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Pain worse when spending time alone

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by veronica73, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    A lot of TMSers talk about how they fear their pain is triggered by certain physical activities or things like sitting, typing, etc. I haven't had as much of that but I notice that my pain sometimes gets worse when I am alone or feel isolated.

    I have suspected this for a while but now that I'm more aware I've been seeing it a lot. I'm a very extraverted person and yet I'm in a job where I work independently (and often alone). I also tend to attract extremely emotionally needy people (that's a topic for another post!) and for that reason I sometimes find it easier to be alone than to listen to someone's drama (I know that sounds callous and horrible!)

    I noticed I was having a fair amount of pain today. This afternoon we had a surprise party for someone at work who is getting married. It was only about 20 - 30 minutes but when I left the party I realized that the pain was dramatically less.
     
    Endless luke likes this.
  2. Max

    Max Peer Supporter

    Hi veronica, upon reading your post I could find similarities with something I have previously experienced myself.When alone, and not occupied with any activity or distraction I would find myself thinking about my pain.A very bad thing to do, and feeding and strengthening the tms, and thereby increasing the pain.Perhaps you could look carefully at what you are doing or thinking/feeling when you are alone. Hope that helps?
     
    veronica73 likes this.
  3. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I always notice that when I'm alone in my dead parents' house (they had a very conflicted relationship to say the least) my TMS symptoms invariably intensify. However, if I go out to the gym or take a hike, the whole psychological mechanism of obsessing on my symptoms is short-circuited. Also, just a few interactions with others breaks the pain cycle too. My advice? Break up those programmed patterns of isolation and alienation that reinforce your TMS obsessive personality traits. You don't focus on your symptoms as much if you engage an objectified other, even if it's only a movie, dance or musical performance, something that makes you focus on something outside your own drama. De-programming is, I think, the key term here.
     
    veronica73 likes this.
  4. Max

    Max Peer Supporter

    I think you have already made significant progress in identifying what is feeding your TMS, as well as identifying a way forward. Some of the issues that you mention may well be very deeply buried in your subconcious, and it may be of help to follow a structured programme to help resolve them. Good luck and I,m sure you will get there. Be positive and determined in your quest to defeat the TMS.
     
    Beach-Girl and veronica73 like this.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is your TMS personality talking, that wants to be the perfect friend, employee, person. But guess what doing this can be extremely frustrating to your unconscious self which doesn't actually want to listen to someone's problems. It is not callous or horrible to feel this way. It is 100% normal. Simply recognizing that you don't like to deal with other people's problems and accepting these emotions may help progress further. I would encourage you to think about why you think it's so callous and horrible.
     
    Endless luke likes this.
  6. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Veronica:

    Did you spend an inordinate time alone as a child? Do you have siblings? Did they take the attention away from you somehow?
    I think this may be an issue where you need to find its "core". When did this start for you? Did your parents comfort you when you were scared as a child?

    Again - does this bother you a lot? Sounds like you like to have a lot of people around you most of the time. I'm an extravert on the outside, but crave alone time. I love the solace of the outdoors with just my dog, or reading a book with nobody home. I lived alone for many years before I got married. It was tough at first living alone because I too wanted someone there to simply talk to. But the more I got used to being with "me" - the more I liked myself and now I try and kick my husband out of the house for a few hours every once in awhile.

    We're all different. My brother has to have people around him because he essentially spent his teen years alone. Always the life of the party, always having a party. That's him. I doubt he'll change. But for you it might be worth writing about to see if you can find out where this comes from. Where did these feelings start?

    The more information we find out about ourselves, the more likely we are to like and respect ourselves. It's a great part of life to conquer.

