1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

The menu of symptoms, the carry out containers of dread

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by MWsunin12, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I've been on this forum since late 2015. I've written my success story of pudendal nerve issues.

    I've had happy and symptom free days. Yet, I seem to constantly be psychologically ordering from the menu of symptom imperatives.

    This week I have Eustachian tube problems, full ears and some pain, muffled hearing. I went to the Dr. who found only redness and no infection, however she put me on antibiotics and steroids which made me feel both sicker and completely nuts. So, I stopped them both. My ears are taking turns feeling full now. I've swung around to having writer's cramp, a pulled upper back, jaw pain, nerve pain...round and round I go. It's like I have a hundred carry-out containers of symptoms...just on standby. Well, it's all rotten. Totally rotten.

    My small successes come more quickly now but I think what holds me back the most is my feeling "unsafe."
    I had to share a bedroom, as a girl, with a total hypochondriac older sister, who made me feel that the body would be always permanently damaged. She even had paralysis from the waist down for two weeks as a teenager. The surgeons did exploratory surgery and found nothing. Once the gig was up, she changed to different symptoms. I had huge resentment towards her because, even though I was two years younger, I was put "in charge" of her to make sure she was okay. Now, I feel like I've transferred that to myself.

    As Sarno and Steve Ozanich advise...TMS can not become your full-time focus or preoccupation. We all have our "stuff" from childhood and adulthood. They advise to get on with finding comfort, fun and passion.

    I'm writing to you, my forum friends, because I feel like there's a missing piece. I feel like my mind has not released thinking that the body is fragile and susceptible to all manner of problems. I can accept that it's "psychological" but my creative mind wants to keep the fear buffet line open for biz.

    Any thoughts or advice?

    Thanks for reading. xo
  2. westb

    westb Well known member

    I understand the not feeling safe bit very well. Since I was in my late 20s and had my"slipped disc" I've been consciously and I think unconsciously frightened of what my body is going to do next, and not in a good way. No advice as I am just starting out on the quest for "comfort, fun and passion" myself but I wanted to let you know you're not alone in this.

    In the last few weeks I've been going out into the world far more than I have done for years. Joining things. Starting to meet up with new people. And yesterday I had a really bad flare up of my rectal muscle spasm symptoms. I couldn't understand why until the penny dropped last night. I'm actually quite frightened and underneath the mental catastrophising of the IBS flaring out of control while I'm getting involved in these new projects - in other words the fear of the "fragile" physical body and its symptoms - is the real fear. Fear of relationship, intimacy, being abandoned yet again (and I'm not just talking about romantic relationships). I've had this stuff since childhood in a difficult family environment and I've suffered from loneliness throughout my life. I'm very good at surface acquainceships and putting on a friendly, cheerful face but once into anything that involves experiencing vulnerability and a black hole opens up in my gut. I live alone and have done for years. Now in my late 60s it's something I haven't really put to rest, much as part of me craves independence and freedom. But I want to challenge these blocks, to take the risk.

    What helped me pull of of the frantic downward pain spiral yesterday was a) listening to a guided meditation on YouTube and b) starting to re-read Tim Parks' book "Teach Us to Sit Still". It really is very good on explaining the mind/body connection with pelvic pain, through his own experience. I don't feel too bad so far today.

    All the best to you @MWsunin12 as you work your way through.
  3. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I hear you. I'm having a really stressful time and TMS has invoked all its old favourites plus a couple of new fangled ones to lend interest.

    Psychologically speaking this has much to do with shame and shaming. Mine and my partners (former) Bohemian lifestyle has always been a bone of contention for respective family members and for some reason this issue has flared recently.

    I've come to realise that while I embody a live and let live attitude, certain family members cannot accept or understand any difference in belief, values and lifestyle to save their life. My gay brother escaped this smalltown mentality a long time ago by throwing literal distance at it. I thought I had done this in a psychological sense but now I'm wondering. (I must stress our parents are very supportive and accepting of us. They love that we are free spirits and cherish who we are. God bless them.)

    Your sister sounds like a complete nightmare. My grandmother was a hypochondriac and during my teens my parents had part of the house converted into a granny-flat so my mum could look after her. Nana was a beautiful and creative woman given to histrionics on top of the hypochondria.

