1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Our TMS drop-in chat is tomorrow (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern (now US Daylight Time) . It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support, with Celayne as your host. Look for the red Chat flag on top of the menu bar!

I really hate asking for help.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Celayne, Sep 19, 2022.

  1. Celayne

    Celayne Well known member

    Like, really, really hate it. I moved myself five years ago (except of course for the things that needed to be in a moving van) and I have a lot of stuff. Boxes and boxes and carloads of stuff, all because I didn't want to ask friends or family for assistance. They would have been glad to help, or so they said after the fact. I tell this just so you see how hard this post is for me to write. But - deep breath - here goes.

    I've actively been working on my TMS healing for more than five years. I have had ups and downs, peaks and valleys, but right now I am feeling very lost and extremely frustrated. Since 2017, I've read a lot of TMS books (Dr. Sarno, Alan Gordon, Nicole Sachs, Steve Ozanich). I've gone through the Curable app a couple of times. I saw a TMS coach for 3 years. I bought a series of recorded classes from Curable. I took Nicole Sachs online course. I've attended one of her weekend retreats remotely. I've journaled. I've done most of the SEP on the wiki and Alan Gordon's Pain Recovery Program a couple of times. I am one of the hosts for the wiki's weekend chat. I've read articles about how the brain works and articles about psychology. I've done EMDR with a therapist. I've had expensive phone calls with a couple of people well-known in the TMS community.

    I've journaled. I do yoga. I meditate.

    I've gotten my life back to the point that I can do normal things with people and go out in the world and enjoy myself. I never worry about being somewhere and having a panic attack, because I don't have them any more. I no longer worry about pain escalating to the point that I need to hurry home or go hang out in a bathroom while I calm myself down. I accept invitations and go about my life. Things sound promising, right?

    Except...I am going through periods of intense pain. It's like all the pain I originally had that freaked me out and terrified me and gave me panic attacks is back. The only part that is different is - NO panic attacks. So that is good.

    I know I have made much progress but I can't get rid of this pain. It seems to escalate whenever I start feeling good about my physical condition and start thinking I can work out again. I actually was starting to work out in May but something happened, some silly bit of pain while merely walking one day, so I took a break. Deep down, I guess I was so deeply afraid of my pain returning during exercise that I decided to skip that for now. After all, I am able to 'live my life' pretty well except for that pesky exercise portion of life.

    The other times pain flares is when I start thinking about doing the creative work I love. Music, writing, art (though I'm not much of an artist). My nasty little amygdala doesn't want me to be fulfilled, I guess.

    I don't even know what to do at this point. People say, "you have to work through the pain", but I don't know that I can. My nervous system is extremely sensitized to pain. I feel like giving up on the whole TMS thing but there isn't another way out of the pain for me. The medical establishment did nothing for me before and I don't think they've changed in the past few years. I don't want medication and I don't want endless testing to find that there's nothing wrong with me. Also, I suffered a vaccine injury last year. If you really want to feel ridiculed and unheard, tell a medical professional that their medicine harmed you. It's happened to me twice, so 'shame on me', I guess.

    Nobody in my world understands TMS or has any interest in TMS healing. There isn't anyone to talk to about it. My TMS coach went on maternity leave in January, declared I was 'recovered' in our last session. I don't know if she was tired of seeing me or what, but that was the last I heard from her. Should I start over with someone else? I am torn on that. I don't need to learn the basics. I feel like I'm in so deep with TMS knowledge that I can't see clear to the essence of what I need to do. I could probably give advice to others all day long as long as I had an audience who would listen, but I am having trouble doing it for myself.

    If you've read to here, I hand it to you for perseverance.

    I want help but ultimately TMS is a solitary journey that you have to take for yourself. I know that. It's just so flipping hard. I've heard that most therapists/coaches are not taking on new clients now and maybe that's not what I need to be doing. It's all just confusing and frustrating. I hate feeling this way and don't want to be that 1% (or whatever) that just never heals.

