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The Presence Process and Shanshu Vampyr

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Shanshu Vampyr, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    OK...not a new thread, by any stretch. However, it's the beginning of a new academic year for me, and although I tried once before, I didn't really delve into Michael Brown's book. Now that I'm working with Alan Gordon, I've moved into an apartment where I'm really happy and comfortable, I think it's time.

    And since this is the first post in the thread, I'ma re-iterate that the goal for me is not to attain Pain Free, but to change the quality of my experience with TMS and resolve the emotional blocks that are preventing me from attaining Presence.

    Only about 10 pages in, not much past the Intro and Foreword, and I feel a sense of hope.

    Comments welcome.
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    How do you like it so far? I have the book but haven't started it yet.
  3. Livvygurl

    Livvygurl Well known member

    Sounds like you are doing some great work! There are so many good books out there :) I am so grateful for all this pertinent mindbody information! I too feel a sense of hope about the healing journey. Please feel free to share any insights about your exploration with Presence.
  4. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    V: I do like it. I know I actually haven't gotten to the "work" yet, but Michael has a strong, clear, and compassionate voice and that's what counts. He also upholds the same mantra that anyone who is serious about TMS does: that it's about the journey and not the outcome; about the betterment of your life and NOT about being pain-free. Yet it's nice that "yes, he has successfully resolved the emotional conditions that led to his painful neurologic condition."

    L: Will do.
    Forest and veronica73 like this.
  5. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    Seems "the journey" may have come up around page 6 of our lengthy conversation. I'm joking here, but I'm pretty sure I may have mentioned it.

    It IS all about learning to live in the moment. So hard to do. And all of life (to me) is about the journey - not the outcome. I am still working at that though. I have not read this book - I'm a little behind in my reading.

    I do want to say how stoked I am for you and your progress. Alan is a miracle worker to me. It wasn't one particular thing he said to me, but the conversation as a whole. Obviously he has resonated with you too. Your a whole new "voice". It gives me a lot of inspiration.

    And I am doing the happy dance that you and Bear have your own place!

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  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi all...

    I thought you all might like to know that Dr. Sarno has said some very positive things about the Presence Process. The following is taken from our TMS Wiki page about the Presence Process:

    In an interview, Dr. Sarno acknowledged that he considers the Presence Process to be a great (maybe even the best) description that he's seen of the unconscious processes that drive TMS. While his own treatment plan is, of course, distinct, he sometimes does the breathing exercises from the Presence Process and even used it in his lectures. A transcript of the conversation follows:​
    Murphy: Dr. Sarno, I have said many times, and this is second hand from Dr. Sklar, that you have said that the Presence Process is the best book you've ever read and has applications to 100% of your patients and that you were doing, while you weren't doing the Presence Process experimentally, you were doing the breathing exercises 15 minutes twice a day. How far off base am I by saying that?​
    Sarno: I have to say that I'm not faithful about that, sometimes yes and sometimes no. So that I'm not very good at doing these repetitive things and so on. And obviously I don't integrate that into my work with patients. The way I deal with this whole area is to take people with physical symptoms and get them to understand the nature of the symptom and what the real reason for the symptom is. As I said before, in other words I'm saying I've got to get you out of the physical world and get you into the psychological world. That's the only way you will be able to deal with these symptoms appropriately.​
    Murphy: Right. Right. And Dr. Sklar has said that you were using aspects of the Presence Process in you lectures to your patients. Is that right?​
    Sarno: Actually I was. I'm no longer -- I've stopped doing the lecture thing. Everything I do with patients know is on a one to one basis. And its been quite a while since I discontinued doing the lectures. I've felt that they were essentially hand-holding. That one had to work with them individually to really get them where they need to be.​
    Sklar: And hey Frank I just wanted clarify. I believe that when Dr. Sarno looked at the presence process he said he thought it was a great, maybe the best description he's seen of the unconscious things that drive the condition he calls TMS. Isn't that correct John, you thought it was just an eloquent, uh,​
    Sarno: Yes​
    Sklar: [continuing…] description of all those processes that go on in the mind.​
    Sarno: Yes. Right.​
    [From the 5/12/10 episode of "Power Without Pills." Starts at around 31:50.]​

