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facing a fear

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Leslie, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    It seems that one of my fears is asking for help, or maybe it's admitting to myself, recognizing, that I need it. Either way, the pattern with that fear is that somehow I miss all the signals and just keep pushing on (guess this is where the repressing comes in) until I'm deep in a hole. Any time it happens I can always identify tons of signals in hindsight but I don't see them as they flash initially.

    So, here I am again, in a hole. The physical symptoms are flaring complete with some sort of respiratory/sinus thing and a hormonal rollercoaster, the depression is strong, the anxiety is high, and I can't see out. More accurately I guess would be to say that I can't see in...I cannot see what is going on inside me that is requiring all these "protective measures" from my brain. Fortunately I can see them as protective measures (to an extent), but this is a pattern that I feel must change if I'm going to heal.

    So, this is me facing my fear big time and attempting to change this pattern. Not only do I very rarely ever ask for help, I'm not sure I've ever done it when I didn't actually know what I was wanting help with. I desperately want help, support, encouragement, any thoughts anyone might have as to what I'm not seeing.
  2. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member


    I'm not really sure I can help except to say I feel for you. I think my biggest difficulty right now is fear, too, but for me it's fear of the pain. Although I'm MUCH less fearful of it than I was 6 months ago, that fear is still there. I am practicing Claire Weekes' cure of accepting the pain and relaxing into it when I feel it, as well as allowing the fear to "break like a wave" over me when I feel fear. Fighting against fear is almost as useless as fighting against pain.
    I am sending good thoughts your way, and hoping you will someday soon be able to see a therapist.

  3. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Thank you so much for your support and good thoughts Gail. I think sometimes empathy is the best help we can give or receive and I thank you very much for it, it is very helpful. Claire Weekes' "floating" is getting total credit for what I believe was my ability to avoid a full blown anxiety attack while I was food shopping on Monday. Anxiety is another thing that is pretty much useless to fight against...I think maybe it's because the "fight" response has an automatic implication of a winner (survivor) and a looser (casualty).
  4. CMA

    CMA Peer Supporter

    Like Gail said not sure of what advice to give you except I really feel for you. I could be writing your post today. Its the fear that makes is so hard...I am inspired by Gail's other post and per the advice in the pain free book I am planning to try living fear free for a day, then may be a week...Hang in there. You are strong and will get through this rough time. I am also right there with you trying hard to not get worked up with anxiety...hoping will get there sometime. Hang in there and many good wishes and thoughts your way.
  5. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Your kind words and well wishes are a tremendous help. You're helping me to see that my "fear of asking for help" is keeping me locked in the pattern. I made the attempt to live fear free (that was a great post Gail!) when I clicked the "post" button on this thread and put the fact that I am not a superhero & need help out there for the whole world wide web to read. You have both shown me that asking for/admitting to needing help did not produce whatever catastrophic results I might have been expecting way down deep in there. Instead I was met with compassion and empathy, which is the best possible help I can ask for! Thank you sooo much!
    gailnyc likes this.
  6. Layne

    Layne Well known member

    I have the same problem. I have gotten in trouble at work for not asking for help when I needed it - but how can I ask for help if I don't know I need it? I think the need to seem competent is so deeply ingrained that I don't know when to ask for help. I have always been very independent... Even my thesis adviser told me that I don't seek enough support. When my manager brought up my needing help I snapped at her and immediately fell into a super emotional shame spiral. Gnarly. Thank you for posting this - it has offered me a new issue to explore! I hadn't realized it could be responsible for some of my symptoms!
    Wow, so this must be where I am now! I had never thought about it that way.
  7. Stella

    Stella Well known member


    My path the last few months has been one long roller coaster. I had almost completly stopped journaling. I got too involved in other issues. I was not taking care of my mind. I, too, have not been able to see in. I slipped significantly... primarily back in to depression. So now I am digging my way back out. I know I can do it and I know you can too.

    The constant issues with my parents particularly my Mother are very challenging for me. As said ....worry, fear and anxiety are fuel for the TMS symptoms. But I can do it. I need to get all the tools out of my tool chest.

    Bravo to you for expressing your need.
  8. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    You really gave me something to think about here Layne. I hadn't thought of my inability to see I need it, or to ask for help, as having anything to do with shame, but it definitely does. Possibly it's completely rooted there. I was "trained" not to ask for/need help, primarily by my father I think. He has been a "one-man residential contracting company" for most of my life. There were various times that he had employees but that generally seemed to add more stress than anything else. I have seen him physically accomplish things on his own that are nothing short of amazing to me. His seemingly "super-human" abilities (I used to describe him as a cross between Macgyver and Inspector Gadget) led to nearly impossible expectations of me. As I imagine is probably true of all of us, we all have a tendency to forget that we all have individual strengths and weaknesses so our abilities are not the same. Not only do we have difficulty comprehending why someone else can't "do what I can do", we all learn to create those unattainable expectations of ourselves. So the messages I got were literally "if you want something done right you have to do it yourself" and that "needing help" was shameful, meant you weren't good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to do it yourself. Intellectually I know that is complete crap, but intellect goes out the window when anxiety and depression show up.

