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A desperate update, opinions appreciated

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Duende, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. Kozas

    Kozas Well known member

    It's funny because my symptoms started 8 years ago too. I had many medical tests and they never found anything! I know that in order to beat TMS you have to be sure that's everything physical is okay with you but I think Dorado words are very important - EVEN if something physical is not okay(but in my case it's weird how it hasn't progress in 8 years hmm) then mind-body approach can STILL greatly reduce your symptoms. And even if they find in medical test that something is not okay - that can be manifestation of mind body or just something that wouldn't give any symptoms other people.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    I’ve had many tests and they can’t find anything wrong ( symptoms only on my legs and in addition to that I experience severe anxiety at times that seems uncontrollable when it occurs). JanAtheCPA and Dorado have been really helpful; some of what they say I reread. Others have been helpful too and I appreciate them all. I guess I have to let the fact that it’s only on my legs and it’s been present for so long not bother me. Difficult to do.
  3. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    Welcome! Just so I’m clear, all your tests have been negative, correct?

    When you say ‘when my anxiety occurs’, what do you mean, exactly? What do you experience as anxiety, symptom-wise?

    And what have you done to treat this? Besides coming here of course :)
  4. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Thanks for responding RogueWave. I don’t know if those were rhetorical questions, but I’ll answer them anyway. :) I’ve been tested extensively including neurologists, MRI’s etc. My doctor doesn’t know what to do with me. He feels I’m very healthy and doesn’t know what to say. He used to say it was anxiety related and now he doesn’t say anything. I’ve had these particular symptoms before and when the neurologist said I was fine, they went away over a few weeks. This time around they seem stuck. I am seeing a psychotherapist and I find her to be a person who gets the mind/body concept.

    As for the anxiety feeling, one day a few years ago I experienced a panic attack associated with a medical test. I have severe health anxiety and this test just put me over the edge. Prior to that I really didn’t know what a panic attack was. Since then a sense of intense panic/fear/sadness wells up in my chest for no apparent reason and stays for a good part of the day. This can go on for weeks. Then the panic sensation can go away and not return for months. Very odd. My doctor said physically he can see no reason for this. My thyroid etc. is good. He suggests antidepressants, but really I don’t want to go this route. I’ve tried them in the past and they just made me feel ill. You ask what I am doing for the anxiety. I see a psychotherapist, try to meditate, eat very well and exercise. Ahhh! I feel like a broken record sometimes.
  5. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    That’s because internally, that is basically what is happening. And on top of that, the body gets addicted to the stress hormones...but more on that later.

    While you might have had your first anxiety attack around a medical test, it had been building up to that for a long time, as you seem to have noted, based on your history. The test just ‘tipped the cart.’

    It’s not uncommon to have long periods of not feeling symptoms, and then have them show up suddenly. As I mentioned before, my Dad had severe PTSD from Vietnam, yet he has a basically normal life, until he had his first big flashback while taking a shower on a calm day....33 years after he left the war. No apparently triggers, just stuff simmering below the surface for a long time. The subconscious is a very, very interesting area. There’s a lot we don’t know, but what we can say for sure is that time is basically non-existent there. Years can go by, but deeper down the body can be experiencing past events as if they are happening now, even if we were thinking about something totally different.

    I’ve refined the ‘how to get out of this’ since I posted here last. But please understand, there isn’t just one way to do it. I’m going to list what I believe to be the crucial points, but there isn’t much order to them. Do them to the best of your ability, every day, and you’ll pull yourself out of this eventually. But be forewarned, it’s probably going to take longer that you’d like it to....unless it doesn’t ;-).

    I’ll number these, but they are in no particular order...although the first 2 are probably best to start with.

