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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What else is there - Seriously

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by eskimoeskimo, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member


    I’m sure some of you must be thinking omg it’s her again, but here I am. I sometimes get so depressed and anxious ( either/or/both) that I feel sick and it ties in with nasty leg nerve sensations. I don’t know which comes first. It’s all demoralizing. There are times I feel I really have control of this, putting all the great advice you guys have given in this thread to use, and feel a bit happier. Sometimes I feel it’s an over sensitized nervous system and other times my mind goes to some awful disease.
    As I’ve mentioned I’ve been tested pretty thoroughly and nothing can be found. My doctor said I’ve been tested for everything. He has suggested that I try Zoloft as he doesn’t know what else to say. I’ve heard both good and bad things about it. I’m not sure why I haven’t given it a shot other than I’ve tried antidepressants before and they did nothing. I know you can’t specifically recommend that I take it, but a general opinion would be welcome.,
     
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Anything that helps reduce anxiety is a good thing and that includes anti depressants (like Zoloft or Prozac for example), meditation, visualization, walks in nature, yoga, taking a bath, watching a funny movie. Your number one job is to chill out, so to speak, so you can do the work. However that looks like for you is totally fine. There's no right or wrong, just teaching the brain you are safe and it can let go of the TMS.
     
  3. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    Hi, @tgirl , how are you doing now?

    Please be a bit more gentle with yourself! Even the opening line of your post is self-deprecating :). I was looking for Abraham Low's discussions on what he calls 'defeatism,' and a good concise discussion came up on the Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recovery_International (Recovery International - Wikipedia)): ""Temperamental lingo" describes language related to judgments of right and wrong, and the use of defeatist language when discussing symptoms. When discussing symptoms, temperamental lingo includes the use of adjectives such as "intolerable," "uncontrollable," "unbearable," and similar language that places an emphasis on the dangerous and fatalistic implications of feelings, impulses, or thoughts."

    As @miffybunny has written, ultimately it is about losing the fear. And it is fascinating how we experience how deeply entrenched it can be once we start working on shifting out of it. I used to say 'I feel like it's part of my DNA!' I know you've been working on this awhile, but please don't lose sight of the bigger picture and any progress you've made. It's so, so easy to forget progress when you've had a bad day, days, week, etc. But bring the focus back to how far you've come vs how far you have to go, and it will lighten the load a bit.

    I've heard this idea referred to as 'upstream' vs 'downstream', and I might have discussed it before, but it bears repeating here. And believe it or not, Arnold Schwarzenegger helped open my eyes to it.

    In an interview he said 'When I came to this country, I decided I wanted to be the highest paid actor in Hollywood, but I couldn't act, and could barely speak English. The dream seemed impossible." (Insert your own seemingly insurmountable problem, like curing TMS, here :)). He figured it would take X amount of time, and he'd have to take English lessons, have a perfect muscular body, etc. So he said he'd be in the gym for hours, doing grueling workouts, but he'd be smiling all the time. The other guys working out asked "Why are you smiling??' and he said "because every rep gets me one step closer to my goal.' So in his own head, maybe it would take 10,000 reps of an exercise and he'd get there. So instead of thinking 'oh I still have more to do....one, two, three' he'd be thinking '10,000, 9,999, 9,998..." The first way is 'upstream' and requires more energy, and can be exhausting. The second way is 'downstream' and has far more energy behind it.

    Yet the workout is the same, only the mindset is different. But it's a huge difference.

    "I feel like I don't know what's wrong, and I don't know if it will ever go away.' Defeatist, and 'upstream.'

    "I had one full good day today!" 'Downstream', building towards recovery.

    "Nothing ever works for this. Everything I try ends up failing." Defeatist. Upstream.

    "TMS makes perfect sense, my doctor already told me I'm fine otherwise, and my body can and wants to heal itself.' Downstream.


    In the midst of anxiety/depression, this can be difficult to do, but it is possible. When I'd have a bad day (even after a good week!) I'd feel totally defeated/deflated, when in reality I was still making progress. So I learned to look back on some journal entries just to stay confident with how far I'd come.

    I hope this helps, and I hope you are doing better.

    This is my busiest time of year, but I am checking in from time to time, so I hope to read some updates soon.
     
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  4. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member


    RogueWave, thank you so much for asking how I am doing - so thoughtful.

