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The Last Symptom - How to Get Past It

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by AlyssaCa, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. AlyssaCa

    AlyssaCa New Member

    Hey Guys,

    I been working on my TMS and I been making great progress. I can run, bike, walk, swim, and play basketball again where as before I was too afraid. Sometimes when I walk I feel tendon pain, but since it switches around between both of my ankles, I am not too worried. Since learning about TMS, most of the pain immediately moved from my left to my right.

    But there is one last conditioning I am struggling to break. I feel tingling every time I put my feet flat on the floor, especially in my left foot. Sometimes I feel it when lying down. I realized that I would be fidgeting to avoid that feeling, but I can't fidget forever. I know this has to be TMS because when I get too absorbed in my thoughts or a movie, I won't feel anything.

    How can I break that last symptom? Admittedly, this feeling scares me the most and I struggle to break the fear when I have my feet flat on the floor, especially at work.

    Any advice?
  2. chessplayr

    chessplayr New Member

    Hi Alyssa,
    You know, the one thing I've come to realize about conditioned responses is that there is no "silver bullet" as Steve Ozanich likes to call it. I'm still dealing with some conditioned responses, but I will say that the intensity of those responses are far less than they were just four months ago. Four months ago, the pain/burning/tingling would hit immediately when I sat a certain way or hunched forward to look at my phone and reply to texts and things. These days it doesn't hit until I wonder why it hasn't hit yet, then it hits! Crazy huh! It really comes down to two things in my opinion: 1. Belief in TMS 2. Patience. The belief in TMS is the closest thing to a silver bullet I've discovered when it comes to pain, because it really reduces fear which in turn reduces pain over time. Patience allows the belief to do its work. I'm sorry I couldn't provide a simpler solution, but that's the problem with TMS, so few of us are lucky enough to have an overnight or even overweek healing. It just takes time and steadfast belief. Good luck!
  3. AlyssaCa

    AlyssaCa New Member

    Hi Chessplayr,

    WOW! That's exactly how I feel too. I feel like sometimes I am going about my business watching TV and I'm like wait, where is that tingling and then it comes! Just like you have been doing.

    I was actually irritated once and sat perfectly still waiting and then I realized wait, I am standing still. It was that moment when I realized it had to be TMS.

    Your response was very helpful. Helps to know I am not the only one. Seems like it takes time, that's the rough part. I think I only have known about TMS for a few weeks now. While I am happy the pain with activity is really decreasing, it's been a bit annoying to see that sitting and standing tingling hasn't stopped. I think TMS feeds on fear too and because it won't go away, it can make be scared. Have you overcome the fear?
    chessplayr likes this.
  4. chessplayr

    chessplayr New Member

    So I can honestly say I have not overcome the fear. Not authentically overcome it, and the evidence of that is in my recurrence of pain. But my pain is far less in intensity and duration, so I'm obviously becoming less and less fearful. I have zero doubt it's TMS, because the evidence is just piling up. Nevertheless, when the pain occasionally ramps up beyond normal levels (usually coinciding with some stressful event in my life) or moves to a part of my body where I haven't felt it before, I get frightened and frustrated. "Oh no, it's in my other leg now!" "Wait, this is a little different than it's been! Where's this going?!" "Will I ever get back to carefree movement?" These are the types of questions that run through my head. It's so exhausting and frustrating. But it's all TMS. It's the nastiest benign disorder a human being can have. Less dangerous than a head cold, and yet potentially "more painful than anything seen in clinical medicine," according to Dr. Sarno. But we have two choices. Feed the vicious cycle with our frustration and fear, or live despite our pain, acknowledging its presence the way you acknowledge a fly that keeps buzzing around your head, but never swiping at it, knowing that it will eventually go away.
  5. chessplayr

    chessplayr New Member

  6. AlyssaCa

    AlyssaCa New Member

    Hey Chessplyr, good to know I am not the only not overcoming my fear. I have definitely felt what you have before when it jumps around. Just today, I was in a meeting at work I did not want to attend and I felt tingling in my upper lip too in addition to the tingling in my left foot. I have those same thoughts, will I ever not think about how I sit or stand, etc.

