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Depression and TMS

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Madder, Nov 9, 2021.

  1. Madder

    Madder New Member

    We all know by now that anxiety and depression are forms of TMS. But what can we do to help ourselves?
    For example, if you have back pain, and you know it is TMS, you can help yourself because mentally, you're in the right state to help yourself. Nothing is going to hold you back mentally.
    However, if you're depressed, you're held back from doing anything by the actual symptom.
    In the case of my wife, she understands that depression and anxiety are TMS, even though we are new to TMS. We've known about TMS for about 6 weeks.
    She has never been depressed before, and no at age 47 she is. She has been this way for around 10 weeks now.
    I have made her watch 'all the rage - saved by Sarno'. And I have bought the book The Divided Mind for Kindle and on audiobook, I have also bought the kindle version of Unlearn your pain by Dr Schubiner.
    She watched the documentary with me, but she hasn't had the assertiveness or state of mind to make time to read one of the books, any of them, or even to listen to the audiobook.
    I have to be very gentle with her because she is very delicate right now. I have asked her several times to start one of the books.
    She is seeing a Psychologist and taking Lexapro. Most days she isn't too bad, but some days she is so down. It is heart breaking.
    I am trying to tell her, gently, that the lexapro might help the symptoms to a degree, but that they will most likely resurface as something else if she doesn't try to understand it.
    The Psychologist is a neuro psychologist that I had high hopes for, but after 8 weeks, they don't seem to be getting anywhere. I wish I could find a TMS Psychotherapist here. I have looked but there are none that we know of in our city. The closest one is several hours away by train.
    It's got so bad that while I have my own TMS issues, I'm seriously considering taking the two training courses from the australian mindbodyfood website, and trying to treat her myself. But given that I am her husband, and perhaps some of her anger may be directed towards me, I might not be the best person to go through it with her. But what else can I do? Does anyone have any tips or suggestions on this? Thanks everyone.
     
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Peer Supporter

    Madder: My TMS psychologist is in Australia and I see her via Zoom (I am in the US). - She does not just deal with TMS. https://www.rosehoey.com.au/
    Does your wife have depression and physical symptoms? Depression and Anxiety are part of TMS for people with Chronic Pain and Chronic Symptoms but they can be present without TMS symptoms. So they CAN be separate. Eg. I have a friend who rarely has any physical symptoms but has chronic anxiety and depression. She does not present with TMS but classic therapy has not helped her. Medications have helped her some, but not fully. She ruminates and can not let go of her past. There is clearly deep seated anger she clings to for some reason. It helped her cope and survive difficulties and sensitivities in the past but now it haunts her and isn't serving her except to focus on it all the time. She is looking at trying EMDR therapy or the ISTDP therapy to get to the root of the problem. Essentially - she may not have TMS per se (she constantly thinks psychologically) but the root cause of her ruminations and fixations are similar to those people with TMS. So basically, what I'm saying is that your wife might not resonate so much with TMS if she doesn't have the physical symptoms.
    That said, she is probably in FLIGHT in the fight/flight response (maybe a little of Freeze too). She is retreating in this torturous world her mind has built to protect her from some sort of subconsciously perceived terrible threatening emotions. She does not feel safe so she retreats. I know, I was there and am just getting out of some of the cloud of depression.
    The Pain PT had a great talk recently on fight/flight/freeze and FACE - to understand your wife better, this may help:
    Freeze- stuck, when you feel you have no other choice you just basically roll over and play dead. The symptoms are like a bully that torture you and sometimes you can intellectualize the emotions but not actually feel them.
    Flight: Fleeing in fear - you feel anxious, weak, powerless and scared. You try and RUN but that big o'l threatening thing that keeps you down just follows you, running after you and you feel you can't escape it. You worry and catastrophize.
    Fight: you stand up and confront those fears - using constructive anger can work well, using the energy of anger to effect a positive change. You get strength from finding ways to stand up to your pain or symptoms eg. it can be being with them and not being afraid of them eg. indifference, It can be wanting to get on with life and put the catastrophizing behind you.
    Face (this is the Pain PT's own idea) standing up to pain, fear, anxiety and other symptoms by creating your own boundaries to pain and to people. Instead of running and avoiding stressors that cause emotions you face them, handle it and say no to your brain's intimidation.
    I personally found Dr. Schubiner's book intimidating. It's very large, and many of the methods are difficult for me to do by myself. He uses the basis of ISTDP therapy for some of his journaling styles. Journaling is a challenge for me so I am doing the therapy with someone. It's much better for me.
    That said, I could not have done this 4 months ago. There is no way I was ready. I friend (who introduced me to journalling) had me journal first. This was helpful. I could not really reach my feelings but was able to begin to realize that there were stressors I did not previously recognize that were effecting my state of mind. Here's a really good outline to begin journaling for depression: https://screening.mhanational.org/content/how-keep-mental-health-journal/ (How to keep a mental health journal - MHA Screening)
    When your wife thinks she is ready to feel emotions, this can help: https://mytmsjourney.com/resources/journal-prompts-ideas-for-emotional-release/ (Journal prompts & ideas for emotional release)

