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TMS - In challenging periods of your live

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by SebastianM, Apr 5, 2023.

  1. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Hi everyone,

    I would like to ask for your experience / recommendations with challenging periods in live AND TMS.

    Short abstract of my own live and experiences w. TMS:
    2011: Father died at traffic accident.
    2014: First physical pain (sour stomach, pain in joints (shoulder, wrists, knees), pain in tendons (achilles tendon, adductors)
    2015 - 2021 Psychotherapy
    2016: Got to know Sarno's work, joined this forum, worked with TMS
    2017+: Healing and I was able to make each sport I enjoy and love
    2017+: Physical symptoms are "normal" for me and I know them quite good. Sometimes they flare up and I do not need to do anything. I am aware of TMS and say hello.

    In the last two years my girlfriend and I moved together in one flat and the time was challenging due to different reasons. 4 weeks ago I decided to make a break and to interim-rent a small flat. My whole system (body, heart, soul) was working heavily. My entire constitution was not good.

    An important coping mechanism is sport: I went to Gym 2-3 times a week, made yoga, ...

    But now since 1-2 weeks, my whole body is sensitive and tends to react oversensitive if I do sports.
    - Gym = shoulder and knee pain
    - Running = achilles tendon, knee pain
    - Climbing / bouldering = achilles tendon, shoulder pain
    - Hiking = achilles tendon, knee pain

    Wrong food = sour stomach

    I would love to read your experiences / anwers:
    - What do you do, when you have such a heavy period in live and in parallel have to deal with TMS?
    - What techniques / thoughts / ... do you manifest?
    - What do you do that help you?
    - What did you try that didn't help you?
    - ...

    Thank's a lot in advance and BR

    PS: Just a short success story of my day. Today I went running 7 km. At the beginning it felt horrible and I was a little scary (1st 2km). After 2+ km it felt good and I was proud to run <3.
  2. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Hi Sebastian,
    It's great that you have a sense of exactly what's happening and why. That's the first step, isn't it?
    You've obviously had some large, life changing stressors lately. Challenging situations with a partner can really bring up all those emotions that secretly wreak havoc on us. Anger, Guilt, Fear. Even relief can add to the guilt about the relief.

    I'm not sure I have good answers for you because my one, reliable go-to is journaling. Deep, let it all out, screaming, swearing, journaling that leads to contemplation, understanding, feel-goods.

    What I have to stay away from is symptom searching. I feel a deep need to symptom search which gives me short term relief but keeps me down. I also have to stay away from checking myself and my symptoms which also provides short term relief but keeps me down. It's hard for me not to do those things when I'm the throws of an episode but when I feel safe enough and I'm ready to get out the episode, those have to stop.

    Congratulations on your success with the running. That's impressive. Well done!
  3. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Hi Booble,

    Thx a lot for your answer. Symptom searching is really a tricky thing, I have the intention to do that as well.
    I assume that having a stronger focus on journaling is a good idea.

    Do u face TMS also when u have flues or virus infections? In the last 12 months I had more than 5 infections and it feels like my immune system is not capable. Would be happy to receive your experiences.

    Thx and BR
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey @SebastianM - so I see that you did most of your posting here back in 2017/2018, and that you dropped in with a question a year ago, but didn't follow up. I'm thinking that it might have been the beginning of these infections, is that accurate?

    Living in a state of constant stress definitely puts a strain on your immune system. The actual physiological process is very complicated, but basically, yes, people under the constant stress of what we call TMS can cause someone to get sick or have infections more often. Lots of people in their Success Stories have reported that they no longer get sick all the time, once they learned how to calm down their entire nervous systems with TMS knowledge and techniques.

    All that being said, while I assume you had medical care for these infections, have you been examined more extensively (blood tests, for example) specifically to make sure there isn't an underlying concern for all of these infections, other than stress? Stress IS the most likely cause, but sometimes chronic stress can cause physiological changes that must be treated as "not TMS" even though they were caused by the TMS stress mechanism - does that make sense? I don't want to alarm you, but let's face it - you're already worried, so let's get practical and take it step-by-step.

