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Unsuccessful Stories

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by patrickj, Mar 3, 2023.

  1. patrickj

    patrickj Well known member

    Do any TMS therapists or any practitioners for that matter have the courage to post unsuccessful stories?

    All we hear are success stories.

    Here’s what I’ve tried:

    - Read Sarno, Georgie Oldfield and a bit of Steve Ozanich
    - Deep breathing and meditation
    - Journaling
    - Counselling
    - £550 worth of SIRPA trained hypnotherapy from a TMS practitioner

    No improvement.

    “do the work” - what a load of bollocks

    kick me off the forum I don’t give a fuck

    I’m so utterly depressed. I’m doubling my anti depressants from next week.

    Guess this is it, I fucking give up.

  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Today my tms journey’s message was:

    The energy for desperation of change triggers our stress response.

    The energy for urgency of resolution triggers our stress response.

    The energy for shame of what we are experiencing/expressing/emoting triggers our stress response.

    Timelines, frustration, anger, resentment for our situation, our bodies, our minds, others etc will keep us where we are. It’s a form of resistance. So is a doomed mindset.

    All of this is a huge helping of self-pressure to heal. The therapist does not heal you. She gives you tools to use over time and throughout your life to heal yourself.

    Part of this is simply being aware of these self pressure or blame and other thought patterns and the emotions they squelch. This is the work and it’s hard. You have to be open to it, and not just wanting to get rid of the physical pain.

    You can do this. It just takes time to deal with a lifetime of emotional guck and personality traits you developed and worked well for you at some point, but now no longer serve you. You have to let go of the fear of softening to a new way of being.
    zclesa, TG957, RobOptimist and 2 others like this.
  3. patrickj

    patrickj Well known member

    Thanks for your response

    I agree with everything you say. I have agreed with the TMS mindset and approach for a long time but I’m 0% better.

    It all sounds great in theory but nobody can offer any specific ways to get better and when I finally pay for a therapist they fail.

    As I’ve said, nobody is prepared to share their unsuccessful stories but they happy to charge $100 a session and get no results
  4. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    If you want to read tales of woe, the internet has no shortage of that. If you genuinely want to get better, you will need to take radical responsibility, be honest with yourself, and stop blaming the world. Victimhood is a choice. You come to these sites (like the ones on FB) to complain and infect others reading here. There are plenty of groups online where you can wallow in misery with other sufferers, but I suggest you don't pollute and troll these types of forums where people have taken responsibility and sincerely want to get better.
    Cap'n Spanky, TG957, Ellen and 4 others like this.
  5. patrickj

    patrickj Well known member

    Thanks for your comment. You’re right. But I’m also entitled to a rant. I have been honest with myself and tried all the TMS stuff and IT DIDN'T WORK. Should I just continue to be positive when nothing has worked after discovering TMS / mind body approach 2 years ago?
  6. ConfusedBody4444

    ConfusedBody4444 New Member

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  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh patrick patrick patrick.

    We've been at this a while, and I get it - I see your rage and distress, and I see your desperation and your utter desolation. I think you are feeling quite alone right now.

    I also, quite honestly, want to slap you upside the head. Well, part of me wants to do that.

    Another part of me is completely disheartened at your inability to "get" the concept of the emotional work, and I'm so very sad for you, because I don't know what else anyone can do if you can't make that leap on your own.

    And then there's another part of me that is disgusted by your parents, who clearly failed at being proper parents you when you were a child. Not that this is something you seem to be willing to address.

    So those are the things I'm feeling - and before I go any further, I do want to acknowledge that unlike some other people who keep coming back here, I have seen that you remember the basic civilities and you do thank people for responding. Even when you're feeling bad and expressing extreme negativity, and even if it's the only thing you say in response, I respect and appreciate the fact that you let people know you at least saw the answer they took the time to prepare. Not everyone does this!

    @Cactusflower wrote you a very wise and sensitive response above, listing your issues in relation to her own personal work. Very wise, very appropriate, and very loving. (btw, after thanking her, you added, as you so often do, a "Yes, But..." response - more on that later).

    I will not be so loving, and I might be inappropriate, and who knows if I will be wise, but I hope you can at least see this as tough love, and accept the fact that if I didn't care, I wouldn't bother.

    Here goes.

