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New to the program, would love some guidance/support!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by birder, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. birder

    birder Well known member

    I just want to introduce myself. I posted my full story in the SEP sub-forum : http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/a-new-year-a-new-approach.17690/ (Week 0 - A New Year, A New Approach)
    Even as I read it back, I thought, "All that bad luck? Surely she's making this stuff up!" Haha, nope. But my patterns of coping are beginning to fall into place with great clarity as I work through SEP. I internalized my stress and anxiety, literally swallowing it down in order to be the best mom and best partner and just plain best I could be. Working as a real estate agent had its moments, but it was hugely stressful and I didn't feel I was the best - so bam, I lost my voice. My marriage was superficially fine, but underneath I had been pushing down the pain and anger and the lack of feeling cherished for years and years, focusing instead on my children. As they grew out of the nest and life was more of me and my partner, my body started to fail. That all makes sense to me. Getting hit by a car, well, that was just a driver on her cell phone. But a revelation in its own painful way.
    So today, I realize I fully accept and embrace the TMS diagnosis. Am I improved because of that acceptance? No, I'm worse! Everything is flaring, my jaw muscles are literally jumping as they spasm, my ankle pain expanded into new areas, and my back hurts in spots it never hurt before. This is going to be an all-out battle. I'd greatly appreciate any words of advice or support from those of you who have been there, or are going through this too. Thanks!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Congratulations, birder - it sounds like you've got your primitive fearful brain on the run!

    Seriously, your primitive unconscious brain is desperately fighting back against your desire to become self-aware and acknowledge your negative emotions. It believes that you might die (as in, get eaten by a sabre-tooth tiger) if you don't stay on the alert for danger, and instead focus on those negative emotions. In other words, your brain thinks it is helping you to survive. So while your primitive brain is definitely engaging in battle, you don't have to - you can choose to soothe and love your poor brain.

    My advice is to learn to hear the constant negative chatter that's generated by your fearful brain - and then reject it. It's not easy! It's a function of being mindful - in fact, our brains' propensity to be distracted by this chatter is why meditation is so damn hard for us.

    But I swear, you don't have to commit to meditation in order to do this. What works for me is to stop, breathe, soothe myself, and observe what's going on inside my head.

    I can't remember if Hope & Help For Your Nerves was recommended in your first thread - it probably was. That little book (first published in the 1960s!) was a really important source of support as I did the SEP, because anxiety was the worst of my symptoms.

    And keep doing the SEP, of course. Almost everyone experiences the Symptom Imperative as they start doing the work, and many people experience worse symptoms for a while before they get better. The important thing to hang on to is that this is NORMAL and it's proof of your TMS diagnosis.

    Above all, remember to love yourself for doing this work. You've got a lot of strength and self-awareness - you can do it!

    Lizzy and birder like this.
  3. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    It will help you to rephrase the work from "All out battle" to "loving myself now." You've had years of being frightened and in pain.
    You don't need to "fight." You need to nurture your emotions.

    Start by writing out what you TRULY feel, even if it sounds childish or totally negative. No one else will see this.
    Your subconscious will appreciate the chance to be heard without you "fighting" it back.

    Jan has great advise above.

    Keep going. Tell your body: "I hear you. You aren't in danger. I will take care of my emotions."

    best wishes,
    JanAtheCPA, Lizzy and birder like this.
  4. birder

    birder Well known member

    Thank you two for those responses - they're incredibly helpful after a long day of tilting at windmills (painmills?). Jan, I'll definitely check out "Hope and Help..." I never identified myself as an anxious person, just as a hyper-vigilant mom who was always one step ahead of any potential disaster. Now I've realized that IS anxiety! And Marcia, I will pay more attention to my self-care and use those phrases to calm myself - I've written them on an index card to keep handy.
    JanAtheCPA and Lizzy like this.
  5. Lizzy

    Lizzy Well known member

    Can I just say that I admire you? Yes, you have tms, but you are obviously strong, that strength will see you through. You will learn how to use that strength to nurture yourself. You have wonderful help in the posts above! I myself have post it notes I've written up with words of wisdom from Jan! Help and Hope for your Nerves is just that, help and hope. The author made audios of her books, if you search here, Eric "Herbie Watson has posted links. Lol, I am a luddite, so no help. Stick around here and you will blossom!.....I mean, as a birder, you will soar!
    JanAtheCPA, Ellen and birder like this.
  6. birder

    birder Well known member

    Thank you, Lizzy, you made me laugh!
    Lizzy likes this.
  7. birder

    birder Well known member

    That's so funny and TRUE - I can't meditate worth a darn because random thoughts/worries take over. Even tried with a professional. Nope.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dan Harris is an ABC news anchor who wrote a fascinating account of what he did following an on-air panic attack ("10% Happier"). He just came out with a new book called "Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics" - I caught two interviews with him last week (NPR and the Daily Show), so he's making the rounds. His new message is that even if you can only manage a minute at a time, it's still beneficial. Which is where my brief "stop, breathe, soothe" comes in. I can just about manage a minute - the key is to get in the habit of doing it more and more often :)
    Time2be likes this.

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