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Walking away from TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by jamejamesjames1, Jun 24, 2020.

  1. jamejamesjames1

    jamejamesjames1 Peer Supporter

    I think I’m going to do something which is scaring the shit out of me but I think some part of my brain thinks it’s the best thing for me: disengage from TMS healing.

    I’ve had lots of helpful advice on this forum for which I am very grateful for. I have seen some progress (although lots of ups and downs) but I feel truly worn out and exhausted and think I need to simplify a bit.

    The best five days I’ve had was when I only did some mindfulness -not checking the forum, reading about it,etc.

    I’ve healed from these pains before. I don’t remember how I healed last time (maybe never 100%, we'll say 100% 80% of the time, and the other 20% was pretty mild) and I always just treated the flares as stress related and didn’t really do anything other than maybe a meditation or exercise or "wait it out" for a few days.

    I know in that healing journey I tried a bunch of healing techniques. I know I had shed some after they were not working, so maybe at the end I really had given up, and maybe that’s what I need to do again.

    I think if there is no progress in doing this than moderate pain forever might still be better than mild pain but super stressed out about healing all the time.

    My fear is that “doing less” will mean more pain and getting back to square one – but I think it’s a leap of faith I need to take. At least for a month. If it doesn’t work, I can always come back to what I’ve been doing.

    Anyhoozle, I wanted to give a dump of the lingering questions and thoughts on my mind so I can (at least initially) temporarily walk away not feeling like “if only I had gotten an opinion on this one thing maybe I’d be healing better..”

    1) What are your tips to deal with obsessing over both symptoms themselves and over “how to heal”

    Despite knowing 100% my symptoms are not physical (way too much evidence and symptom imperatives), I still obsess over “wanting the pain / anxiety to go away”. I know it is counter productive. I know the best I do is when I don’t focus on it – but that happens by accident. If I try to not focus on it, I focus on it. If I just regularly focus on it, then I focus on it! But I can’t reliably “accidentally” not focus on it, especially if pain is above a certain threshold.

    2) Has journaling / finding hidden emotions / finding stressors made you worse?

    I’ve been trying to determine what could be my underlying stressors and hidden emotions. Sometimes you get the vibe from other people that it is “just a matter of time until you turn over the right stone”. However, I feel like all I’ve done is kick up a bunch of dirt rather than finding anything to truly making peace with. And in a quest to feel my feelings more sometimes I think I’m forcing negative feelings into situations where I feel neutral in an attempt to “release my emotional energy and not repress”. I feel like I’ve turned things that were actually ok into issues now, e.x:

    “I love my kids but they can be a challenge at times” --> “I’m enraged I have to take care of my kids, they are so annoying”

    “I love my wife, she is not perfect but we have a good thing going” –> “I’m enraged she can’t meet my every need. So selfish! I can’t believe I’m only going to have sex with one woman the rest of my life!”

    “I don’t like time pressure at work, but I have a good gig with fun coworkers and make great money at something I’m good at” --> “I’m enraged I have to waste 40 hours of my life every week doing pointless work that won’t be around in a few years.”

    3) I’m thinking my amount of consumption of this forum, TMS books, and TMS podcasts are keeping me stuck.

    I think it’s getting me to identify myself as a “pain” person or an “anxiety” person. It has almost turned into a hobby. I don’t want that to perpetuate. I’ve read so many books, combed through so many posting and success stories – I really don’t think I’m learning anything new at this point. I think I’m doing it out of desperation. If anything, the more different advice I get the more confused and more frustrated I become with myself.

    Reading others peoples successes should help inspire me, but it often just makes me feel bad I haven’t healed.

    Reading about others suffering should help me to feel like I’m not alone, but it just makes me feel like I’m down in the same whole as them.

    Most concerning – often times when I read of other peoples symptoms I’ll get those symptoms or intensify my own symptoms .

    I know it’s a problem when my first thought when pain gets worse is “I better go on the TMS forum” and feel tension if I don’t allow myself to give into that compulsion.

    4) Do you clearly know it’s not physical but have impulses to treat it physically?

    I run three miles a day. If often times makes my anxiety / cpps / dizziness BETTER. Yet there are times when I’m sitting in a certain position and I don’t want to move “in case it makes it worse”. I just ran three miles an hour ago! Of course moving won’t make it worse!!! Or I’ll feel I should stretch or massage when I KNOW that has never helped me before.

    5) If you were to wave a magic wand over me now and got rid of my pain and anxiety I think I would just feel empty and no know what to do with myself, and this could be in part keeping me in pain.