    You asked if any practitioners have the courage to post unsuccessful stories. I hope you realized after the fact what a reactive and pointless comment that is. If I'm suffering and want to recover, I don't go to a mindbody practitioner's web site to see tales of woe (as @miffybunny accurately calls them) or to buy into other people's victimhood (also accurately applied). Why would I want to see that? As she also said, it's easy to find that shit just about anywhere else. I will disagree with her on one point only, which is that on this forum, as long as someone is not actively abusive to other participants (which you have never been), I don't have a problem with a post that expresses frustration and failure, and I'm pretty sure that @Forest would agree with me (since he trained me, I'm actually quite sure about that). This whole discussion could be educational for someone else - you never know. I also feel like your participation here is completely sincere, even when it's negative, so personally I would not apply the "t" word.

    In any case, it's interesting that you posted this yesterday, because yesterday afternoon I listened to Nicole Sach's latest podcast, which was a repeat from last year on the Symptom Imperative (a really powerful episode) and in her intro she said that the reason for the repeat is because SO MANY people in her groups have been reporting recently about serious struggles with setbacks and flares. So I refute your perception that practitioners don't report on struggles, because she literally just did. Her "real time heals" episodes are all about people struggling, and I've heard many other audio programs over the years (I can't remember them all now, but some at least have been with Alan Gordon) that include sessions with people who are on board with TMS theory and who are still struggling. Dr. Hanscom often writes about setbacks.

    Anyway, on to your issues. Here's what I see, and have seen in the months since you landed here, and none of these things are new (I think Cactusflower addressed most if not all). Please keep in mind that I am a retired tax accountant, not a trained mental health professional.

    1. I strongly suspect that you suffer from serious childhood trauma. An ACEs score of 3 tells us that. My score is 0, and I still have TMS. I wonder if someone with a score higher than 5 could even survive without being institutionalized in care or prison? Is there even such a thing as a score of 10? The test really can't be thought of in that way. All we know is that 3 ACEs is a significant predictor of adult mental health problems.

    2. You are incredibly resistant to being vulnerable. This alone is probably your biggest stumbling block, because if you can't find a way to be emotionally vulnerable to the truth about your childhood, you will never be able to get close to actually "doing the work" with any sort of honesty. "Doing the work" is not just some catchphrase. In the case of someone with trauma, it is serious, emotional, and very vulnerable - and it is scary as all fuck to the traumatized brain, especially if the trauma is laid down in childhood. The brain of the traumatized child MUST repress any reaction to the trauma in order to simply survive. Uncovering those old buried emotions is probably like trying to dig through cement with a garden trowel.

    3. You seem to be convinced that someone outside of yourself should be able to magically fix you.
    Yet you are incredibly impatient - you gave the most recent therapy virtually NO time whatsoever.
    Plus you are incredibly resentful about spending anything on your mental health, in spite of thinking that someone else has to do all the work.
    You were already obsessing about the cost of the SIRPA therapy before you even had a session. It's no surprise that you got nothing out of it, if all you could think about was what it was costing you!

    4. You are completely attached to your victimhood. As long as you need to see yourself as a victim, you will never heal. Never. The good news is that victimhood is a choice, but the bad news is that it's kind of like an addiction, not easy to let go of, and probably requiring help.

    (I mentioned the "Yes, But..." response above. This is the classic response of the victim. I call it YBS - Yes, But... Syndrome. Very common in people who report no progress.)

    5. Your rage is palpable, but I have not seen it directed where it needs to go. You reported your ACEs score and said NOTHING about it. Like 3 ACEs is a "low" score or something? What the fuck? Three ACEs is SIGNIFICANT and it means that your parents either inflicted those things on you or they did fuck-all to protect you from whatever it is that occurred. Based upon a small amount of information I seem to recall that you divulged very early on (I think it was you, anyway, I could be wrong, and there are too many posts to go through) it seems likely that your father inflicted the abuse, which means, as is often the case, that your mother was unable to protect you, for whatever messed-up reasons of her own.

    People don't get this. For the traumatized child, the rage must be directed at both parents, even if one parent (maybe both) is literally incapable of being there, perhaps through death or disability or substance abuse or being victimized by the other parent or being unable to leave an abusive partner. No matter the cause, the fact is that one or both parents have failed to live up to the commitment they made when bringing that child into the world, to always protect and nurture their child. It's a form of abandonment, and abandonment is a really primal and basic source of rage.

    The true source of your rage must be brought into the open, and then it needs to be directed where it really belongs. When childhood trauma is in place, these two steps can take a LONG time in therapy.

    6. I don't think that self-compassion or self-love exist in your life whatsoever. You also can't heal without these.

    THE BOTTOM LINE: These things are not YOU and they are not consciously your choice. All of your roadblocks are a function of your terrified repressed unconscious brain, probably since childhood. This is the part of your brain that is in control of any move you make towards emotional vulnerability. What IS your choice is what you're going to do about it. You can give up, or you can give in to the necessity of facing the painful truth about reality, no matter how terrifying that is.

