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Boredom / restlessness causing TMS?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by BloodMoon, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Lizzy,

    I too was frightened of my father. He regarded me as a nuisance, sometimes hit me, and it was hard especially because I was on my own with no siblings for moral support. I have wondered if I too suffer with perhaps a mild form of PTSD but, in researching it, I don't seem to really fit the symptoms. The lack of love in my childhood though drove me to comfort myself with food from about the age of 7. I then went on a diet in my teens and headed towards anorexia (I took laxatives and pretended to eat when I hadn't) but then somehow I went back to comfort eating (probably because I had felt so weak with restricting my food intake). Thankfully, in recent years I've got my eating pretty much under control, but I had problems around food most of my life...Our parents can be responsible for so much heartache and damage!

    Thank you again for telling me about the book. (By the way, I didn't buy the other book by the same author that I was going to get because I saw that the reviews said that it was just a rehash of the original 1994 book.)
    NNava, Balsa11, TrustIt and 1 other person like this.
  2. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member


    My goodness, we have such similar histories. I practically stopped eating in jr high school after a particularly crushing comment by my dad. The school nurse actually called my mom because i lost so much weight! I then gradually increased to overeating until in my 20's I was very overweight. Finally at 33 I began to eat better and have had a pretty good eating pattern ever since. I'm 52, so I'm very glad to be doing better. It really is easy for a parent to destroy parts of a child.

    I'm glad you found out that the other book would not have added to what you are learning. Thanks so much for sharing this with me, and others here!

  3. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    It is indeed remarkable how similar our histories are! Where else did we have to turn to when we were children - other than to food - for comfort when being treated so badly/unkindly?...And the anorexia when we got a bit older is, I understand, generally usually about trying to have some control over our lives (while in reality our parents still controlled everything). I'm 60 and it's only in recent years that I've been able to get into full recovery; I very gradually lost 77lb during the process. Now 'all' I have to do is conquer my TMS!..But you and others on this forum are helping me do so; I've only recently joined the forum and I'm seeing some changes in me for the good already :). I hope you are healed from TMS, Lizzy. I obviously read on my 'where in the body we feel our emotions' thread that you still get some symptoms, but I do hope that they are purely a blip in the great scheme of things. Xx
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
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  4. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Hmm I'm a morning person, though.
  5. TrustIt

    TrustIt Well known member

    "However, I do think combatting boredom and fear is one of the absolute necessities in my recovery. I am so aware that when I am absorbed and stimulated by something that any symptoms I may have at the time are far less troublesome."

    I posted before this very thing...boredom. It seems my mind needs something to do all the time. Some problem to fix. I too have always mastered things quickly and wanted to move on. I am bored silly a lot and guilty about it bc there is nothing wrong with my life generally speaking. I can do just about anything I want to do so there's no reason to be bored. I just cannot seem to get motivated to do anything. I have journaled. I have read all the books and I come here for advice and encouragement and also hopefully to help someone else. This started with a chronic, extremely aggravating sinus and throat issue. Then trying to get to the bottom of that, I started stressing over allergies to foods I might be eating or to my environment, and just disappeared into a bottomless rabbit hole of fear and stress. I developed IBS. Now I have both. Isn't that great! What is so frustrating now is that I've given up my fear of food and eat anything I want. That is wonderful but I still have post nasal drip and too many bouts of IBS and have no idea what triggers it. The only real stress I have is purpose or lack thereof. The past five or six years have been the most frustrating of my entire life. It's brought out so many different emotions, which is good, but a lot of self-pity unfortunately. The intensity is much less these days so I know I'm on the right track but damn is it slow and sometimes very disheartening. Why can't I master this like so many other things in my life? All said, I am optimistic.
  6. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Boredom means your vitality and energy is back. It's a good thing. Why do we make every little thing an issue? Find something fun to do and enjoy your life:)
  7. TrustIt

    TrustIt Well known member

    i know that sounds petty, Balsa11, but my bigger point was to wonder if the boredom "issue" is actually CREATING the digestive issues. as if, there is nothing interesting to do so guess i'll create some major discomfort in my body so i can have something to work on. it's a weird and ridiculous catch 22 since the ibs discomfort discourages me from doing anything else. wearing me out.
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  8. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Probably chronic tension or worry? Oh and fixating on symptoms of course.
    TrustIt likes this.
  9. NNava

    NNava New Member

    Hi! I'm reading through this entire post and I know it's many years later. I too have come to this boredom conclusion. I know there are plenty of things to do,. Life is not boring but I am internally bored with it. I know life offers many things to do but finding the interest to do them seems to be the challenge. What this has done is caused me to feel that I am a quitter who lacks follow through. Barrel through one thing or half way through it and then on to the next, knowing deep inside there's a 1% chance I'll complete whatever I'm doing. Glad I found this today. I thought I'd at least search "boredom" on the wiki sure and your post is first to pop up. It's exactly what I needed to read at this time.

