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Should I purge my books ?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ludmilla, Feb 1, 2022.

  1. Ludmilla

    Ludmilla Peer Supporter

    OK, this is a weird question but hear me out.

    I love books. In fact, I'm a librarian. Over the years I accumulated a collection about the topics that interest me the most : women history & feminism, alternative medicine, herbalism, "healthy" diets. I donated a lot of them already but I'm wondering if keeping some titles could encourage my viewing of symptoms as physical rather than psychological.

    Plus I'm currently doing a herbalism online course and I feel like it reinforces neural pathways I want to change.

    So I was thinking... maybe I should try to purge my books further ? I feel the need to become a new person, a person who's not constantly checking her symptoms and reading about diets, herbs, etc., because she's healthy and strong. On the other hand, I want to go back to foraging and my books also speak about it.

    Do you ever feel that way ? Be it with books or clothes or whatever... like you need to get rid of things in order to grow... or maybe that's the TMS-perfectionism in me ?
    plum likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I’m also a bibliophile and former bookseller so this is a question that resonates. Over the last few years I’ve sold around 200 books and donated many I couldn’t sell but only books that I felt I had outgrown. I still have hundreds.

    I’ve always been passionately interested in alternative health and especially herbalism however I don’t see this as been at odds with TMS thinking. I’m pretty clear on my views around what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and as a peri menopausal woman, leaning into natural ways to nurture myself is very important. I’ve never taken the pill, favouring fertility awareness, and I use herbs to help balance out my cycle and such. I also love cooking and use herbs all the time.

    I’d suggest honouring your desire to become a new person, enjoy your interests and learning and perhaps ease back once you feel this tip into obsession. This is always the sign for me that I’m TMS’ing.

    I recently moved house and did a huge purge of my clothes. I’ll probably KonMari my wardrobe again this Spring but I’m naturally a bit untidy so the perfectionist edge of it is lost on me.

    I’ll be interested in what other people think.
    Northwood likes this.
  3. Celayne

    Celayne Well known member

    Last year, I donated a bag of books to my local library sale, books that no longer served me, like The Trigger Point Therapy Book (something like that) because they were definitely part of the old, Pre-TMS me. I don’t see herbalism books in the same light. They offer much valuable information and recipes, and so forth.

    I personally don’t view herbalism and natural medicine as being opposed to TMS work; for me, they complement it. I try to avoid pharmaceuticals of any kind, but I think supporting the body’s health with natural products is fine. I would look at it as ai do a massage, that is, not curing any pain or dis-function, but as supporting a healthy body.
    Northwood likes this.
  4. Northwood

    Northwood Well known member

    You ask a thoughtful question.

    I've owned thousands of books over the years and probably have gotten rid of more books than I've read. When I get interested in a topic I collect books around it, and a lot of times my interest moves on before I can read all the books I acquired. I've come to see them as tools of a sort. They help me to learn or understand something and once I've soaked up as much as I wanted to, I'm pretty much done with the book. I'll save the most important ones for reference or just because I'm fond of them, but most of the others I eventually let go of.

    I have gotten rid of many books that offer modalities to address pain structurally. I stay away from that info, including un-bookmarking a lot of YouTube video sites that encourage structural solutions to chronic pain. I still hang onto most of my tms books, though I probably won't read the majority of them again. That said, they served a valuable function during my learning phase of this syndrome. I find nearly all of that info distilled in Alan Gordon's slim book, The Way Out. I don't think I would have gotten as much out of Alan's book as I did (and do) had I not read Sarno and all the others.

    For me, less-is-more has made a huge difference. I do almost none of the body maintenance activities I used to do (to ward away pain), and I feel better than I have in years. Same for reading (about body & mind-body). I love reading, but I find it's best for me to simply spend time "being" in my body and enjoying that experience in the present, as best I can. It's a slow lesson, getting out of my head, especially since I was convinced consciously and unconsciously that the way to fix all the problems in my life, whether physical or emotional, was a foremost a matter of thinking. My imagined solution was my real problem.

    Hey, good luck to you!
  5. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I collect stuff and packed up boxes of vintage clothes. Like you, I decided That they festered some internal self thoughts. I kept plenty, kept things I think will serve me and my new desire for comfort.
    I also sewed, and have realized that sewing is so tension filled and full of self judgement and negativity for me that I’m giving a lot of stuff to friends.
    Let go of what doesn’t serve you if you like, you could always box some up and store them if unsure, get rid of them when you are sure.
    Northwood likes this.
  6. Ludmilla

    Ludmilla Peer Supporter

    Thank you all, you've certainly given me food for thought. I guess I shouldn't be overthinking this, as overthinking led me to TMS in the first place... Old habits die hard. I certainly recognize myself in Northwood's words about being too much in my head. At some point in my life I spent so much time reading just not to face my anxiety. And I also tend to read a lot online, especially things that make me angry - I heard this is called "hate-reading" and it's really bad for your mental health, as one can guess. I've almost completely stopped doing that.

    I think the herbalism books are here to stay, but some books about feminist issues I don't know. They are great, some of them were not easy to come by, but they're packed with stressful info and remind me of years I was feeling depressed... I'll wait and see.

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