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I messed up - badly...

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by ChucklesMcGee, Aug 18, 2022.

  1. ChucklesMcGee

    ChucklesMcGee New Member

    I've suffered with TMS for 7 years. It started just after losing my dream job at my alma mater. I was fired. I was devastated! I never thought I'd recover from it. I sublet my apartment and moved into my brother's unfinished basement with my dog. I was miserable. Then one day it happened - walking my dog, my leg went totally numb and I collapsed - and so it started.

    Long story much shorter I suffered for many years and it got progressively worse. Several year later I learned of Sarno. I read his books and felt a little better. BUT - what really helped me was when I watched his lecture videos explaining TMS. After watching the 2-episodes I felt the nerves detach and soften down the entirety of my leg and I could put my right leg up onto my left knee with no trouble or discomfort at all! I stood up effortlessly and went out the front door to see if I could walk up the 3 stone stairs to the house without a handrail - flawlessly. NO PAIN.

    Then I went inside the house amazed at what just happened - I'm healed!

    THEN - I fudged up - bad. I told myself that this was impossible. A lecture can't be what healed me! This Doctor Sarno is a scam-artist making up this disease and then making money off this supposed cure! He's pulling off some scheme here!

    Then - the pain came right back worse than ever! I even told myself, "Oh, sh*t, now the pain will be with me for years!" And I was right! I thought that watching the lecture again would, once again, cure me right up...
    but no - I've watched it a dozen more times and NOTHING! I've reread his books and nothing!

    Now before anyone asks, "Why did you doubt it?" Let me say, "I don't know. I don't have the faintest idea - not a clue! Maybe it's because I hated myself? Unknown.

    BUT - Now - what can I possibly do to heal myself again? I KNOW THIS IS TMS - I just proved it to myself. Now, though, I don't know how to HEAL myself again! If I could do it again, I wouldn't be able to THANK GOD enough!

    PLEASE HELP ME!!! Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @ChucklesMcGee, welcome to the forum! This is a really good back story, and I appreciate that you were able to tell it very succinctly, by focusing on what's important about it, rather than on detailed descriptions of your physical symptoms - because those details are completely irrelevant. I feel like you are already on the right path, and that this alone bodes well for your ability to get over this hump!

    Here are some thoughts I have - and I expect that others will join in. I will also try to be succinct!

    1. First of all - give yourself a break, and don't beat yourself up. This is a setback, and it's really super typical. Celebrate and give yourself a ton of credit for being open-minded enough to even give it a try, and accept the good news that you experienced success, no matter how brief it was.

    2. Your fearful primitive brain was delighted to keep you safe and in pain and distracted from "dangerous" emotional distress. When you were able to relieve your symptoms with a little bit of self-knowledge, your brain freaked out and fought back with a vengeance. Dr. Sarno called this the "Symptom Imperative". What I like to say is "This is your brain on TMS".

    3. You might want to educate yourself about the neurology of pain - a good place to start is by really learning how phantom limb pain works. This should convince you that pain, along with all other bodily sensations, is created by our brains, not by the body parts where you think you are experiencing the sensation. This means that our brains are more than capable of creating pain for reasons other than damage or illness. And they will.

    4. Go to the Success Stories subforum here, and choose some stories to read. You will hopefully be inspired. The best ones describe the setbacks.

    5. Understand that what Dr. Sarno called TMS (now being called MBS or PPD by today's mindbody professionals) is a brain mechanism that evolved to help our ancestors survive the primitive world, which had very few, very concrete and very recognizable dangers. It doesn't serve us at all well in the modern world, and there's a huge number of us in whom the mechanism, combined with anxiety (which is a growing epidemic, especially among younger people) creates intense psycho-physiologic disorders (PPD). So you have to accept that TMS is not actually a condition that can be "cured". It is something that you will learn to manage, to the point where dismissing a new or returning symptom becomes automatic, and swift. It can be done!

    6. We have two free programs here - the Structured Educational Program, and Alan Gordon's Pain Recovery program. Neither requires any kind of signup or commitment, so you are on your own to make and keep the commitment, even as your brain will try to convince you that it won't do any good. Trying to distract you is your brain's job - your job is to learn to have a reasonable conversation with your brain, thank it for trying to protect you, and keep doing the work anyway. Often this is easier said than done - until one day you look back and realize that you're doing it.

    Good luck!

    Ellen, TG957 and BruceMC like this.
  3. ChucklesMcGee

    ChucklesMcGee New Member

    Thanks so much for the kind words, Jan! Thanks for the positivity and encouragement! I will work this pain into submission! I will HEAL!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just thought of a couple of easy things you might try:

    1. Whenever you are experiencing your symptoms, recognize that your desire is to get rid of the pain - you are in "aaack! I don't want this, help!" mode. See if you can stop, take a deep breath, and change that dialogue to "okay, this isn't good - what do I WANT instead?". It seems silly and overly simple - but it actually forces you to completely shift your inner dialogue if you can change "OMG, this pain is awful, this is never going to end, get me out of here!" to something like "I want to be pain-free and fearless". Writing down the "I Don't Want" and the "I Want" phrases would be even better - it doesn't need to take long.

    2. Try posting some reminder notes here and there where you'll see them, that say "This is your brain on TMS" or any other reminder or affirmation that resonates with you. This is just another "change the dialogue" technique to remind you that your fearful brain wants to keep you in fear, but that you have a choice to not accept that.
  5. ChucklesMcGee

    ChucklesMcGee New Member

    Thank you! I've been reading up on phantom limb pain. When I've had little pains in my body or tinnitus, I tell myself with a dismissive "Pfffttt. This is just TMS," and moments later it stops - BUT - I've never done that with the main-pain down my right leg. Maybe I should? I've also been told to react to the pain by asking my brain to make the pain worse or more intense... I have done so but I don't see a result...
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Don't overthink it - why not try?

    I cannot see how asking your brain to make pain worse would be of any benefit - or how it would even work - that's weird advice! Just to prove that you can? which would therefore prove that the opposite can also be done? LOL - I think this is just a distraction - and another way to overthink the process.

    You will find that a lot of people are into overthinking and intellectualizing - and thereby accomplishing nothing. And, at the risk of generalizing and stereotyping, in my eleven years of observation here, these people are disproportionately male - so be forewarned, and don't fall into that trap.

    The KISS principal definitely applies :D
  7. ChucklesMcGee

    ChucklesMcGee New Member

    Keep It Simple, Stupid - I'm with you.

    Although, I have heard that before - to ask your brain to show how much pain it can give. Both times I've heard that - they said that saying that made the pain go away permanently. Maybe it proves to the brain that the pain isn't in the body? Who knows?
  8. Celayne

    Celayne Well known member

    I have heard that about anxiety. There’s an exercise on the curable app for panic/anxiety that walks you through a process of telling the anxiety to “bring it on” for a countdown from 20. The theory is that by letting it do its thing for a limited time and you surviving the experience, it will lessen its hold on you. Your brain would learn that the anxiety-induced sensations are just sensations and can’t harm you, thereby lessening their impact on you. I suppose the same thing would work for pain.
    Ellen likes this.
  9. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    For anxiety, there is no better help than Dr. Claire Weekes. You can find her books and audios on Amazon. I always recommend her audios, because her voice is magic. And, BTW, anxiety has people do things that makes them question their own sanity - speaking from the experience.

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