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Got engaged ... suddenly remembering childhood experiences

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by colls100, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    As some of you know I suddenly got dizzy 10 years ago, and was left with a constant sense of lightheadedness, plus daily headaches.

    Anti-depressants resolved this for a few years, but when I stopped taking them it all came back, and taking them again has not had the same result.

    I managed life with these symptoms for years, and then I found out about TMS and ironically everything has got worse since then.

    I've had times where one symptom will reduce for a time, but the other gets worse.

    I have worked with a therapist for 3 months, journaled like crazy and have now developed anxiety because I can't seem to make progress.

    I recently got engaged and had what can only be described as a mental breakdown where I began to have flashbacks of my childhood - including bullying and also forms of sexual abuse. I had never discussed these things with my TMS therapist, because I obviously didn't want to face it, and therefore had repressed it.

    I knew I was unhappy at times as a child, and I have difficulty looking at pictures of myself as a child, but I never really understood why.

    I'm now seeing a therapist who is bringing up LOTS of shame, loneliness, sadness, guilt and abandonment.

    Could this be the 'missing link' that is causing my on-going symptoms? How important is it to deal with these issues?

    I felt a bit better after each session but then I get back to living life and symptoms are bad again. I don't want to get stuck in the sadness of my childhood, but I want to heal.. I don't know the answer :(
    readytoheal likes this.
  2. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Dear colls100, sorry that you have a difficult time. Reading your post make me think: you are describing what happened earlier (struggle with TMS), then there are two events (engagement and mental breakdown). And now you have a therapist who is working with you on your childhood (abandonment etc.). What I find interesting is that you mention event one (engagement), but there is no connection to event 2 (mental break down) or to the other issues you describe.
    I don’t really know what to make of it? Do you? I don’t want to jump to conclusions, it’s just the way you wrote it down that make me think.
  3. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    Therapist thinks my engagement triggered fear of commitment because of abandonment issues from childhood, which is why this has all come up now.

    I don't know :(
  4. readytoheal

    readytoheal Peer Supporter

    Anything around attachment brings out all my symptoms. Much love to you. Be gentle with yourself. Sometimes the only path is through.
    plum likes this.
  5. untangledweb

    untangledweb Peer Supporter

    I think I was listen to a podcast with Alan Gordon. He said that for men, the two big triggers were getting married and having kids. I know for me, it brings a huge fear of commitment and huge feelings of abandonment. I think it maybe time to talk about the things that you don’t want to talk about. Sexual abuse alone has such rage attached to it. It has for me.
    It’s always better getting the stuff out.
    Congratulations on your engagement.
    plum likes this.
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's hard to say how important it is to deal with these issues. I think it matters that they are recognised and witnessed but I'm not sure how much merit there is in mulling over them. This has never, ever benefited me. A good cry, maybe some venting and then a hug before moving on is usually more healing for me but you may need or want to explore these experiences more.

    The gold in mining these awful past memories is the understanding of how you have been unconsciously living certain patterns or behaviours that you are then able to challenge and change. Focusing on them for their own sake seems inherently disempowering but it may be an invitation to do some inner child work, maybe the you of today guiding the little you of yesteryear out and far away from those dark times. This is something I have done myself. I guess it's a form of re-parenting which as Alan Gordon has taught us, can be a vital healing process.

    We're here for you should you want to kick a few more thoughts around. Mostly though I don't think it's a surprise or really a big deal that your tms is kicking up some dust at the moment. Try not to let it rattle you too much and instead lovingly lean into your relationship and let this wonderful man protect and nurture you as you need it. There is a vulnerability that commitments can invoke but there is no need to be afraid. Soften. Self-soothe. Be oh-so gentle with yourself. This too shall pass.

    (And congratulations on your engagement my dear).
    Lainey and readytoheal like this.
  7. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    @plum that's what my therapist is doing with me. Identifying where I was abused and taken advantage of (I really had never seen it that way) and re-parenting my inner child by seeing her through the lens of today and who I am now. I'm starting to feel more angry about some of the things that have happened to me - and from there can move onto forgiveness ... That's his plan so to speak. I have repressed a TON of stuff
  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    It's a rocky road but it is worth it. I remember being livid when I realised how manipulated I had been. For a while it tilted my personality because I didn't want to be taken advantage of ever again but there was only so long I could endure such rage and regret. It truly was a prime mover in my tms and is something I am very aware of in relationships to this day.

    Your current bout with tms sounds like a firewall, a fierce protective shot by your primitive brain/unconscious mind. This is natural. The work with your therapist ought settle this down and enable you to move forward in life with clarity, excellent boundaries and trust.

    Just be sure to do all the things you need that enshrine your well-being. Your self-care is paramount so do your best to self-soothe and sleep well.

    Keep the faith.
    readytoheal and Lainey like this.
  9. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    The work your do with your psychotherapist is surely important for your full recovery. And it is an exciting process. Be kind to yourself, also in this process! It is normal that events like an engagement trigger TMS. For me it was always soothing to know that I don’t need to hurry with uncovering what’s bottled up. I could take my time and deal with it when I felt it was the right time. I wish you good luck! And congrats with the engagement!
  10. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    Everybody heals differently. I would say to continue working with your therapist with the clearly communicated goal of eventually moving toward forgiveness, eliminating past shame, feeling safe, and embracing love and happiness. These goals lower your stress response (and as we all know, the "stress response" creates symptoms). That may take some time, and you don't need to achieve it all today. It'll also prevent you from getting stuck in a rut.