    You can also tell me I don't have a clue what I'm talking about. I am only a retired tax accountant, after all, and I can totally live with that. But I hope there's something you can use, patrick, at this time which could be a critical crossroads.

    patrickj, TG957, Ellen and 4 others like this.
  8. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Or, Patrick, you could ask a dye-in-the-wool allopathic internal medicine MD who would tell you point blank to accept the fact that there's no known cure to TMS chronic pain because it's due to something he would call (rather loosely and without proof) "arthritis." There's no psychological cure, he would insist. because your pain is caused by a structural condition of the nerves, tendons and ligaments. Of course, this involves ignoring the extreme mobility and variability of the pain symptoms which indicates an underlying neurological or psychological cause. IOWs: the allopathic MD would tell you to sup up and suffer with a stiff upper lip. And of course he would prescribe pain pills in an inevitable upward progression toward opioids and pain management centers. No resolution of your symptoms. Just addiction. Better go TMS.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2023
  9. michaelg21

    michaelg21 Peer Supporter

    A very simplified take from me here, but look at the emotional reaction you have to this situation and your pain in general. You are completely and utterly depressed by it, probably terrified at the notion of living a life with your current discomfort. That, quite possibly, is the beginning and end of your problem.

    The various books, practitioners, tools all serve to guide you, but they themselves do not necessarily illicit the change within you that has to take place before your pain can loosen its grip. You need to start believing that you are okay in your present situation, and that means being okay with pain, which is something you obviously still struggle with. I understand that, it’s very challenging, but constantly trying various things in an attempt to rid yourself of pain only reinforces the problem. Your goal should be to eventually remove all the importance you’ve given to your pain and focus more on living your life, setting and achieving goals, and making time to let go and enjoy yourself.

    For example, I’ve been dealing with a resurgence of back pain. While I’m very much better than I used to be, I still deal with flares, although these are getting fewer and further between. Initially, I had my typical gut wrenching reaction, couldn’t focus on anything else, couldn’t see the bigger picture, thought about the pain ALL DAY. But, this past week I slowly got back to a place of total acceptance, cut out the reassurance seeking, decided that no matter how I feel I’m going to go about my day, make plans, try to enjoy myself. Already my pain has started to lessen and although I wasn’t always comfortable, I’ve enjoyed myself this past couple of days and sitting down (main conditioned response) has become much more bearable again.

    Something perhaps worth reading, if you haven’t before, is the journey of someone from the old TMS forum who went by the username Skizzik. There’s an article on this wiki about him - the relapser’s curse - which details his journey. You can also still read his posts on TMShelp.com. He tried as hard as he could for over 2 years to Sarno his way out of unrelenting back pain, all the while only become more and more frustrated with his lack of any tangible progress. When he finally let go of trying so hard and put more energy into just living his life he got better and continued to post after his recovery.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2023
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  10. Sita

    Sita Well known member

  11. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yep, very well could be! Trying too hard can be the reason to continue getting worse. Isn't OCD one of the major TMS traits? Took me a while to start taking my meditation practice as something enjoyable, rather than a bitter pill I was angrily taking in order to get better - and then it worked! Every once in a while I talk to someone from this forum who was yelling angrily that he "f-ing could not take this life anymore". Once he got tired of trying very hard and very angrily to get better - he started getting better. He was my unsuccess story - until he stopped obsessing over lack of success.
  12. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    You have my sympathy, patrickj. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) is an organization of 7,000 scientists, clinicians, healthcare providers, and policymakers interested in bringing relief to people in pain. The IASP defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage.” The phrase set off by commas--“or resembling that associated with”--recognizes what Dr. Sarno called TMS: A person can have pain not associated with actual or potential tissue damage but is just as unpleasant as if the cause were tissue damage. The reason I quoted the IASP definition, however, is because it notes that the unpleasant experience is not just sensory but is also emotional. It seems to me that besides the unpleasant sensory experience of pain, you are in the throes of the unpleasant emotional experience of pain, an experience that is exacerbated by trying hard to end your the pain without any success. I hope that can change for you. I’ll give it a try at helping you that is different from what is said above.

