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Exercise and High Expectations

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by LindaRK, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. LindaRK

    LindaRK Well known member

    What a concept for someone with TMS, huh? :)

    Ever since my back pain started (circa 2006), my activity level went way down. Add that to a desk job and well, that's not good. I did yard work and short walks, but that was about it. I would cycle through using the treadmill. So, I did the SEP and during that time promised myself that I'm going to get in the swing of things once the snow melted. This would be for me and my general health and having nothing to do with my back. I did use my treadmill, but was looking forward to activity outdoors.

    So, here I am ..... walking 1-1.5 miles every day at a pretty good clip with some incline and riding the bike about 2-3 miles several times each week ... same thing with some high intensity training involved to increase my heart rate. Today, I came in and just felt like giving up, thinking "why can't I do more without feeling out of breath, etc.?" I recuperate fairly soon and feel good after, but I just beat myself up over this. I have NEVER been an athlete. In fact, when I had to run in school I would get sideaches! The funny part about this (skewed thinking) is that I feel like I'm missing out on something or not part of the "club" because I don't run. In fact, it's the same with having a glass of wine or drinking coffee, neither of which I do.

    So, I guess my question is, how do you deal with thoughts like this and beating myself. Part of me knows that any exercise is good for my health and I'm ahead of the game there, but then it goes to the "not good enough" mindset.

    On a good note, there was some fear involved with getting back on the bike as it was associated with lower back pain, but no measurable pain!
  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    I accept myself, I appreciate myself, I love myself.... repeat this to yourself, it will help to put in perspective what you are getting worked up by.
    Walking is just as good as running in my opinion, plus you are more able to enjoy your surroundings.
    North Star and LindaRK like this.
  3. LindaRK

    LindaRK Well known member

    Wise words and I will use them as my exercise mantra. Thanks, Gigalos!
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  4. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Linda. I think you are doing great! As far as not beating yourself up, developing awareness for when you are doing it is a great first step. I have been working on this for a while and I still catch myself doing it. The internal bully is strong in me! But it is getting easier for me and it is possible to retrain yourself. And it is simply a matter of becoming aware and retraining your chronic thought processes. There is no objective truth to the things we beat ourselves up with. We truly are our own worst critics(or expert critics depending on how you look at it). One thing that has helped me is to examine some of the things I say to myself and then ask myself "would I say this to one of my close friends?" I have yet to find something that I honestly would say to one of my close friends. I was starting to list some examples and then it was just too embarrassing. As I started to write them they actually looked absurd, and yet these are some of the things I would regularly say to myself in the privacy of my mind. You can also write them in your journal and then give counter arguments to them. The important thing is to take away their power and validity because they are not the truths we want to build our lives on, and yet many of us do. All the exercise you are doing is fantastic and I think you'll find there is an enormous club of people who can walk and don't ever run. I don't ever run but I walk 45 minutes almost every day. If we look for someone to compare ourselves to unfavorably, we will find it. I would like to know more about more about these running, coffee and wine drinking clubs. I drink wine and coffee and I still don't feel like I belong a lot of the time. So maybe this is about something else, and worth exploring.
  5. LindaRK

    LindaRK Well known member

    Ha Anne! It's the club that's in my mind ...... LOL! It's all part of those high expectations and what I think everybody else is doing and what I SHOULD be doing. Ugh! It's so easy to get caught up in that mindset. I agree - I need to work on re-training my mindset. Not an easy thing to do, but with lots of repetition, I will do it. Just need to be patient with myself, which is yet another hard thing to do! LOL
    North Star likes this.
  6. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, you will do it. Being patient is like being happy, it is not a static or an achievable goal within itself. But it does snowball and the more you practice, the easier it gets without so much effort.
    LindaRK likes this.
  7. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Linda,

    First of all, Anne has given you some great advice and I would also like to echo her encouragement for the progress that you've made thus far. Way to go!
    Having an awareness of your own tendency towards self-abuse and being able to be able to identify it in action is a huge huge step on the road towards taking some control of those thoughts and putting them in their place. To that end, I thought I'd offer a little perspective on how thoughts sometimes work and how it connects to your pain.

    I can't tell you how many of my clients have come to me saying things like "If only I could run/hike/ride my bike/surf, etc. then I wouldn't have to worry about all this stuff". It is very very common for TMS to affect people in ways that directly interfere with them doing the things they often use as stress relief in their lives. I've even had singers whose symptoms largely manifest as reflux so, guess what?, no singing!

    Now of course you might be thinking, what the heck? If I'm stressed or frustrated or feeling anxious wouldn't my body or subconscious want me to feel good? Isn't this the right time for me to be doing things that help? Well your conscious mind might be thinking logically but remember the pain is serving a purpose. You can imagine your physical symptoms like a canary in your personal coal mine. The canary isn't the problem, it just lets you know that there is one! So while it might feel as though you wish you could exercise in order to feel better, you would really be ignoring the actual issue: why is your subconscious being driven to create these symptoms in the first place? By examining the repressed emotions and frustrations behind the pain you can to begin address the reasons for the symptoms. Once you begin to really do that, your subconscious won't need to take the drastic step of taking away the things you love most!
    North Star and Anne Walker like this.
  8. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    I know exactly what that's like. I'm the biggest bully to myself.

    Having been an athlete all my life though, you really sound like your more of a "short distance" athlete and not a "long distance" athlete.

    We have a lot of sporting events because humans excel differently. For example, a marathoner and a person who runs the 100 meter dash, look a lot different, and would suck at the others events. Yet, both are athletes.

    I was always known for my athleticism in school because I could play an entire 90 min soccer game without a sub. However, you stop and start a lot in a soccer game and my body recovers quickly ( like yours), so it was possible. I never could just jog for 90 mins straight though; I'm not made for it.

    So I guess my point is this: you might not be a distance runner, but that does not mean you're not athletic. I'm not a distance runner and you sound a lot like me.

    My current workout is: one mile run/walk, 1-2 hours weightlifting, 20 mins stretching.

    I lift because they're all exercises that take 1-2 mins then I rest for one min and lift again. My body was made for it. I feel good, happy and strong. ( on my good days, which I'm getting more of)

    However, running more than 2 miles has always sucked for me. I get winded and bored.

    Maybe you just need to pair your runs with another sport? Or try a new sport?
    Check this out: all different, yet all athletes
    http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/howard-schatz-beverly-ornstein-athlete?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed: mymodernmet/ADjE (Everyone's Blog Posts - My Modern Metropolis)

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  9. jazzhands

    jazzhands Peer Supporter

    Linda, sounds like you're off to a good start. I've been there, (first I was very fat, then I had TMS) you have to build up to it. The second is changing your approach to exercise. You need to identify it not as an appearance goal (I will fit into these clothes) which it doesn't sound like you are doing, not as a performance goal (I will run/bike X miles in Y minutes) but as a part of your identity (I show up every day and run, regardless of how hard it is). It gets easier! As you said, you're already ahead of the curve. Keep going and note your progress.
    Anne Walker likes this.

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