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Father's Death and Car Accident In Same Day, Need Support

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by donavanf, Apr 14, 2015.

  1. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    Greetings, friends. This is a tough post, and I even hesitated posting it, but I'm going to, because I need support and that is the very name of this forum. I trust you. Some may already know me from prior threads as a peer supporter. Up until this past week, I was making TREMENDOUS progress with my TMS. I'm a photographer and did my first "big shoot" in ages a few weeks ago. I shot over one thousand photos. And with NO pain. A huge step FORWARD. I was able to sit at my computer and edit the images with almost NO neck or shoulder pain. Another huge advance in my progress. Yay, me! Then, the next day was my birthday. I'm 44. A bit of TMS pain, but I figured as much, as Sarno says, aging is a trigger. I had a nice, quiet, sweet birthday dinner with my older sister, received a lot of lovely notes, calls and texts from friends, came home and went to bed. Pain was at a 1 or 2. The next morning I awoke to the news that my father was dead. And not just any father, but a worldwide famous one, whom I've been estranged from for the last 15 years. Not of my doing, but my stepmother's, who stole my father away from my family within a few months of my mother dying. I had a VERY close relationship with my dad until 2001. While I was deeply saddened to hear the news, in a way, it was a gentle relief. My father was elderly, he died peacefully and not in pain, he lived a legacy very few get to, and I had a father who was my hero. And finally, the wondering if I was ever going to reconcile with him while he was alive was finally over. Finally, CLOSURE. I cried and cried, but they were as much tears of letting go as they were of sorrow. Good tears. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, I felt almost no TMS pain on hearing the news. On my way to meet my family to discuss what to do next, I was in a head on car crash as a passenger in the back of an Uber taxi. It was about 35mph, all airbags deployed and I was helped out of the back of the car by paramedics. I was assessed, deemed ok and not taken to hospital, but I was hurting, bad, both emotionally and physically in my neck, ribs and shoulder, so at the paramedics recommendation, I immediately went to see my personal physician, who is caring and wonderful. He ran extensive X-Rays, did an EKG, checked me over from head to toe and told me that I was lucky. No broken bones, no serious injuries, no head trauma, just some mild bruising on the front of my ribcage where the seat belt saved me, and a very stiff neck and back. I got some muscle relaxants and was ordered off work for a couple weeks to rest. Two days later, very luckily, I saw my other doctor, the brilliant TMS specialist Dr. David Schechter. He reviewed the radiology reports, gave me a thorough exam and told me that I was ok. He said, "You're going to be sore for a while, maybe two or three weeks, but you will make a FULL recovery. The next week will be the worst of it, then every day you will get better. You've made great progress with your TMS. This is NOT TMS. You've had a mild setback with your car accident. The hard work you've done with your TMS is not going anywhere. People with TMS get injured. You're shaken up, in some pain, but you are ok. Take it easy, and FEEL your feelings. Keep journaling. This is a very sad, hard time. Your father died. Allow yourself to grieve, be kind to yourself and keep telling yourself that you are ok, your body is strong, you are just healing from a car accident." I asked him if I had whiplash and he chose not to use that word. He said, "Your neck is strained. It will fully heal. Keep affirming that to yourself." He gave me some anti-inflammatories, told me to do gentle stretching, get plenty of rest and stay mildly active, like walking and breathing deep. Hot baths and maybe some gentle massage. He told me not to get physical therapy, unnecessary. Here is my question to you guys. Any further advice? I feel very angry that I got in the car wreck, it's very hard not to have a pity party for myself, almost as if it is easier to feel the pain and anger of the accident, when I should really be feeling my father's passing. To make matters EVEN worse, if that is possible, I've had to field calls from every media outlet from the New York Times to CNN, The Los Angeles Times to NPR. I'm the "heir to the throne" as it will, not so much with money, but with my father's legacy. My Facebook and social media is being FLOODED. I'm feeling VERY overwhelmed. I've pulled the plug on FB temporarily, at my shrinks insistence. And while my sister (my fathers only other offspring is being wonderful and supportive, she is also a trigger for my TMS. She is a lot, very large and overwhelming personality. We get along beautifully, but she is draining. How do I allow myself to heal from this car accident, do what I need to do for me, not worry too much about it, grieve my father and LET GO? I am an open minded and left leaning believer, so I am praying a lot and I feel God's hand on me, and in some way, I even feel the car "accident" was actually the end of the story. As if the CRASH of the car was the book closing on the sad, fearful, angry and painful last 15 years of my life. It's over. My dad is in a better place now. When I go very deep inside my heart, I feel true peace with that, despite the sadness and anger. BUT my neck and back are KILLING me, despite journaling, pain meds, two doctor's telling me I am ok and despite feeling grateful I was not hurt worse. I really think that despite Dr. Schechter telling me this isn't TMS, how could it not be exacerbated by my TMS personality? Schechter said TMS may be making it worse, but keep affirming to myself that I will heal up fast and my body knows what to do. I want to give myself the needed care, but I don't want to let this linger. I want to THINK PSYCHOLOGICALLY and not physically, but that is very hard when I have a real (not just in my brain) injury. Last night, my neck was really hurting, worse than it has in a LOOONG time and I finally cried and realized the depth of sadness I am feeling and my neck pain went down to a three. Still hurt, but manageable. I'm sorry for the long winded post, but I wanted to tell my story. Thanks, everyone. I appreciate any support, thoughts and advice. I'm in GREAT hands with Dr. Schechter, I very much trust my other doc, I'm working with a very good psychotherapist, I have a lawyer handling my medical bills with Uber, but I feel very afraid and alone. I'm scared I'm back to square one with my TMS. Thank you for reading this and I truly appreciate any thoughts...I'm 'hanging in' but what a mess. What a week!
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  2. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    Oh, and I am also dealing with legal crap from the uber people, I have retained a lawyer, so there is THAT on top of it. I'm grateful and hopeful for a settlement and medical bills covered, won't disclose more than that for legal reasons and privacy, but even all that is still gently reinforcing that I was in an accident. Trying to let my attorney deal with that and not think about it too much. But even as I was filling out the DETAILED and LONG accident report, my neck pain RAMPED up BIG TIME.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi donavanf,

