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Newbie here. Experiencing pain while sitting.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by runnergirl773, Dec 9, 2020.

  1. runnergirl773

    runnergirl773 New Member

    Hello there! Long-time listener, first-time caller :)

    My pain story began in 2015 with arm and rotator cuff pain, with neck, upper trap and back pain added to the mix regularly, but not constantly. I tried numerous treatments and consulted several doctors, undergoing diagnostic testing. Ultimately, I elected to have surgery Dec. 6, 2018 to repair a tear in my left rotator cuff.

    Surgery, recovery, and rehabilitation were a breeze for me, thankfully. It didn’t take long for the range of motion in my left arm to get back to 100%. However, the neck and upper trap still bothered me daily, and sometimes excruciatingly. I knew surgery might not solve the neck pain, but it was frustrating nonetheless when the pain remained, not slowing down in frequency or intensity. I was doing all of the exercises my physical therapist laid out for me religiously. I didn’t understand why nothing was changing.

    Then my husband gave me Healing Back Pain. I was hopeful, but skeptical.

    I read the book twice. I marked it up, starred passages, and found myself saying, “Yes! This is me!” I devoured Dr. Sarno’s follow up The Mindbody Prescription as well. I felt better and was telling everyone I knew about the book.

    That was the summer of 2019. Fast forward to December 2020, and I’ve found myself in pain again. I wake up sore. I started the routine again of heat, ice, ibuprofen, pillow switching, foam rolling, Theracane, etc. I had forgotten the principles of TMS. So here I am, revisiting the books, journaling, reflecting.

    For the last week, I have been getting up every morning before everyone else to spend 20-30 minutes reviewing Sarno’s work or journaling or visiting this forum. I’ve noticed the pain I feel upon waking up is less. But I do still have pain throughout the day, as I’ll explain.

    I read stories of those who are immobilized by the pain and that has not been my case. I’m still able to exercise and do pretty much everything I want. Perhaps that’s why this has taken me more than a year to figure out. The pain is there, but it’s not crippling. I feel it a lot when sitting at my desk, driving, and, oddly when I’m sitting at swim watching my kids. I always blamed the terrible chairs there, but it’s a mere 25 minutes; that shouldn’t be painful. Upon further reflection, I wonder if it’s because it’s 25 minutes where I’d love to “check out” and read my book, but I feel the tug of wanting to be a “good” parent and making sure I’m watching them, waving every now and then so they know I see them. My mind says “pay attention to your kids! Be a good parent!” And then I feel bad because that’s not exactly what I want to be doing. I just want to read my book and escape.

    I’m a classic goodist/perfectionist. I care way too much what people think of me and there are certain areas where things have to be perfect. Parenting is an area where I get in my head A LOT. I want to be a good parent. I love my kids so much, and they are great kids. But any area where they may be deficient I see as a parenting failure. I also look at myself and I don’t want them to be here in 30 years. I worry that I am screwing them up, or that they will develop anxious tendencies like me.

    I struggle with decisions. If we’re deciding where to order food from, I often think of what everyone else wants, or what is the healthiest first; not what I really want which is pizza or greasy fries . I usually end up saying to my husband, “I don’t care, you pick.” Then, I don’t have to make a decision.

    I’m a freelance writer and editor; my husband is the income provider for our household but I have a few clients from the days when I was working full time. I have about 8 hours of work per week. I view this as extra and it meets my need to contribute financially to the family. I also want to keep active in my profession so if I need to get back to full-time work, I will still be relevant. I don’t mind the work; but because I’m a perfectionist I do feel like when I sit down to write an article it takes me way longer than it should have. I feel proud of the articles I write.

    I must say my husband is completely supportive and also accepts TMS theory. He doesn’t suffer from these issues, but has read the book and watched “All The Rage.” I feel blessed that he “gets it.”

