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Day 3 My journey to heal back pain and live happily

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by LucasM, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    This is my attempt at trying to get better.

    I've had back pain for almost 3 years now, since I was 23. A few months ago I stumbled upon Sarno's book, Healing Back Pain. Thought it was bullshit at first but eventually came back to it and saw myself in the description of the patients: perfectionist, self-demanding and never happy with themselves.

    I'm going through TMS treatment mostly on my own, as in my country there's little knowledge of this diagnosis. I've been reading the wiki resources for a few weeks and I've noticed improvements in my pain. I want to beat it completely, so I'm following this program. I've also scheduled psychotherapy and will start with that soon.

    So what would a life without TMS mean to me? Lots of computer time, I guess. And I could be productive again, as it's hard to do stuff when I feel pain when sitting down. I could enjoy time outside without pain too, walking, standing. I could travel more. Life without TMS would mean happiness, and the ability to do the things I want to do.

    There's a lot more to talk about, but I'm sure it will come up in the next days of the program.

    I'm gonna try to keep all of my progress in this one thread if that's possible and okay.
    douggie and brendan537 like this.
  2. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 2

    I'm reading the linked article and will comment as I do. The way she brings that TMS is about a fear of not being good enough is similar to how Sarno puts it, but it's well worded. I hadn't realized it was so simple. She says it's about your expectations of yourself and your percieved expectations of others towards yourself. I like to think I don't care about what others think, but I've always done it a lot. I have this vague feeling that people reject me, that I'm an outsider in a way. Much of what I do is to prove them wrong. But I guess it's a useless effort, because they probably don't even feel that way, it's just in my head. So my mind can always say they don't think I'm good enough, even though they didn't say anything. The idea of TMS as a distraction is important to keep in mind. One thing that has annoyed me is that the pain still hasn't gone away, even after reading the book, crying, feeling feelings and stuff. But here I see how that's not enough: you need to fundamentally be fine with yourself and stop the self-critical voice. The thing about emotions being "brain and body" is cool, only recently I've noticed how my body changes with emotions. Closing fists, frowning, grinding teeth, hands hiding face, and so on. I could never describe emotions before, but now I'm more aware of what I'm feeling.

    3 things that make me feel angry:
    • When people lie, cheat, or otherwise try to take advantage of others.
    • When I can't accomplish something, a task or a goal. I was here feeling angry at myself for not being able to think of what makes me angry.
    • When things go wrong, someone lets me down, things don't go as planned.
    3 things that make me feel sad:
    • When my ex left. I wanted to break up, but it was still sad. Seeing her literally lying on the ground, defeated by depression, was probably the saddest sight I've ever witnessed. Someone so young and beautiful and smart completely lifeless. That memory still brings tears to my eyes years later.
    • The release of my computer game. It was okay, but I always feel like it could have been a better game. It could have reached more people and those who played it could have liked it more. It's sad to think how I've let everyone, how I let mankind down by not creating something better. It's a feeling of disappointment and shame more than sadness, but it still makes me sad.
    • I don't know what else makes me sad. Maybe when I can't do something, but that probably makes me more angry at myself. Maybe when I remember my mom's emotional outbursts, but that's more scared than sad. Maybe the fact that my life isn't exactly how I'd like it to be, but that's more worry and anxiety. I don't know.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Lucas. Welcome to the TMS healing community. I healed from severe back pain by believing 100 percent tha tit was cused by repressed emotions that went back to my boyhood. I also realized I was a perfectionist and wanted people to like me, all to an extreme. I learned to modify those traits which can cause pain and did.

    I doubt anyone's life is how they would like it to be. We can work in that direction, but things come jup that we have no wa to control. We can just try to be positive that we will ride out the rough times and be again in the better times. The old saying my mother told me, "This too shall pass." She got that right.

    As for feeling you let yourself down by your computer game not being what you wanted it to be, if you can work on it again, maybe it can come closer to what you want it to be. Or work on another game. That's why Mozart wrote more than one symphony and Rowling wrote more than just one Harry Potter book.
  4. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Thanks for the kind words, Walt.

    Here's my Program Commitment thing, also part of day 2:

    List one of your favorite activities: Computer games.

    When was the last time you did this activity? Yesterday.

    How does this activity make you feel? Really good. I can zone out and live in extraordinary worlds that are unreachable in reality. I feel competent and less limited, more powerful, impactful, efficient. Or just relaxed, depends on the game.

    How have your symptoms prevented you from doing this activity? Sitting down usually hurts me, so many times it was annoying to play because the pain would bother me.

    Right now, set a date to do this activity again: I don't know, today?

    I'm really not going to answer 3 times, I hate repetition. Other activities would be working, which I've done today and it was mostly pain-free (thanks to the ongoing TMS treatment, I guess), playing and writing music, reading and drawing/painting.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi again Lucas. You're getting there! Computer games empower you and relax you. Keep at them!
  6. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Thanks, man. That's very accepting of you.