    Long story short, I too have the food challenges since childhood. I struggled with bulimia/anorexia all through my childhood and 20's. Then food normalized for me. I started my own business and for first time I found what I love. I injured myself, lost business and that injury turned into fibromyalgia years later. After finding TMS I am now pretty much pain free. But,.. the food thing has re surfaced. I'm now eating everything and constantly thinking about being overweight. I see the replacement. Food is now the new "problem" to solve. My question is,. If you don't mind sharing, how did you handle your issues with food? I see it as TMS because I want to eat a lot but I don't want to be heavy. So there's a major conflict there. TIA
  10. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi NNava,

    Welcome to the forums.

    For me, boredom and overeating are inextricably linked and are also tied up with fear -- the fear (and resentment) that I have gradually discovered is really the root cause of my TMS.

    The answer for me regarding overeating has been to accept the humdrumness of daily life by forcing myself to 'lean' into it. Routine was an anathema to me so I faced it head on and deliberately created a sensible daily regimen to stick to, which I initially had to really force myself to adhere to. I do daily chores that I used to avoid as much as possible. I don't have to force myself nowadays, but I also made myself go out for a morning walk - come rain or shine, whatever the weather - and more recently I made myself 'dance' (for 'dance' read 'sway about' as best I can despite my bodily pain) each evening in my living room to some music I like. The exercise lifts my mood and I believe boosts the metabolism for weight loss.

    I also practise what I guess amounts to mindfulness, for example, by keeping to a schedule of tasks which includes making healthy meals from scratch -- doing lots of 'boring' vegetable preparation -- and endeavouring to concentrate on those tasks while I do them, gently pulling my mind back to the present whenever it goes off into fearful and resentful meanderings regarding events that happened in the past and what might happen in the future.

    The longer I've kept to a routine, the easier it has got for me to do tasks without lethargy, apathy and resentment...'magically' my feelings very gradually changed towards performing them. They don't feel like boring chores anymore and have become just a way of living and an important way of living. I used to scoff (no eating pun intended!) at advice given by people to walk and observe and 'smell the roses' and notice the little things in life as, when I tried to do that, it didn't work. However, once I pushed myself to walk, do chores etc., noticing the little things and smelling the roses etc., began to happen for me kind of automatically and it gives me some peace and serenity. (I guess, therefore, that I had previously been doing things the wrong way round, if you see what I mean?) So, anyway, I can say with 'hand on heart' that I no longer feel 'viscerally' bored like I used to and I have accepted what I couldn't accept before and that is that my life may be a relatively small life in the great scheme of things, but that's okay. When I look back I think I wanted to make a mark somehow, but didn't know how...and now I feel it really doesn't matter.

    Over the last year, I found that I was putting on some weight -- due to portion sizes rather than binge eating -- although I could still see that there was an element of comfort eating involved, what with what's happening in the world, to include the pandemic, and difficult decisions I've had to make about various things. So, I changed my routine to eating 5 very small meals a day, at the same time every day, to even out blood sugar levels and to stop cravings (for comfort). The meals (which are more like snacks) consist of small portions of what I would normally eat. I cook a normal size meal and divide it into two or three or sometimes four smaller portions, eat one portion and save the rest for later that day or the next day. These small meals don't initially immediately satisfy my hunger, but I ignore that hunger and get on with other things and lo and behold, an hour later I realise that I'm no longer hungry. And when I do get hungry, it's usually only just before my next due snack and now the food tastes really great, even without sugary and/or salty sauces etc. I no longer want sugar, salt and lots of carbs.