    Thanks for the update. I am sorry about your loss.

    You're in pain, in stress and also in emotional crisis, as is natural with your father's death. You're just entering, in a way, the contemplation of your father's death. You just got in a car wreck. You don't like your job. You're battling TMS, which "threatens" what you want to do with your work. You're afraid of TMS symptoms and anxious about a recovery. There is layer upon layer of things to feel sad and angry and fearful about. I am sorry you are going through this.

    I think it is just a wave of stress that must be ridden for now, with compassion for yourself as you are able, and hopefully not get too freaked out. Maybe you can just count on TMS symptoms increasing some for now, given the list of things you are experiencing? Just accept this perhaps, and that you don't have to make anything go away, or figure out what is TMS or isn't. Repeat to yourself what Dr. Schechter has said: you won't lose the progress you have made in your TMS work. Try to have empathy for your stressed out, sad, and worried self. The wave will pass...

    When I lost my father, I lost a hero too. This goes very deep.

    Andy B.
    donavanf likes this.
  4. Zumbafan

    Zumbafan Well known member

    So sorry for your loss, and then your accident.
    As you have had your physical and mental needs addressed, I encourage you to seek consolation for your spiritual needs.
    You said you are praying a lot and feel God's hand on you,..... and that you feel very afraid and alone. Look up Psalm 23, (you can google it), and meditate on those words. It will take your mind off yourself, trying to fix things, and just give you some rest.
    I hope you feel better soon.
    donavanf likes this.
  5. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    @donavanf , I offer my sympathy for the loss of your father.

    You have had many things pile on to create a lot of emotional & physical demands on you right now. The only advice I would offer is to remember that taking care of yourself is the priority. Physical care & emotional care. Other things & people might just have to wait and if they cannot wait then they will have to proceed without you. I know, easy to say and hard to do but it is most important to behave as if your welfare is the highest priority- because it is!

    Also, the grieving process has no schedule. I think it needs to progress at its own pace. Trust the process and allow yourself the time & space to process all your feelings.