    Day 3

    Past Traumatic Events and Experiences:

    1. When I had a fight with my ex that resulted in us breaking up. I was 23.
    2. When my ex got really depressed. I was 23.
    3. Because I might just be using her as a scapegoat, here's one from previously. I was picked on by schoolmates, I didn't want to do one activity and they kept chanting my name. I sunk my head in the table and stayed there. I was 16.
    4. To go back further into childhood, I vaguely remember one time when I didn't want to leave the house and my parents forced me. I was very angry at being forced to do something I didn't want to do. I remember vowing never to do something against my wishes in the future. I was like 10.

    Question To Ponder

    When was the last time you exercised or did another physical activity? What was this activity? How did it make you feel physically and emotionally? If it is has been a while since you last exercised, why?

    It was yesterday, actually. I haven't stopped with physical activity throughout my pain. I went to the gym, lifted some weights. It felt pretty good, strong. It's always relaxing aftwerwards.
  7. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 4

    So today I'm reading the recommended articles, adding 1 entry to each list and journaling.

    Past Traumatic Events and Experiences

    5. I was around 12. A couple of childhood friends stayed over at our house, they lived in a different city so they slept there, in my room. I think they stayed for a week or so. It was nice, we played games and joked around. But at some point I got really tired. I'm not sure what triggered it, but I got extremely stressed and irritated and I had an emotional meltdown. It was something like they beat me in a game, or they wanted to do something and I wanted to do something else. They were nice, I was just annoyed after having to be around them constantly for so long. I'm a huge introvert so it was tiring. Anyway, I threw myself in the floor and I was crying and screaming or something. It was very childish behavior, toddler-level. But I was a child, so I guess it makes sense. Anyway, they were really worried about it and I think they left after a while, maybe the next day. I don't remember exactly. I still feel some shame for my behavior, like I shouldn't have scared them like that.

    Current Events and Stresses

    1. The biggest one probably is that I feel pressured to create. I quit my day job as a teacher to make games full time and that hasn't been going as well as I expected, partly due to the pain, but it makes sense that there are underlying emotional reasons beneath the pain. I feel like I'm supposed to be making games all the time, like I have to be productive. And time is going by and I'm failing to do that. So I feel bad for not doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Not sure how to solve that one, but it is clearly making me stressed. Just as I was typing this I was grinding my teeth.

    2. Another thing is that I am organizing this monthly game development event and that can be stressful, waiting on people to get things right and then trying to make sure everyone has a nice time during the event. And then things don't go perfectly, which always annoys me.

    3. Also I am waiting on a result for a game development festival to see if I have to go there or not. That wait has been killing me. There's so much to organize, buy tickets, book a place to stay, what else I'd to there, and so on. The result should be out today, but meanwhile the wait is stressing me out.

    Personality Traits

    1. I'm a perfectionist, no doubt about that. I feel like I have to do so much, innovate, save the world, whatever. I'm very demanding with myself. But I've been trying to be nicer to myself since I read Sarno's book.

    Got a little carried away with my entries but it should be fine.

    What was the most disheartening thing a doctor has told you about your symptoms? In what ways have you kept that in your mind?

    One doctor said he was worried about my future pain, because I was so young and already in pain. So his idea was that it would only get worse throughout the years, and I believed him. Because you get older and your body gets worse, right? I was more worried about my current pain, because it's bad enough, but thinking that it can only get worse really doesn't help. I think I've kept that idea that my "degeneration" will only get worse in time, but now I know that I can get better because the pain is not caused by physical degeneration of the spine, but by emotions.


    It seems that I can't edit the first post, so the thread title will be stuck at Day 3. Too bad.
  8. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 5

    Let's do some journaling.