    6) Even when a good moment is happening, or I’m not in pain, I’ll think "well I still would rather this time being spent doing TMS stuff cause you know its just going to come back and I want a permanent cure, not just a small window!"

    I think I need to embrace the windows or pain free time I get to really just live my life and enjoy it, not still focus on it just as much. How else is it possibly going to go away? I’m not letting it – it is almost as if I’m telling myself “there is no way I’ve healed yet, so I can’t put down my guard for a moment as there is more work to be done” as if I KNOW when “I’m healed” and that my body is wrong when it is in a pain free state. Salted nuts!

    7) I’m frustrated I have this issues in the first place. I feel like someone in my life situation shouldn’t have anything to trigger this stuff. Not to brag (cause I don’t enjoy any of it!) but I’m reasonably attractive, reasonably athletic, make big six figure income (don’t care about money but it is nice not having to worry about it), only work 40 hours a week, good at my job, not that much pressure, two adorable and mostly behaved kids, wife who has stood by me through all my mental crap over the years, supportive and alive family, no real issues growing up. What the hell reason is there for me to have anxiety and pain? I feel I am squandering a great gift!

    I think it could be because I want more (well, I can’t imagine anything that would make me feel whole maybe more appropriately "nothing satisfies"), I judge every situation to be lacking in some way, I feel like I need to be superhuman and the best at everything even when I don’t care – I just want to be special and have everyone recognize it! Like I want to be a God or something, but with none of the responsibility. I have extreme high impatience, am easily frustrated, and try to control things and when I fight the impulse to give into those tendencies it feels excruciating.

    8) Similar to #1, I feel like all the things I could change about myself or perception or personality is endless and would take a lifetime. I’m not even sure I’d like that version of me. It feels overwhelming and makes me feel like I can’t not hurt until I fix it all.

    9) I feel like there are so many slightly different techniques / ideas / approaches, and @miffybunny helped me a bit to not concern myself so much with the differences, but I can’t help but feeling if I don’t know the reason or mechanism it is happening how can I fix it? (I’m an engineer so this is how I approach everything I think ☹ ).

    Is it repressed emotions? Is it neuropathways that have been learned (and somehow keep taking turns switching via some mechanism)? Is it learned behavior that I can’t seem to retrain? Is it my mind sensing danger that I’m not aware of and causing all this (how would I fix that)? Is it simply anxiety taking a break and going purely physical?

    If I’m having a panic attack and take an Ativan, it helps my pain moreso than the anxiety. Do I conclude that TMS (at least in my case) is just anxiety?

    If it really is just anxiety than maybe my healing can be rapidly simplified: do less, enjoy more.

    10) I really don’t know how people can come to be indifferent to the pain. I know that is the goal. But it hurts! Even if I know its not a physical thing, it’s a damn good distraction. How to get to a level of indifference seems to be some level of mastery that I don’t think I possess.

    I appreciate everyone’s help along the way. Other than responding to this thread, I’m hoping I can stay off this forum for a month to see how it goes.

    I’m planning to just do mindfulness and try to focus more on my work, hobbies, and relationships and “ignore” the pain as best I can.
    TrustIt likes this.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think your guidance for yourself is right on. The more you try to fix whatever TMS you think you have, the more you're obsessing and pressuring yourself. In a way it can't be helped. It takes effort, but at what point is the thinking and efforting stirring you more than settling you?

    What can work, and sounds like it will for you ---is a very basic approach: Be mindful, know (as best you can, not perfectly perhaps) that the symptom is TMS, and understand that there is nothing that you need to do about it. In a sense this is cleanest technique and is very strong.

    You trust that your awareness is all that is needed, and that even if there isn't perfect relief, you're doing enough. It works in time.

    You ask many questions, but I'll field this one. What you describe is awareness of the normal neurotic human condition. You don't quite measure up, and neither does the situation. There is frustration, and you want more. It is quite natural.

    If you want to use this awareness for TMS work, you might simply understand that this inner pressure might come out as symptoms. And there is nothing to fix.

