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Breaking out of my shell...

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Larkspur, Dec 28, 2020.

  1. Larkspur

    Larkspur Peer Supporter

    I’ve been a lurker here for a little over a year and I’ve really appreciated this site and learned a ton from the posters here. One of my issues is emotional repression and not discussing my personal stuff(!) so, in an effort to be more open, I decided I should post my story here. So here goes!

    I’ve had TMS for almost 30 years, starting when my parents died when I was in college and ramping up with an onslaught of other traumatic events over the years. My main issues have been migraines, fatigue, thyroid disease (not TMS, although possibly caused by emotional duress), heart palpitations, anxiety and depression. I’m also a highly sensitive person (sheesh…I feel embarrassed even typing that. It’s SO not what I strive to be. Anyhoo…) so I have other issues like extreme sensitivity to alcohol and drugs, even over the counter drugs. I throw up if I even look at a glass of wine.

    I have all the other TMS personality traits—do-gooder (check!) perfectionist, workaholic, people pleaser.

    Over the years I tried all the things…supplements (lots of $$!), biofeedback, allergy testing, restrictive diets (gluten free, sugar free, whole 30, and low histamine), chiropractic (my one visit left me with excruciating pain down my left side that persisted for a month), and acupuncture (while I found some success with this, the acupuncturist was always selling me really expensive supplements that I felt obligated to buy (boundary issues and trouble saying no!) so I spent hundreds of dollars on that. I finally called it quits when he wanted me to spend $300 on a “cleanse” that would eliminate “toxins.” I finally walked away at that point.

    About a year ago I stumbled onto the curable app and it was a revelation—so many things finally made sense! Then I found this site and read a lot about TMS and came to understand so many things about myself…it was a huge step forward. Like many TMS’ers though, I worked at overcoming TMS really, REALLY hard. I wanted to get an “A” in TMS! I wanted to work at relaxing harder than anyone had ever worked before (ha ha, a little TMS joke). Eventually I realized that I was spending too much time obsessing about TMS and it was time to just live my life…my migraines had gone from about one a week to about one a month, and I was feeling much better. I started running, and that gave me tremendous confidence. I discovered that my body could get stronger, and I could improve, if I just had patience and persisted slowly, without pushing too hard. Over the course of about a year I went from not being able to run at all, to running about 3 miles a day. I was doing great! A few months ago I decided to start training for a half marathon. Unfortunately, in the course of increasing my mileage, I miscalculated and ran much farther than I had intended. The next day, I was in tremendous pain and could barely walk. I also felt exhausted and my migraines came back with a vengeance. Over the next few weeks, the exhaustion and migraines didn’t really get better and I started obsessing about my health and spiraling back into old thought patterns—“my body is broken” “I’ll never be normal” “there’s just something wrong with me”, etc. Without realizing it, I had fallen back into TMS and it never even occurred to me that that was what was going on. Finally, the light bulb went off and I realized that I was experiencing TMS again. I don’t know why it took so long to make the connection, but it sure was easy to relapse into the old patterns of negative thinking, catastrophizing, and believing that my body was fundamentally broken. As soon as I realized that this was all in my head, my fatigue improved and I was able to run again.

    Although I’ve made big improvements, I know I still have work to do. I still repress a lot emotionally. My migraines are better but still a problem—often when I’m trying to stuff down some anger or frustration. As an HSP, I’ve gradually become more and more isolated because friendships are just too draining for me. I found myself withdrawing from almost everyone into a protective bubble which just seems easier and safer. COVID honestly has been a relief for me—the normal world just feels too fast paced and overwhelming and I’m happiest when I’m at home with my dogs. As an introvert and an HSP and a TMS’er I’ve spent a lifetime pretending to be something I’m not—outgoing, healthy, and mentally together. People who know me probably have no idea that I struggle with all of this because I present a very good façade.

    I know I’ve taken isolation to an extreme and it’s probably not healthy to live that way. I’m working on not seeing myself as a fragile piece of glass that has to be handled in just the right way, but someone who is resilient and flexible. I’m not there yet, but I do hope to be some day. I’m back reading this site and posting my story because I realize that I still have work to do and I will try to keep it balanced—a little focus on my emotional health, but not obsessing over it, but just enough to deal with things as they come up in a healthy way. Thanks to all of the posters here for showing me the light at the end of the tunnel!
    Baseball65, Piano Mom and backhand like this.
  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I knew I wasn't alone. I schedule my workday around my dog and it has actually made me really stable...and she's happy too!
    All of us have... or we wouldn't be generating all of that repressed anger. After recovering from TMS, trying to find a more sustainable way of life is also an important part of staying recovered.
    I have never met anybody with TMS who hasn't had a conversion or a relapse. I guess the turning point came for me after I began to realize that virtually all of my discomforts were probably TMS. Hell, Louis Hay said even our accidents stem from an unconscious desire to punish ourselves

  3. Larkspur

    Larkspur Peer Supporter

    Thanks for your reply! Finding that more sustainable life and being authentic seems like a big puzzle to me and I won't say it's impossible, because I don't want to create that thought in my mind, but it's daunting for sure. I think I've spent my life trying to be someone else because society doesn't like/reward a lot of my characteristics--quiet and shy are not considered positives in the US at least. But, ya know, screw what other people think! :)
    Baseball65 likes this.

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