    When I was 23 years old I had a fight with my then girlfriend that resulted in our break-up. I FEEL this way about it: sad. That's the first word that comes to mind. She had been in trouble for months, struggling with depression. (She was living with me) We were living together and I saw that struggle daily. She would go to bed really late, like 5 AM, while she stayed in bed on her laptop. I slept next to her. Then she'd wake up like 3 PM, (I'd sta) I'd help her get lunch and in the afternoon we'd get out to get some sun like her doctor said to. I'd always go with her and often I was the one to remind her that she had to go, because she didn't really feel like going. Anyway, I forgot where I was going with this. Oh, the fight. She was irritable for a while. But wait, I'm describing facts and not feelings. Okay, so how did I feel during that time? I can't say that I felt much. I guess at the time I felt a lot of compassion towards her, because I loved her and wanted her to get better. But I don't think I was particularly sad. One memory I remember from this time was that I'd get home from work and see how weak she was. Not really physically, more psychologically. My students were very lively, witty, could stand up to themselves, it was a high-functioning environment where I had to keep my ground and really perform in the social interactions. Then I came home and that was a huge contrast with her, because she was very weak psychologically. Not always, but at that time yes. I felt like I had to protect her and make up for that. I felt like I had to take care of her. How did I feel about having to do that? Not great. I felt responsible, burdened. How is it to be burdened with something like that at that age? It's heavy. It's pressuring. It's demanding. I was certainly stressed from that huge responsibility of living for both of us. I don't think I told her that, but how could I? At that point, it wasn't a relationship between equals, I had to shield her from things including my feelings. Not that I'm great at sharing or even knowing my feelings at other times. I'm grinding my teeth again. Anyway, yeah, that was stressful, a lot of work. And I was going to talk about her irritability. She was snapping at me sometimes. Dumb things. She'd get mad for very little or for no reason, small things that shouldn't ruin your day. But they ruined her life, ruined her image of me. I'd later identify this as BPD quite easily. The black and white splitting. I felt sooo bad when she snapped at me. This I told her, because it couldn't go on. I told her I even felt bad physically when she did it, because I did. I felt nauseous. It sucks not being treated with respect. I didn't quite get mad at her, though. Why wasn't I mad? Maybe I was angry and just denied that. I don't remember being angry, though, just hurt. Like I trusted someone a lot and they betrayed that trust. Shouldn't you get angry when that happens? Anyway. The big fight was when she snapped one time. It was another little thing. It was money, very little money. She had been buying too many shoes. I didn't say shit, she was my girlfriend and not my wife. It was her money. Maybe I made a remark with irony. I think she knew she was buying too many shoes and not growing new feet. But she didn't care, she was buying out of desperation. I guess it lessened her pain, made her feel better. Anyway, she had no money. She borrowed some from me but hadn't used it yet, she was going to but there was some issue. She was feeling really bad that day. She said something about life being shit. I wanted to make her feel better, so I invited her to go out. I didn't want to go out. I just wanted to make her life less shit. She dyed her hair. She hadn't dyed her hair in so long, so depressed she was. She loved dying her hair, she was just too depressed to do it, I guess. That day she dyed it. And when we were about to leave, for some reason I asked if I could take the money and put it in my wallet. I don't remember if I forgot she hadn't used it yet, or something, but she replied saying that the money was hers. Like, she had payed for some other thing before and the money was hers. She borrowed it from me and that night said she wasn't going to pay me back because she had already paid for a cab or something another night. Now, the thing is that I had always had a secret resentment for paying most things. That was a huge mistake, I should've talked to her about that. I had decided at some point that I wasn't going to pay more than her, that we were going to split expenses evenly like supposedly we did. She was a feminist, she was fine with that in theory. And I am really really fine with that, because it couldn't be more fair. Anyway, during all of our relationship I paid for sooooo many cabs more than she did. It's unreal. And not just cabs, but also food. Takeout. She'd never pay for that. Never ever. We'd order at least once a week. I'd go get it, too. She never got it for me. She never went with me. She was just served, and I was dumb for serving her. Now I feel that anger coming. The anger is at her entitlement, her using me. In small ways, but still using me. I would like to say "fuck you, go get your own food, pay for your own food, I'm not your maid". But I didn't. I just did things for her because she was so weak. Because I had to be strong for her. I had to be the responsible one. Because she'd snap and get either depressed or irritated. I forgot where I was going with this. So there was the depression, the irritation, and with that, of course, a lack of intimacy and sex. A lack of a relationship, really. By the end, we were living together but not interacting much with each other. In fact, I was purposefully avoiding her so that she wouldn't snap at me. Or start crying for no reason. All of those things made me go back on something that I said to her the night of the fight: that I'd pay for dinner. I said that when she said she had no money. I wanted to go out and cheer her up. I'd pay. But then, she wanted more. She said the money she borrowed from me was hers. That was unfair. So I backed out on paying for dinner. That was a shitstorm. We ended up not going out and she was mad as fuck. She wouldn't talk to me. I layed on bed next to her and asked if she wanted to talk. No. So we went to bed mad at each other. I remember that night. I remember really hating her. I slept as far away from her as possible. It wasn't really about the money, it was about her not wanting to sort things out. Stonewalling. That I could not tolerate. If there's one thing I can't tolerate, it's unwillingness to solve problems. So I slept with one idea in mind, break up with her. Because of the shit non-relationship we had been having for months, for her snapping at me multiple times and not stopping when I asked. In fact, she'd just talk about her own emotions when I brought that up. "What about me?" You were insensitive, that's what about you. You should apologize, that's what about you. There were never any apologies, only blame shifting. I was always somehow as bad as her, even though she was the one that snapped and was disrespectful. Fuck that. Fuck her. The next day, I woke up and tried finding something to stop me from breaking up with her. Nothing convinced me. The idea was unshakable inside me. I felt like it had to be done. I didn't think I was going to cry. I didn't think she was going to try not letting me. That was more sad than mad. I felt really bad for abandoning her. I'm sure she felt terrible for being abandoned as a BPD. That's their worst feat, worst enemy. Her reactions were extreme. She cried and tried to convince me to work things out. She'd move out. It didn't work, so she snapped. She accused me of being stingy. Namecalling. Whatever. I cried after that, when she was a mess. I was scheduled to go see her therapist with her, because her therapist requested it. We agreed I'd go before the fight. My last compromise was agreeing to go see her therapist anyway, and figure it out then. But in my heart I knew I was just going to have the therapist mediate our breakup, maybe that would help her. She brought me chocolate. That was supposed to be a nice thing, that she liked me and was willing to do something for me. But it was calculated. She figured that if she did something nice I'd be more inclined to stay, I guess. Worse, it made me realize that she had never brought me chocolate. Or ever done something nice to me. Maybe a few things, but still. Her bringing me chocolate was like a once in a life-time event, and only after our imminent breakup. Why not before? Made me realize how shitty it was before. How she could've been nicer all this time, she just wasn't in danger. Anyway, she changed her mind after the chocolate. I asked her something, I don't remember what. It was something about going to therapy together, or maybe about her brother. She snapped and packed her bags. She was a wild animal at this point. I was scared. I was talking to her from far away and not wanting to touch her because I feared a physical fight, like she would slap me or hurt me. I called her brother to pick her up and she left saying that I shouldn't want her back after she recovered. You're never going to recover, honey. That's evil for me to say, but whatever. You might get less depressed in cycles, but I'm pretty sure your BPD is forever. Anyway, I'm sure that's not a great world to live in, your head. Good luck with that. But I'm not going to be a part of your storm. I thought I'd leave it that day, but it seems your final blow was staying in my mind. I'm pretty sure you are the cause of this pain. Well, fuck you. You're not going to win. It sucks that this is the universe that we got. That this is the life that we lived, that our past was so awkward and sad. It sucks that you have hurt me in so many ways. That I allowed you to. That I wasn't better. That I didn't live perfectly. But that's just my perfectionism, nobody lives perfectly. I'm sure we had good times as well. Anyway, you're not gonna win. Even if you did hurt me for much longer than you should have, and cut me deeper than I would've liked, you are not gonna win. I'm going to overcome the feelings, the pain, this life. I'm going to get better. I'm going to be happy. Then I'm going to die one day and forget any of this ever happened. You, the sadness, the anger, the happiness. So here's to that. But I'm not going to give up yet. I'm going to keep fighting. One day this universe will take my life, but I'm not going to make it easy. I'm going to shake the world first. And you, fuck you. You're not going to stop me.