    Other things that have helped me with my weight-loss and recovery from binge, comfort and overeating are:
    • Eating a little bit of protein (meat or fish/seafood or cheese or nuts or seeds) with each meal.
    • Cutting down on carbohydrates, e.g. when I have a curry, I don't have any rice.
    • I have some fresh fruit everyday, but only a small portion, and never drink fruit juices as it raises my blood sugar too high and isn't as satisfying as eating whole fruit.
    • I eat some dairy every day, e.g. some kefir (for the good bacteria in it).
    • I eat gluten free.
    • I don't have any cakes or chocolate or cookies and such like in my house (not even gluten free ones) and I don't drink alcohol. I drink only water, when I'm thirsty.
    • I always have things ready in the fridge and my kitchen cupboards that I like that are also healthy to snack on that can be eaten by themselves or in combination - things that are quick and easy...a hard boiled egg, a few nuts, a small piece of cheese etc.
    • I take a multivitamin and multimineral capsule a day - one without iron, copper or iodine.
    • I wear a wrist 'watch' that vibrates 10 times a day...it buzzes to remind me to get a snack together and then 10 to 15 minutes after that it vibrates again to remind me to eat. That way I don't get too caught up in things and find myself late for my next snack or miss it altogether, which can lead to low blood sugar and cravings.
    Despite all of the above, my fibromyalgia-like pain symptoms haven't vanished, but of late they have reduced somewhat; I think this is because my routine - concentrating on and paying attention to other things in life - stops me dwelling on them and this is teaching my brain that I can't be fooled into believing that my TMS symptoms are significant.

    I hope that something I've said may be of some help to you.

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2021
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  11. NNava

    NNava New Member

    Thank you very much for this. What great advice and information. The portioning and eating 5 small meals really makes sense for me. I really appreciate your taking the time to write this and share these insights with me. Last night after reading this I had a piece of chicken and I was going to slice a whole cucumber but as I had half on the plate it was quite a bit. So at your advice I sliced the other half and put lemon juice on it and bagged it up. I was full with just the half so that was nice to see.
    I screen shot your reply and will read it probably a few more times as there was so much good advice. Boredom and fear are both big pieces of my TMS puzzle.
    Thank you again
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  12. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    You're very welcome! And I'm glad that something I said is already helping! :)

    Last night I was thinking about what I wrote and a couple of other things popped into my head regarding my relationship with food, which I thought might gel with you.

    When I was a kid, my parents used food as a reward and to pacify and shut me up, so that they weren't bothered by me. Unfortunately, that got me hooked on food, like a drug. So, something that I've done, tbh without really intentionally thinking about it, is to never anymore use food to pacify or reward myself or to celebrate anything...Birthdays etc., are celebrated in other pleasant ways; if food is at all involved at all, it's kind of incidental (consumed only because it's a snack/meal time and I need to eat) and I make sure it's only healthy stuff. (I've had enough ice cream and cake in my life already and don't need any more!) I recognise that this is an alien and unthinkable to a lot of people because most cultures show love and caring with food and feasts etc., but, of course, love can be shown in other ways.

    Another thing is that, with what I've been doing (as described in my previous posting) I now have a changed mindset regarding food. I now think of food as fuel...I only need an appropriate amount to keep me going and the quality (healthfulness) of the food is important to keep me 'running' as well as possible.

    BW from BM
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2021
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  13. NNava

    NNava New Member

    Interesting! That makes so much sense. That program "Noom" for weight loss,. On one of their commercials a man stated that he belonged to "the clean plate club." When he was a child you had to clean your plate whether you were full or not. So he was a good boy for cleaning his plate. Not stopping when you're full.

    I'll have to be creative with this because I love cooking! It's one of my favorite hobbies. I've worked in restaurants since age 16 and just truly enjoy the art of food. I'm also extremely critical of my body. I'm not overweight right now, just too heavy for my critical mind and it becomes obsessive, so it's dangerous territory for me. So I'm kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place. What I have been doing is increasing my activity. I've been able to do an intense workout program 3-4 days a week with no pain.

    Something I've observed by looking at my life is if I'm thin, I'm not doing well. If I'm at a healthy weight or even a little chunky, I'm happy. I was never punished or rewarded with food by others, I seem to be the one using food as a punishment or reward but not consciously. If I'm anxious, stressed, sad, angry etc, my appetite is gone. Nowhere to be found. If I feel joy, happiness, silly etc I have a good appetite. And I am happy right now. Three years ago I was in so much pain I truly wanted to kill myself. I was done. I'm no longer in that place. So I feel this deep joy which I'm trying to just enjoy but my obsessive mind is now trying to keep me focused on my weight. It's a tricky thing I'm learning.