    My real wish for you is that you don't blame yourself for these frustrations. I think the best self treatment for this is to really feel and allow the frustration, and give yourself compassion as best you can about this suffering. You're not hurting yourself any more than you're already aware of, so don't beat up on yourself or scare yourself about this. These are universal human propensities which have always caused us suffering. They probably soften in pleasant moments, and they will probably soften in time, over the years, with your loving awareness.
    plum and BloodMoon like this.
  3. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi James,
    I don't feel qualified to try to answer all of your points and questions as I too haven't recovered from TMS, but I just wanted to say that I left the forum for many months - almost a year I think it was - and didn't feel any worse symptoms-wise for it. I didn't feel any better for it either - but then I did no TMS work whatsoever during that time. You, however, intend to do mindfulness while you take a break and I don't see how you can go backwards from doing that when you've already observed that you feel better when you just stick to doing that.
    Best to you;
    JanAtheCPA and plum like this.
  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Immediately turning my thoughts to a problem....a CONSCIOUS problem like finance, a fight with the GF,. Probably the hardest part of the recovery because we have an aversion to thinking negatively (which is why the symptoms are there)

    No. If they are real, they were always there in the first place. It's the actual act of contemplation WHEN I AM obsessing on a symptom that does the reset in my head and body. Looking for negative stuff for the sake of negative stuff is foolish and endless.

    probably the heaviest thing on here. Just like in AA people say "Hi I am ----- and I am an alcoholic" psychologists have found that identification can cause them to get worse. I am ME and I temporarily am suffering ... but I am not 'a sufferer' of this or that... that's building up an identity and is part of the problem
    That's a lie of the ego. I am certainly still full of many shortcomings. It's the process, not the result. I didn't have to get anywhere... I just had to delete a lot of stuff and learn new stuff.
    so was my Dad and he had TMS his whole life ..... We are a very 'order of operations' type of thinkers and NOT knowing what is going on is enraging because it flies in the face of everything we have believed since we started thinking. None the less, I have been painfree all of this time and have never actually 'figured it out'... but I know it works. I sometimes feel as foolish as religious fanatics I make spoofs of BUT, I got results so I can't bag on it.

    Yep. And that is why I get PISSED reading this forum a lot. I read HBP. I looked for rage and only rage and got better. No 'journaling' no Meditation, no hippy dippy bullshit. I DID make lists of rage inducers and review them but I toss them when I am done. My life is just not that interesting.

    I never have myself... that's why I get busy the second I get a shot across my bow... in hunting down rage anyways possible.

    I gotta be honest here. I was alone for 5 weeks...no work, responsibilities beyond basic housekeeping.... I read a little HBP, exercised a lot and 'went inside' (Mindfulness of sorts) and was better in three weeks....and reprogrammed for a couple. I often wonder if I would have got well so fast if I had had the forum to fire off one of my obsessional/doubt/fear questions every time something was scary...which was almost every day at first.

    I think leaving the forum is a GREAT idea and I have recommended it to many of the men I have worked with off the forum. I too have gotten little attacks of other people's stuff and when I read posts I kind of 'yada,yada,yada' BLOCK OUT people's litany of symptoms (like I do to myself) and try to see what they might be overlooking in plain view

    The internet is one of my biggest rage makers...how on earth could I come to it for healing? I Loathe social media, facebook, twitter and the like and think it is one of the greatest eddies and emasculation's in human history. A collection of the worst parts of the human experience all jammed in one box.... meanwhile there are birds singing out my window.!!!

    This forum and sideline swap are the only two reasons I can think for the internet to exist...

    meanwhile...follow your intuition. shout at me if you need to. I always got time for a fellow sufferer.

  5. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member


    you are 1000% correct I feel the same way as you do... regarding this site and the podcast along with reading books ...your right enough is enough I been at this for 10 years and I am still stuck and maybe your right ...the searching and reading just keeps us stuck. Once we have the knowledge it time to put it to work.I feel the same away about the success stories and also the people like myself that have been at this for year. I agree with the Ativan when I take it helps more with pain then anxiety .. I am also going to stay off for awhile...there as been so many people I want to thx on this site .....and yes Miffybunny is the best for sure , she so insight and really as a incredible knowledge of tms.

    At times I feel its counter productive to stay on these sites...I hate to give any advice to people who are suffering because I have not healed myself anyway I enjoyed your post and honesty .

