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My mum's Death-i-versary

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Wavy Soul, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. Wavy Soul

    Wavy Soul Peer Supporter

    Hi - in the past I've mostly posted on the TMS Help forum. I have been practicing the TMS cure for about 7 years after about 30 years of debilitating stuff. It has changed my life, but I still have lingering issues, and recently they have come back with a vengeance.

    In the last few weeks I've been having a resurgence of my very painful and debilitating symptoms - fatigue such that I can barely function, and need to sleep most of the day, and pain in my whole body, including one thumb that isn't working. I know from having had it for years, and it having gone away completely, that it's TMS.

    But I haven't been able to figure it out or get through it for the last few weeks. I haven't had any awareness of any particular stress. Yet I've been suspicious of the fact that tomorrow is my mum's DEATH-I-VERSARY. And when she died a year ago I became a total orphan - yet that was nothing if not a relief. My family was an extremely painful experience which is why I'm an ex-pat.

    A year ago tomorrow, I was picking up my suitcase in San Francisco to get on a plane to see my mum in London. She was expected to live a few more days. I came back to this very computer to check my email and shut it down - I actually had my bag over my shoulder - and there was an email with the subject line "Your mum just passed," from her Phillipina caretaker.

    I was so shocked. I went to UK and dealt with a very difficult situation with her body, the funeral, and clearing out her house, which was a nightmare. I am the only living survivor in my family.

    Now I'm more clear that my extreme symptoms are TMS, because they have become 5 times worse today, the day before the Death-i-versary. I've been reminding myself about - duh! - the whole thing of repression of unconscious rage and the confusion of suppression. I just reread the first chapter of Gabor Mate's book "When The Body Says No."

    I googled "anniversary of death of loved one" and there are many articles about people getting sick, or depressed. What about "anniversary of death of loved/hated one?"

    I'm glad that I have this knowledge of how the body can do this stuff, even when I have no real connection to any emotional problem. Actually, if you had asked me, I have been joyful, enjoying my work, my peaceful life, and so on. But this painbody TMS gremlin was brewing under the surface, checking its little gremlin calendar…

    So I'm hoping that after the death-i-versary, which I am now prepared to do plenty of process around, things will chill out. Okay brain? Dammit?

    Anyone care to share?

    Love is the answer, whatever the question
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2014
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Wavy Soul,

    I'm glad you have joined us here on the tmswiki. I think relapses are the worst kind of TMS, as they leave us floundering and confused. We've come so far and understand how we got here, but now all the tried and true approaches seem to not be working anymore.

    I think the anniversary of the death of someone we feel conflicted about is much more likely to be a source of a TMS than the death of someone for whom we clearly and simply loved. It seems it's mostly the conflict surrounding an emotion, rather than the emotion itself that fuels TMS.

    I had a difficult and conflicted relationship with my mother, too. However, in the last month or two before she died, I was somehow able to be truly present with her without bringing in all the conflict and disappointment from the past. This meant that when she died, our relationship was at a positive and loving place for the first time in our lives.

    It sounds like because of the circumstances of your mother's death, you were never able to resolve your conflict with her in person. Thus, it is still there and able to trigger a relapse of TMS. I'm sure you are aware that there are meditation and other techniques you can use to find a place of peace with your relationship with your mother even now.

    And I think becoming an orphan is a big transition in how we view ourselves. For me there was a deep, existential sense of having been abandoned and thrown into the role of now having to always be the adult and parent. This is especially painful for those of us who feel like we never really had a chance to be a loved and cherished child. All of which can certainly fuel TMS.

    You have found the source of your relapse, and you have the tools to overcome it given your very impressive success at coming this far. Just give yourself some time and be especially kind to yourself during this difficult period. I wish you well.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2014
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  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    The practice of Existential Psychotherapy looks at what it calls the Four Core Existential Issues, which are:
    Isolation (or Abandonment)

    When I lost two people in two weeks (two years ago) I found it really helpful to examine how my feelings of loss meshed with these core issues. Without learning about this a short time before, I would never have known that the most devastating thing that I was experiencing was abandonment. Recognizing this, acknowledging it, and allowing myself to completely feel this important emotion somehow gave me the strength to go on. Mortality, of course, played a big role in my emotions, to say nothing of meaning (both were younger than me).