    1. Acceptance of the mind/body diagnosis.

    As you’ve done, it’s important to rule everything else out first. This is crucial, because lack of doing so will slow your progress or stop it completely. Stay off WebMD and similar sites once you have been tested for everything else.
    Acceptance also means to accept the symptoms whenever they may come. This isn’t easy, especially on bad days. Do your best to observe the pains, anxiety, palpitations, or whatever you are experiencing. Fighting it, getting angry, despairing, frustrated, depressed, about them can all slow recovery, because those reactions will cause further release of stress hormones into the system.

    2. Knowledge. Knowledge precedes experience, and you’re going to have to study the mind/body connection a lot. Part of this is to help reprogram your brain and body chemistry, and the other reason is to give you confidence (which also changes your biochemistry for the better). There are tons of resources on this, but my personal faves are anything by Claire Weekes, ‘Mental Health Through Will Training’ by Dr. Abraham Low, and of course any of Joe Dispenza’s books. Or you can start with this video. Pay particular attention to the beginning, where he discusses how a stress response becomes chronic:

    Set aside a little time every day, even if it’s only 5 minutes, to read/reassure yourself. And then see if you can explain what you are learning to someone. If you can’t explain it clearly, study it until you can.

    3. Awareness. This can get a little tricky, but you have to guard against any thoughts/actions/words that unconsciously reinforce your current situation. Stop all of them immediately:

    -Defeatist mannerisms (‘this will never get better!’).

    -Romantic, overly dramatic mannerisms (‘This is SO BAD. It’s the worst, I feel so awful all the time! What if it comes back? What if it never goes away?)

    -Over-analytical mannerisms (time spent self-diagnosing, ‘well yesterday I had a panic attack at 11:18 after I ate a peanut, so I must have a problem with peanuts! Or maybe it was the full moon, or that argument with my sister! My great-grandmother had a nervous breakdown, so it must be my genes!).

    Be aware of how often you do these things, or how often you are just focusing on you, and you’ll be surprised how often you’re doing it. At my worst I was doing these things 99.9% of every day.

    ALL of them will elicit further stress hormone releases. So spot then (as Dr Low referred to it), and stop. This will take practice, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail a lot, especially at first. Just stop, correct, and move on.
    Which brings us to...

    4. Practice. This includes practicing awareness and observation of the self, as well as any of the calming modalities, like meditation, listening to relaxing music or isochronic tones, breathing exercises, EFT/Tapping, etc. Try things out and find what works for you. Just keep practicing!

    These practices also help change the internal environment faster than thought alone. If your body has been on high alert for a long time, and you try to just think something like ‘I’ll be ok’, the thought generated in the brain won’t make it past the brain stem and into the body, because it’s in conflict with what the body is experiencing. This is why, during any of these practices, you should try and produce an internal environment greater than it was when before you sat down to practice. So for example, if you’re feeling anxious when you sit down to practice, keep staying in meditation until you can produce an emotional state greater than when you sat down. It doesn’t matter if it’s relief, joy, hope, excitement, etc. Just something greater than when you sat down. Use your imagination, but try to feel the new state of being as intensely as possible, for as long as possible...even if it’s only a few minutes.

    Here is a great, simple breathing technique to start with:

    Also, as Dispenza notes, this entire state of being is just the body caught in a fight-or-flight loop, which it ultimately becomes addicted to. You think your thoughts and actions are all ‘you’ but they aren’t. Your body is stuck in a very primal fight or flight survival response. The chemicals it produces in that state influence how you think, act, speak, and feel, and in doing so, we re-introduce stress hormones into the system. And then the loop begins.

    Even if the outside is calm, the body can rage inside, like a furnace. And it will often drive back into the stress state because it has become so dependent on the release of stress hormones.

    Using my dad as an extreme example, I remember him being very argumentative all the time, and always rushing everywhere. There could be one car on the highway and he’d be right up on it, swearing and red-faced.

    Why? Because how else could his body get the stress hormones it had become so used to? There was no one shooting at him anymore, so he needed to constantly, unknowingly, create situations to rush, fight, etc. And then we always blame it on the external circumstance to validate the release of the stress hormones. Make sense? Dispenza’s vid should clear this up more.

