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In the grip of Terror because of a new injury

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Dida8349, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. Dida8349

    Dida8349 Peer Supporter

    Ok. I am kind of ashamed about coming here with the following call for support but I need it!

    First of all let me say that prior to the current setback, I was doing really well. Simply accepting the TMS theory and stopping the relentless pursuit of treatments has done wonders for my mental well-being. It's incredible how much pressure that pursuit of a diagnosis and cure alone put on me.

    My symptoms have not miraculously gone away like they do for some but I didn't expect that either. I know that I have a lot work to do and I am happy to do it. What did go away - temporarily at least - was the FEAR. The ANXIETY. And what a relief that was!

    Unfortunately, now the FEAR is back, full on!

    Its return is classic for me: I hurt my neck in a run-of-a-mill accident 2 days ago and it triggered a traumatizing memory of several years of chronic neck pain that limited me greatly in my life and that I only recovered from 2 years ago.

    What happened was this:

    I got mad (at my boyfriend), lashed out, grabbed a big sofa (3 kg) cushion, raised it above my head with the intention of slamming it to let off some of my steam, it folded upon itself mid-air, hit me in the back of my head and pulled my neck down as it slid back to the sofa.

    It would be funny in a Tom and Jerry sort of way - getting hurt by the very thing I am trying to "hurt" - if it wasn't tragic for me. This incident, like so many before of similar kind, triggers a familiar reaction: I immediately panic that I have hurt myself AGAIN and that the injury, like all my previous injuries, will compromise my life, put me out of action and lead me to despair or full-blown depression and isolation that will last as long as my symptoms do. Days, weeks, months, even years.

    I get into a FREEZE mode, where I put my life on hold, as I metaphorically speaking (or not) curl up in the corner (in FEAR) and wait for the reality of my situation to explode and run its course (heal or not heal).

    This idiotic reaction of mine is the fruit of experiences: my body has been through countless minor injuries and a few small surgical interventions many of which have led me to develop chronic health problems. I understand that my brain has a lot of responsibility for this. I FEAR this happening so I make it happen. This is, I guess, a case of Health Anxiety causing TMS.

    FEARING does not encourage the body to heal like it should. If anything, it perpetuates inflammation through muscle contraction and constricts proper smooth blood flow. The lack of sleep also has a negative impact on my health.

    Thanks to the TMS work, I have learned how to treat my chronic symptoms, how to not give in to the fear around them, and how to react differently. I've seen a lot of improvement through thinking emotionally rather than physically. It has created a distance between my physical symptoms and me and I have really noticed than not giving them attention, they are losing their grip on me. But what I have now is a NEW INJURY. No doctor has evaluated it to confirm that there is no significant damage there. It will be months before I know if this becomes a new chronic pain. I guess I should go and have it checked out but I dread going to doctors as they always make me feel even worse (physically and emotionally). Besides, I am pretty sure I didn't break anything, that what I have at the most is a soft tissue injury - (or perhaps a vertebrae misalignment?!) and that there is little I can do other than just .. take it easy and NOT FRET.

    ... but I can't seem to be able to do that!

    The injury happened 2 days ago and I am still paralyzed with fear!

    How do I stop my brain from scaring me?

    Do I need to get an X-ray?
    Do I need to get an MRI?

    I can move my head in all directions. My pain is not bad enough for me to take painkillers. It is bad enough to scare the shit out of me, but then again, it takes very little of physical discomfort to really scare me!

    How can I quieten my brain, make me feel safe and not worried?

    Distraction methods are not working at all ... I am completely symptom obsessed when it's in this acute stage and a new injury too.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Dida,

    I am sorry about the fear. Let me point out a couple of things. One is that your learning so far --fearing less, will not go away. You are now challenged to "practice with adversity." It may feel like you're losing your practice and your progress, but this is partly because of the big new challenge. I think that you should have confidence that your more secure, less worried self is not lost. It may simply feel further away right now. It will reemerge stronger in the future, as you go through this present process. I wonder if part of what you're suffering from is fearing fear, and fearing that you'll always be in fear?

    Listen to mindfulness meditations from Utube.

    Or learn a simple breath practice such as inhale to 4 or 6 counts, and exhale to 4 or 6 counts, set a timer for 5 minutes and do the practice. I don't know your experience with this, but if you do this, your mind will relax. And just taking a couple of conscious breaths "on the fly" when your anxiousness arises will become a "go-to" practice that you can always depend on. Just like learning that the symptoms need not go away, you'll learn that the fear need not either... The fear is TMS.

    And, you can formulate reassuring statements which don't sound like BS to you. Maybe, "You're afraid about your neck, and also the body is designed to heal itself." Or just "The body is made to heal itself." Find what feels relieving in your emotional body, and refine, change in time. Such is the healing process!

    You will know if this is a real injury in the fruit of time. In a month of healing or if you go to doctor in a day or two. But right now, you can be with yourself.

    Andy B
    Dida8349 and birdsetfree like this.
  3. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    You are just experiencing an old fear trigger. There is nothing new here and you know how to accept it. Because your pain is not bad and you did not do anything dramatic to hurt yourself I would expect this to last only a few days. Relax and this should all settle down quickly.
    Dida8349 likes this.
  4. Dida8349

    Dida8349 Peer Supporter

    Yes, exactly, Andy. I have realized how easily I slip back into fear ... with every new injury, with every new ache, with every new symptom ... I obsess about it ... I put my life on hold ..

