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Fear is sticky and persistent - to be or not to be?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by TG957, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I started reading this book about how fear can make you sick and how to unlearn fear:


    It looks like it really punched my ego in a gut, because I could see myself on almost every page of it. Instead of an expected relief from my epiphany, however, I descended into a new prolonged bout of anxiety over every act of courage I decided to undertake upon reading.

    I went from 90% good nights of sleep to barely 50%. I spent my long weekend nearly incapacitated by indecision, anxiety and feeling of knot in my stomach, like I was supposed to jump of the cliff. My TMS symptoms that were very slowly going down, are now up quite a bit. Is it another extinction burst or am I going back to where I started?

    There is one action that I know I need to take at work, which is to stand for something good and stick my neck out, as nobody else in the office had volunteered so far. Consequences could be quite unpleasant as no upper management likes truth tellers.

    The book encourages me to listen to my Inner Pilot Light (as she calls it) and bravely speak the truth. I suspect that I owe my symptoms, at least in part, to the situation at work and may need it to be resolved in order for me to get completely clear of symptoms. I may not get the situation resolved but at least I will feel that I did all I could and it may help me live through my emotions and get a closure.

    But can I bear the risk and the hell that may break loose at work? Any advice?
  2. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Over the last 5 years i actually dread to think how much I spent on self-help books and the like and my Kindle was always bloated with various titles offering me the cure to all my ills.

    I have to say that since ditching pretty much ALL self-help / counselling / development type books I have felt far less anxious and confused about my situation...for me, reading these books pretty much constantly just saw me chasing my tail and getting hung up on a 'right way' to tackle my issues.

    I understand this reply may not be pertinent to you but I only mention it as I too used to find myself often feeling much worse and more confused after reading books that are designed to help.

    I just found that accepting the basic tenant of TMS/stress illness and then giving up gathering more and more information was the best way forward for me. I accept this may not be the case for everyone though.
    mike2014 and plum like this.
  3. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Huckleberry, thank you! I know what you mean and value your insight. I do have my own collection of books, all recommended here on the forum, that I read through page 20 and never touched again. What works for one person, may not work for another, as we all are different. This book, however, seems to have touched a nerve in me.... I will probably sit on my work situation plan for a while until I can at least sleep more than 5 hours a day on average...
  4. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    Hi Huckleberry
    In telling your truth at the workplace, which is how I understand it, have you thought about all the possible consequences, good or bad? It is very possible, even likely, that your workplace is causing or contributing to your symptoms. But step wisely.
    In my experience, workplaces have a way of not wanting the truth - they are their own little microcultures of toxicity, often.
    I can think of 3 separate workplace instances, all different industries, different jobs, and when I did this, the cost to me was huge.
    I lost my job in all three cases.
    The second case I was sacked for standing up for another employee and letting her know she was being underpaid when I found out. I got a phone call from the boss and told I wasn't needed any more. I told the truth.
    The most recent case was I was being bullied at work by another woman. This woman - an admin person, one without any real rank or power, was in fact running the show and had the bosses bowing to her. It was crippling the organisation. They simply ignored the bullying. I suffered enormously, and it was making me sick. I stood up and stood up and stood up for myself, telling the truth, even going to industrial board to report it. It did not do any good. Only one person, a counsellor who visited the workplace, saw, and got what was going on. It was truly stacked against me. I refused to give in, it was so , so unjust and they were so blind. But I kept trying to get it resolved because I liked my job, and I believed that if only the bullying would stop, everything would be fine. Eventually I was let go. It was just simply easier for them to get rid of one of us. Since I was the more expensive, it was me. I am still heartbroken over it. Though I am glad I spoke the truth, in the end, I was just seen as a hassle, because in truth, the only way to fix a bullying situation is for one of the parties to leave; usually the victim (usually the bully then goes on to find another victim...and THEN management realise, too late, the mistake they made).

