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Getting past failure...update

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Jules, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. Jules

    Jules Well known member

    So, I am coming up on 6 months of working fulltime at my job as a content writer for dental websites. I have proven to myself after 23 years of not working outside of the home that I can work, even after having had chronic pain for the last 20 years. I have made huge strides, however, I realize that working fulltime is also kicking my butt as a middle-aged woman. I am up every morning at 5:30 for work and come home about 4:15 p.m., totally exhausted. I am in bed by 10:00 p.m., and rarely go out because I am so tired. My husband goes into work at 9:00 and is usually home by 6:00. We are empty-nesters, so it is just us.

    Anyway...a month or so ago, I began feeling rundown and the pain or nausea was coming back. (I even came here and talked about going through menopause and how it was affecting my work) I was getting stressed about constantly typing, talking with clients, responding to emails, dealing with other departments, and trying to meet my weekly goal or surpass it, which I have done repeatedly. On top of that, my daughter will be leaving for 1 1/2 years on a church mission; my oldest daughter is pregnant with her second child and sick; my son is struggling with his marriage and being a new dad, and my husband is hellbent on us getting COMPLETELY out of debt in 5 years - with my help by working. (no pressure, right?)

    I started realizing even though I could work fulltime, I didn’t want to, and I wanted less stress and responsibility. It was also around this time that the old pain in my right arm and shoulder came back, after having beat it a year or so ago. I talked to my therapist about this and she thought my brain was telling me, “See, I told you, you couldn’t do it,” and is now giving me a distraction to protect me from all these feelings I have about work. It was also around this time that I entertained the idea of just cutting back some hours, to about 30 hours a week, instead of 40, and moving to the blog team, where all I did was write blogs all day. (I have been doing that for the past 18 years off and on)

    When I told my husband this, of course, he was disappointed. He kept saying I could do it and I had already proven I could, so why QUIT now? To me, that spelled FAILURE. Those old feelings of doubt crept back in. It didn’t help that he continually told me that he wished he could reduce his hours and not have to work fulltime or work from home, which I do sometimes, when I just need to write and not be interrupted with everything, like I am at work. To me, that caused my old nemesis, guilt, to come flooding back. As if, I reduced my hours, somehow, I was proving to my brain that I couldn’t hack it. My #1 fear is failure. This stems clear back into early childhood and many traumas. (Was bullied= failure; couldn’t help my mentally ill mother= failure; couldn’t go to college=failure; ccouldn’t have normal childbirths=failure; the loss of fertitlity, due to hysterecctomy=failure; could not work outside of the home for years=failure) You can see the pattern and it has taken 3 years of therapy and TMS work to get past this.

    Back to work stuff. I have been approved to cut my hours and go to blog, however, our mananger moved to Oregon and moved to blog herself, so now my work has to hire two new writers. I was told I could move over in a few weeks, a few weeks ago, but now have no idea when, since no one has spoken with me about it. I feel like I am in limbo and it is stressing me out even more, since I am now doing part blog and part content. Thursday morning, my pain was so bad, I had to go home, which again = failure. I went to my therapy appointment and my therapist told me, the brain has gone back to failure mode and the best thing to do is go back to work and prove that I am OK and not a failure. (Easier said than done.) worked some from home yesterday, but stressed because I was not at work and would this show badly for my wanting to transition to blog.

    Sorry, this is a long post. I guess I am looking for validation that this is TMS rearing its ugly head - once again - and learning how to trick my brain into believing I am not a failure and it is OK to reduce my hours because I WANT to, not because I HAVE to, or that I can’t handle it. Also, I have a hard time with believing I DESERVE to be pain-free, especially when I see soooo many people who aren’t, including my own family.

    Plum, or anyone else who always gives great advice, I could use your wisdom about now.

    TIA and sorry for the long post.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
  2. fern

    fern Well known member

    It sure looks like TMS to me, but I think you already know it is. Have you done some writing about it? I'm learning that somehow self-knowledge comes much more easily when I write than when I talk or think. I doubt it's that way for everybody, but if you haven't been writing this time around, maybe it's worth a shot!

    I'll be watching this thread because you've brought up something I wrestle with often. I struggle to discern when the pain is a form of self-sabotage/distraction, and when it is my body and spirit telling me I'm not being true to my nature (basically a physical sign of existential distress). I know my TMS pain can do both, depending on the situation. But most of the time, I'm not great at stripping away fear, pain, logic, practicality, and circumstances and discerning *what I want*. Are you?
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  3. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's TMS again--but I'm a tennis player and not a physician--so don't sue me if it turns out to be something fatal like ingrown toenail. Your unconscious is telling you to get off the battlefield and get some r&r--and it sounds like it's well deserved. I'd say if you can go to part-time at work do so and use the extra hours to soothing your unconscious to keep it from overflowing and creating TMS symptoms, structural or affective. In the meantime, if you can, take naps at work, if there's no place at work to take a nap or a time-out to put your feet up, if you have a car at work you can put the seat back and take one there. I had a great employee who would take a twenty minute nap every day and was very productive for it. Also, check with your supervisor about when they are going to allow you to cutback your hours, you're probably so valuable to them they don't want to lose you, they probably won't push it until you bring it up to them.
    Jules likes this.
  4. Jules

