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Day 1 Where I Am Now...

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by BamBam, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. BamBam

    BamBam New Member

    This is day 1 of the Structured Educational Program. I accept the diagnosis of TMS 100%, although I do feel worrisome and anxious about my ability create the change I seek. Since reading The Mindbody Prescription I have experienced moments of zero or minimal pain for the first time in months, but I'm not always able to be senior to my unconscious mind.
    I play drums for a living and my band and I are about to embark on a 3 week tour across the western United States, which is something we do very often. Tours are usually a source of great anxiety for me since my band mates are usually pretty lazy when it comes to organization and responsibility. Little things like making sure we have a place to stay prior to 2am the night of the gig are not usually solidified. I received a great massage yesterday and woke up feeling great, until I started checking into our lodging situations for some of the upcoming stops. The answer I received was that we have leads in a lot of places but no confirmations. My band mates like to assume everything will work out and are fine with sleeping in the van if not, which I'm not a big fan of. Combine that with a guitarist who loses his keys/wallet/cell phone every 20 minutes and has no problem spending $80 on cocaine but refuses to spend $15 on a guitar tuner. I basically end up being the parent to 2 30 year old teenagers on the road. I'm to the point where I'm about ready to quit the band because I'm tired of dealing with their bullshit and I'm tired of the physical pain that accompanies touring non-stop.
    The problem is that this is a band I've always wanted to play with. They've been together for 10 years with a different drummer and it was always a dream to get a chance to play with them. Then about 2 years ago, the old drummer got married and quit. I joined the band and quickly realized that things looked different from within the group. I love that I'm able to make a living playing music with a band I really enjoy playing with, but I feel guilty for also hating it so much. I'm ready to jump to something better if and when it comes along, but until then, this is how I make a living. It wouldn't be so bad if my body didn't hurt all the time and from what I've learned via Dr. Sarno and this website, my body wouldn't hurt so much if I wasn't dealing with this stuff all the time. So do I have to quit the band to see a reduction in symptoms? I also live with the guitarist with his mom and another professional touring musician is his 30's. It's a pretty dysfunctional house, which I recognize and am taking steps to remove myself from. But it's hard because rent is cheap and it allows me to tour and play full time, where as my rent would double or maybe even triple if I were to get my own place (although that is a price I'm will to pay if it means being pain free).
    I think it would be easy to say the pain is all caused by the band, but the pain started 6 months before I joined. At that time I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to practice at least an hour everyday and I was also doing a lot of sub gigs. Band leaders would give me CD's of their material on a Monday and I would have to chart out the songs and practice them on my own and go play the gig on Saturday with no rehearsal with the full band. I recognize that my self talk and the amount of pressure I would put on myself to do good and play well was probably the source of my TMS symptoms. I started counseling 2 weeks ago along with picking up side work in an attempt to make some money on the side to help pay off bills and save up for a new place, but realistically, it probably won't be until January or later before I can make that a reality. I am committed to this program and dealing with the mental/emotional side of things instead of being distracted by the physical symptoms. I am very thankful for this website and all the insight and support offered. Just being able to write all this down in a public forum is healing.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, BamBam. Sorry this reply will be short because I have to go somewhere. But your physical symptoms seem to me to be TMS, caused by your need to be so helpful to the band you're in. You have a "goodist" personality and that can cause TMS pain. The SEProgram will help you with this and healing your pain. More later. Let the other band members take care of themselves. And try not to worry about tomorrow. Live in and enjoy the present.

    When you feel pain or stressed out, practice deep breathing. There are good videos on Youtube on how to do that. It's profoundly calming.

    Good luck and I am confident you are soon going to feel great.
    BamBam likes this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi BamBam and welcome to Day 1 of the SEP!

    I agree with Walt, you've undoubtedly had the classic TMS personality all your life, and it can be really weird how and when symptoms decide to flare up. Looking back over your life you'll discover signs much earlier. I definitely had various TMS symptoms off and on from childhood, but they all came to a crisis point shortly after I separated from my husband. Now, some people might assume I was distressed over the breakup, but since I was actually pretty happy being on my own again, that didn't make sense. I eventually realized that the bad marriage was in itself a distraction, so when that was removed, my brain had to step up the physical symptoms in order to keep my much deeper emotions, the ones I'd had for decades, nicely hidden. Figuring all that out and doing the work turned my life around 180 degrees.

