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Story of a Life spent with anxiety to be ill - need for change

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Time2be, Jul 3, 2018.

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  1. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    this the story of my father, now 85. And it is of course part of my story. Because I have been affected all my life of my fathers anxiety to be ill. He has irritable bowel syndrome and then a myriad of small things that fill his everyday life with anxiety, but I guess for him also with meaning. He also had prostrate cancer which is since 17 years in remission. He was very upset at that time when he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but took it afterwards in a better way than expected. While I am writing this, he is again at the emergency because of diarrhea. He is afraid of diverticulosis, which he also actually has and he had surgery for that. This is about the 15th time in 3 years he is at the emergency to be checked for diverticulosis. He is a really unhappy man, afraid of living and afraid of dying. Everytime he feels something, when one day the leg hurts, the hip the other, he has a bit of a cold, a bit allergy, an infected foot nail .... he freaks out. Some years ago I drove him to the emergency on Christmas Eve with an infected foot nail. Not a untreated foot nail, he had already antibiotics and had seen the doctor in the morning. But in the evening he got so anxious that we could not calm him down.
    What always strikes me is that my father is an intelligent man and he should have tried to get out of this circle of fear. He did not do anything against it. He he didn’t need to because the family used to support him. My mother was to afraid to object.

    I don’t want to go into details of this family history. It is not a very happy one. I now try to accept my parents for what they are and make the best of it.

    Why I am telling this? Maybe there are others who experience the same or similar. And because I know that I repeat some of these patterns. The anxiety when the body shows any abnormality is horrible and makes life miserable. If you always expect the worst you will not be over the moon because things went well. The opposite is the case, one is getting pessimistic and cynical. And in the end you enjoy nothing any more. So, I decided to break the circle. I don’t want to be like my father. I am still afraid. Afraid that my resistance to anxiety, to fear the worst, to expect the worst, that I will be punished for this. Something like, the moment I dare to live free of fear a very bad disease will catch me. But I don’t have a choice really. Living in constant fear is not worth living. So, I need to make a leap of faith. Wish me luck!
     
    Robyn84, Lavender, JanAtheCPA and 5 others like this.
  2. untangledweb

    untangledweb Peer Supporter

    Take the leap!!
    Read books that reinforce life!
    Listen to music that soothes your soul.
    Go to a yoga class.
    You might not be able to convince your father that his emotions are creating his reality, but you can “unlearn” your emotions by his example.
    Best of luck to you
     
    JanAtheCPA, Lainey and Time2be like this.
  3. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Thanks untangledweb! I do my best! A good idea to read books that reinforce life!
    Best!!
     
  4. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Time2be
    IMO fear is such a pervasive and gnawing factor in TMS. lf we are not afraid we would not be mulling over this or that and perpetuating the cycle of pain. My father lived to be a very old man, almost 100, and he too would call an ambulance for benign occurrences. Getting old is not easy for most and to age without fear is something to aspire to.
    Your decision to "break the cycle" is a very good start in healing your body and your mind. You have already endured your "punishment" so do not fear further retribution. You can get better, you can change your own outlook, your body too can heal.
    You can find joy.
    Kindly
    Lainey
     
  5. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Hi Lainey! Nice to hear from you again. It’s incredibly difficult for me not to catastrophize. Right now I am having a bit of stomach problem. Last Saturday I had too much alcohol and too much fat food, maybe also the sausages were not really ok, I don’t now. I felt nauseous when I came home in the night and had diarrhea the whole night. And I have still that slightly nauseous feeling in my stomach. What I am afraid of that is I have a underlying severe diseases, like pancreas cancer. And when I first have this thought in my mind, it is so difficult to stop this line of thought. A friend of mine who is a medical doctor told me that this is not very likely and that a little stomach problem can take some time. So, I try to keep calm.
    You wrote so encouraging and I really need that. Sometimes it is difficult to believe that I could have a good life without fear of being ill.
    Thanks so much!
     
    MWsunin12 likes this.
  6. HattieNC

    HattieNC Peer Supporter

    Time2be, I can relate to your story about your father. Thank you for sharing. My mother was an anxious person and had chronic (sometimes debilitating) pain her entire adult life. Because our personalities were so different, I never dreamed that I would experience chronic pain. Thankfully, I have had the tremendous good fortune to find out about and accept TMS. Mother spent almost 80 years thinking her back problems were caused by falling out of a tree at age 12. Then, a chiropractor confirmed her worst fear when he told her as a young woman that she had a spine shaped like an S and would always be in pain. Sadly, I don't believe my mother would have been accepting of TMS knowledge, even if she had been exposed to it. The concept would have been too foreign and "new age" to her generation.
     
