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Shame, self-trust, belief in myself, and caring enough to try

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Soph1802, Apr 3, 2023.

  1. Soph1802

    Soph1802 Peer Supporter

    Hi all

    I'll try and keep this succinct. I have been doing TMS work on and off for 2.5 years. I cured a ton of my symptoms 18 months or so ago, but have been left with POTS, gastro issues and tinnitus that just won't budge (alongside the usual aches and pains etc). My POTS is actually a symptom imperative from when I healed a ton of nerve pain a few years ago. But for some reason, because this is heart related and I get some really scary symptoms this one is extremely hard for me to overcome. I've been in therapy for 2.5 years, with a lot of success and my self-awareness etc has improved greatly. I've done a lot of IFS therapy as well. I'm beyond grateful to have found this work and embarked on this journey. But I'm stuck in a rut of obsessive analysis, inertia with healing and a lot of shame and defeatism.

    My cycle is as follows (I am sure this will be familiar): I am ashamed to not have healed yet and am sick of trying. I know what I need to do (more embodiment, meditation, manage triggers, exercise more, trust and let go etc), so I decide today is the day I get back into this routine again. I do it for a week or so, then a busy weekend having fun with friends or visiting family throws me off balance. Shame kicks into overdrive. I feel defeated. I give up. All feels hopeless. Next day or a few weeks later, I decide to start again... and so on and so on. I see no progress.

    All this stopping and starting is eroding my self-trust. I just don't believe in my own capacity to do the work needed to heal. And even worse, when I think about what is stopping me from just showing up it is just because I can't be bothered. I'm exhausted from it all. I don't care enough about myself to try. I don't think I'm worth it, I don't believe I will ever get there and do it, so what is the point? All my body and parts want to do is sit on the sofa and curl up and watch crap TV. Have fun. I do crave the outdoors and walk a lot. But I do not want to do the disciplined work needed to heal. I'm anti discipline, and anti-self.

    I know that all I need is some sort of epiphany, or practice that I can consistently use to 'switch' my mindset and find that key to motivate me to do the work. Once I'm there, I know it will work and I can do it - I've done it before and believe in TMS wholeheartedly. It is me I have the issue with.

    Has anyone been in this place or seen others who have, and what has worked to get them out of the rut?

    Thank you to you all so much - this community is truly life-saving,
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Perfectionism! I think you are missing this subtle personality trait that can sneak in, in so many ways. You have a fun weekend and you become ashamed you did not do TMS work? Am I correct? What rule says 24/7? This is about living and enjoying life.. so look at your amazing SUCCESS!! So the next point would be your negative self talk. Shame is ok to feel, feel it and it passes in a few minutes but living in it is simply your mind doing its negative self concept voodoo. The only “work” you do around this is to observe it. It is amazing how often our thoughts go there. Some people can tell themselves to stop -for others this conflict doesn’t work so they basically observe and ignore .. go back to thinking about what you are doing in the moment, like making dinner.
    I think what you are asking for is a magic thing that you do daily to make things well. The ‘formula’ -that is the journey. It’s different for everyone. If you have not yet done the free programs here I suggest you choose one and do it beginning to end. It will provide you with concrete skills. I think you have them but doubt Kees you in fear you do not.
    What is POTS, really? It is a set of symptoms that are MANAGED by cardiac Dr’s only because that symptom is the scariest. Cardiac physician’s don’t cure it … because it is simply your autonomic nervous system out of whack - a form of dysautonomia. I am here to say TMS work can 100% help this, it was my first set of symptoms to be helped (probably because they don’t scare me), tinnitus without a major injury is simply anxiety. When I am more anxious I’m internally noisier.. I create much more tension in my face, head and neck. Less anxiety, less noise. Less focus on it and I don’t even notice it.
    Lastly, your avoidance and resistance is the same as pain. All defense mechanisms so you don’t have to feel your emotions. Just remind yourself of that, with compassion. Take time to watch some tv.. take time the next day to meditate… or do self care you need. What can encourage you to do the self-care? I found a warm eye mask makes me want to meditate. Mixing it up helps too -sometimes simply slow guided breathing without full meditation, sometimes just music, sometimes a soothing voice. The adventure keeps me hooked.I have also found reading books help me greatly feel hidden emotions or just express them. When characters go through stuff, I often can relate and feel my own emotions. Be creative, look as this as a curious exploration to finding out what makes you tick and what you truly enjoy in life, not just what reduces symptoms. You might not be 100% removed from every symptom and need to accept there may things that come up and that you can deal with them.
    Booble, JanAtheCPA and westb like this.
  3. Soph1802