    I’d like to say I’m 100 percent, but that wouldn’t be true, not yet anyway. Recently I spoke with my doctor and he said in his tactful way, that I tend to obsess and that Zoloft might be worth a try. I took it for nine days and began to obsess about symptoms I thought I was getting from the the drug. Lol. He remarked that it didn’t sound like a good fit for me and that he could recommend something else. I’ve put that on hold. Talking to him reconfirmed that he feels I’m fine (reassurance seeking). I asked him what I should do, and his answer was “ You’re healthy, meditate”. Lol.

    My mindset is definitely better these days. I used to feel panicky about my symptoms almost all the time. Now I force my mind to think of a few positive things about my situation and try to move on, when possible. Unfortunately, I can let my mind wallow in the ‘what ifs’ if I’m not careful. And probably due to my obsessive nature I tend to revert back to googling (not nasty sites, just benign TMS sites), and once in awhile I read posts that I can’t unsee; then I’m back to worrying and ruminating. I suppose I find nerve type symptoms the scariest; although, I have read a number of wonderful success stories as well. I have them jotted down on paper so that I can refer to them during low points.

    I’ve had many bizarre symptoms in the past that went away, and some of them I had dealt with for quite awhile as well. They are all totally gone now. Classic TMS.

    As well, I suppose it depends on a person’s take on TMS. I feel in my case, I may have gotten myself into a vicious loop, over sensitized my nervous system and now my body is used to this way of being. But having said this, I have times during the day when I feel totally normal and happy. I think for me TMS isn’t as much about repressed emotions as it is about over sensitization and a learned way of reacting. Yes, I had an extremely anxious upbringing etc., but honestly I think I’ve dealt with my past, and I know what my current stressors are (one being pretty large). I need my body to rewire, so to speak, and I’m working on it - some days are better than others. My body will catch up at one point.

    The reason it has taken so long for my attitude adjustment is that this positive, non-panicky way of thinking is pretty new for me (over the last few months), and if a person has reacted a certain way for years, it could take longer to undo the Gordian knot. Instead of getting angry about my situation I feel that there is an end in sight. Maybe in the past I thought I was doomed, and I don’t know how anyone can feel hopeful or get better with that mindset.

    One question - is the general consensus that central sensitization can be reversed? (I haven’t been diagnosed with that or anything else, but just wondering).

    Presently I’m reading a good book by Eckhart Tolle called Stillness Speaks that is all about mindfulness and being present. Someone might find it useful.

    People like you, RogueWave, Miffybunny, Plum, and Hillbilly, along with several other people have been incredibly instrumental in changing my mindset to one of hope. I can’t thank you enough.

    RogueWave, I hope you are well!
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021 at 12:25 PM
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  5. TrustIt

    TrustIt Well known member

    may i also suggest that you change your language? you make a number of negative statements that you probably are not even aware you are making. it just feels true. i get it! but here's the thing...our words create thoughts that go on to create emotions that go on to create chemicals. if negative, it creates adrenaline, epinephrine, cortisol. those stressful chemicals will hold the body in an addictive state for a period of time. it can be counter-intuitive to say things like, "i am well." "i love my body." when, in reality, in that moment, we don't feel that way. we have to change our perception of our bodies and instead of present tense statements like you make in the above, and the words into future tense instead...otherwise, we are perpetuating the status quo of "I AM 'THIS'". once the body becomes addicted to the positive feelings, the feel-good chemicals like endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine,THIS is what allows the body to heal.
     
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  6. Lemonade

    Lemonade Newcomer

    Hello everyone. Long time lurker, first time poster. I had no intention of ever posting on here, but wanted add my 2 cents if it is helpful for those really suffering or at your wit’s end. I still feel that too sometimes, but I know that is just part of the brain’s tricky voodoo tactics.

    Brief background: I am about 80% recovered from full body CRPS after a head injury. For the most part, I’ve used a combo of challenging the pain along with TMS/Hypnotherapy/DNRS program. Twenty months ago, I was in a level 12 full body pain that even two bags of morphine at the ER did not get rid of. Now I am working 25 hours per week, walking 45 minutes a day, and gradually living my life again.