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  7. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    So, sorry to hear about your mother. Yes, also a sad story. She had a scoliosis, I guess. This does not necessarily cause pain. Good for you that you have a different approach!! My sister also has. I am the older sister and always felt responsible for the happiness of my parents ... but now I really try to have a different attitude!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
    HattieNC and plum like this.
  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's beautiful that you care and that you have done your best for your parents but as you say, it is not your responsibility. These posts resonate with me at the moment because I have taken the decision to step back from being actively involved in my Mother-in-law's care. Following a particularly bruising incident I finally had to accept that she is too entrenched in her ways to change and that I do not have to go down with her ship. I support my hubby in his care for her but that is as far as it goes.

    She still manages to piss me off from afar but there are decades of history and I cannot expect to erase them. All I and you and the others here can do is be as mindful as we can around them, not get sucked in (wow, is that a challenge), and look after ourselves.

    Hugs

    Plum x
     
  9. untangledweb

    untangledweb Peer Supporter

    It’s crazy that we can allow ourselves to be triggered by other people! I just got a text from a friend that triggered...annoyance, maybe a bit of anger and I immediately felt it in my chest. This heavyness and anxiousness. I really dislike my hyper vigilance! It comes on so quickly...arg
     
    Time2be likes this.
  10. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    [QUOTE
    She still manages to piss me off from afar but there are decades of history and I cannot expect to erase them. All I and you and the others here can do is be as mindful as we can around them, not get sucked in (wow, is that a challenge), and look after ourselves.
    Hugs
    Plum x[/QUOTE]

    Oh, I can understand your decision! And sometimes these people need a bit of resistance. I learned that my father can well behave if I really treat him firmly and make it clear that I won’t accept disrespectful behavior. But it is exhausting to do this over and over again and therefore I limit my visits and contacts. If your mother in law still pisses you still off and there are decades of history, as you say, I think you have every right to distance yourself. Your husband is sick and a person has only so much energy and strength to handle situations like this.
    But it is really amazing that we can be hurt so much, still, well knowing the mechanisms.
    I wish you strength! And take care of yourself!
     
    Lainey, HattieNC and plum like this.
  11. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Time2be. I really like the title of this post! Story of a Life spent with anxiety to be ill - need for change... Story of my life! Change takes a lot of determination and reinforcement. My 82 year old mother is an academic, PHD in Philosophy from the University of Chicago, and has been depressed my entire life. I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to help her and encourage her to find happiness. Now that she is elderly it has just gotten worse. She lived in a little cabin on our 5 acre property in Texas and became very isolated. Due to rashes, back aches and various ailments she rarely got up from her recliner in front of the TV. So four months ago we moved her into a brand new independent living apartment with a nice pool and the hopes she might have a few social interactions, even if it were just bumping into someone at the mailbox. Since the move there have been 4 EMS calls and runs to the emergency room with a 4 day hospital stay. The last time they had to break her door down because she could not get up to unlock it. The ultimate conclusion after running all sorts of tests, including an MRI and cardiac stress test, is that she is healthy. There is a crazy rash that she has had on and off for 3 years, terrible chest pain, back pain, urinary tract infections... MY TMS tendencies kicked in big time. I have so much conflict and guilt over the frustration and anger I feel toward her. And tremendous fear. How do I avoid that being me???? I was a film producer but now own a business managing caregivers that take care of the elderly. So many elderly are in pain and hopelessly chasing doctors for reassurance and relief for a multitude of chronic conditions. It has been fascinating though, particularly in my work with dementia and anxiety. Early traumas surface in interesting ways. And yet rather than this being an opportunity, a catalyst for healing and change, it is typically viewed as too late. I don't ever want to feel like it is too late. I have decided not to let the cloud of my heredity and poor modeling to be the determining factor in my life. It is possible to live a joyful, happy life without constant fear. I have been working with a somatic experiencing therapist and our discussion today was interesting. She believes that we learn these patterns of fear and in my case repressing my anger, because at some point it did not feel safe to do otherwise, it helped us to survive. And then it became our default. We cannot blame ourselves for this. But we have to learn what the world FEELS like without perpetually reacting in fear, how to express our anger in a healthy way and to not put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and good that we can no longer pay attention to our true needs and feelings.
     