    TMS can be really nasty. It reminds me of a mind body OCD. Reading about OCD, TMS seems very similar. I think the obsessive part about paying attention to the body and pain and the compulsion (I must avoid this position, this activity), seem almost the same.

    That conditioned response info is very useful. I was talking to my chiropractor about the tingling and while she did not mention TMS, she said that she does not think it is structural at all and that our brains can make us focus on pain or stimuli we normally wouldn't otherwise. She told me when the tingling came, to think about things in a positive way and not be mad at the leg / foot for tingling. In the post you gave me, she mentioned how we can be frustrated about the pain and I have definitely reached that point. It's like why is this happening if I know it's TMS?

    I think attitude means a lot and we need to recondition our mind! It's hard to be excited when the tingling comes as she mentions in the post, but it's an opportunity to fix things! I also have a theory that if you start acting like the activity you fear is a good thing, perhaps the brain will settle down?
    Lizzy likes this.
  7. chessplayr

    chessplayr New Member

    Your theory is spot on! Back in May I began running for the first time in a very long time. There was some residual physical discomfort, but the fear was astronomical. But as the months went by, the fear grew less and less as excitement grew about my progress in both speed and duration. So that's your theory in practice! You wrote "why is this happening if I know it's TMS?" Remember, it's a subconscious response and therefore out of our immediate control. Yesterday I was playing with my kids and being active around the house, so the pain/tightness started kicking up, even though I was in a good mood. At first it scared and frustrated me a little, but I remembered the link I sent you and remembered what Christie wrote about not being able to control when the symptoms come on, but rather control our response to them. The symptoms abated and I'm doing fine today. So I think the formula to getting the brain to settle down is Pain > Acknowledgment without fear > keep doing what you're doing and try to stay positive knowing that it's not a physical deficiency.
  8. AlyssaCa

    AlyssaCa New Member

    Hey Chessplyr, good way to think of it. Out of immediate control. I noticed when I get distracted a lot, I can even concentrate and feel my feet not tingling, but thinking too hard, it will come! It's definitely a conditioned response. I am thinking of other ways to handle this when sitting down.

    I woke up with a panic attack and my arm was tingling and foot was buzzing, unfortunately, since it was dead of the night, I was too tired to really not respond in fear.

    I think the brain doesn't want to give up TMS because it's so successful at distracting us. Beating the fear is the hardest I think.

    Have you ever tried giving a name to your symptoms? I was reading an OCD book and it mentioned distancing yourself from compulsive thoughts and I was thinking perhaps the pain can be thought of the same way. If I separate it from self by giving it a name, maybe I can trick it into not being as important.

    Also, trying other things, for example, this morning I sang this rhyme, "Sitting is benign, therefore I'm fine!" (kinda rhymes!)
    StarCluster likes this.
  9. chessplayr

    chessplayr New Member

    You know I stopped thinking of it as pain, and have since just thought of it as TMS...that's the closest thing to a name I want to give it because beyond that, I'm giving it too much thought. The only thing that has ever worked to really reduce symptoms for me is acknowledgement followed by a shift in focus. However, that's the hardest thing to do when the symptoms are at their worst. In those moments, I've referred to either Dr. Sarno's reminders, or my own evidence list that helps me focus on the fact that there is nothing to fear and that the symptoms will eventually die down and someday be gone altogether.

    Here's something interesting you might relate to. All day yesterday I was in a deep depression. And I mean deep. I haven't felt that way ever. I was so down in the dumps that it barely registered that I was really having no symptoms! The moment I realized how terrible I felt emotionally and how fine I was physically, I realized in firsthand crystal clarity why the brain chooses pain. It's like you can be afraid of symptoms with hope that they'll go away, but when you're authentically sad feeling that the future is a bleak landscape, there is no hope. When you look at it like that, the functional purpose of TMS seems somewhat more logical. But don't get me wrong. Pain, fear, and discomfort are torture...but they're really just a message that something is out of balance. The goal is to figure out what.
    StarCluster likes this.

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