    The most important thing I think it is to realize that YOU may have TMS and part of that is personality. Is your personality wanting you to help your wife in a way she is not ready to receive? Are you taking on her problems and thinking more about her own situation than what is driving your pain symptoms? This is a form of repression of your own emotions. It may take her time, and a lot more time to be ready for the next steps in her wellness. I have had pain for 10 years, and found out about TMS in March of this year and have been working on it ever since. Some folks feel better in a few weeks - lots of formal programs are 8-10 weeks long. I was still pulling my hair out in high anxiety at that point. I'm on month 9 and just beginning to feel some relief. So give her time. I will say that my own husband pushing (however gently) during my most depressed times made me more desperate and more sad. I needed to go about my process differently than many do. It's a different journey with different tools for healing for everyone.
    When I was super depressed Claire Week's Help and Hope For Your Nerves resonated with me so much! Here she is talking, so your wife can listen and see if it helps. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ-h2b3GGv7jxx_EBIUW8Vg
    Your wife's journey to wellness is hers to take however she chooses to take it. Yours is your own to choose how you want to take yours.
    Wishing you both the best!
     
    Madder likes this.
  3. Madder

    Madder New Member

    Thank you for that message, I appreciate it. I know what you mean too when you say it is her own journey.
    I do think that she has TMS though. She wakes in the morning with her jaw locked, several times a week, she also has pains in a scar from a minor surgery that she has 5 months ago and she has LPR reflux most nights when sleeping. She also gets occasional pain and swelling in her left leg.
    It may be relevant but she has hypothyroidism too. And I think changing her medication in July is what started this depression. Or if the depression is TMS, then the change in medication triggered it. That is what I believe.
    I suffered from anxiety and depression as a teenager and a young man and I do know and understand how it feels.
    That said, I will take your advice, and let her move along at her own pace. The hard part is when she isn't really doing anything to help herself and then she has a very bad day. I just think that if she was putting plans into place to help herself then maybe she'd be doing better in general.
    I will give her soem space to decide herself though. I can show her the links you suggested.
    Thanks again
     
  4. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Peer Supporter

    Madder, what do YOU feel (emotions not just intellectualize) about how yor wife is handling her issue? Feel those feelings if you can. Let them pass through you. Recognize your need to control when your thoughts lend themselves to you thinking she is doing nothing to help herself. That’s a judgement. Judgements often are self reflective. Do you feel the need to constantly work at solving tms? Do you feel the drive to fix it? I know these feelings well. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it better. Keep flipping everything over, this will help your own journey of self discovery and help you focus less on your wife and more on your own healing, thus giving her space while you just lover her ❤️


    More Australian therapists

    https://ppdassociation.org/directory/#australia (Directory — Psychophysiologic Disorders Association)
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
    Madder likes this.
  5. Madder

    Madder New Member

    I hear you. :) I do. And I know that you're making a lot of sense. But I still want her to get better. Not just for me, and I do try harder than maybe I should to help her so you are right. But I will pay attention to that. I am sure that there is something in what you are saying. :)
     
