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Time for the System Imperative rollercoaster...

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by cain aven, Jun 21, 2022.

  1. cain aven

    cain aven New Member

    Hello all, I'm up and ready to begin this journey with you all... So, after 6 years, my main symptom of TMS -- Burning pain in the palms and feet -- is pretty much under control. Maybe 5-10% of what it was when it started in 2016, when it was constant and agonizing and, after about 8 months, would stop dead-cold if I smoked a cigarette or cigar. (burning symptoms started right after I quit btw, but were already there with misc. shoulder/arm rsi pain for a half year or so). It was awful to have to smoke just to control the pain and be able to fall asleep. However, around 2020 and very, very gradually through that year and 2021, the pain lessened in intensity and duration, to the point that it is minor or not present for a majority of the day, and a breathing cycle or just moving around can diminish or dismiss it when it does occur. (no burning now, just aches and pains when it does manifest). edit: I quit smoking again 6 months ago, and realized that I'd used tobacco from the age of 28-29 to 45 as a way to distract myself from anxiety, even if just 1-2 a day.

    However, as the nerve pain started to recede, I've had a host of other issues emerge, and looking back (with some of Sarno's readings now in hindsight) -- I can see this as the brain/body still seeking that distraction from the deep-seated and never resolved psychological pain of my childhood. These include:

    Blurry vision - started to develop right around the time of the 2020 election. I was working remote teaching students government/economics - triggering event, or building upon computer strain? Dunno. Blurry vision lasted for about a year and began to resolve. It was inconsistent; sometimes my vision would 'sharpen' to what it once had been, other times the distance would be slightly fuzzy. I went to an optomologist who said my vision in my left eye was fine (the eye that does all the work), and that I had some floaters. I didn't think much of the comment, as I only 'saw' the floaters very, very rarely against my shower wall... cue a month or so later...

    Floaters - I visited my father for his birthday in October 2021 and had a serious emotional ... spasm? breakdown? -- just from viewing his decline and realizing that I (at 45) was headed in the same direction. Sarno talks about dealing with aging and the rage/fear it can cause, and boy did I experience it. And on the drive back, guess what started to pop into the vision of my left eye? A floater, the same only seen before in specific circumstances, and rarely, now bobbing into my vision every time I looked to the left and then back to the center. This caused enormous anxiety (the blurred vision was just starting to resolve during this time) and of course i hit Dr. Google for the endless exposition on floaters. Which led me to this forum, small favors and all-- wish I'd found it in 2016 when I was obsessively scouring the net for potential causes to my burning hands and feet and subjecting myself to the endless rabbit-hole spiral of modern afflictions and the various snake-oil and well-meaning misinformation about everything under the sun.

    Floaters still bug me, though I now recognize they were thrown up to distract me from my pre-grief about my father. They are weirdly inconsistent - I will go outside and not see any for 5-10 minutes, then something will trigger the one floater to wiggle around crazily to the lower left, or thrust into the center of my vision. I've read about how floaters tend to fade/the brain compensates, and in the last few months I've seen how the floater will sometimes emerge sharp, mostly blurry/faded; how it will sometimes disappear as I look at it, and how it will sometimes pop into existence without the 'trigger' (looking to the left- to - center). how sometimes I will try to trigger it, it will appear two or three times, then I try to trigger it and it doesn't appear. Maddening! and the source of my current obsession. I'm currently trying to stay calm about it and reiterate that it is TMS and call it my 'breathing buddy' - a reminder to take 10 nice diaphram breaths. BTW this little rascal appears almost always when I'm driving, sometimes when I'm walking, and very rarely inside. I've experienced more and more fear about going outside just because of this microscopic piece of residue... but that's not really it, is it? My brain is fixating on it because it's easier than dealing with the below issues...
    edit: today I was walking down to the local school to pick up my son, and the floater started up. Clench of anxiety. I took a couple of breaths, spoke to myself "I'm not going to let these dictate how I live this day,".... and the floater disappeared. WTF. Of course it came back a few moments later, but still...

