain tolerance and symptom severity/duration or lack of physical circumstances to "prove to your mind that something won't hurt".

    I have always had (and continue to have) what several medical professionals have described for me as a ridiculously high pain tolerance. I only took pain medication for the physical pain that brought me to TMS for a very brief period of time (about 4 weeks out of 19 months) and only did so because the prescribing doc was insistent that I try it to see if giving my nervous system a "vacation" from intense pain would help with the healing. Does anyone know of any correlations between pain tolerance and symptom severity/duration?

    Additionally, all of the experts stress the importance of resuming physical activity as soon as is reasonably feasible w/o risk of further injury as a means of confirming the TMS diagnosis to yourself. I'm wondering if my inability to confirm my diagnosis to myself in this manner could be hampering my healing process. That ridiculous pain tolerance has pretty much allowed me to "power through" physical activity the entire time I've been suffering. Fortunately, my primary treatment providers were advocates of continued use of the painful areas so I have been doing various types of exercise all throughout the 19 months of pain. I have stopped the exercises I was taught to specifically target the supposed "weak/injured" areas thinking continuing these would send "confirmation/belief" signals to my mind. All the workouts I do on my own for overall health - without specific targets - I've basically done all along. There were some modifications I made to some of the exercises during times of intense pain which I don't allow myself to use any longer but I'm wondering if this is enough "proof" for my subconscious. Exercise has actually decreased my pain throughout this whole experience. It has been somewhat sedentary activities that have increased pain for me all along - sitting, typing at a computer for prolonged periods of time, driving distances, and oddly enough hooded sweatshirts or heavier coats (my primary TMS location is in my neck/shoulder area). I sit to do my journaling, I spend quite a bit of time on the computer now (incidentally I was told prolonged time at the computer was actually the cause of my pain and quit my 99% computer based job over a year ago because of it). I've also driven long distances on two occasions in the past month - good thing I was the only one in the car because I spent the entire time telling myself out loud that NOTHING hurts. I was somewhat successful at convincing myself of it and the pain was nowhere near what it has been in the past.

    I expect my subconscious just needs more time for acceptance but I'm also hoping that additional insight will help it.
  2. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    In his autobiography, Lance Armstrong describes how he had an abusive, filandering step dad who used to spank him with a paddle. Then in adolescence, Lance got into any form of endurance sport that was what he called a "suffer fest". What I'm getting at is that your high tolerance for pain could be symptomatic of your own emotional need to suffer for whatever underlying psychological reason it may be. Better look deep inside and find out why you have this self-described high tolerance for pain and suffering in the first place I would suggest. You're obviously very proud of it for a reason.
  3. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    I don't know if it's common but I've had it, too. My foot pain is still there, and in addition I sometimes get wrist pain; shoulder muscle cramping; dizziness; upset stomach; headache.
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lately, as my original TMS symptoms in my lower back and left leg have diminished, a new pain in the right shoulder has appeared. The original pain areas are still affected, but much less than formerly. The new one in the shoulder is more like a minor inconvenience that is now going down after a couple of days. So, yes, I've had exactly the same symptoms that Leslie notices.
  5. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Wow MorComm I never thought of it like that. I've occasionally wondered if I subconsciously believe I am deserving of suffering and that's why I do so many of the self-defeating things I do. It never crossed my mind that my physical pain tolerance could be connected to that but the connection makes total sense to me. Thank you so much for your insight!
  6. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    This is very interesting MorComm. I always assumed my high pain tolerance started when I had scoliosis surgery at 16. Then my health care coverage has been so awful that I have terrible pain while trying to diagnose myself on the internet because I can't afford to go to multipe doctors or have numerous tests done.