    Good advice will be appreciated. Please, though, I would like specific pointers. Tell me what has worked for you. I don't need to hear 'keep going' or 'just do the work'. I've been doing that for five years and I've been goddamn diligent and brave about it. There is a way through the brick wall I'm up against right now, but I'm just not seeing it at the moment.
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @Celayne,

    The fact that you are so well versed (you could definitely teach a course at this point!) and the fact that despite all the emotional processing you have done, the tms keeps hanging around would lead me to believe that doubt is still lurking somewhere. Doubt is poison and it's the mother of all barriers imo. Have you checked out Dr. Dan Ratner's YT channel "Crushing Doubt"? He is the man for the job of vanquishing doubt. He also has support groups and IG lives every Monday where you can ask questions. Feel free to pm me as well...I work as a coach and I'm available, whether it's for just one session or more.
    Celayne likes this.
  3. Celayne

    Celayne Well known member

    Hello @miffybunny! Thanks for responding.

    I haven’t seen any of Dr. Dan Earner’s work. I will look for it. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I’ll pm you. Interested in a session…or two.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    My dear Celayne - I'm sorry to hear this, although I've been seeing hints.

    For me, it's all about that negative voice inside, that starts wearing me down when I stop being mindful of how I'm allowing it to develop and take over. When I can be mindful, I can also stop, breathe, and have a little conversation with myself and that voice, and come to some sort of agreement about how the negativity is simply not necessary.

    My coach (LCSW, but from a different state, so legally she is my coach) gave me this little practice recently, which serves well to force a break in the negativity, and shift focus. The technique is to recognize how the conversation inside your head has devolved, probably over time, into "Aack! I don't want this, get me the f*** out of here, just stop this!"

    You need to be willing to hear that, stop, (breathe!) and recognize how you clearly know what you DON'T want. Then ask yourself what it is that you DO want. Even if what you want is as obvious as having the pain stop, just asking and answering the question can suddenly shift your focus from negativity and fear to the possibility of a positive future, even if only for a moment of emotional relief.

    I put little "I want" cards around the condo to remind me to stop, listen, and shift the negative chatter. I believe it can be pretty effective with practice.

    With love,

    Booble likes this.
  5. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS for having pain without the anxiety and panic attacks. That is HUGE. Seriously that's half the battle right there.

    I'm going to respond before looking at the other posts so hopefully I won't repeat too much.
    My guess is that even though you are not getting the anxiety spikes, you are still dwelling on the pain. It's great that your thoughts are not leading to an adrenaline rush (yay!) but you have a lot of hyper focus and worry about the pain itself. Which of course is 100% natural.

    Even though you've done all the jounaling and TMS work, I'm thinking you might have some new emotions to get out? Have you dealt with the anger you feel about not being listened to or believed about the vaccine injury? Any other people you might be secretly pissed off at? Or situations that are worth revisiting?

    You know as well as all of us that the pain coming on when you start to do the creative things you love is your brain on TMS. Don't let the little beast win on that one.

    We tend to be people who hyper focus, obsess if you will, on things. If I were in your shoes I'd try to turn that over focus whenever you're thinking about the pain, to thinking about some stuff you are mad about, etc. I know you've done it before but it seems like switching the focus on that makes the pain subside.

    Ok, now I'll read what the experts above have said. :)
  6. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I’m sorry for your struggle.
    A few thoughts: you hate to ask for help but you are so willing to offer it. There’s some personality stuff to dig into.
    Speaking of digging, have you thought more about why pain and symptoms seem to increase with exercise - beyond acknowledging fear thoughts? I mean, do you really, really like what you think of as exercise or do you feel you have to? Can you switch it up, find something you look forward to with, say a slight pressure to follow through even when you get a bit afraid of sensations.. Or don’t exercise if you hate it!
    I really understand this aspect of the fear of “feeling”. I’ve been working on desensitizing my reaction to become a response on many levels. I started by repeatedly telling myself anyone who’s been through this pain would have these fears - it is a natural reaction to a nervous system on high alert. Then I began reminding myself my fear was spawned by a symptom that feels magnified because my nervous system is still super sensitive, and asking myself what emotion is my fear replacing?
    Now I refuse to react quickly when I feel a symptom. At least I do a little walking, at times I do another activity for even 20 seconds, at worst I go lay down. Sometimes it takes me 2-3 days to find my mojo again - but it used to take me 2 weeks! Somedays I get frustrated at slow healing, other days I remember that 6 months ago I was in bed 18 hrs a day and could barely walk.