    Soph1802 Peer Supporter

    Hi Cactusflower

    Wow this is SUCH a helpful response, thank you so much. You're absolutely right. Reading back over my post I could hear the pressure in my writing - I have made 'healing' such an effort, when actually, healing is simply living. Not pressuring. There isn't anything I have to do to heal, just whatever helps me to feel more relaxed, more aligned and to not let the shame/anxiety etc get the better of me.
    And your point about me having the tools but doubting myself is absolutely bang on - I do have the tools. I know them all. I just don't trust myself enough that I will do them or that they will work for me. Or that I can sustain them. I have no self-belief at all. This really hit me so thank you.
    Great to hear that you have healed POTS this way. I totally agree with the tinnitus and noise thing - mine has decreased so much since I learned this work. And I am generally quite OK with the POTS too - I wouldn't care about it at all if it wasn't for the horrible, angina chest tightness/pressure/squeezing/pounding I get for just 3-4 seconds at a time, but numerous times a day. Usually just after I stand, yawn, raise my hands, etc. I've experienced so much obsessive anxiety around it - it feels so terrifyingly scary that I just can't believe it isn't dangerous or damaging despite so many messages to the contrary. I think the fear of this symptom is the reason I still feel so much pressure to heal - if I didn't fear it I definitely would be healed by now. I've never had it formally checked out as my Dr is a POTS specialist so he just knew straight away, so I never had that many heart tests. But I think had I had them and could see for myself then I'd feel more reassured - but then, this is what anxiety does, it wants evidence and control, and I'm so aware that to heal it, I need to practice sitting with that feeling of not knowing and trusting that things can still be OK. And that feeling of trusting and being out of control terrifies me and I find it extremely difficult to tolerate.
    Hence, you're right about me avoiding emotions too. I feel like I'm going to die with some of them. I'm just so afraid of being in that place, I almost can't control myself when I reach for distractions.
    Finally, your idea re varying the routine, finding things to make me want to meditate etc, reading to release emotion. These are such wonderful and helpful ideas, thank you so much. I'd never thought of it like this at all but it makes so much sense. In a way, it's like I need to throw the rule book out the window and stop worrying about how I should be doing it, and focus on how I want to do life instead. Then maybe I'll feel more in control!

    This response was so rich and helpful and so thought-provoking. thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I'm so grateful to you!
    Booble and JanAtheCPA like this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @Soph1802 and good for you for trusting your doc all this time - but also, maybe go ahead and give yourself the gift of getting checked out? I am fairly confident every other POTS sufferer has had a complete cardio workup, don't you think? You don't strike me as someone who is prone to constant reassurance-seeking behavior for every little symptom, and, you know, our hearts are kinda critical! I say, why not just do it?!
  5. Soph1802

