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When the witch hunt comes up empty

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by North Star, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    I could sure use some encouragement. These last few days have brought one horrible headache, not the likes of which I've seen in several months. It started at night (an indicator of TMS, for sure) and over the course of a few days, it grew until I was ready for a firing squad to put me out of my misery.

    I'm suspicious that the trigger may have been this old best friend (the pain REALLY intensified during a recent get together that I thought I'd be okay with). But I'm just not convinced that's it. Or is it? It's hard to sort out this crap when you're exhausted from pain!

    I've journaled, I've meditated, sought direction in my dream, looked for other triggers, blew off some anger, forgave, blah, blah, blah. I even pressed through with activities and intentionally left my husband out as to how severe it had gotten.

    This afternoon brought some blessed relief…a conversation with a dear friend who is also walking out her TMS healing.

    But now…here comes the evening, and the headache is building up steam again. Ibuprofen softens it a little bit (probably placebo) but I am just miserable.

    I'd really like to get to the root of this particular symptom but I am just coming up empty.

    Any words of wisdom or encouragement would be welcomed. :)
  2. Shirley

    Shirley Peer Supporter

    Maybe don't work so hard for a little bit? Try to sleep and see what comes in your dream. Be well.
    North Star and Anne Walker like this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    So sorry to hear that, NS.... :(

    Regarding Shirley's advice, I think it's great. TMS therapists often emphasize the idea that if you figure the right thing out, then your symptoms will disappear, but in terms of the reports that I actually see on the forum, I don't recall seeing as much of that. (With the TMS Therapists, I suspect it might be a case that when you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail, but I begin to feel bad for all bolts that get pounded in everywhere.) The reports that I see on the forum that inspire me the most are the people that learn to live a happy life even with their symptoms and then, incredibly slowly, the symptoms decrease, perhaps not entirely disappearing, but at least they get their lives back.

    I don't know if you've seen it yet, but I'm wondering if the following video might speak to you:
  4. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love the fact that you are thinking psychologically! And I agree with Forest and Shirley about not putting so much pressure on figuring it all out. I know that comes from the heightened pain, and headaches are the worst!! This last week I was tested big time with a familiar old symptom(right sided neck and head pain) but so severe I started to convince myself that perhaps it was something structural. I felt very discouraged and truthfully like a complete failure. I started some of my old go to internal bully and feeling sorry for myself patterns. But then I made myself refocus, back to basics with not focusing on the pain, trying to stop monitoring, truthfully just giving in to it and having confidence that it was just TMS no matter how extreme and terrible it felt. And then poof after the third or fourth day it just went away. I don't know exactly why it happened except right before it did I had a really great day, especially great because I had a bunch of friends over for a small party and did not think once the whole day about my body, pain, or even the fact that I was painfree! I was just in the moment, living my life. Then bam, two days after my party I woke up and could barely lift my head I was in so much pain. So North Star I think you are very close to a major breakthrough. You are being tested to the extent of your belief in the TMS, do your best to manage the pain and get through it and hopefully you'll feel better than ever soon. You deserve it.
    North Star and Ellen like this.
  5. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you so much, Shirley, Forest and Anne. I think your right even though my energy level in trying to address this was anything but energetic. haha (Makes me think there must be a joke out there about the tired TMS'er….) Forest, I will look up that thread as tired or not, I'm always striving to understand more and sort things out. (Duh, maybe that's why I'm tired? ;) )

    Anne, your description sounds just like I was doing. Trying not to pay it any attention. And yeah, my headaches result from a very tight brachial plexus. This morning, I feel more like the "headache hangover". It's lingering around the edges but I will keep moving forward. My heart soared at your words, "I think you are very close to a major breakthrough" as I read similar words skilling through SteveO's book this morning.

    I did the tennis game in my head over the friend issue that I thought I had laid to rest. "She's the trigger. No, she's not the trigger. No wait a minute, she's the trigger. Nuh uh." and so on, ad nauseum.

    After sleeping on this, I think my body is trying to tell me there is still a lot of conflict with her. (I wrote about her awhile back…best friends for nearly 30 years but things hve been really shifting the last few years. It would appear she's more engaged in ego and I'm trying to live authentically.)

    Forest, I am listening to your clip and it is very, very good. Thank you so much. I know every trip around the mountain is reinforcing the new, healthful script. (Ie, hearing over and over, "quit caring about it!")

    The other thing that was really helpful was the comment (was it Alan?) that included that short clip on fear from Breaking Bad. When I get a headache starting, it stirs up that fear….will this one last for a month like previous ones?

