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Two TMS manifestations: Symptoms protecting from emotions vs. from going in the wrong direction

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Shajarcito, Feb 22, 2020.

  1. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    Hello again,

    Good news, the last EMG test results were fine. The technician said that probably I don't have any muscle disease. I'm still waiting for an official confirmation from my neurologist next month but it made me more certain in the TMS diagnosis.

    Just a reminder for those who didn't read my last posts: I'm a 35 years old guy, suffering for almost one year from RSI and elbow pain – both in my right hand, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, anxiety (and particularly health anxiety), mood swings, upper back pain, chest, and shoulders pain and especially tightness of these organs. Recently, the symptoms became more weakness oriented than pain oriented, yet the specialists don't know what I have. Some suspect CFS or Fibromyalgia. In my last post I described how my wrist pain became 80% healed and how this experience gave me confidence in the Tms recovery process.

    I have the TMS personality and red Saron's first book. However I have not actually completed the Structured Educational Program yet. Up until now I did only some journaling using few tips given in certain "program days". Recently I decided to go through the program more thoroughly, so I started over again day by day. I'm now on day 5 and I would like to consult with you about this day's "question to ponder" dealing with going back into activities.

    I made a list of activities that I used to do and "cannot" do anymore, thank to my Tms condition. I noticed that some of these activities may not good for me anymore whereas others are necessary to recovery, and the symptoms serve as just a distraction from unpleasant emotions. For example, pushup exercises. I used to do them one year ago and stopped after the start of my chronic pain. Quite recently I have tried to do them again, beginning very gradually from only one set of 7 once a week to two sets of 7 twice a week. I still felt so bad after doing these push up sets as my back and chest became terribly stiff and hurt. I used to relate this feeling to Cfs most famous symptom called "post exertional malaise" or to some muscle disease. Now I'm almost sure it’s the fear from doing this activity, as part of Tms manifestation. I'm aware of some certain emotional issue I had when this fear occurred initially – the same as with my RSI pain - the fear from rejection (described in my last post). So I have tried to take that into account when I was doing the pushups, but still my body hurt several days after the activity.. Due to these unpleasant experiences I stopped exercise this way even though I knew it was most likely TMS. So maybe I miss something here and the body implies me I should strength my upper muscles differently? The same happen to me when I swim play bowling or even billiard (each one has its own emotional story but still, can't do them).

    Another example is chess. This one is particularly interesting as it has nothing to do with muscles or exercising. I used to play chess a lot when I was young (including tournaments) and also 5 years ago - just for fun this time. I noticed that in the last year I became very dizzy and anxious during every match, even if it took place online. So it may be some buried emotion or that my body said I needed to change activities – to something more calm and less intellectual? Can’t tell for sure..

    I'm working with my psychologist about identity issues such as that I wish to work with people and be less intellectual.. so it could be connected to that topic as well. But still, can't tell exactly. On the other hand, professional course (marketing tools for freelancers) I take these days makes me feel better. It may be part of developing my professional identity to the point I want to. Nevertheless I still wanna go back being active at list just a little. These days I can only walk for 20 minutes, no running no other exercises, almost nothing (unless I feel worse afterwards).

    Dr. Howard Schubiner described the protecting function of the symptoms in his blog (refered in the SEP day 5): "Finally, her body reacted by giving her severe migraine headaches and fatigue. These reactions were her body’s way of trying to protect her, i.e. forcing her to rest, to lie down, to stop doing so much for everyone else and to do something for herself". On the other hand, other references such as in Sarno's book as well as in other Schubiners' texts suggest that the symptoms protect us from unpleasant emotions, so we should be aware of these feelings while moving on with the activities (because we are normal and healthy).

    Under both scenarios I know that it is most likely TMS that making up the symptoms. But how I suppose to recognize the true function of tms during these activities? Should I do the activities anyway or listen to my body and stop doing these particular ones? Or maybe I should think about other kinds of activities instead?

    I would welcome any advice or interesting insight on this issue, as I truly wish to be active again without harming myself.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  2. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    Anybody some advice?
    I'm really struggling with going back into activities..
  3. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    Rather than looking at a specific emotional cause for each physical activity that brings on pain, you might think more generally about your life. You said you've had these pains for a year... what was going on, or changing, in your life this last year? It seems very simple, but reflecting on a timeline might help you get some insight. Also, reminding yourself that there's nothing wrong with you (maybe over and over, like a mantra) while you are engaging in these activities might help (this can resonate on an emotional level too). The test results were fine, so you have even more reason to be confident in that. Don't avoid the activities and you'll keep chipping away at the conditioning. Do this while making an honest assessment of how you feel about your life and the people around you, and I don't see how you won't get a whole lot better. :) Good luck!
  4. cool_change

    cool_change New Member

    Hey there wavea

    Like you I'm finding that getting back into activities I love and want to do is easier thought than done. I'm finding Claire Weekes' attitude of "floating" to be really helpful. She encourages you to resume activities: "Remember withdrawal is your jailer. Recovery lies on the other side of panic. Recovery lies in places you fear."

    There's a great thread and summary on her work here which you might find useful if you haven't seen it - her book is great too! https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/lessons-from-claire-weekes.3873/ (Lessons From Claire Weekes)
  5. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    Claire's list seems useful
    Thank you both for your advice.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2020
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great advice from @cool_change about reading Claire Weekes. Hers was the second book that saved my life, after Dr. Sarno.

    Even before I read that advice, I was thinking to myself that in order to do this work effectively, no matter what the root cause is of any symptom or set of symptoms, we must be able to recognize how our brains want to keep us in fear all the time. And we have to fight back against that, and reject it, while at the same time accepting our best selves without fear.

    Look, the goal of the primitive brain is pure survival of the physical body. That's it. It's just biology, baby - there is no higher purpose going on. It seriously does not care if you are in pain, because it knows that the pain is nothing more than a distraction that it manufactured to immobilize you. It does not care if you are physically and mentally wasting away, stuck at home, because that means you are safe from the physical and emotional dangers of the outside world. All it wants is that you be fearful, and that you use that fear to stay "safe".

    In your particular case, I suspect that your brain is also doing a great job of distracting you by overthinking everything! This is not uncommon amongst TMSers, believe me! But it's a really hard habit - you might call it an addiction - to let go of, because it doesn't make you physically uncomfortable, so what's the harm, eh? But in reading your post, that's what came across to me - that you are way overthinking this. Have I ever told you that before? It's possible! It's one of those things that often just leaps out at me.

    Anyway - I think that it would really benefit you to acknowledge that ruminating and analyzing are just more forms of distraction - and work on calming your brain down in all the ways that it is trying to distract you, so that you and it can learn to live without all the fear. Claire Weekes knows all about this, by the way!
    Shajarcito and plum like this.
  7. Shajarcito

    Shajarcito Peer Supporter

    Thanks you for your thorough response!
    Definitely I'm "overthinker"..
    and yes U indeed mentioned that in one of my earlier posts.
    This is kind of personality trait I have for years so it difficult to change..
    As I mentioned here myself I'm working on that issue with my psychologist.
    "The ability to think" was and is still one of my advantages during my studies and work,
    but It indeed became kind of a burden this year as my chronic pain and symptoms came up..
    So definitely, I'm aware of that problem and I want to do things that less involve me thinking too much..
    However until now I didn't count this as another distraction mechanism.
    Very interesting insight!
    Thanks for your helpful advice as always
  8. Avnita Suri

    Avnita Suri Peer Supporter

    Hi @Shajarcito , how's the pain going? Did you get any relief?
    If so, can you give me a quick summary about when the pain kicks in; I understand you have pain in various places?

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