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Alan G. Tried Everything...I'm Desperate

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

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

    Severe Burning,

    I give up..Pain (you name it, I've had it all) for 5 years, known and accepted TMS for 4 years. Yes, I've had great success overcoming back pain but the severe burning will not stop and is getting worse every day. Now I'm at my breaking point because even a simple thing as lying down causes severe burning. It used to be only when I sat, that of course still happens. But now I can't even lay in bed without severe burning from the waist down to the top of my toes. There is no position I can lay in without burning. Honestly I am crushed, broken, scared and full of anxiety. The one comfort in life was always being able to escape pain or life, by jumping in to bed pain free and just chilling. Now that is gone too. FYI- I have read all the Sarno books, watched all the dvds and interviews, completed online recovery programs and structured education program, had sessions with TMS therapists, tried doing nothing and just get on living, stayed away from all TMS stuff, you name it I have tried it. Even had really great journaling break throughs. I know what to say 1) I am safe 2) get angry with it 3) laugh at it.. but to no avail....

    As I write to you with sweat starting to drench my clothes yet again from the intense burning, with burning throughout all my lower body, not knowing how I'll survive another night of intense burning, I just feel sad, really really sad......

    A tired and battered TMSer....
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2014
  2. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    I know what you mean about not having that escape. In my TMS days, I had really bad back pain, but when I laid down I could get some relief… but then I developed chronic head pain, and it was constant- there was no position that would alleviate it.

    The worst.

    In reading your question, it's clear that you know your stuff. You’ve studied up and you’re using all the right words. But they’re hollow. You can tell yourself you’re safe, but you don’t really believe it. How can you when you have pain this intense? Sure you’re angry at the pain, but it comes from a place of fear and desperation. And there is no way you’re able to authentically just laugh it off.

    You’ve tried everything under the sun. You’ve read all the books. You’ve seen all the therapists. You’ve compiled every resource you can get your hands on. But you feel utterly, chronically, perpetually disempowered every minute of every day. And it doesn’t matter if you read every TMS book ever written and see every therapist in the country, until you truly alter you relationship with fear, it will be difficult to eliminate your symptoms.

    But here’s the good news. You CAN alter your relationship with fear. You CAN empower yourself. This is the one thing you have control over, and the most important thing to have control over.

    The only power the pain has over you is its ability to scare you.

    Psychogenic pain is a learned behavior. We develop chronic symptoms because the neural pathways in our brain are literally altered to learn the sensation of pain.

    It is the same thing with fear. If you are scared all the time, the neural pathways in your brain become conditioned to gravitate toward the feeling of fear. Fear, like pain, is just a behavior and all behaviors can be changed. All it takes is a decision. And repetition. And persistence.

    Watch the following clip, my favorite clip from Season 2 of Breaking Bad:


    Changing your relationship with fear, learning to stand up to the part of your mind that is trying to scare you, and developing and honing a sense of empowerment is probably the hardest thing you will ever do. It's the hardest thing I ever did. But it’s possible. And anyone can do it. It just starts with a decision: "I'm done being afraid."

    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.

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Guest, you got some great advice from Alan Gordon. The video clip from BREAKING BAD is terrific.

    Fear is one of the worst things our Inner Bully throws at us. We have to tell ourselves we are stronger than
    the fear our Inner Bully lays on us. Talk to it, yell at it, swear at it. Tell it what a wonderful person you are.
    bnunofield and North Star like this.
  4. Lavender

    Lavender Well known member

    Dear Guest,
    Although I do not have any sage advice to offer, I just had to reply to let you know that you are not the only one who is immersed in such a struggle. I too have been aware of the TMS pathway and have been practicing the tenants of it since May 2013. Doing so certainly has been an educational journey and has cleared away misconceptions. However, like you, I am suffering from burning pain 24/7 for more than three years now. By participating in this forum, reading, and journaling, I now have no doubt whatsoever that fear is the perpetrator.
    However it is so difficult to explain to others that having this fear is almost completely involuntary. It's as though it were a "being."
    Just as it is not a conscious decision to own fear, so also does it seem so very impossible to disown it.
    Some of his have had this ingrained in us since birth or possibly even from the womb. Therefore, it is my opinion that merely the knowledge of the ailment being fear-based is not enough to break its power to give us pain. If we have had a life pattern that was structured around fear and anxiety it seems to be easier said than done when someone tells us to "just do not fear" or "merely ignore it." Those types of suggestions, I think, tend to isolate one even more so as to not have to explain our inability to do so.
    I am reluctant to take antianxiety medications because I am sensitive to side effects and they can be very difficult to withdraw from. However I know that many therapists suggest doing so until they can get the anxiety under control. So yes, just like you I am doing all the things suggested on this forum to reduce anxiety but the general picture seems to remain the same and I am well aware that it is a vicious cycle causing the pain which causes the fear and vice versa.
    I do highly recommend this forum and although I certainly don't want anyone else to suffer pain, sometimes it is a help to read that others are experiencing similar strange symptoms due to TMS. It somehow quells the fears that something catastrophic is wrong with us.
    I wish you well and hope and pray for a breakthrough for you soon.
    zclesa, fredb, Shirley and 3 others like this.
  5. JoelA

