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Symptom Substitution

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by donavanf, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    I recently had a week of leg and lower back pain, after beginning to journal daily, and really work on expressing my anger. My "usual" TMS is upper back and shoulder pain and neck pain. That's been chronic for years. Lately, that is nearly gone!!! BUT it got replaced by leg and lower back pain. Ironically, I have been "growing" my business (photography) and the moment I decided to really focus on this, my legs began to hurt and it felt just like the "growing pains" I had as a kid when I started elementary school. At first, of course, I thought the leg and back pain was structural (I recently started walking daily as exercise, a trigger for me). When I realized this recent pain in my legs and back, was NOT from walking, but from TMS, and really realized it, it literally vanished in hours, and now I have had sinus pain and allergies for a week straight. It's like a cold without a cold. Can allergies and such be TMS? It's like "whack-a-mole". I feel like as soon as one symptom lifts, another pops up. And I feel like I want to cry, but can't. Like I have a huge weight "behind my eyes". Any thoughts? I recently re-read Sarno's "The Mind Body Prescription" and when he started talking about "Helen" and how she cried and cried and cried, it really resonated with me. I can journal for 20 minutes and UNBELIEVABLE rage pours out. But it's like I can't cry. My parents never told me not to cry, my dad even taught me it is normal for boys to cry. Why can't I cry? I feel like I need to but can't. I feel like my "allergies" are stuck tears. Thoughts? I am making great strides with TMS, in my personal life, in my business, but I am SO hard on myself, a perpetual goodist/perfectionist and I have so much shame and anger, I just don't know where to put it. I could use some words of encouragement. Has anyone else ever had TMS shift around like this? How can pain go from my legs to my sinuses overnight?
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  2. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Hi Donovan. I've had pain switch location within minutes! In fact, this week as teachers are getting ready for school to start I've been putting in 14 hr days, trying to get everything done. TMS appeared in a totally new location, so it took me a few days to figure it out.

    I think it's great that your journaling is so productive. Not everyone gets an emotional release via tears. Mine come more often now that I'm older, which I find a bit strange. We all heal in different ways.
  3. riverrat

    riverrat Well known member

    I'm going through similar this week. I relate to what you are asking! And i relate to how it sounds like you're feeling about your symptoms.

    My chronic pain was pelvic pain. For years. Then in early July I quit physical therapy and let go of thinking it was physical and focused on it only being tms. I saw improvement. More imprivement than with anything physical i tried! So the pain was not gone but improved and I was thinking less about my pelvic pain for many days. I was Having times of my days that were pain free at least for short times or moments. That was a great relief!

    Then o had some challenging disagreements with my kids this last weekend which got me very upset.
    Pelvic pain still was behaving to a tolerable point but I got this really strange throat and neck pain that hurt to swallow all week. Not a sore throat but this difficulty with pain with swallowing. Strange. AND bad sinus pressure and allergies ( sneezing) all week too. ( Not common For me!) Then once today and yesterday 2 times, i had this disabling piercing right sided pain in my Low back down my leg. It reminded me very much of how childbirth pain felt for me years ago. Not my usual pain. Very painful episodes where I could barely walk. Very odd.

    So these different "symptoms" this week are present with decreased
    " usual" pelvic pain. So I'm thinking as one pain goes anything seems to be able to come to replace it?
    Unlike you though, I have cried and and cried all week. I apparently got some ticket on an emotional roller coaster. I would like off the ride! I have been an emotional mess all week.

    So I'm hoping you get some insightful replies here. Because if our pain goes away or decrease and a new one happens, it seems like tms. I hope!
  4. Ryan

    Ryan Well known member

    Relax and quit trying so hard. Your playing right into the tms beasts by your focusing on your symptoms means they have you preoccupied.

    As Carl Jung said nothing inhibits feeling like thinking. You can't think your way into a emotion, you are just trying to pressure yourself by worrying if its there. Sarno says just know that they exists. When its your time to heal you will. Good luck, relax and try to destructure your life. (Let go)

    donavanf likes this.
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Congratulations on your success with your original TMS symptoms and on growing your business. You've achieved a great deal.

    Yea, TMS symptoms shift around and it does feel like whack-a-mole to me, too. It means we have more psychological work to do. But the good news is that we have the tools and the knowledge to address the new symptoms.

    Allergy symptoms are one of my TMS symptoms that comes and goes as well. I had all the testing and am not allergic to anything. I was diagnosed with Nasal Sensitivity Syndrome, which of course is TMS. I, too, have often felt that the watery eyes and runny nose are a substitute for crying, as I very rarely cry, but often feel like I want to. I remember reading somewhere that tears from crying contain a biochemical that when released helps to regulate mood, or something to that effect. I wonder if tears from allergy symptoms contain the same biochemical. I should research this.

    I have found that the intense self-criticism or inner bullying is a bad habit, and can be modified. I do less of it now. As soon as I'm aware that I'm thinking that way, I just tell myself to stop, and that it's not true. Then I shift my thinking to something else. But one must be mindful in order to catch it early and stop it.

    Best wishes on your continued success....
    donavanf likes this.
  6. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    Thanks, everyone! Feeling better today, I'm so grateful for this forum, and proud to be a part of it.
  7. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    This is an amazing revelation, I am a big fan of Carl Jung and I think this nails my biggest problem on the head, OVER thinking and UNDER feeling.

    I almost said, "This gives me much to think about", LOL.
  8. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    This post from @Alan Gordon LCSW says it so well:

    Most suffering is caused by the gap between what is and what "should be."

    "I should be talking to more people at this party," "I should do a better job of not caring when my pain flares up," "I should have more facebook friends."

    When I was trying to overcome my own TMS pain, I dedicated myself one Sunday to doing everything that I was "supposed" to do. I meditated for 6 hours, I stood up to the Inner Bully every time he arose, I spent hours telling my inner child he was safe, I was constantly aware of what feelings were coming up.

    And at the end of the day, my pain was WORSE. I couldn't believe it! Hadn't I done everything right?

    Only in retrospect did I realize that the entire day had a subtle undercurrent of pressure. Pressure, in my experience, is one of the primary causes of TMS pain. And it's so sneaky. It could seem like you're doing everything right, but if your actions are fused with a sense of pressure, you're not really free.

    Later, when the pain would arise, I gently checked in to see if I knew what I was feeling (usually, I didn't) and said to myself, "Eh, it'll pass" and went back to what I was doing. It was so nice not to need to get rid of the pain! Eventually it faded because I wasn't fueling it with pressure and fear.

    The Buddha was a spiritual leader, but he was also the first psychologist. Nonresistance, sitting with what is, be it rage, Sadness, or even physical pain, without needing it to be something different, is the ultimate form of psychological health.
    kld03c, hoolie and westb like this.
  9. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    I keep re- reading these sentences, which really speak to me. Imagine being profoundly sad and just sitting with those feelings and embracing them. Something to ponder.

    I recently heard an interview with Barbra Streisand on NPR. At one point she said something like being fully alive means fully feeling your feelings. That really struck me too.

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