    I'm sorry that you're in the same hole I am, but I'm thrilled to have you because maybe we can help one another learn to know when we need help, and how to accept it!
    Layne likes this.
  9. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I'm sorry to hear you're on the roller coaster too. It's funny, when I was writing the part about the roller coast in my post, the image I had in my mind was of me being in the last seat of it, without any type of safety restraints, headed up a "loop". I was the only one even in the amusement park, let alone on the roller coaster. As sad as I am to know others are dealing with the same types of issues (because I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy), I am also finding it incredibly comforting to realize that I am not even the only one on the roller coaster, let alone in the park.

    You're absolutely right, we can do this!! As I was reading your post I realized that I too stopped journaling. I had kidded myself into believing that the "token writing" I was doing was journaling, but it was not. There was very little emotion surfacing in the bits and pieces that I was writing. Issues with my mother seem to be at the forefront of my struggles as well, and although I know she was not solely the reason for my recent flare-up, she did make a significant contribution. We must get out the tools. All the tools in the world will not keep the house from crumbling if they're all collecting dust in the garage.

    PS I think I might have gotten to the root of "why" I "need" my ridiculously high pain tolerance! I also think it's possible that I'll "need" it less and less going forward.
  10. Karen

    Karen Peer Supporter

    Leslie, I sure empathize with you hon. In the last month of my life, I have had to look at every area where I was still 'people pleasing' and resenting it. I was so honest and up-front with all my friends, family members and clients last week...I don't know where I got the nerve to speak as openly, firm and honest with them. I can't believe I got up the courage to say 'no' to many things. I didn't even care if they aprroved me or not. I was 'dying' because of the people pleaser in me.

    I don't know what came over me!!! I just feel so powerful right now!! I had to get sooooooooo angry at my whole life again. (I've been through this program many years ago when I was much younger.) I allowed everyone to take control of my life again

    Maybe, (just a suggestion) you could search out to see if you are still doing this co-dependant behavior. There's a LOT of resentment that sits inside the body with this 'disease to please'!!

    I want to live a happy, free, and pain free life. They all ask too much of me and I allowed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:mad: It has sure helped my pain level this week!

    hug for you today my friend.
    G.R. likes this.
  11. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    Hey Stella, you still have your acid reflux under control?
  12. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    My hope is that these words will be a true statement for me as well in the very near future. The courage to put my own needs and wants first without caring whether or not someone else approves of my choice is a strength I am trying to develop.

    You got me on this one Karen. No search required, the people-pleaser has been fully engaged over the last few weeks. Feeling desperate, I had taken a job watching a child in a home that had an internal surveillance system. I knew that when I accepted the job and I thought it was a wonderful thing - nothing I wouldn't want myself if I was going to allow a stranger into my home to care for my child. What I didn't know was that it was going to be "scrutinized" within hours of my leaving and I was going to be provided with "constructive criticism" seemingly of my every move and interaction with the child. I thought it was there as a safety precaution for the child, the family, and also for me. I thought it would prevent me from being unjustly accused of any wrong-doing...trouble was I was thinking of "wrong-doing" in terms of abuse, neglect, or stealing - those types of things. It never occurred to me that to some people, not doing things exactly the way they do them might be considered "wrong-doing". When I care for children I take a hands on approach. I get down on their level and interact with them. I don't take the "I'll sit here and watch you watch tv approach". The approach I don't take turned out to be the approach this family wanted and my "wrong-doing" was "trying too hard", "playing with the child too much". I'm sure this is not the only area the people-please has been running wild so I will take your advise and go on a hunt!

    YES!!! I want you to live a happy, free, and pain free life and I want it for myself as well. I will find the courage to stop allowing and accommodating!

    thank you so much!
    Karen likes this.
  13. Karen

    Karen Peer Supporter

    Hon, I'd be dropping those people so fast and run in the opposite direction ..........

    Make up your mind to not allow people to do this to you anymore. Tell them to go find the 'perfect' babysitter....you're not it and you never will be to crazy perfectionists like this. You'll never be good enough for them...neither will anyone else, so don't take it personally.

    Someday, these type of people will be as sick as us and won't know why. Feel sorry for them but get out and go find someone who just wants you to love their child. You don't have to prove anything to anybody.
    Hug for you today.
  14. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    You're so right Karen. Tuesday was actually my last day with that family. They decided that full-time daycare was a better fit for their child (and I could't agree more), I'd be curious to know how they plan to "control" what happens there though :rolleyes: I actually did find myself feeling sorry for them, the day I realized that with a parent in the hospital with an unknown cause, who had to be resuscitated, they were so "control happy" that they not only made time to watch the 4 hour video of the child's interaction with me, but to scrutinize it to the point that they noticed a 30 minute time difference from the time they "wanted" the child to have a snack, and the time the child asked for (and I gave) the snack. The following day - with the parent still in the hospital, the favor I was asked was if I would please do everything possible to hold off giving the snack until the specified "window". That is someone who is going to be requiring 24 hr care for TMS pain in the future and I did feel sorry for them.

