Educational Program Day 8

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Congratulations on completing the first week of the program. Remember, recovery will not happen overnight, so be patient and keep doing the work. Ask yourself how your journaling is going, and if you are holding anything back. If you are, it might be helpful to think about the reasons why. Continue this week's activities with the same earnestness and eagerness as last week. If you have any thoughts, concerns, or ideas about TMS, make a thread post (like this one) and somebody will be there to respond and help you through any issues you may have.

Educational Activity: For the most part the educational activities have primarily focused on doctors and their approach and ideas on the causes of chronic symptoms. Today you will learn about how TMS patient and wiki member, Peg, recovered from chronic pain after years of suffering. Click here for her story.

After reading it make a brief forum post on your TMS treatment up to this point.

Today, you will do a type of journaling referred to as the "Unsent Letter" technique. To learn about this technique, first please read the "Unsent Letters" section of our "How Do I Journal?" wiki page (click on this link to read it). Next, look over your three lists, find one person or personality trait, and write a letter to it. This letter can focus on the past, present, or your personality. If you feel the need to write about something you already wrote about, that's fine. However, keep in mind that it may be most beneficial for you to cover every item on the list. Today's activity is designed to help you work on completing your lists. Like yesterday, put an item in the blank line and start writing. If you need more room, feel free to use more paper.

Dear ___________________________________________,

I feel like

Ask a TMSer: Is keeping track of your pain intensity a good idea, or does it make you focus on the symptoms too much?

MatthewNJ: “That is a double edged sword. You need to know it is there and recognize it as a message, but I wouldn't "keep track". I think that would cause you to focus on it too much.”

marshacohen: "If you focus on the pain you feed it.. This makes recovery impossible. "

2Scoops: “Don't focus on the pain or the symptoms. If you do, then it will keep you defeated. You will get caught in the fear cycle, and your body will just create more tension and fear and thus more symptoms. Recovery is different for everyone, and I believe it's also matters how long you have had the symptoms and had the negative thought patterns.”

Penny4Them: “In a word ... NO! Absolutely ignore symptoms, but when you have them, let them serve as the canary in the coalmine to tell you that something is out of alignment with your highest and best interest. i.e. May be when you have dinner with (SOMEONE) your pain body kicks in with a migraine. Instead of focusing on the sx, realize that it's probably the dynamic b/t you and (SOMEONE) that's the issue. Are you emotionally honest with yourself about your relationship? Do you cover your feeling about stuff he/she says/does when you are together? These are tough questions sometimes, but when pain rears up, question yourself and how you feel when you are together. Maybe it's not a healthy relationship as it currently stands?”

Forest: "I know that Scott Brady, in Pain Free for Life, recommends keeping track of your pain intensity. Dr. Schechter suggests reviewing previous entries, but he doesn't specifically say to track the pain. Personally I think tracking pain intensity can make you focus too much on your progress. This can be disheartening if you are having a slow or difficult recovery. The most important thing is to ignore the pain and focus on living your life. Don't obsess over your treatment, or how much progress you have or have not made. Investigate your triggers and then move on."

Click here for the full thread with the above answers and more

As you work your way through the program, you are encouraged to post your feedback either by starting a new thread or responding to existing threads in the Structured Educational Program section of the PTPN's discussion forum. For this day, Ollin posted: "I'm a recent TMS-er, i.e. had chronic pain for years but first heard of TMS and Sarno less than 2 months ago. So I just wanted to mention that keeping track of my pain level and to correlate it with my emotional states has been a good thing for me so far, in that it reassured me about my TMS diagnosis, which, like a lot of 'newbies' I had doubts about. Now that I'm confident I only occasionally mention the physical pain in my journal. First, because it's less intense, yay! :) and second, because I decided to think psychological and only then physical in my daily life. Once the diagnosis sank in, all else seems to come to me so naturally that not long ago I wouldn't believe it ever being possible."

Question To Ponder
Are you having success at recognizing the emotions connected to your pain? If you have, how do these emotions make you feel? If not, what do you think is preventing you from doing this? If you feel comfortable sharing, then post your response in a thread in the Structured Educational Program section of the PTPN's discussion forum. We would love to hear from you.

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