    If you've had those tests, and if there is no known reason for all of the infections, then you can be sure it's the TMS mechanism at work. And then it's time to do the emotional work of learning to calm your brain, eliminate the unconscious irrational fears from your childhood experiences that your brain is still using to keep you anxious, and build your "anti-TMS" skills.
  5. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    I continue to wear my mask when in public so I haven't gotten sick (yet) since my great sickness in 2019/2020.

    I don't think in general TMS or health anxiety increased getting colds/flus. If anything it seemed like it decreased as my body was always johnny on the spot to kick something down before it turned into anything.

    The only time I was getting endless colds was years ago when I was in college. I stopped drinking alcohol and made sure to improve my vitamin intake and that stopped.

    The one interesting thing I can add is sort of the reverse. Colds/flus increasing TMS and other health anxiety. I did some thorough research in the medical journals on this after learning about cytokines and how in certain individuals they have been clinically shown to increase anxiety and/or depression.
  6. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Hi @JanAtheCPA ,
    You dealed with „my story“ very attentively, much thanks for that effort.

    Post one year ago: that‘s right. One year ago I recognized that my whole system is less able to recover. Sports injuries needed very much time to heal. And additionally the frequency of having infections increased.

    By looking back, I realize that the last 1,5 years were very intense and stressful.

    To come back to the next steps: I always went to the doctor when I had infections. Blood has been checked (all good, no alarming signs) and also other examinations showed no anomalies.

    My doctor said that in 2022 many people were ill due to wearing masks, which leads to a decrease of the immune system. I regularly go to a serious alternative practicioner. He said that my stress level is very high and moreover Covid vaccinations could have a negative influence on our immune system - but I do not want to deal with vaccination right or wrong. It‘s the stress level and the heavy emotions that can be influenced/changed.

    Infections effects TMS symptoms: I recognize that on the hand infections are more often on the other hand TMS „old“ symptoms are more often occuring. And I feel that both effect and influence each other. I feel weak and as if I cannot manage the allday live because I cannot rely on and trust in my body/health. This feeling/thinking is devastating.

    To conclude: I assume, that stress / TMS is the biggest factor. But when dealing with infections I am not 100% convinced. I don‘t know how to TMS-treat it.

    My „plan“ is to focus on meditation and journaling once or twice a day to build up mental strength.

    Which TMS skills do you recommand/prefer?

    Many many thanks <3
  7. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Hi @Booble,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    In my point of view, Having colds/flus/infections leads ro higher body focus and more overthinking of physical symptoms. And that leads automatically to a risk of TMSing - so I agree with your „reverse“-theory.

    It‘s very nice that you do not get colds any more! :)

    Did you change further routines in your life? (e.g. Sleep routines, food, phyiscal activity/Sport, mindfulness practice, …)

    I do not regularly drink alcohol, sleep enough, eat plant-based food, am active and sporty person and do my meditation every morning. In theory, I think that‘s a good mixture :). But I have a huge topic with my girlfriend that has not been solved yet and that puts a huge amount of stress on my system - seems that this thing could be the decisive point.

    What routines do you have when you have very stressful periods in life? Is journaling your most valueable tool?

    Thank u!
  8. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I used a TMS coach named Rebecca Tolin. Like you she went to alternative Doctors when traditional Doctors could not cure her of what they called many infections. She was sick for 13 years but otherwise very healthy, plant based etc. None of the Doctors realized all of these “infections” which became many other things were just TMS. She cured ALL of them with no alternative medicine, nothing but TMS work!
    TMS work is a choice of what works for you:
    Doing a free program on this website from start to ending (even if symptoms go away, finish it!). At the bottom of this page you will see Programs: https://www.tmswiki.org/w/index.php?page=The_Tension_Myositis_Syndrome_Wiki (The Tension Myositis Syndrome Wiki)

    Many coaches have programs you buy and then get some help, support and videos.

