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What to do when you're stuck

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by cirrusnarea, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member

    Hi everyone,

    I have come a long way in my recovery, I remember how bad things used to be and wonder how I got through them. After all the pain symptoms I overcame, I still have this nagging back pain after work. I'm working part time, 5 hour days. Nothing strenuous, just indoors office work, and my back hurts so bad when I get home, I'm practically in tears. To make matters worse, I'm still very depressed and don't see much light at the end of the tunnel. For awhile there I wasn't having any pain; nothing serious at least. I got home after working a full day feeling okay.

    I feel like I've been stuck at this stage in my recovery for over a year now. I have no idea what to do at this point. I feel I should do my best to get on with my life instead of brooding over my symptoms and whenever I pick up one of Sarno's books it doesn't hold my interest anymore because nothing is new to me. I've done so much reading on the topic.

    The way my symptoms move around I'm pretty sure I have fibromyalgia, if you want to label it that. I know there has to be a difference between people who have a severe bout with pain and are cured after reading one of Sarno's books, and those of us who struggle day to day with this.

    I had been unemployed for a few months so pain wasn't an issue, and now that I'm working again it's come back really strong. I know all the things to tell people who are suffering from TMS, but sometimes it's hard to convince myself. I know there is nothing wrong with my back, but my symptoms are emotionally related. Of that I'm totally sure. But I still have them and they are not leaving. '

    Is there anyone who knows what I'm going through and could offer me some hope?
  2. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Congratultions on the progress you have made so far, and for getting back to work tiphata

    You are never stuck, there is just something more to learn about yourself and TMS

    I think what you're describing is conditioning. This can occur if you have had a lot of negatitive thougts or emotions related to the activity which is acting as your trigger. It can be as simple as thinking "I hope I won't have pain when I start back to work again, it would be awful if I had to stop work because of it" or it could be some aspect of your duties causing unconscious rage. Either way it's a conditioned response, you are anticipating having pain, tensely expecting it to arrive so it does. I know how difficult this HABIT is to break, I've been through it myself. If journaling is your thing try to uncover the basis of the conditioning. Tell yourself when the pain starts to build that it's just a habit and you won't be fooled. I know if feels impossible, but relax into the pain as much as you can manage. Always remember it's TENSION myositis syndrome you have.

    If we make symptoms important they feel too welcome and like to hang around with us. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia amongst other things, it's all just TMS. It's very common for TMS pain to move around, so don't worry about it. It's just your brain trying to find the best spot to get the most attention. I don't know your story or what you have tried, but breathing excercises and mindfulness meditation have helped me a lot. Try not to mark the length of time you have been recovering, this will create more tension which is what you want to avoid. A watched pot never boils.

    The most important thing I've learned toward to end of this journey is to work on my LIFE, and not on my TMS. Happiness and health go hand in hand. Take time out for yourself, do what you enjoy with people who lift your spirits. Give yourself a little treat every day, and practice self compassion. I was so hard on myself for a long time, I would never have spoken to anyone the way I spoke to myself.

    Just a thought; have you worked through the SEP on this site, if not I would highly recommend it.

    You are healing, however slowly, you will recover.

    I hope this has helped in some small way, and wish you well :joyful:
    Simplicity, Ellen, breakfree and 4 others like this.
  3. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member

    Thanks, Mermaid.

    I know it's so simple that the pain comes on because I expect it to, and the more I make of it the worse it gets. It's so messed up I could do this to myself. I had one of the worst night's sleep ever last night. I went right to bed after work because the pain was so bad, and then I couldn't stay asleep and kept waking up in pain. I know everyone on this site knows how it feels and I don't have a right to whine about it, but I'm really feeling bad right now.

    I did go through the whole SEP and it was so helpful and I'm thankful for those who contributed to it. I did this when I first learned I had TMS. The best part is I'm past the doubting stage. I am fully convinced there is nothing wrong with my back, and had been to several doctors and chiros over the years. I just don't know why it lingers on when I know it's a phony, as Dr. Sarno calls it. It's supposed to go away then.