    I typed this all on my phone, so I hope there aren’t too many typos! :)

    Feel free to ask any questions, but please start doing the homework immediately. Little by little you will get better, but expect some bad periods here and there as the internal fire burns out slowly.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  6. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow, @RogueWave , I wish I could Like this WAY more than once. Brilliant, thank you. No typos that I could see, and thank you for that as well!
    RogueWave likes this.
  7. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    @RogueWave, that is beautiful. I 100% agree. :)

    (And you are a brave soul for typing that up on your phone. I have had long posts get lost way too many times - I'm glad yours didn't!)
    JanAtheCPA and RogueWave like this.
  8. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    Wow, RogueWave thank you for your well thought out response and the fact you wrote it on your phone makes it even more impressive. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this. Hopefully soon I’ll be in the mindset to help someone else.

    As you mentioned, understanding the mind/body connection is important and I have been trying to do just that by reading books by Dr. Sarno etc. , and the defeatist attitude you referred to is a way of thinking I have adopted overtime and needs to go. I do know this. It’s almost hardwired at this point.

    Being addicted to the fight or flight response is an interesting idea I will think about. Thanks again.
    RogueWave likes this.
  9. RogueWave

    RogueWave Well known member

    Good start! Just be persistent, consistently :)

    Also, keep in mind, the stress response is meant for survival. It is triggered every time the brain perceives something as threatening. The threat doesn’t matter (it could be anything stressful).

    Mentally, stress hormone release causes several things to happen to brain activity: It will condense its focus on the ‘threat’, become hyper-vigilant, and it will try to predict the worst-case scenario so that you are prepared for it.

    Except you don’t have a bear chasing you now, which would probably be easier because that situation wouldn’t last very long.

    Instead we have our own symptoms, and then we focus on them, over-analyze them, and think the worst about them. Sound familiar? ;)

    The survival response was great for most of human existence. Life was slow, and threats didn’t occur that often.

    But life has sped up exponentially, and our brains are perceiving threats all the time; bills due, what people say about you online, mortgages, insurance, blah blah blah. Again, it doesn’t matter what the threat is, it all produces the same stress response, to varying degrees. Especially if you had something stressing you regularly as a child.

    Have you ever wondered why chronic pain levels are so high (and therefore we have an opiate epidemic)? How is this possible when jobs are far less physically demanding than they’ve ever been? My personal belief is that most of it is due to most people walking around in this chronic stress/tension loop.

    Work hard, good luck, and keep us posted, please!
    plum and tgirl like this.
  10. westb

    westb Well known member

    There's gold here, @RogueWave. Thank you so much for breaking the TMS recovery concept down into such easy to follow points. I've actually printed off your answer here to refer to away from the computer. The body being addicted to stress hormones rings so true to me., and many of my earliest childhood memories are of being worried and deeply anxious and afraid, at home and especially at school. So yes, long before the TMS symptoms (predominantly IBS) , I developed addictions and eventually I had to go into a 12th step group to stop drinking. I've been sober for 26 years now.

    But the ever-present anxiety and fear never went away. I'm 70 years old and have been dealing with the current symptoms for several years now and having read your post I'm asking myself the question: who actually am I if I'm not this worried woman always on the lookout for the next threat coming round the corner. What will happen if I (and my body) let go of the stress hormone addiction. Will I simply become a vacuum, or is there something more.? It's a deeply daunting question, but also I have to admit a rather exciting one.

    Thank you again.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
    plum, tgirl and RogueWave like this.
  11. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    RogueWave, you mentioned the stress response being triggered, especially if I regularly had situations stressing me as a child. This rings true for me. I was often stressed and anxious, having had mysterious physical symptoms that just went away on their own ever since I can remember, maybe back as far as the age of five. Growing up in an unsettled, alcoholic family is a painful way to live. Thanks for all your great insight and I will watch the video today.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
    RogueWave likes this.

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