1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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Day 2 ups and down

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by myjourney, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. myjourney

    myjourney Newcomer

    I worked as hard as I possibly could yesterday, going through day 1 of the education program, day 1 of the recovery program, reading every article, watching every video, completing every exercise. I had completed 'Healing Back Pain' audiobook (narrated by Dr Sarno himself!) the evening before, and am halfway through 'The Mindbody Prescription' audiobook. I spent at least 20 mins yesterday carefully transposing the 12 principles into the front of my new journal and completed my first (2 page) journal entry, focusing on an examination of possible stressors and issues (past, internal and external) that may be creating unconscious tension and rage. It felt good to do all of this work, and I did feel better (at the very least mood wise). I did most of this work lying on the floor, in no real pain beyond discomfort (I simply cannot stand straight, I have to lean forward on something, or stand straight for more than a few seconds before pain begins in my hip and my muscles spasm and a terrible nerve type rush runs down my leg from the hip/back).

    I am concentrating on the embracing the belief that the pain in my buttock and hip (and to lesser degree small of back) is TMS. This is very hard to commit to 100% after just an introduction to the concept. Also, almost every discussion of TMS includes the general stories of people that were instantly cured after simply reading one of the books. Of course, I (and I am sure everyone else) wanted very badly to be one of those people. I am unfortunately not an instant cure case, no matter how much I wished that to be. This, of course, created disappointment to some degree, but I remain committed regardless.

    The positives:

    I had extreme and ever-increasing anxiety tied to every little iota of pain or discomfort I was feeling, esp. over the last month or so (I first began severe symptoms one month before that and was not overly anxious as I felt I would just "get better"). Not being able to stand or walk (or leave the house for appt's without great spasms of pain in the vehicle, etc.) was draining my quickly and "breaking" my mind. I am a very active person, 53 years old, I was actually playing one or two games of intense hockey EVERY day when this happened (I am a goaltender). So the mental breakdown, combined with (and of course, feeding) the intense pain was the biggest issue for me. I was having a great deal of trouble sleeping as every pain/spasm/twitch would awaken me in a panic, believing I was severely and permanently injured. I was also taking as much pain relief medication as I could as I believed that once I could get the pain under control, I would be able to physically work out the injury (I wanted to swim, etc. as soon as possible).

    I discovered Dr. Sarno, TMS and this program and it made perfect sense to me, at the point I am. I have also had some recent sadness/loss and financial/professional/creative setbacks that definitely coincide w/ my "injury". As many have mentioned, it all spoke directly to me.

    So I want to fully commit, how to make sure our ever slippery mind co-operates? Step one being the belief that this pain is harmless (no matter how intense - making that VERY difficult) and that it comes from TMS, generating a non-harmful and temporary dysfunction (lack of oxygen) to muscles, nerves and tendons as a way to make us avoid unconscious emotions. I needed a way to constantly reinforce this primary idea to myself. I borrowed a trick I had learned while dealing with grief from a recent loss, that I read somewhere (will have to look for it), and that is to simply name/label very rough/dark thoughts, acknowledging them, but not following them down the rabbit hole. The tip suggested keeping it simple w/ a limit to one word labels, even nonsensical personal labels that feel right. So I began yesterday simply naming my pain/symptoms whenever they would 'speak to me', labeling them 'Sarnoharmless' (this can be done in your head or sometimes to be firm I do a little quietly out loud). Not surprisingly, my brain has been so entwined in my pain, that I had to do this quite a lot yesterday. But I noticed something very positive quickly happened. My anxiety that was so tied to the pain/symptoms disappeared. This was a great relief as this anxiety was damaging me to the point that I was starting to be unable to even distinguish between minor discomfort and severe pain any longer, as both resulted in the same panic/fear.

    With this mindset, and positive reinforcement I had the best sleep I have had to date (12 hours in perhaps 4 hour chunks) and less pain when I awoke then ever yet, and on no medication. I even thought briefly that I might be one of the instant cure cases! I completed all of my Day 2 tasks and exercises w/ very positive energy, and prepared to get up, hopeful I would see improvement standing/walking as well!

    the negative:

    unfortunately when I got up, standing and my hobble to the kitchen counter, I was still as debilitated as ever when it comes to standing/walking. I can take a few steps, but then the pain in the hip starts things off, and then the upper buttock starts spasming, and next is the nerve rush down the leg and I must lean over supported. It takes a few minutes for that to subside. needless to say, having been so happy/hopeful this painful reminder things were still "here" was EXTREMELY frustrating and I became very angry, fed up w/ having missed out on any meaningful activity for so long (I cannot sit, only stand/leaning forward or lying down on side mostly). in that flash of anger/frustration I definitely regressed, doubting that I am on the right path after all, this MUST be physical, etc.. however, I have now calmed down and I am actually taking this frustration and anger as a positive, that I am ready to fight this thing w/ every ounce of mental/physical energy I can muster. and I looked at the positives carefully, respectfully again, acknowledging how much better do feel after just one day, and I am ready to get back on track. nice try unconscious mind!

    my goal today is a little treadmill walk for 5 mins (I have only been able to do 5mins or so a couple of times since this began, as I can support myself w/ the arms somewhat) every hour or so, perhaps 3 or up to 5 sessions if not too painful. and I will be repeating 'Sarnoharmless' at every twinge while doing so!

    cheers.
     
  2. myjourney

    myjourney Newcomer

    Update: so right after this post I went for my first, hopefully of 3 or 4 or so, 5min treadmill sessions. I started out and noticed I was in slightly less pain than before when I had tried the treadmill. then I actually began to feel even better and when I checked my time (timer on my treadmill is obscured by a shelf) I was already at 7mins. I started to feel even a bit more comfortable and ended up doing 30mins, also upping the speed and gradient. I couldn't believe it. I was also able to stand and walk much better after. I waited 2 hours and was again able to do 30mins. I was a bit more sore that session so I will stop there for today. Likely I am sore from lack of use on top of my TMS pain (in hip/buttock). I would never have believed I could do this today. During the walking I was constantly repeating my 'Sarnoharmless' every time I was really focusing on/or noticing on the pain and discomfort, reminding myself that it was harmless pain from harmless oxygen deprivation created by my unconscious mind. I also started to picture my unconscious mind as a deep, dark lake taking up the bottom half of my brain. I pictured that there were large masses, emotions I could not see, that the unconscious was fighting to keep down. I spoke soothingly to the lake in my mind, telling this dark lake that it didn't need to protect or distract me from the emotions, that I would be seeking them out and dealing with them with care. I also gently asked my unconscious mind to please ease the restriction of blood flow to my painful muscles/nerves/tendons and to please let them flood with lots of oxygen rich blood. I pictured the tense veins and arteries opening up and allowing blood to flood to my hip and back. A couple of times in response to these gentle requests I am sure I could feel the painful areas ease almost completely allowing me to walk even easier. This was all a very powerful positive reinforcement for me, giving me lots of energy to continue, fully commited, on Dr. Sarno's healing path.
     
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