    My Mother-in-law also fits the bill, only her hypochondria is like her personality: brash, tactless and domineering. These days she plays down the physical preferring to employ flat-out emotional warfare. I truly empathise with the noxious impact this kind of nonsense can have on the psyche.

    I've been on a rollercoaster of emotions. Anger distilled to rage. Sadness. Despair. Fear. Panic. Back to rage. And then a casual comment in conversation floored me like a right-hook.

    "You'll end up like your Auntie Plum..."

    What the **** is that supposed to mean?

    I see clearly how its supposed to shame the recipient into towing the line but I had no idea I was held in such low regard...or did I. Perhaps I have always known and have tried to people-please my way out of their judgements but what those judgements are and why they hold them, I cannot say. Whatever they are, they are stronger and more enduring than any compassion elicited by the tragedy of my hubby developing Parkinson's.

    Funny isn't it, there I am thinking we live this quiet and simple life just getting on with it and in the background there is this horrible emotional white noise. I'm at loss to understand it and it makes me feel desperately sad, trapped and like running away. Ah yes, the self-same feelings that led to a Bohemian life in the first place.

    SteveO did say its all about relationships and he is so right. I mistakenly believed I had done much to heal and make good on these matters. This morning I am not so sure and this surge in symptoms confirms this.

    What to do?

    For now I am re-reading Monte's updates and have downloaded the audio from his site. I was reading @ezer's success story again and his nod to Monte has always resonated with me.

    http://www.runningpain.com/important_tms_updates (The TMS Master Practice Program - The New-Sarno TMS Program - Important TMS Updates)

    I think recent events have poured gasoline on long-time wounds and woes. I must find my peace once more, accepting that I can only be myself, and that I must not be cowed or shamed because I don't fit the smalltown, small-minded mold they inhabit and judge the world by.

    Peace Marcia.
    May we all heal and be free of these ghosts from the past.

    Plum x
  4. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Relationships and family, yes that can throw us again and again in a sort of agony. We feel trapped (which is the worst for me) and helpless.
    But we are not!
    I have to highlight this to you MWsunin and also to you Plum. We have a history and that is engraved in us, in our minds, our bodies, our psyche. True. But both of you have achieved so much! And you are in a very different state than before. Alone that you are able to analyze the situation is prove that you have escaped - in a certain sense.

    I didn’t have a hypochondriac sister but a hypochondriac father. That’s why I never feel safe like other people to whom this comes naturally. For me and all the others who suffer from that it is work to feel safe. And paradoxically the work succeeds when you can let go. A difficult exercise. People also criticize me today for ‘becoming like your father’. Even my mother says this. But that is not true. My father didn’t make any attempt to grow and to change his behavior. I find it very funny that he calls me and tell me to go strait to the emergency and they will sort everything out. This is how he stabilized himself. Of course, nothing is worked out at the emergency. My way of dealing with symptoms is different. I am anxious, but I am also rational. I know that I am not like my father and I have a choice in situations.
    MWsunin, your sister is not here anymore. Don’t give her more power than necessary. We all deal with the symptom imperative. I think you need to distinguish between things that just can be ignored. And things that need medical diagnostics. And then do the diagnostics as calm and reasonable as possible. Everyone has these body dysfunctions now and then. Don’t bother so much. And don’t feel guilty about it.

    And to Plum: congrats to your bohemian lifestyle! I can imagine that part of your family (mostly this ghastly mother-in-law of yours) is not amused and doesn’t agree. My family also had a very different plan for me and they often disapprove of my life style. My father might be proud of what I have achieved but he will never tell me. What he tells me is that he doesn’t know why anyone would pay money for my work. Whenever I want to explain something I do for a living he does not really listen and can’t remember anything of it the next day. I gave up. Now I never talk about my work. I live my life, they theirs and we have a few things in common and that defines my relationship. But I am in the same splendid situation as your brother, I am geographically far away. Being close to them would be another thing. I can’t give you any practical advice, but I got the impression from your post that you are very frustated and would love to get some more recognition and respect from your families. Don’t go into this passive feeling. They won’t reciprocate your feelings. Be proud of what you have done with your life and let them be. I think you are awesome!
    HattieNC, plum, Lizzy and 1 other person like this.
  5. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    [QUOTE="westb, post: 101605, member: 3991 I'm actually quite frightened and underneath the mental catastrophising of the IBS flaring out of control while I'm getting involved in these new projects - in other words the fear of the "fragile" physical body and its symptoms - is the real fear. Fear of relationship, intimacy, being abandoned yet again (and I'm not just talking about romantic relationships). I've had this stuff since childhood in a difficult family environment and I've suffered from loneliness throughout my life. I'm very good at surface acquainceships and putting on a friendly, cheerful face but once into anything that involves experiencing vulnerability and a black hole opens up in my gut. I live alone and have done for years. Now in my late 60s it's something I haven't really put to rest, much as part of me craves independence and freedom. But I want to challenge these blocks, QUOTE]