    It's 100% OK to gain a better understanding of your past and process things that happened to you. That doesn't mean you're getting "hung up" on the past (which is something I've advised many people on these forums against), and that is very different from getting stuck in the same endless thought loops that hinder healing (and where some people go wrong with journaling). The difference lies in the ultimate goal being progress and eventual forgiveness.

    It's all about being happy and learning how to balance emotions. For some of us, such as myself who releases adrenaline inappropriately from Ehlers-Danlos and always has a VERY heightened stress response (which is why I often interpreted things as dangerous and traumatic in my past), thinking about negative events in the past is only going to make us more unhappy. Personally, that's because my stress response was the root of my problem, not necessarily all the events I experienced. Going over those events again and again didn't help me see my life more clearly and move toward forgiveness. Ultimately, I had to simply focus on my emotions in the present. For others, and maybe this is you, we need to more deeply process a few things before we can feel completely happy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach - there are only individuals.

    To clarify: some people don't need to process repressed emotions to heal, but it may benefit others, if they work toward positive goals. What I'm saying is that people go wrong when they forget to work on progress, forgiveness, letting go of perfection, and fully getting back to life.

    Your brain releases happy neurotransmitters when it feels safe and loved. Ask your therapist to help you identify strategies for processing your past with the goal of eventual forgiveness and moving on. The answer is to keep living and finding positive light in life, and to believe in your ability to heal without obsession or putting pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly (including healing - there is no single perfect way that applies to everybody). I believe you can and will!
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
    plum and readytoheal like this.
  11. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    Hey @Caulfield I had a Skype with Steve ozanich a week ago and have made GREAT strides since then. I now understand what is going on. Had the best week (emotionally and physically in years). It's taken a long time for everything to sink in, but Steve helped me see the light. I know only I can do the work, but everything you were saying to me, I am starting to understand. This is a 10 year habit, so I am trying to go easy on myself. But you're right, I have dragged up so many emotions and painful memories and now it's time to move on. Thanks for your help (again!)
    plum likes this.
  12. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am so glad you spoke to Steve! Truly, you absolutely have the ability to heal, and you always have the support of the community here, anytime you need us. :)

    Keep on focusing on building your happiness! And definitely be kind to yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. Just remember that happiness and living are the answers.
  13. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    Thanks :)

    I saw this quote today -

    "Our bodies are depleted by emotional stress and our bodies are revived by calm"

    Worrying about when I'm going to heal is not calm, it's more emotional stress!

    I think that's the hardest bit to manage.

    But anyway, I have sat in therapy for YEARS, including TMS therapists and I can safely say I have talked and cried about pretty much everything 'bad' that has ever happened to me, more than once for each event.

    And it got me exactly nowhere. But I had to do it in order to know that I suppose.
    Lizzy likes this.
  14. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    That’s exactly why I always say journaling and focusing on repressed emotions can be detrimental once someone has already heavily analyzed their past. Analyzation and processing may be necessary for some, but only up to a certain point. I had to walk away from one therapist who kept wanting to rehash my past. “I’m tired of getting stuck in endless thought loops. I’ve already processed the past. Why can’t we focus on me building a positive future for myself?” were my exact words. Some therapists are great and can help us move on; others, not so much. People on the TMS boards are prone to obsessive thoughts, and we need to surround ourselves with individuals who can steer us away from that type of thinking.

    I had to just accept life and find ways to enjoy it again to heal! Your final two sentences show me that your head is in the right place - everything happened the way it did, and you’ve gained awareness from that. Now you can move on from there. Don’t regret anything, don’t feel like a failure, don’t worry about healing.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
    plum likes this.
  15. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    So good! This is such a good change of perspective, colls 100! I hundred percent agree. I had psychoanalysis for 7 years and the only thing that happened was that was getting pretty good analyzing myself and others. Maybe this is a bit exaggerated, however, I would not do it again. I learned to see things with a distance, and I lost contact with my emotions - and prospect of the future! I understand you Caulfield, I would do the same. At some point, one needs to really change something - in everyday practice. It’s hard, I find. And sometimes we have already changed but haven’t grasped the change intellectually.
    So, congrats coll 100, now I am so looking forward to your next messages, hearing how things are going!
    plum likes this.
  16. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am delighted to read this!

    And really happy for you.

    This is so true.
    The more I heal, the more I return to being the carefree, lovely type B person I naturally am. All the pointless psychoarchaelogy just mired me in misery. I don't know how many tms'ers start out being so damn obsessive and how many end up there through well-intentioned advice, but it is flat out wrong.

    Time2be likes this.
  17. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    Re the obsessive thoughts - I have realised I've always been an obsessive person and like @Caulfield have had weird rituals and obsessive tendencies since childhood, like counting my steps and not wanting different types of food to touch each other (!)

    But I do think the TMS forum made this 100% worse - I got SO overwhelmed with all the different approaches and opinions and even success stories. I couldn't stick to one thing for more than a day or two without panicking that I was doing it wrong or that I wasn't healing quickly enough .

    Same reason doing a three month program with a TMS therapist didn't work for me - too much pressure and not an individualised approach.

    Having said that, I don't know if I would have had the breakthrough without going through that process so no regrets.

    The toughest part of all this is how one day you feel on top of the world and like you have it all worked out. The next day you feel back at square one.

    As somebody who struggles to stick with anything and see it through, this is the biggest challenge for me .
    readytoheal likes this.

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