    Yes, your words have been a big help. It's just I know I've been doing everything right and I'm still not better. I have gone months at a time with no pain. And then it will come back. Anyway, I'm rambling, but I don't really journal so it does good to get on here once in awhile and talk to others about it.
    Mermaid likes this.
  4. Lavender

    Lavender Well known member

    Hi Mermaid, Just wanted to comment on your compassionate reply to Cirrusnarea, recalling how you did the same for me last year.

    Sorry to report that things have not budged and I have been doing the TMS approach since 2012 now. I’ve read and re-read all the books, practiced distraction, listening to lectures, practicing the deep breathing on, and on, all to no avail. I had had such hope when I discovered TMS.

    As to getting on with life instead of giving attention to the pain, actually, there is no life. The 24/7 pain is at a level where I cannot walk or stand w/o it worsening, hot soaks my only solace at any given moment, and that has robbed me of friendships and of interacting with other people. I have tried “pushing through” but it is not like muscular or skeletal pain where the motto is “no pain no gain.” Quite the opposite. The medical world wants me to continue to seek answers, yet doctors differ in opinions and just want to move difficult cases out the door and move on to someone else’s easier case. (At least that has been my experience. Do I sound jaded? Yes. I admit to that.) Last week I saw my GP for something else, and while there he gave me his verdict that it is centralized nerve pain and that I will have it for the rest of my life. ( It’s been 5 years now) The only thing he had to offer is to go back and on high doses of gabapentin merely to cope.(I remember that you gave us your input on that drug some time ago.) I was seeing him to check out swollen glands which I have since discovered are listed as a possible side effect of the gabapentin. I guess his declaration got to me… so final. I could only stare into space the next day. This has taken a toll in every aspects of our lives.

    Ok, I try to avoid the self-pity but circumstances shout louder and I know this post reeks of it. It is for that reason that I thank you for contributing encouragement as one such as yourself who had been successful with this.
    cirrusnarea and Mermaid like this.
  5. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    You have every right to whine, you are in agony for Lord sakes! You are in good company I totally get where you're at and how you feel. I've had a couple of relapses myself, it's so upsetting and frustrating isn't it. Have a try at journaling, I free write then immediately tear it up and throw it away. I wouldn't want anyone to read the poison I pour out . It does feel like a release to do it though, just a few minutes on daily stuff that's pushing my buttons is enough.
    Do you know what started your relapse, I'd try to deal with your feelings around that if you could.
    I've lost track of the length of time I've been working on this stuff, it's 3 years at least, so no book cure for me either. I was very sick at the beginning, progress has been slow and erratic. Every time I think I've "got it", I discover there are more layers to peel away. In my own experience just accepting that I have TMS hasn't been enough. I've had to do a lot of work on losing fear of the multiple symptoms, and becoming more mindful of my reactions to pressure. I'm a work in progress, but I'm fully functioning and happy, so I consider myself healed.

    Please don't be angry with yourself, you're only human.

    You will get past this so stick with it.
    Bless you
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2016
    cirrusnarea likes this.
  6. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member


    I really enjoyed your post because you are being honest and getting things out of your system. I know how you feel, but not to the same extent ( I do have pain free periods). Much like you, I do feel like pain prevents me from having a life. But it's not the only thing. My fears and depression got in my way of living life long before the pain set in. It's all the same: anxiety, depression, chronic pain. They are distractions and symptoms of an unhealthy way of coping with life.

    Even after you've tried so hard with the TMS approach and have not achieved perceivable gains, you are still on the site, so in other words you are still working on it.

    I don't think it's unreasonable for you to take painkillers, even Dr. Sarno in his DVD lecture said he recommend some patients with severe pain to pain clinics so they can work out their issues without concentrating on the pain. You do need to get your life back so you can concentrate on it instead of the pain.