    I'm working on forgiving myself for feeling so desperate that I put myself in the position to begin with because my gut instinct was telling me not to do it after the first day. I'm also trying not to beat myself up over not having the courage to take the control and stop the toxic relationship myself, rather than wait for them to decide on alternative arrangements. My mind is completely made up not to allow people to do this to me anymore - now I'm just working on developing the courage to follow my made up mind - because I do have to prove that to someone - ME :)
    Karen likes this.
  15. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    The majority of my pain is gone all the time. Twice I have felt pressure in my chest...the acid reflux stuff. Both times I have talked it out of body usually requiring belching....uhhhhh.

    Depression is my struggle. Journaling is the most important thing I do every day...the most important. I am journaling now more than when I was in the program. I "see" what is happening in my head.

    Almost everything I do I replay in my head over and over and over. "If you had said it this way, done it that way, it would have been better. You just have to try harder, just try harder, just try harder then you will get it done perfectly." That critic lives in my head constantly critiquing everything I do. Absolutely nothing is ever "good enough". Everything could be done better...I just have to try harder.

    Journaling helps me talk to that constant critic. "Now, STOP it right now. It is Ok to make mistakes. You don't have to be perfect."
    BruceMC and Karen like this.
  16. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    It's wonderful to read how well you have the pain symptoms under control, very encouraging!

    Depression is probably my biggest, and longest struggle also. I really learned a lot to help quiet that inner critic from Byron Katie. Her book I Need Your Love and Approval - or Do I? really helped me to put those thoughts into perspective. If you haven't read it already, I highly recommend it. I've also found some natural supplements that increase the serotonin production in the brain which are helping tremendously. I won't put them out on the forum, but if you'd like more info on them feel free to send me a private message.

    Do you find a particular journaling technique more effective than others for talking to that critic? I'm also wondering if you've noticed the critic taking the voice of someone in particular more often than not?
  17. cindy

    cindy New Member


    I have the same fear of asking for help. It is very difficult for me to involve others in my inner world and be vulnerable in a group. It's why I always hated going to church as a child, and why I can't bring myself to attend an al-anon meeting, even though I probably need to to get any major degree of healing done. I wish I could articulate how much I HATE these situations. Yet I've reached a point in my life where I feel I can't go forward unless I take this big leap and confront these things, easily my biggest, nastiest fear. Best of luck.
  18. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    I was not doing it but have since read the importance of continuing to journal about all 3 areas. I was primarily journaling about current stresses but have now added the other 2 back in. Journaling about the personality traits has helped me the most recently to stay aware or to "see" my thoughts.

    Basically I just write as fast as I can, moving from one topic to another, just getting it out brings additional understanding and insight. My head always feels better after I write. I don't have anyone voice as my critic. I learned to do it very well myself.
  19. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Cindy, you and I share some common fears and I know all too well how overwhelming they can be. I am very uncomfortable in group settings, and the fewer people I know in the group, the more anxious I am. Truthfully when I have no choice to be in a situation like that I do everything in my power to blend into the wallpaper! Some day I hope to figure out where my fear of people comes from, I've been told it's "social anxiety" to some extent, but I think there is more to it than that because I also find it anxiety provoking to answer the phone unless the caller id shows it's one of a select few people calling....and making calls, excluding that same select few people....the anxiety it produces in me you'd think someone suggested I go out on the street and give a random stranger a hug and a kiss. The funny part is that the job I left when my pain symptoms got out of control required me to place calls to complete strangers who were facing economic hardship. My job was to call them and tell them what additional information the company I worked for was requiring from them before they could receive access to the funds they were seeking. I used to feel a low level of anxiety when I would place a call, but nothing compared to what I might experience making a personal call. Anyway, the good news is that I summoned up my courage today and I place a call that I was anxious about (not surprisingly, for no valid reason). It was a perfectly pleasant call and not only did I survive it, but it also yielded some additional, much needed income. My goal is to try to conquer one small, irrational fear each day in hopes that there will come a day when I have none left. Today was making a call, yesterday was putting my husband's truck into the garage (I put my car in and out all the time and I'm not afraid to put his truck in when the garage is empty, but yesterday I put his truck in when my car was in there - again nothing bad happened. Who knows, maybe tomorrow I'll actually answer the phone if someone outside the select few happens to call! Baby steps!

    Stella I can relate all too well to that inner critic. When I was younger the voice used to take the tone of authority figures in my life but I've gotten so adept at it that I can do it all on my own now too. That is a trait I am trying to work at very consciously. I've found some of the interviews in the self-acceptance project to be very helpful with it. Less than 6 months ago self-compassion was a completely foreign concept to me. A supervisor once told me she was afraid to bring it to my attention when I made an error because she knew the punishment I was going to inflict on myself was far worse than anything she might be required to do in her position. It was only in the past few weeks that I realized just how truly sad that was. Imagine, I was so visibly abusive to myself that my superior was actually afraid to do her job if it involved me. That's just horrible. I never realized how horribly I treated myself but now that I know I'm working toward forgiving myself for it and being kinder. When the critic surfaces I do my best to talk back to her kindly and truthfully. I kindly ask her to provide evidence for the criticism that she's issuing. Little by little it's helping!

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