    I'm crying, so I guss that was successful journaling? I'll count it as a win.
  9. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 6

    Journaling time.

    When I was 16 years old, school sucked. I FEEL this way about it: It wasn't so bad. Am I making up things after the fact? Well, my days weren't so bad. After school, I got to play games all day. And I sure as fuck did that. I participated in online gaming communities, interacted with people there and played a lot. I created some stuff too, mostly to share in these communities. Art, humor, other stuff. I liked making stuff for these communities. I didn't really interact with local communities. How do I feel about that? I felt a bit lonely, I guess. Now I don't know if I care. I wish I had more friends in school, that school was more fit for me. And the people too. And girls. I was very isolated from my surroundings at that age, and I felt that. But I always had online friends and online community. When my schoolmates bullied me I just isolated myself more. Wasn't good at dealing with people. Talking with people. Teachers, girls, guys. I was in my head. I thought they were dumb. I felt some envy towards some of them for being normal. I feel now very little about this past. I'm probably making up feelings about the past. Now I'm not sure how I feel. I guess it was fine, honestly. Compared to yesterday's journaling, this one was easy. Very chill, non-emotional, detached. So I don't think this traume is as bad, or that it even counts as a trauma. Maybe I'm being super defensive and there is something here, but I'm not seeing it. We'll see later.

    Meditating was fine. I always get a bit bored, but it was relaxing. I meditated sitting this time, but I usually lie down because of the pain. But I guess that would be counter-productive. I was thinking of the pain a lot, I was blaming my chair. That's very counter-productive. It's not the pain's fault, it's my mind's fault. The way I think, the way I demand too much from myself. And the way I avoid and bottle up emotions because I think they're not useful. But they are useful, and I need to be more in tune with my emotions and not keep repeating to myself that I should be doing this or should be doing that, or that I didn't do this or that well enough. I need some balance. Not a chair. Balance in my mind.

    Briefly take a few minutes and write down some of your fears. Why are you afraid of these things?

    My biggest fear for sure is failing. And failing for me is very easy, because expectations are so high. These are self-imposed expectations. Nobody expects me to save the world, but I demand that from myself anyway. I expect to create the best things, the greatest solutions to the biggest problems, and it's obviously impossible to live up to these expectations. Even when I do reach my goals, I just set the bar higher. So it doesn't matter if I win. Anyway, yeah, that's why I'm afraid of failing. Because I know that I will fail, since my expectations are so high. Because I will mock myself and tell myself that I wasn't good enough, that I suck, that I should've done better or more. It's never good enough. I'm afraid of failing because I will hate myself when I eventually fail.
  10. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 7

    Yay, 1 week! Watching the working too hard vid. No journaling in day 7, so okay.
  11. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 8

    Dear me,

    I'm writing to myself because I already wrote a bunch of fuck yous to my ex so there is little else to say to her, although it might be interesting to go back to that. But I need to cover all the items in the lists, and my perfectionist personality is one, and the pressure I feel to perform and create is caused by it. So this one is to myself.

