Educational Program Day 27

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Educational Activity: The ability for the mind to create physical symptoms is vast, and little is understood about the actual process that goes on. However, what is clear is that the symptoms the unconscious mind can create are numerous and can be either long term or short flare-ups, both which exist to prevent a person from confronting repressed or unpleasent emotions. The following reading is a Q & A with Dr. John Stracks in which he explains the connection between TMS/PPD and allergies. While reading the article think of any similar flare-ups in your life. To access the article click on this link.

Success Story, by Harold Goodman: There are many manifestations of TMS/PPD that go beyond pain. In this success story Dr. Harold Goodman explains how he overcame insomnia using the PPD approach. This story shows that a wide variety of conditions and disorders may be caused by repressed emotions.

I am a physician who cured my own insomnia using the approach of Dr. Sarno.

For five years I suffered from severe insomnia. The accompanying sleep deprivation led to my losing my medical practice and what was left of my life. It was the hardest thing I have ever endured.

There are many causes of insomnia. In my experience, most insomnia has an emotional basis in the unconscious. When we drift into sleep we are leaving the zone of the conscious mind behind and completely at the mercy of the unconscious.

When purely physical reasons have been ruled out ( ex. sleep apnea) then the only thing remaining is an emotional cause.

I received extensive psychotherapy as well as many other treatments. Finally, I used increasingly potent doses of the short-term sleep medication, Ambien. Even though this allowed me to have two to three hours a night of sleep for which I was grateful, it wasn't enough to get me over the hump. I felt horrible but, technically, I was alive.

I discontinued the Ambien when I had reached such a high dose that it became dangerous to continue. I then switched over to a very addictive benzodiazepine drug, Klonopin. I took more and more of this medicine before I finally reached a very high dose that allowed me to get a few hours of interrupted sleep.

A medical colleague assured me that I would never be able to live without this drug. The side effects were horrible and I hated the idea of being addicted to anything but it helped me to survive a bit longer.

After five years I decided to take my own "TMS medicine" and began to wean myself off of the drug and apply the approach of Dr. Sarno whom I have seen patients with.

Regardless of what I experienced, I reminded myself that I did not have a sleep problem. The cause was my unconscious. The more I did this, the less of an issue was the sleep. Keep in mind that I had become so obsessed over getting sleep that, like most TMS patients, I had made it the focus of my life and made myself crazy.

Finally, I began to sleep better and better. At one point, a bit apprehensively, when I had gotten down to a minimal dose of the drug, I stopped it entirely. For a few days I had varied sleep but then it just became what I used to have before I entered the world of insomnia; no big deal. You climb in bed and close your eyes. That's it.

I still awake off and on but remain in bed. Then I drift back into sleep. I awake refreshed. I take no more sleep-related medications. I am happily back at work and have reclaimed my life.

I spoke with Dr. Sarno regarding insomnia the last time I visited him in NYC. He told me that he has seen many similar cases but does not specialize in insomnia. "They call me the back guy," he said. So people with insomnia rarely seek him out for treatment.

I know from my own experience that most insomnia will respond to TMS-oriented therapy. I know because I have been there.

Every case of insomnia is different and must, like all TMS cases, be diagnosed by a physician.

In some cases, like my own, the judicious use of medications may be helpful at the beginning to lessen the effects of sleep deprivation which stresses the system and makes recovery even more difficult. We must break the cycle that makes it harder for those with insomnia to recover. A TMS-oriented physician can diagnose and manage such cases.

Note: Do not attempt to wean yourself off of similar medications without the supervision of a physician. If you do it too fast, you may go through horrible withdrawal symptoms and be forced to get back on the drug for relief. The reason is because these drugs totally rewire the way your nervous system works. You need time to come off of them.

Use today's educational reading as a jumping off point for your journal. Take a past event or strong emotions and journal about how it has caused minor, or major, flare-ups of TMS/PPD. This can be something like allergies or acid reflux, or a pain problem such as back pain or leg pain. As you write try to think of the story behind the flare-up and attempt to connect how the symptom was caused by repressed emotions.

When I was _________ years old __________________________________ event/experience happened. I FEEL this way about it:

Question To Ponder
How is journaling working for you? What techniques do you find most effective? Do you think you are avoiding any specific technique or issue?

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