    The most brilliant overarching observation about recovery from TMS that I have seen comes from Dr. Howard Schubiner. He spent some time with Sarno to learn from him and, in my opinion, is the leading mindbody physician currently practicing in the United States. His perspective differs in some respects from Sarno’s because it incorporates contemporary neuroscience research that was unavailable when Sarno developed his approach. But Schubiner wrote in one of his books that he is proud to be counted among the whole generation of researchers and clinicians that Sarno influenced. Now to Schubiner’s observation. To recover from what Sarno called TMS, Schubiner said a person must have (1) a clinician he or she trusts, (2) an explanation of what is wrong with him or her, (3) a technique to fix it, and (4) hope and optimism about recovering. It is the trusted clinician, of course, who gives the afflicted person an explanation of what is wrong that he or she trusts is correct, a technique to fix it that he or she trusts will work, and the hope and optimism. If one factors out the trusted clinician because a person with TMS is trying to recover on a self-help basis, then the elements the person needs are (1) an explanation of what is wrong (found in, say, a Sarno book or another book or online or wherever) that he or she trusts is correct, (2) a technique to fix it (found in a book or wherever) that he or she trusts will work, and hope and optimism that he or she will be able to implement the technique and will thereby recover.

    It seems to me, patrickj, that you have never found the last three of Schubiner’s four elements on a self-help basis, nor did you ever find a person you paid to help you whom you trusted knew what he or she was talking about. I was able to succeed on a self-help basis but only with persistent determination and effort. In my amateur opinion, it's probably a lot easier to find the last three of Schubiner’s four necessary elements once one finds a clinician whom he or she trusts. I tend to doubt whether you will ever find the last three elements on a self-help basis given your record of failed efforts over an extended period. Maybe I am wrong, but in case I am right I have a suggestion.

    You say you paid £550 to a SIRPA-trained TMS practitioner, so I surmise you might live in or in the vicinity of the United Kingdom. Several years ago, a group in the United Kingdom started a public health education program to help people with chronic pain that they call Flippin’ Pain. The program is based on contemporary pain neuroscience. Their effort was shut down by COVID but was restarted recently. A major player in this effort is Cormac Ryan. He is a professor of clinical rehabilitation at Teesside University. Below is a link to a public talk he gave about overcoming chronic pain last November. The video is an hour and a half long; his talk is near the beginning and goes for almost hour. I hope you will watch it. If it resonates with you--or stated differently, if you trust that he knows what he is talking about--it might be worthwhile for you to you contact him and see if he has any suggestions for you. I hope there is a clinician who lives near you that he can recommend. Or if that is not feasible, then at least maybe he can recommend some books to read or more videos to watch with regard to flippin’ your pain that you have not discovered on your own.

    I started out back in 1991 as a Sarno disciple and within six weeks ended more than two decades of chronic low back pain for good. More recently I have been in the contemporary neuroscience camp. That is what the Flippin’ Pain campaign is about. I learned contemporary pain neuroscience elsewhere, but in my opinion the Flippin’ Pain campaign is worth trusting because is based on solid scientific research.

    Here is the link I mentioned: https://www.flippinpain.co.uk/event/black-country-webinar/ (Pain. Do you get it? Black Country Webinar - Flippin' Pain)
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2023
  13. patrickj

    patrickj Well known member

  14. patrickj

    patrickj Well known member

    Thanks… Yes you’re right, my reaction is utter frustration and depression because I’ve had pains of all sorts for 15 years and in most recent years it’s back pain, pain in my sides, shoulder, glute, hip etc etc

    I have just read the story you posted, thanks for that and I will try to change my reaction to pain.. as you know it is incredibly difficult

    I have realised that I believe it’s TMS for my back and sides but not sure about the shoulder and glute

    And I don’t believe I will get better, which I imagine doesn’t help.

    I have an excellent track record of not getting better

    Then there’s the book cure people and the people who got better after 3 months etc. I’m 2 years in and I’m worse
  15. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are making a very common mistake by putting a timeline on your recovery and comparing yourself to others. That alone is the main reason of unsuccess. And your anger about it, of course. It took me two years total, and a year after I realized most of my mistakes. It takes what it takes.
    miffybunny, mbo and patrickj like this.
  16. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Remember it's not a physical issue, it's your body going into fight flight with frustration and desperation. I'd say it's also really fun and motivating to work on something or do a hobby with others. There's nothing like meeting new people or going to a new place to shake things up. When the pain shifts into emotions it's a good thing even if it messes with your plans. Our society isn't automatically TMS friendly but people will understand if you postpone something or set a boundary.

    Also don't feel pressured or guilty about victimhood or excuses, it's a frustrating mistake to repeat. It happens to all of us. Pretend it's an allergy to change. Make it a game, try to respond differently if something's frustrating. I like to learn from different people, places, and cultures. Also sometimes it's easy to want things to click instantly instead of practicing (try it with something fun first!)