    My own emotional need to suffer...these days nothing surprises me. Very interesting.
  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't think it's any accident that all the people I know who are into endurance sports have conflicted relationships with parents who have conflicted relationships themselves. They seem to like to suffer like it's a merit badge that sets them apart and makes them better than others. No. From reading Gabor Mate's When the Body Says No, I see that such emotionally repressive coping styles develop during early childhood and are really defensive in nature. It isolates and insulates them from the contradictions in their relationship with their parents but is really an extension of those unresolved conflicts. So the Nietzschean Man of Power is quite often a wimp deep inside. Don't get me talkin'! This subject could fill volumes!
  8. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    By all means, please bring on the volumes! I desperately need them. I've been looking at the personality chapters of Dr. Brady's book and I very clearly see myself as a perfectionist, recently realized people/pleasing goodist, and somewhat begrudgingly have to admit a Fear type. I can also see my parents as one primarily a legalist and the other a 50/50 combo of perfectionist and stoic. What further insights can you give me? Until your post, I never had a thought about my feelings towards my pain tolerance but after reading what you wrote, I had to admit to myself (most ashamedly) I guess I am.
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm afraid we're all Moderns, Leslie, and have antithetical, paradoxical personalities. This is definitely not the Renaissance when high and low, inner and outer were, for a brief moment, reconciled in the West. I've just been reading Gabor Mate's When the Body Says No, which I've placed next to my bed to look over when I wake up early. That's where my insights have been coming from, so, rather than trying to sound wise, I'd advise that you order a copy on Amazon.com and start reading Dr Mate's book yourself. From what I've read so far, I see what Dr Sarno says about cancer and heart conditions and autoimmune diseases is really true: TMS is like a first-stage alert that tells you something is wrong with your habitual repressive coping styles. More serious disorders are likewise manifestations of what repression can do to your brain, central nervous system, and autoimmune system if you don't short-circuit the process with insight and hard-earned self-knowledge. I'd likewise recommend looking at the video on Neurodegeneration by Prof. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford U. that I just posted in the Media section. The examples he cites from primate social behavior and the development of high-blood pressure and dementia are uncomfortably close to the way human beings behave too.
  10. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    I believe you mentioned in the Chat about the age 4-6 years old being a critical time for children. I was 4 years old when my brother passed away. My sister was 6 1/2. She has TMS too but mine is significantly worse. My Mother pulled her love away from us in her terrible emotional pain. She never has been able to love us deeply always from a distance all our lives.

    Can you elaborate on the age 4-6 issue please. I would like a better understanding. Or recommend a book? Sandy
  11. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, I believe that failure to bond with the mother stands behind a lot of psychological problems. But I'm certainly no expert on early childhood development by any stretch of the imagination. I recall reading a book in college by Piaget entitled Stages of Childhood Development that notes some critical times in a child's life:


    I have heard that ego formation occurs around the 6th year when you start to have explicit memories of events that you can recall. Before that something called implicit memory is operative where your memories are wholly unconscious, formative and emotional. Around my 6th year I can remember my eye operation to correct "lazy eye" (very traumatic because I was separated from my mother) and playing with large blocks in kindergarten (already a perfectionist: remember being enraged at the other kids who didn't like formally arranged architectural patterns). Around my 7th year there are more explicit details, like my parents first abortive attempt at a divorce and fighting all the time. But before my 6th year, there are only a few details, like playing in a sandbox and reaching for a cat and falling two stories into the sandbox completely unscathed. I did know that I better not tell my mother about that one! I would assume that traumatic events that coincided with ego-formation around the 6th year would have quite an effect on a child's subsequent development and coping style. I imagine too that you "remember" emotionally charged events before your 6th year in your very bones, what a TMSer would call 'bodymind'; big things like whether the world is a frightening and hostile place or one where you're safe to be yourself and do your thing unmolested.

    When I was around 7 I do recall my parents moving to a real rough neighborhood in Bayview-Hunters Point area of San Francisco. Half Italian/Half African American. You didn't get farther than running distance from your front door if you knew what was good for you. Luckily for me, my father started taking me to the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._H._de_Young_Memorial_Museum

    the Fleishhaker Zoo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Zoo

    and the Palace of the Legion of Honor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Palace_of_the_Legion_of_Honor

    They sure did some of the right things to instill in me a historical imagination and develop my love of nature and the outdoors. But the period between the time I was born and my 6th year is pretty remote and for the most part unavailable to me. Oh yes, I do remember Bennie Bufano's cat statues in front of my kindergarten, but the true time line is hazy. If their subsequent marital difficulties are any indication of how it was at the beginning of their relationship, as a child I must have been exposed to a very conflicted situation! Things you remember in your bones, but not in your frontal lobes.

