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Day 8 TMS treatment update

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Chris1138, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Chris1138

    Chris1138 New Member

    Hi everyone,

    After a week of TMS treatment and following the Structured Education Program I can certainly say that I have made progress in accepting the diagnosis. If I haven't accepted it 100% I'm very close - with my mind going to emotional and psychological thinking rather than imaging a herniated disc pushing in my nerves whenever I feel pain (which was my default in the past).

    I've certainly linked emotions to my pain flaring up. I noticed my pain ramped up over the weekend at certain stressors that I've been able to link with childhood trauma through journaling. It wasn't surprising but I hadn't necessarily been aware of the connection. The journaling has been pretty eye-opening as I've had some pretty intense sadness and anger come out of it (gritting my teeth so hard they ached afterwards). In fact, yesterday I had a deep sense of sadness kind of wash over me at work out of the blue and mild anxiety on my commute home. Both things I haven't felt in over a year and I'm coming to understand why my brain wants to protect me from feeling these things. At the same time, I've also felt a deeper level of happiness in moments - so overall I feel like I'm opening up to emotions that I've just turned off in the past year.

    My lingering concerns are around the pain more directly. I know it has been dominating my life, but I'm much more aware of how my mind goes to the pain or expecting pain nearly constantly. I'm not sure how to stop this. I also note that I have pain when sitting, laying on my back, and walking that remains unchanged since I've started the program and is possibly worse. It seems completely unrelated to emotions and stressors, but more of a constant. I'm doing my best to ignore it and practice outcome independence: I try to sit and "enjoy" what I'm doing despite the pain, but 5 out of 6 times it builds and builds to an absolutely unbearable point. My strategy right now is to flick away thoughts when my brain goes to the pain (I saw on the forum someone would tell themselves "I'm not getting on that train." so I've adopted "I'm not getting on that bus.") At times it works, sometimes it doesn't.

    I find myself worried that if I have a conditioned neural pathway response - what if I can't break it? Any advice on this would be appreciated!
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Chris1138,

    I am glad to see you making some progress, at least in your practices and understanding, and your experiences of your self ---if not perfect symptom relief.

    Simply seeing the correlations between emotional experiences and symptoms is a very basic, important experience in recovery. These experiences prove the foundation of symptoms is emotional not physical. Write all these experiences down and read them every day.

    About the "neural pathways" fear, I suggest you understand that these are more like habits of mind, rather than "pipelines of pain." I really recommend to clients that they re-frame this terminology, based on Steven Ozanich's comments here awhile back. It is too easy to give "neural pathways" a sense of physicality, which then brings up fear and the need to fix. You don't need to fix anything. Just gently do what your doing, and your mind will come around. I hope this helps.

    Andy B
  3. Chris1138

    Chris1138 New Member

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I really like your framing around a habit rather than a fixed pipeline of pain. I was at the symphony yesterday evening which usually would have been a nightmare of walking from the parking garage and sitting for hours, but I actually went long stretches where I was able to acknowledge the pain and then turn my mind from it. I was also able to walk back to the car afterwards with almost no pain and for the first time in as long as I can remember I fell asleep on my back because I was able to lay flat with no pain! I went to bed and woke up this morning much more confident in my ability to manage and discard these pain 'habits'.

    Thank you!
  4. ssxl4000

    ssxl4000 Well known member

    I agree..."habits" is a good way to think about it. Habits can always be broken. It just takes persistence. It is hard though...the pain really does get better when you stop caring, but it can be hard to stop caring when it really hurts. You can do it though. I'm about 3 months since starting all of this and I still have some symptoms coming and going, but things are much better. And during the program, I had some symptoms that dropped asap and others that persisted for a long time, seemingly unaffected by the treatment, like you.

    A few thoughts that helped me:

    1- If you read enough success stories and get caught up in the 40 day treatment program, you may start to put pressure on yourself regarding getting better in a certain timeline. You will come across some materials in the program that warn against this and encourage you to accept your own timeline. It may take weeks, months, or years. That is concerning at first, but I just took solace in knowing I was not dealing with a life long condition, and that it would get better eventually.

    2- Remember, your brain wants to help. It's not trying to be a jerk. It doesn't want to hurt you for no reason. If you keep connecting the pain to emotions rather than physical symptoms, things will improve.

    Keep up the good work!
  5. Chris1138

    Chris1138 New Member

    Thanks @ssxl4000. I think have been getting caught up in the end result and gotten away from just focusing on accepting the TMS diagnosis and thinking psychologically the last few days. Back to the 12 daily reminders.

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