    Reading many entries on this forum. People talk a lot about this work. Watching YouTube videos. The Pain PT is a very good one.
    SebastianM likes this.
  9. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have a hard time meditating, but I definitely practice calm breathing techniques which are amazingly helpful to calm my brain and unclench various muscles "in the moment".

    I regularly get out a pen and a piece of paper to just write down whatever comes into my mind. If I'm going through a rough patch I will do this at least once a day. Then I throw it out. My writing is mostly illlegible anyway, because I try write fast so I don't have time for my brain to tell me I shouldn't be writing about something!

    I try to end each writing session with at least one thing, no matter how small, that I'm grateful for that day. Today, for example, even though it's still f***ing COLD here in the upper-left-hand corner of the US, I am grateful that on my weekly 3-mile walk with friends, it did not rain, even though it was raining when I left the house to go meet them :D

    Many people report that going back to re-do the exercises in the SEP (Structured Educational Program) is very helpful - if you did the SEP in the past, there is no need to re-do every day again. But the exercises are designed to get you to think about things that are hidden in your unconscious brain, which is very useful.
  10. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Thanks for sharing. How was the work with Rebecca? Can u recommand her? I am thinking about working with a coach as well.
  11. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Thx for sharing your tools / experiences. I will try the "fast-journaling-technique" - did not try it yet. Also, I recognized that I did not do the "Pain recorvery progam" yet. I jump in tomorrow.

    I would like to share some insights of my current situation and would love to get to know your thoughts and positive words:

    This evening was quite heavy for me. I really have problems to be ill. This is my seventh cold virus within the last 365 days and I am losing trust in my immune system. (It is very difficult to make plans for life or to plan projects in my job when I am ill every 4-8 weeks, isn't it?!)

    I assume that the fact that I get a cold / infection is (probably) not TMS but the way I deal with it influences (probably) the recovery time. The way I am ill is not "normal" compared to other people. It takes very long that I completely recover (minimum 7 days rather 14 to 21). Additionally, I do not have the typical symptoms like running nose and so on. I have symptoms like tense neck, ear pain, dried up mucous membranes in the head (which causes pain), headache, fatique, sweating ... . Some symptoms are also part of colds but the typical cold syptoms do not occur..

    My physical and psychic condition is not good. I feel like having a little depression. Life is overwhelming me and I just don't like my (daily) life anymore.. Sorry for moaning but I don't know with whom I can share these very bad insights... :(

    It is quite hard to have such a fall-back and I cannot understand how it could happen...
  12. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Rebecca is very compassionate.
    Her style is a Somatic practice especially for fear, and is focused less on emotions. She is a coach and not a psychologist. Rebecca offered me skills I needed at a time I needed them. She offers some skill building outside some traditional TMS work.
    I think finding a coach depends on what you feel you need. If you want someone to help push you into a new direction, or to help you ask yourself hard questions, you might try her mentor, The Pain PT .
    SebastianM likes this.
  13. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @SebastianM, I get how discouraging this is - but please be reassured that this is all connected to your emotional state of mind.

    All you have to do is Google "stress and the immune system" to find many many MANY authoritative statements about how long-term stress reduces your immune response.

    Here's just one example, from The Cleveland Clinic:
    "...cortisol can boost your immunity by limiting inflammation. But over time, your body can get used to having too much cortisol in your blood. And this opens the door for more inflammation, Dr. Calabrese says.
    In addition, stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes — the white blood cells that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte level, the more at risk you are for viruses, including the common cold and cold sores.
    High stress levels also can cause depression and anxiety, again leading to higher levels of inflammation. In the long-term, sustained, high levels of inflammation point to an overworked, over-tired immune system that can’t properly protect you
    And from a Harvard article ostensibly about Long Covid, but addressing many other stress-based conditions:
    "In other acute respiratory tract infections, such as flu or common cold, mental health conditions are associated with greater severity and longer duration of symptoms"
    And countless others like this. This is no longer speculation or a wild theory developed by a radical doctor in the 1990s (I'm talking about Dr Sarno, of course). The damaging effects of long-term stress are well-known and finally widely accepted by the most respected medical institutions in the world. Check out this short article from The Mayo Clinic reminding us about how just living in today's world is causing undue stress: Stress Management/Stress Basics.