    Hugs to you all on this Monday!
    Ellen and Anne Walker like this.
  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, North Star. So sorry to hear that you are feeling discouraged.

    Everyone has given you great advice above. I'll just add one more thing from my own experience. When I was still having migraines despite all my efforts to find an emotional trigger, I then turned to conditioning as the possible trigger. Just as someone who has pain only when they sit won't necessarily have an emotional issue going on every time they decide to sit down; I found this to be true of my headaches also. For me the conditioned stimulus was change in the barometric pressure. I worked on this "from the top down" as Sarno says. I educated myself about the true effects of changes in barometric pressure on the body and found that while it is strong enough to be felt, it isn't strong enough to create a headache. I had just created an association in my mind. Then, whenever I felt a headache coming on due to this conditioning, I spoke firmly to my brain that this wasn't any reason to have a headache, so STOP IT. I was shocked when this started working. Now I am free of this conditioned response. So my advice is that when you can't find an emotional trigger look at the possibility of conditioning being a factor. Thinking psychological includes looking a learned behaviors, e.g. conditioned responses.

    Wishing you the best....
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
    Colly, tarala, North Star and 2 others like this.
  7. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Can we find the answers we seek through the mental process of thinking? I think not. But it sure can give us a whopper of a headache.

    Last week I did an hour session with a personal trainer. We did some VERY gentle exercises, mainly Pilates based. Nothing strenuous. Very few repetitions. I may not be ultra fit but I hadn't just woken from a six month coma. I did nothing that would cause any major muscle strain let alone serious injury yet I was in agony two days later and most of the weekend. I used a technique similar to Ellen. I told myself there was no physical reason for this pain. Right before the exercise session I had had a very difficult work-related telephone conversation. That was emotional trigger numero uno and there were definitely others. When I was on the phone I felt sick, my stomach was doing belly flops. I didn't have time to focus on this because my session needed to start. As scary as it is to me, I know I have to feel and process these uncomfortable emotions even if it means shelving them momentarily until I can find a safe time and place later.

    I hope you feel better very soon, North Star.
  8. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen, I have wondered about conditioning too. We've had cooler mornings here and in years past, that has always thrown me into a funk because I am a hot weather girl. And with our house on the market so we can get south, I may have some anxiety over getting outta here sooner than later. ;)

    Your comment made me smile, Yb44, "I hadn't just woken from a six month coma." I know the feeling. This morning, I'm going to go for my walk with intentions of listening to some of my favorite Piano Guys tunes. Not exactly "work out" music but I find it's usually always good medicine for me soul. And a little embarrassing at times too as cello music often brings tears to my eyes. (Probably quite a sight when when I pass fellow walkers. heh heh)

    So, I'll practice kindness to myself and trust things will be brought to light in due time.

    I really appreciate the love and encouragement I feel from you all. It makes such a difference.

    Love to you...
  9. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    North Star I'm so sorry for your pain, but this is a really great thread, full of gems, thank you all. The only thing I might possibly add is whether you've checked out if the current scenario with your friend could be a trigger for something much earlier. For me, inauthentic people trigger anger, but it is slowly dawning on me how much anger I had towards my mom as a child when she would play happy families (she was a raving alcoholic). Sounds obvious but it's taken me a very long time to really feel it.
  10. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Tarala, My hubby and I talked about this extensively today and decided we need to have no more time with these friends. It's sad but it is what it is. There were a handful of things spoken during the evening that were very revealing about her attitude and outlook and it's clear we're not on the same path. (They've come into a lot of wealth and arrogance has moved in in a big way. And that's only one of the issues.)

    I don't do game playing very well…never have, never will. (Besides putting on my smiling-even-though-I'm-doing-this-inside: :rage:, that is. ;) And I realize the enormity of my people pleasing behaviors. I want everyone to like me. Gah. What a trap. Hubby says his new theme song is Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy."