    I feel like you ask too much of me. It's hard to keep up with your standards most of the time. Even when I create things and dedicate a lot of time to work and stuff, even when I do my best and spend all my creativity, time and effort, you still think it's not good enough. Even when I tell you I'm not done yet and I can do better, you say I never will and failure is the most likely scenario. Listen, we don't have to create the one most awesome thing that has ever existed in the world. That probably doesn't even exist. All we can do is do our best and sometimes it's gonna be pretty cool. But it's not worth sacrificing ourselves for whatever dumb purpose or ideal you seem to have in your mind. It's not worth it to try so hard to satisfy other people and enjoy none of it. In fact, it's a much better strategy to satisfy oneself and make sure at least you are living happily. I'm not advocating mindless hedonism, but it makes logical sense to enjoy life as much as possible. I feel sad when I have to do things that I don't really feel like doing just to please these self-destructive desires that you come up with, like an opposite selfishness. Altruism? Maybe. But you can't live on pure altruism, you need to feed yourself too. And be happy too. I need to feel happy. You have pushed me into doing great things and I thank you for your drive and ambition, but it's important to chill out, rest and enjoy life as well.

    Are you having success at recognizing the emotions connected to your pain? If you have, how do these emotions make you feel? If not, what do you think is preventing you from doing this?

    Some success, I guess. I suck at emotions, so I'm sometimes unsure of what I'm feeling. But the main ones I have found are 1) anger at my ex and at the world/reality (especially suffering and other bad things) as I rage at these things with a fury; 2) sadness especially when I feel powerless to change things or otherwise put down by my surroundings or myself; 3) guilt and shame over not having done better in the past, present and thinking I'll also make mistakes in the future. What do you mean how do these emotions make me feel? Don't you feel emotions themselves? Like, doesn't anger make you angry? Doesn't sadness make you sad? I'm not sure how to answer that. I think that as I get more in touch with my emotions and myself, I will get better at recognizing and accepting them.
  12. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 9

    Journaling time. Are you supposed to just do past events? What about the current ones? I really wanna do current ones, so I will.

    When I was 26 years old, a bunch of shit happened. I FEEL this way about it: worried.

    I wrote 3 current stressors up there, and they were: feeling pressured to create, organizing events and festival stuff. I'm worried about all of them, so I'll write about them a bit.

    About feeling pressured to create, what I have been doing is create things that I really want to, not what I think I should be doing. This has been helping a lot with my productivity. I still wonder if I'm doing the right thing, but for the first time in a while I've been having fun with the creative process. I'm happy about that.

    As for organizing events, this one still worries me deeply. Things are going more or less smoothly, but I still worry a lot about pleasing everyone in a specific way. To me it's not so much about making the people feel good, it's more about the event being perfect, fullfilling its potential and stuff. For example, I think we could have had more people in the last one. We had the space, we had the content. More people could have attended. If only I had done a better job with the invitations... if only this, if only that. That kind of regret is very common with me. If only had I done a better job in this and that. And I keep thinking that I should have done a better job, so I'm bad because I didn't do the best. And the thing was bad because it wasn't the best it could have been. Anyway, need to chill about events. But more than that, I need to express and understand my emotions about them. I feel a lot of responsibility over these things, and guilt when I don't get it right. Shame, like society looks down on me for disappointing mankind. Not that anyone expressed disappointment, I just imagine it. And that's emotion! That's a feeling! Look, guys I found a feeling! It's not rational, you just feel it. I feel ashamed like the world is looking at me fail. That's a feeling that I have.

    Festival stuff, yeah. Travelling will be done. My game was selected so I'll go there, and things are more or less going smoothly. I'm sure they will be fine anyway.

    Personality Traits

    2. I'm a people pleaser in a weird way. It's less about the people and more about the thing that people will judge. I feel very guilty and ashamed when I do a subpar job according to my own expectations, which I believe are the expectations of the world. They're not, though, but I feel as if they are.

    3. I don't think I am as important as the things I create. I tend to sacrifice myself in order to get things done. Sacrifice my happiness, my time, things I want to do. This is out of some painful altruism, feeling that I need, I should do good for the world in detriment of my own happiness, health and time.

    Question To Ponder - Have you been overly critical of yourself lately? How and why have you done this?

    Yes, always. I express it as feeling that what I make is not good enough, so I push myself to improve my work. In a way, it is useful. But, of course, you asked about being overly critical, not critical in a healthy way. I always go too far with my criticism as to think that my work is never good enough. I compare it to the work of others and it doesn't always stand up to my standards. I do it because I have a fucked up mind, I guess. I do it because I'm afraid of not being liked by people and not being accepted by the world. I fear that only by doing an exceptional job I will be accepted and loved. Anything less than perfect is worthless. Those are pretty fucked up things to think and feel as they are not true, but it's a part of who I am. Obviously I shouldn't do that. But then am I not being overly critical of myself right now for not being less critical? Damn, this is tough. I'll just chill.
  13. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 10

    Begin to examine what is going on whenever your symptoms begin. Think about what was going on in your life at the time your TMS began. Once you recognize the triggers of your symptoms, begin to think of ways to nullify them.

