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Learning a new way to live

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by mc1986, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. mc1986

    mc1986 Peer Supporter

    Hi, I apologize in advance if this seems like rambling. I find it helpful to get my thoughts down and engage in dialogue about them. I hope you don't mind.

    I am currently struggling with not falling back into old patterns as I recover from tms. I have had pelvic pain for about 2 years now. I have gone from being unable to empty the dishwasher for my wife to running, lifting weights and being back at work. I still have nearly constant pain, which is frustrating and sometimes bothers me much more than others. I'm trying not to monitor it but it's difficult.

    As I attempt to decondition myself I find myself falling into old patterns. I push myself too hard in an attempt to distract myself. My hobbies become obsessions. I have unreal expectations of myself. In an attempt to act as I would if I didn't have pain I find myself doing just that...acting like I did before I had pain, and not in a good way. It is crystal clear to me why my pain started when it did. I push myself too hard. I'm a perfectionist, a goodist, people pleaser, hyper responsible etc. All the things that make me a tmser. I am struggling to find balance between not accommodating my pain and still resting when I need to. I'm struggling to not be frustrated with the still nearly constant pain I have. I force myself into activity as a distraction which is beginning to feel like I am running from the pain. I'm good at pushing through pain when a task needs to be completed. It suits my personality. I am not good at sitting calmly through pain.

    I need to change the way I approach life and that is what has been so difficult for me. My previous life worked so well (on the surface) until the pain started. I ask myself do I want to change? And the answer isn't so simple. It was certainly easier when I could just ignore my feelings and do what needed to be done. On the other hand, of coarse I want to do whatever is necessary to get better and I recognize now that I wasn't happy in my previous life (I didn't recognize it then). I do genuinely like myself (I think). I understand it's a choice and I will certainly choose to change. Choose to heal. This is more about how difficult I am finding it.

    I feel as though I have worked through the underlying emotional issues I have and I really feel as though I understand why this started when it did. I have overcome my fear of hurting myself. The only way I limit myself is I am still working on light duty. I am not yet confident I can get through a 48 hour shift on a fire engine. I am also weaning off of pain medication which adds stress and fear. The medication is a safety net but I don't think it does much for me other than keep me out of withdrawal and the placebo effect that comes from doing something to change my immediate circumstances. I feel my biggest obstacle now is my constant monitoring of my symptoms (a watched pot never boils) and learning a different way of being. It's easy to make the one time choice to change but is harder in the moment to moment living.

    If anyone has been through or is going through similar issues any thoughts on any of this would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi MC,

    You're not alone in seeing how hard it is to change patterns. One thing you have going for you is that you're seeing, if I understand you how some of the same approaches to life that you feel caused pain (TMS) you act out on yourself in an attempt to treat TMS. This is a very good thing to see. You can appreciate the compulsive, repetitive nature of the personality patterns.

    My advice is what I use for myself and with clients and it can be called the "paradoxical theory of change." It works by being with, and experiencing in more depth the body sensations, feelings, Inner Critic activity, and self-images that come up, for instance in your behavior to "push through." You stay with inner activity when you notice it, and feel it, make room for it, experience it. Rather than acting out unconsciously or trying to push away the feelings or behavior in question. The paradoxical theory of change is that things, when experienced more fully, relax and dissipate on their own. This is a way of self-attunement and self-empathy as well. Then when there are choices to be made to turn away from old behaviors, you have the understanding to support the change. The change comes with less effort because there is understanding and love for your experience, rather than rejection.

    You've come very far already. Now you still have some pain. Even your pain at this point can be held with understanding: "It is TMS and results from my pushing." So be it. Not so much needs to change. In my opinion your best bet is to develop a more compassionate container for your situation. This is the antidote to pushing through, or away, or pushing yourself to do things better (even your TMS work). We're all a little different, but this is what helps me relax at a deep level. The needs that I think I will get by pushing through are met in a different way altogether!

    Andy B
    MWsunin12 likes this.
  3. KevBin

    KevBin New Member

    Wow i can see myself in your story. Same pelvic pain and same personality traits. I was weight training 6 times a week and running 3 times. Pain started with me never happy of how i looked (not enough muscle, too fat). I was doing nothing because of the pain. since i started my TMS journey i try to go back to my old activities but fear is present.

    I'm feeling stuck also with pushing too hard. I try to overdo everything and i have to take my time but its hard.

    I would like to know your strategy for the bad days when you have flares. Since we have a similar story i would like to exchange our strategies.

  4. mc1986

    mc1986 Peer Supporter

    Thanks Andy,
    I am reading Claire Weeks and your ideas seem to line up with what she says. Her book is really what made me notice that forcing myself into an activity was more or less running from uncomfortable feelings, physical or emotional. I know I have lived in an anxiety state for a long time. I nice noticed it before. My job puts me on edge. At least it did when when I was on the fire engine. I obviously carried that hyperarousal home with me. Thank you for your response. It was very helpful and I will try to put some of it into practice.

    My strategy for flares or bad days, and I don't know if this is appropriate, is I try to tell myself that the flare always ends in a couple of days. The worst thing I can do is ruminate on the pain. When I have flares it is almost always from anxiety or from exhaustion (from pushing myself too hard). I know that I cannot make myself worse with physical activity. I began pushing the envelope physically about 6 months ago. I just decided that I was going to be in pain in anyway and sitting around wasn't helping the situation so I might as well do things I enjoy. Slowly I realized that running, lifting and housework wasn't making my pain worse. Sure it may hurt for a short while afterword but I noticed enough inconsistencies in the pain that I was able to stop fearing it for the most part. For example, when I went for a run I had little to no pain while running and felt great for about an hour afterwords, but then my pain would increase. Obviously, if I was injured physically pain would be worse during activity. I am also learning to just accept the pain as Andy touched on above. I try to tell myself "ok, I know I'm in pain but it's really not that bad, it's just a sensation". I am more successful with this sometimes more than others. I am still new to a lot of these ideas so they are much easier to say than to put into practice.

    Good luck,

    Ps: I just looked at some of your other posts and see that you went through the same Pudendal neuralgia scare that I did. I really believe the fear surrounding that diagnosis can really add to our tms. I too spent time on some of those forums and had myself convinced that I would never sit again. Sure enough when I starting challenging the idea my sitting pain went away only to be replaced by an equally troubling symptom. I think it is important to process the emotions that came with such a fearful diagnosis. Just my 2 cents on Pudendal neuralgia (which is a completely BS diagnosis).
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016

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