    So good that you accept the challenge and take risks! Very encouraging for us! Intimacy and freedom, that’s a big issue for me. When I dated and I felt only the slightest sign of a pers9n who is symbiotic and clinging I ran away as fast as i could. I don’t want this type of relationship anymore. But I have to learn to maneuver in gray zones. May I send you a private message?
    plum and MWsunin12 like this.
  6. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Steve Ozanich once wrote me a message saying: "It's a relief to know that you are doing it to yourself."
    At first, I was taken aback, because I didn't believe I would ever choose this. But, now I get it. We continuously feed the subconscious mind thoughts of fear or worry about symptoms...and what we pay attention to, grows.

    The family thing can be intense...and, truthfully, even from childhood, I never felt a part of mine. I always wanted to be at someone else's house.
    That comes with its own amount of childhood guilt, right? I was always so amazed that my friend's parents "cared" about what their child wanted to do or become or what their interests were.

    @plum You have an artist's soul. You are a writer. I"m sure that's VERY threatening to your small-town clan who may only want to stay in a certain mold. If you knew of the ripple effect of your loving posts, here on the forum, and the love was retuned to you as healing, you wouldn't feel anymore pain.
    I don't know why your family is in attack mode. The only thing that ever truly helped me to get out of too much concern about what my family thinks is Don Miguel Ruiz's "The Four Agreements," especially the one: "Don't take anything personally."
    That has helped me the most because even masked "advice" from family is based in how THEY want you to be or to control a situation. It comes from their needs, not yours.
    Congratulate yourself, Plum, that...as much as possible...you've held true to your spirit. My thoughts are with you today.
    I SOOOOOOO appreciate you sharing what's going on in your world.

    @westb Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. Yes, it's the mental catastrophe thinking that starts the spiral. I'm proud of you for venturing out into connecting with people. It's so easy to narrow our worlds...especially as we get older. I love that you challenge yourself to new thoughts.
    I equally wish you well. Thank you.

    @Time2be Thanks so much for writing to me. I think what you said is so important...to realize and accept the limitations of your family members and stay within certain points of connection with them and don't try for more. Part of TMS is feeling like I need to heal past relationships with family and get over my inner rage about how I was treated like the "servant." However, the "trying" to fix it is still being a servant, right?

    Anyway, your responses have warmed me. This is a good tribe here on the forum. Thank you, again.
  7. Dfw

    Dfw Peer Supporter

    Yes, a much better group than another forum. (I used to participate in).

    I have been at this, knowingly, for 4 years. Ups & downs, but mostly ups, if I really think about it. At times it seems there are no ups, but in reality, there are many more ups than downs. I’ve been able to travel, live a comfortable life and pretty much do everything I used, except go to concerts, clubs, noisy restaurants, anywhere there is louder noises. I’ve accepted that, for the time being.

    If you haven’t read my story, I had lower back pain for 18 months. It ended as quickly as it came (bam, gone after 18 months of fighting) During that time, the first 6 months was hell for me, fast forward to 2016, doing relatively well and bam tinnitus, late in the year from a hockey game. That hell lasted for 4 months, somewhat disregarded it most of the time after. Fast forward to 6 weeks ago, exposure to an alarm and BAM again (lots of bams) the tinnitus has lite up complete with a tension headache.

    So, as you were stating the symptoms come in all different shapes and sizes, but one thing for sure, as long as I (we) give in to them, they have a lot of power over us. Right now it has a lot of power over me, not willingly, but because I am fighting it so hard. I need to learn to just accept and go with it. Hard to do!!!!!!!

    I want the bohemian lifestyle, or similar, as just retiring from my businesses, I’m finding it really hard to wind down the systems in my body. I’m guessing when I finally learn, things will quiet down somewhat.

