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TMS and body image

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by beachgirl, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. beachgirl

    beachgirl Peer Supporter

    Lately I have been thinking about TMS and how much mine this time around is tied into my body image. We are always talking about physical pain with TMS as the reason to focus and obsess on the body, but with me and my current symptom (which is hair loss) my obsession with my body is not about physical pain but about how I look, my body image. It is a total obsession just as any physical pain symptom would be, constantly checking to see if its better, worse, my whole day revolving around how my symptoms are and fear,fear,fear around my symptoms! But for me it's how I look, rather than physical pain, yet the emotional and psychic pain of having such a change in appearance and the fear of it all is as bad as any physical pain I've ever felt.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about vanity, hair loss for me has been an entirely upsetting and anxiety producing experience. In fact I've almost never had this much anxiety over anything as I have with this hair loss. I'm sure the women can identify.

    So what do I do, I focus in my body image. I spend the day in self loathing and low self esteem from how my body (hair) looks, I hide and run from people and from life around me because I am so upset about my looks. The focus on my body image on this has been constant, just like it was when I had physical pain TMS many years ago. It's all I think about all day long.

    I shared before about recovering from a life-long eating disorder last year and how incredibly similar this was in terms of obsession and psychic pain over body image. It was the EXACT same process, feelings, emotions to the letter. With the eating disorder, my entire waking moments were focused on my body, how I looked, what I weighed, if my weight was good it was a good day,if it was bad, it meant a horrible day. I had self loathing and shame about my body and appearance from the overeating, no self esteem and similar to my hair loss I stayed away from people and social events because I was always so uncomfortable about my appearance.

    I am still without work, an income and at such a loss for any-type of stability. Living alone with no one to help me financially and no money or job is a terrifying experience so it's easy to see what underlying factors might be contributing to this TMS.

    I wonder if anyone else's TMS has manifested this way. I know that since I long since recovered from back pain with Dr Sarno that I'd be hard pressed to be fooled by many physical symptoms so perhaps this is another avenue, TMS of body image. I still have trouble thinking hair loss is TMS because its not a physical pain symptom like all the others, yet It has me preoccupied with my body the same as any other symptom I've ever had.
  2. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Beachgirl - You are not alone! I'm sure anyone who reads your narrative can relate, even if the symptom isn't hair loss. I know I could on both a TMS level and the body image thing. You've got some very positive things going on...you recognize the TMS process and are armed with not only past successes, you have the knowledge to fight what IS very likely a TMS equivalent. Good grief! The stressors you're under right now would send anyone deep into TMS land!

    Re: Body image. I watch or listen to very little media anymore. The bombardment of messages that I'll never be enough because I'm not using the right shampoo or clothes or WHATEVER. They're LIES. Ever single one of them. Beachgirl, if you didn't have a SINGLE strand of hair on your head....YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Your value isn't in your hair. Just the way you are. Right now. And wholly!

    For me, when I get into the monkey mind spitting out its lies of rejection and unworthiness, I have found practicing mindfulness meditation has been HUGELY helpful. And also....be sure and find Brene Brown's TED talk on Shame. It's on Youtube and she really nails the trouble behind what nails us as human....shame and disconnected.

    Hang in there, dear. You are loved. You will get through this!
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Beachgirl, I definitely relate to your back and anxiety being caused by financial worries.
    I've been a fulltime freelance writer for 40 years and it was never easy making enough money
    from writing books and magazine articles to pay the monthly mortgage and bills.
    It became even harder since we fell back into another Great Depression like the 1930s.
    I lived through that but was only a boy. It's not easy to live through this one as a man.

    I too live alone, with just my darling dog Annie. I've been keeping busy writing for a publisher friend
    but he doesn't pay me until his investor pays him, so we're cars stalled and backed up on a financial highway.

    What are your skills? Maybe I can make some suggestions how to bring in some money.
  4. beachgirl

    beachgirl Peer Supporter

    Thanks to you both for your replies! Yes the financial fear is terrible and very overwhelming. I can easily see how any number of stress related conditions can come from that but I realized yesterday that I have been stuck at really not believing my symptoms are TMS so I have stayed firmly stuck in the syndrome and the fear of my symptoms. I am really working in realizing my symptoms are truly benign and will reverse themselves.

    When my symptoms play out in body image, the disease thoughts around it are all consuming. Yesterday I decided to just notice how many times I had a disease thought, how many times I worried, or told myself I looked terrible, all those thoughts from my TMS that eat at my self esteem and self worth. I realized that TMS is not just the actual symptoms, but the whole sick and diseased thinking and fear thinking around my pain and symptoms as well that comes with it. The bad thoughts about myself because of my symptoms, the obsessive focus on how bad my appearance is, the fear thoughts about my symptoms, the checking on my symptoms are as much part of the TMS as my actual symptoms. What a revelation. It's not just the symptom, but all the bad feelings around it that are a part of the process and a part of the pain.

    Then I decided to take my thoughts one by one and challenge them, each and everyone. Instead of trying to tackle my thinking in its entirely (impossible and overwhelming for me) I just took the thoughts separately, labeled it a disease thought and tossed it away. I knew that TMS as a whole is a great big lie and deception, but it hadn't occurred to me so much all those thoughts - hundreds of them- about my symptoms, my looks, my fears were all lies, deceptions and disease thoughts in and of themselves. To me I believe if I think a thought its true.

    This has been eye opening. I got the thought by reading older posts on mindfulness, especially the ones by Stocktrader. If the is still around I would like to thank him immeasurably. When I break things down like this, I think I can kick this monster of a disease to the curb.