  6. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    When I was dealing with depression, I found David Burns' book, Feeling Good, helpful. It's an older book, based on a practical approach to catching your mind/thinking at work and learning to redirect false thinking patterns that are hard to recognize. He identifies 10 "cognitive distortions" common in depressed people. You can skip the book and find them online. This approach isn't for everybody, but I found it a helpful step (among many) to get out of a rather heavy depression related to tms, a death in the family, and the disintegration of my own long-standing sense of self built largely of defenses. I like Cactusflower's suggestion that you focus on you--taking kind care of yourself--and apart from being the "finger pointing to the moon" (pointing out options), accept that your wife will need to find her way when she's ready. Loving her as she is--not as a problem to fix--can go a long way to taking pressure off of yourself. And taking care of yourself (in whatever constructive way that is) will help keep you present to her and yourself. When we're centered in that way (easily said!), we can get in a position to discover almost effortless insight into the right sort of thing to do in a given moment. It's a frequency you get on by taking care of yourself: paring down the self-criticism, pressure, and worry (which Alan Gordon discusses in his concise and uplifting book, The Way Out.) Wish you well!
     
    Madder likes this.
  7. Madder

    Madder New Member

    Very beautifully put. Thank you.
     
  8. Madder

    Madder New Member

    I really want to take the advice that I have been given here. And I really think that the advice has been top notch. My one concern, is thst my wife is on Lexapro, and she has also been prescribed an anti anxiety medication, and the name escapes me now, and already one of her doctors has questioned the safety of taking both of these drugs together.
    It is one thing to allow my wife to take her own path, and I get it, I really do. For me, and my own health, this would probably be hugely benficial, but what about if we really think that she is on the wrong path? Her brothers and sisters throw around prescriptions like there is no tomorrow, and she takes them like they are candy.
    She is someone who had a very difficult childhood. Her parents used to hit her, in the 70'sand 80's. She never ever felt anxious or despressed until now in her mid to late 40's. Her mother has 'fibromyalgia'. Several of her siblings have things that I look at from the outside and believe to be MBS. Am I supposed to let her float down the river?

    I get it. I really do. We all need to find our own way. I genuinely get that, and I don't feel like I NEED to be her support. Or well, maybe I do now that I hear those words typed, but I don't feel like I need to push her to any side and try to convience, her, but at the same time, I am worried about how easy it is for her sisters to swallow medications, especially meds that don't work well together.
    Please don't read me wrong, I do get how my controlling her path could be seens as my own TMS, I truly di, but how can I be sure and how can I try to guide her away from the path she is on assuming that it isn;t all just my own TMS?
     
  9. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    If my partner were taking a combination of medications that I thought might be dangerous, I'd seek out the advice of an appropriate medical doctor and perhaps seek a second opinion as well. I'd want to do this together with my partner, but if she (in my scenario) were not willing to do so, I'd do it on my own. I'd want to use the information to steer her toward a safe use of medicine to treat her condition. If she wasn't already under appropriate professional care, I'd do what I could to help her secure and maintain that as well. All this said, it is so hard when people who are mentally unwell fall into self-harming behaviors. We can intervene only so far, and I'm no expert when it comes to saying where someone else should draw his or her line. But there is a lot of good information out there for family members of people suffering from conditions like depression or various addictions. I ran across a YouTube site put on by a counselor, called "Therapy in a Nutshell." She has a series of videos tailored just for people who are dealing with a family member struggling with mental illness. Maybe there is some bit of info offered here that will be useful to you: Warm regards.
     
    Madder likes this.
  10. Madder

    Madder New Member

    Thanks so much. I will take a look at some of these videos. They are sure to be helpful.
     
  11. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I guess the way I would think about this situation is to ask myself, "what would be helpful to me when I'm depressed and anxious?". I know that it would not be helpful to me for someone to suggest (even lovingly) that I'm making a mistake in how I'm trying to help myself. I just wouldn't be able to hear that at that time. And because I'm kind of a brat, I would probably just dig in deeper. What I think would be most helpful is unconditional love, kindness, and support. It's a lot to ask of another person, but it is the most healing any relationship can impart to another. And I say this as someone who was a mental health therapist for 35 years.

    That said, it is also important to forgive ourselves if we are not able to provide unconditional love, kindness, and support to everyone at all times. We are only human after all. Forgive them, forgive ourselves.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2021

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