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Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by veronica73, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi everyone,

    I had kind of a setback last week after having a GREAT week the week before...

    Last weekend was a rough one for me emotionally due to a discussion that came up with a friend of mine. The work week was also more hectic than usual with a lot of very detail-oriented tasks that I am good at but that are triggering for me. And I've been working on my taxes which has had a similar effect.

    Throughout the week I had a few mild pain episodes and then yesterday I started to have a headache that I am had a hard time getting rid of despite journaling, reminding myself it's TMS, etc. It actually woke me up from sleep which has only happened a few times in the past. I took some Tylenol and it greatly subsided and I went back to sleep.

    I'm feeling discouraged by this, like somehow doing the TMS method wrong to be getting a headache like this after knowing what I know. I even have a diagnosis from a TMS doctor so I really know that is what I have and yet I still had pain.

    I found myself feeling discouraged and wondering if I'll always struggle with this.

    Any insights?

    :( Veronica
  2. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hi Veronica:

    Oh set-backs. Let me count the times. It's "one step forward - steps back". I can't count the set-backs I've had. There have been many. But I'm learning to recognize and acknowledge the progress I've made since starting the program. I've had some great days and think: I'm here! And then something will happen, not enough rest, a conversation like you had - I'm back at what *I* see is square one.

    I hope you are keeping in mind there is no time limit on when the pain will go away. There are triggers along the way that I've learned to take note of, and try and keep going. Sometimes I have a bad week. But I continue to write, talk with trusted friends, and know that one day this will be in my past.

    Remember: you have a healthy body. Perhaps that talk with your friend has triggered something you can't quite put your finger on yet. But I bet if you keep writing - free write quickly - the trigger will come to light. You'll understand what it is. And it might happen again but this time you can self talk your way out of that headache.

    You kind of remind me of myself. I had expected to build "Rome in a day" - but find that when I'm doing something I've always done easily I can be triggered. There are many things I'm learning to let go of, or try to at least.

    Did you take some time outs? This for me is essential. Learning to have "me" time. I am learning a lot about myself and my back pain, but I'm still triggered very easily unless I have plenty of rest and plenty of down time.

    Knowledge is power - but it's not a cure. I'd say with your great weeks you had with no headaches, you should explore in your journal why they were so successful. I think you're doing really well as I've followed your journey from the last forum. I'm finding the subconscious and my back pain are just happy as can be together. They aren't going to give up without a fight. Keep writing. Take some time to do nothing but walk, go to a movie, or simply hang out in your socks all day. We need rest from this work as much as we need to tend to the work.

    You're doing great Veronica - try not to have any expectations and you'll soon recognize the triggers.

    Hope you have no headaches today!!

    JanAtheCPA and Forest like this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Everything that Beach-Girl said was on point. Reading your post reminded me of a couple of things that Alan Gordon mentioned in his Breaking the Pain Cycle article. the first was
    Fear and attention is what can make a little twinge of pain turn into a full fledged relapse. That's why it is so important to investigate our emotions when we our symptoms start to act up. By changing our focus on what emotional issues we have going on, we will begin to identify the cause of these symptoms.

    The second point he made in the article is
    Having an increase of symptoms is, one, very common in TMS recovery and is, two, a sign that you are on the right path. View it as a last ditch effort of your unconscious to have you focus on your symptoms instead of your emotions. Don't let it win. Do the work and focus on those emotions. It may be hard, but in the end your symptoms will go away.
    Enrique and JanAtheCPA like this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love both of these replies from Beach Girl and Forest.

    The first time I had a setback was the result of something a friend said, which I knew at the time bothered me. BUT I didn't stop to examine how I felt about her after what she said. When I became symptomatic the next day, I had to stop, listen to my body, and then sit down and briefly write about what she said, what bothered me, and how I felt about it, but most importantly, how I felt about her. Getting that up into my consciousness was the key, and I was noticeably better the next day.

    Celebrate (and give yourself credit for) the good days, don't worry about the bad days, don't look at the calendar, and keep plugging away. It will be worth it!

    Rinkey likes this.
  5. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Thanks everyone. Forest, I remember reading that bit about the extinction burst but thanks for reminding me on that. I think that is what is going on.

    I also contacted my TMS doctor and he left me a voice mail saying the same thing...that this is very common and that I seemed to have a really good handle on the program and am doing well. That was a good reminder too.

    Thanks for listening :)
    Rinkey and Beach-Girl like this.
  6. Diana-M

    Diana-M Well known member

    Digging around in some old posts on setbacks I found this very interesting post by @JanAtheCPA. I like her example, specifically, because it shows how easily one can overlook an important aspect of where the anger could be causing a flare-up. Years ago,
    a very old and dear friend of mine (I thought) unexpectedly and uncharacteristically blew up at me over what I thought was an arbitrary and small thing. She was vicious. I was literally stunned. And I was mad for a bit. Then I was eager to “make up” with her. We moved forward like nothing happened, and never discussed it, but deep inside, I have never really felt the same toward her. (Very deep inside.) Recently, while doing all my TMS work, I notice I have a symptom flare up whenever I think of calling her. I never can really figure out why. But over time, it has caused me to call her less and less. And I actually feel guilty about that. I think it might be time I start listening to my symptoms. And write about how that incident years ago is still affecting me. This is all just so eye opening! I have a laundry list of incidents like this with other people in my life— where I never really process what’s going on.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2024
    Ellen and JanAtheCPA like this.
  7. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    One of the miracles of this work is, you don't have to be an Angel or on good terms with everybody to get better. Apologizing when you don't really mean it just to keep the peace is TMS personality 101. Just wallpapering over the rage.