    It's been 3 years for me, and I agree with Mermaid we shouldn't be counting. I had eye pain on and off for over 10 years. It has been completely gone since the back pain came on. So even if it took 10 years, it did eventually end, and the pain you and I are experiencing now will eventually end.

    Even in the event that you don't have TMS, you can raise your pain tolerance and lessen the pain with your mind alone. Remember it's our mind that causes us to feel pain, even if you have a real injury. If you stub your toe, the nerves send a message to your brain which causes you to actually feel the pain. Those of us with TMS seem to suffer from this lingering phantom pain, and the sooner we realize this the better.

    Thanks for your response,

    Do something that will decrease your pain so you can have a break from it. Not to get hokey, but I saw a great quote today: "We pray to God to change our situation, when it was God who put us in the situation so that we can change ourselves." It just rings so true to me.
    Lavender and Mermaid like this.
  7. cirrusnarea

    cirrusnarea Well known member

    Thanks again Mermaid,

    I did do journaling for awhile, but didn't feel it was right for me. I think I got too hung up on whether I was doing it right or not. Anyway, it can't hurt to give it a try. Usually I release everything on my therapist and feel a lot better afterward. Or I get it out of system while praying.

    I was out of work recently so pain score was very low, but anxiety was very high. Now that I've got my job back the back pain has returned. So, it's a simple case for me that I know working brings out a lot of pain in me. I hate working, I feel like a slave, killing myself to make others rich. I hate having to put up with people and don't understand how they can treat others so poorly. I certainly know why my pain would be related to work. I think a more healthy attitude on working would help things a lot.
    Mermaid likes this.
  8. Lavender

    Lavender Well known member

    Thanks so much Cirrusnarea and Mermaid for your understanding. I suppose despair was on the increase once again and I had to vent. I try to refrain from being discouraging to participants of the forum but this time I slipped. Yes I have an “anti-convulsant” at hand which is used for nerve pain, although it is not known to heal. The heavy hitter pain killers are not only addictive, but they are known to actually excite the “glial” cells negatively so they are not an answer either. I am in “pain-management” care for the third time to no avail. I am greedy. I want to be well again, regain my life, and not merely “manage” it. I am doing as much as I can to divert my thoughts from pain.

    I wish you the best in your recovery. It sounds as though you do have a handle on what causes your flare ups, half the battle I think. Don’t apologize for your included quote as being hokey. .......

    Do something that will decrease your pain so you can have a break from it. Not to get hokey, but I saw a great quote today: "We pray to God to change our situation, when it was God who put us in the situation so that we can change ourselves." It just rings so true to me.

    Many of us here are incorporating prayer in our quest. The only contradiction in it is that God says he doesn’t send us sickness and disease and that it's the other guy! (the nasty one!) I have no trouble with that. It stinks!

    Best regards!
  9. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Oh, I so empathize with your pain, Cirrus and Lavender. I have dealt with chronic pain for most of my life. Sometimes I think that the most courageous thing I do is to put one foot in front of the other each day.
    I have had many successes in this program. I first became a Sarno advocate after discovering his book in the '80s and banishing debilitating back pain. However, I must be a very slow learner, because I often struggle with new bouts of pain in various places for a year or so before realizing it's another manifestation of TMS.
    With each new bout I become a beginner again, and have to try new techniques for bringing my subC around.
    Be patient with yourselves. I feel your hurt, and am praying you all the best.
  10. Lavender

    Lavender Well known member

    Thank you Gigi and it is encouraging to know that you have had your victories that you can look back on although I am sorry to hear that you had chronic pain for most of your life. The word "chronic "has kind of a soft connotation, therefore it is not really descriptive of the pain intensity on a daily basis. Perhaps a better description would be "ongoing" pain. I marvel that the human body has the ability to dish out this stuff! Hoping you are well and a graduate of TMS from now on.
  11. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Ah, but on the plus side, the body dishes it out, but also has the capacity to heal.
    I now have mostly pain-free days, and to me that's nothing short of miraculous.
    Keep on working your way through, Lavender! It's so worth it, and you can DO this!

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