    A major thing I see missing in TMS discussions is the importance of graded exposure. In the DNRS brain retraining program they taught me how to stretch my brain outside its comfort zone without pissing it off too much. If you do too much too fast it will reactivate all that fight/flight and for most people that is very hard to be indifferent too.

    I’m not writing this to advocate that you all go do DNRS. It’s pretty much the same thing as TMS but with a lot more ritual around it, which can sometimes just fuel obsessiveness. I simply am pointing out that DNRS has a huge focus on graded exposure (they call it “incremental training”) and people have big success with it.

    Example: Last summer I could not walk without bigly flaring the full body pain. So I chose to slightly challenge my brain and walk for 15 minutes every day. That was the maximum I could deal with walking, even on days I felt like total kaka. After walking, I always meditated for 15-30 minutes. Because my brain’s default state was fight/flight I knew I had to follow up the triggering activity with calmness to teach my brain that walking was safe. Every two weeks, I added only one minute to my walking and followed it with meditation. After 6 months I was walking 45 minutes with no flareups afterwards and my baseline pain level had dropped considerably in general.

    I know some TMS enthusiasts might say I was “babying” the pain. But that’s not how I see it. I was simply respecting where my brain was and choosing to be kind to myself. I gradually stretched my brain’s comfort zone instead of forcing and pushing, which is what my TMS personality had done before.

    So when I read in this thread that someone is going from very little movement to all of a sudden jogging or playing the guitar for 15 minutes….or going from not traveling anywhere to all of a sudden running around Asia for 4 months but being in agony. Oh gee golly gosh! I just shake my head with sadness :nailbiting::(

    If you do too much too fast it will piss your brain off to high heavens. Some people can ride those huge spikes with indifference and that works great for them. But for others it threatens the brain way too much and then you are back in the vicious cycle of “Seeeeeee this doesn’t work. This is hopeless! I should just cry or die”.

    I recently did this to myself again, even though I’m far into recovery. My brain is still very reactive to the original head injury. So I decided I was ready to take the training wheels off completely and do lots of head/neck exercises. I wasn’t doing them to try to fix my neck. I know my neck has healed and there is nothing wrong. I was doing them to challenge the fear. Welp, I did way too much too fast. The nerve pain almost faded away completely for a time, but then it came back with a vengeance on top of nausea, dizziness, panic attacks, heart palps, chest pain, and diarrhea that smelled like dead raccoons:vomit:All classic TMS fight/flight responses.

    I then started catastrophizing again and freaking out that the pain will never end, which is honestly what I was doing last night when I couldn’t sleep and read this long discussion. But reading this reminded me of everything I have done that has worked so far and how graded exposure has been KEY to my journey. I know my brain's fear around my head needs to be addressed – I mean look how my brain reacted to some minor movement in that area!

    But I am exploring and sitting with how to challenge the fear in a gradual way so my brain does not get so triggered. I have found that starting itty bitty goes much better than resuming all normal activity and trying not to give a shit about huge spikes. For me, that approach is just not realistic. It can be hard with an overachiever type personality to start small, but for my brain that has honestly been the only way.

    I know this approach may not work for everyone and I try not to spend much time on this forum. So it is not my intention to get into a long debate here analyzing graded exposure. I simply find this aspect of TMS principles underrated yet it has worked so well for me.

    To all you TMS veterans that have been offering wisdom in this discussion I thank you. I was feeling really pathetic and sorry for myself last night and re-reading your words reminded me how far I have come and what has worked so well for me!
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021 at 10:17 AM
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  7. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Well known member

    What a good idea -- to meditate after graded exposure activity. I have been using graded exposure but have frustratingly found that I can only go so far; there's a point I can reach, but then my brain doesn't allow me to go beyond that point. If I meditate afterwards then I might be able to stretch my brain's acceptance. Nice one, @Lemonade -- thank you! :)

    P.S. You've made me realise that when I reached the point beyond which I wasn't able to progress, I tended to think 'structural' rather than 'psychological', i.e. that it was my muscles at fault and not my brain putting up a barrier.

    Do you think slow, calm breathing would work to stop the brain getting upset, if one is in a situation not to be able to meditate for at least 15 minutes after adding a bit more activity?
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021 at 1:06 PM
  8. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Hmm I've found graded exposure talked about a lot here. It's just that everyone goes at their own pace and there is no one set pace for it.
     

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