    Now, sometimes telling your truth will get people on your side, to wake up and see. But not always. Please remember - and I learned this from a book recently - mostly in the workplace people are only interested in themselves, their own survival, their own career. This is what all the politics is about.
    So, think of all the possible ramifications.
    If you speak the truth, are you willing for the possibility to be ostracised? To be outcast? To be seen as troublemaker? Or worst, to eventually lose your job? Are you willing for that to happen? (Sometimes that's the best thing that can happen).
    Some good may come of it, of course it can, I'm simply suggesting to look at your own situation and judge it carefully, and not to act just because a book's author says to (I I haven't read this book so I cannot decide for myself what sort of advice or context she encourages you to 'speak your truth'.
    Even if you are not a trouble-maker, even if by what you say you are making everyone take notice of the (clearly obvious ) elephant in the room, or that the emperor is wearing not a stitch of clothing, you may not be thanked for appreciated for it. You may not get the support or agreement of the people you think most likely to agree with you. Because they want to save their own asses...or simply were not as agreeable as you wagered. Organisations are rather attached to their unhealthy ways of operating, because the ego of individuals is so involved.

    So, just be considered. Sometimes it's better to tell yourself and a therapist or trusted friend the real truth, then silently go about finding another job.

    I hope this helps
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
    mike2014, TG957 and plum like this.
  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's a tough call but I believe we know when we should stand up and speak out, and when remaining silent is best. I don't think there is anything craven about judging our battles wisely. God alone knows I've leapt into the fore enough times to regret it, or to be scapegoated, but I find flat-out injustice intolerable. I also can't stand polite liars. I don't mean greasing-the-wheels manners and such but people who hide their ugliness behind protocol, bureaucracy, or such.

    Looking back on such interventions I wish I'd been more mindful of the fall-out but I don't regret it. Sometimes it is harder to live with the things we don't do.
    Maybe you could muse on different ways of playing this. I find it's easy to get all-or-nothing about matters like these.

    All this said I think Miss. Metta makes a sterling point. Perhaps you just need to share all this with someone.

    The last thing that comes to mind is a heads up re: hanging your healing hat on a situational outcome. I imagine you'd be pretty pissed if you stuck your neck out, things went south and you didn't feel better. Only you can gauge how integral this situation is to your pain. I do think unfinished business is a highway to health problems and completely understand the sense of closure you speak of. These are hard choices and I wish there was a decisive answer for you.

    Sending love your way,

    Plum x

    * Incidentally I'm with Huckleberry when it comes to self help books. They just stir you up and leave you feeling less somehow. I've taken to reading philosophy (time-honoured and classic) and novels (vicariously enjoying some other sucker get put through the mill).
    mike2014 and TG957 like this.
  6. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Miss Metta and Plum, thank you so much for your feedback!

    These are exactly kinds of considerations I was looking for. Especially this one " I imagine you'd be pretty pissed if you stuck your neck out, things went south and you didn't feel better.". I think the key here is to do the right thing following your gut, without hinging it on the health outcome (outcome independence!!!). I went to see a therapist through the employee assistance program and she is also on the fence, so we are talking this through.

    Quite interesting is the fact that each time I spend 20 minutes reading this book, my anxiety level rises and it takes a while to calm it down. That is a puzzle that fascinates me...
    mike2014 likes this.
  7. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    Hi again
    I think Plum gives you great way of looking at it. Perhaps journal what the possible outcomes might be? As I said, I don't regret speaking out against the injustices and the bullshit; what made me sad was that I did not have the power to change anything. And by speaking out, I had hoped that others would see things my way. This did not happen. In the case of my being bullied, they knew I was being bullied; it had been witness several times. But it only became a problem for them once I started to report it. And, I did go through all the appropriate channels. I am glad that I stood up for myself, but being in an environment that is so toxic - one that states, "we have a zero bullying tolerance policy", but then let it continue to happen in their midst shows that corporations can look shiny on the outside, but when you push them on something that makes an individual feel uncomfortable -often a manager or supervisor or HR person - which forces them to act - then policy gets ignored for what will make them return to their little cocoon to feel safe again. The primitive brain and self-safety kicks in. Sure ,there are courageous managers and employees out there who will act when they hear of a wrongdoing, or even just that someone is not happy for some reason, some will take the flack, but these are rare individuals and you don't often know that they are this type until you see them stand up for someone, change something for someone ,etc.

    Re the book. Here is what I think: the book is causing you to put undue pressure on yourself; a hallmark of the TMS personality. So you read the book and feel that she's right and you have to do this, or this, etc. It is all well and good to be courageous. But your anxiety is kicking in for a reason. Anxiety is fear of something that hasn't happened yet. Has anyone else in your life put that sort of pressure on you, demand that you just get over yourself and do something you were terrified to do? Were you given the message that you must not fear and face the music, at all costs?
    These are not helpful messages. You might find TMS flaring up in other ways. The anxiety itself is a form of TMS.