    Even if you were wrong...BE wrong for a minute and let the other person be pissed. If you are angry at someone and they immediately apologize, and it becomes habitual they are actually trying to manipulate you. Abusive people do that crap all of the time. So they can keep being crappy.

    I have learned never to apologize to anyone UNLESS I am prepared to change what I did to anger them. A lot of people get pissed at me for things I am not going to change like being meticulous at work, telling the truth etc.
    In AA that is the 4th step..and it is actually the format I used to get over TMS fast. There's a million templates for it online with the right QUESTIONS... I never get over TMS because I have 'the answer'...it's always because I found the right QUESTION

    Then I can review what was going on in my life when the symptoms began...there is almost always a GLARING blindspot..something I thought I was OK with that I really wasn't.
    Ellen, JanAtheCPA and Diana-M like this.
  8. Diana-M

    Diana-M Well known member

    @Baseball65 Thank you! Really helpful!
    Baseball65 likes this.
  9. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    I recently had a similar situation. An online friend that I had been talking to online nearly every day for the last 5+ years suddenly got mad at me. She so abruptly stopped talking to me that I thought she was dead and was going to send the police over to check on her. She finally messaged to say she was fine.
    I apologized for "if I did something to get you mad at me" and she never wrote back.
    This all was recent and I continue to feel an urge to write he and tell her I miss her.
    The interesting twist is that she's a very negative and pessimistic person. She has no family and no friends and aside from her dogs I was the only person she talked to. I always felt I was doing a kindness to her by listening to her and being her friend since she didn't have anyone. But the constant negativity was stressful.
    I was shocked that she would stop talking to me. Who would she talk to without me?
    When I stopped to examine my emotions on this, I realized that I had an unhealthy need for her to need me. When she, for whom I had always felt I was doing a favor by continuing to be her friend, dumped ME I was angry and hurt deep down inside.

    Yes, I have an unhealthy need to be loved, needed, admired...... (I'm sure that's obvious from my incessant posting and trying to help people.)

    Like, you Diana, I can feel the tension when I get the desires to re-contact her.
    Ellen and JanAtheCPA like this.
  10. Diana-M

    Diana-M Well known member

    @Booble, Thanks for sharing that story! (And, I’m glad you are “incessantly” posting. ) It’s too bad that happened to you. I guess deep down, we never want people to disappoint us or abandon us. Especially if we invest in them. My incident also happened after a period where I had been especially doting on my friend. And like you, I felt I had been single-handedly helping her through a hard and lonely time. I think @Baseball65 is right. I am seeing this now: relationships and my response and participation in them, is probably the root of most of my TMS. And the biggest relationship of all that needs help is the one with myself. Because I need a lot more self-love and self-esteem. If I had that, I wouldn’t be constantly thinking of other people—and getting symptoms!
    Booble likes this.
  11. Diana-M

    Diana-M Well known member

    @Baseball65 , this comment has been haunting me. Been thinking about it a lot.
  12. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I wouldn't worry about it. NONE of us really know what is in our unconscious and it if hit us all at once we would probably have a 'nervous breakdown'. Yes, sometimes you'll read a post and someone will say "...and it was because of a painful situation going on in my family" but that is always from hindsight. Of course NOW I have been able to see what was going on when I first got to this work, but THAT isn't gonna help me if I have a new outbreak. Yesterdays spiritual experience isn't helpful today, except for maybe a vague trust that the system works.

    The most important thing is the process...even Sarno's instruction to turn our mind to a source of irritation isn't 'finding' the real problem...It is telling the mind that we know what is going on. Period.

    In the book of Exodus 33:22-23.... God lets Moses see his Butt, but not his face. ???? I have always seen that as a biblical metaphor that we don't know what is happening in 'real time' but can figure it out 'once it has passed'. God 'covered his eyes' when he walked by.

    If even Moses can't see, how are us normal people gonna? We don't need to...we just need to know whats going on, and keep looking.
    Diana-M, Sita and Booble like this.
  13. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    I had a nervous breakdown and it helped me to advance. But it was not fun. Not fun at all. I would not recommend trying too hard to penetrate the unconscious. I was not ready for this kind of stuff.
  14. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Powerful stuff right there.
    Baseball65 and Sita like this.
  15. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Uh, yeah, right?!?
    Right, @Booble?:rolleyes::kiss:

    Believe me, @Booble, I get it, totally. As I expect do all of us who stick around. But it's not just us, my dear! Most humans (apart from the sociopaths) are always walking that fine line between altruism and self-interest. To say nothing of the societal pressure to "do good". My mom started volunteering when all the kids were in school, and didn't stop until she was almost 90. She encouraged me to apply for my first official volunteer job at 14 (does anyone remember "candy stripers"?) And now I have this job, which gives me an enormous amount of gratification for a number of different reasons; plus I do all sorts for my condominium - not so much because it's gratifying, but because most condo owners can't be bothered, and someone's gotta do it. Still self-interest, although another important reward is the positive relationships with the other owners who do the work. And in the end, that's what it's all about.

    Nonetheless, really great insight into this particular relationship. You don't need that!
    Diana-M likes this.
  16. Diana-M

    Diana-M Well known member

    Glad you made it through to the other side. And glad to have your advice!
  17. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I used to be a big people pleaser, and I learned fairly recently that this is a common coping mechanism that we can develop in childhood because it helps keep us safe. Don't make anyone mad and they will leave you alone. Keep everyone happy and maybe they will care for you and meet your needs. I stopped doing it once I learned this, and have lost a couple of friends in the process. I feel liberated.
    Diana-M and Sita like this.
  18. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    No doubt!
    I don't think there is anything wrong with it being a win-win situation. We help other people and it makes us feel good too. Everyone wins. :)
  19. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    I know what you mean. Better to be alone than to have nasty friends.
    Baseball65 likes this.

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