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Tendonitis as a gardener

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Joosje, Jan 22, 2023.

  1. Joosje

    Joosje New Member

    Hello everyone!

    I am quite new here, so I will first give a short introduction :). I am a woman of 33 years old and I work as a gardener. I love doing physical work outside, which makes me quite dependent on a good physical health.

    Since two years however, am I suffering of what the physical therapist calls tendonitis, because of the physical work I am doing, in both my arms. I tried different treatments, but I continued working as a gardener, so nothing really helped for the long term, because the cause of the pain was still there (later I learned that probably TMS was the cause). Eventually I had to go on sick leave. I didn't work at all for several months. My physical therapist thought I would get better very soon after I stopped working, but it only got worse and the pain started to spread from my arms to my shoulder, neck, cheeks and even my feet. At that point I started to get suspicious, because it didn't make sense to me anymore and after googling I came on the term TMS and I ordered 'The divided mind' of John Sarno. The weird shoulder pain and all the other inexplicable pains went away while reading the book and I started working again. The pain came back when I started working again, but I build it up very slowly and before Christmas I was working 80% almost entirely pain free. I was very happy and had good hopes I would be working 100% after Christmas. But right before Christmas I did some hard physical work (just for some hours) and all the pain came back again and now I am basically in the same situation I was for one year ago. I cannot work a lot, because that makes the pain getting worse.

    I haven't officially got the diagnosis TMS (there are no TMS therapist in my country), but I thought it probably is TMS and not a physical damage, because I was basically almost pain free before Christmas. Does this make sense?

    I was just wondering if there are people who agree with my conclusion or not, because now the pain is coming back again I suddenly get very insecure.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2023
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are correct, it is TMS, otherwise, it would not be spreading around and you would not be getting better from reading a book!

    What you are experiencing is very typical, and there could be two explanations. One is that you did not completely work out your emotional issues and pain comes back during more stressful times, which Christmas is for many. The other one is that these are extinction bursts, when pain suddenly pops up and then eventually goes away during the healing process. In either case, you should continue with your TMS work and not be discouraged. Also, remember that TMS therapists work very effectively via Zoom.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome to the forum, @Joosje - and I do think you are in the right place. Significant relief of symptoms just by learning about TMS theory is the main clue that this is the journey for you. Also - congratulations to you for figuring this out at an early time in your life! Many of us here were well past middle age when we discovered Dr. Sarno!

    From your description, it seems like you have not done anything except read Dr. Sarno's last book (which is also the one I first read, and which remains the one that I recommend). I also experienced at least 75% reduction of pain symptoms immediately upon finishing the book, and this is quite common. However, it is also quite common that the pain relief does not last, because you did not go any deeper at that time. You accepted the truth of his theory, which is an important start - now you have to "do the work" as we say here - which means doing the emotional work that Dr. Sarno talks about.

    The easiest (and free) way to get started is to hang around here and read people's posts and the replies they receive. Also, read some success stories (in the Success Stories subforum) to get an idea of the many different symptoms that people have recovered from, and how they did it (because every person's journey is unique). Then start working our Structured Educational Program (SEP) on the main tmswiki.org site. The program is free and doesn't require any kind of registration or signup - you just go to the first page and start doing it. It is broken down into very time-efficient "Days".

    The most important advice I can give you about doing the SEP is to take it slowly, and do not let your brain urge you to race through it. One or maybe two sessions per day, not every day. Along with some time to read posts here on the forum, this is enough. Trying to get through the SEP too quickly will NOT result in faster healing, I can assure you. Take it seriously and let the information have time to sink in. Above all, when you get to the writing exercises, do them with a commitment to be 100% honest with yourself. Your fearful TMS brain will try to convince you that you can ignore things that come up - do not let it do that, and write them down anyway, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, and no matter how unimportant they appear to be. You'll need to keep your "lists" for a short while so that you can write about the topics, but you don't need to keep any of your writing. It is called "journaling" but it's not actually "keeping a journal". By throwing away what you write, you can give yourself the freedom to write whatever comes up from your unconsciousness repressed emotions and memories, without editing it - and that's the goal.

    As I personally experienced when doing the SEP, it's important that you do not skip over something as "not important", because even small things from our childhoods have significance for various reasons. Finding those things and relating them to your role in the adult world, especially your current stress, is the goal. My own experience of doing the writing exercises in the SEP is that I did not uncover anything shocking or horrifying from my childhood, but I did figure out how my lifelong anxiety developed, and I was able to identify times when I felt isolated due to the way my childish protective brain interpreted childhood experiences and family dynamics.

    Good luck - you can do this!

  4. Joosje

    Joosje New Member

    Thank you so much for your answers TG957 and Jan! It encourages me to fully dive into the mental work I have to do. I am most definitely going to check out the SEP! Thank you for the tip! I did read in the book about it, but it's a little while ago, so I forgot about it.

    Reading success stories of others help me a lot in certain moments, but I always feel the doubt creeping up again after a few days when I experience pain. I know for a 100% that a part of the pain is TMS (the pain that pops up after resting for days), but I keep doubting over and over again whether a part of the pain (my elbow and wrists where it all started and came back now) is physical. Maybe it isn't a bad idea to book an appointment at a therapist via Zoom, so I can get rid of this persistent doubt.

    I started doing child trauma work with a therapist when I was 25 and I am still working on it. This helped me a lot to feel all my emotions and to deal with them, but I still find anger the most difficult to deal with, so maybe a part of the problem lies there.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is totally normal, and to be honest, doubt is always the first thing to surface with any new symptoms (and there will be new symptoms over time). It never really goes away completely. You don't need to be 100% free of doubt to do the work. And the more you do this work, the faster you can banish doubt as you gain recovery skills!

    This could be very helpful, in fact. Check out Georgie Oldfield who is in the UK here: Georgie Oldfield - Your Pain Specialist. You may be able to find an online consultant (close to your time zone) through her or her site. She was a long-time colleague of Dr. Sarno when he was still with us.

    This is good. Many people here have found IFS (Internal Family System therapy) to be extremely beneficial. Acknowledging and accepting the existence of our anger - or rage, as Dr Sarno (via Freud) said - is a powerful part of recovery. The hardest part is being willing to direct our rage where it belongs, which is sometimes at the people we want to love, or sometimes at people we think we're supposed to love. It's usually our parents, because even if they were good parents, they were never perfect, not in the mind of the small child. It's possible to have both love and rage at the same time.
    TG957 likes this.

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