    Wavy Soul, I think it's really interesting that you characterized yourself as an orphan after your mother's death. On the surface you perceived that you had gained freedom, but clearly abandonment played a big role, as Ellen describes so well.

    Ellen offers the best advice, too ;)
    All the best,

  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wavy Soul - I've notice that I'm especially vulnerable to physical ailments around the 'Death-i-versary' of my late father, with whom I had a very conflicted love-hate relationship with for many years. Maybe aeons is a better word than years? Even if I'm not consciously aware of the date, my unconscious certainly is. Your experience of a TMS relapse on the anniversary of your mother's death does not sound out of the ordinary by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, it confirms my own experience.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  5. Wavy Soul

    Wavy Soul Peer Supporter

    Wow - two responses so quickly! I'm coming over to THIS forum!!

    These posts from Ellen and Jan are very helpful indeed. I've been considering my "deathiversary" hypothesis as just that––a hypothesis. Because I have had SO many other experiences that would seem covertly or overtly enraging or emotionally conflicting. Like the deaths of my father, sister and stepmother in the previous few years -- yet my TMS didn't flare up so much.

    Ellen - thanks! Actually it wasn't so much that I wasn't able to solve the conflict with her in person––I had visited her many, many times as she went down with Alzheimers for several years before her death. And we had many, many loving exchanges. But it was complicated, even then. She actually became sweeter, in many ways once her dementia set in. Prior to that she had continued to verbally abuse me up until her mind started to go. It made no difference that (like me!) she was a psychologist, although not practicing on people–– she was an experimental rats-in-mazes university professor -- still, just sayin'…

    I appreciate what you said about conflicted emotions. Duh! Yes. That's it, exactly. So many polarities, like how relieved and yet also shocked I was when she died 20 hours before I got there. How wonderful that she became sweet and loving at the end. Yet the younger me who was abused really never got heard.

    Jan - thanks! Yes, abandonment (and the other 3 existential issues, for sure). I mean… it makes sense. Yet abandonment/loss has been a very clear and obvious issue in my life. I've worked through it many times on very deep levels.

    But when I just let my body talk, in the last few weeks, a little voice comes out that wants to say "Who's going to mother ME?"

    Again, terrific and helpful responses. xx

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  6. Wavy Soul

    Wavy Soul Peer Supporter

    Bruce - just saw your post. Oh good. You too? Now I'm settling more and more into the TMS diagnosis.

    The weird thing about TMS is that it's hard to believe when I'm in the middle of the unbearable suffering of a flare-up. I feel as though there is something I "should" be doing, and in fact, this conversation is IT. But my mind thinks I should be muscle-testing supplements, etc. etc. ;-)
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  7. Wavy Soul

    Wavy Soul Peer Supporter

    Ha ha––just saw that Bruce said "aeons" re his conflicted relationship with late father. Yes. I am quite clear that my TMS is a result of how many issues I decided to take on in one lifetime. Better to have a little "fibromyalgia" and realize I'm pissed and feel my way through it back into wholeness, than to have those parents again (or be their parent again!). (Sounds pretty angry, Katie!)
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think my back pain came from not understanding that I really had what Steve Ozanich called "a perfect storm" for TMS.
    I began journaling about my boyhood and it led to me better understanding my parents and older brother who have me
    stress in those years. Putting myself in their shoes helped me realize they had TMS problems of their own. They did the best
    they could, and that's all we should ask of ourselves. Understanding them better led to me forgiving them
    and that led to getting rid of the back pain. I think it would help everyone if they tried to understand where their parents
    and others who gave us stress came from and then practiced forgiveness. Then the past will go away and stop giving us
    anxiety and pain.
  9. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi Wavy Soul,

    Sorry for your loss and for the return of your symptoms. I too had a conflictual relationship with my dad and felt only release and relief when he died, this was 15 years ago. I had been grieving his loss way before that since he was such a bad father, so when he did die it was just a bit more final. However, it took me a full year to acknowledge my relief about his passing. Before that, the guilt and shame about those feelings kept me from being honest with myself.

    Now I only keep the good memories of him and have forgiven him for how he treated my brother and I. I picture him having figured it out in the next life and feeling sorry for what he did. It is surprisingly soothing to do that.