    So, what was going on. I was working as a teacher at a school. I remember feeling back pain during a teachers meeting. It was like October. The job wasn't my dream job and a lot of times were difficult, but there was nothing particularly tough going on at school at that time. Just the normal stuff. What really was going on that was important is that I was making games. I was doing okay, but I had some doubts about the potential of my current project. But I was developing it fine up until then. Making games could be stressful at times, but most of the time it was more fun than anything. I enjoyed (and still do) getting lost in the problems of developing, coding, production, communication, ideas, the whole thing. It's a very deep process. It's stressful sometimes, but not inherently so. Not all the time. What really was going on that was stressful was my ex's depression. That shit was strong. I never had to deal with anything that heavy in my life until that point. I wasn't prepared for it.

    Unsent letter

    Dear ex,

    I feel regret. Sadness. I feel like I could have done more for you. I was trying to heal you, you know? I made a game. It wasn't the game I wanted to make, but I made it. I really wanted to do a CBT one. A game that could actually change your life. I thought I had that power. I thought I could create something to get you out of depression and really help you. Not just a game for fun, but a game for life. For happiness and truth and beauty. I failed for some reason. I ended up making a small game that was more a token of support. Although I failed, that was probably more suiting. It was nice, friendly, it showed support, love, caring. I made it with the best intentions. I think you liked it. I vaguely remember you crying about it. I think it was when I said I was making it. I don't think you felt very strongly about anything at the time I showed you the actual game. You didn't express much of a reaction then, or I would remember it. Regardless, I tried. I read books. I went outside with you. I put up with a lot of your shit. I stood my ground too. I communicated you my needs and wants, my boundaries too. Like not getting pissed at me and treating me badly. I told you I wouldn't tolerate that. You said you had no control over it. That was probably true, but who does? None of us can control anything. We just get pushed around by the universe. That doesn't mean you get a free pass to treat me poorly. I will push you somewhere else in the universe, like I did. And I felt bad for it. Because I really wanted you to get better, I really wanted to help. I wanted to make you better. By my might, my intelligence, my willpower, my excellence. But I wasn't good enough. I failed. I feel bad for failing not so much because of you, but because of me. Not because of your suffering, but because of what failing means to me. It means I'm weak, limited. For someone that wants to be perfect and all-powerful, that is a big hit. Inability. Incompetence. Impotence. I couldn't control you. I couldn't make you the way I wanted. It was easy up to that point due to your BPD, wasn't it? You just mirrored me. You became who I wanted you to be. It worked for a while. But BPD doesn't stay in that stage forever, there is the white and there is the black. There is the splitting. You get depressed and you blame me. I sort of blamed me too. I was thinking what I could do better. What I was doing to you. What I was stopping you from doing. It was partly my fault, of course, as far as things in the universe being at fault for the next things that happen. But I'm not particularly guilty, not moreso than any other aspect of your life. I still felt responsible, though. Responsible for you. For your life, for your happiness. I wasn't, but I felt that way. I still do in a sense. I feel that I abandoned you and that a lot of the bad things that will happen to you, as they are bound to happen to anyone, will be my fault. That is not a good feeling to have, but I feel it. Guilt. I can see how that guilt comes from the feeling of responsibility. I feel that guilt. For some reason I am not feeling the anger today. I'm just feeling the sadness. A possibility lost. An ideal lost. You. I never had it anyway. It was never a real possibility. It was always in my head, but I lost it nonetheless. Because I thought I had it. I thought it could exist. It couldn't, so it didn't. I still feel bad for it not existing. Us. It is sad that that is our reality. But it is. It is sad that we feel sad, but we do. And we have to feel it, apparently.
    Otherwise we hurt. And it sucks. Anyway, I hope you are happy. I am happy sometimes. Other times I'm sad. I hope we both feel more happy than sad most of the time. As much as possible. But sometimes we'll just feel sad. And that is okay. Really, it's okay. You can feel sad. I can feel sad. It's sad, but it's fine. It's fine.

    Think of a person in your life from whom you hide your emotions. What is preventing you from telling this person how you feel?

    Oh, everyone? I hide them from the world. I don't want to seem vulnerable to them. They will exploit my weaknesses, turn my emotions against me. Hint for the future: I think this has to do with my sister. She used to do this. I think I became very closed emotionally to avoid her making fun of me and my emotions, using them or taunting me or harming me. I tried to become perfect so that she could never say shit against me. That didn't go very well.

    Anyway, I also hide my emotions from my parents. I'm not sure why, I just don't like them knowing that I feel anything. They are dumb anyway, they wouldn't know how to help. Although for emotions you just need to listen and be supportive, they could surely do that. But I hide my emotions from myself. I don't want their help and support, I want to solve my own problems.

