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Alex B. Voice problems and TMS

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

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

    Hi, my name is Carla. I have been diagnosed with muscle tension dysphonia. I have been in voice therapy with no change, my last voice appointment is this week. It's chronic and it's exhausting. I was wondering if there are any suggestions you can offer me?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2015
  2. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Carla,

    Your question stood out to me as I have had a client with this very issue. She was unable to speak above a whisper for over two years and was at her wits end. The word exhausting is definitely apt. I am sorry to hear you're dealing with such a frustrating issue. The good news is that my client was indeed able to make some significant progress by approaching her symptoms from a TMS perspective, so know that it is possible.

    The biggest issue I see with this manifestation is the pressure that it puts you under. Very often a TMS symptom will have a social dynamic to it, whether it is the appearance someone may take, or an inability to participate in some activities. But with this issue, your main tool for communicating with others is compromised. This creates huge pressure on you as well as expectation. There are no doubt a number of people who are waiting expectantly for you to "get over it". It is important in these circumstances to cultivate your capacity to care for yourself with compassion and patience as you work through the challenges you're facing. Putting undue pressure on yourself to just get better will in fact do the opposite and add more fuel to the fire. Remember the TMS basics: the more you buy into the fear around the pain, the more effective the pain is in accomplishing it's purpose, which is to keep you preoccupied and distracted. Now, it is inevitable that at times you will in fact be preoccupied and distracted. With such intrusive symptoms it's virtually a given. But where you have control is in how you respond when you see it happening and feel the anxiety and fear that come from your symptoms begin to go to work on you. At those times it is important to remind yourself that you are safe, that this is something you are actively dealing with one step at a time, and that you definitely have the capacity to improve.

    I hope that's somewhat helpful.

    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.

    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  3. Peggy

    Peggy Well known member

    Shania Twain (singer) got dysphonia after her husband left her for her best friend. She was on a 4 part series on the Oprah Network, she was trying to deal with the emotional factors involved with loosing her voice. She got it back and performed in Vegas for some time.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sounds like a classical case of Freudian hysterical paralysis - only this time in the voice box. Interesting how PPDs (psycho-physiological disorders) twist and morph and change from era to era, from one historical epoch to the next, but still operate according to some of the same laws of repression and transference.
  5. sharon

    sharon New Member

    Hi Carla
    I have had MTD for 8 years. Now I am sure it is TMS but I can empathise with you, frusyrating, vefy painful and isolating. I lost my voice completely for r months. I am a teacher and wear a headset to be able to work, i know only work 3 days a week. Just starting on tneTMS journey...how woderful it would be to have full vocal use again!
    Ishing you all the best
  6. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    I remember Dr. Sarno talking (in an interview ) about his propensity to lose his voice when he was under stress, and his voice suddenly disappeared. He rolled his head back in amazement.

    It's about obsession and focus (and of course conditioning). When the mind shifts to the object the object is changed, The Observer Effect. Everything changes once we begin to observe it. That's why it's important to never think about body. But that runs counter-intuitive to what we've been taught, regarding running to the doctor at the very first sign of everything.

    We are taught to worry, to obsess and to be afraid. It's how our medical system is set up. It's called "defensive medicine." It's created hundreds of millions more problems than the lives it has ever saved. But as the maxim states, "it be what it are." We're caught now, in between obsession, surviving, and healing. Which one will win? My guess is the one with the most points.

    Worry about body "perpetuates" almost all the problems, but the doctors are telling people to watch out, be careful and to be concerned. The TMS docs are very brave people. They walk the forbidden path, as true healers. I always try to tell them how brave they are. They need to hear it more often.

    Focusing on vocal chords will shut them down. The fear needs to shift, or to be let go.
  7. Peggy

    Peggy Well known member

    Maybe it's all shadow. Our fears may be our individual shadow (if there is such a thing) and the medical system, what we do to survive, may be our collective shadow. Then, my question would be, if it's all shadow, is it real?

    Food for thought . . .
  8. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Hi Alex,
    it's definitely TMS. It was my first TMS manifestation during adolescence. After a nasty flu my voice was very hoarse. On top of that I had a bad argue with my father and shouted at him for hours what left me without any voice. The problem was, that the voive only came back very hoarse and after a few sentenced it disappeared again. Went to see the doc who told me (big nocebo) I ruined my vocal cords and that I would never have a normal functioning voice again. Well, I was barley able to speak until I was 18, socialicing became very difficult and I felt lost and loneley. When I was 18 my voice came back but I got severe pain...sounds familiar? The symptom imperativ kicked in and so it does until today. Soooo annyoing....
    So don't lose your hope, it's TMS for sure.
  9. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    I use to sing in nightclubs for my living and went through a long period where my voice would get very fatigued. I always worried about it and would baby it to the extreme.

    I have a day job now, but looking back on it, I'm quite certain it was TMS.
  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    When I've been under a lot of emotional stress my voice shows it. I can hardly talk.
    When I relax, my voice comes back. Sometimes that's happened by just laughing.
    I tell myself my voice shows my stressed emotions and that I will not worry about it.
  11. sharon

    sharon New Member

    How I wish I had had a TMS doctor y e a r s a g o
  12. sharon

    sharon New Member

    SO familiar!!! My friend has it too, whenever we are feeling overwhelmed at work ( teaching) our voices get worse. Whenever I go overseas, far from work..it improves considerably!

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