    Well, I kind of hate to answer this, just in case you're looking for an out! Because the truth is that if you want to stay in the band, all you have to do is decide to have a different experience. LOL, I make that sound so simple, don't I? In a way, it's as simple as throwing a switch. But that can also be the hardest thing in the world.

    Dealing with TMS means dealing with two levels of your thoughts. One level is the deep emotions that we're trying to get at with the journaling and self-discovery. By acknowledging the negative ugly emotions, and letting your brain see that they aren't the end of the world, your brain can let go of the need for distracting symptoms. Everyone's repressed emotions are different. Mine turned out to be a sense of loneliness and isolation from childhood, not the result of dysfunction or neglect, but perhaps too many kids in the family, and the little child in all of us experiences rage if we don't get 100% of our parents' attention. That, and a fear of mortality and rage at getting older. Which I was stuffing because society tells us we should age gracefully!

    The other level of thoughts is the constant negative conversation running around in our conscious brains. We're wired to think negatively, so that we are always scanning the horizon for danger. Like, sabre-tooth tiger danger. This doesn't serve us well in the modern world, but this is how we are still wired. This constant negative self-talk and fear is very destructive, and leads to anxiety and depression if it gets out of control, and those two things will also result in physical symptoms.

    When you're dealing with an aggravating situation, your primitive brain thinks "Ack! Sabre-tooth tiger!", because it's not sophisticated enough to differentiate between the tiger and the idiot band-mate. So it ramps up your fight-or-flight response, and it represses your emotions so that you can focus on defending yourself or making a run for your cave.

    Once you know this, you can actually take control of your brain and have a different experience. What I do is remind myself that I'm perfectly safe, that whatever I'm dealing with is not dangerous, and that I can deal with it. It sounds strange, but the neuroscientists are showing that changing the conversation in our brains can change our wiring.

    This, by the way, is part of what mindfulness is all about. Becoming aware of how our brains are reacting, and changing the reaction. It's really good stuff.

    Ellen likes this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    You have gotten great advice from @Walt Oleksy and @JanAtheCPA . I will only add that the key to your recovery can be found in your statement above. It's not what's going on in our lives that causes our pain, but what's going on in our heads. In other words, it's how we react to stress, not the stress itself that is the problem. The good news is that we can change how we react to stress, though it is work to change our usual responses. Keep doing the SEP and reading about TMS and you will find relief.

    Best wishes....
    BamBam and JanAtheCPA like this.
  5. BamBam

    BamBam New Member

    I identify with so much of this. I was in a horrible relationship that ended about 6 months prior to the physical pain starting but I now recognize that I've probably had various symptoms my whole life. Depression, anxiety, negative self talk, constant fear of what is going to go wrong, insecurity, isolation...these have all been present in my life for a very long time. I'm so eager to shed this stuff.
    As for the band and the tour, I'm starting to wonder if my bandmates are actually the issue or if it's just my fight or flight response kicking in. Maybe it's not what's happening that matters but how I'm responding to what's happening. I think I look for a way to self sabotage things so I can escape and feel "safe" in my familiar prison of fear.
    JanAtheCPA and Ellen like this.
  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    These are profound and life-changing realizations that you are having. Congratulations! You are on the path to healing.
    BamBam and JanAtheCPA like this.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    BamBam, you might benefit from reading this email I got today from another TMSer who has found help in
    the Mindfulness Meditation Sessions:

    I think your idea about sharing more MM ideas is great. For me, the ah-ha moment was when I realized I could feel very strong emotions - like anger, rage - without either being reactive and yelling or getting mad at someone or without stuffing it down inside and having it get stuck in my body as pain. I had previously thought my only two options were to express it or to stuff it down. Then, I experienced that I didn't have to do either - that I could, instead, watch it, feel it, and then let it float up and out.
    BamBam likes this.
  8. BamBam

    BamBam New Member


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