1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

When Am I Healed?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Steve Ozanich, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    I apologize if this has been said here many times already, but I wanted to re-state it just in case. People often ask me how they know if, and when, they are healed? What is healing? I wanted to make a blanket statement.

    Dr. Sarno defined healing as such:

    1. Little or no pain.
    2. No functional limitation.
    3. No fear of any physical activity.
    4. All physical treatments have been discontinued.
    I agree with all those, of course. But I also use the "happiness measure." I ask people if they are happy again? If they say yes, then I consider them healed, because to me that's the goal in life.

    Of course happiness includes all the above that Dr. Sarno stated. The person is back into life and doing what they want with no fear, and they've discontinued all treatments. They also have no limitations and never think, or obsess about their body.

    But here's the catch, there always seems to be one. People are often healed and they don't realize it because they're constantly checking their body for something.

    For any non-specific person, their main problem is often gone, but something else has come up. So they keep searching in this cycle, looking for anything, every day. And of course, within the body-focused searching, they will always find something. Rumi wrote, "That which you seek is also seeking you." The perfect body, and perfect day don't exist. We live, and so therefore will have something. We can't escape this life without pain ever again, or some type of emotional response to life-events.

    The irony of course is that the constant obsession and focus and searching will keep things pulling toward you. So at some point....STOP.

    STOP looking and checking everyday for something to be there. Something will always be there from a stiff neck, to vision changes, to a sore foot, to a nagging this or that. You may have already healed but you may be seeking a panacea that doesn't exist.

    Of course there may be that day, that lovely day, when everything goes your way, and your mindbody feels sooooo goooood!! All the traffic lights turn green in front of you, people compliment you all day, and your spirit is light. I've had lots of those over the past decade and I cherish every one when I am graced to have one. But they are exceptions to a demanding life. If you go live on a mountaintop in India meditating every day in the yogic position, you may have many more of those days. But we live in a world of mothers and fathers and mothers and fathers in law, kids, bosses, politics and rules. DEMANDS

    On certain days there may be a dry eye, or a hand or finger that may hurt a little, or a knee may be stiff. That's a part of life that comes with being alive. You are healed, IMO, when you no longer care about these things. If I wake and my thumb is swollen I don't give it any credence and I go to work, or lift weights, or play golf. If it doesn't keep me from doing anything, I don't worry about it, and I don't think about it the rest of my day. And it goes away.

    So you've actually healed when you've STOPPED:
    1) Looking for problems
    2) Your limitations
    3) All treatments
    4) Worrying

    You may be healed now, but you may be TMSing by seeking problems that are a normal part of a normal life. Then you need to ask yourself, "Am I happy right now?"

    If you're truly and deeply happy, you're healed.

    Colly, G.R., North Star and 6 others like this.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, Steve, for sharing this wisdom with us. I've been pondering this issue recently in the context of 'when do I post a Success Story on the Forum?'

    Your statement that you ask people "Are you happy again?" gave me some pause. It does assume that one was happy before TMS, or that there is a 'before TMS'. In my case TMS started very early, and in my youth took the form primarily of anxiety, depression, and existential angst with occasional physical symptoms. Very gradually over the years, the physical symptoms became primary. I don't think I ever would have described myself as happy for any length of time.

    But in the past few months I've occasionally found myself thinking 'what is this new feeling I'm having?', and then, 'Gee, I think it might be happiness'. So by your definition, I'm not quite healed yet, but I believe I'm closing in on it.
  3. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, Steve, this morning I'd stopped doing all those things, until I clicked this link and read your post! It's always there waiting to be reactivated by a subtle (or not so subtle) hint or suggestion, right? Just goes with a TMS-type personality and I'm afraid you're always saddled with that, as long as you are who you are and not something else. But it probably is good to always be aware of the danger.
    Msunn likes this.
  4. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Ellen, I know what you mean. Now that I know what happiness is, or should be, or feels like, I'm not sure I ever was happy. I was well taken care of by good parents, and lived free in a good state. But it was in a shell of falseness. However--as I see more people it's clear that I was not unique, most others feel the same way, in all countries. And so Jung's two phases of life hold true, the natural phase that always turns in toward the cultural phase. It is possible that we are all "healing" for the rest of our lives when it comes to awareness. But as far as TMS is concerned many are already healed but don't realize it because they're waiting for God to write it in the stars and tell them. They're seeking something that's already here.

