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Day 9 Lost hope and optimism

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by SebastianM, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Hi everyone,

    the first days of SEP were quite fine and I had much hope and optimism, but also a little fear that I am not curable.

    Since Thursday (Day9) I have doubts concerning my state of mind. I am in psychotherapy since 15 months and learned much about my personality. I found out that I am a perfectionist and I have the habbit that I strongly want to follow a plan when I have something in my mind. For example: If I think that it would be good to do sports tomorrow I HAVE TO DO THIS. This concept of thinking became part of my live since I was 18 years old. When my father died (I was 20) it became much more extreme. I planned every second of my life: what I eat at what time, which friends I see at what time, when I do sports (5-6 times a week). Now I know that my life became a corset. My brain has built this corset. I don't really know why it happened but I think that I had or have problems to find my REAL personality.
    Friends would describe me as a man who knows what he wants, who has a strong oppinion. But when I am alone I am quite unsure what I want. To hide this feeling my brain designed this corset, this bone-crushing thinking.
    I think this is a key point concerning my pain. When I realize that I would like to do something (for example doing a workout) I scan my body to check if there is pain or not. If something feels strange or not okay I begin to think about it but cannot except that I should not do it.
    It is a circle of thoughts that torture me. The more I think about it the more I feel tension in my whole body and all symptoms I know from the past come back.

    In these situations I don't know what to do. I believe to know the reason but I cannot change anything.
    The I "HAVE TO" thinking is very strong. I recognize that I lose my inner balance when it gets to strong. I get panic and depressed.

    At the moment I am not able to overcome my old habbits. Seems to me like my old me and my inner adult is too strong. I am very confused and I put my personality in question. I am very doubtful concerning my real needs, feelings and personality. It feels like I don't know myself and am a slave of my brain AND the pain.

    In this moment I wanted to do the next SEP exercise but I can't do it because I am not able to calm me down and get clear thoughts.

    Does anyone of you have an advice concerning my situation?

  2. If 6 was 9

    If 6 was 9 Peer Supporter

    I'm still new to this as well - just about to start day 8, but I've had plenty of days off between days because life keeps getting in the way....

    But it sounds like you've got a lot of anxiety - you're continually analysing your thoughts and wondering where the real you is. Plus that pressure you place on yourself, saying you "HAVE TO" do things.

    I'm a bit similar - I really wonder about what the true emotions are, the true causes of the emotions, everything seems like a fuzzy mixture of thoughts and feelings it's difficult to be able to put a label on them. Except when I get angry, that's the one time I feel like things are definite and real. I actually really enjoy that feeling. But it then soon subsides and guilt takes over and the old doubt creeps back in and I wonder if my anger was wrong, uncalled for or inappropriate, and so the inner turmoil begins again.

    Also, like you, I put all this pressure on myself about doing things, such as going down to the pool and doing laps so that I can be fit enough go in these weekend ocean swims. However, unlike you, my lazy side often wins out and I often don't go swimming, but then spend the rest of the time beating myself up about it.

    In your case, I reckon you should try disobeying those "I HAVE TO" impulses and stand up to the bully inside who demands you do this. But of course, the trick is to not then attack yourself for ignoring this urge. Sounds like you need to be kind yourself. If you haven't already, have a look at Alan Gordon's Recovery program. He talks a lot about how important it is to be kind to yourself which I found helpful.

    Maybe, if you find yourself planning all the time, schedule in a day of NO PLANS and just do something completely indulgent that doesn't involve working really hard or punishing your body. Allow yourself to be lazy and enjoy it (advice for myself here, too. I'm good at the lazy bit, but not the enjoyment of it!)

    I hope this helps. I know this is all easier said than done.
    SebastianM likes this.
  3. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Hi If 6 was 9,

    thanks for your answer. I have read your thread "Day 8 - It's not the chair that's hurting me, it's the pressure I put on myself". It's very interesting that pressure on ourselves seem to be a key emotion and habit for our TMS.

    I can imagine what you mean by "enjoying" a feeling. For example: If I do something spontaneously because of a feeling or emotion, I feel free and am proud of myself. But that's not always possible. When my "inner turmoil" begins I can't be spontaneous or generally act "real" concerning my "real" needs. I am emotionally blocked because I focus the pain or the guilty thinking which (in my opinion) generates pain. In these moments, my brain is running and searching for the right answer for this wearing situation. It MUST find the answer to solve the problem and overcome the pain. I know very well that this is exactly the problem. That focus is THE pain circle. Generally I am able to leave it but it takes a while.

