How do we recover from tension myositis syndrome? I spent years going to doctors and practitioners, hoping to find an answer for chronic fatigue syndrome and head pain, but nothing worked. I was telling a new friend of mine about my symptoms, and she told me about tension myositis syndrome, TMS, and my life started to change.

My primitive brain has less power over me now. It has less power over my rational/adult brain. So, after all these years, I know that I can relax. My rational brain is getting more space in my life. I’m not being duped as much by my fear brain into believing that things that are safe are dangerous.

Recovering from chronic pain is a reparenting process. We learn to nurture ourselves how we wish we had been nurtured as children, and through this process, we begin to realize that there is no danger.

I became hypervigilant as a child because I did not feel safe. My brain was wired into fear-based thinking, and it wasn’t my fault. It isn’t your fault. My brain understandably became stuck in fight/flight/freeze/fawn mode, and I started to see the world through a lens of danger. Instead of seeing that some things were safe and some things were dangerous, I began seeing many things that were safe as dangerous.

My brain did this to help me. To keep me safe.

I tried to control my world to make things safe. The people I loved would be happier. I suppressed my feelings to avoid upsetting my loved ones. I never learned how to feel my whole experience of life.

The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.”-Oprah Winfrey

I did what it took to make others happy, even if it meant my own wants and needs went unmet. This kept me safe.

This was a lot of pressure. These behaviors kept my brain hypervigilant. I had to be on alert all the time. My primitive brain started to interpret safe sensations in her body as dangerous to keep me even more safe from the world. I started to feel pain in my body, but there was no injury. This made me even more afraid, and most of my life was spent trying to fix the pain even though there was nothing to fix.

I started to heal once I began to understand how all this took place. I began to go easier on myself and started taking the pressure off. I learned the truth about what is safe and what is dangerous. I noticed that the fear brain thinks there is a danger when I am safe. I now know that most of the time, I am safe.

I learned that making mistakes and doing less than my best is safe. It might be uncomfortable, but it’s not dangerous. I can go through hard times in life and know that they are a normal part of being human but not dangerous. No need to stay in fight/flight/freeze/fawn mode. I’m safe.

I learned to feel my feelings and know that there is room for all of them in this world. I now know that emotions are safe. I can feel them and let them pass. I know that there is discomfort in life, but discomfort isn’t dangerous. I can sit with discomfort now and know it’s safe.

I learned that my wants and needs are important. I learned to love and be compassionate with myself. I learned to let go of things I can’t control. My adult brain started taking over for my primitive/child brain.

Recovery from TMS is possible when we give our brains more safety messages than danger messages. This takes time and practice because those of us with chronic pain are hard-wired to see life through a lens of danger, but this can be changed.

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