    John Sklar, MD, a TMS physician who spoke at the TMS Conference in Ann Arbor, wrote the following about this book:​
    Hey all,​
    John Sklar M.D. here. been treating TMS for 20 years. Was going to attend the conference but i was ill. If I had come I was supposed to speak briefly. What I wanted to make everyone aware of is a book called "The Presence Process" by Michael Brown. In it is a very good description of the cause/source of our unconscious conflicts (the one's that result in TMS). Then a 10 week process is described which will begin to allow the unconscious material to be integrated/digested. I believe that it describes the single best TMS treatment protocol on the planet (and I am not one to throw about such words lightly). At any rate you should be aware of this material. I have showed it to DR. Sarno who was initially quite skeptical (after I described it to him) but later was quite impressed. He believes it is great description of the source of repressed emotions (one of "the best" that he has seen). Glad to discuss further and answer any questions you may have. [ed. note: feel free to post your question here]​
    John Sklar​

    The thread that the above quote (from Dr. Sklar) comes from is one of the best and most popular threads on the old wiki. Anyone interested in TMS/PPD and the Presence Process should definitely check it out:
    veronica73 likes this.
  7. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Hello all,

    Glad this Presence Process is bringing up so much positivity in everyone because despite the positive voice that BG sees in me, I've encountered some of the deepest, most primal fear of this entire journey. I'm talking about waking up from my first day of Night Float as a second year with true hair-raising, drenched in sweat nightmares--that no-one can help me. Something about me telling a counsellor that I'm diagnosed with TMS, and PLEASE help me, and them frowning and recommending medication. And I'm like, oh no, I've been on SSRIs for years, and that just doesn't touch anything! and PLEASE help me! and waking up so terrified that I couldn't fall back asleep.

    So I'm feeling really despondent right now. I know Alan would say the internal terrorist is like super-CEO and I'm the janitor, but right now the fear tells me that I'm never gonna get there.
  8. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    No one is positive all the time.

    I often have really vivid, scary dreams--not fun. I try to think of them as my mind doing more processing while I'm asleep.

    You seem like you've come so far since you first started posting here--there will always be ups and downs, doesn't mean you aren't going to get there.

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  9. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    :'( Bear and I are terrified. Absolutely terrified. :'(

    Perhaps it's a function of the TMS mind, but I feel like my situation is despondent and hopeless. I feel like I'm NEVER going to get there, and my mind rebels at the idea of living this reduced life forever. :'( *cry*
  10. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh, SV, I feel for you! And I think you are right on when you say that perhaps this is a function of the TMS mind! I also totally agree with Veronica (Jan following V around the forum and agreeing with her :^) I had some extremely disturbing dreams while I was doing the work last year, so I got hold of a book about dreams, which helped me to understand and accept my dreams. I didn't understand their particular meaning (that was way too dense for me) but what I did understand is that the purpose of some dreams is to have fearful experiences and to survive them. This is what helps us cope with new information and situations.

    So I think there might be a couple of ways for you to accept this - either or both, take your pick?

    1. your mind is definitely rebelling because it adamantly refuses to believe that it's safe to let your repressed emotions out into the light of day.

    2. your unconscious is trying to process the new way that you want to live vs. the old way, because they are in total conflict with one another, and the old way is having a real hard time giving up seniority.

    Either way, I am POSITIVE that the dream is a process, not a setback. Have faith.

  11. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    I woke up with a whimper. I kid y'all not. :(
  12. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Been there, SV. I s'pect we all have, in fact. I used to think nights were the scary time, but in the last year I've discovered that mornings are HARD. Still are, sometimes.

    You probably don't even get to have normal mornings - you're on some kind of sanity-bending weird hospital time shit - I mean shift.

