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Almost cured... return to work anxiety

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by GenXer, Dec 7, 2019.

  1. GenXer

    GenXer Newcomer

    Hello TMSers, first time poster and I could really use the community's help to get back on track. I'll try to make the background as short as I can.

    Lifetime of minor health issues (eczema, infections, asthma, etc...), but as an adult developed RSI, TMJ, plantar fascitis, with the normal ebbs and flows. Lots of physio, meds, imaging, etc... You guys all know how it goes. Then about 10 years ago after I got golfer's elbow (tendonitis) that just would not go away. Took 2 surgeries to clear things up after many aggravating physio and specialist consults. In the meantime, I was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia. So, three surgeries in about 6 months. Hernia recovery was going well, until one day it wasn't. Unbelievable nerve type pain that was off the charts and unrelenting. This was about 7 years ago. Life has been mostly hell since then, unable to work or have any kind of normal life. Then, all of the other stuff got piled on top, neck pain, back pain, knee pain, then eventually elbow and wrist pain so bad that I couldn't even cut my own food!

    So, of course I spent thousands and thousands of dollars on treatments and devices. Right? Finally, about 4 months ago a massage therapist (who actually does Neuro kinetic work rather than massage) told me about Dr Sarno and TMS. At first, of course, it sounded ridiculous. However, I read one paragraph and new instantly that this was me. I always knew that I must have some kind of overarching health problem, which I thought had to be inflammation related. Well, as we all know, it's Tension as in TMS. Within 2 months I read Sarno, Ozanich and Sachs and basically all of my pain was like 95% gone. Reflected on childhood and personality, really scary stuff but necessary. I went golfing and started doing fairly rigorous exercise, going to restaurants and movies. A miracle!!

    Then about a month ago because I was feeling so great, I agreed to help my wife's cousin move... here we go. Me and his buddy picked up a cardboard box off the truck, and oh my it was the heaviest thing I ever lifted in my life. Turns out, it was a big safe still in the box! After struggling for about a minute we put it down and then the pain (and anxiety) rushed through my body especially in the hernia area and hip flexors. Anyway, took it easy for a couple of weeks, saw my doctor, had an ultrasound to confirm no recurrence of the hernia.

    Here's the thing though. I had made arrangements to go back to work after an 18 month absence the following Wednesday, but because of this relapse I had to cancel those plans AGAIN. It seems that every time I feel well enough to attempt a return to work, my brain goes into overthinking mode and the fear exacerbates the pain. It used to be that way for social events too, but those are fun so I haven't had to cancel anything lately. Then this week, after recovering from most of the pain, I pushed myself hard enough to satisfy myself that I could sit, stand and walk long enough to put in a few hours a day at work. All systems go! I called my boss on Wednesday to discuss coming back to work and like clockwork within a few hours my pain got out of control again. This is literally all I can think about day and night. I tried journaling for the first time, but so far my brain is not willing to let it go. For clarification, I like my job and the people there. They have been super supportive throughout all of this. I am just afraid to let them (and myself) down again.

    Anyway, I'll stop it there for now. Any comments appreciated. I see a lot of similar experiences out there and they are really helpful. I'm just hoping that sharing my story and my pain provides me with some therapy. I'm a serial "represser" trying to open up!
    Thanks,
    GX
     
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome to the Forum!

    Many of us have experienced that initial pain relief as a miracle. It's wonderful. Bask in it and remind yourself that you did all of it with your mind by looking at psychological issues. But what we all soon find out is that recovery is not a place you arrive at once, and then you are done with all that TMS business. We have to change our relationship to the pain (the way we view it) and keep reinforcing those changes. This is difficult because life keeps throwing stuff at us. It takes time and lots of persistence to break those TMS patterns. So my advice is to keep at it.

    I believe this is a key issue for you to explore in your inner exploration. This was, and continues to be, a big issue for me which I feel stems from deep seated low self esteem due to early childhood experiences. My deep seated belief is that if I am just me, faults and all, that it is just not good enough. So I have to improve myself first, and then I can join with others in work or other relationships. This creates constant pressure to be other than who we are at any given moment, and that pressure can result in TMS.

    You have a great start on your healing journey. But it is a journey. Fortunately, there are many wonderful people on this forum to provide support and inspiration as you forge ahead. Best wishes to you..........
     
    grapefruit and Hayley like this.
  3. GenXer

    GenXer Newcomer

    Thanks so much Ellen. I have done a lot of self-reflection and I just can't come to the conclusion that it is a self-esteem issue (yet). I have had a very successful career and truly enjoyed my work for my entire career. It was rare that something at work stressed me out. I think it stems more from my initial struggles when I tried to work through the pain 6 years ago and would have flare ups throughout the day that left me completely debilitated and unable to make it through a day and then be uncertain for the next few days. The pain itself scares me more than anything because of how bad it was... I don't want to put myself in that situation again, so in my mind it's easier to just avoid work and not put myself and my colleagues in a situation where I can't stay focused and be relied upon. It happened again about 18 months ago when I had been back doing part-time work for over a year and then the pain forced me to the sidelines again. On my bad days I can barely stand up straight and walk for any length of time. Now, in addition to work related anxiety, I'm worried again about how I'm going to get any Christmas shopping done and cancelling my planned holiday parties. I'm trying meditation and focusing on happy things, but so far nothing is helping. Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

    GX
     

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