    Soph1802 Peer Supporter

    hi JanAtheCPA, well this is what I’m thinking. I have had a lot of tests, don’t get me wrong. But not every one. So I just wonder if investing in these tests would help me to be able to breathe and move on. I know with my age (I’m 32) and every other criteria there is almost no chance that there are any problems, but having the tests is probably a good way to finally say ‘OK, I’m done with the fear now’ and then try and really put it all behind me and heal. That said, I do suffer a lot with anxiety and can get very fixated on symptoms so I do seek reassurance a lot. But once I have the evidence not to worry, then I won’t. I think if I can get the evidence for this one, then I’ll be much more able to move on. Thank you so much for validating this!
  6. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    **Big hugs** Soph1802.
    We've all been there.
    I've had POTS since childhood (before they knew it was a thing, I think). As a kid I thought everybody nearly blacked out when they got up from laying down. Now that I know that our hearts can handle extremely high heart rates I've stopped worrying about it and work around it. Drink lots of water, have some salt on bad days, shake the legs in the shower, minimize standing in lines. I don't really think about it anymore it's just my normal. It doesn't really matter that other people don't have to do those things. It's OK for my body to have low blood volume. Trying to reach some "norm" is what seems to throw us off. I figure POTS won't kill you so that's one less thing to worry about!

    Note: I also don't go to the doctor for it. There is not much they can do unless you want beta blockers to stop the discomfort of fast heart beats, advise you about pressure socks and salt and water. If your heart beat goes up drastically from sitting to standing and then comes back down again quickly when sitting back down again then it's most likely POTS. It's not dangerous.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  7. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Booble!!! I've thought about you on your break, wondering how you're doing, and I'm happy to see you again! Welcome back :joyful:

    And I never thought about it before, but I might have a very mild version of POTS (raised heart rate upon standing), which would add one more thing to my lifetime list of various TMS symptoms that range all over the place. I also get a disproportionately rapid heart rate and breathing rate, along with anxiety that approaches a panic attack, if I'm alone and walking quickly up stairs or up an incline - but not when I'm with others. TMS much? (Also I can do cardio at the gym for 10 minutes straight with no issues). So I simply approach those situations mindfully now, giving myself permission to take it a little slower while I work on calming my weird old fearful brain.

    I've also had intermittent episodes of irregular or extra heartbeats for decades, which I treated with a beta blocker in my early thirties, but I gave that up quickly because it seemed pointless, and even then (30 years "before Sarno") I knew the episodes were related to anxiety or stress. I still get them, and I just practice breathing and self-calming and assume they'll pass. Which they do.

    Staying hydrated is always good advice. In addition to the obvious need for water, the act of stopping to drink, especially if it's done with mindful intent, calms the brain.
  8. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Hi, Jan. :)
    Feels good to be here.
  9. Soph1802

    Soph1802 Peer Supporter

    Hi Booble - thank you so much for replying! I totally agree and know all of this, and I don’t worry at all about the fast heartbeat etc and if it was just the usual pots symptoms I wouldn’t be so bothered. But part of my symptoms is that when I stand up from sitting or stand still after walking I get angina and feel like my heart and neck are squeezing and suffocating for a few seconds before my body regulates itself. It’s so uncomfortable and really scary. If I didn’t get that, I’d not be bothered. It’s infuriating - it’s like my body knows standard pots wouldn’t be scary enough! I’ve always felt as though if that one symptom would go I’d be laughing. But writing this now I see exactly how ironic and problematic that is from a TMS perspective… no wonder I still have it
  10. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    I hear you, Soph. Pain in the chest area is one of my biggest freak outs too. I've noticed that it's not just the POTS but a muscle tightening as well. TMS work seems to help me as my unconscious muscle tightening rotates between my left chest area, my throat, and my left teeth (ugh, also a heart scary thing). Sometimes I tell myself I should make my knee or toe hurt instead so it's less scary!
    Soph1802 likes this.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    There ya go!

    Illustrating yet again the power of simply writing s*** down, as I call it, especially if you can do so without editing it or judging it.

    Speaking of judgement, check out the word "problematic". That's unconsciously a judgement, which probably reflects self-pressure. And as my therapist regularly reminds me, Pressure leads to Judgement which leads to Repression which leads to Symptoms.

    You could use another word, such as "classic" - because in addition to being totally ironic, the use of unique symptoms by our skilled and tricky TMS brains is classic.
    Soph1802 likes this.
  12. Booble

    Booble Well known member

    Writing shit down is like a panacea for me too. I can half do it in my head but it works a thousand times better if I write the shit down.
    Soph1802 and JanAtheCPA like this.

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