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Alex B. TMS and pregnancy

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    Dear TMS therapist,

    My pain was triggered by pregnancy and delivery and then manipulations and injuries that have never "healed" also my main pain wakes me up at night. I am trying to find the connection between my pain and having a child. I understand that having a child is a big responsability but I doubt that is enough psychological reason to develop TMS. When I look at my childhood (in therapy) I cannot find the connection between now and then. I have looked at my relationship with my mother and how becoming a mother may have triggered feelings of abandonment but that doesn't seem strong enough. I have looked at the message in my family " you need to sacrifice yourself for your children" but I am not sure that enrages me enough to have this pain. In summary, I have done extensive work but still cannot see the connection. Can you guide me as where else to look or what else to do to get to the bottom of this connection since it is so clear that it all started as I became a mother.

    Thank you all,

  2. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi there, and thanks for the question.

    Often times TMS symptoms will attach to a previous injury or other "valid" source of pain even after it has healed. Essentially the part of your mind that perpetuates the TMS is looking for a source of distraction that you will be less likely to question. If you started having a pain in your hand and there had never been any injury or difficulty there, it would be far harder to dismiss that symptoms that are associated with something that has bothered you in the past. Pregnancy, birth and old injuries are perfect candidates, because it makes sense in your mind that there would still be discomfort associated with them.

    This speaks to the nature and purpose of TMS: distraction. It is important to note that it is the fear, obsession and preoccupation with your symptoms, and getting to the bottom of them, that TMS is all about, not the pain itself. It is your response to the symptoms that TMS treatment seeks to address. That being said, it appears from your question that your search for answers may be unintentionally perpetuating the symptoms. What I mean by this is that it seems as though you are really trying to get to the bottom of this systematically and find the perfect answer to explain your situation, the exact moment that triggered your problems. The issue is that when the motivation behind this search is one of pressure and fear, it can actually reinforce the symptoms. It is a very common phenomenon. People become so intent on exploring all of different avenues and possibilities, convinced that the perfect answer is there if only they look hard enough, that the search itself becomes the main priority, not you or your own sense of care and well-being. You can read more about this process here in a piece written by my mentor Alan Gordon.

    Now, while it is important to consider the issues above, there are some key components that you write about that I also want to address. It is difficult for me to guidance towards what it is specifically that is generating your symptoms, not only because of the issues I speak about above, but also because I don't know you or the challenges you have faced! What I can say is that I think it is important to recognize that this issue began when you became a mother, as you astutely recognize. While I understand that you feel it is "not enough" to generate symptoms, it is often the case that the true feelings about these things are very difficult to recognize. That's why there is an issue in the first place. It sounds a bit flippant, but we don't know what we don't know. By this I mean that because TMS arises as a distraction from uncomfortable emotions, when it is successful, as it seems to be in your case, the emotions are hidden! Starting to look at the often uncomfortable feelings and compromises that are part of becoming a parent is an important part of the process. I recommend you read part II of the recovery program and try to see what new stressors there are in your life, how they connect to past struggles and what you can do to make space for them.

    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Estelle. Alex Bloom has given you great advice. The main thing in TMS healing is not so much stopping any pain symptoms
    as it is in understanding ourselves better, and our relationships with others.

    It can help you to journal about your present life and how that may relate to your childhood.
    You say you felt abandoned as a child. Think back on that and try to understand why you felt that (it could have led to anger
    and that is a common cause of TMS because over the years it builds into unconscious, repressed rage.)

    I hope you will hug and kiss and love your baby, to give it a strong sense of being wanted. That will bring you both closer to each other
    and could relieve your repressed feeling of being abandoned.

    God gave you a living treasure. Love it!

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