My experience with the TMS approach, as outlined by Dr. Sarno, has been spectacular, there is no other way to describe it. I experienced acute back and neck pain when I was in high school. When I was 23 I had constant symptoms and as time went on I had pain in more and more areas of my body until I had excruciating pain everywhere. When I was 27 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I am now 40. It took a long time to come up with an explanation of symptoms as it so often does. I had many, many symptoms and extremely severe. The pain I experienced was very debilitating as most who suffer from fibromyalgia.
I had a lot of different treatments to try to get rid of the pain. I had tender point injections where the knots in my back were, physical therapy, many large doses of various medications, exercise, stretches, chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage therapy and special diets. Some of these provided minimal temporary relief, but for the most part, no relief.
I read everything I could about fibromyalgia. I came to a conclusion, it had to do with my unconscious mind (some use the word subconscious, I use the word unconscious). But what to do about it? One month after coming to this conclusion I heard about Dr. Sarno from my grandmother. I watched him on t.v. as she recommended. I thought to myself, he knows what I know and he knows what to do about it. I read Dr. Sarno's book "The Mindbody Prescription" and scheduled an appointment with a TMS doctor. My appointment was on a Tuesday and by Friday I could do things I hadn't been able to do in many years without pain, 80% of symptoms were gone. It's not magic, but it felt like it. It is solid, accurate medicine. I accepted fully the idea that my conscious was causing symptoms as a distraction so that unconscious feelings wouldn't come into consciousness. I didn't have to be convinced of this I had already come to this conclusion.
Some months later I started working with a TMS therapist to help me with the other symptoms, over time he helped me reduce the other symptoms. I am 95% symptom free, I have been well for 11 years now! Do not rely on well meaning, unknowing doctors to make you well, and for that matter well meaning, unknowing books. Conventional "wisdom" does not apply here. Hanging on to these ideas will get you nowhere. It has to be more important for you to get well than to follow the accepted ideas to "make nice" or be accepted by others. Be a pioneer, do not accept it.
To those of you that have trouble accepting the idea you can still make this happen, it may take more time but you can do it! Do not give up. You need to talk to your unconscious until you believe what you are telling it. It is very receptive when you speak to it with faith and passion. Until you get there speak to it the best you can until you build up your faith and belief in the fact that this does work. The unconscious acts swiftly and surely when you consciously believe, but it will receive your message either way as long as you are relentless and determined about what you are telling it. You have to tell it you are in charge and I mean this literally, tell it. It is unbelievably receptive to suggestion, it does not question what you tell it. It accepts it as fact. It is your conscious mind that analyzes and doubts. You know how they say a liar eventually believes their own lies? It is because they keep telling the lie, the power of suggestion takes over and they end up believing it. So even if you are having trouble believing you can through practice and persistence grow into an unending belief of the facts. That's what they are, facts.
There are a number of ways to speak to your unconscious and it is said that the more forms you speak to it the better. I was not aware of this at the time I was going through this process so I spoke to it through my thoughts and also out loud. Also I would physically push my body hard (don't do this until you are fully convinced of the TMS approach) and talk to my unconscious out loud or through thoughts at the same time. I wanted to show it I was in charge and it wasn't fooling me. I would especially do this when I felt pain increasing and it would swiftly back down. It knew I was in charge, the jig was up.
You can also use imagery which is the most powerful of them all. See yourself in your mind's eye, see yourself well and whole. Practice this and bring more and more detail into your mind. See yourself physically doing things that cause you pain now, but see yourself doing them completely pain free. Notice the look on your face, the scent in the air. Make the images vivid.
Another way to speak to your unconscious is through writing statements or affirmations about your wellness. I didn't used to think anything of affirmations until I learned you are speaking to your unconscious when you do so. Write statements that you feel passionate about, not ones that are hollow to you. You can also find them from books or poems and adapt them if they aren't quite right. They need to strike a nerve, they should speak to you deeply.
Free yourself from the shackles of your symptoms, You have the power. There are many people from times long ago that were acutely aware of these powers. Much has been written on this subject and for good reason, it works. In my opinion one of the best students of the unconscious mind was Napoleon Hill who wrote Think and Grow Rich (stick to the original, unrevised 1937 text). He wasn't specifically focused on illness, but he does talk about it. I don't agree with some of what he wrote related to it, but nevertheless he writes in great detail how the unconscious works and he hits the nail squarely on the head. In this book he talks about using the technique of talking to the unconscious for anything you are trying to achieve in your life.
Here is a quote from the book for those of you having difficulty accepting the idea. "There is nothing to hinder you from "deceiving" your subconscious mind when giving it instructions through auto-suggestion, as I deceived my son's subconscious mind (his son was born without ears, but he told him he could hear and he was able to)."
"To make this "deceit" more realistic, conduct yourself just as you would if you were already in possession of the material thing (whatever it is you desire, such as being pain free) which you are demanding when you call upon your subconscious."
"The subconscious mind will transmute into its physical equivalent, by the most direct and practical media available, any order which is given to it in a state of belief, or faith that the order be carried out."
"Surely, enough has been stated to give a starting point from which one may, through experiment and practice, acquire the ability to mix faith with any order given to the subconscious mind. Perfection will come through practice." A man who studied the unconscious for more than 20 years says to practice talking to your unconscious, listen to him.
Next I will be reading The Laws of Success (the 1925 and 1928 versions, original, unrevised text) that was also written by Napoleon Hill. As detailed as Think and Grow Rich is The Laws of Success are supposed to be the complete philosophy of Napoleon Hill and Andrew Carnegie. And keep in mind that when he uses the word rich or riches, he doesn't just mean material riches. He means anything in life you desire. You can look at the title as Think and Grow Well if you like it all adds up to the same thing, you getting your life back. And I remember oh so well the pain of trying to hold a book when I was symptomatic, get a book stand or get the audio version.
Be well. - Kathryn