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Flare ups - What is my subconscious hiding

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by levfin003, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. levfin003

    levfin003 Peer Supporter

    At this stage of healing, I get regular flare ups. Then I go in circles figuring out what my subconscious is hiding from me, but I cannot always point something out. Even if I find something and journal it, the pain does not disappear right away. So my perfectionist personality gets pissed off that I spent all this time journalling but I have pain.

    This week there are a few things happening:
    i) My mother is visiting for a month: I love her, but she is in an abusive relationship and seeing her reminds me of all the abuse I faced as a child. I don't have any happy memories around her. Could it be that her visit is taking me back to my childhood, and I am feeling enraged?
    ii) I have a new boss at work: The thought of leaving behind my old boss, and working with someone new might be enraging for my subconscious. I have a big fear of abandonment, resulting from childhood neglect, and this change is enraging me.
    iii) I have a stressful interview regarding a lifestyle change. That might be causing a lot of anxiety.

    Now, even after I realize that one or all three of the above might be causing my TMS, the pain persists. My perfectionist personality is pissed off that even though I have addressed the underlying issues first thing in the morning, the pain is here.
    amarie133 and SunnyinFL like this.
  2. SunnyinFL

    SunnyinFL Well known member

    Hi levfin003,

    Please know that flare ups are common; a lot of us have the same experience. For me, and I think for many or most of us, our TMS journey is ongoing - we continue learning and growing and healing - and we see and feel the progress. But, it's not just a "one-and-done" situation.

    It sounds like you are very insightful about what is going on - i.e., the "perfectionist personality" that you mentioned. Many of us with TMS are - or used to be - perfectionists; so, you're in good company. Maybe it would help to think about the costs of perfectionism - for example, it's exhausting; our inner-child gets angry and says, "why can't you love me the way I am"?, etc. Your awareness of your perfectionism is a huge step forward. The next step is to address it. For example, I shed my perfectionism by changing my self talk. When I felt the perfectionism kick in, I say these types of things to myself: "Geez, give yourself a break" and "good enough is good enough" and "I don't need to be perfect anymore - and I never really did."

    It also sounds like you have a high level of awareness about life issues that are triggers or stressors. I'm wondering how you address those? One thing that helped me a lot is when I had a big ah-ha about addressing my issues. I used to think I addressed issues when I analyzed them, understood them, explained them to friends, etc. There is nothing wrong with any of those approaches; but, there was something missing - I wasn't allowing myself to feel the feelings associated the issues. Feeling is much different than left-brained analysis. For me, feeling really means to allow inner feelings to float up to the surface; to just be, watch them, acknowledge them. That approach is what made a big difference in my healing.

    Please let me know if any of this feedback helps. Again, congratulations on being so insightful. Please also be gentle and kind to yourself along the path of your TMS journey. Sunny
    amarie133, Ellen and IndiMarshall like this.
  3. levfin003

    levfin003 Peer Supporter

    Thank you SunnyinFL - It is hard to deal with perfectionism while going through the healing process. Now that I have accepted the TMS "diagnosis", and have decided to throw my crutches away, the perfectionist in me wants the pain to end right away.

    What exactly do you do when a flare up happens and you are unable to enjoy life during the flare up? For me, I continue my activities (driving, hiking, reading). I keep telling myself that the flare up is temporary, and will not get worse by the activities. I also keep commending myself for braving the activities. However, deep inside I get frustrated with the pain. Even though I continue my activities, the pain does prevent me from fully enjoying life.
    SunnyinFL likes this.
  4. SunnyinFL

    SunnyinFL Well known member

    Hi levfin003,

    Yes, exactly!, it is hard to deal with perfectionism. You're listed as a new member, and I'm not sure what tools you are using or if you are doing the SEP. I did both the SEP and Dr. Schubiner's workbook (Unlearn Your Pain), and both were very helpful for me.

    As for the perfectionism - the first step for me was realizing how much pressure I was putting on myself due to perfectionism. When I started listening to my inner voice, I realized it went on and on all day long. The next step for me was to realize that nobody expected me to be perfect, except myself. It was all self imposed. Next, I saw how exhausting it was and made a conscious decision that it was absurd to impose an exhausting standard on myself when nobody else really cared - that I was literally tired of being a perfectionist. I decided I would give up perfectionism and immediately felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders; I literally felt my shoulders releasing. Deciding to give up perfectionism, however, did not automatically stop all my perfectionistic thoughts and tendencies. For me, the final step was to talk to myself differently and reprogram my mind. I wrote some mantras down on paper and read them every day and repeated them every time a perfectionistic thought popped up - i.e., "stop it, good enough is good enough."

    Another idea is to noodle about, as you say, wanting "the pain to end right away." Do you see how that statement could just make you focus on the pain and whether it's continuing or ending? If so, then also consider how self-defeating that is - the experts tell us that focusing on pain, monitoring pain, attending to pain all serve to reinforce the pain cycle and increase pain. To heal, it's important to break the pain cycle instead. So, for example, it would be a huge step forward if you could ignore the pain, stop monitoring your pain level, be indifferent to it. If I happen to notice pain, I say things to myself like, "so what? who cares?" I am now at a point where I am largely indifferent to any pain so it serves no purpose.

    Please also realize all the huge steps you are taking -- for example, throwing your crutches away; continuing your activities; telling yourself it's temporary and won't get worse; and trying to just focus on enjoying your life. All of those steps are huge in the recovery process! So, it sounds to me like you're making great progress and just need to persist with a gentle attitude toward your self and the ups and downs of the TMS journey.

    Does this answer your questions? Does it help? I hope so, Sunny
    amarie133 likes this.
  5. levfin003

    levfin003 Peer Supporter

    That's helpful! In terms of tools, I am using the SEP. Once I conclude that, I will move on to Scott Brady's list. I found Scott Brady's book very helpful.
    SunnyinFL likes this.
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Levfin. I also found Dr. Bray's book to be very helpful. He mentions Dr. Candace Pert who was a pioneer in MindBody healing.
    She helped discover the receptor for the molecule of happiness, the endorphin molecule.
    I suggest you do a google search for the late Ms. Pert to learn more about her and her work. It is pure TMS.
    SunnyinFL likes this.
  7. amarie133

    amarie133 Peer Supporter

    You are making great progress! I understand your frustration. Don't expect the pain to go away overnight, it has taken years to manifest. I am confident you will get to the source of your suffering and get back to the life and the happiness you desire. But it's a process...
    levfin003 and SunnyinFL like this.

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