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Real relief only when I'm alone?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by thecomputer, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Hi everyone

    I haven't posted for a while. For anyone who doesn't know I've been struggling for over a year with a very painful, burning tight throat when using my voice or afterwards. It's been a very strange journey and is not over yet by any means!

    I have noticed a very strong correlation between my pain and being around people. Of course it's a bit different for me than most TMS'ers as talking is the thing that causes me pain and tension. I have been conditioned over this year to associate talking and people with pain.

    Often I can be in quite severe pain when having a conversation with someone, even if we stop talking and I am just in their presence for some time.

    What I notice more now is that if leave that person and can find a way to be completely alone my pain reduces to a very manageable amount very quickly. And by alone I mean driving or in nature where nobody can get to me. It's even better if my phone has no signal!

    I was wondering if anyone else experienced this? I know that many people take comfort in being comforted! In having someone there and being close and physical. Info to a certain extent but often it feels like a pressure. You know when people want to help you to feel better and that in a sense is a pressure.

    I have always loved being alone. I prefer walking in nature alone, swimming in the river, being in the house alone. I love to be free from the need to 'do' anything for anyone, to smile or talk or make an effort. I also love the way I can reflect and go deeper into my own mind when alone.

    I'm not naturally an introverted person. In fact I have often been the opposite. I have always been seen as very sociable and I talked a lot before this problem! But I also always liked my time alone.

    I talked to my brother about this, who is bi polar and struggles himself a lot with anxiety and stress. He said he could totally relate, not with physical pain, but that he only truly relaxes when he gets home, shuts the door and can truly switch off.

    I think it's an interesting thing to look at which I haven't seen discussed here.

    To me it seems that any interaction with another human involves a certain activation, being ready and engaged. Of course this can be nicely stimulating and totally neccesary for connection and to express and be heard. But since I've had this pain issue in my throat I realise that even being in the same room as another person in silence brings a certain tension and 'readiness' to my throat area.

    I also find that my most intimate relationship with my partner, who has many of her own struggles, my pain is the worst. She needs more from me than anyone else and the pressure manifests as pain. I find I can go to shop and speak to a stranger without noticing too much pain, and a few minutes later have a conversation with my partner and my throat locks up.

    I'd be interested to hear other peoples experience with this. I realise it may be a certain type of person who gets more relief from solitude than from interaction.

    Please share if you feel like it
  2. jazzrascal

    jazzrascal Peer Supporter

    I can relate. I don't have the vocal problem, but I've been housebound for three years and honestly don't miss being out in the world with people all that much. Also, I rarely see anyone in person at all and most of my contacts with people are on Facebook. I don't think it's my physical (TMS) problems that are truly keeping me indoors. I think I have them so that I won't have to go out.

    Now, that being said, like you, I'm not really an introvert although obviously I love my alone time. I used to be a performer and was in contact with a lot of people. I think the reason I'm isolated now is because it's giving me an opportunity to work through the strong emotions that are coming up from childhood trauma, neglect, etc. and which resulted in a lack of self-love.

    In addition to the TMS work, I've been doing Kamal Ravikant's "I love myself" practice from his book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It, and I'm convinced that as I do this and really start to deeply feel it, I'll eventually want to go out and connect with others again.

    It's helpful to ask yourself, when a negative feeling comes up, "What am I feeling right now?" I find that I'm often led to some event from my childhood, and then I'm able to release the anger, hurt, sadness, etc.
  3. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    ME TOO! A quick answer, it's likely due to the inferiority complex aspect of the "T"(MS) personality, along with perfectionism, goodism, etc.--always striving for acceptance by others. I realize my hip hurts more on the tennis courts depending if the other player(s) are a-holes. I've recently realized this and am working on consciously TMS'ly deconditioning from it.
    jazzrascal likes this.
  4. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi robodelfy,

    I too recognize this struggle of wanting to be alone and to have people around at the same time. My symptoms rise when I am around people, but it depends on the exact setting and people. I think Tom McEnroe has a good point about the inferiority complex thingy. I really need to kick myself in the butt once and a while to go see people. There is always that nagging feeling in the back of my head, mostly (conditioned) fear that people silently do not accept me. This becomes unconscious behavior over the years. It really is a vicious circle of course, because the more you seclude yourself, the more fear you create that people think that is sad, strange or whatever and will not fully accept you. I too can only relax fully when alone at home, although there are exceptions to this rule. The key is to accept yourself and not care what others think; affirmations like 'I accept, appreciate and love myself' can help with that.
  5. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks for the replies, I think it's an interesting topic.

    I can relate to having the need appear good, look right, say the right things etc. when around others. For me it has a lot to do with my partner and our relationship. I just notice I end up speaking a lot more with less pain when I am away doing my own thing, with friends or relatives who need less from me. I think it brings up a lot of stuff about intimacy, and guilt. So much guilt! I feel guilty for needing time away from my partner, for not being able to show her much affection because I'm often so frustrated and in pain that I cant relax enough to enjoy being close. It's sad as I know she needs it so much, so our respective struggles just set each other off over and over again. It's a bit of the classic 'man needs space, woman needs connection' thing! I know this is a cliche and generalisation, but it's been quite common in my relationships.

    I've been reading a bit about attachment styles, and I relate completely to the Avoidant type. The closer someone gets the more I feel the need to protect my independence and autonomy, to the point where I become distant and cold and feel intense relief as soon as I am alone, doing things for myself.