    It's time for you to change your mindset. Take control over your random and pointless rumination! Firmly inform your negative fearful brain that you understand and accept that all of your doubts come from its desire to keep you fearful and stuck and spinning your wheels in pointless negativity and doubt. Thank your brain for trying to protect you, but tell it that THIS IS NOT NECESSARY OR HELPFUL.

    And then just do the work, no matter how much your brain tries to convince you that you can't or shouldn't. Yes you can, and you must!
  14. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    PS - as someone who has previously had success with TMS knowledge, you will benefit by listening to this podcast from Nicole Sachs about the symptom imperative. She recently repeated an episode from last year because so many people are struggling with setbacks right now. You are not alone!

    March 3, 2023 - S3, E27, titled "A Deep Dive Into the Symptom Imperative".
    https://audioboom.com/posts/8245738-a-deep-dive-into-the-symptom-imperative?playlist_direction=forward (The Cure for Chronic Pain with Nicole Sachs, LCSW / A Deep Dive Into The Symptom Imperative)
    ...or all of the podcast apps.
    SebastianM likes this.
  15. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    @Cactusflower : Thank you so much for sharing these information :).
  16. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Thank you, @JanAtheCPA . The information of stress <-> immune system is quite helpful. And your "command" gives me a good drive as well.

    You are right, with all points. Now, I may take the next steps :).

    I decided to make to things:
    1) TMS-work like mindfulness and mindfulness (I love meditation) & reducing stress in my life --> that's the key thing
    2) Letting check my immune system by doctor (had Covid in January this year) --> just to be sure

    I am grateful for your support!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  17. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Hi Sebastian,

    Checking in to see how you are doing. I don't think a doctor "checking your immune system" is going to help. (Especially if you are going to a doctor that is blaming masks and vaccines.) There is nothing wrong with you that needs medical doctoring right now.
    You need mental work not medical.

    Work on the emotional things that are troubling you. You are not medically ill so forget the physical and it will start to take care of itself. Focusing on the medical is going to continue to keep your body in that state. You are fine.
    Focus on the emotional work. Wash your hands and stay out of crowds and well, if I were you I'd wear a mask to keep away from other's germs for now.
    SebastianM likes this.
  18. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Hi all,

    I am so grateful for this community! ( :

    Since Friday my flu symptoms got even worse. I had to stay at home and am very exhausted. Thats ok, I will rest and chillout.

    Nevertheless, I meditate and journal if possible and it feels good. But from psychological side it is sometimes very hard. Fear and pressure come up when I think about my life. My job and my relationship are factors and as well activities that I originally planned with friends like going on hikes on a long weekend - short term future.

    While being here and having time for whatever, I realize that since around one year, more and more symptoms came into my life and had been connected with activities like hiking or stressful situations in my job. I am wondering that I did not recognize that I am on the best way to come back to a comparable state like 2014 (TMS joined my life, hello my friend).

    On the one hand, I am annoyed of „having it back“ and of being limited. (Feel useless, weak and as a loser in some dark moments). On the other hand, I know that I already healed in 2017.

    There is one difference between 2017 and now: In 2017 I was 26 and completely independent. I am a very active guy and love to have much space for me and my ideas to spend my free time.
    Now I am 32 and am lifing toghether with my girlfriend. How is it possible to manage TMS with allday life, maybe sometimes with children. Especially the prevention. What can I do to prevent situations like now? And, what will I do when I have such longer phases of stress AND TMS AND there are kids (and other reliabilities). I am so fearful about the future. I know, that I would love to be a father but I cannot imagine that in connection with TMS and being a high sensitive person…

    I do not need to find a solution for the mid and longterm future right now, but maybe you can share your experiences with being parents and having a TMS episode with looots of fear, doubts and pressure. How do you manage that? How do you prevent?