    Bruce I'm happy I could trigger you into something. Dr. Zafiridis and I talked about the notion of being aware of danger. We have to be aware or we can't survive. He used the example of walking in front of a bus and being killed and I use the example of falling down stairs. We have to know where the real danger is. But people create danger where it doesn't exist. Living in the fear of constant danger is a problem and is irrational. But whoever said people are rational?

    This stems from the amygdala. It's the portion of the brain that scans for danger and stores the emotional memory. It's on constant watch applying "emotional significance" to every situation that it's looking at. Eg, should I have sex with that?..or run away? The answer is often both...lol. But to get to this primal brain to tell it that everything is ok, and that there isn't danger around every curve, you have to do it through the prefrontal cortex, by pouring in accurate information. This is why self talk is great and affirmations and guided imagery, all work so well.

    It's also why people need to know that they're already healed, they don't need to keep running from danger. The "running" keeps them TMSing through the constant fear of possibilities that will never come. That fear then brings symptoms day after day, even after they've healed. STOP..in the name of love (The Supremes)

    Msunn likes this.
  5. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Thanks for writing that so clearly Steve. In my case there has been real progress. I'm getting to the point where I'm very close to pain free playing my gig the majority of nights, which is awesome (RSI symptoms.) Other nights I have discomfort but on a very manageable level.

    I guess where I'm still stuck is the F word, FEAR! When aches and pains come back during the week, which they still do, I'm not sure how much to challenge that with physical activity, so I'm still cautious and, if I'm honest, fearful that I could bring on TMS symptoms which could make it very difficult to play again. The non-linear progress of TMS healing still can make me uncomfortable since there's no real predicting how I'll feel, even though in a general sense I'm getting better. It's been tough in that TMS threatened my ability to play music which is probably where I'm most vulnerable, since it's something I love doing.

    TMS did rob my happiness as I started obsessing on it. I am getting that back. Being in the recovery community for several years I have learned to be grateful, enjoy life, not hold onto resentments etc. At the same time being a perfectionist I have overdone some of that and stuffed feelings, tried to be too good etc. which I think contributed to the TMS.

    I'm seeing it going in the right direction and I believe the healing you describe will happen for me.

    Prior to the TMS I didn't pay much attention to aches and pains in my body, until it centered on my hands. After age 40 which I'm well past:), it seems like there's always something that can hurt or ache on the body.
    Hopefully I won't go on to a different obsession with another pain my body.
    nowtimecoach, Ellen and Anne Walker like this.
  6. Pingman

    Pingman Well known member

    Steve - I always find so much of myself in your posts. My TMS is funny. For my "normal" periods of life when I am just living carefree I do feel the back pains or wrist pains etc... and pay no attention to them at all. They go away in a few days on their own. It is when I connect them with some sinister disease after a google session that things spiral out of control for me and the prolonged TMS period and constant symptoms checking set in.

    Every morning I wake up and wonder if today will be the day when my eyes no longer hurt and are blurry. I then question if I should wear contacts or glasses and question all other choices like eating sugar or caffeine as I read they impact stress etc...

    The other time I had fallen into a bad TMS cycle that last for months I was able to break free by excercising and not focusing on the pain since it was located in my stomach and chest. With it being in my eyes and head it has proven much harder since I am constantly 'LOOKING' for it..

    I guess I just need to realize that I can see and that my vision is off a little but it will get better so I can start healing and reinforcing my mind.