    I have always been considered a bit of an extrovert, not extremely so, but fairly confident on the outside! The truth is below the surface has been a deep well of insecurity and shame, and a huge lack of confidence.

    I would love to hear anybody elses experiences with pain and being alone
    Gigalos likes this.
  6. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Damn it Robodelfy, you come up with some great insights... Can you post a link about those attachment styles?
    Do you recognize the fact that after having been extrovert, you come back home, reflect and start to regret a lot of the things you just said or did?
  7. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Hi gigalos. Thanks,

    I don't have anything specific to link to, but you will find endless stuff online if you Google 'attachment styles'. It's quite interesting, and basically explains the various ways we end up relating in relationships based mostly on how our primary caregivers were with us.

    As with anything, like the Enneagram or Jungian or Buddhist personality types, it can get used for trashy websites about couples and dating. But you can ignore that!

    I wouldn't say I often go in to deep regret about what I say or do. I'm generally quite controlled and a peace keeper. Classic tmser!

    It's more that I realise that growing up I was unbearably self conscious as many people are, and did a good job hiding it behind a confident demeanor, which I think in many ways made it worse.

    I also feel I have a strong introverted and extroverted side to me. As time goes on I feel the need to be alone more. Being with people is just too stimulating! If I had a choice u would spend the majority of each day alone
  8. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Hi Robodelfy,

    Your situation reminds me of a professor I helped with chronic bronchitis. I mention her story in Rapid Recovery from Back and Neck Pain:

    Chronic Bronchitis

    "I received a call from Susan, an engineering professor who had been suffering for seven years from chronic bronchitis. She had been given a wide range of diagnoses and treatments, but nothing had worked. She coughed constantly. In the course of our conversation she had to stop several times, and she coughed so much that her whole face turned red.

    This incessant coughing had made Susan’s life miserable. She was using a cortisone inhaler to keep the coughing under control. She told me that sometimes in the middle of a lecture she had to leave the classroom because of her cough. She had noticed that she did not cough when focused on a task or when exercising. However, she coughed afterward. The dust from the blackboard made her cough, although she was not allergic to it prior to her bronchitis. She had tried transcendental meditation, and it had helped a little.

    Since she had had this condition for seven years, I suspected she had a clue to its real cause. So I asked her, “What do you think is the cause of your chronic cough?”

    “Do you want me to tell you what doctors have told me?”

    I said, “No. I want to know what you think is the cause.”

    “I feel like I am carrying the whole world on my shoulders, and that is what is causing my cough!” she responded.

    Well, it did not take much explaining on my part to help her realize that tension was the cause of her cough. I helped Susan design her own rapid recovery plan...And did it work! The first day she did not cough for an entire hour, and she continued to improve as planned. However, on the day her son was taking the dental school entrance exam she coughed more than before. She realized that even though she did not think she felt especially anxious about the exam, in fact it was creating enough anxiety and tension to make her cough. Susan continued on the plan and recovered completely. She recovered so well that she was no longer allergic to the blackboard dust, either.

    I wondered why she had developed a cough in response to tension. Unlike others whose backs or hands are the focus of their work, as a professor she used her voice on the job. So tension manifested itself in a way that affected her voice, as a chronic cough!"

    I later worked with her to deal with her habit on taking on the weight of the world, so that she could remedy the undelying causes of her tension.

    When you say, "I also find that my most intimate relationship with my partner, who has many of her own struggles, my pain is the worst." Intimate relationships are always so much more tense, because of our expectations. This was the main source of TMS for me added to my difficult childhood and demanding critical parents.

    You have done a great job analyzing yourself, which is very important. Just curious, what have you tried so far to remedy the relationship issues with your partner? Has anything helped?
  9. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

  10. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Hi Fred

    Thanks for the link to that talk, I really enjoyed it and related to what he was saying. It's crazy how much we know these things and yet continue to chase the proverbial carrot of selfish gains and end up going nowhere. i actually wanted to create a thread along those lines.

    As for my relationship...it's been incredibly hard to enjoy any of my relationships for the last year as talking = pain, and so in over a year I have not enjoyed a conversation, not like I used to. I just find it so stressful and then get frustrated with the other person. It's such a strange problem, and is so isolating. I seem to never get the balance right of connecting with people and staying out of intense pain and stress. The last few weeks I am constantly in pain and suffering a lot, just from talking too much! I know if I was silent for 2 weeks I would have two weeks of no pain! Which makes it so tempting, even though ultimately it doesnt solve the problem.

    I really know the negative effects of being isolated, yet I don't feel it is a choice for me right now. I loved being with people before this started. I have to just have faith that things can change, even if it is incredibly slow!
  11. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Reading your post reminded me of a blogpost I wrote on why we hurt where we hurt.

    like you, most of my tension came from my relationship with my wife. After my recovery from TMS, I knew I had to learn new ways of communication in order to avoid becoming disabled again. It was much easier to learn and apply these techniques than I thought.

    They made me feel empowered and optimistic about our future together. That was more than 20 years ago and we are still happily married.

    I wrote about what I learned in chapter seven of Rapid Recovery from Back and Neck Pain. I also help my client with such issues because relationship issues are a common sources of TMS.

    So take heart. There is hope.

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