Educational Program Day 4

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Yesterday you began creating the list that will guide you through this program. Every item that you add to these lists will be covered by a journal activity. As you are completing these lists you are also recognizing the triggers of your symptoms. Understanding these triggers and coming to terms with them will take time, but will help you overcome TMS. Today you will continue to add to these lists, along with reading an article written by one of the premier TMS practitioners.

Educational Exercise: The past two educational exercises have predominately focused on the work of Dr. John Sarno. Today you will learn about TMS from another preeminent doctor in the field, Dr. Howard Schubiner. Dr. Schubiner is the founder and director of Mind Body Medicine program at Providence Hospital. He is the author of the TMS book Unlearn Your Pain. In 2008 he wrote a series of blog posts about TMS. Today's reading is from the post What is MBS Part 1 & 2 (note: Schubiner uses the term "MBS," which stands for Mind Body Syndrome, instead of the term "TMS," coined by Dr. Sarno. While the name is different, everything else is the same as Sarno's TMS). To access the reading click the following links: Part 1, Part 2

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is a result of the nervous system not making enough neurotransmitters. It can develop in people with wonderful lives who have no reason to be depressed or in individuals who have been suffering from intense stress for several years. In the book, They Can't Find Anything Wrong, Dr. Dave Clarke states the following are some symptoms of depression:

  • Feeling depressed, down or hopeless
  • Crying frequently for no obvious reason
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Believing that life is no longer worth living and that death might be preferable to the emotional suffering (If you feel this way, contact a doctor immediately)
  • Difficulty falling asleep or difficulty remaining asleep through the night
  • Decreasing enthusiasm for activities previously enjoyed
  • Losing interest in food. Weight loss might occur because of reduced eating. Some patents eat more when depressed and might gain weight
  • Inability to cope with normal day-to-day stresses
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty concentrating

If you have a few of these symptoms or many there is a chance that you may be suffering from depression. People can have depression even if they do not feel particularly depressed. It is important to see a medical or mental health professional if you have several of these conditions.

Clarke, Dave. They Can't Find Anything Wrong. First Sentient Publications: 2007

This program is intended to help people explore feelings that may be causing their TMS/PPD. If you are depressed, you should consider whether you are ready for this level of exploration, and revisit the structured educational program once you are ready. A TMS/PPD-aware licensed medical or mental health practitioner can help you to make this determination.

Journal Exercise: As mentioned earlier, today you will continue to add to your lists. Like yesterday, all you have to do is add about two or three things to one of the three lists. There are three lists: Past Events, Current Stress, and Personality Traits. Think of two to three things to add. You can add three to just one list or spread the three across the lists. You may want to refer to the TMS Personality Traits wiki page to learn about personality traits that are common among TMS/PPD patients. However, you are welcome to list personality traits that are not featured on the wiki page. Remember that you will come back to these lists throughout the program and add to them later. You do not have to complete them now. Spend about 5-10 minutes doing this exercise. You can access all of the lists here.

Advice for people just starting out
What to journal in

Susan Derozier, author of Therapeutic Journaling: A Road to Healing, wrote:

I would suggest to you that you get a 3-ring binder and also dividers in it with pockets. Those pockets can hold those slips of paper (among other things) that you write on when away from your journal. You can have both lined and unlined paper and be sure to date every entry. That is extremely important. I would also suggest you not just keep your painful entries but also document happy or beautiful moments. They will be important to go back to when things seem dark.

You were very astute to see how we tend not to honor our own thoughts, emotions or experiences as much as we tend to offer that respect to others. That has now changed for you. Congratulations on new beginnings!

Click here for the full thread

Question To Ponder
What was the most disheartening thing a doctor has told you about your symptoms? In what ways have you kept that in your mind? If you feel comfortable sharing, post your response in the Structured Educational Program section of the PTPN's discussion forum. We would love to hear from you.

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