    Time2be, Lainey, MWsunin12 and 5 others like this.
  12. HattieNC

    HattieNC Peer Supporter

    Anne, I wish I could like this post 1000 times! You wrote the story of my life. My worst fear is winding up in chronic pain like my mother. I also carry guilt and conflict that I didn't understand/sympathize with her suffering enough while she was alive. Your therapist was spot on. My mom had a pretty bad temper so I never felt that it was safe for me to express any "negative" emotions. Therefore, I put on the mask of the happy, content child. My hope is that by learning about TMS while still relatively young, my children will not have to go through what my siblings and I did.
     
    Time2be, Lainey, plum and 2 others like this.
  13. untangledweb

    untangledweb Peer Supporter

    Anne and Hattie,
    I don’t think I was allowed to really have emotions as a child. All I knew was fear. If I was the slightest bit happy, I was taken down a peg. If I cried, I got the “I’ll give you something to cry about “. Forgot about anger. I just tried to fade into the background and not attract any attention.
    My mom was very detached from all our abuse. After my father left when I was 14, she sunk into depression. She went to work, watched soaps and read. She got grouchier as she got older. She died a very unhappy woman without any friends. My friends are spectacular! My chosen family. I had to learn how to be a good friend. I didn’t have good examples growing up.
    Finding out about TMS has saved me, truly. This community and the Curable community have given me the only hope I’ve ever had. After decades of negative test results because apparently I was “healthy. It has come as a shock to think that I really am. Wrapping my brain around the problem of it being my emotions wasn’t as hard to swallow as I thought it might be. I was just so relieved that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and that some people really do understand me. Thank you
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
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  14. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    My god, so many wonderful posts here! I am not alone, this feels terrrific! And what also is terrific: we all struggle, we don’t give up and we will succeed!
    There are so many ways a person can be unhappy and make life miserable for others, it’s amazing that so much energy goes to that. Anne Walker@ I wondered what role being a women in a field like philosophy was doing to her. I am a philosopher myself and things are better today, women are more recognized. But when she was in philosophy decades ago it must have been hard. Because it is a male dominated discipline!
    And all the other stories, reading them, I get so angry about these adults and how they mistreat children. And a child can only stick to their parents - that’s how it will survive. So, a child has no chance to change things, but we have now!
    My latest struggle: three weeks ago I had diarrhea in the night and felt nauseous. I still felt nauseous and sort of uncomfortable the last three weeks. I started to take some probiotics and this helped bit. Today I saw the doctor and she thinks I have a mild gastritis. She is not the doctor I usually see in the clinic, my doctor is on vacation. I saw that she had my file open on the computer and I told her, that I have this kind of anxiety of illness. And she smiles and says yes, she knows. I asked her whether this is written down in the journal, and she says yes, it says that I am very knowledgeable about diseases and that I tend to be anxious about diseases. And she was very sympathetic . She said, that she will help me to reassure me that nothing serious is wrong with me and that it is good that I am working on this problem. The result of the blood tests will arrive tomorrow. She says she doesn’t expect anything significant. I must say that I am very satisfied with my doctors. They are doing a good job.
    On the more humorous side: symptom imperative! When I had this odd feeling in my stomach I didn’t have bladder pain. Bladder pain started a bit when I was convinced that the stomach pain is nothing serious. My brain seems not to be able to focus on two sorts of pain at the same time.
     
    HattieNC likes this.
  15. mugwump

    mugwump New Member

    Fight! Think about anxiety as something you should get rid off. Learn to love yourself. DO things that make you happy. You'll soon realize that your anxiety should never have to be there. Don't allow negative things to mirror your present. start making a difference :)
     
