Educational Program Day 5

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Tell yourself aloud right now "I have TMS." Begin to truly believe in the diagnosis. Remember, this is the work that will help you get better.

Today's activities will continue to educate you on the complexities of TMS, and you will begin to deeply investigate your emotions. Earlier in this program, you were asked to write down a series of lists. Today you will begin your therapeutic journaling exercises that will help guide you to recognizing your repressed emotions.

Educational Exercise: After learning about TMS and gaining general knowledge about how our unconscious mind can cause pain, it is common for people to ask what is the purpose of TMS. Why would our mind think it is helping us by creating this extreme chronic pain? Dr. Howard Schubiner explains this issue in his blog. The blog is called Psychological Aspects of MBS, and can be viewed by clicking this link.

Symptoms of PTSD

There are many causes to post-traumatic stress disorder including violence from an intimate partner, a car accident, being a victim of assault, or witnessing an event of intense fear or horror. Dr. Dave Clarke in They Can't Find Anything Wrong has listed several symptoms of PTSD, and they include:

  • The return of distressing memories that come back to you even if you do not want them to
  • Having nightmares and flashbacks where you are reliving the trauma
  • Strong reactions to anything that triggers memories of the trauma
  • Carefully avoiding anything that might trigger a memory of the trauma
  • Feeling keyed up or anxiously watchful much of the time which often interferes with sleep
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Feeling detached from the outside world
  • Have feelings of irritability or sudden outbursts of anger

Dr. Clarke stats that "Whether the symptoms are physical or emotional or both, a mental health therapist with experience in managing post-traumatic stress is the best resource." There are several steps Dr. Clarke gives in treating PTSD. The first and most important is to ensure personal safety. When this is not done the treatment is likely not going to work. In some cases, such as spousal abuse, a person may need to move into a safe house or safe environment. The next step in treatment is counseling with a trained professional. This can help a patient learn the symptoms and understand their own situation better. There are also several medications that can help in treating PTSD, however they usually take a few weeks to fully take affect. Lastly, in many cases psychotherapy is need. It can combine a variety of techniques to help patients treat their condition.[1]

While PTSD can cause physical symptoms such as chronic pain, this program may not be the best treatment for you. Treating PTSD requires being under the care of a medical or mental health professional who can tailor a treatment plan specifically for your situation. If your doctor approves of this program as one part of your treatment then please continue, but only under your doctor's supervision.


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

2. Ibid

Remember journaling can help you discover some of your repressed emotions. Today you are going to do your first free write about a past event/experience. This exercise will allow you to freely write whatever comes to your mind regarding a specific past event. You will be writing for 15-20 minutes today. There are a few tips to keep in mind while doing this:
  • First, choose one event from your list of past events that you created earlier. This can be any event. Some people like to start at the top and work their way down, but if you are not comfortable writing about a certain event, that's alright, skip it and choose another one.
  • The key to free writing is to write constantly and quicker than you normally would. Write down anything that comes to your mind, even if you do not think it is pertinent.
  • If you want to edit something, cross it out by using only one line. You need to make sure that you can still read any editorial changes you make, so you can investigate why you made those changes later.
  • Either print this page (journaling lines provided below) or use your own journal. Have extra paper handy.
  • Do not feel you need to fill in every line. Simply write for about 15-20 minutes. If you need to continue journaling after 20 minutes, by all means go ahead and continue to journal. If you feel like you are getting to the bottom of deep issues, continue to journal until you get all of your feelings out.
  • Be sure to focus on how you FEEL or FELT at the time
  • Start out with "When I was _________ years old __________________________________ event/experience happened. I FEEL this way about it:"

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

Advice For People Just Starting Out

On Journal Privacy

By Penny4Them

Thank you so much for sharing such sage advice about journaling. I journaled a few years ago, specifically to recover from TMS, and found it very beneficial, although sometimes journaling caused me to have to go thru more physical pain to get to the relief.

Today I don't journal very often. I still have my anger-filled-journal from years ago and I grapple about what to do with it. Throw it out? Lock it up? (Funny, but this is what I used to do with my negative feelings BEFORE I recovered from TMS. I suppose that's why I'm torn about ridding myself of it.) It is very much my "Shadow" and I worry that my children or someone else may someday find/read it, and take things out of context. Do you have any advice as to what we should do with it? I feel a strong compulsion to burn it, but it served me so deeply, I feel like somehow this would be wrong. I don't read it any more, so I wonder what your thoughts are.

Response by Susan Derozier

Dear Penny, Almost anyone who journals in a deeply personal and honest way has this concern. The answer can be just as personal. I, personally, have not destroyed my journals and have instructed my daughters that they are to be disposed of should/when something happens to me.

The fact that you don't go back and reread it now does not mean that at some point in your life you may rethink things and see a need to revisit some part of that past. Though it contains memories of pain and hard work, it also contains a map of your courage and tenacity.

Only you can make the decision as to how you want to handle this. If you do decide that you need to dispose of the journals, I hope you will make a ritual of it and allow yourself the opportunity to honor and mourn the life held within. Cheers to you for the work you have done. Those journals are a flag to success! Susan

Click Here for the Full Thread

Question To Ponder
Think of some activities you really enjoy doing. If you could do one of these activities without feeling stressed out, without having anxiety, and without worrying about your family, kids, job, etc. how would that feel? Why do you not do this activity more often? What steps could you take to do this activity stress free and without worrying about other things? Do this activity this week.

You may want to review the Prioritize Yourself section of Alan Gordon’s TMS Recovery Program, in order to understand why prioritizing yourself is so important.

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