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Think Psychological (meaning of) ?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by cax, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. cax

    cax New Member

    I am new to dealing with TMS (primarily low back pain) and have a couple quick questions.
    1. Dr. Sarno's daily reminders - I must think psychological at all times, not physical. Having trouble grasping the concept of think psychological. Any suggestions, or a way of re-phasing it?
    2. When trying to re-introduce an physical activity or when having some anxiety about pain, what are some popular phases to tell yourself?
      • TMS will not win
      • I do not fear the pain
      • The pain is powerless and an illusion
      • I can do this. It's a piece of cake.
    If there is already good a good post on the forum or elsewhere, for either of my questions please refer me to it - I just did some quick searching with no success locating.
  2. David88

    David88 Well known member

    1. Think psychological means -- ask yourself what feelings (usually anger, fear, or hurt) you might have that you are blocking out of your awareness because they seem dangerous or unacceptable in some way.

    Maybe you are hurt over something, but think you shouldn't feel that way. Or maybe you are angry at a loved one, and are hiding it from yourself to avoid a conflict. It could be something you've put entirely out of your mind, or it could be something that you know is bothering you, but don't recognize the intensity of your feelings.

    We have an enormous capacity to hide our feelings from ourselves. That's what TMS does -- hides our inner selves.

    2. Any of those phrases are good. Whatever works for you.
    Durga and Ellen like this.
  3. interstellar

    interstellar Peer Supporter

    Once you rule out anything serious with a doctor, you step on to the path of healing. The key is believing 110%. 90% won't cut it. No matter how bad your pain is, you have to know that your body was sending you a message with this pain that your life needs fixing and your emotions need to be dealt with. Thinking psychological means that you are retraining your brain to stop fearing the pain and realize that's it's actually caused by you. Meaning you have the power to stop it. You must master outcome independence. Meaning do what you want to do if it makes you happy, regardless of how you feel after. Slowly introduce things back into your life that you've stopped doing because it hurts. If you don't sit because of your low back pain, sit for 5 minutes without caring how you feel during or after. Tell yourself while sitting that it's completely normal to sit and there's nothing wrong with your back that should be causing pain. After you stand back up don't worry if your sore because it's all part of the process. Do this for a few days and then try sitting for 10 minutes. Gradually increase until you find yourself sitting without even thinking about it. Apply this method to everything that hurts to do. You want to do the emotional work and the brain training that it takes to get rid of the conditioned responses. But you also must not obsess over it all and make time each day to be happy and do things you love. Find ways to laugh every day. Write down what your greatful for every day. Once you make more and more progress you will have your evidence that everything is fine and you can start to lessen the work part of it and increase the amount of time you don't think about your pain. Be happy. Be patient. Be kind to yourself.
    Durga and Seraphina like this.
  4. cax

    cax New Member

    Thank you for the responses.

    Interstellar's response works better for me
    David88's response is harder for me. Have the usual minor fears and angers, but nothing terrible (childhood abuse, divorce, etc)
  5. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hello Cax, I'm not sure how far in you are with your reading of all these tms/ mind body health books. There are many school of thoughts on what exactly caused our psychosomatic symptoms. But all of them pretty much said it is something in our thought, our emotions that caused. Negative thought/emotions. And they also said pretty much the same thing on how to get rid our of pain/symptoms. They all suggest us to stop feeding our mind with negative thoughts/emotion. We have to create a more happy and relax environment for ourselves. They said we have to stop fearing our symptoms.
    Dr. Sarno said to think psychological all the time that to me mean we have to believe that there is nothing wrong with us physically. If nothing is wrong physically that what is there to be fearful of? Dr. Claire Weekes also said Fear is the main cause of our symptoms. Stop the fear and the symptoms will die out. If you read Steve O's book, he wrote of him playing hundred and hundred of golf game until the pain leave him. What he did is prove to his brain that he is not afraid of it. Dr. Rankin, who wrote "Mind over Medicine", said we are what we believe. If we believe we are strong and healthy, we will.

    We think our way into this mess then we have to think our way out of it. Negative event created negative thoughts and emotions which caused our ill health. So we now have to create an environment that is conducive to good health. An environment that are full of happiness, calm, relax, fulfill, confidence...
  6. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Hi Cax,

    Positive thoughts and a healthy environment are great, but for many TMSers it takes a lot more.

    I recommend a careful reading of Sarno or Ozanich. They will both tell you that repressed emotions, either from childhood or current stresses, are at the root of TMS.

    It's not always something obvious, like divorce or abuse, that cause TMS. It can be more subtle, such as a parent who was not emotionally available, or who brushed off your feelings as unimportant.

    Sometimes it's things that are obvious to others but we don't want to see for ourselves. Read what Ozanich says about Tiger Woods's back pain, p. 170 and 173.

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2015
    DieMond128 likes this.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, David and everyone.

    I learned from journaling that my parents also had TMS that caused Dad to have lombago (back pain)
    and Mom to have frequent migraines. They nor I knew about TMS, but since learning about it
    and that they had TMS, I was able to understand them better. That helped me to forgive them,
    and forgiving healed my back pain.