    I hide from my girlfriend, although she's probably the one I express emotions to the most. Deep worries, insecurities. Never my ex, though. I mean, ex talk sucks. I'm sure she's not interested in that stuff. It's better to talk to a therapist instead of using her. Regardless, I usually don't know how I feel. Hell, I don't even know that I feel. I don't realize it. That's probably the number one thing preventing me from expressing emotions to anyone or to myself. I don't even see that I'm feeling stuff.
  14. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 11


    Today I'm gonna journal about a current event. In a few hours I have an event. I'm organizing a monthly game development event and today is this month. I'm pretty stressed. I feel it in my body. I am moving my feet up and down, not sure what you call that in English. Like repeating movements. Also quick movements with my head. Walking around. Some strange lightness or heavyness, something in my stomach. I feel my arms tense. I type quicker. I'm anxious about the event because I want it to be perfect. I want it to please everyone. I want it to be the best it can be and I gotta make it so. So I'm anticipating it in my mind. I imagine how it's going to be. When people are going to laugh. What I'm going to say. It's a lot of things at once and very stressful. I wish I could chill more. I will take a few deep breaths and see if it calms me down. Everything will probably be fine, but I'm still freaking out a bit. I always do. Anyway, that's what I had to journal about. Wish me luck, nobody.

    When was the last time you exercised? Do you have any apprehension about exercising or engaging in physical activity?

    Today. I didn't exercise much because my leg was hurting. Maybe it was the event, maybe it was just from yesterday's workout. I'm usually fine with exercising, but if something hurts one day I rather not force it and wait a bit. I think it was just normal workout pain and it was a good idea to take it easy today and not overdo it.
  15. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Damn, I lost my mojo. I've been busy for the past week and I was mostly not bothered by the pain, so I just did other things and didn't focus on the program. But this busy schedule ended up stressing me out, and yesterday I overworked, so I felt quite a bit of pain at night. Hopefully I can journal it away or something. Still not sure how that works.

    Day 12


    I am a perfectionist, and it affects me because I can never live up to my impossible standards. In relationships, in organizing events, in life in general, in creating things, in day-to-day life. I am constantly criticizing myself and what I do. Maybe not constantly, sometimes I can relax, but most of the time I am really demanding. Like yesterday, when I had to do a painting. I ended up doing 3, and they probably turned out okay, but I still hate them. They're not done yet, so I still feel like I can improve them, but I'll probably be unhappy with the result regardless. But the one thing that stressed me out the most this week, and that can cast a light on my personality, is about the event I'm organizing. A bigger organization reached out to me for a partnership, but they are scammy. Huge, but souless. And they're gonna be around for a long time and I'm gonna have to manouver my way around them for a long time. I also have to lead all the people of my event throughout this conflict. I don't want them to partner with my event, or somehow convince the people of my event that they can be a force of good. They aren't. And it's up to me to ensure that we resist. Not only that, but we have to be subtle. It's not an all-out war, but a slight push and pull. It's a conflict of cynicism, hidden intentions, playing both sides, alliances with individuals. This is what it will take to achieve my vision, and I just wanted to have an event to go to. But the world is not ideal, it is full of people and people are full of shit. And so there is conflict, difficulty, obstacles. My personality trait related to this is that I am an idealist. I have this vision for how things should be and I don't settle for anything less. This, of course, demans serious efforts and sacrifices from me. Sometimes I have to stand up against the world. It can be a lonely experience. But it's who I am, and it's what I want to do, and it's all I can do. Even now I think of this highly, I see myself as a hero. It feels good to be the hero, right? Fighting villains, knowing you are right. But some things really are worth fighting for and sacrificing yourself for. I just hope that I can be happy while I fight, and not feel so much pain. I mean, that's the only way, right? You can't fight if you're depressed and unhappy, at least not as well. So my own well-being is very important and precedes any ideals that must be achieved. So yeah. My perfectionism and idealism affect every step I take in my life. They are where all my free energy goes to, and some of my not-free energy too. A balance must be struck.
  16. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Lucas. Maybe you're thinking too much about the future in that new work with the big organization. Your perfectionism may be creating obstacles or problems that may not come up. I would try to take each day as it comes; each hour too. Keep positive and think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
    That's easy for an outsider like I am to say, but my advice applies to myself as well.

    You are an artist, so it's understandable that you would be critical of your work. I'm a writer and often feel that even though I do quite a few versions of a story or book, I'm not sure it could be better.

    You've given yourself the best advice... find a balance. And try to be happy and have some fun.
  17. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Thanks, Walt.

    I ended up not completing day 12's tasks yesterday, so here is the rest of it.

    Holmes and Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS)
    I'm going to consider the time period since my pain started:
    -"Divorce" (a break-up, actually, but trust me, it counts): 73.
    -Sexual difficulties: 39.
    -Outstanding personal achievement: 28.
    -Spouse starts or stops work: 26.
    -Begin or end school: 26.
    -Trouble with boss: 23.
    -Change to different line of work: 36.