    Try to thing of all the physical discomforts as temporary, just passing through. Release them, mentally, rather than clinging to them and analyzing them. Release them and trust that it will all pass.

    I wish you comfort and peace.
    donavanf likes this.
  6. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Condolences on your father's death. TMS is the VOLUME CONTROL FOR THE PAIN. You are not "injured", just a little bruised. Two competent physicians did all the tests and you will fully recover from the minor bumps within a few days to a couple of weeks. Don't let your sub-c use this to create a chronic TMS scenario. The air-bags and seat-belt did their job and prevented serious long term chronic conditions and perhaps saved your life--be THANKFUL for that! You have a lawyer who is also hopefully competent and will do his job to get you fairly reimbursed for your pain and suffering for the next few weeks. Take your doctor's advice, no PT is necessary, warm baths, gentle massage, Trager is good if you can find one but Swedish will do just fine, Cranio/Sacral might be good to deal with the emotional stuff if you have a practitioner who is compatible. Hot baths or hot-tub, walking or swimming. Recall in Dr. Sarno's books about how in one country, maybe Finland, they have a lot of "whip-lash", but in the neighboring country, maybe Lithuania, where such law-suits are not allowed, they have no "whip-lash". I've wondered about taking Uber, but that's it for me, I'm sticking with Yellow Cab.

    Good Luck and Condolences,
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Donovan. I'm sorry about losing your father and that terrible accident.
    Tennis Tom is right in the advice he has given you.
    You should take it easy, both physically and emotionally.
    Serious accidents and especially one causing the loss of life of a loved one are often
    causes of TMS. You are left with both physical and emotional pain, which is very understanding.

    TMS will help you in healing from both, through various techniques you can read about in
    the subforums of this web site, or from books such as Dr. Sarno's Healing Back Pain and
    Steve Ozanich's The Great Pain Deception. I co-authored book with another TMSer,
    Eric Watson, with healing techniques including faith, called God Does Not Want You to Be in Pain.
    Its in paperback and Kindle edition at amazonsmile.com. Amazon books gives a small donation to
    this web site.

    This tragedy has led you to TMS knowledge which can lead you into a happier, healthier life
    than you ever imagined possible. Thousands of us have learned that.
    donavanf likes this.
  8. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Donovan, I was happy to see you pop up on the forum…and then I felt so sad given the circumstances. I am so very sorry for your loss. And then a car accident!

    How very fortunate that you've got a great TMS doc. I like what TT added about TMS if the volume control for pain. I've been through a lot of anxiety issues lately related to menopause…all my tests turned out fine BUT I realized TMS will grab hold of ANY opportunity to get you focused on your physical health. We know TMS is a tricky goober when it comes to strategizing where to target next so it doesn't surprise me that with all the emotional grief, the mild trauma from the car accident is feeling less than mild.

    Take a deep breath, my friend. Can you turn off your phone for while? Are their some especially loving and supportive friends you can be surrounded by?

    Things WILL get better. There's no shortcut through grief and because you know this, I am confident you will come through this stronger and with TMS pain a fading memory.

    Please keep us posted.

