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Recent stress possibly causing flareup could use guidance

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by dabatross, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Hey everybody,

    Hope you're all doing well or better than usual. Had 1 or 2 better pain days around 2 weeks ago but then the pain has gotten worse since then and my eyes pulling like crazy right now its hard to concentrate. Recent stress though I think could be the culprit for this:

    1. Found out I was having a kid
    2. My cat just started vomiting a ton in the past 2 days so Im worried about him
    3. Ive been busting my ass on a bathroom for over a month now every day and on the weekends after work
    4. I think Im getting some of the extinction burst but not sure because Im doing relaxation exercises and stuff now
    5. At work I haven't been doing the type of work Ive been wanting to do lately so its been adding stress

    Trying to keep my mind off the pain but felt like I needed to post on here. I think its mostly the work related stress and me worrying about my cat that caused this most recent flareup. The past two times I had better days, the night before I did progressive muscle relaxation. I almost thought for a second that the tightening of my eyes during the progressive relaxation was making my pain worse but I know this can't be the case because it has gotten better after I did that as well.

    So I know I have a lot of stress on my plate and this pain isn't making it any better. There's probably feelings of fear about having a kid as well but I dont notice them very much. I haven't read anything on here about feeling overworked as being a problem with TMS. I would assume it is though because it does add a significant amount of stress since Im the only one working on it and if you've ever done a bathroom remodel you know it can be a nightmare.

    I could use your guidance though on this because I had some better days a few weeks ago which really lifted my spirits that Im on the right path but lately its just been not good at all. The pain is as bad as its ever been and I feel kind of hopeless. Really sucks when you go up and down so much with this condition where you feel hopeful and then fall back down into the trenches again. My anxiety was up about this last night which is probably why today isn't going well so far but Im trying to stay optimistic.

    I've been trying to stay on top of the relaxation stuff but I haven't been doing my other TMS work nearly as much as I should be mostly because Ive been so busy with this bathroom. I think that might have something to do with it as well.

    Thanks guys
  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Well, it sounds like any one of those five things could be a source of sadness/rage/stress and all of them together sound like a lot. It's great that despite that you have had a few days where there was less pain.

    Being overworked is probably my biggest TMS-rage-generator. It doesn't matter that a lot of my work is fun, emotionally fulfilling and inspiring...part of me would love to be just watching tv or goofing around. Just acknowledging that has helped, but I have also found that I need to listen to myself on when to ease up. My TMS therapist says that the two things that drive TMS the most are 1) the habit of repression and 2) lack of compassion for yourself (and overworking is one example of this.

    Be patient with yourself! hope you are feeling better.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey Dabatross,

    Congrats on having a child. That is wonderful to hear. Of course at the same time it can also cause a significant amount of repressed emotions. One question to think about is what do you do when you are stressed. It sounds like you have a pretty good idea about the current stresses in your life. Have you thought about how your personality affects your responses to these situations? As Veronica mentioned, having compassion for yourself is so important, and something that I don't think a lot of us all that much. When we get stressed, we very easily fall into the trap of beating ourselves up. Our inner bullies come out and tell us we aren't good enough or something else negative, and before we know we we have a new symptom or an increase of symptoms.

    Also, I think it is easy for us to identify what stresses us out in life. We know when work is stressful or when or family life is stressful. But we, as TMSers, don't know what are emotions are about these stresses. How does the stress make us feel? We get TMS because we don't recognize that these stressful events are actually making us anger, sad, or rageful deep down.

    There is a great line from Steve's book where he writes, "It's not always the goal in healing to bring THE issue to consciousness to release it, but is more important to understanding WHY the individual has dissociated it from his consciousness - what necessitated him to bury the event - not necessarily that the event is." Have you thought about what aspects of your personality are behind your symptoms? Part of this involves understanding what your inner bully is doing. Our inner bully causes us to repress our emotions, so by standing up to it and its negativity we can begin to reverse our repressive personality to one that is more open.

