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What does a TMS coach do when she has a pain flare?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ann Miller, Dec 1, 2021.

  1. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    What does a TMS coach do when she faces her own relapse of pain?

    Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on my viewpoint, I get to experience this first hand. After years of chronic pain-free living, I had a “back event” this week. As is my usual, I decided to write about it and share my experience in the hopes that it will help someone else.

    Tuesday, bending over to drop a dishwasher pod into the slot, my back completely seized up and all the same old instability and breath taking pain came rushing back. Oh, It was all there, the fear, the doubt, the frustration, the incredulous disbelief. I mean, I coach others and here I was clutching the kitchen counter, not able to right myself. So now what?

    Time for the coach to coach herself.

    1. Think psychologically, Ann. Yes, I’m under a ton of stress right now; the vast majority of it manufactured in my own mind because that’s what my adorable little brain does. I’ve no doubt repressed a ton of emotions lately.

    2. I’ve gotten away from what worked for me. Expressive writing, meditation and somatic tracking are all tools that put me directly in the pain free camp and I just became half hearted in doing them because I thought they didn’t need to still be utilized. Call it resistance or denial or arrogance but I thought I was past the stage of “doing the work.” Ah, humility…where we stay teachable regardless of how much we know.

    3. Doubts. There’s a reason that my flare after all this time was the low back. Because even though I KNOW I am a TMSer, KNOW that I’ve become pain free with this mind/body work…still…there is a teeny tiny part of me that doubts the low back disc bulge doesn’t really cause pain. There I said it. I might be 99% certain, but that 1% needs to be acknowledged and seen. Because of this, I have definitely done bending and squatting and physical work today, even though I'm scared. Either I believe or I don't. This is really key for me. And of course, my pain is no worse for wear, because that isn't and never was the issue. (see number 1)

    4. Self compassion. One of the straight jackets that we put on ourselves when we become spokespeople for this healing is that now we have to be the example for everyone else and never have a relapse or a flare or a twinge. Self compassion for that predictably no-win scenario is paramount.

    5. I’m totally going to use this recent event as a springboard for further education and renewed compassion for all other TMSers. Thus, this post.

    6. Patience. This too shall pass. I’ve got lessons to learn and to share. Until then, patience.
  2. Bitzalel Brown

    Bitzalel Brown Peer Supporter

    Ann thank you so much for sharing. Number four is a killer for me. I imagine for many of the coachers in the crowd, this one is especially tough if you are looked up to by many.
  3. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think it's really important to recognize that coaches, therapists, physicians, practitioners in general are human too and subject to the same frailties, anxieties, and weaknesses of anyone else. We are not perfect and we are not robots. As a mind body coach I often share my stories of recent "relapses" or odd tms scenarios that arise because I want my clients to know that it's an inevitable part of the human experience and not something to be feared. The difference is how I respond to challenges now, versus how I would have in the past. To give an example similar to @Ann Miller , I had fairly dramatic symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. I was woken from my sleep one night with pain in one finger. That quickly spread to every finger and both hands within a week. I wondered if I had arthritis but logically, arthritis would not develop so rapidly. Then all my old crps symptoms that I had not felt in 5 years (!) came roaring back in my feet. At first I did panic (most especially because I'm a coach LOL!) but TMS tipped it's hat with the feet and when I stopped to consider that my son with autism had been home for months on end, due to covid and his school closure, I realized that I had indeed accumulated a ton of stress! As much as I thought I was handling it well, it had taken a toll. Once I connected the dots, the symptoms in my hands and feet disappeared within a few days. I knew what to do and recalibrated mentally. It's a lot like having a secret super power or a Wonder Woman bracelet....you take it out when it's needed. Life happens to all of us, but it all comes down to how we choose to respond. There is no "cure" for being human.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
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  4. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank- you Ann for being candid and real! I think many of us look to tms coaches, doctors etc who say they experience few or no relapses because we want our healing to be perfect. Nobody wants pain or to deal with all the feelings that come with it again, but the reality is, we learn more by finding out how you handle these episodes with grace and determination. In all honesty your episode description is a trigger for me, and your reaction exactly what I fear. However, part of my own healing has to be being able to face those fears and move forward. Your honesty reminds me of this important aspect of healing.
    I hope you will be pain free again soon.
  5. hawaii_five0

    hawaii_five0 Well known member

    Ann: thank you for sharing this post and info. Sending you compassion, psychic energy and love!!
  6. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    I am loving all the love here. Thank you! Community support is so appreciated.
    I can report that I am deep in discovery about new layers of my own emotional process. I am a fascinating case study :)

    "Through love, all pain will turn to medicine." Rumi
  7. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    Another update. Back to full physical exercise and normal work routine. Back to my daily journaling and meditation practice. Exploring doubt and all the different forms it can take...sneaky thing, doubt. Totally know this will help others if I'm brave enough to share it.

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