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Fear of getting better can create even more pain?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Livinginhope, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. Livinginhope

    Livinginhope Peer Supporter

    I am on day 30 of SEP and on day 28, a self care day, I started getting back spasms, out of nowhere, I thought. Except, that day, I opted to walk further than usual as I was feeling a bit bold and empowered. For the past couple of days, I feel as though I have gotten smacked with a baseball bat in my lower back; not where I usually have pain, but certainly where it has been before. In fact, as I mentioned in a previous post, I have a "wobbly pelvis" due to hyper mobility and according to several PT's it can throw my back off kilter and cause lower back pain. All of those diagnoses I have always fully embraced; even now, I flirt with that belief.
    Then I started writing about it today, instead of doing the expected spider exercise. I started to follow a thread of thought that brought me to the realization that many on this forum have most likely already experienced; what happens when the pain does goes away? How do we accept the fact that so much of our lives have been devoted to getting rid of it? What happens when we have an inordinate amount of time to actually live our lives as we have always wanted; full of hope and energy and able to do what the pain has never allowed us to do; realize our full potential? Is that an even scarier prospect than the pain?
    Lately, I have noticed that I am much happier; getting more clients from new places out of nowhere, sleeping better and generally feeling more hopeful. Is that why my back is acting up? My emotions are feeling overlooked and put out to pasture? My pain is being relegated to a back burner, probably not a good analogy, as something that I no longer need; more importantly I am feeling so much more free without it? Just a thought; is pain more a friend to me than I realized?
    Ewok and Lily Rose like this.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    First, congratulations on the positive changes in your life.

    You bring up important and thought-provoking issues. I'll make an attempt to start a conversation about it, and hopefully, others will join in.

    I think it is easy to think of being rid of chronic pain as the Holy Grail. We tend to think that way of many long term goals---when I accomplish (fill in the blank) then I will be happy and "full of hope and energy", "realize my potential", etc. What I learned in the course of recovery from chronic pain is that I wasn't unhappy because I had TMS, but rather, I had TMS because I was unhappy. I don't want to in any way minimize the wondrous, miracle of being free of chronic physical pain. But getting there did not solve all my problems by any means. Many have described the process of TMS recovery as peeling an onion. I am thankful I have rid myself of the first layer of physical pain. I am much better off for it. But I still have anxiety, rely on dysfunctional defense mechanisms at times, and have challenges in my connection to others. I still have a high ACE score, unresolved trauma, low self-esteem, hypervigilance, etc. The work continues at an even deeper, spiritual level, and in many ways, is even more challenging. The progress I've made through TMS recovery has allowed me to get to this deeper level, and I have "unlearned" many dysfunctional ways of thinking and being, and learned many tools that I utilize on a daily basis. The dance of recovery continues. Not everyone has as much to "unlearn" as I do, and perhaps for many people recovery from physical pain is the most difficult challenge they will face, and once they are through that, life is pretty much smooth sailing.

    I suggest looking at Steve Ozanich's posts on this Forum. Many of his posts touch on the deep psychological and spiritual roots of TMS--about our fears of separation and our need for meaningful connection.

    I sense that you are a very analytical person, as am I. While this trait can be very useful in many aspects of life, I found it to delay my recovery somewhat. Much of TMS healing must be learned through direct experience, in my opinion. Don't think you have to figure out everything intellectually first, you don't. I think it is best to try the techniques, as you are doing, and let the learning and unlearning unfold.

    My best to you on your healing journey....
  3. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Brilliantly expressed! The journey does not end when the pain does. Our journey is our Life.

    It is easy to define who we are by our pain. When the pain diminishes, who do we become? This is where intention is important. Who do you want to be? Another aspect to pain is that it allows us a way out of doing things we don't want to do. People expect less from us, so it can be a way of avoiding activities we don't particularly like. If people realize we are stronger, they may want more from us. And this is where boundaries come in. It all becomes a sort of renegotiation with how we cope with things. When we change, it can confuse the people around us. Relationships are redefined.

    And then there is the fear-factor when the pain is not there. Will it come back? Do I need to watch for it? Can I go through all that again? The uncertainty can be as stressful as the pain itself.

    Trust in the Now. The more you enjoy this hope and joy, the more you believe in it, the more you will draw it to you. It is rather magical that way ;) And it is lovely to read of someone who recognizes the happiness and hopefulness, and who appreciates the improved sleeping patterns. When I have had such magic, I keep saying "thank you thank you thank you" , to myself and all the mystical creatures that surround me. Gratitude, in itself, is powerful.

    ... with Love and Gratitude <3
    Ellen likes this.
  4. Livinginhope

    Livinginhope Peer Supporter

    Thank you Lily Rose and Ellen. It is true that I am analytical, which may be why I have gravitated to SEP. I also related much to what Lily Rose said about getting out of things. I also have been diagnosed with Chronic Lyme. I have often felt that it was a very convenient diagnosis; not one that would kill me(hopefully), just enough to get me out of social situations that I would prefer not to attend. So I am aware on one level of the uses of these ailments and my analytical ways, but also realizing that I too must change to move on. I think I will put that off until tomorrow.
    Ellen and Lily Rose like this.

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