    BG
     
  7. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Thanks everyone for the great feedback. As Max and MorComm mention, I think some of it is that it is just easier for me to obsess about pain/anxiety when alone than when talking to someone else. About listening to others' problems/helping others--well, I think over the years I came to believe the most important thing was to put others' needs before my own. I went to an extremely liberal Catholic school...our version of Catholic guilt was whether you helped poor people enough, or reached out to people who were the victims of prejudice, etc. Of course I think that is all GREAT but it's hard to be one person trying to save the entire world! I have gotten better with it over the years but I still tend to overhelp. Unfortunately my boyfriend has these tendencies too and we sometimes take on friendships with people that probably need a social worker or therapist more than a friend. Getting better at this though. Another reason why I feel like it sounds horrible to say I don't want to listen to people's problems is I would feel bad if I were sharing my problems with someone and I knew they were thinking, I really don't want to hear this! Of course, I"m sure they actually don't want to hear this stuff at some level, and are still OK with me sharing it. Related point: for fear of burdening others, I often don't lean on them as much as they lean on me. About being alone...yeah this is big for me. I'm an only child. I had a sister who died as an infant before I was born. My parents were always extremely overprotective of me, including with regard to my health. I had friends at school but didn't have many neighborhood friends (mostly older people lived in my neighborhood) so I didn't hang out a lot with kids outside of school until I was in 4th grade or so, other than my cousins who I saw every week or two. Being alone was not by choice and probably fed into my anxiety. I think I am the classic extrovert--I feel more relaxed when around other people than alone. This is sometimes true even if I am not interacting with them directly, like on public transit or in a coffee shop. I still like alone time too because I find I need more time to process feelings than other people. I do think sometimes work is tough because being alone = mind wandering into the TMS obsessing zone (not always). Oddly enough, though I sometimes feel a lack of support and wish I had more connections, I have more friends, even more close friends than most people I know. I think to some degree it's a compensation for the loneliness of childhood and early adulthood.
     
  8. Endless luke

    Endless luke Well known member

    Veronica,
    I'm very much less conscious about TMS when I'm with other people. It's still there and I still watch what I do- such as what type of chair I sit in but I think about it seldom. Your post is making me reevaluate whether my symptoms lessen then. I used to think they didn't and that I just didn't have the mental capacity to think about my back and neck while keeping up with a conversation. Now that I understand the impact of emotions more it makes me think my symptoms are lesser then too.
    Either way it makes me think about how unproductive it was for me to spend so much time alone. I was thinking that it was only by being alone could I truly figure out this condition and fix it. That's when I would have the mental space to figure out which muscles were causing the problems and do things like stretching. When I viewed my problem as being caused by trigger points this was sensible.
    Spending more time socializing as way of getting better is something that I want to think on but it's seems promising.
     
  9. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Veronica,
    At the end of his talk on "Stress, Neurodegeneration and Individual Differences" in the Media section of this Forum, Prof. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford U. concludes that social isolation is one of the great predictors of ill health, high blood pressure and dementia:

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/media/...individual-differences-by-robert-sapolsky.64/

    I know homo sapiens aren't baboons, but Prof Sapolsky seems to have studied the neurochemistry of social interactions enough to back up his assertions with formulae. It's also extremely interesting how female baboons who are beaten by lesser males in the clan have much shorter life spans. So, don't go off from the group and play with your own marbles too much!
     
    Endless luke likes this.
  10. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Luke,
    I am glad you are responding to some of these older threads--I had forgotten writing this but I've been working on these issues over the last year as I've worked on TMS.

    The good news is I'm pretty much pain-free now! I do believe that social isolation is a huge risk factor in all kinds of diseases (thanks for the video, MorComm) and I'm finding it easier these days to connect more deeply with others and be nicer to myself as well.
     
    Endless luke likes this.
  11. Endless luke

    Endless luke Well known member

    That's excellent that you're close to pain free. It's important for me to look at the old threads so that I can see how other people have faced the same thing- it helps with my belief in the diagnosis.

    Was being social one of the things that really helped?
     
  12. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't think it's any coincidence that I had first my major back attack in 2002, Endless Luke, six months after my mother died and I lost a big contract and $20 grand on the market. All those events in rapid succession threw me back on myself in such a way that I was not only grieving but socially isolated at the same time. I think Dr Zafirides notes that existential isolation is a perfect breeding ground for TMS symptoms because one of our primal fears left over from childhood is abandonment. I noticed that more than PT, it was re-entering the social whirl with friends that helped the pain of my so-called herniated disk to subside. What's that Plotinus says about all things returning to the One?
     
    Endless luke likes this.
  13. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Well, I was pretty social even when I was having a lot of pain, before I knew about TMS. I think it's more about feeling more connected--being more present/mindful in social interactions and feeling safer being more open with other people.
     
  14. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, Veronica73, you can certainly be 'alone in a crowd' and miss the feeling of social connectedness. And feeling safe is a necessary precondition for opening up to others.
     
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