    Sending you warm thoughts and a mama bear hug...
    Time2be and donavanf like this.
  9. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    Thank you, everyone. You've given me much to consider and a lot of courage and hope. It gets a little complicated, because due to my legal case, I will have to see a chiropractor once a week for a month or so, but I am not going to let it worry my too much. It will be better for my case if I am "in treatment" and will help win me a much needed settlement and the treatments won't cost me a dime. I trust my lawyer implicitly and at worst, it's just a placebo. I will look at the Chiro treatments as "stress relief" and just a quick rehab for the accident, see it as part of self-care to quickly heal temporary trauma, NOT as treatment for my TMS. Hoping to stay clear on that. And TT is perfectly correct. I feel like my volume is turned WAY up due to current stresses and exacerbating my pain into a 7 or 8 when it is probably just a 3 or 4. I'm turning it down by LAUGHING, watching and listening to fun things and trying to rest and relax, surround myself with good pals. but also seek solitude and prayer and mediation, remember the good times with Dad (I'm very lucky to have had many) and trust that I will heal up fully. Doing my best to stay positive and affirm to myself that this will all pass and my TMS will go with it. I've also really been trying to let the tears come, and when they do, the pain gets way better, which tells me that TMS is creeping in. I'm sending it to the Cornfield, like my actor pal Bill Mumy did in that old Twilight Zone. I just say, "TMS, I know your old tricks. GO TO THE CORNFIELD!!!" ;)
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
    Dahlia and Tennis Tom like this.
  10. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Donovanf,
    For me the love of my father lives in me as part of me. As you grieve you might sense into your love and good times and feel them in your body. There is something of substance inside us that is also "father." This substance exists as long as I do. It is a form of connection and love that exists, even as my father is gone. I hope you might find something like this in time, in you, for you. A gift of shared love.
    Andy B.
    Time2be likes this.
  11. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    you are in capable hands with Dr Schechter , I wasn't so sure of him to begin with but hes becoming my fav TMS physician!
    sorry to hear of such a sudden loss and hope you find comfort with family as well as the forum.
  12. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Donavanf, first, may I extend my sympathy to you in the loss of your dad, both now, and 15 years ago.

    Your thread caught my eye as I have a bad history with my dad, and I have always wondered how his eventual death will affect my emotions/repression.

    I noticed something, it looks like your dad was 44 when you were born. Perhaps this connection with your age is something to explore in journaling.

    Everyone here has given you such wonderful support, you have made great friends here. Your story of hard won tms victories is very hopeful for others. Thank you.

    Time2be likes this.
  13. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Donovan. I love the replies you are getting from your posting.
    And you are full of great healing wisdom from yourself.
    I love the cornfield story!

    I had been repressing some unhappy memories about my father but then am remembering the fun times.
    Especially the day we went golfing together and he was about to hit an approach shot to the green.
    I estimated the distance and thought he was wrong in choosing a 1 iron and the ball would go way over the green.
    I called to him from nearby and suggested a 9 iron. He never took my advice before in anything, but put his
    2 iron in his golf bag and took out the iron. His ball sailed high and landed not only on the green but in the cup!
    He danced up and down. I had never seen him so happy.
  14. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    HI Donovan. I've been reading your posts and my heart goes out to you.

    I lost my aunt last year who I was estranged from. She had bipolar and acted crazy and mean -too much for me to talk to her or be around her. When she passed- what a mix of feelings. But what I realized is that I can talk to her again. Now that she is in a place where talking to her could only bring me joy and clarity. I'm not trying to sound creepy but whatever you believe - I find it helpful that I can fully express my feelings to her without any fear of how she behaved before.

    As for the accident:
    I would recommend a hot bath. A gentle swedish massage. A walk on the beach -dip in the ocean. Focus on pleasure, relaxation, and calm breathing.
    Have you ever done any EMDR? I found that rapid eye movement technique helpful after my car accident.
  15. cishealing

    cishealing Peer Supporter

    Donovan, I am thinking about you and sending you strength. I hope your car accident injuries are feeling better and that you've had some success in not TMSing about them. I would struggle with that too, so I really, really feel you.

    donavanf likes this.
  16. lexylucy

    lexylucy Well known member

    how are you?
  17. Southai49

    Southai49 Newcomer

    Donovan I know you would have recovered by now but this is something which my cousin faced too and could never recover. At that time he was working for a DUI attorney Los Angeles and now all his life has got tossed up.
  18. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Donovan, you have a lot on your plate right now! Be kind to yourself. And stop thinking that you need to do the right things, that there is a right way of mourning, of coping with the accident etc. You do what you can and you follow your feelings and needs. You are talking about the death of your father and the accident as events that have a symbolic value for your TMS process. In way yes, but these events become for you what you let them be! And they are very different by nature. Your story with your father will not end here. The accident though, is just a stupid accident. The pain will subside and besides the nuisance and the feeling of insecurity (car accidents can happen), this will be history at some point in time.
    I wish you strength but also softness - mostly towards yourself! Your healing process will continue, don’t worry!

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