    Anyway, if you’ve read all of this, God bless. I rarely put myself out there but I have found comfort in reading all of your stories and posts. I thought perhaps someone may see themself in the things I’ve been experiencing. Thanks for "listening."
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @runnergirl773 ,

    The good news is that this is just TMS which is "learned pain" and it's reversible. It seems that there is constant internal pressure that you put on yourself. Of course this generates a ton of tension in the body, as well as chronic negative thought patterns. There is an undercurrent of fear (terror actually) in everything you do....a constant fear of "making a mistake" or somehow being less than perfect. This need for control and perfection and people pleasing usually stems from childhood and sensitizes the brain over time to be in a constant state of fight or flight. It's awesome that your husband gets it! Support is so important. The first step for you imo, is to stop being so hard on yourself and feeling guilty (self blame and self judgment) and to move in the direction of self compassion. Tell the inner bully to shut the hell up and stop being so mean to yourself. Start doing things where you put yourself first....whether it's trivial like choosing dinner or taking time for yourself or letting go of some obligation, or saying "NO" to someone. Start asserting yourself and setting boundaries, this way you won't be in repression mode all the time. That's just some advice but I'm sure others in the forum can add on theirs.
    birdsetfree, backhand, Ellen and 2 others like this.
  3. runnergirl773

    runnergirl773 New Member

    Hi @miffybunny,

    Thanks so much for your encouraging words. They mean so much to me. I hadn't thought about underlying terror, but that makes a lot of sense.

    Does anyone have suggestions for how to quiet the inner bully? I've tried daily affirmations and meditation. I run almost every day which helps elevate my mood. Yet I just can't shake that darn meanie inside my head.

    I'm going to try writing down everything that comes into my head in the mornings and then ripping it up. Because I do journal often but I believe I censor myself. I don't want to write down embarrassing thoughts, and "the voice" is in there saying "When you pass away and your husband and kids find these journals, what will they think?" So maybe being completely honest and then ripping it up will be a release for me.

    miffybunny and Balsa11 like this.
  4. jimmylaw9

    jimmylaw9 Peer Supporter

    Hi runner girl. Jeez can I relate to you. Parenting single dad with 50 per cent custody doing all my own child care. Love the kids to bits but like you feel I have to do everything 1000 per cent right and inner child in me is raging!
    It’s all TMS I just have to do the work!
    Balsa11 likes this.
  5. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    This is what I suggest to deal with your inner bully. Become aware that any thought that makes you feel something negative is your inner bully. Take notice and know this is not intrinsically you. Initially being able to identify the inner bully allows you the opportunity to start separating yourself from it. Next step would be to challenge the negative thought with an uplifting, encouraging one instead. Step one, step two repeat, every time. This will work well if you are committed to it. For most of us I believe it is a lifelong journey but one that ends up in a much healthier relationship with ourselves and others. Good luck!
    miffybunny likes this.
  6. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That voice IS THE PROBLEM. That voice is the the same voice that keeps us out of our own unconscious. It's the voice that says "If people knew how selfish I really am, no one would want anything to do with me,so I better do... and think.....and act...."

    The pain is just that voice's enforcer stick to beat you. "Don't you DARE come round here, or I'll make your knee hurt, or your shoulder or back, etc"

    In retrospect, Most of my initial TMS symptoms were built to distract me from my ambiguous feelings as a parent, husband and the work I chose to be able to fulfill that 'role' as best I could.

    I had to admit to myself (via writing TERRIBLE honest things) That I loathed my career. I didn't want to be a parent.... I didn't want to be playing house and husband. I wanted to play baseball, skateboard, surf and be in a band... I wanted to trade up partners whenever it got stale.

    That honesty to myself (and God) was what made the pain go away. It was scary. But the fear was bullshit. I didn't need to change anything but my mind. Admitting those dirty underthings made the enforcer stick of Pain useless and it went away. I didn't have to stop working or being a father and husband, but I did have to let THIS voice have its say:
    That is one little squeak of a LION inside you wanting to roar

    My kids and me are still very close and they are now adults....in fact, they come to me with their problems because they know I will always get to the 'root' with them and not just give them superficial advice. I still have the same job, but I do it for people I like....the marriage? That one didn't make the turn, BUT I am still very good friends with my ex and everything's great.

    TMS is always an over reaction. Sarno said as much. Once you can crack open that door you can leave it pried open with regular check-ins with yourself
    runnergirl773 and backhand like this.
  7. runnergirl773

    runnergirl773 New Member

    Thank you for this! I appreciate hearing about what worked for you. I have been doing a lot of expressive writing and then shredding the thoughts and that has helped. I needed a place where I can be brutally honest with myself. So far, so good :)
  8. runnergirl773

    runnergirl773 New Member

    Hi there! Thank you for this suggestion. I have been able to identify the bully; challenging it with uplifting thoughts is where I struggle. But I'll keep at it until it sticks! I appreciate your comments and support!
    birdsetfree likes this.

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