Educational Program Day 3

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For the past two days you have been educating yourself on the basics of TMS. You will continue to read about and learn about TMS throughout the program. Education is the key to overcoming TMS. The more you learn about how the mind can cause pain, the easier it will be to accept the diagnosis and become symptom free. Also, today you will begin to identify the sources of your symptoms, and begin to set the stage for journaling activities.

Educational Activity: Today you will read a brief article from New York Magazine about one journalist's quest to end his chronic back pain. The journalist, Tony Schwartz, discusses the multitude of treatment options that failed to cure him. He then went to see Dr. Sarno and the article describes this experience and gives further detail into the condition of TMS. The article is called Ah, My Non-Aching Back. To read it, click here. If you feel further material would be helpful today, you may also want to review Accepting the Diagnosis, that you read in the TMS Recovery Program during Week 0.

Advice for People Just Starting Out

Excerpt from The Importance of Exploring Our Childhood
By Mizlorinj

Dr. Sarno tells his patients that our “overflowing beaker” of rage is made up of three components: 1/3 childhood, 1/3 current stressors, and 1/3 our personality.

Most of us think of our childhood as happy. I took a course years ago called "The Solution". Before joining there was a questionnaire on which you rate your childhood, so I of course marked the box similar to: "happy childhood, no issues". If I filled that out years later, the answer would be different as I uncovered many things that I had buried.

When I first wrote out my “list” as prescribed by Dr. Sarno, it did not include childhood issues as I had enough currently going on to consume my writing time. But as things were uncovered in my journaling, I realized that when a couple girls picked on me in 4th grade for being the new kid, it hurt my feelings.

Here are some more ideas of how past experiences affect us now.

As a child was there someone who repeatedly picked on us? (do we keep a wall around us now to protect us even though everyone is not out to pick on us?)

Did a friend hurt our feelings or betray us? (is our belief now that everyone will hurt us eventually so don't have high expectations?)

Did our parents want a child of a different gender instead of us? I cried when I listened to a woman who knew this to be true in her case. So sad.

If you were one of many children in your family, did you feel your parents favored another sibling? Did you feel ignored when a younger sibling entered the picture? Did a sibling take out their frustrations on you? Were you compared to siblings? “be a good boy like [xyz]”?

These are all important issues to address, FEEL in your writing or therapy, and heal. There are times when the perceived offender did not intentionally hurt you or realize you were so affected.

Journal Exercise: The first journal exercise in the program is very simple and designed to set the stage for future exercises. Today all you have to do is make your first two or three entries to the Past Events section of the TMS Lists. These events can be anything that happened in your past that was eventful or stressful. One tip is to think of an event that you connect with strong emotions. This is anything that made you sad, angry, or afraid. Remember you do not have to complete the entire list today. Simply print out the page and write down two-three events and add them to the Past Traumatic Events/Stress List. Throughout this program you will come back to this list and choose one item to journal about for the day's journal activity. This list will be the heart of the program. You will continue to come back and add to it. Throughout the course of this program you will journal about every item on the list. This exercise should take no more than 5 minutes.

Question To Ponder
When was the last time you exercised or did another physical activity? What was this activity? How did it make you feel physically and emotionally? If it is has been a while since you last exercised, why?

If you feel comfortable enough, you can begin to post these responses in the Structured Educational Program section of the PTPN's discussion forum. This way other people will be able to support you as you go through your recovery. By reading what you are going through, other members will be able to give you encouragement by sharing their stories.

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