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Sabotaging success?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Jamo, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Jamo

    Jamo New Member

    I have been keeping diaries intermittantly since I was about 18 and up until last year if I was feeling particularly low I would get them out and have a read as it would make me feel better reading about all this misery and thinking at least I wasn't going through those times again. Pretty much every day was filled with 'tired', 'fed up', 'awful migraine', 'terrible acid reflux', 'hip pain today', 'feeling horrendous, anxious', 'had panic attack' etc. It sounds awful just writing this and I am so glad that I found this forum and have been using the programmes to turn my life around and have gradually been feeling better and better (although still not like a 'normal' person whatever that is).

    A few days ago though I was feeling good and for some reason decided to get the diaries out of the attic and settle down with them to read the misery and feel even better I suppose because of how much better I was feeling. But all it has done has given me bad acid reflux which in turn has made my throat feel tight and made me hyper vigilant again so much so that I was on the bed this morning and felt a tiny bit nauseous and it brought on a panic attack. I managed to get that under control by soothing myself and saying I would be okay and focusing on my breathing. A couple of years ago I also developed a fear of swallowing in case I choked and this was brought on by the acid reflux making my throat feel sensitive. That seems to be coming back too now. I think the acid reflux is 'functional' i.e. my body is just overly sensitive and always on the lookout (maybe because of a violent and frightened childhood) - I have had three endoscopies including one last month which show no issues.

    I am just wondering if anyone else has experienced this sort of thing when feeling better and then reading or thinking about bad times. Even now, knowing it isn't good for me, I have a burning desire to get a particularly bad diary out and sit and read it. It is almost as if I want to cause myself torment and not be happy.

    I'm sorry for the long post. I sometimes feel I could write for ever. Have started writing my story and one day hope to share it in case it helps anyone. I also appreciate that I don't have the classic back or shoulder pain but have had hip and leg pain in the past but it seems my body has latched onto other symptoms to scare me.


  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    I suspect the reason you wring the juice out of those miserable diary entries is because you've yet to extract the wisdom from them. In part the sabatuer may be having some sport with you and is ponying on these shadow activities as a way of getting it's hit but mostly I feel you are still sense-making. A violent and frightening childhood is more than enough to explain this urge.

    However it is time to move on...so either burn those pages or put them somewhere even harder to get to than the attic. Put them in a shoebox and bury the damned thing in the garden

    Then begin journaling but not about your symptoms. Write about events, experiences, relationships and encounters, all the emotional stuff that you are holding out on needs release.

    Those actions alone are more than enough for your unconscious mind to get the message. The past is done. I'm focusing on the here and now. I am willing to change and willing to heal.

    Don't worry about long posts. Most of mine resemble War and Peace.

    Lily Rose and birdsetfree like this.
  3. Jamo

    Jamo New Member


    Thank you so much for the reply. And the wise words. It never occurred to me not to keep journaling about the symptoms but now that you say it it makes so much sense.

    I do have a tendency to frighten myself but I try really hard not to do it anymore. This morning when I started to have the panic attack I initially played out in my mind the feeling of it going on for ever and no one being able to help me (I saw my partner, a friend, mother etc all cuddling me but making no difference) and it being unbearable for me and unable to cope etc etc. Obviously all of this happens in a split second (hopefully it makes sense to anyone who has had panic attacks) but all this scaring myself intensified the panic attack. I then started to use what Alan Gordon said about somatic tracking and I looked at the feelings and then looked at my breathing as a safe place and I said to myself I was okay and I would be okay and I started to feel better.

    I will definitely get rid of these bad diaries or at least the bad pages and try journalling more about the emotional stuff. I have noticed also the past week or so a lot more anger inside me desperate to come out but which I keep push down except for the odd moment perhaps when I am alone in my car when I might let out a roar lol.

    Thanks again. I think so many of your posts are full of wisdom and also very caring particularly in the comments in Alan's New Pain Recovery Programme.

    Lily Rose likes this.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are more than welcome my dear, and thank you for those kind words. I think everyone who has recovered/is recovering becomes possessed with a burning desire to pass it forward.

    As for panic attacks, if you are not already familiar with Dr. Claire Weekes her work is worth a gander. Here are a couple of links:

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/claire-weekes-audio.2569/ (Claire Weekes Audio)

    http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Overcome_Anxiety_with_Dr._Claire_Weekes (Overcome Anxiety with Dr. Claire Weekes)

    Her words helped me endure one of the most terrifying periods of my life. My pain and fear were off the scale but she stopped me losing my mind.

    Above all be really compassionate with yourself. Things like your diaries are a safety net of sorts and you may feel a bit wobbly about changing your relationship with them (and your past) but it really gets easier. I promise you that. One day you'll be on this forum writing a reply to a soul who is suffering and you'll tell them how you used to go up to the attic...

    Plum x
    Lily Rose and Jamo like this.
  5. fern

    fern Well known member

    If you love writing/journaling, you might want to check out Expressive Writing: Words that Heal by James Pennebaker and John Evans. I've only just finished the explanatory chapters and haven't started writing yet, but I like it so far. There is also a great episode about it on the "Like Mind, Like Body" podcast.

    The most important thing about expressive writing is that just keeping a diary/journal isn't enough. It's too easy to get stuck in a loop of ranting, ruminating, and overthinking. And there are ways we don't realize we censor the raw emotions from ourselves - ESPECIALLY if we plan to keep the journal and read it later. The idea of expressive writing is, like Plum said, to extract the deeper meaning from what you are writing AND to identify yourself as the author of your narrative and begin to reframe your story in a way that points you to where you want to be. The book has a system of writing prompts to help you do that.

    So I agree that it may be time to let go of those old diaries, but if you love journaling and want to keep doing it without ending up back in the same place, maybe give that book a try!

    I hope this is an opportunity for you to move forward and grow in new ways. Sometimes a resurgence of pain or anxiety has a way of awakening us to what is quietly speaking in us.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  6. Jamo

    Jamo New Member


    That sounds a fascinating book. All I have been doing really is just writing down the stuff that is in my head but it is always really just a rant about how awful things are (or at least how awful I perceive things to be when in that frame of mind). I have just bought the Kindle version of the book so I can look at it straight away (and, yes, I am a cheapskate too!).

    Good luck with your journey too.

  7. Tulloch ard

    Tulloch ard New Member

  8. Tulloch ard

    Tulloch ard New Member

    I can identify with many of these symptoms and feelings. I have just discovered Claire Weekes, who was an Australian doctor who studied and counselled on anxiety. I saw her on you tube and downloaded a couple of her books from Amazon and find them very encouraging as she is so very positive about recovery. Maybe have a look. I know what you mean about self punishment. After distressing things happened to one of my children it seemed as though pain came on as a sort of consequence. She is now a lot better and following all the TMS advice so am I but it has taken over 2 years. Maintain the hope. You will recover !
    Jamo likes this.
  9. Jamo

    Jamo New Member

    Thank you Tulloch for your comments and advice. I have managed to find a good page about Claire Weeks on the TMS website:

    http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Overcome_Anxiety_with_Dr._Claire_Weekes (Overcome Anxiety with Dr. Claire Weekes)

    I've only started to read it but I like it so far. It is interesting that she says not to try to distract yourself from the panic nor avoid the things that might make you panic.

    Another really big thing that I am starting to accept is that all of these things take time and there are ups and downs. For so long I have beaten myself up when I have gone backwards or become despondent about it wondering if I'll ever be okay. I accept more now that it could take years and I may never be 100% but I think I am okay with that!

    I'm glad both you and your child are doing better now.

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