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Merry Christmas!! I'm BAAAAACK!!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Jules, Dec 17, 2022.

  1. Jules

    Jules Well known member

    Hello my fellow TMSers, it's been a while!

    I wanted to update you all and also get some advice from our TMS experts/support team.

    Warning: long

    We are nearly into 2023 and time keeps ticking away, with many changes that are comfortable and some not so comfortable. Here is my update and things I have been doing since I kicked TMS ass - well mostly.

    • Have changed jobs three times in the last 18 months, and finally found the right job, although it is sometimes stressful (as all jobs are)
    • Have 4 grandchildren
    • Youngest daughter getting married next year
    • Celebrated 30 years of marriage last August
    • Keep up with 13 gardens every year, including vegetable gardens
    • Do regular exercise, including aerobic exercise
    • Heavy duty housecleaning (windows, cleaning out closets, fridge, etc.)
    • Hiked a number of trails this and last year that I never would have five years ago, (longest was over 10 miles) and took a trip across the country to see my parents
    • My parents are moving back to our home state (mother dying of pulmonary fibrosis and wants to be near family)
    • Had Lentigo Melanoma and had to have it excised, which took 14 stitches (thankfully, it is a localized cancer and doesn't spread)
    • Biggest of all, dealing with post menopause at 50 years old
    So, as you can see I am active but I do have stressors that have wreaked some havoc in my life.

    Now for the pain part, which I KNOW is TMS, hence why I wanted to get some advice.

    Although my arm and shoulder pain was doing great for a few years, the pain has come back more now that my job consists of being on the computer all day - not writing, but being a marketing account manager with 23 clients who I have to do reports, billing, presentations, and websites edits for, all while playing quarterback with many different teams to get things done. I also have been struggling more with IBS. Now, I'm not afraid of these conditions because I know they're TMS, but I'm also post menopausal at what I consider to be a young age.

    So, I have a two-part question: the first is, even though I know this is TMS and stress exacerbates it, how do I deal with the fact that I have all these symptoms that correlate strongly with menopause, (horrible vag. itch, night sweats, mood swings, restless legs, and some hot flashes) and taking HRT (in the form of creams) with the rage of getting older? My second question is, how do I deal with my parents moving back here, knowing that us siblings will have to care for them, even though we work full time and also have in-laws (my MIL is also dying from Alzheimer's) to care for as well? Trying to deal with my own symptoms and also having to watch my own parents die is something I DON'T want to do, yet, I have no choice.

    It also doesn't help that we will probably have to supplement their social security and my husband feels conflicted, as we are trying to get out of debt ourselves (ALL debt), so we don't end up like them. (bad financial situation) It's gotten almost obsessive to pay off the house since both of our cars are paid off.

    Now, I have been through this program several times over the last 7 years and mind/body work previously for 3 years. I don't have time to do this all over again, but I am reading The Mindbody Prescription again and did just finish Defying the Verdict from our own TMSer Tamara Gurin, which has given me insight and hope. Thank you, Tamara, for writing it!

    I KNOW I can kick this as I have done everything else, but these last two issues (IBS & shoulder, arm pain and cold sensitivity) are the hardest to overcome. I did do hypnotherapy for 3 months, which helped to tap into my emotions and release more trauma, but alas, it didn't quite do the trick. I do know that I started with some of my crutches again (cream, heating pad, medication, diet restrictions,) so I can get through my work day, but know that needs to stop, so my brain doesn't interpret it as something dangerous and therefore I need protection.

    I guess I'm looking for some encouragement and if those who have gone through the nasty menopause and have some helpful advice to give me, I would be more than grateful. I feel too young to feel like I'm losing my womanhood.

    Anyway ... I know this was long, but had to get it all out, in hopes of receiving some wisdom that may help me get past this hurdle.

    Last edited: Dec 17, 2022
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey, @Jules - I really meant to get back to your post a lot sooner than this, but you know how things go. And this is a lot to unpack! I get your questions, and your frustration, and your rage, and all of it. All I can do is throw out some thoughts.

