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The Contrary Nature of TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ann Miller, Dec 30, 2021.

  1. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    “Send yourself messages of safety.”

    “Be indifferent to the pain.”

    “Stop trying to heal.”

    “Lean in.”

    I’m sure you’ve heard all these phrases and if you are anything like I was when I started this journey, they just confused me and frustrated me more. What the h does “lean in” even mean? And are you seriously saying that these symptoms will continue because I’m TRYING to stop them? Now I’m baffled, and doubting that I can even do this!

    Fear not. Let me break it down for you in bites that you can digest with real life practical tips on how to apply all those well meaning but vague phrases.

    1.Send yourself messages of safety. When I first heard this, I was confused. I didn’t think that I felt unsafe in any ways OTHER THAN MY HORRIBLE PAIN. But upon further exploration and much time with my journaling, I did start to uncover all the many ways that I felt unsafe and unstable. I did not feel safe feeling all my emotions. I had repressed and repressed so many sentiments over decades that I simply could not view them as acceptable. I did not feel safe in my relationships…oh, I knew that I was safe from abuse, but I wasn’t secure in my family’s love for me no matter how I showed up. I was not safe in the knowledge that I would love MYSELF no matter how I showed up. I had loads of work to do on boundaries, self compassion and collective humanity. It was this hard, difficult, soul searching work that led me to being able to send myself true messages of safety. I wish it had been as easy as saying, “you are safe, you are safe,” over and over, but for me it was not a simple phrase, but deep meaningful work.

    2. Be indifferent to the pain. I remember thinking, “if I could be indifferent, it wouldn’t affect me and I wouldn’t be here.” Practical tip: there is a vast amount of space between total indifference to the pain and being totally consumed by it. And it is in this space that we can start to recover. I always encourage folks to be very authentic with their self-talk. So if you dislike your pain and wish to god it wasn’t there, so be it. Don’t blame you. But with that, stop with the endless research, the checking in various online groups to see if your symptoms are REALLY TMS, the endless talk of symptoms, the constant focus on the body. Move yourself closer to indifference. Move yourself further away from obsession, one step, one hour, one possibility at a time. It’s slow, deliberate, chosen, thought work. And it’s worth it.

    3. Stop trying to heal. Let me get this out the way from the get go…I absolutely did this work to stop my widespread chronic pain. Absolutely wanted to heal. But here again, we have a vast amount of space between chasing healing and giving up all hope. Practical tip: Get yourself a proven program that has helped others become pain free, do it for a set amount of time (20-40 minutes) most days, make that time special and sacred to you, and then don’t DO anything else for healing the rest of the day. Just get on with your day as best you can. Catch your thoughts when they stray and ruminate. Redirect with kindness. See #2.

    4. Lean in…?...Of all the phrases I heard this one irritated me the most but then when I got it, I got it. TMS pain recovery has been a journey of self discovery. It has been gut wrenchingly difficult and amazingly beautiful. I’m forever grateful to have been on it. Accepting the ups and downs along the way, treating my oh so faulted humanness with gentle humor, helped me accept the situation with less fear. This was “leaning in” for me. And yes, I love the phrase now because it evokes a peaceful response, a softening, a tempering of desperation.

    My best to each of you.

    westb, hawaii_five0 and miffybunny like this.
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Totally agree with all of your suggestions. Luckily no one ever told me to "lean in", and even though I get it, I much prefer "accepting" and "allowing", or even "giving it a hug" lol
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2021
  3. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    Allowing is a beautiful and descriptive term.
  4. hecate105

    hecate105 Beloved Grand Eagle

    What a brilliant post Ann! One of the best explanations of healing from tms i have seen.... the whole thing is SO simple - yet SO hard and complicated - but your post really gets to the point! thank you!!
  5. westb

    westb Well known member

    This so helpful and clear, as @hecate105 has said. Thank you Ann. I'm dealing with these same points right now, notably the lack of feelings of safety in many pivotal areas of my life and the lack of acceptance of flares of what feels like unbearable pelvic pain. My whole body and nervous system just seem to seize up of their own volition at these times, no matter what I do (breathing, walking, distraction) to try and alleviate the reactions. Even just getting to indifference is quite a goal to contemplate. But your recent posts on the forum have been a real godsend and give me courage.
  6. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    Aw thank you for these words. TMS pain can be some of the absolute worst pain. Even Sarno pointed this out. More proof for you.
  7. fridaynotes

    fridaynotes Well known member

    thank you! i also like “allowing” instead of “lean in” because leaning in is now often associated with business and hey~ that’s stressful! LOL
    but seriously, it’s all a life’s work and a life’s journey and if we can begin to see TMS recovery as a holistic, full spectrum healing experience, the pain of it all loses some potency and the adventure of inner work and self discovery can be exciting and fresh!
    Ann Miller likes this.

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