    Don't forget to keep in touch with friends and build new friendships. We're meant to be social and collaborative. There's no quick fix but struggling on something with a group of people on a project makes it a more worthwhile experience. Maybe you can even turn something you encounter or learn into a new asset/skill etc.
  17. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    I discovered that sometimes finding opportunities on your own to learn and change IRL can boost your confidence in handling triggers. Having a DIY/hands on approach sometimes makes it easier to have curiosity/self compassion, take responsibility, call out excuses/unhelpful thought patterns. Feel free to review and practice things you've learned before. External accountability with new skills without oversharing also works for outcome independence. Definitely get okay with working collaboratively and asking for guidance, but know healing aha moments can often occur when you least expect it. You're never really done, you just get wiser, stronger, and hopefully better able to tolerate emotional discomfort.
  18. patrickj

    patrickj Well known member

    Hi Jan

    Your comments are always very helpful and insightful, thank you

    And I’m grateful to anybody who takes time out of their day to speak to me or offer advice..

    I do feel alone, you’re right. I was telling my therapist that in our last session. I’d quite like a slap round the head to be honest. Slap some sense into me!

    As you can tell I’m at my wits end. I’m going to try and stop all TMS research/activity etc from this week… I was listening to the Monte podcast that @ConfusedBody4444 linked. It is excellent and feels very relevant to me. Maybe it’s just another ember of hope that will burn out soon like all the others.

    I realise that I’m a mega obsessive person which doesn’t help. I’m not the type to read a book or a blog and think “yep that’s me” and be settled. I’ll go looking for the next bit of reassurance within hours. I save all links to stuff about TMS/anxiety/depression into favourites or notes on my phone, then never revisit them.

    Regarding my ACE score of 3.. thanks for introducing me to that. I’ve also realised that I brush over it and under the carpet very casually. I even do it to my therapist and all the other counsellors I’ve seen.

    “Yeah I was sexually abused as a child. Yes my parents divorced. Yes I discovered my my mum having an affair. Yes my mum is an alcoholic (now in recovery.) Yes my mum has spent months in hospitals with liver disease and breast cancer. Yes I don’t have an emotional connection with my dad or brother. Etc etc

    I think I feel like I don’t want attention or it’s nothing or there’s always somebody worse.

    Nowadays I’m the opposite. I tell anyone who’ll listen all about my problems.

    My dad asked how I was. I said stressed beyond belief and in chronic pain. He said everyone thinks I’m a hypochondriac, everyone has problems and I just need to get on with it. Then he’ll say “why’ve you not spoken to me in ages do you have a problem”

    I could go on and on.

    Yes I obsessed over the SIRPA practitioner, pinned all my hopes on her and then text her after 3 sessions to say I’m no better is it worth even coming back? She said we should pause our therapy until I’m in the right frame of mind to be open to healing. I don’t recall EVER being in the right frame of mind. I’ve already paid so I’ll probs go back at some point. Or I’ll give the sessions to my wife for her cat phobia

    Also yes I have zero compassion or self love. I recount saying how much I dislike myself to people at work who seemed really shocked. I’m meant to be super laid back but I’m actually an anxious wreck.
    I’ve doubled my anti depressants anyway so maybe they’ll help.

    It’s hard waking up in pain everyday and dragging myself through life. Then I discover TMS and get nowhere with it.

    Oh also I’ve become aware that I believe in TMS for my side pain, back pain and skin problems, but I’m not convinced on the shoulder weakness and weird glute / hip injury.

    I believe in the TMS approach but I don’t actually believe I will get better… I think that’s an issue.

    It all makes sense in theory but doesn’t appear to work in practice.

    a few weeks ago I thought I’d cracked it with Nicole Sachs and journaling and nothing… then there was David Hanscom… then the film Heal… then Steve Ozanich… then some podcast.. then Alan Gordon.. then Schubiner’s meditations… then deep breathing and yoga nidra… now Monte is back on the scene.

    I surrender!

    Thanks again Jan

    Take care
  19. patrickj

    patrickj Well known member

    You’re probably right but I feel like after 2 years on TMS approach and being no better it’s understandable to grow disillusioned. My new tactic is to give up and never be seen again… let’s see how long that lasts.
    Thanks for your advice.. I can see how I give the pain my undivided attention.
  20. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Don't give up, maintain all your relationships well, healthy relationships (including with yourself) = healthy mind body connection
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