    Latest stuff -
    --sensitivity to noise in my ears (this has been going on off and on for 10-15 years, just started up again in the last month;
    --hyper-salivating and a feeling that the mouth is swollen, making it harder to deep breath. This seems connected to caffeine and in particular coffee, which I've recent cut out of my diet to facilitate better sleep
    --Reading Sarno's book (Mindbody Prescription) has already had me break down a couple times in crying jags. I have a lot of anxiety, a lot of suppressed rage. In brief:

    Anxious for the first 20 yrs., dwindled when I got hardcore into yoga around the age of 19-20. Social outcast in school, developed cycle of sabotaging relationships (friends and romantic) to protect myself from being abused/used or abandoned.

    Huge ambitions regarding creative projects -- I write novels for fun and have completed 38. However, my mind constantly goes over the projects envisioned but not completed, which is around 55 novels. The scope and complexity of these projects has expanded with almost desperate mania across my early to mid 40's, while my physical and mental health strains and becomes increasingly incapable of achieving the demands of the muse.

    Isolation in my mid 40's. Most of my interactions are with my kids and my students. I have a few friends that are all far away. Increasing sense of not wanting to create new social relationships.

    Tremendous self-loathing/insecurity from childhood, repressed but still percolating.

    Enormous suppressed rage stemming from childhood and marriage, the latter of which was psychologically and physically abusive, though that has 'ended' for the most part, the rage remains. I've chosen to remain married for the benefit of my kids, so processing this rage is a top priority.

    Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? The scope and fluctuating system imperative? I have no one else to talk about these sorts of things. Reading Sarno and the success stories has helped a lot. Really focusing on breathing to keep calm when the various distractions and twinges emerge.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2022
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Well known member

    Floaters: I got them when I got thyroid disease (runs in my family), became “worse” when I was anxious about my improperly treated and escalating symptoms until I was told to ignore them by my doctor and they became unimportant. I still have them but don’t see them. Floaters are mostly created by inflammation; Dr. Hascom is saying inflammation is directly related to hormone reactions from an overactive nervous system.
    I am noise sensitive now but that will fade. My job involves a lot of sound, never bothered me in the past.
    Anything to do with the feeling of breath interruption without medical condition is anxiety.
    Vision changes can definitely be related to the nervous system. I’ve had eye darting and light flashes - they have subsided.
    Consider that you state the first 20 years you felt anxious.. that your baseline has more anxiety than most people and that when you don’t recognize anxiety, you may still be anxious. Heck, you live in a very unsafe environment you are probably always vigilant and your nervous system always on. Of course you have rage and probably a lot of mixed feelings. If you have no one to talk about these things with I suggest you may want to find someone you can talk with. Even if just on occasion. It sounds like you deal with so much. Self isolation is another anxiety symptom - and it is totally self Sabotaging. Mine led to depression.
    The free SEP program has helped me, so has reading Clair Weekes. One thing I have done is stay connected with a few friends (starting by letter writing, then calls and later visits) and also have had some professional help. This forced me to talk to people, even via Zoom. The abused/abandoned - that is so huge and seems to be the key in everything you wrote, and might be an area in which to look more deeply.
  3. cain aven

    cain aven New Member

    Thank you for your kind words. I work as a teacher, so 9 months out of the year I'm in constant communication with a wide variety of students. Over the last 10 years I've been constantly told that I am one of their favorite teachers, very empathetic, etc. Students come to me with their own issues of anxiety and depression. On the surface I am very lucky. I have a house, two smart and good natured children, a job that I like to go to, general satisfaction with my creative life and past experiences (at least from the age of 20-40). Sometimes I wonder if psychologically my brain is trying to sabotage my relative success in life for "not being worthy" or whatever programming from early childhood.

    I'm mostly trying to calm my body down with mantras, eliminating stimulants, etc. The latter has been especially hard, as I used tea/coffee as a stimulus and creative aide for 25 yrs., but my eyes in particular feel much better after ceasing usage. Reading through Sarno's book has already put some pieces into place (particularly the almost manic planning of future projects, which is around 7-8 million words / a decade of work at 2,000 words a day -- essentially, trying to cope with declining health and the prospect of decline as I see my father in the final stages of). I plan on doing a lot of journaling this summer!

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