    If the book is terrifying you, put it away. It is either not suited to you, or you are not ready for it just yet.

    Also, read the 1, 2, and 3 star reviews, if there are any. Often, the lesser reviewers are more considered individuals who have given a book some deep thought and consideration and can find fault in the argument or logic or reasoning or the style. Reading these less favorable reviews may be helpful in identifying what it is about the book that is not resonating with you.

    And, when you are not reading self-help books, what do you like to read? What did you like to read as a kid? (Good chance you still do...if you can give yourself the permission to do it).
    What are you promising yourself that you will read (that is not self-help), but that you haven't got around to yet?
    Is it a fiction book? Historical novel? Science fiction, juicy thriller, biography or a funny book? A book on computers or aircraft or Ancient Egypt? A travel book? A nature book? A manga comic?

    Whatever it is that you have been promising yourself that you will 'get around to some day', I suggest you go and buy or borrow from a library and give yourself permission to enjoy it. Put away all self-help books for a while. They can be addictive and can become a form of emotional avoidance. Other books will nourish you rather than stress you, and when you are nourished, you heal.

    Self help books to make us continually 'work' on ourselves, so that we are waiting to live. But living is getting into the things that you love to read, or listen to.
    Plum also suggested philosophy, these can be great, too, if you really want to 'think'. But I surmise 'thinking' is putting pressure on you that is not helpful.
    Hope this helps
  8. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Metta, I am so sorry about the bullying that happened to you at work. Hope it will never happen to you again.... It is very hard to stand up to the bullies when everybody is watching and does not interfere, even though they may be on your side (or they think they are, in fact, by not helping the victim they are joining the bully!)

    As for the books, you are right. The last time I read a book unrelated to TMS/CRPS or whatever evil thing is stuck in my brain, was before I got sick. Time to read something fun!
  9. Miss Metta

    Miss Metta Peer Supporter

    Hi again

    Thank you for the words about the bullying situation; I only tell the story as an illustration of how organisations can behave, so that it may help someone else.

    You may find that reading something fun is healing in itself, over time, because you are nourishing your soul. The more you give yourself permission to participate in the things you really enjoy, the more you will find yourself.

    PS TMS and CRPS are not 'evil' in and of themselves, but what they do do is inadvertently keep us stuck with the focus of always looking in and checking our pain and mood pulse. It's good to be aware, but hold it lightly. They can become 'evil', if the way I understand you is correct, because we can start to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to 'get well now', and the subtext is always, 'there's something wrong with you,' which lowers our mood, even subtley.
    By all means, learn about TMS, but once you figure you've 'got it', that you have a basic understanding of it, move into life.

    Sitting in your wheelchair at the end of your life, you will not likely recall all the self-help books you read, nor time spent on Facebook. What you will likely recall and appreciate is the fabulous books you read, the interesting walks you took, the warm conversations you had, the models or paintings that you did, the instruments that you played, the songs you sang or the music you loved, or the letters that you read and wrote, the people and places that you visited and the best meals, concerts and games that you experienced, and of course the wonderful genorsity of nature; the mountains, the beach, the grass, sun, wind and birds. All of these and more go to make up a life that is remembered and enjoyed. It can be hard to give ourselves the permission to 'play' when we think there is something wrong with us that we have to fix; that we can't enjoy the things we want to enjoy or we put them off until we are 'fixed'. Play now, your soul will thank you for it.
    Ellen likes this.
  10. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    You know, part of the reason why I am so stuck in my CRPS is that it wrecked my fun. It weakened my backpacking schedule, limited my ability to tie up my hiking boots, cook, knit and do other things with my hands. I am still backpacking this summer, but not nearly as far and high as I wanted to go, through pain and despite pain. My hiking range is now shorter due to the pains and tensions in my legs and ankles, I am nervous about going off trail in the mountains since I can't use my hands well anymore. My last concert/theater season was ruined because I could not sit through the concert due to severe pain in my hands. I usually went to concerts and plays at least every other week, not counting films and other events. For about 4 months, I could not hold my phone, let alone a book in front of me for more than 2-3 minutes - that at least improved to at least 20 minutes, thanks to Sarno. Every thing that I love doing now has presence of CRPS, this way or another, and pains and tensions that jump around in my body, from knees to elbows, from elbows to neck, to shoulders in a completely unpredictable fashion.

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