    JoelA Peer Supporter

    I feel for you. I just wanna throw in another suggestion - a recent source of information that had me understand feelings (fear) and the connection to health better than anything else.

    As Alan (and everyone else who beat TMS) implies the key is fear. The opposite is joy, gratitude, empowerment etc. Up until recently I'd tried to rid the fear by thinking positive, meditate, "not care" about it etc etc., seperately. It has worked in periods but I find myself slip back easily and its a constant struggle.

    However, something clicked while reading "you are the placebo" by joe dispenza. Although he jumps to some conclusions rather fast (for example that physics on a quantum level seems transferable to a macro level, which I find intriguing), the main message speaks to me. It is basicly the same message as SteveO talks about (and Emmett Miller) but with an scientific angle, also explaining how the brain works. It is the latter that (as an highly analytical engineer) was the key. I can't just believe and do. I need to believe, understand, then do. This has been a stumbling block for me all along.

    In short;
    Meditate, come down deep the darkness of now. Then visualize, with a clear intention, how you would like your life to be. Then CONNECT that with joyful gratutide, burn-mark that vizualisation with good feelings. This alters your brains physiology, which in turn changes the body's physiology - in time, by altering your gene-expression. "Neurons that fire together, wire together." Pain is among other things, a habit.

    Come on, do it for 2 months. 1h in the morning, 1h when going to bed. Then take up a dancing class, and a cooking class or whatnot. Create your life, do not react to life.
  6. JoelA

    JoelA Peer Supporter

    slightly better to maybe listen to this. The first minutes are quoted from the book, then Dispenza joins and describes the main concept.
    Pip, North Star, Colly and 2 others like this.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had high anxiety from worrying a few years ago and my doctor prescribed a relaxant.
    I don't remember which one, but it didn't help me very much.
    I found that I relaxed more by deep breathing and drinking hot milk when I felt anxious and
    close to bedtime. I stopped taking it and had withdrawal symptoms that were worse than
    before I took it.

    I learned about Kava Kava and it relaxed me. It's a natural herb and you can read about it
    in a google search. It's said to be as effective as prescription tranquilizers but non-addictive.

    I'm not a doctor so I am only saying it worked for me. It helped me to stop the fear and worry.
    Balsa11, Lavender and North Star like this.
  8. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Terrific video Joel, thanks for posting. I'm going to get the book. I think the list of TMS conditions that has been expanding since Sarno first started writing about it will continue to grow to include most illness and disease, and mental illness.
    North Star likes this.
  9. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, thanks @JoelA for posting the interview. I am reading Dispenza's book now and very much enjoying it. He also has a TED talk that is very good.
  10. Shirley

    Shirley Peer Supporter

    I want to stand in this "river of change". While chronic pain is new to me for the last year, other emotional pain, disability to set my sights on a personal goal is not new. I just keep doing the same things over and over but never get to this core spot that needs reprogramming. Thank you for posting this disturbing radio clip, disrupting the status quo. There's a lot here for me to work with. Scary right this moment, but hopefully motivating information.
    Balsa11 and North Star like this.
  11. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks Joel, great interview. And thanks for recommending the book to me a while ago. It arrived in the post this week, and I'm looking forward to reading it:)
    North Star likes this.
  12. Shirley

    Shirley Peer Supporter

    Colly, thank you for sharing your story. I found it inspiring for my own excavation.
    Colly likes this.
  13. JoelA

    JoelA Peer Supporter

    Yeah, hopefully you'll find it a good read.:)

    I was, as I mentioned, drawn to the scientific angle of the book. However, another positive factor was the technique suggested, the meditation. It is about 55 min long and is easy to grasp. I've had some really cool sensations going on. Also, since its almost an hour long, its enough for me to let the rest of the day be w/e comes up, I know that I am healing - which makes me relax even more. Thats a positive spiral (first one in years huh). The fact that the meditation suggested can be described as a skill, is also something I like. I will, and you will, struggle initially but give it 1, 3, 4 or 10 months I am convinced that the compassion-flood will alter things in me/you.

