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My Painful Truth

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by linnyc87, Dec 31, 2020.

  1. linnyc87

    linnyc87 Peer Supporter

    I've had so many revelations about myself, but I noticed I've been still searching deeper and deeper for answers. As of this moment in time, I have to be 100% honest with myself: I've always had the answers. I've ALWAYS known my issues stemmed from anxiety and fear (and oversensitized nerves). I've always known what I needed in order to recover (lifestyle changes such as consistent exercise, filling my life with things that are joyful and give me purpose, etc), but for years I've been STILL searching for a cure. Why? Because I want a quick fix. I've always shyed away from anything that feels like work. Little did I know, my fear of work (or perhaps fear of living) has impacted every area of my life. I've been trying to take short cuts and press the 'easy button' my whole life. I realize I can't do that anymore.

    As of now, I fully believe that chronic pain is absolutely a distraction method and a means to protect me. And in my case, it's definitely been protecting me from anything that resembles work (jobs, relationships, exercise, building a career, etc), basically LIFE itself.

    I realize now why every time I read a success story and someone says, "get back to living your life" I get irritated and angry. Life requires so much hard work that I don't want to do. It's why I never wanted to get married, or have kids. It's why I went to school for art instead of pursuing medicine. It's why I'm 33 years old, not working and live at home with my parents. It's why every time a therapist recommends me getting a job, I fire that therapist and get a new one. It's why I daydream so much. And so on and so forth.

    Now I'm asking myself: do I REALLY want to recover? Do I REALLY want to get out of survival mode and thrive? Do I REALLY want to feel good, be happy and get back to living? Am I willing to do what it takes to fully recover?

    Do I want to live a fulfilling life?

    Honestly, I can't say that I do. I'm very comfortable in my misery. I'm not going to beat myself up about it though. This is my truth for now.

    I just want to believe there's hope for me. I've been this way since I was a small child. So, what if this is just my personality?? It's like, I have hope that I can heal, but there's a major part of me that doesn't believe I have what it takes to heal. It's like deeply rooted laziness. Again, not beating myself up. Just being honest, as I believe honesty is the number one key to healing.

    I realized whenever I repeat, "there's nothing wrong with me" I don't actually believe it, because I believe I have a personality defect.

    Any encouragement would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Larkspur

    Larkspur Peer Supporter

    I understand this way of thinking for sure. I’ve recently realized that my symptoms have allowed me to withdraw from a lot of life activities and that laziness feels comfortable and easy. So often we choose the easy route even though it’s not in our best interest in the long run. I think we are evolutionarily programmed to choose immediate gratification over long term benefits. But I know that you want to heal and live a happy life! If the choice were a simple one—pick either being happy or being miserable, you would choose to be happy, right? It’s just that you have to get through some discomfort first before you make it through to the other side.

    What are some of the happiest times of your life that you can remember? What were you doing, what was special about them? What can you do to find that again? If that seems like too loaded a question, perhaps scale it back to something like, when did I feel most content, or when was I most free of pain?

    I have hope for you because the simple fact that you are here, doing the work to understand yourself better, means that you have the ability to change and shape your life into what you want it to be. I think we all have that capacity. It’s not an easy journey for sure, and I’m not there yet myself, but I believe that we can all heal and live a life that brings us some degree of joy. If you could wave your magic wand, what would a happy or contented life look like for you?
    birdsetfree, Ellen, TrustIt and 2 others like this.
  3. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Rather than truth, what about calling it a feeling that surfaced? Sometimes we get repetitive negative thoughts as an intense reaction to something we fear or due to prior trauma.

    I've had feelings like this and this is why my only new year's resolution is to stay in continuous joy as a default instead of being task oriented as usual. Western culture is relatively young and adolescent, so immediate gratification probably became more common around the Industrial era.

    What makes you happy? What makes life worthwhile to you? What matters to you? What conditioning/assumptions can you let go of especially those unconsciously picked up from others? And most importantly, what do you actually need in your life(needs vs wants is an important distinction to make) whether materially or existentially?

    Sometimes a reminder that happiness is our natural state (ie our body already knows how to be happy) is helpful without overt forcing. The part that takes work is staying conscious, keeping agile, and focus for task execution.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
    birdsetfree, Ellen and linnyc87 like this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    I appreciate the honesty of your post and can relate to it. What I found helpful when exploring my own "laziness" was to not view it as a personality defect, but as a defense mechanism. I feel my own tendency came out of a deep seated fear of failure or not being good enough, so why try at all? Sometimes even when we are being honest on a conscious level, there are unconscious forces at work that we aren't aware of. I would explore those with a therapist, or as I did through expressive writing. I would occasionally have an "a-ha" moment while writing that I believe is what happens when unconscious material becomes conscious. I found following a structured program like Unlearn Your Pain most helpful in this regard.
  5. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @linnyc87 ,

    A lot of false beliefs stem from conditioning in our childhood as well as attachment traumas. When we grow up in a stressful environment that doesn't feel safe, or with an opinionated parent, critical mother for ex (or any other kind of distressing, disturbing events: divorce, rejection, bullying, abuse, neglect, etc etc), a painful belief about ourselves stems from this early experience which is essentially: "I am fundamentally flawed". This then translates to "There must have been something wrong with me to explain why I didn't get that safe connection as a baby or child", that all humans need. From there we can internalize self judgment and feeling of unworthiness. This has nothing to do with character defects or laziness and everything to do with trauma and conditioning. Based on what we experienced and based on our history, we also form beliefs about just how much we can expect or how far we can go, or how much we deserve. These falsely held beliefs turn into mental "ceilings' in a sense. The first step is recognizing where these beliefs stem from and realizing that they are simply not truth. We don't have to buy into these stories we have about ourselves, our bodies and then world. The messaging you may have been given was that the world is a scary place and you can't trust anyone, including yourself or your body. As Plum pointed out, this learned helplessness which you call "laziness" is just a defense mechanism (as is TMS!) to cope with anxiety and the painful underlying emotions that are being covered up.

    You are no different and no less worthy than any other human. When you can allow yourself to have certain feelings (like rage or guilt) and let them pass through you without judgment. that is when anxiety and sensitization lessens. Eventually symptoms cease to serve a purpose. You have taught the brain a different program. You have replaced those false beliefs with new ones.
  6. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    The fear brain can convince us that living a normal productive life is extremely difficult and elusive for us. As with most new skills in life its usually the anticipation and sometimes taking the first step that is the hardest. Once we mindfully take that first step the rest flows more easily and we realise we are just as capable as anyone else. The happiness and fulfilment that this brings is worth it. It can result in emotional and mental growth which can open up our world and inspire others to do the same.

    I agree with Larkspur that as humans we tend to avoid short term pain, but if we can override this and stay focused, we can shape our lives into whatever we want. Allowing ourselves to be imperfect along this journey is important, to allow ebbs and flows along the way and offer self compassion and encouragement.

    Your brain is working with one pathway right now which is sending you the message that being lazy is safe and good. Once you decide to take that first step and push through to achieving whatever you want to achieve, your brain will form a new pathway. Small things that are hard with a reward at the end is a good place to start. This new pathway will make it easier to do the harder things because your brain has learned that the greater rewards lie at the end of these hardships. You will begin seeking these greater rewards and you will see them as inspiring challenges. You will have changed your brain.
    Ellen and miffybunny like this.

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