    Baseball65 likes this.
  6. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    James, I just wanted to say that I could have written exactly this. And my intuition is that your intuition is right. Though it’s almost like, in posting your last minute Hail Mary questions, you’re actually doing what in the beginning of your post you said you were giving up. What are the chances you’re going to get truly satisfactory answers to these questions right now, the same questions you’ve been asking all along? For people like you and me, the answers are never going to be good enough. We can always over-analyze helpful responses until we don’t even know our own name any more. By trying so hard to understand things just perfectly and eliminate any seeming contradiction or ambiguity, I bet you’re that much more focused on the pain, frustrated, ruminating and spending too much time seeking out what you already know. So I guess what I’m saying is I think you (and I) should do what you said you’re going to do - let it go, do something else, no last ditch questions.
  7. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think this is a great post. Well put eskimo!
    eskimoeskimo likes this.
  8. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    I hope my post came across as friendly because that is certainly how it was intended. And I know you said you're just throwing these questions out there so that you can feel like you can move on knowing they weren't forgotten ... It's just I can so relate to the sentiment: "Okay this pain is bullshit I'm just going to let go and move on with me life, but first just one quick question which is really important, okay just two questions, okay and can you clarify one thing there ............. (years go by) ..............."

    But hey, here I am still on this forum and you're probably out there skydiving or something. Good on ya, James. I'll try to follow your lead.
    Baseball65 and BloodMoon like this.
  9. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    Thanks Andy. If only I could follow my own advice ...
  10. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You know, you just hit on something here I have experienced with other men but never discussed. A lot of the guys I talk to off of this forum will do exactly what I just quoted from your post.

    When I decide to help someone, since I am doing it for free I will ONLY help dudes who I am CERTAIN have TMS. Other wise I'd be wasting my time.

    BUT, the same strategy I Use on myself, I use on them... I REFUSE to talk about the symptoms except in a general sort of way UNTIL they are gone or nearly gone. BUT it feels like a game of tug of war mentally-spiritually.... In fact I will only refer to them as 'the distraction' or 'the symptoms'...never naming (empowering) the actual place of pain/discomfort/itch etc.

    Last week I was talking to a bro who has a very painful family situation. I kept pulling the conversation towards his family and asking a lot of questions. He kept wanting to review and compare symptoms and get my opinion. The answer was YES to all of the symptoms, but he kept checking and rechecking with me....therein lies the PROOF that the family situation is at the core of his TMS because poking in that area provokes those questions and doubts.

    I had OCD horribly when I was young. Like TMS it came and went in intensity but it was Hellish. The main symptom of OCD is a constant checking and rechecking to make sure everything is 'as it should be'. It drove me to the edge of madness and for all intents and purposes IS TMS...just of the brain. Sarno's comparison and allusion to it in HBP was crucial to my recovery because I already recognized that insane circular thinking from another chapter of my life and made the connection that TMS is OCD of the Body.

    ...and back to the OP... When in recovery, anything that can keep fueling that mental circle NEEDS to get burned to the ground. Most people who post here are posting because they are scared and in pain.... BUT if I understood this process and realized it was mostly a mental FUCK in nature, getting off of the forum and reading about other people's frustrations would be an imperative for recovery. LATER when you have substantial change under your belt might be a time to come back and help

    all right... I am getting off of my apple box

  11. jamejamesjames1

    jamejamesjames1 Peer Supporter

    Yeah I didn't do s great job at this.

    I stayed off this forum but found YouTube series and podcasts and even read three books.

    I am obviously somehow addicted. Part of the problem is consuming information makes me feel like I'm doing something and usually reduces pain.

    When I get really bad I just have the strong urge to jump in. But by this point I've had a lifetime of tms knowledge. Just can't seem to make it click

    This is by biggest impediment to healing along with incredible fear of pain (even though I know it's not structural... I'm just so afraid to feel the sensations)
  12. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

  13. eskimoeskimo

    eskimoeskimo Well known member

    How you doing James?
  14. jamejamesjames1

    jamejamesjames1 Peer Supporter

    I'm having my ups and downs but I am in a better place for sure.

    The huge leap I needed to take ( and retake multiple times a day) is...

    1) stop trying to find the one magic unification theory of tms. Realize that other people might have it for different reasons. Mine is likey from extreme anxiety and I don't have to look much further.
    2) get over the idea more is better for healing. I do mindfulness because I like it but then only some journaling and deep breathing for healing.
    3) stop going down mental rabbit holes. I tell myself "hey this thought isn't very interesting, helpful, or accurate so give me something else."
    4) the biggest one.. trying to reduce fear over the symptoms. This is super hard and the best way I've been able to do this is to disassociate a bit.. and say Yep this sucks but I'm sure it'll die down soon...it sometimes does.

    I've been having rampent symptom imperative that seem never ending but there are times where for an hour or two the clouds open up and I have no symptoms of any kind.

    So I know I'm on the right track, it is just difficult and easy to get pulled back into old.ways of thinking.

    Thanks.for checking in... How are you?

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