    As a smart man emailed me this morning;
    « Don’t fret about this continuing parade of TMS symptoms, that is just your brain being your brain »

    Now———Easier said than done, but let’s all work on it together!!!!!

    Hugs to each & every one
  8. Rosebud

    Rosebud Peer Supporter

    Maybe. If you're really, really lucky...
    readytoheal, HattieNC, plum and 3 others like this.
  9. westb

    westb Well known member

    Yes, go ahead.
    Time2be likes this.
  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bless you all for such gorgeous and supportive replies. To be greeted with such warmth this morning shores up the sense of serenity that comes with letting go and I am delighted to say I feel much better. After posting my words above I went to see my Mum and Dad who truly are the most beautiful people. (They are also alienated from the extended family and think my in-laws are barking mad.)

    We talked, we drank tea, we talked some more. They let me vent, they made me laugh, and they shared their respective wisdom. I left feeling like myself.

    @MWsunin12, I could hug you. Thank you so much for those sage and supportive words. I was a bit worried that I'd unintentionally hijacked your post and am relieved that is not the case. I'm taking SteveO's and Ruiz's maxims to heart as there is abundant truth in them.

    That you say I have an artist's soul means the world to me. My hubby is a great artist and is older than me and when we met his reputation was established. He has always been incredibly encouraging and supportive, forever telling me I should believe in myself. Looking back I see that there was a strong creativity in the women in my family (mum's side) but it was repressed. Again with SteveO's words that we do this to ourselves...

    Thank you for letting me piggyback on your post. You're kindness and inspiration has helped me a lot.

    @Time2be You're a gem and I greatly appreciate your thoughts especially regarding recognition and respect. You are absolutely right. The funny thing is they don't know the half of it. I think my in-laws would have a heart attack were they to glimpse our private world. In the early days of my TMS healing I had this bizarre notion that I could reconcile these different worlds, I thought it was a cause of inner conflict. I know better now. I like and agree with Marcia on this, the "trying" to fix this is the problem not the situation itself.

    I think you are awesome too.

    @westb I resonate very much with your experience of fear and pushing through. My hubby was a performer for decades and he was/is brilliant and immensely charismatic. For the longest time (being very young and silly) I thought this was the way to be and I tried and failed spectacularly on stage and in life. It was bruising and it left me feeling like I put on a face while hiding my real self, which led to a crushing ambivalence around the freedom I craved.

    Mercifully age brings insight. Some time ago I spoke with my partner about this and he said he'd spent many, many years in his bedroom playing music, singing and writing, so he had become good and sure at what he did. He'd started gigging at 15 years old and had died on stage a million times before I met him. I met him in his prime when he'd had chance and time to become a Master of his craft. That and the fact that he just is a charismatic sod and a real character to boot. I guess coming out from under his wing makes me feel incredibly vulnerable but that's a good thing...right?

    Here's to courage and an open heart (and a foot that is much better by the sounds of things).

    @Dfw Thanks for that. You are quite right about giving this nonsense power. This forum really is fantastic and it's good to see fellow TMS veterans speak about issues like the symptom imperative and relapses (there have been a couple of notable posts by @Ellen and @MindBodyPT recently) because it helps newbies and people struggling to unthread their own issues. I like very much that there are many people here who are committed to a level of healing that goes beyond pain-relief. We want that deep, emotional healing and we want it for others too. It's a beautiful undertaking to be a part of.

    @Rosebud That is beautiful. God bless you.

    (My lovely dad said it's because I'm a free spirit and that both scares and invokes jealousy. While the comment stung at the time I have regrouped and shall redouble my efforts to keep my niece from the event horizon. Most people think she's my daughter and we are kindred spirits. I'd love to see her live out her souls calling and I shall champion it all the way.)


    And now I shall away into the big wide world. Me and himself have decided to take a leisurely drive to a small village where we shall take tea and read the paper while people-watching (which is way more fun than people-pleasing).

    I raise my china tea cup to you all.

    Immature though it may be, this emoji is my RSVP to the bullshit :mooning:

    Peace, Love and Laughter.

    Plum xxx
  11. westb

    westb Well known member

    Yes, @plum, the foot is much better thanks:). It's good to be able to walk again. And I'm so very glad you're feeling better. Add me to this of people who envy you your former Bohemian lifestyle.