    Jules Well known member

    Fern, nope. I think that is why I self-sabatoge. If I do what I want, I feel selfish and non-deserving. But, I am also somone who will prove to someone (usually me) that I can do something - if I really wanted to, hence getting a fulltime job. I would have to say I am 75% cured, however, that last 25% is breaking through that glass ceiling - after having proved I can do something - and having it stick, if you get my meaning. I mean, I have proven to myself, as well as to people that I can do everythin, everybody else can do. Now, The question is, do I want to do those things, and if I don’t, does that mean I'm a failure?
  5. Jules

    Jules Well known member

    Yeah, I’m sure you’re right. I am a hard worker, and I am more experienced than everybody on my team put together. I also think that’s why they give me so much responsibility. I do have a car and I’m only five minutes off the freeway from home. I do come home for lunch, which is a nice break. I did Skype my manager to find out the status, but she has not responded back. I think that’s why I am frustrated, is because I don’t know what’s going on, and I hate that feeling.

    The problem is that my brain reverts so quickly, because of desensitization, that I have to be very careful of my feelings and thoughts. It seems like a constant battle that never ends. What is interesting, is that the pain keeps going back to the same place - my right arm, where I use the mouse at work. This pain has been going off and on for the last four years. Last year, it moved to my left arm and caused me to have a completely frozen shoulder. I still went to work, but when I came home, I couldn’t raise my arm above my head or behind my back, and had very painful spasms. Why is it that the pain affects the very places I have to do my work?
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    I think @fern beautifully hit the nail on the head with her distinction between self sabotage/distraction and being true to ourselves. In some ways it's the same thing.

    I struggle with this too. Actually I had a minor meltdown this morning because I am a bit fed up with not having enough time for myself. I feel I am forever caring, cleaning, driving, at hospital....and it wears me down.

    I recovered my humour in the supermarket of all places. I was watching people get in a lather over buying stuff for Christmas (yup), and I thought how daft we all can be. Life is so much nicer, softer and smoother when we look after ourselves. Our real selves.

    All too often we get stuck in our minds at the expense of our bodies. I can only speak for myself but I can't keep pace with the demands of the world, nor do I want to. I'm better and happier when I settle deeply into my feminine essence. This is where I replenish, where my love and serenity naturally flow from.

    I lay in bed last night listening to the rain and musing on the shadow and TMS. I realise I am or can be quite a feisty and passionate person but I all too often quell it and try to be this ideal carer who is ever calm and even-tempered. But I'm not. Like nature, I am storms, sunshine and stillness. We all are but we fight these emotional waves and expect our bodies to conform to clocktime and external demands without respecting their needs. True serenity comes for me when I am wild and passionate, when I am embodied and emotionally alive.

    I often find the suggestions to brashly disregard the body and push through to be flat out wrong and reckless. My body and my spirit need me to slow down and listen. They need less demands. They need more nurturing. And the funny thing is the way life responds so well to this. There is an elegance in the way situations unravel and yield, there is an expansion or a slowing of time, everything softens and becomes easier.

    I wonder why it is so easy to forget this? To let the mindgames assume control, to let the pain unhinge good sense, to forget that touch and cuddles transform everything from bad to good.

    Maybe it is because our primitive brain is neurologically biased towards those caustic and stressful circuits but I like to remind myself that women are gifted with gorgeous oxytocin circuitry that we can tap into when we tend, nurture and nourish.

    Maybe you need to pull back and do less. This is true for me. I think it is true for a lot of people here. We just need to learn that we can accomplish more and better by orienting ourselves in a lifestyle that supports who we actually are and not who we think we should be.

    I'm a person who needs a lot of sleep and solitude. The latter is becoming stronger as I near menopause. I think this is ok but finding the balance is an on-going challenge. You need to find the right balance for yourself because right now your body and soul are telling you it's not quite right.

    Cut yourself some slack. Do more of the things that nourish you. Consider the soothe to rage ratio and where you can create more times and places of sanctuary in your life. Try not to worry if feathers get ruffled; the more you centre yourself in good feelings the more others will gravitate towards that too. And if they don't, they don't. Let it be.

    Sending you love and blessings

    Plum x
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  7. Jules

    Jules Well known member

    Plum, as always, you bring comfort and truth to my soul. I have been waging a war within myself my whole life, always wanting to do good, always wanting to prove to the bullies in my life that I am worth something, or that I can succeed. Getting this job was a huge step in the right direction, but I dove in the deep end first, instead of a shallow end, and then inching slowly towards the deep end. I find that when I am true to myself, and I don’t worry about what other people think, I am much more at peace with myself. It’s hard, because there is so much turmoil in the world, that it’s hard to accept humans for who they really are - deeply flawed and yet, beautiful creatures who just want love and acceptance.