    I am sticking to this. Journaling wasnt for me, neither was affirmations or "not caring". This is. Maybe you'll enjoy it too!
    Balsa11, Sienna and Colly like this.
  14. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Alan i know we've talked about this before too. Fear is the enemy, and one that is really really hard to defeat. Is it really as simple as "No matter how much pain I'm in, I'm not going to be afraid anymore." Anybody on this board I believe has anxiety issues. That is what causes the pain in the first place. I didn't have pain and then anxiety, I had anxiety for many years before I ever got pain. I've read many TMS books now and every single one of them, the people who were cured, no longer feared their pain. Forest, SteveO, Alan Gordon, Hillbilly and Balto from tmshelp.com (read their success stories) and others I've talked to said it's the fear causing it. I've spoken to other people who had anxiety disorder for 12 years and worry (fear) caused all of their stress sensations including pain and many other symptoms to list (on anxietycentre.com)

    It all seems too simple doesn't it? I'm sure many others on here like me get a sense of empowerment by reading those words "Im done being afraid" and last a couple of days maybe with that mentality. Then... the pain strikes again, worse than before. then it feels like you're back at square one again. The doubts creep back in, you think you left a stone unturned, maybe this is more complicated than I thought, maybe i should read another book, on and on.

    What does it really take, once and for all, to stand up to the pain NO MATTER WHAT and say I'M DONE BEING AFRAID. The pain spikes up, IM DONE BEING AFRAID. It's not getting better as fast as you think it should, IM DONE BEING AFRAID. Alan and any other people that have finally overcome their pain by not fearing it anymore, can you please chime in and let us know when that point finally came for you where you got that permanent sense of empowerment and not just a temporary one. What did you do? What pushed you over the edge and finally said enough is enough.

    here is a list of some doubts that creep up:

    1.This is too simple. It must be more complicated to fix this because I dont feel better and I've been doing this for X weeks.

    2. Maybe the doctor missed something.

    3. Can fear and the stress response really cause this much pain?

    4. Why hasn't it gone away yet? I've been practicing for a few months now and I still have the same pain.

    5. Maybe there is something I missed and I need to read just one more post, one more page on the internet, one more page of that book I haven't read and I'll find the answer.

    This relates to a quote from Jim Folk on anxietycentre "Worry is the enemy. Eliminate worry and everything else goes away by default."
    Oxalys, CarboNeVo, Cheryl and 2 others like this.
  15. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    I really appreciated this thread….very timely once again. Alan, thank you for your wisdom and insight and to the rest of you wonderful people for your encouragement!

    PS I LOVED the Breaking Bad clip. Again, very timely since I just turned 50. ;)
  16. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

  17. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Joel what did you mean by the same message as SteveO and Emmett Miller? Also, what is the meditation you're talking about doing each day? I didn't hear that mentioned in the video maybe I missed it.
  18. JoelA

    JoelA Peer Supporter


    SteveO talks about guided imagery in his book. He refers to Emmett Miller (MD) among others. "The message" is that through a guided meditation and vizualisations it is possible to create a new future for yourself, since your brain can't differ from your external and your inner reality. See the image of you being in complete harmony with nature, an animal, children or w/e and FEEL the same feeling of harmony/joy/empowerment. This will alter your biology by swapping on healing genes which in turn answer to your imaginary future. Rather cool I'd say.

    The meditation is a complementary audiotrack which you can download. Dispenza guides you through a 55 min meditation and lets you change your belief about two perceptions. This needs repetition though, and cant be done in a superficial manner. Lose that TV-show or hour of book reading and do the meditation instead. Try for half a year. Flood yourself with self-compassion and peace. But first, get the book and read it :). He tells some fascinating stories.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
    zclesa, Balsa11 and Colly like this.
  19. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Thanks Joel. Has this worked for you and you're pain free now or are you trying this to eliminate the pain you're experiencing? It's depressing to hear that some people recover from their pain in like 2 weeks to a month and then people like me and you take much longer than that. Is this just from belief? And you're talking about the book "You are the placebo" right?
  20. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Also since Steve's book is so long which chapter are you talking about where he discusses the guided imagery and visualizations?

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