    Shanshu Vampyr likes this.
  13. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Jan, I must be especially brilliant today ;)

    SV: sleep is tough because the unconscious mind is in total control and so the inner bully is probably having a field day. I've found it helpful before I go to sleep to do some positive self-talk--telling myself I know I have TMS, I'm working on my issues of repression and that I am safe and am getting healthier every day. This seems to help with the scary dreams. I also sometimes listen to Louise Hay's Evening Meditations before I go to sleep so I fall asleep hearing something positive.
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  14. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Vee, you are brilliant EVERY day!
    veronica73 likes this.
  15. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    *sigh* Score one for the messed-up-in-the-head former Psych resident... :'(

    I'm afraid. All day, every day. I was doing OK earlier in the week getting pissed at the bully, but that seems to have dissolved into me being a mental wreck yesterday. I think my subconscious is having trouble with 1. my NOT being an intern anymore--it feels REALLY GOOD but I think my SC is having trouble processing the change, and 2. maybe, possibly the fact that I started reading the Presence Process book.

    I just feel like I'm spinning in circles. :( And my vestibular system isn't that great, anyway.
  16. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I haven't read the book yet, but maybe it triggered something?...can you set it aside for a bit and talk about it with your therapist before continuing? I had this one book on the Inner Child...I read it one day and something in it set me off and I couldn't get out of bed the next day, I was so depressed and exhausted. A few weeks later the same thing happened. I ended up setting it aside (for 10 years!) and just reading that section of it again a few weeks ago and it really triggered me AGAIN, but now I know exactly which part triggered me. I decided I need to go a little slower with feeling feelings than what that book was bringing out in me so I'm not reading it right now.

    Healing doesn't have to be intense all the time...I have to remind myself of this too. Sometimes it's just good to watch something mindless on tv or go for a walk.
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  17. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    And yet, SV, I see either wisdom or wise humor in everything you say, and your emotions are right out there, they aren't covered up in a lot of talk. You're doing a really good job of communicating, do you know that?
    I mean, that's just classic, isn't it? Stereotypes don't come from nowhere!
    Uh huh. Yep. Probably both. Good call.
    :confused: You too? I'm the one with the woozy brain, not so much the pain! I have to replace "pain" with "dizziness or whatever this is" every time I read something. As the brilliant Veronica said somewhere else today, we get the symptoms we get because they match what's going on in our emotions (I'm paraphrasing her but that's the essence).
  18. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member


    Doing nothing and just letting TMS "be" is completely revolting to me. :'(
  19. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hm, now I'm not sure I'm following.

    Can you list some of the alternatives to doing nothing?
  20. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    I mean, not fighting the TMS tooth and nail with every available psychological resource. I can't stomach the idea of not "doing" anything to get pain free. Whether it's reading a TMS book, pushing myself with exercise, or being in TMS therapy. Just letting the TMS "be" feels like giving up, feels like failure, feels like I'm tacitly accepting an unpleasant, painful fate. "This is all it's ever going to be. I'm going to be on the Internet machine for the rest of my life and seeking out resources to 'fix' this...and never will" mentality.

    I've been able to get to where I am in life by following an algorithmic process. "If this choice works, make this next choice. If not, choose this arm of the decision tree. Choose differently. If THAT choice works out, proceed as follows. If not, make another decision." With TMS, all of my coping strategies are working against me. I KNOW it's a process, a journey, learning--but all I want is for the pain to be gone NOW. There's no rote algorithmic process involved in healing. Although I've followed an algorithmic process in recovery and now I'm not sure WHERE I am, quite honestly.

    I have always needed structure, "rules". And yet this is an emotionally-based, right brain process. There are no "rules". It's not a recipe or computer program. I also know that TMS thrives when you "push" against it and "fight" it, because it's an intelligent process (I don't see it as benevolent. I don't see it as my protector. I see it as my enemy.)

    So I quite often feel stuck.

    I think it was BG in a different thread who mentioned how difficult this is; I think her words were, "The idea of doing 'this' (anything in the vein of moving on with life) with 'that' pain is unacceptable". Perhaps I'm mis-interpreting.

    Could be I'm making progress but since I'm not pain-free, I'm, in true TMS personality fashion, beating myself up. All I know is that last night threw me for a tailspin, and that dream freaks me out.

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