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I feel like my life is over at 32; some outside perspective would be greatly appreciated

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Idearealist, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. Idearealist

    Idearealist Peer Supporter

    Hey all, sorry for the depressing title.

    For the last 12 years I've struggled with so many health challenges. When I was 17 I had a nervous breakdown and developed SEVERE anxiety. I had to take a leave from high school and almost didn't graduate with my class. I recovered, but at age 19 got my nose smashed flat to my face and began to have serious issues breathing. Even after a partially successful surgery, I became plagued with a litany of debilitating health conditions: POTS, GERD/LPR/hiatal hernia, and just severe exhaustion in general. I struggled on, and tried to live life as best I could, but in the last 7 months I have developed RSI in both hands (from a lot of gaming, or so I thought), mild wheezing, difficulty swallowing food, and pain in both knees.

    I honestly have never felt as hopeless as I did until I read about TMS a month ago or so. I recognize myself in so many of the descriptions — always trying to make others feel good, striving for perfection, WORRYING NONSTOP, and being convinced that I have to be or do something special to be loved and accepted. The things that have thus far prevented me from accepting TMS totally are:

    - I have been taking PPIs for reflux for almost 4 years now; is it possible that these drugs have given me osteoarthritis or something? Both my middle knuckles in my index fingers are slightly swollen, and so many joints in my hands hurt a little bit. I'm really hoping this is "just" RSI...

    - Due to my borked nose, my sleep hasn't been great since I was 19 years old. I've tried to compensate by lying down and napping when I could, but I fear that I've done my body irreparable harm but going so long on crappy sleep.

    Besides a small hiatal hernia, all my labs look good. I worry about resuming physical activity because my hands and knees feel legitimately injured, but doctors just shrug off my concerns and tell me that stuff starts hurting in our 30s. This time last year I could do 15+ pullups, had a six pack, etc; now I can barely type this, I'm afraid to run because of my knees, and I feel like I'm falling apart. It just doesn't add up. I didn't feel like I was pushing myself *that* hard.

    Anyway, how does one muster up the courage to embrace TMS as a diagnosis? The thought of damaging my joints by resuming normal activity scares the sh-t out of me. I just want to be able to trust my body and feel safe in my skin again.
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Idearealist,

    I'm so sorry to read about all you have gone through but you are definitely in the right place! Dr. Sarno described TMS as the body's version of a nervous breakdown. Every line of your post reads TMS... history of severe anxiety, the traumas, your personality traits, the fact that you are so hard on yourself. the internal pressures etc...It sounds like everything structural has been ruled out so the first step would be gathering knowledge. Have you read "Unlearn Your Pain" by Dr. Schubiner? It also contains worksheets. There's a free program here for the emotional discovery part as well. Another option would be to find a TMS therapist. I think you could benefit from some sessions. In the beginning it's normal to have doubts because the pain is very real and so scary! They are actually false alarms form the brain though. It's a question of neural circuits firing and it's something that is totally reversible. It just takes some patience and practice calming down and getting to the root of your anxiety. TMS and anxiety are one and the same. I hope I reassured you a little but take satisfaction that you are on the right path and you will definitely get better!
    Idearealist and TG957 like this.
  3. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Idearealist , you are in a tough spot, but you are not the first one feeling completely destroyed and you are in the right place to find support and recover. I was heading to a full disability at age of 58, yet, I am fully recovered now and feel healthier than I was 5 years ago. I had severe insomnia, neuropathic pain in hands and arms, pain in feet and legs, my hands were swollen, I could not hold a pen and put my signature on paper, all on top of other chronic pain conditions. I am perfectly fine now. The root of my problem was severe anxiety. Once I addressed that, everything normalized. You can do it! Life ahead is much better!
    Idearealist and miffybunny like this.
  4. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    Well life isn’t always going to look like this. You’ve stumbled onto the actual root cause.

    That fear is controlling you. You will need to use these programs or others to overcome and face the fear. The fear will subside, and the body will follow.

    Remove any expectations you have about this. I don’t think you can overcome the fear while anticipating a new future. Future will be bad or good. The only way to move the odds in your favor of it being good is to forget about the future and realize Improving your present moment will address everything.
    Idearealist likes this.
  5. Idearealist

    Idearealist Peer Supporter

    Thanks for the replies, guys - it means a lot. I feel like half the battle is unlearning all the structural explanations that have imprisoned me in a fear that I can't get well. Working on it! I did a short calisthenics workout this morning and didn't shatter into a million pieces, so that's a start :eek:ldman: Now to start changing the negative inner monologue...
  6. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    When I was working the TMS program and nearing the end (I didn’t know this) of my RSI pain I decided not to limit ANY activities due to RSI. I wrenched of my car for about 8 hours a day every Saturday and Sunday. Noticing that the pain didn’t really change or even got better was so helpful to the situation.

    Learn that the pain doesn’t mean what you’ve interpreted.
  7. Idearealist

    Idearealist Peer Supporter

    This is such a hopeful insight, and so true. I had an esophagram done a few months ago because I couldn't even swallow solid food due to reflux symptoms. I was actually afraid to drink the barium solution because I thought I might choke. Guess what the results of the exam were? Perfectly normal swallowing — no strictures, masses, or any type of anatomical abnormalities to account for how constricted my throat felt. I couldn't have interpreted the symptoms of my body any less accurately.
    miffybunny likes this.
  8. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's really interesting! Your brain "decided" in a sense, that there was problem when there really wasn't. The brain makes certain decisions in an attempt to protect you but they are based on faulty thoughts and false beliefs. There are cases of people who thought they were blind when they really weren't. The brain creates all sensations.
  9. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That matches my experience. When my hands were stuck in dystonia (involuntary muscles contraction), I could perfectly well bend my fingers with my other hand, but when I wanted to bend them without help, they would not cooperate. My brain refused to send that command to the fingers. That was clear indication to me that my problem was not in my hands, it was in my brain.
  10. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow.. Your headline was exactly what I would have posted when I first got to Sarno when I was your age. I was 32 and 'done' according to the medical world. I would have to live a sedentary careful life OR (according to them) I might become paralyzed.
    They were wrong. So was I. I was NOT done and have lived 20 plus years since completely free to do whatever I like..... baseball, skateboarding, Cycling, and being a construction worker.... pain free.

    I READ. Sarno. Sarno and Sarno. .... I kept scribble notes about how this was a much better explanation than any of the ones I got from the 'Medieval Medical system". I began to challenge the notion there was anything wrong with me.

    except for the hernia thing, I went through bouts of all of the stuff you mention.

    Some, I only learned were there to distract me after I had been pain free for years. There was no internet back then to discuss this with others, so I had no clue, but I continue to learn new distractions all of the time.

    Your life is not over. In fact, you may in time come to reflect on now and find that this is when it began in earnest. Read Sarno... as insane as it sounds, this is a learning program. About Yourself and what does and doesn't cause health problems.

    PM me if you have any questions

  11. Idearealist

    Idearealist Peer Supporter

    Do not get me started on the Medieval Medical Sytem :X Lol jk. But seriously, I hate how most doctors subscribe to this idea that we all just devolve into these aching, effete piles of dysfunction around age 30. What the hell do they even base this on? Anyhow, I'm happy to hear of your success! All of these stories of recovery are so inspiring. I've read two of Dr Sarno's books, and I will keep reading and reflecting on them until I am in a better spot.
    Baseball65 likes this.

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