    Remember, recovery isn't a linear process. You will have good days and you will have some worse days. The goal is to not have days without pain. The goal is to not care if you have symptoms or not.
  4. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Im realizing this more aond more now that being overworked or just feeling overworked is a TMS rage generator. Even though some of the work on the bathroom can be fun, it is stressful and I think it is stressfully draining when working a full time job and then doing that on the side as well. That could definitely explain the recent increase in symptoms because this has lasted about a month now and I started that project around a month and a week or two ago. Sometimes I use the bathroom work as a distraction from the pain but after Im done working on it the stress from actually doing the bathroom work surfaces in me.

    Thanks Forest appreciate it. Yeah I was stressed out for a long time about having a kid because of stressors associated with it (i was concerned it would aggravate my pain). What do I do when Im stressed? Just from a conscious look back at it I usually get angry, tense, and start worrying a lot more about stuff and freak out. This could be about deadlines at work or whatever.. I'll place extra pressure on myself that I shouldn't be like I have to work extra fast now to get this done or whatever. I have a good idea about the stresses in my life but not so sure how my personality affects my response to the situations. I have some idea like the previous things I just mentioned but Im trying to figure out what started this type of response to stress for me. Why do I feel this need to work so quickly on stuff and stress myself out about it. I let all of these little things get to me all the time. Veronica talks about compassion for yourself Im not sure what that means in context with my situation. Im really not sure how Im not being compassionate with myself.. maybe Im being too hard on myself with recovering from TMS Im not sure. I could use some examples if you guys have any. I think overworking myself isn't being compassionate that is one thing I can think of.

    This is something I recently talked to Steve about as well. For a while I thought I had to find that one emotion or event that caused all this but I think its a buildup of things over years of time that began all of this. The event when my pain started was a trigger but I still dont understand how my personality developed into being perfectionistic about my pain, anxiety about all kinds of crap (generalized anxiety), obsessive compulsive disorder. I know when it all started but dont know why it started. Thats the thing Im trying to figure out now... why my response to stress is to get angry and scared/have anxiety. I get scared immediately that I wont be able to make that deadline or whatever the case may be and then I place all of this self imposed pressure on myself.

    One thing I do know is that over the past month, when things have been getting worse, I have definitely been worrying more about the pain and its better more difficult trying to keep my attention off of it. Over a month ago I had 1 or 2 better days and then it kind of went downhill and Im trying to recover from that.
  5. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    Have y
    Have you looked at Alan Gordon's thoughts on 'OUTCOME INDEPENDNCE" on this site...http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/a-word-about-outcome-independence.562/

    Its all about measuring success not how whether or not you have pain on a particular day, but measuing success by how little you care about it...once you get to this place than the real healing can begin because you take away the power of the distraction.

    I totally understand how you feel. I had foot related TMS symptoms 10 years ago...banished them within 3 months with Sarno's books and videos and now the pain is back with avengence. I too had 3 really good days last week and then boom....fully into an 'EXTINCTION BURST"...yes it sucks and its disheartening, but from everything I have read when the pain gets worse before it gets better its actually a sign that your healing is in progress...its your unconscious last ditch effort to try to keep you focused on the physical..stick with it...you can do it!
  6. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    thanks lala ive thought about this being the extinction burst as well. for that 3 months did you just read sarno's books/videos or did you do other treatments as well? any books in particular you read? i did read the outcome independence article and i agree with it. the more i focus on pain the more it hurts, the more i fear/have anxiety about it he more it hurts, so stopping myself from researching the pain, even researching TMS every single day helps. im an obsessive type of person so when im in pain i want to know why. so even though i stopped looking into eye problems months ago i began looking into TMS and that became my new way of getting information overload. i had to know everything about TMS and why my eye pain is occurring. i'll reread the same stuff over and over (which can sometimes help but not if you become obsessive) and i will read TMS books to lower my anxiety levels but thats very short term. right now what im doing is trying my best not to read TMS books every single night or even think about pain and how to fix it every night. i try to do progressive muscle relaxation to calm my body and mind and then do something else besides think about pain. ive been down this road for too long and it doesn't work. the more you worry about pain doesn't make it go away faster.. it keeps it around.