    Of course, Freud and Jung and Adler and all those early psychologists and psychiatrists have their own take on childhood development. I don't know too much about the modern behaviorists, but Piaget would be a good place to start I think. So start reading Piaget and give us a report at the chat next week if you want. I do know that a modern interest in childhood as a separate space from the adult world began during the Romantic Revolution at the close of the 18th century. That's when William Wordsworth penned the famous lines: "The child is father to the man". Before that, children were regarded as little miniature adults who needed to be corrected with punishment in order to conform to adult standards of behavior. "Little savages"!
  12. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    When I started writing down all the sad, angry and afraid events from my first remembrance I have quit a few early ones.

    I remember the fireplace mantel catching fire during Xmas time.... probably 3 1/2
    At 4 I have quit a few memories.
    I remember my baby brother crying inconsolably for months before he died.
    I remember when they finally put him in the hospital we snuck up the back stairs because back then they did not let little kids in the hospital. I was put on his bed. I took my fingers and touched his in the air vent holes in the oxygen tent.
    I remember standing at his casket peeking in, it was low to the ground, I was on one side of my Mother, my sister on the other. I remember reaching in to the casket with my fingers to touch his like I did in the air vents. My Mother pulled my hand back.
    I remember my Mother putting her arms around the two of us saying "we have to be strong." (all my life I have been trying to be strong)

    It is all very clear. I had never talked to my sister about this until a few months ago. She remembers both situations too after I brought them up. I also discussed these memories with my parents. They confirmed they all happened. I don't know if these were just so traumatic which would account for my remembering.

    I was just curious. I will look at your internet sites listed and book. Just trying to understand. Thanks Sandy
    MorComm likes this.
  13. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Sandy my heart aches for you. Those are heart-wrenching memories. Such a difficult and painful experience for anyone, let alone a young child. No wonder your pain tolerance is so high, you've been practicing since you were 4. Please keep me updated with what you learn from the sites and the book. I'm very interested in the information but I'm afraid if I add one more book or site to my "to read" list right now I'll completely shut down.
  14. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sandy, that certainly sounds like strong material to use in a thinly-veiled work of fiction like a novel or long short story. What about moments like that passed on from generation to generation? I remember my mother telling me about her mother dying in the Great Flu epidemic in 1918. Just as she was being taken out the door of the homestead to go to the hospital in Great Falls, my grandmother Kari turned to my mother Helen (she was eldest) and told her to take care of her little sister Grayce and my late grandfather. My mother sure took up that torch and cared for grandpa and aunt Grayce for the rest of her life. But she also took care of me and my father like her life depended on it. Super mom, inveterate family care-giver the rest of her life. My mom preserved that image through the generations, helping me go to grad school, paying to have my dissertation typed, putting up with my father's hangovers and tantrums.

    Your imagery is certainly charged with tragic emotion and quite powerful!
  15. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    I was going to post on this very topic tonight! As the IBS and anxiety have gotten better the cognitive impairments have gotten worse and now as I have turned my attention to getting rid of those, I have come down with depression. I have a feeling it has been with me as an undercurrent for some time now. I never really feel "sad" doing day to day things but I have been isolating for a long time and I can't remember a time when I didn't rush home to get pjs on and lie in bed and read. I used to be SUPER social and now I have a hard time going out. I think it's partially due to the fact that I have to fake being super happy all day at work so by the time I'm off, I'm so drained of energy that I can't do much else. I feel like most of my symptoms have existed simultaneously for a long time. For almost 2 years it was predominantly IBS and anxiety now it's several things but they are all less severe.

