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2008-2010: Update

Ok hi there is seems like ages  since I last wrote a proper update for howibeatrsi.com I continue to be pleased in reaching many and varied people from across the globe with this information. This new post coincides with the launching of a suite of howibeat sites which aim to tackle a broad spectrum of psychological and physical disorders, again with a specific focus of documenting strong and positive recovery stories which generate hope and inspire people in pain and suffering to not give up.

Well it’s going to be hard for me to continue dotting my recovery chronologically, this is in part due to the fact I’ve really rethought RSI, the underlying reasons for it and slightly changes my belief, a slight but significant alteration form a bio mechanical injury to a bio mechanical injury with it’s origins in psychological pain and emotional disturbances or blockages.

This is a pretty radical rethinking of my perspective and on which puts a lot of what I previously wrote in howibeatrsi.com slightly in jeapordy. However, what I was more concerned with all along about it in truth telling my recovery story rather than forming a professional verdict on the cause and origins of RSI. This website first and formost is meant to inspire, not engage in diagnoses or debate.

Where I am at now

Well I’m happily married now and living in the inner west of Sydney. I still work in the helping professions, as a full time case worker for Wesley Mission (www.wesleymission.org.au) at a homeless facility Edward Eagar Lodge in Surry Hills. I continue to plod along with guitar enjoy being involved in a local church and of course to develop websites which aim to create a caring community of hope on the internet.

Do I still get RSI pain at all?

No. That’s phase of my life is completely over. I still need to stretch and work on myself for postural correction and awareness. But I never think about the pain, I am not enveloped by the pain and do not need to structure my life around it or settle for the belief that I will also in some way be permanently damaged and requiring constant pain management strategies.

My ‘RSI’ came back last year !

Ok so here’s the deal. The RSI Pain returned! It came back, I never thought it would rear it’s ugly head again but it did. I was in the process of leaving a twy year job which I really disliked and worked in a very toxic and demoralizing workplace, not knowing where to go next I quit my job and hoped something would come up soon. For months I did not really complain about my job too much to my own detriment as my boss was clearly a bully who made conditions miserable for staff. Yet I suffered in silence and internally form the belief. I started experiencing hand pain again, nerve pain. My mind became restless and part of me wanted to go back to ridiculously strict stretching regime, yet some part inside me did not believe this and it really didn’t correspond to physical causes and was more a reflection of I guess what could me called an aching of the psyche, my psyche was in heightened tension and fear, and an old symptom was suddenly resurrected to distract me from acknowledging and processing uncomfortable emotions. Which got

Last year in 2007-2008, in the lead up to my marriage old dormant fears where beginning to rise, these were compounded my the previous workplace being toxic and unfriendly to say the very least. I started to experience strong levels of anxiety again, recurring nightmares, a loss in appetite and weight. And a sharp return of gastrointestinal disturbances, bloating, excessive has, general dyspepsia. I became convinced that I may have a stomach ulcer of some sort or that at old diagnosed bacteria helicobactor pylori was still residing in my bowel. After a long stint with a nutritionist and continues regular massage therapy,  I consulted with a (stomach doctor) who said it was not an ulcer and was not helicbactor, and my dyspepsia was down to stress. Stress, stress!!  That ugly S word, stress I was not managing my stress well and my body was manifesting signs that something was wrong. I was prescribed medication which reduces the amount of acid in the stomach, it produced minimal results. I realized that.

I made the decision in late 2008 to return to a course of psychotherapy, this time it was really to eliminate this residual anxiety which had crept back into my life. In Australia I was able to access a psychological rebate scheme which subsides treatment for. In six session I was able to get a firm handle on the lingering anxiety. I decided at that point to also go back on medication, Avanza, a new generation form of anti-depressant which is effective at reducing anxiety and helps to regulate sleeping patters because of its sedating effects at night. I have no qualms about taking Avanza, it really helps me sleep at night and keeps my patterns of sleep. Around this time I also started to read the works of Dr John Sarno, a clinical rehabilitation specialist from New York who has written a series of books which look at the mindbody phenomenon, someone who read my RSI site e-mailed me this recommendation last year, it occurred to me that three separate people has suggested him over a two year time frame, so something had to be in this if they thought my story was explainable and more understandable from Sarno’s thesis.

The origins of RSI based on experience last years experience

So I read all his books in one month. It was eye opening to say the least. It had a bold message of RSI being deemed a mindbody disorder which  for too long has been interpreted as a condition with psychological roots. Rather RSI originates in the emotions, so it’s origins are psychological or psychogenic. His contention that RSI along with many other conditions which flood the mainstream medical system are in fact harmless contditions which are caused by repressed rage. Repressed negative or undersirable emotions is called ‘narcissistic rage,’ and people with certain personality characteristics who are more prone to suppress undesirable emotions and feelings.

His thesis was dramatic: just acknowledge and believe and really belief that the physical pain experienced in the body has it’s origins in the psyche. I really like the term ‘psych-ache’ The physiological explanation for phenomenon I experienced such as scar tissue, excessively tight muscles, tight Jaw, TMJ gastrointestinal distrubances, one leg longer than another, hip misalignment was caused my a strong suppression of negative emotions not processed and dealt with appropriately and accordingly.

What I experienced: the pain, the tightness, discomfort was very real. Mindbody or psychosomatic doesn’t mean it doesn’t have physiologically evident signs of muscle and joint dysfunction. It’s just the architect of this dysfunction (and I hate that word, believe me) begins and ends in the mind.

However let me be clear: this doesn’t mean you can just simply wish it away quickly.

Sarno belives that mild oxygen deprivation, triggered by the brain,  is the physiological causation for muscle tighness and nerve interference. I am going to elaborate later in this site which will now look more at the vital part of the nervous system in RSI conditions. Specifically the relationship between central and peripheral nervous systems.

I really belive RSI, in a majority of cases, runs parallel with depression and anxiety conditions with similar psychological and phsyiological causes. As I write www.howibeatdepression and www.howibeatanxiety.com I will further develop this idea in conjunction with theory from Sarno and other texts, always referencing my own recovery and story.

But this does not mean stop exercising and stretching. These always have benefit, irrespective of circumstance or condition.

Sarno belives the pain is an amazingly powerful red herring from the person noticing the psyche as the culprit and causator of pain. If the pain is focussed on excessively, the mind, or psyche, slips into the background it wants to protect itself as it perceives the greatest threat being the unpleasant and painful emotions coming to surface which will potentially enganger the person by flooding them and overtaking them. The need to be socially accepted, approved and acceptable appears to govern and overide and harmonious interplay between the conscious and unsconcious. So this obsessive and covertly forced desire to be socially accepted, approved and loved to the detriment of a healthy relationship with one own’s conscious and subconscious minds is really the underlying dynamic in so many RSI conditions. And guess what this underlying dynamic is normally always present in depressive conditions and anxiety disorders.

So how does one heal from this?

Acknowledge that the mind is ridiculous powerful beast which needs to be examined when someone is in a lot of pain without any structual cause. Treat the mind and the body.

The mindbody connection has to be acknowledged in RSI conditions. A lot of the time people with RSI will focus on how to get rid of the pain, all of the attention and focus will be on pain minimization and pain relief and inadvertently the pain becomes the central focus and theme for the sufferer.

So how does one let go, and get rid of the pain?

Acknowledge that pain in the psyche can be reproduced as pain and tension in the body. Psychological counselling in tandem with a strengthening and stretching regime is often a great idea if possible. Don’t just overwhelmingly focus and think of the pain, that sort of rigid thinking is most often responsible for RSI conditions.

© 2012 How I Beat RSI

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