    You're exactly right. To resist the urge is the hardest part for me. My psychologist had an interesting idea. She said: "Why don't you throw a coin to decide if you do something or not." Of course she means no important decision but for example if I do a "risky" thing or not. This could be an option to avoid the endless thoughts about "Should I, or should I not?!" what's reponsible for the knots in my brain (and my muscles).

    That's a great idea. At the moment I feel psychologically better but am not able to continue the SEP or do things I avoided in the past. But I accept it and will continue if I feel better or have the impulse to do it. I accept it. It's hard for me but I try to practice acceptance. :)

    I am so grateful for your answer and your post "Day 8".

  4. Watermelon

    Watermelon New Member

    Don't give up and be patient. The fact that you are in this program and recognizing your personality traits that contribute to TMS is great. I have some of that "planning every minute" and "have to " personality myself. It sounds like you would benefit by some daily meditation. Remember it is a practice and not a destination. So don't give up.
  5. Lydia

    Lydia Peer Supporter

    Hi Sebastian,

    Thanks for being so open and vulnerable about your struggle. Seems to me that you are close to finding your 'key'. Just keep on going, be brave and gather trust in TMS and the program, over and over again.

    I relate to the struggle of letting go of control patterns that have been part of life for such a long time. They've been important in a way and helped me survive (read: distract me from the underlying emotional pain), but now they;ve turned against me. It just takes some time to see through the control-patterns and persistantly unlearn and cut through them.

    I guess that, like Watermelon suggests too, MEDITATION could be a wonderful support to you on your way. It is definetely my big safe rock in life, and very much indeed during this TMS- program, when too much thinking pops up. Thinking can be a very effective and sneaky distraction mechanism... As you say, it points absolutely in the direction of TMS.

    In my experience (insight)meditation is very supportive, especially in those moments, when I clearly SEE how thinking acts like a disease and a trap. That is the very moment to catch the process and cut through it. SEEING it happen (with full acceptance, because I understand why it is popping up) is essential, that gives some space. Just enough space to choose something different. Perhaps you could learn too, to 'turn' your mind and inner attention in another direction, as if you were jumping of the 'thought-train' so to say. You could connect for example instantly with your body breathing, sitting or moving. Something that is happening now, as you can EXPERIENCE that in reality.

    It's quite important to meditate only because of the wish to cut through the habit of thinking and making yourself crazy. Not to get rid of your pain or being more happy or so. Just to enter into something more REAL as your thoughts. As a complete safe place to be, and to relate to life from there. Thoughts are just thoughts, you know. They don't have this quality of 'realness' like your bodily sensations or the weight of your body have. You already know that, don't you? May be you could use that a little bit more, to free yourself.

    Wish you a wonderful day and a lot of courage to keep going!
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, all. You might add this thought to your meditation:

    "You've survived 100 percent of everything in your life so far,
    so there's a very good chance that you'll survive what ever is next."
    hecate105 likes this.
  7. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Hi everyone,

    I have a pleasant feeling reading your words, really!

    Meditation is a very good thing. I have read a book about it before I learned about TMS and meditated nearly every day. It felt well but at the moment I need a break. After a period of time it felt like one of my "MUST DO" things. Now, five days after my last fall-back, I again learned much about my habits and way of thinking. The SEP and my small workouts have also become "MUST DO" things for me. I focussed them too much and my pain increased. Everytime I try a new method to cure myself, I focus it too hard and check my symptoms while doing it. This produces tension, I know that. But at the moment I am not finding a way to break this habit.

    I recognized this and it's typical for me. And right now I know that I do NOT HAVE TO do anything. The most important thing is my state of mind and that I feel well.

    My psychotherapist said something interesting today: "Sebastian, do you think the pain is a part of you and you should go hand in hand with it?" That is a critical hypothesis. Of course, I want to be painfree. But as long as the pain is not there, I am in danger to overcharge myself and not to recognize it.
    It's very difficult: I recognize "bad" habits and simultaneously the approach to do activities I would like to do. It sounds very stupid but I am in a circle of selfapproach, anxiety and insecurity but also learning about myself, recognizing many feelings, emotions and habits.

    The hardest point for me is to be patient and hopeful.

    I have two questions:
    1. My anxiety concerning activies is very high and at the moment stronger than my hope. Would you nevertheless try to do these critical activites? (Is my brain winning by producing pain?)
    2. What are your goals? Do you want to overcome the pain or learn to live with it? It has been said that the pain will go away if you learn to ignore it. That's said easily. If you have deep in your mind the aim to overcome it you put pressure on yourself. That's my opinion. It would be great if someone could modify my opinion or give me another perspective on this feeling/thinking.

    Thanks so much.


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