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The Role of Symptomatic Treatments While Dealing with Underlying TMS Issues

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Shanshu Vampyr, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    What are people's perspectives on this? (If any experts can weigh in, too, that would be great).

    My specific question regards the fear/anxiety that TMS brings. I've had a good week overall. I'm used to the "fear thoughts" to some degree and Alan has/is teaching me ways of dealing. Realizing that the fear is PART of TMS is a big part. Yelling at the internal bully (with varying degrees of intensity and success) for producing the fear thoughts is another, putting them in their place. Hopefully the road towards being TMS free.

    But TMS is persistent and stubborn, and fears come back. They always come back. At this moment, despite minimal pain episodes *earlier*, I feel fear. Fear is compelling. Fear breeds pain. I have both fear and pain.

    So my question is, is it appropriate to take as-needed anxiety medications during the recovery from the fears? I liken this to the question about the use of pain medication during the recovery (I don't take narcotics/opiates and never have, and have no desire to, partly because I don't want to mask symptoms instead of dealing with them. Slippery slope...) I've tried prescription-strength NSAIDs for painful episodes and they do NOTHING, limiting my options (and inducing more fear. "OMG, I have nothing to tide me over for this pain.") After all, I've had eczema since childhood that I suspect is TMS-related; I have no hesitation, though, about using prescription steroid skin creams to "control" the symptoms in this particular case...

    But if I *do* pop the occasional Xanax or Valium to help me deal (of which I have a very limited supply), am I giving in? Even worse, "thinking physical" (neurotransmitters and stuff)? I struggle with this because I'm really afraid of developing an addiction or something crazy like that (even though I typically don't take a dose more frequently than, say, once a week). (Doesn't help that we had a hotshot surgical attending give an impassioned lecture against drug abuse at the beginning of the year. The tableaux was his personal journey OUT of addiction to narcotics for severe, unremitting headaches during his residency *sing-song* 'TMS!!!')

    I'm afraid of compounding the TMS problem with another problem (drug addiction). I'm scared of something that ironically does provide some relief/a brief reprieve. I'm scared of benzo's. Most docs frown on benzo's.

    I'm just scared.
    danielle likes this.
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I used to take benzos too (prescribed). I was always terrified of getting addicted to them even though I was taking an extremly low dose. I haven't taken them in over 10 years so obviously that fear never came true.

    I think you can take the pills once in a while for anxiety just like you would occasionally take pain medication while reminding yourself that it's just temporary relief, not a replacement for working on TMS. But if taking them is going to make you feel even more anxious (about addiction) maybe it's better to do some more journaling or meditate instead.
    Shanshu Vampyr and danielle like this.
  3. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    i take paxil and klonopin, really low does, and i dont consider it a hinderance to recovery. its more an aid for me i dont take it as an end all like its going to fix my pain it just helps me get to that point. i actually recently started taking a 3rd antidepressent and it made me feel more anxious and angry at stuff so i stopped. 2 is probably enough at one time even if they are low dose. so if you were taking a low dose of anti-anxiety medication i dont see how this could be harmful to healing at all as long as you know there is work to be done psychologically and dont use the medication as the way to "fix your pain". i use it to help control worry and obsessiveness towards the pain.
  4. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Thanks guys. I guess I'm just used to looking at this from a doctor's POV, and no honest doctor would attempt to medicate away a mindbody condition (assuming he/she knew the mechanics of it). Plus, as a resident, narcotic (which I have no need for) OR benzo requests always get a profound eye-roll.

    Too bad I don't get any benefit from prescription NSAIDs. My dad has terrible gout...and a few doses of Naprelan do wonders for him. :)

    The meds/no meds thing has less to do with Sarno purism (although there is an element of that) than it does perfectionism. The "addiction" thought is just fear-brain, playing into it.
  5. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    PS Years ago I tried Lexapro for depression: it did help but now we know depression is a TMS equivalent. In 11/11 I started low dose Cymbalta for this pain/depression because I really didn't see a way out (still miserable outlook sometimes). 30 mg a day. That shit did NOTHING for me, and I took myself off it cold turkey about 2 months ago. Some of the most horrible withdrawals I've ever experienced, and since it's new I worried greatly that the horrendous "brain zaps" would be permanent. Then I REALIZED I was scaring myself. Took about 12 rough days, but the withdrawals went away.

    One day early on I was frustrated with my low dose, so I took a 60 mg. Within an hour I developed classic sciatic pain down my left leg for the first and only time in my life. I can only imagine how horrible *that* must be for some TMSers. But I know enough about Cymbalta to know that it's USED to treat nerve pain (i.e., diabetic neuropathy) so I quickly saw through the TMS ruse, and didn't worry about it, and even laughed it off, and after a few hours it went away on its own, NEVER to return. Ha. The power of the mind.
    veronica73 likes this.
  6. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    I know that fear and pain go together. You need some positive experiences that show you that you don't need the meds. But I'm not really qualified to speak to this as I'm on both - pain meds and benzos. Kinda comes with my life and I have a goal of getting off of both as soon as I get my TMS under control. I've been hesitant to talk about this here, but since both were prescribed years ago, now is not the time for ME to go off of them.

    I think it depends on our individual cases, our lives, and where we are in our journey to recovery. I'm learning that fear is just a thought. Nothing is going to hurt me and this has reduced my benzo intake. I'm also learning I can do physical exercise or work and when the pain starts up - I just tell myself "TMS" and the fear of stabbing pain doesn't come. In this way I've stretched my pain meds much further. So I have great hopes of ditching both soon.

    Had to be honest. You're doing a favor to yourself by sticking with your program. And I don't think my medication is hindering my progress. Only *I* hinder my progress.

    Shanshu Vampyr and veronica73 like this.
  7. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    Thanks BG. Your honesty is good to hear. I do agree it is individual. For me, I look to tough it out as much as possible. I also use humor as a mature defense. To the point where my colleagues and others who don't know the scoop on my inner TMS battle think of me as the kooky, irreverent lapsed Psych resident. They'd never know I'm in constant pain.
  8. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    I too use humor. Sometimes sick humor, but if we can't laugh at ourselves every once in awhile - then we still aren't being our true selves. This TMS journey is the hardest undertaking I've ever done. Taking care of me for a change. But, if I didn't have my sense of humor - then I'd have been lost a long long time ago.

    My therapist has often said she's surprised I'm not depressed. Yes, I have really bad anxiety but I think my humor has kept me out of depression. Not sure, but anyway - I'm with you on that one.

    And as soon as I make strides towards weaning off my meds there will be a huge post. Possibly in a bright green neon.

    Susan and Shanshu Vampyr like this.
  9. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    I prefer yellow. :)
  10. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Yellow it will be then.
    Shanshu Vampyr likes this.
  11. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    I soooooo feel you on this. It's almost like Phil vs. Phil. Which will win? The fearful Phil who believes that TMS is gonna be forever, or the strong, empowerment Phil that hopes differently?
  12. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    It's the Phil that knows differently. It's simply Phil, walking this journey with many of us here walking along side you.

    Victory will be yours.

    Shanshu Vampyr likes this.

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