A huge part of having the mind-body disorder is dealing with the mind. When I first started to have painful symptoms, I thought that my pain was purely physical — it certainly felt as though my body was enduring a marathon of spasms, aches and shooting pains. However, my savior, Dr. Sarno, revealed that actually, the mind plays a large part in the manifestation of pain.
When I explored deeper into how the mind works, I came across the works of Freud and his theory of id, ego, and superego. Dr. Sarno studied Freudian psychology extensively and integrated many of Freud’s theories into his mind-body syndrome theory. For those who don’t have the time or the patience to study Freudian psychology, here’s a brief rundown of the elements which are important in regard to tension myositis syndrome (TMS), also known as the mind-body syndrome:
The id is the childish part of the mind, self-centered with primitive urges and operates completely in the subconscious. Meanwhile, the ego and superego operate in both the conscious and unconscious areas of the mind. The ego is the decision maker. The superego is concerned with morality, responsibility, and ethics.
Id, Ego, Superego & TMS
In each person, there is a “battle raging in the unconscious…between the residual child-primitive [Freud] called the id, and the representatives of reason and morality [Freud] called the ego and superego,” writes Dr. Sarno is his book, The Divided Mind. Dr. Sarno believed that this constant state of conflict was responsible for the development of psychosomatic symptoms. Dr. Sarno notes that not only is this conflict the driving force behind TMS, but also similar medical disorders initiated by psychic processes such as gastroesophageal reflux and irritable bowel syndrome. Dr. Sarno was amazed by how little the general populace and contemporary medicine seemed to accept his and other psychosomatic findings.
An important aspect of mind-body disorders to keep in mind is the timelessness of the id. Freud writes that there is “nothing in the id that corresponds to the idea of time” and that there is “no recognition of the passage of time,” nor is there “alteration in mental processes” as a result of time passing. It basically means that what is experienced by the id is held crystallized that way forever. Wishful impulses, impressions, and other memories and actions given over to the id are for all intents and purposes immortal.
This is directly relevant to TMS because Dr. Sarno realized that “not only are repressed impressions and wishful impulses preserved without change in the id, but so are any emotions generated in the unconscious.” This is dangerous for many people because emotions they may be experiencing subconsciously may build and build until there is real damage and trauma locked away just below the surface of the mind. For instance, unconscious emotions generated when young may be held onto for decades and decades, building and creating chaos in the mind. This immortality of unconscious trauma is what Dr. Sarno believed to have caused TMS. The repression and retention of pain, anger, and discord in the id leads to mind-body tension.
Mind and Body
By the time your body is involved (via pain), your mind is telling your body that it can no longer hold all the pain and strife that it has been holding onto for so long. It’s telling you that it’s time for a change. Not only did I make that change, but I can help you uncover your sources of pain, deal with them and move on to a pain-free life again. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns and let’s get you started on the pain-free path today.