    Thanks a lot and BR
  19. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Hi Sebastian, good to hear from you.
    It sucks when having an "episode." Do keep in mind that you will feel great again. For some it's a cycle with ups and downs, learning to manage, and getting to a place where nearly all your time is up with only a few back slides from time to time.

    If the psychological side when you write is hard, that means you are getting very, very close to a breakthrough and solving things and putting it all mostly behind you. I think I mentioned that the first time I started writing I asked myself, "What am I angry about?" (While not feeling the least bit angry.) Suddenly my heart started pounding out of my chest a million beats a minute. I threw the thing I was writing on down and said, "I don't want to do this! I rather live with the throat problem and not being able to speak (laryngitis)!" It was really strange. In general I'm a writer and enjoy writing. I'm a thinker and enjoy thinking. But that question about what I'm angry about triggered something.
    The next day I tried again. This time I started by writing, "What was that all about?" And then I kept writing from there. Literally that same day my dry throat started filling with water and my throat problem started clearing.
    So if fear and pressure come up when you write, that's good. Ask yourself why (on paper). I think Sarno was onto something about anger. For years I did ask myself why I was afraid, etc etc and that never solved anything. But the second I got into why I was angry. Who I was angry at everything changed. And I swear to you I had no anger consciously. And the people I'm subconsciously angry at are people I love and care about. There almost should be another word for it because it's like anger because of childhood emotions, jealousy, frustrations, madness, fears.

    I wonder if your fears about children stem from some inner turmoil that you might not know you have about your own childhood. Feelings of anger over some treatment or slight from a parent or sibling. Something you don't even realize consciously today.

    I don't have children so I can't speak to that but I hear you on the fear. I often think it turned out to be a good thing that I couldn't have children because I don't know how I could have survived it with feeling physically weak, low energy and scared. And yet, everyone some how manages it. All my friend with health anxiety and/or TMS that have managed to raise wonderful children and can't imagine their lives without their kids in it. I think it helps to remember that humans are plenty fallible, not perfect and we're all doing the best we can at any given moment. And that's OK.
  20. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Hi @Booble,

    I like the shared ideas / experiences, thank's!

    Writing down questions to yourself regarding feelings is an interesting method.

    The idea that my fear of having children could be connected to my own childhood, could be possible. 1. My mum is full of fear. And 2. since my father died in a car accident when I was 20, I became much more fearful than before.

    Today I am very depressed due to my virus-symptoms (no improvment since more than 10 days). That knocks me out and I am in a self compassion cycle. I am wondering why it takes so long to feel better. And as a result I am condemning myself: "Why can't you recover like any other "normal" person?!" Maybe I can ask myself the question "Why are you so hard on yourself?".. I am putting pressure on myself because I want to get my life back: doing sports, havin fun, meet friends, doing a good job, ...

    Why is it so hard to accept to be ill / out of function? It's a self-fulfilling prophecy: Feeling of being "weak" leads to really being "weak".. And at this point, I could imagine that TMS influences the recovery more or less. But, I don't know.. My brain is jumping between self-compassion, self-doubts, self-reproach, fear about the future and of having further of these episodes (especially in case of more reliablities like havin family.)

    Thank you for sending hope regarding having kids. I also have friends with children who are busy but happy. I cannot imagine where they get their energy and how they recover but I will experience it on my on when the time comes.

    Puh.. normally I am such a positive and optimistic person. But when I am "out of order", I make a 180° turnaround and become a person, I don't like.. and additionally a wave of depression comes over me (which is definitely connected to the sudden death of my father and the dark episode of my life afterwards).

    Best wishes to you,

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