    More recently (past year):
    -Personal injury or illness: 53
    -Revision of personal habits: 24
    -Change in eating habits: 15.
    -Change in health of family member: 44.

    The total is 387 which would be "at risk of illness". But that wasn't all in the past year. Anyway.

    Question To Ponder
    What is one of your best memories from your childhood?

    I have very few memories of childhood. It's not that I live in the present, it's that I live in the world of ideas. My past doesn't matter as much to me as the models I make of reality and I live in these models and systems. So I don't know. Playing with toys? I remember coming up with cool stories. Getting new toys was also cool, and figuring out how I'd integrate the new toy with the others, in the universe I had created for them. Swimming in the pool? Saying dumb shit? My memories are not very vivid at all, but I remember enjoying these things. Maybe drawing is one, but that was often a frustrating experience because I didn't find my drawings very good. Playing computer games was great.
  18. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    I'm back after being busy and a trip.

    Day 13


    I'm supposed to write to someone but I don't really feel like it. I'm supposed to write about current stressors. I've thought about writing to this guy who I dislike who tried to get into my event or something but whatever I don't really care about that. Right now I have one worry: game development. I'm starting a new project and it's a big one. There is a lot unknown to me right now about how the game is going to be and how I'm going to communicate it with the world and many other things. There is a lot to do. I'm afraid that I might not be up to the task of doing these things. I'm worried about the work, the effort these tasks will demand, and the sacrifices that will have to be made. I am anticipating a lot of the pain that I imagine this project will cause. In fact, I could write an unsent letter to my project, right? Dear game, I hope you are nice to me, don't take too long to make and that people like you. I feel afraid of you. I feel unworthy of you. I hope I can make you great, but I'm insecure about my ability. But it's in me. It'll be a lot of work but it can be done. Anyway, I don't think I have that much to say. I don't feel like saying much either. I just hope you work and you are nice. I'm afraid you don't and aren't. I should allow myself to feel this fear, I think? That's the point if I'm understanding things correctly. So, I fear.

    Question To Ponder What TMS-related book, article, or news story have you found the most helpful in solidifying your belief in the diagnosis?

    Sarno's Healing Back Pain. The way he describes the kind of people who get TMS. It's me.
  19. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 14

    nothing to do wowoooooooooooo
  20. LucasM

    LucasM New Member

    Day 15

    Oops, looks like I had a few too many free days. Well. Anyway.

    Journaling - Dialogue

    Dear ex, why did you... I don't know what you did. It was so much stuff. I'm trying to come up with a simple question like I'm supposed to but I can't. You aren't even a current stressor, not supposedly, but I'm pretty sure you are. I was thinking of you yesterday, I often do anyway. But what was your sin? I can't even remember. Why did you get depressed? Why did you get hateful? Why did you start pushing me away? Why did you give up? There are a lot of questions and I don't know which of them matter or which are your fault, if any. I don't know what to ask and I don't know what I want you to answer.

    A: I couldn't help it. That was the only thing I could do, I couldn't do anything else. I felt that way. I felt like you were betraying me. I felt threatened a lot. I felt like everyone was against me. Even you. I felt alone and hopeless. I had no choice. I couldn't do anything to stop it. Everything felt like a waste of time, like it wasn't going to help anyway. Why try when you feel like it won't help? Like it's not even worth it? Like life is a chore? Like you are at fault for all of this? I felt like life was a huge problem, a burden, and you were the cause. I couldn't help myself, I snapped. I was out of control and desperate. I needed someone to blame and I needed to suck everything I could out of you to try to fill me up. I was spiraling out of control and I needed to hold on to something, even if it hurt you, even if my nails scratched your skin and made you bleed. I could only hold on to you, and you were to blame. It felt good to hurt you. To insult you. It felt like justice.

    My head is low and I'm looking to the sides, like I'm trying to avoid eye contact. There is nobody else in my room. I'm keeping my head low like I'm trying to avoid a blow. Like a dog that knows it's going to get hit. I'm really scared of that attitude, those words. It seems that it's still inside me, it's now a part of me. It was easy to write, it was natural. It might not even be real, not the real her. But it's the real me. It's my scar. I don't dare ask another question. I'm afraid you broke me somehow. I hope you didn't, but I know you did. Hopefully I can fix myself. I'm supposed to end this in a happy note, so I'll try. This has difinitely happened. I guess I haven't forgiven you yet. I feel like I was too damaged to forgive you. Like I can't forgive something so deep. I have to, right? It's been years. I can't keep this hate and this self-pity inside me forever. But I'm not ready to forgive you. I understand why you did what you did. I wish I could move on, but I don't think today is the day. It's still good and healthy to let these feelings come out and understand why I feel this way.

    Question To Ponder

    During the past two weeks has your pain been moving around? How has this affected your belief in the diagnosis?

    Yeah, it's moved. Mostly to my neck, I think. I had read about people's pains moving around, so I thought "right, that's what must be happening here". So it has strengthened my belief in the diagnosis. It still sucks, though.

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