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Amber M. Symptom replacement or justified anxiety?

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by clairem, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. clairem

    clairem Peer Supporter

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    hi there, ive noticed anxiety and low mood increasing alot since pain has been decreasing, i know this can sometimes happen but how does one know if it is symptom replacement and not some other 'real' reason ?

    for example it got quite bad and my husband wanted me to see my gp, however as they probably dont understand fully tms and recovery from it they want to try anti anxiety meds - but i worry that its like using a crutch for tms leg pain - ie. giving strength to the idea that it is not tms symptom

    many thanks!
    kld03c likes this.
  2. Amber Murphy LCSW

    Amber Murphy LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Clairem. I am so glad you asked this question, it is a question that comes up A LOT. But first, congratulations on reducing your pain! It sounds like you have your symptoms on the run. Well done!

    Just as you described, it is common for other symptoms to start popping up as your pain decreases. Your previous symptom no longer holds the same power over you and is not able to scare, distract or preoccupy you. Your brain is now working desperately to find something that might actually scare you and it sounds like it is working. Anxiety and depression are TMS equivalents. We typically think of anxiety and depression as a mask working to cover and distract you from the uncomfortable emotions going on underneath.

    The great news is, you can beat your anxiety and depression in the same manner that you defeated your physical pain. The first step is not allowing these symptoms to frighten you. As you feel the anxiety rising, identify it as TMS and engage in the same strategies and nurturing self-talk that helped you reduce your pain. Self-care exercises such as deep breathing and mindfulness meditation can help you regulate your body and take you out of the fight or flight state.

    Continue on your journey to TMS recovery with confidence and courage, knowing fully that these new symptoms are merely TMS hoping to frighten and distract you. Just like you defeated your pain…you can and will defeat the anxiety and depression!

    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2015
    Fabi, 575, kld03c and 2 others like this.
  3. clairem

    clairem Peer Supporter

    Thanks !
  4. Peggy

    Peggy Well known member

    Hi Clairm:

    Welcome to the forum. Did you have anxiety before you had pain? Maybe you are just going back to the source of the problem.

    I had anxiety for years before I got a sore back. In 2014, I used TMS knowledge to make my back well. Since then the anxiety has resurfaced. It's hard for me to have a lot of anxiety laying around in bed all day. Maybe anxiety around having a sore back, but I certainly avoided social anxiety. Now it's coming out. I am learning to talk to it the way I talked to my back, as Amber mentions. I have found this last week quite interesting on the forum, there seems to be so much talk about anxiety and anxiety after the pain goes away. It has been very helpful to me. I find winter can be a good time for reflecting, not quite so busy.

    . . . or maybe the whole thing is just in my imagination, maybe people have been having the anxiety talk the whole time and I just didn't notice . . .

    funny what the mind will do.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  5. clairem

    clairem Peer Supporter

    hello peggy , i had anxiety when i was younger around 8/9 yrs old around math lessons at school and some social anxiety - i used to end up vomiting with pure anxiety before i went out partying with friends when i was around 18yrs old!

    im starting to treat it as you said like i do pain x
    Peggy likes this.
  6. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Anxiety and low mood are part of living, of course, and even those without pain experience them.
    Whether they are caused by TMS or not, I feel both at times (bills in the mail generate my anxiety
    and too many cloudy days can give me the blues.)

    I treat both by deep breathing, living in the present, and laughing. I think happy and it makes me feel happy.

    No. this is not Mary Poppins, it's walt, that great old sage from Chicago.

    I'm thinking of writing to the U.S. Postmaster General and saying I'm in favor of a 5-day delivery
    (none on Saturday). One less day to get bills or junk mail. People who really love me either phone or e-mail me.
    clairem likes this.
  7. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    Thought I'd add this in. Anxiety/mood disorder is associated with Amygdala activity/size.

    Study from Stanford

    Meta-analysis- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2739676/

    graphical representation.

    interesting how we can consciously be aware of being overly anxious yet be completely powerless in stopping it in its tracks.
    Again the subconscious-ANS dictatorship is king and so the focus must remain here.

    My two cents is the power of suggestion in the case of TMS. we tell the our mind there is no problem and never has been. the body responds in kind.
    really fascinating stuff.

    p.s. Ashok Gupta who features in ''All the Rage'' focusses almost exclusively on the Amygdala and 'retraining' it in order to overcome symtoms of CFS.
    Forest likes this.
  8. kld03c

    kld03c Peer Supporter

    Clairem, I'm so glad that you asked this question! I have had my share of anxiety in the past to the point of almost being afraid to leave the house. I've noticed it since I was a teenager and am now is my early 30s. I've been on the TMS recovery journey now since June of last year. I had debilitating back pain come out of now where and it
    was 9 months of hell. Fast forward to December '14 I was lucky enough to see Dr. S, a TMS practitioner while in CA on vacation. He confirmed the TMS diagnosis and I've been on my merry way and the pain has decreased substantially to where I've been at the gym, 2 mile walks on the beach, etc.

    Guess what has been roaring it's ugly head with a vengeance? Yep, anxiety. Good old dependable anxiety.
    I would suspect many people with TMS have an anxiety disorder. I see the strong connection between the 2.
    Now that the anxiety has calmed, I've got pain in my glutes along with sciatic pain that came from nowhere! A new symptom of neck and shoulder pain. It's pretty crazy what our bodies can do. Back to journaling for me and I get through this patch!
    575 likes this.

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