    Every time I tell myself my hair is awful and I look awful,that I won't ever get better, I say that's my disease talking and it's a lie trying to keep me in the disease so I stay distracted. It really takes the power away from a lot of this and with hope, it will put a fast end to my symptoms. Heal the mind first and hopefully the body will follow.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Congratulations, Beachgirl, on your revelations and progress. It's so great when those realizations arrive. I, too, feel Stocktrader's posts are very wise and helpful.

    I do note that you are focusing on your thoughts and changing your thoughts. I agree this can be helpful. However, don't neglect the emotional/psychological aspects of what is triggering your TMS. Negative thinking doesn't cause TMS, repressed emotions do. Therefore, positive thinking won't cure TMS, though it can help with lessening the fear and conditioned responses associated with TMS. Before learning about TMS, I put a lot of energy into using different positive thinking techniques to address my chronic pain and other symptoms, as well as other issues in my life. I found it led to success with many things, but not my TMS. In my opinion there is no way to heal TMS without addressing one's repressed emotions.

    Best wishes on your healing journey....
  6. Pandagirl

    Pandagirl Peer Supporter

    Beachgirl, it's great that you've had this revelation and working on your thoughts. Take it one moment at a time, and one thought at a time!

    I disagree, Ellen, that negative thoughts don't cause TMS. TMS is a mind-body syndrome and thoughts are of the mind. TMS is as unique as the individual. I'm someone who has developed TMS out of negative thinking.
    beachgirl likes this.
  7. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ooh Pandagirl, I love how you tickle my fancy. I've been musing on this of late, where does tms fit within the continuum of body-mind disorders? For instance, Parkinsons disease definitely has a body-mind component but is not tms. Maybe I ought to create a fresh thread but the train-of-thought is current. In terms of purity Ellen is right about repressed emotions, that is the bedrock of Sarno's theory, but many, like Dr. Schu have moved beyond this repressed emotions paradigm. What do folk think?
  8. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is the way to heal, you are doing great beachgirl-
    Keep doing this style from this day forward and you got it
    thanks for the thread- wow
    beachgirl likes this.
  9. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    I believe its both plum, as Pandagirl stated
    that's how she got her tms.
    See we have to understand our pain and how it got there
    then we have to sooth it and learn to be at peace with it before
    it will finally leave ya know.
    Bless You
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Girls, take a look at the Call-in for Tuesday Nov.12 I just posted.
    Steve Ozanich's 12 chapter 14. It's a good summary of TMS healing.
  11. Pandagirl

    Pandagirl Peer Supporter

    I think focusing on the "purity" of TMS and only Sarno's bedrock can hold some people back. It did for me, until I embraced the broader spectrum that encompasses anxiety, negative thoughts, depression, etc. TMS/MBS/PPD is not the same for everyone. I think it takes a lot of self reflection to understand our own brand of TMS.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Pandagirl, I agree with you that TMS symptoms can be more than back or leg or other bodily pain. If we think of
    what repressed emotions we may have, it can lead us on a yellow brick road to self-discovery. The wizard is Dr. Sarno,
    and his book (and SteveO's) are like a bag full of "magic tricks" to heal our pain and free us to live happier and healthier.
  13. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is such an awesome post Pandagirl- our own brand of Tms
    Its so true everyone is different and I try to listen for the difference when I give some advice
    Im so glad you gave a shout out at that. You lady's have a brilliant thread going.
    Beachgirl ,Ellen and Plum. Give us some more of that brilliant advice, ears wide open
    Bless you
  14. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Beachgirl you have come a long way in a short time, sounds like you are getting a handle on things because you are talking about them more
    That's great, that's what you want to do ok. You said you recovered from an eating habit, well that's proof you can come through this
    As you know the tms has settled in the spot that you never wanted so now you use focusing-
    some on the joy of life and some on your self control
    I really think your whole outlook on life has turned in orderly fashion.

    Its your thoughts of pain due to body image that has you coiled ready to strike or it was, now you have desensitized to the point that
    you can go longer without the dread of fear thoughts taking control, you take back control through desensitization and we loose
    the sensitization by loosing the fear of course, I did give you the Audios on Claire Weekes from here at Tmswiki right
    and did you ever get to buy her book. If not I can send you some great segments that will help you through the day so ill be like
    assisting you in your Clare Weekes studies ya know.

    You are doing awesome on the focusing as I mentioned above- im so proud of you

    We treat body image pain the same as physical pain ok, we all have a style to heal but the rules are the same.
    Stop doing the things you want to do and do 1 or two things a week that you don't want to do and soon youll
    have better results. Their is an image inside your body image as you know- its the real you- your true self
    well that true Self is waiting on you to become full of joy again and full of purpose ya know.

    Its you against them now and whoever them is- well it doesn't matter, when you set your mind to it, you will win
    Just make the choice to be happy in any situation, its hard , not easy but after the reconditioning phase you should pull through
    With the most beautiful body image you've ever thought possible, true beauty is from the heart - inside.
    and we all know you have plenty of that- let it come alive again and soon you will thank me
    Bless you beachgirl

    PS- Start visualizing yourself with the job of your dreams
    See it happening as you are there at the time in the body doing the work you like
    Don't cut yourself short on the power of visualization.
    Then as you get better at this start to feel the emotions of being at this job
    See the pay-check as your over seer pays you and see the money as you cash the check
    See it and do all this for a future Goal. We have to see it first, then it becomes manifest
    Any giant in the world of Quantum physics will tell you, you get what you keep your mind on
    So get your thoughts trained - little by little each day to do just that.

    And don't forget to stay with the mindfulness and focusing, even the Parts list with Njoy
    would help awesomely
    Bless you again my friend

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