    for an obsessive/anxious person like me, that is hard to do though because thats the first instinct you have is to think about the pain and how to fix it. why was yesterday better than today? how can i repeat a better day? thats the big thing that has been on my mind lately and im trying to stop that "why" thinking. i have had foot pain just like you for the past almost 8 years and then i got eye strain issues in august 2008 after starting a new job. the pain shifted to another place in my body but it never did go away in my feet so i dont know if that is the classic sign of TMS as in shifting symptoms but it is definitely the symptom imperative. got out of the standing job that hurt my feet like hell but when i started a new job i got eye strain immediately when i never had it before. what i do remember though is i became obsessive about the eyestrain symptoms immediately just like my foot pain because i was fearful this was going to turn into a chronic problem like the foot pain.

    little did i know that the obsessiveness and anxiety i had about the eye strain actually made it turn into a chronic problem. if i had just let it go and not worried about it i highly doubt it would have ever started.
  7. Lala

    Lala Well known member

    Dabatross, Hi again....we are following each other's threads...how funny.

    I hear you loud and clear. The first time I read Mindbody (over and over) and watched Sarno's video and went into therapy. I don't remember if I did anymore because it was so long ago.

    As far as not obsessing...here are a few tips that help me.

    -Don't research everyday...instead spend more of your time journaling...as the real culprit is repressed emotions in your unconscious...so this is where you need to spend the majority of your time. Educating yourself about TMS etc. is super important, but it will do nothing if you are not doing the emotional work (are you in therapy?)

    -Thinking about the pain. This I totally understand b/c the pain is so bad, how can you not think about. So what I do is I shout (sometimes inside my head, sometimes out loud if I'm alone or in my car) at my unconscious. Things like, "Listen you, I know what you are up to. I know you are making me uncomfortable so I focus on my body. You don't want me to start digging, do you? Well I am! I am digging and I'm not afraid. I am stronger than you and I will beat this..." etc. etc. Then, since i can't say that over and over again b/c its too long, I come up with little mantras...some forceful like, "I will not pay attention [to the pain], I will not pay attention, I will not pay attention," or some positive like, "I move forward in life with joy and ease," or "I am free of pain and in touch with my emotions." I will say these mantras again over and over and over again until my brain gets occupied by something else.

    Another tool I have found extremely helpful (I think I read about it on this site originally)...has to do with Buddhism...its the whole metaphor of the train and our thoughts...

    check it out here:

    Everytime I have a crappy, worrisome, fearful, pain-filled thought I imagine myself on a platform and I say, "oh, there goes the train of fear," or "there goes the train of pain obsession," or "there goes the train of worry,"..."I'm not getting on that train. I'm just going to stay here on the platform, breathe and be in the moment." "Bye bye pain train," "bye by worry train," "bye bye pain obsession train, I don't need to ride on you, you will take me nowhere good."

    You need to come up with positive, loving, nurturing supportive tools to help manage your compulsion to do learn, do research etc. Try to channel that energy into doing things that will help you feel supported or help you work on digging up some of the repressed stuff.

    Then most important, find time to do nothing. Meditate, listen to the sounds of your environment, take a hot bath with some lovely music on, read a book for pleasure. Learn to let go. My friend Pam has a great mantra, she says, "Let go, just a little." It is so much gentler than, "Let go!" Try to let go, just a little each day. It will get easier. I promise. You are reorganizing the way you think and feel...that takes time and patience. I promise it will be worth it.

    PS-OCD or obsessive tendencies are considered manifestations of TMS in and of themselves...the obsessing is the unconscious way to keep you from really doing the work you need to do to heal....fight it!

    Good luck.
  8. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter


    I can so relate to being obsessive. All the suggestions for becoming more relaxed and less anxious are on point and things I have done. What has helped me the most in the three months I have been working the SED and Schubiner's program is the meditation CD in Unlearn Your Pain book. Track one is something I have listened to every day for months now. It takes about 20 minutes and completely relaxes me so I can obsess less. All tracks are good but #1 is a favorite. I also use his meditation process if I become wakeful and stressed during the night.

    I also looked up Byron Katie's website found in Schubiner's book. She has a brief introduction called The Little Book. When she discusses what the Work is and how to "stay in your own business" which she explains, it really resonated with me and is worth checking out. you can Google her name to get her website.

    I'm sending my wishes for healing to you.

    Lala likes this.

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