    I especially am tired of being labeled a biggot, racist, sexist, white privileged, etc. because of my political affiliations, that tells me or at least tells my brain that I really am not worth who I am or what I am, and I somehow need to feel guilty for being who I am. Another thing that happened is that I went back to the church that I have left two years ago, trying to get back my testimony and faith. I knew that I was missing that spirit, and wanted it back. However, I went back on my own terms at my own pace, which is hard, because of how I left things. I knew I couldn’t go back to the pressure and stress I have had before, but it’s so hard now because I don’t know where I actually fit in.

    As far as cutting back and focusing on me, when I did that a year ago, my pain all but melted away. It was only when I needed to prove to myself that I could do something and then did it, did I feel a power I had not ever felt before. And with power, comes fear, as well as responsibility. I have to tell myself that when I do have pain, that I should not fear it. I also really have a hard time thinking that all pain is TMS. Yet, it has been proven to me that at least my case it is. Still, it’s hard to just accept that at face value, without concrete evidence to suggest otherwise.

    I do love your words, and will take them to heart.

    All my best.
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  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    When I was younger I used to be achingly attracted to the hip and cool kids who were epically disinterested and emotionally unavailable. It would take me many years to realise they were emotionally damaged (and were in fact easier to be around than the bullies). Nihilism was some kind of refuge for these wounded adolescents and for a very long time I felt weighed down by my naiveté. You don't know what you've got till it's gone and I realise now how I was actually a healthy and happy kid.

    These days I am very mindful of what drives people and I am especially aware of resentment masquerading as a more noble truth so please don't apologise for your political affiliations or beliefs. We are who we are, where we are and what we believe is what we believe. This is fine. There is no need to feel guilty or ashamed about this. Anyone who tries to instill this in you had best question their own motives. Vive la différence.

    I find modern life far too intrusive and Orwellian. It breeds polarisation and separation and leads people down paths they may never have naturally chosen. It does well to unthread anything of this nature and purge it from your life.

    I find it quite beautiful that you have returned to your church. It says a lot about your courage and depth of faith. I wouldn't worry too much about fitting in. Everything will settle in time.

    Strangely I am beginning to see TMS as an ally. There is great power in inviting its voice to join the circle. It is not an easy relationship but it is simple.

    Enjoy this time of growth. Enjoy the power. When combined with sensitivity and a good heart it can change the world for the good. You have a good heart Jules. There is nothing to prove only a life to be lived fully and enjoyed.

    Take good care.

    Plum x
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  9. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    I had the same symptom (dx'ed by a neuro as "c6/c7 pinched nerve" years ago during a turbulent relationship break-up)--same symptoms as yours. Completely cured with total range of motion and hit hundreds of serves a day and swim with full range of motion. It was TMS--it just fades away and you wake up one day and it's gone--onto bigger and better distractions good or bad--preferably "good" ones. Had a few mild relapses that lasted a few days that got lost with TMS thinking. Deal with the emotional and take a break and put your feet up when the pain gets to be too much.
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  10. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member


    I resonate with your story. Much of your story seems to be mirroring what I have gone through the past 20 years.

    I too returned to a full-time career when I was in mid-life and quickly rose to the top position in the agency. My husband, needed also to do his own thing and his journey was going into business for himself, which left me with the job that had stability, health insurance, good, steady, income. I felt stuck. Yet, I stayed in this job for almost 20 years. Having suffered from, what I now know were TMS ailments prior to my full time employment, I found these symptoms multiplied and created much physical pain as well as weight gain. I endured and stayed, way too long for my own well-being. I was good at the work and lost my responsibility to myself in tasking myself to my work. I too was successful, found my own power in the world at large, proving to myself (I guess) probably proving to my family of origin that I could move beyond expectations. (this is a whole other story).

    I finally left (retired) three years ago. That year (2014) was a difficult year for me emotionally for a variety of reasons. Retirement only being one of the indicators, adding to my stress numbers. Unwanted estrangement from certain family members, the death of a close sibling, are a couple of the stressors I have been enduring. My body continued to deteriorate. This past year has been one of returning to Sarno, focusing on getting more physically fit (exercising more and eating well), and working the TMS guidelines. My body is improving, the pain is moving around more. I take this as a positive. I am back to meditating on a regular basis.

    Following TTom's advice of taking a break and putting my feet up when the pain gets to be too much and Plum's sage wisdom and twist on seeing TMS as an ally are great mantras for us TMSers. A good call for those of us who find ourselves otherwise 'struggling' against it.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

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  11. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Jules,
    I will say that the question What do I want? about your life and work seems to really stand out as I read this thread. You know the dynamics which are telling you that you must prove yourself, whether that is to "win over TMS" or please your husband with family finances. I hope you can see the pressures, understand how these effect the Inner Child, and gently inquire, moment-to-moment, How can I be in a more loving, gentle inner relationship? Our conditioning to "be loved" goes very deep, which often means we ignore our deeper truth.
    Andy B
  12. readytoheal

    readytoheal Peer Supporter

  13. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great article. For folks familiar with Abraham-Hicks the words on resistance will have resonance. They use the image of holding a cork beneath the water. We fight so hard and waste our energy trying to stop it from naturally bobbing up. Once we let go though...
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