    Happy Easter!
    Seraphina and jazzhands like this.
  8. DocDave

    DocDave TMS Physician and Author

    "Think Psychologically, not structurally" can also be updated and expanded upon in the following way. If you're focusing on structural, focusing on your pain, you're enhancing a neural pathway of brain--to-- pain (and v. versa) that is keeping you stuck in a cycle of pain. Shifting your thought and attention... blocking pain with affirmations, shifting thought to other aspects of your life that are rewarding... and processing psychologically with journaling, psychotherapy, etc. is the way out of pain.
    Durga, driffy, lexylucy and 1 other person like this.
  9. Joey2276

    Joey2276 Peer Supporter

    Hi Cax; all great advice on the forum. I personally need psychotherapy; or I should say I tried for 3 weeks or so on my own and made essentially zero progress; once I began therapy with a TMS therapist progress commenced. I have a more severe case (fibromyalgia symptoms, chronic fatigue, migrains, back pain, IBS, anxiety, etc etc.) I think dr Sarno said about 20% with back pain need it; but my guess is if symptoms are more long standing and severe the percent is much higher.
  10. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    I say:

    "my pain is psychological"
    "I don't need this pain"
    "I am ok with having emotions"
    "I can take care of myself and feel my feelings a little at a time"
    "this pain is not real or structural"

    for me it is also about listening to the pain to see if there is a voice or an image :)
    and also remembering when the pain began and what else was I feeling at the time
    Durga and kim marie like this.
  11. cax

    cax New Member

    balto, yes, I can work on the positive thoughts and not fearing the symptoms.
    I am very early in the TMS books - only read Sarno's Healing Back Pain, which definitely inspired me and gave me some confidence. What are the top books to read?

    David88, I hope it does not take a lot more for me :-(
    I hope positive thoughts are enough for me, because repressed emotions are a hard concept for me. Walter had written about childhood Easter 70+ years ago, and I just have a hard time believing these "repressed emotions" are causing my pain. eg. when little Johnny stepped on my sand castle in the sandbox at age 4 - is that repressed or forgotten - does it affect me today??? Sure, my grandparents died years ago, but did not seem to upset me much then or now, is that a repressed emotion that is causing today's pain??? Yes, if I had been abused as a child or death of a spouse type of trauma, but just "normal" life events...?

    I thought most of my pains were from specific injuries, but I do not heal, imaging tests don't clearly identify problems and I do have some of the TMS personality traits.
    Looking for good affirmations that help me when trying to stop thinking of the pain?

    Thank you lexylucy for the affirmations.

    Also found the following on the So You Think You Have PPD brochure.
    Think Psychologically, not Physically

    When your symptoms flare up - which they will - look for psychological causes rather than physical ones. Working with a therapist or talking with PPD Peers can help with this.

    You don’t necessarily need to cure whatever psy-chological stresses that may be creating the pain in order to heal. Sometimes just understanding that there is a psychological cause is enough. However, you may also find that doing the psychological work is worth doing for its own good. That choice is completely up to you.
  12. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Thinking psychologically means to not think of your symptom as being structural in nature. See your symptom only as a powerful emotion that your brain is attempting to divert to your body, and away from its true source. See your symptom as your brain diverting something that it's trying to hide from you.

    Thinking positive will never get you any where. Don't go down that Polly-Anna path to nowhere. Remember the Alice In Wonderland paragraph/summation, "Any road can take you where you want to go if you don't know where you're headed."
    Durga, David88, Ellen and 1 other person like this.
  13. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    cax, personality plays a part too, maybe a big part for you. Pressure on yourself, making everyone else's needs more important than yours? Maybe your mom would say you were "high strung" or a sensitive baby/toddler?
  14. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
    The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
    Alice: I don't much care where.
    The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
    Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
    The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.
    Ellen likes this.
  15. cax

    cax New Member

    Steve Ozanich, I have not read your book, but read a bit of your story and you have certainly had much, much more emotional stress in your life than I. I do understand what you are saying about Alice in Wonderland and positive thoughts only. After reading one of Sarno's books, I have been trying to convince myself that it is all structural. The book gave me a boost to thinking structural, but when I sit and the pain returns, I need something more to advance the process to get further toward that 100% plus belief.

    Of course my parents, teachers and others made mistakes, but I really don't believe anything major. Yes, my personality traits (goodist, perfectionist, stoic) probably cause more issues than repressed memories. First step I think is to determine the stress my personality traits are causing me.

    Thank you all for dialog, which I believe is helping me advance in the process.
  16. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    David88 you found it! Good job. There are many roads to nowhere. I pass people on the road to nowhere every day. They're in a big hurry to get there. The idea is to know what you're trying to accomplish. It's not about taking pain away, it's about taking the reason for the pain away. More precisely, it's about taking away the need for the pain.

    CAX the process is the slow release of doubt, by grabbing tiny truths along the way as you paint the larger picture, with the goal of getting to 100%. There are many things along the way that make sense, and more that don't make sense. you'll recognize them now that you're paying attention.

    Your personality is the cause of your health imbalance, not your body. Your body is simply reporting on the imbalance. Never try to heal the body.
    Durga, KevinB and Lizzy like this.
  17. KevinB

    KevinB Well known member

    This is key- I must remind myself of this frequently, probably daily.

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