    On certain days there may be a dry eye, or a hand or finger that may hurt a little, or a knee may be stiff. That's a part of life that comes with being alive. You are healed, IMO, when you no longer care about these things. If I wake and my thumb is swollen I don't give it any credence and I go to work, or lift weights, or play golf. If it doesn't keep me from doing anything, I don't worry about it, and I don't think about it the rest of my day. And it goes away.
    So you've actually healed when you've STOPPED:
    1) Looking for problems
    2) Your limitations
    3) All treatments
    4) Worrying
  7. Leonor

    Leonor Peer Supporter

    Hi Steve,
    The most important part for me is knowing that I can do physical activities and it will actually help me. I was always so afraid I would not be able to do it and feel worse. I still have pain and I am working on it, but this knowledge has been pivotal for me. I feel I am a new person now.
  8. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    #1 check
    #2 check
    #3 check
    #4 now wait a minute... you mean I have to stop worrying about my parents , my husband, my grandchildren, my friends with tms and all that other stuff? A friend gave me a "gratitude" bracelet for Xmas. I wear it next to my watch. This bracelet has helped me to focus my thoughts away from worry to gratitude. Every time I look at my watch I think of 4 things I am grateful for: a roof over over my head, clean water flowing out of my faucet, food on my table and warmth. I feel like now I have moved into the happiness dimension. Changing my focus from worry to gratitude has made a big difference.
  9. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Stella, I don't wear jewelry but you got my thinking that a gratitude bracelet might be a very good idea…. :)

    Steve, thanks once again for a great post. The verbal tennis games in my head get tiresome…I know, know, KNOW that I need to kick somethings in the head and move forward. And at the top of that list is FEAR. "Damn the torpedoes - full speed ahead!" David Farragut. I recall times of being pain free and it's because I was thrilled with what I was doing with my life. I had vision and excitement. Of course, that was in a different life phase, young and unencumbered by a mortgage.

    What was it that Shakespeare said? A man in love cannot have a toothache. (or something like that)
  10. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I like the idea of the gratitude bracelet, too. I wear one that says "Be Here Now" which is my mindfulness reminder. However, I find if I wear it all the time, I don't notice it anymore. I like the idea of wearing it next to one's watch, as a frequent reminder to look at it. But I stopped wearing a watch, so maybe I'll consider that again. Also, the idea of replacing worry thoughts with gratitude thoughts is wonderful too.

    And, Stella, it is always inspirational to hear how well you are doing.
    North Star likes this.
  11. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    A gratitude bracelet sounds great. But what about something for guys?
    I guess we just have to keep gratitude in mind more.

    Men used to wear watches on fobs where a gratitude charm could be hung.
  12. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I see lots of men with bracelets--I guess they would call them wristbands--like the yellow Livestrong ones. I bet you could find one like that says Gratitude or some other positive affirmation.
    North Star likes this.
  13. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Any thing around the wrist could be transformed in the mind as a reminder to think about what you are grateful for. I have been doing great over the last year. Each month I could feel improvement. But the happiness indicator eluded me. I continue to feel mildly tired which to me is luke warm depression. This small bracelet is helping to reprogram my brain from worry by lifting up my thoughts to feel gratitude for even the minor things that make my life easier. Many times each day I acknowledge gratitude for the clouds, the wind, the traffic lights, my friends, my healthy body and mind, Dr. Sarno, Forest, the TMS wiki, and much more.

    I know different things work for different people at different times. This bracelet was given at the perfect moment for me. Thank you to my dear friend.
    Ellen, yb44 and North Star like this.
  14. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Stella, the "luke warm depression" hit me between the eyes. Totally describes the funk I've been in for the past several weeks.

    Funny how a simple and short collection of words can be so enlightening. Thank you.
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen the wristband for men sounds okay.
    I used to wear a ring but stopped because I prefer having none when on the computer.

Share This Page