    I also have traumatic memories from age 3 or younger. How crazy it is that we have memories from such a young age!

    At least it looks like I have this stuff on the run! ;)
  16. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't think it's possible to have explicit memories of specific events before you're 5 or 6 or so. I used to think I could remember being examined by doctors when I was an infant. However, I realize now what I really was remembering was when I was anesthetized when I was 6 y.o. to have an eye operation to correct 'lazy eye'. I think you can have a bunch of disassociated implicit emotional memories of events that could have been traumatic way back then before ego formation.

    Of course, I'd welcome any corrections from a real expert on memory and emotion.

    Good that you have your TMS "on the run", as you say.

  17. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    Whoops I meant age 5... That's when my parents divorced and the memory is from when we still lived in a particular house all together. That's the memory issues I am currently battling. I feel like a 60 year old lady and I'm not even 30 :( *Cue the self-criticism in 3...2...1...
  18. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I disagree, MorComm. I have a very vivid memory of a visit to the ER when I was much younger than 5. I described this memory and it's after effects in a previous thread a few months back. Interesting that a few of us have memories involving hospitals either as a patient or a visitor.

    SandyRae, I have read your descriptions about your little brother's death before but you still brought tears to my eyes this morning.

    Layne, I think SteveO talks about how it is okay to read and gain knowledge to start us off but at some point we need to act on that knowledge. One of these actions for you could be to re-connect with your social life. I too have a great desire to just hide myself away. In the last year I have taken steps to become more social, to take chances, to meet new people. This for me as a super duper introvert is hard. I continue to take slow, steady steps, like a toddler learning to walk. I also ignore the critical parent voice calling after me.
  19. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Now that you jog my memory, yb44, I realized I too had a childhood memory way before my 5th b-day. When my mother and father were living in an apartment house on Hyde Street in San Francisco it must have been before I was 5 years old. Maybe around 4 years old? There was a fire in an apartment across the street from us and I could stare out the front window of our flat and see the smoke billowing out the window. I do remember being afraid of fire. I recall that my father said that my mother would probably set our place on fire with her smoking, which made me afraid of fire all the more for a long while afterwards.

    But what you notice about such as early memory is that it's not specific and detailed and stored in a chronological sequence like adult memory. The association between fire and fear means that it's what they call an implicit emotional memory stored in an area of the brain that mediates between emotions and memory. Maybe the limbic region or the amygdala? I don't know enough about neuroscience to say for sure. But the lesson did sink in that I wasn't supposed to play with matches and fire like some of the kids did in the neighborhood. This was a habit my parents obviously strongly disapproved of!

    I also remember a bronze lion in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park that my father photographed me sitting next too when I was about 4 maybe? I can recall touching his bronze claws and identifying with the lion like he was alive. But again, that's an emotional memory that's not located in my mind in a specific sequence of events in a time/space continuum. It's not like my explicit memories of playing baseball or four square when I was 10 in fifth grade or so. The geography and sequencing is not nearly as explicit and geometrical when I was touching those bronze claws back when I was 4 years old.

    I would suggest that the quality of your memories changes around your 6th birthday during the phase of ego development, but not that there are not earlier memories associated with emotionally charged events. I know that looking at my baby blanket in my mother's cedar chest after her death in 2002 brought back some memories of laying on it as an infant. But nothing really specific and detailed - just strongly emotionally charged with feelings that were almost primordial.
  20. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Hi Everyone,
    I'm wondering if any of you know a way to determine if your memories from when you are young are accurate? I ask because I had a painful memory from early childhood surface in my journaling this morning. I'm not comfortable going into a lot of detail about it out here for all the world to read, but the only parts I have confidence in are the players, the location, and that I was younger than 6. Asking the others is not an option. As I was remembering and writing, the voice in my head was going non-stop with excuses, explanations, reasons that it wasn't as bad as I'm remembering it. I don't have many memories from when I was really young and I find my habit is to question the accuracy of the memories I think I do have.

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