    Families are where we are tested to the nth degree, and they can cast a long shadow if we're not aware of what's going on.

    The longer I'm around here, the more I see that recovery is far more holistic than just healing the symptoms. Of course we want the latter, that's what brought us here in the first place, but I'm seeing more and more that the road leading to the physical healing is via rebuilding a life, enjoying life, finding passion and motivation to live as well as possible where we are now, today, symptoms and all. And trusting and having faith that the rest will follow in its own time (which definitely may not be our time!).
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
    MWsunin12, plum and Time2be like this.
  12. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Oh, I would love to have tea with all of you! Good idea to have tea in a different village, Plum! I also sometimes just drive to another place, get out of everyday life.
    One dimension, I think we have not addressed, is the problem of diagnostics. If symptoms arise, how to know it is the symptom imperative? I find it sometimes difficult to decide whether something needs medical attention or could be treated psychologically. Of course, you can ask your doctor. But if you have anxiety like me, you don’t always trust your doctor (not because he is not trustworthy, but because you trust only ‘facts’, evidence, like a scan - and also this could constitute a problem).
    Some talked about the leap of faith. I need to do that in relation to my body and the anxiety to have a dreadful disease. But a leap of faith is also necessary for the emotional work: it will be ok! You do enough, you are on the right path!
    plum and westb like this.
  13. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a superb question and from my experience I would say that TMS has its own fingerprint and is characterised by preoccupation and obsessive thinking (this being the actual TMS, as defined by both Steve Ozanich and Alan Gordon). After a while, and after many shifts in symptom and ebbs and flows with long-standing ones you get to recognise it.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with treating symptoms as long as you don't forgo the psychological aspect. Sometimes using the placebo effect to our advantage is one of our psychological tools.

    And of course, when we really don't know, we can see the doctor although I do take your point on this. Quite honestly I have come to understand that the mechanisms behind TMS and illness/disease are pretty much the same. For some people this renders it a semantic issue. I prefer to recognise that TMS is a benign condition while at the same time respecting the truth that our emotions and personality are huge players in more serious conditions.

    It was Gabor Maté's work that really brought this home for me although writers like Caroline Myss and Louise Hay primed me for the realisation.

    Remember the body is self-healing. All it needs are the right conditions and an open heart and peaceful mind are essential for that. To that end, while folks may argue the toss about how to achieve this, I honestly believe we can overcome any disease. There are many, many documented cases of full recovery from pretty much everything imaginable and even for conditions where recovery is not possible, a good life can still be lived. (I'm thinking about the incredible Professor Stephen Hawking here).

    Faith and knowledge are equally important. Sometimes we get TMS intellectually but we don't really understand it or how it plays out in our life. This is a bit slippery at first, it does take a while to really grasp it.

    I'd add that faith is necessary in lieu of knowledge and yet our knowledge of how the body heals and the impact of our emotions is advancing all the time. From Maté's books I learned how our personality and psychology can de-rail the immune system which otherwise defeats all manner of harm every single day.

    It is fear that is our nemesis. Not faith. Quash the fear and you can fly.
    (Well maybe not fly...)
    MWsunin12 likes this.
  14. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm so pleased to read this. :)

    Who was it that said "If you think you're enlightened, go and spend a week with your family."

    Or someone else's family.
    So true. So painfully true.

    Yes. *This*

    As challenging as it is wonderful.
    But worth every moment.
    westb likes this.
  15. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I know what you're saying here. I went to my GP for my Eustachian tube thing and was put on an antibiotic, which made it worse. I don't trust doctors. I've heard so many awful stories and had so many family and friends be unbelievably either misdiagnosed, told it was an incurable thing, or OVER-treated to the max. Or dismissed completely. I've been misdiagnosed myself. I'm sure we all have a thousand stories we've heard and a thousand dollars spent for nothing.

    That said, doctors are human beings who can't possibly hold every appearance of illness in their storehouse of knowledge. And, surgeons saved my mother's life twice. So, I know my generalization is that...a generalization. And, I know you only "hear" the bad stuff.

    I don't know how to get past the mistrust. Or, if I even should. Even the stories on this forum of what people have been told by doctors make me think "how damaging" to a person's emotional well-being!

Share This Page