    It was easy to feel better whilst my symptoms were the usual ones but a new injury, a new symptom, .. that's a whole different game.

    I try to stay in the present moment (be mindful) and I try the deep breathing exercises. I must practice ... both are new skills for me. I tend to clench up in fear, breathe in a shallow way ... contract in body, breath, even in mind ... Thank you for your reassurance and advise. I take it to heart.
  5. Dida8349

    Dida8349 Peer Supporter

    I can't help but ask myself constantly WHY? Why fret so much? Why worry all the time? Why do I always think so catastrophically about every little ache?

    Not understanding drives me crazy ... It makes no sense to think the way I do!

    Sarnoś theory of FEAR OF SYMPTOMS distracting me from even scarier emotions does not feel right for me. I feel emotions and I express them too, why do I have to have this worry and fear about my body as well?
  6. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    Your TMS brain is deliberately scaring you. This is how it keeps you focused on the pain/symptom. It wants you to be fearful, that is the preoccupation. So to counteract this look for logic evidence that you have not done anything dramatic or traumatic to your body at all. Therefore know that your body will heal it up very quickly and trust this. There is nothing to fear, look to the logic and reassure yourself that all is well.
  7. Dida8349

    Dida8349 Peer Supporter

    I understand what you are saying but I did something dramatic and traumatic to my neck! I hit it with a 3 kg pillow, at high speed, unexpectedly, from behind. Instantly, I could feel a muscle pull. As instantly, my ANXIETY about having re-injured myself and about what that could mean for my life popped up and made me its hostage.

    I am not a doctor so I don't know what could have happened: if I just pulled a muscle, if I injured a ligament, if my spine got misaligned, or if it is just my mind playing its usual (TMS) trick on me. Not understanding the body, how it works, what's the worst that can happen under those circumstances, does not help. I sometimes think I should do a course to learn about the musculoskeletal structure of the body so that I could let my factual knowledge protect me against my anxiety (which is born out of not knowing how things work and thinking of the worst scenarios). Perhaps this is just another illusion, however: knowledge often produces more anxiety, not otherwise!

    I wish there was a TMS doctor specialized in musculoskeletal matters whom I could see - and whom I could get a crash course education from - so that I know when it is legitimate to worry and when it isn't. Normal doctors do not help - they usually do otherwise. The first time I hurt my neck, 20 years ago, by falling from a stationary train, backward, on my backside and probably "whiplashing" my neck, I was given a collar to wear for 3 weeks! The pain didn't go away for months, years even .. I later found out that wearing a collar post-whiplash is not a good advise. Especially for that length of time! I was told to rest it out, now I am being told that the worst thing is not to move the neck and to let the muscles atrophy.

    Doctors have always just told me to rest, immobilize whatever I hurt, and following their advice never led to a speedy recovery but to frustration, and the development of a chronic issue. I am sure I would have fared a lot better had I been reassured by a TMS doctor who understands the importance of stressing the body's inherent capacity to heal and explaining the mind's power in the matter.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  8. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    I understand your triggers here, really I do. Your neck is strong and its only been a few days so I think it would be reasonable for you to just take it easy and let your body and mind heal. Stay calm, you mentioned that you were not in that much pain so it doesn't sound like you injured it much.
  9. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi All,

    I think it might be nice to add the condensation of Alan's work on "danger signal" and why it is important to the organism.

    Alan Gordon is saying that to stay inside of, to activate, to reactivate ---a state of alarm is what keeps us safe. Or what we think will keep us safe. We are safer biologically (and perhaps during parts of our history ---and therefore much of our inner activity all the time--) when we're in an state of heightened awareness/alarm. We're ready to act, to protect, to take action.

    So my point is your fear/obsessing is quite natural, understandable.

    I appreciate Alan's expression of this because it helps me understand why something so painful and uncomfortable as anxiety, fear, hypervigilance has such a natural source and reason.

    You might look at this thread and see RogueWave's post. He addresses some of his learning about anxiety.
    https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/a-desperate-update-opinions-appreciated.20723/ (A desperate update, opinions appreciated)

    Andy B
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
    Dida8349 likes this.
  10. Dida8349

    Dida8349 Peer Supporter

    Dear Andy, thank you so much for this. I am truly moved by the empathy and free-of-charge help offered via this forum. (It feels like a miracle in today's day and age when money makes the world turn round and is the driving force even in the field of health care).

    You were right: that thread hits the nail on its head, so to speak. I really needed to read it. All of it.

    I am grateful for everyone's input here, for the sufferer's question, for the other members chipping in with their pieces of wisdom and support, for those recovered who take the time to come back here and help someone in need, for the "experts" and "therapists" who offer priceless advice. I am humbled by all this "working together to help one another". It's beautiful. The way I wish the world was but often fails to be, as everyone - or at least so many in my experience (including myself) - are too wrapped up in their own individual struggles to notice a fellow human being and reach out .. (when in reality doing exactly that would lessen the suffering for all!)

    Thank you. I am taking everything on board. I will look up the books mentioned in that thread. And .. I'll just show up for my life. That's the message I am taking from reading that thread. I too am done with hiding away, waiting for a miracle, and being angry with my brain for boycotting me over and over again as I stand by, feeling powerless. I know it's not gonna be easy but I want my life back so bad, I'll just try to live it.
    birdsetfree likes this.
  11. Duende

    Duende Peer Supporter

    Dida, I send you a warm hug. It's the only thing I can give you.
    Dida8349 likes this.

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