    On a side note,. I almost feel like with TMS, you have to find something you are ok with obsessing over and give that to your brain so that you have some control over what its obsession is. It's like whack-a-mole. Once I conquer one thing it transforms into something else. So they're all the same thing disguised as something different. If I say to my brain,. "Here, obsess on drawing." Perhaps I will guide my brain towards something positive and in the end will become an amazing artist. Does that make sense?

    Thank you again for your replies, you have truly offered some great information.
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  14. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    I wasn’t forced to clean my plate, but I can relate to not stopping when you’re full. In my case, I remember when I was a kid eating big roast dinners followed by apple pie with cream, cooked by my mother on Sundays and a little while afterwards, we would eat great chunks of chocolate and other sweets, i.e. candies (I’m English), that my father used to bring home…I could hardly move for the rest of the day! (I think that my parents stuffing themselves with food was a reaction to having lived through the second world war years of rationing; in the UK they didn't stop rationing sugar until 1953, the year that my parents got married.) Anyway, we all put on weight, but my parents eventually dieted and stayed relatively slim for the rest of their lives. However, what they had done to my young impressionable brain had got me hooked, and that addiction continued to be fed (pun intended) as they continued to sedate me with food so that I wouldn't show, or bother them with, my emotions.

    Ah, okay, I can see that viewing food purely as ‘fuel’ wouldn’t necessarily be a good fit for you, but maybe eating little and often could still possibly work – cooking and eating tasty, healthy morsels? I don’t know what type of food you like to cook, but the nouvelle cuisine popped into my head as the food is light, in small portions and artistic.

    Do you enjoy those intense workouts or are they mainly a means to an end? Would you do them if you weren’t concerned about putting on weight or would you do something maybe less intensive that you perhaps might enjoy just as much or more to keep fit and healthy? Perhaps these may be questions to ask yourself.

    I say the above because, although it doesn’t sound like you’re really messed up around food like I unfortunately was, and so it’s probably unlikely to happen to you, but doing a lot of exercise to prevent or counteract any weight gain can, of course, become part of an obsession. When I was in my teens I dieted and for a brief period I believe I was heading towards anorexia. I exercised a lot and took laxatives and said I had eaten when I hadn't, but I snapped out of that when I almost passed out one day due to lack of food, which just happened to coincide with my boyfriend dumping me for another girl, so I believe my immature brain thought "what's the point? I give up!"...And then the pendulum swung the other way and I began overeating again and put on more and more weight. I’m not saying that you’re on that kind of slippery path, but it can happen to some. I've needed to find a balance, an equilibrium between exercise and eating that doesn’t involve 'too much' of either albeit 'too much' can be hard to quantify. My personal motto these days is ‘what's good for me -- in moderation’.

    With me, I used to turn to food especially when I was anxious, stressed etc., but also when I felt happy! I had to break the emotional link with food to succeed in stopping my binge and comfort eating, which is why I don't celebrate anything with food anymore, albeit I do nevertheless actually enjoy the healthy food that I now eat.

    Good to hear that you are no longer in that place. I’ve been in that very dark place too and got out of it, even though I still have bodily pain. Have you tried talking to your brain to tell it to quit with focussing on your weight, plus doing lots of other things you enjoy?

    Yes, that absolutely does make sense. I’ve tried doing that, but it didn’t work for me as there wasn't any one positive thing that my brain wanted to latch on to. I’m not saying that it isn’t worth trying and that it won’t work for you and others, however, I think that the TMS-er brain usually/essentially just wants to obsess about and concentrate on things that aren’t positive…it wants us to keep on being fearful in one way or another about this, that or the other, to protect us. Rather than obsessing over something positive, maybe the answer is to get involved in a variety of positive and pleasant activities. This is something I'm still figuring out myself as I haven't yet conquered/lost my physical pain. Many of those on this forum who have freed themselves of TMS say they did it by ignoring their symptoms as best they could and 'getting on with life', so I am trusting that my daily routines and involvement in numerous, varied activities and my not dwelling on my symptoms, will eventually get me there.

    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021

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