    If you feel you need a therapist, I know two that take new patients.

    One of the things that helped me the most was @TG957 ’s book - how she so bravely challenged herself (and continues to) - she has fears but often wants to do the things she fears.. and does them. I have read this book 3 times, and some passages 100 times. I have also done the SEP twice - the 2nd time I did each lesson for 3 days to help it sink in beyond just an intellectual level.

    Do whatever you need to do, and try not to be frustrated. please reCh out whenever you need to. That’s what we are here for. Your friends, who understand tms.
  7. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think @Cactusflower is on to something. Hating to ask for help while willing to offer it - to me is a sign of being too hard on yourself, or, in other words, lacking self-compassion. I have been there, and Kristen Neff's book helped me a lot. I used to get angry that I couldn't progress fast enough, and learning how to accept myself with all my shortcomings helped tremendously with recovery, and subsequently with my daily life .
  8. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you for your kind words, @Cactusflower ! I don't think I was brave, I just learned to recognize a fear for what it is. Once you know in your heart that your fear is unfounded, you can get through it.
  9. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    I don't know if hating to ask for help and being willing to offer it is a sign of lacking self compassion.
    I think it's more a sign of the feeling that we feel the need to be perfect!
  10. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Everyone is different. Many of us feel, on some deep, perhaps unconscious and repressed level, (and don't forget that the more negative the emotion, the deeper it can be hidden) that we don't deserve to be helped, or that we should be ashamed to ask for help, or that we should feel guilty for taking someone's time. These feelings can easily exist right alongside goodism and perfectionism. They come directly from a place where we do not value ourselves.

    By "we", I'm including myself, in case that wasn't obvious...
    TG957 likes this.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just want to say, although it's really off-topic, that being able to describe to newbies how this qualifies as success, is a tough one. It's frustrating how many people read a little bit of Sarno or the wiki and latch on tight to an expectation that they will achieve 100% recovery, that anything less is failure, and that once they are "cured" they'll never have to think about this ever again.

    Yeah, I still struggle, and sometimes it's discouraging, especially since 2019, but as @Cactusflower said, the difference in my life Before Sarno vs After Sarno is like night vs day even after another 11 years being a senior (because believe me, getting old is not for sissies). To me, this is Success with a capital S.

    Getting back on topic, I know that Celayne fully appreciates this for herself. But these times can be really hard.
  12. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Same. Same here. I had a cold after two years of not getting sick and after finding a better way to process my emotions and be kind to myself. Since I got better, I've had numbness, weakness and muscle spasms/cramps like never before and it sometimes feels like being hugged really hard, except there's my usual TMS equivalents too so I'm just going to hope it's just somatic and reducing stress can get my nerves back in shape.
    I'm handling it better than I thought I would be but I don't want to go to the doctor and get more tests. I want to just live my life. I'm hoping it's just stored trauma being released.

    Psychologically I've been speaking to myself kindly and letting myself cry if I need to and just encourage my immune system that it has already helped me recover from the cold and not need to go overboard. I think I'm finally ok with asking for help and being honest with myself.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2022
  13. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    I don't want to throw you off in your TMS but just an FYI if your cold is/was COVID, be sure to check and make sure that feeling of being hugged really hard isn't myocarditis. That is one of the symptoms. Normally I wouldn't bring up a physical condition and definitely not something to add worry but it is one of the complications of COVID so I also don't want you to ignore if it is something.
    Hope you feel better soon.
  14. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    It was more in the stomach and legs so I'm not sure...
  15. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Ok, never mind. :)
    Is that a normal TMS spot for you?
    If it was just a cold and not COVID then no need to worry.
  16. Xara