    1. I'm 100% on board with the rage of aging, but I wonder if your obsession with menopause in particular might be a bit of TMS-style distraction? For one thing, 50 is totally average - I started much earlier and was completely done by 50. Yeah, it's a physical process, so use whatever you need to get through it, and stop beating yourself up or worrying about whether those things will get in the way of your TMS work - that will only happen if you let it. Then get out your pen and paper and give yourself the gift of an all-out rage rant against the unfairness of aging, in particular the theft of our hormones just because evolution designed us for early obsolescence. Forget all the bullshit about accepting it gracefully - instead allow yourself to look closely at what it means to you personally, and give yourself permission to grieve for whatever it is you fear losing. If you want to, you could finish by reflecting on how many of our female ancestors, going back to the most ancient ones, never experienced menopause - but that's completely optional.

    2. Is menopause really your biggest stressor? When I read your post my heart sank when you described what's going on with your parents, both sets. I totally get that you are very open about the stress and resentment you are facing, which is a good thing, but with all of the other things going on in your life, it makes perfect sense that your poor TMS brain will use menopause and other symptoms to keep trying to distract you from falling into an abyss of rage and helplessness about these responsibilities you feel obligated to take on. Once again, it might help to put all of your rage and all of your worst thoughts on paper, which of course you will immediately destroy.

    3. Ultimately, dealing with all of these issues leads us inexorably to face our own mortality, which our brains really don't care to dwell on in any but the most shallow and survivalistic way. Again, for someone with as many stressors and distractions as you have, it's pretty easy for your brain to give you distracting symptoms, because it takes time and focus to be mindful of what really lies beneath.

    My therapist gave me a little technique which is pretty effective for someone with your level of mind and body awareness. When you're in the grip of a symptom, stop and find the "Aaargh, I don't want this, make it stop! " in your brain. See if you can turn it around and ask yourself "What do I want instead?" See if you can answer constructively, so that "I want this pain to stop" becomes "I want to be able to do my work today without shoulder pain." It's a subtle tweak, but if you do it mindfully, especially if you do it with some therapeutic breathing, it can force your nervous system to calm down and you can visualize a different experience. I find it quite effective, although I don't usually appreciate it until later when I realize that I didn't continue having the symptom to the same degree - which I think is another TMS brain trick.

    Wishing you the best in 2023 - and you can do this, right? Because, as our brilliant @plum once said, "what the f*** else can you do?


    Ellen likes this.
  3. Jules

    Jules Well known member


    Thanks so much for your insights and suggestions (as always!)

    I did as you said and put all my feelings down on paper and that helped immensely! I also took out some of my rage and stress on cleaning out all of my closets while on Christmas vacation. That too helped, and even though my husband had a horrible bout of the flu, I was able to care for him, cook, clean, and reorganize shelves, and rarely had any pain and bonus points for NOT getting sick! Interestingly, I washed my hands multiple times a day, used this nasal gel to keep viruses out, and stayed active! I am noticing that going back to work tomorrow and not knowing if I have a job or not is starting the TMS wheels rolling, so this is further evidence of how this broken record of having a job, it being very stressful, and then not having a job messes with me. (this is the 4th time in 2 years of getting hired and then either getting laid off or me quitting - my job is again being stripped from me.) I have to go through the whole filling out applications, waiting for an interview and then decision after. It's draining, but seems to be my life the last 5 years now. I'm beginning to think I'm self-sabotaging myself with job stuff. (wonder why)

    I like what your therapist said about asking what do I want instead, rather than getting mad at my brain. I will try that!

    And yes, I think menopause was a symptom imperative since when I had my levels checked, I was told I was post menopausal, so I shouldn't be getting the symptoms, right? I did start early meno at 40, and peri around 35, so, this has been going on for many years now, I'm just seeing more signs of aging. (graying hair, dryness, loss of muscle tone and collagen, etc.)

    I being done with menopause at 50 while my friends are just starting, is a little hard to accept, and was hoping that the typical signs of aging wouldn't be the excuse of giving me symptoms since I have done so well these past 4 years. I mean, I picked up a bunch of heavy boxes this weekend while cleaning out closets and my back did pretty well. I hardly had any shoulder or arm pain, but tonight, it's come back, as I start to think about what's in store for me when I go back to work tomorrow. Coincidence? NOPE.

    Anyway, I've been reading The Divided Mind for the 3rd time and gaining new insights to help me over this hurdle once again. My brain is a very stubborn child, but to the hell with it. I'm stronger than it thinks I am - just need to continually remind it (me) of that.

    As I have told my brain a thousand times, fuck it and do it anyway! Well, that's my mantra this year. It seemed to work before, so why not now, right? ;)

    Hope you had a great Christmas and have a great new year!!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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