  16. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Thanks mugwump! I really need the encouragement right now. The blood test came back fine. But, my anxious brain tells me that this doesn’t rule out pancreas cancer, which is my greatest fear, though a friend who is a medical doctor told me that it should show in the pancreas enzymes if something is wrong. (Yes, I know, a very ‘fine’ choice, because there are no specific signs that indicate this cancer and the survival rate is very, very low.)
    So, in between I am panicking and almost on my way to get a MRI done, paid privately, which will cost me about 600 dollars. I had these kind of emergency diagnostics in the private system before, I guess I could buy me a good car for all the money I spent there.... the Danish health system is good, but they would not just do a MRI because of irrational fears.
    Rationally I know that I had this pain in my stomach before, it feels like something pressing in the stomach and also in the back. The best explanation is that it is simple tension. I had this pain 20 years ago and had been checked at that time. And again four years ago and two years ago.
    This time I really want to face it: the uncertainty, the anxiety, the reality of being alone, how to soothe myself. I cancelled a hiking trip with friends because in the heat we have right now I neither want to drive 1000 miles to the place they live nor go hiking. I will do something with friends here at my place. And another reason for staying at home:I work a lot, so, when I come home I rarely do really relax and enjoy my house and the garden. There is always something to do and then it is late and I go to bed. Even weekends I have difficulties to relax. I want to address this problem now. That I react with pain is not so surprising ...
    so, yes, I fight ...
     
  17. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Time 2be
    Your life sounds so hectic for now, adding to this the sadness you express, from being alone, being anxious about serious illness, and the continual push to work, leaving little time for the pleasures you seek in life. I certainly hope that you do not have any terrible illness, such as pancreatic cancer, and from your history of at least 20 years it seems this may not be the case. Your earlier posts spoke of your fear, triggered by your father's own trepidation over his aging body. You said;

    "And because I know that I repeat some of these patterns. The anxiety when the body shows any abnormality is horrible and makes life miserable. If you always expect the worst you will not be over the moon because things went well. The opposite is the case, one is getting pessimistic and cynical. And in the end you enjoy nothing any more. So, I decided to break the circle. I don’t want to be like my father. I am still afraid. Afraid that my resistance to anxiety, to fear the worst, to expect the worst, that I will be punished for this. Something like, the moment I dare to live free of fear a very bad disease will catch me. But I don’t have a choice really. Living in constant fear is not worth living. So, I need to make a leap of faith. Wish me luck!"

    My thoughts are that yes, you can break this circle. Running in circles, is not serving you well. You know what may be best for you. Maybe quiet time without feeling constant pressure for finishing just one more work project, maybe committing to a daily or twice daily meditation practice, maybe just getting out into your own garden and playing in the
    dirt, maybe finding ways to practice calmness with your Dad and his own crazymaking ways. In other words, setting for yourself, some boundaries on how much anxiety you are willing to endure.

    There is "always something to do", but you can change the "to do" to something that will begin to give you peace and joy. It may seem counterproductive at first to change your frenetic life, but you must begin to set these boundaries for yourself. You productivity should now be focused on YOU and how you plan to be. Current concerns will take on less of a "must do now" feeling and your life will become less stressful. Be tender to yourself.

    Kindly
    Lainey
     
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  18. untangledweb

    untangledweb Peer Supporter

    Time
    This thread is so good.
    There is a Buddhist term that’s called maitri. It means kind, gentle compassion toward yourself. It is something that I try to practice, especially when my brain gets in the way of my heart. My brain seems to get in the way a lot of the times. It can run away down a deep alley of negative limiting beliefs...if I allow it.
    I used to always imagine worst case scenario‘s. I was sure I had cancer or fibromyalgia or anything else that I could find on WebMD. Something that could explain the continual demise of my physical body.
    It has been how I feel about myself and how I take care of myself all along. I found out that the way that I treated myself, and sometimes still do is not the way I would treat a best friend.
    I would never assume a worst case scenario for them. I would be compassionate and loving and supportive.
    I hope that you can begin to practice this life affirming, mental health loving practice. You deserve peace☮️
     
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  19. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    *This* is beautiful and this is healing. All anyone needs to know is held safe in this gem.

    Bless you so much for this post,

    Plum x
     
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  20. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Lainey, this is a delightful and wise response. It takes insight and courage to challenge these inherited beliefs and behaviours but we absolutely must, especially for us tms'ers who grew up with illness crazy-making. Boundaries are essential to counter the madness. I love all you say here.

    @Time2be, take that leap of faith. You cannot jinx good health and well-being only nurture it. You are not like your father. You are here, facing up to and willing to challenge the insanity. You are breaking the cycle.

    Plum x
     
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