    You reminded me of what I used to hiss at the kids before we went out somewhere, "Remember! We're a nice NORMAL family!" :angelic: I've told my kids more than once that they'd have to deal with my parenting after effects when they're on their own. We didn't save for any psych bills for their recovering of having been parented by me. haha
    SSG likes this.
  11. SSG

    SSG Peer Supporter

    Hi North Star,

    Sounds like you are maybe feeling better!?? I hope so! :)
  12. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for asking, SSG. It's waxing and waning. Today was much better but it's trying to pick up again (evening trigger of some sort perhaps?) so I'm going to find a funny movie to watch and focus on taking some deep breaths. :)
  13. SSG

    SSG Peer Supporter

    Yes, North Star...I liked others suggestion about getting your mind off of it--not trying to hard to figure it out...though I know that can be terribly difficult while you are in pain! I hope you get a good belly laugh from that movie! :)
  14. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    North Star this post really helped me recently:

    Shabda-girl,Apr 10, 2013:
    I suffer from the same problem lately too. Lots of water, breathing exercises, and not being hard on yourself if you need to take a painkiller to help you function. Something else that I do that works really well is to sit down with a headache and actually talk to it and invite it to come in and take over. By being really present with it and not trying to push it away through resistance, I notice that the pain loses its power and very often times goes away. Your immediate feelings will be fear of doing that because you do feel like you will be swallowed up by the pain but if you can sit and be present with it- relax into the headache-it will start to shift. Give yourself plenty of time to be with the headache and make sure there are no distractions. Also having a dialogue with your headache works really well too. I like to write out dialogue rather than talk it out loud, but either one would work. Talk to your headache and ask it why it is there and then give it a chance to respond. I always seem to find that when I put a voice to those different parts or different pains, they are not actually trying to harm me, which makes sense because the basis of TMS is that the mind is trying to divert your attention from feeling emotions. Maybe your headache will have a chance to let you know what it's trying to protect you from. Doing this helps me to see the pain not as the enemy, but as a friend who is trying to help me but isn't doing it in a way that is working for me. Seeing the pain as more of a friend helps me to relax into it, which I think also helps it to go away.
    Shirley, North Star and Ellen like this.
  15. Shirley

    Shirley Peer Supporter

    Some of these comments are helping me as I have been having extra pain myself--stuffing a whole mess of repressed negative energy right into my back. Started to watch Forest's video but I think I've seen that one (good one) and I know in my own case I am NOT working too hard. Need to work harder on me, less hard on x.y.z. Time for me to do the daily program...and maybe drink some water and breathe deeply.
    North Star likes this.
  16. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    Lots of very good posts here. All I would say is that sometimes trying to think psychologically especially during a flare up is emotionally exhausting & can be counter productive. Beating yourself up, trying to remember stuff, journalling , perhaps berating yourself for thinking in a certain way can be draining & may even make the pain worse especially when u r in the throes of an episode or attack.

    Whether it is psychologically or not the fact remains that the pain is real so a good first step may to treat it accordingly . Take your pain killers & take them with confidence. Take them with the intention that u r going to rid yrself of the pain SOON. Giving yr mind the right intention at the right time is very important. So when u r taking a pain killer don't say things like 'Oh this is only a placebo, I'm only taking this half heartedly', or whatever else u may be thinking. The brain doesn't like to be fooled or confused. It likes simple instructions. Then when u r better, u can then 'think' about what may have triggered it. Nip it in the bud asap. Taking something quickly is better than allowing the pain to go on as that could reinforce certain patterns in the nerve pathways in the brain which could make the pain more chronic & difficult to get rid of.

    If the mind can heal the body then the body can heal the mind too. Its a catch 22 situation.

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
    Shirley and North Star like this.
  17. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Colly, great suggestion! I've done a bit of that here and there. In my world, early morning is usually my only time for journaling/introspection/blessed quiet. I still have kids at home and work schedules all over the place so it's like train station here most days. But nonetheless, my times to walk Daisy (my beloved pooch) is usually time for me to talk to my brain/pain or speak positive things aloud. :)

    Shirley and Mala - Oh, it is all such a dance isn't it? BTW, Shirley, I am usually a big water drinker but in the middle of the afternoon it occurred to me that part of the headache might have been from needing more water. It's been very hot here and spaced off my usually water bottle sitting on the counter.

    Mala, what a good word of wisdom about taking something halfheartedly. I think over the years, my "it won't work" has probably get some things that would have worked…not work. It's crazy. (Doctors never know what to do with me as most pain killers don't work and I'm allergic to just about every class of antibiotics. ;) )

    I'm happy to report the headache is CLEARLY in retreat. I've come back to this friendship issue time and again and I'm convince it's a relationship that just needs to go bye-bye. I read an article this morning that spelled out confirmation to me. (I love it when synchroncity happens!) When I ask my body about it…I can feel the tensions rise. I've lived in denial so much about the negative effects of that relationship, my body has had to get my attention in a more dramatic way.
  18. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I try to drink more water and have a bottle on my desk.
    I just have to remember to reach for it.

    When I think of all the positive aspects of my relationships I feel great.
    I just try not to think of the negative.
    North Star likes this.

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