    Xara Peer Supporter

    In my humble opinion, when symptoms reoccur, the person hasn't addressed yet its feelings that trigger the symptoms. I feel it too, I have the symptom, without having anxiety of this anymore, most times ( I am not experienced enough in this...). It is because I am learning not to be afraid of them. But the trigger lies somewhere there, without me noticing.
    In addition, I have a feeling that- at least in my occasion - the reaction of my body to feelings will last for long long time, depending on the circumstances. So, at a first stage ( I am on this since 2020, a little slow :)) my goal is to be easy with the symptoms, understanding what and why I feel it and live a life that I feel it deserves to live it.
    I also hate asking for help - it sounds almost humiliatimg to me. It is the way we grew up, but I practice asking for help and show a vulnerable side of me. It is not easy, but we have to learn that society serves this purpose too: to help each other. I decided to answer, why? Because there is a chance to help you. So, I assume there are other people too, who are glad to help, even though they are few, and even though they are the people we expect to help us ( family, close friends etc).
    "It seems to escalate whenever I start feeling good about my physical condition and start thinking I can work out again"
    It happens to me when I do not really want to do something or when I want it very very much, so there is pressure, oh, I want to do it, what if I have the symptoms again, what if I will not be good enough etc
    Wishes for courage
    Booble likes this.
  17. Smokey73

    Smokey73 New Member

    Dear Celayne,
    I too have been working at this a long time, since 2018. The wiki and Dr Schubiner have taught me so much. I am doing things I never thought possible.
    Recently I realized that anxiety and tms sensations would come after an event, such as teaching a class. I could understand anxiety before the event but not after, especially when it was a success. This made no sense. I now think I found the answer.
    After a successful class last week, I received a text complimenting me on the class. When I read it, the anxiety went thru the roof. After much journaling and reflection, I remembered how acknowledging success was not tolerated in my family. Shaming and scolding followed.
    It seems so unfair that success or even the threat of success has it's own obstacles. We work so hard, then we have to work harder yet.
    But, like you, my life is so much better. We do just have to keep looking for why our minds set up these road blocks.
    Best of luck to you.
    JanAtheCPA, Ellen, Xara and 2 others like this.
  18. Xara

    Xara Peer Supporter

    well aimed observation... Besides, I was thinking that in many families ( mine too) free time and enjoying oneself was/is a shame, is regarded as waste of time. You had to do constantly something " productive", even if it could be a hobby, you had to have " results". So, when you accomplish something, you search for something else and so on. When you don't have to accomplish or when you burn out/ be in pain, anxiety hits the roof, you feel you are wasting your time, useless, unproductive etc.
    I don't know if I am accurate, but I have felt that way, especially at the beginning.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  19. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Celayne,
    I'm sorry to hear you are experiencing pain and feeling stuck, though I want to congratulate you for recovering from anxiety. Anxiety is something I still struggle with at times. Also, I want to thank you for all the helpful contributions you have made to this Forum over the years. You have helped and touched a lot of people.

    Your statement about not being able to ask or accept help really resonates with me. In probing my psyche as part of my TMS recovery, I found that I am unable to ask for or accept help because of a very deep feeling of unworthiness. When pulling on that thread I was able to see how the early dynamics of my childhood established that pattern. I think of all the things I've had to uncover and look at in my TMS recovery, this has by far been the most painful. But fortunately, based on Sarno's teaching, we don't have to fix or resolve the things we uncover, we just have to bring them into consciousness where our rational brain can examine them. Then we can accept them as part of ourselves and move on, instead of continuing to repress them.

    Based on my experience, I think that if you are still experiencing TMS pain, it is because you still have a need for the defense mechanism of repression. There are still things to be discovered and uncovered for you. I know that is frustrating to hear since you've worked so long and hard. Stepping back and taking a break can be useful at times. Sometimes new learning needs to percolate for a while. Take some time to just let things be.

    Wishing you all the best.
  20. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Awesome revelation @Smokey73, good work, and a great reminder of two key things:
    1. Writing works
    2. You have to go back to childhood
    Booble likes this.

Share This Page