    Best of luck and welcome to the forum - the best place on the net, in my opinion!
  10. Wavy Soul

    Wavy Soul Peer Supporter

    Thanks, Walt and Blake!

    Hmmm… forgiveness!!?? At the risk of sounding like a "badist," I have mixed feelings about this. As a "spiritual" person and a "goodist," I have, of course, purportedly forgiven my parents and other family members many times over. And at quite a deep level, I might add. It's not so simplistic as that, for me. I'm not going around thinking resentful thoughts about them. I understand where they were coming from. I understand where EVERYONE is coming from, including those that have abused me. I understand people for a living.

    However, the whole point here, for me, with TMS, is that my body and my "ID," or unconscious mind, doesn't agree. It is tired of me up-leveling instinctual feelings of rage into mental ""feelings" (i.e. thoughts) of forgiveness. I'm not advocating any kind of blame here, but the exact problem that gives rise to miserable TMS symptoms is very often premature forgiveness. I see it in myself and I see it in my clients all the time. Sometimes the sickest people who come to me have been guilted by previous counselors into "forgiving," without their deepest feelings really getting acknowledged.

    We of course need to behave appropriately to others, with kindness and compassion. And also to that part of ourselves that has been suppressed and denied our whole lives.
    Kathi, Ellen and JanAtheCPA like this.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wavy Soul (Katie!) I'm with you on this one - and this is something we often discuss over here on "this" forum ;)
    Just the other day, in fact. My take is that we have no obligation to offer blanket forgiveness to others, for what is usually unforgivable behavior. Forgiveness of others should be a choice. Sometimes understanding can stand in for forgiveness, and be a very helpful substitute.

    Forgiveness of yourself, however - that's a worthy goal.

    BTW, I love this:
  12. Wavy Soul

    Wavy Soul Peer Supporter

    Thanks, Jan! I will have to hang around here more. Great stuff. Yes - understanding really is a helpful substitute and much more acceptable to my inner child, the one that takes over the bod, yanks the oxygen and the nervous system patternings and the hot and cold switch and the pain-o-meters.

    btw, your pic looks very familiar. Have we met? I'm Katie Darling. I feel like we may have met at a conference.

  13. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I meant to post that I was PMing Katie - and we decided that we probably haven't met beerbuds
  14. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi all,
    For me the question of forgiveness is how to disengage mentally, emotionally and maybe even spiritually from someone who has harmed me so that I can regain my freedom. I was able to forgive my dad, but haven't yet been able to forgive my grandmother. I understand why she was the way she was, but I am still angry at her, which tells me I haven't forgiven her yet. But I know that as long as I stay intertwined with her in this way (even though she passed away) I will continue to suffer.

    For me forgiveness isn't a "should" but more like a distant destination I hope to reach at some point.
    Forest and Ellen like this.
  15. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Strange to read this today.

    My lower back pain has been quite tame over the last month or so and I haven't had a severe flare for a few months. I did sort of attribute this moving my worry and fixation to the neck and shoulder pain that had started.

    I got an email off my TMS therapist on Tuesday asking me how things had been going with my neck and I advised him that it was problematic but managable he also asked about my usual pain, the LBP and I advised him this wasn't too bad and I hadn't had a bad flare for a while.

    Yesterday was the 2nd year anniversary of my mums death and the day after I sent the email to my therapist and I woke with the most horrendous flare...this was probably one of the most painful I have ever experienced. The pain has been blatting away constantly and is still going now. Whilst I was obviously aware that yesterday was the anniversary of my mums death I felt OK with this on a concious level and didn't really expect a flare up or anything but it all just seems to much to be a coincidence. I hadn't done anything physical that could have brought it on and went to bed with just my normal back burner niggly ache...only to wake up the following morning on the anniversary and the day after telling my therapist I hadn't had a flare for ages with probably the worse one ever.

    Just as an aside. Whilst I've been in substantial pain with my lower back and leg over the last 2 days I was vaguely aware that the shoulder and neck/head pain had subsided to some degree. A couple of hours ago I was sitting with my wife and the thought about my neck etc feeling somewhat better seemed to frame itself into my conscious and I recall sort of thinking "oh, my back is killing me but at least my neck etc is feeling better" literally 5 minutes letter my neck spasms started and the temple pain returned. I'm not sure if this is that I just wasn't noticing it or that it did return but it all seems so weird and coincidental.

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