Hello to all of you! I was a member in the old TMSHelp-Forum a few years back. This, I believe, was my thread from "back then" http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6310 (Not important to look that up, really. Synopsis below) I cannot believe it's been five years. I battled with anxiety and RSI-like symptoms in those times. Fear and pain were ruling my life, ruling me. I was afraid my life had basically come to an end already, at 17 after experiencing PTSD. It didn't - thanks to approaching the issue from a mental health POV, I was able to overcome RSI. I did stop playing videogames (although I do play some, every once in a while so no avoidance there!), but it was not because of pain. Rather, I found new interests to submerge myself in. What helped me the most was journalling. Becoming aware of my fears. What roots they had - why RSI. I am a perfectionist. I want great things from and in life. So... RSI was holding me back. It was a way of self-defence. If I failed because of RSI, well, it's not MY fault. It took away the pressure to perform. That pressure, was channeled directly into my wrist muscles. Quite literally. Then, there came exposure. I really liked to play video games - they're fun and my friend was really into that. Yet, I feared them. Well, it hurt. After some time, it was bearable. Then, I started having fun again. Then I wrote. And did all the things I was doing before, and new ones. Like writing. My hands, I know now, aren't working against me. They were just the outlet of my fear, my wall of protection. After realizing that, I didn't need them to protect me. I faced my imperfections full front. Now, I am having other stuff to work with (see below), but my hands, they are "mine" again. There was a time I felt they were controlled by someone who was out to hurt me. Turns out, my subconscious was looking into ways to stop my hurting. It just, unfortunately, chose a rather painful way to do that. In the last five years, things have been going okay. I have days where RSI flares up again, but then, I recognize it for what it is. It may burn for a day, but it clears up the next morning. I know this little demon, and it has lost its hold on me. But now... life's thrown me another curve ball and I am struggling - agian. *sigh* You see, I started slacking in my journalling. I forgot...how dark it is down here, so I didn't commit to it the way I should have. It's almost as if I had forgotten TMI and the whole time I suffered immensly from it. As if I didn't want to remember. And I am sorry for that. So, what's new? I got hit by a car last year, from behind. Never saw what hit me, can't remember a thing about that day. I lost some front teeth and had a sprained neck and jaw. Back pain. Everything. Headaches, sleeping problems. Oh, that insomnia was killing me. I got better in time. Now, what bothers me is TMJ (temporomandibular joint problems)/CMD(cranio muscular dysfunction). I can't get rid of it. My doctor says it's to be expected, after such a traumatic event to the jaw. It wasn't broken, though, just badly sprained with swelling and such. I am getting physical therapy to help, but it's becoming unbearable! I am in University now, and it's messing up my studies. I cannot sleep, I wake in extreme pain in my jaw joint, my muscles and my teeth. My ears hurt, even, after waking up - from the strain because my jaw muscles are tense all throughout the night. I am afraid of hurting my teeth too much, so that they will break. Since the accident, I hardly ever sleep peacefully. I have a splint/bruxism guard and use it every night. Now I am thinking - yes, it's a device that makes me think about it daily. But, I am not sure I can do without. My teeth, as they were broken, have lost their natural occlusion. The splint imitates a rather natural occlusion and gives me relief. And it workes and worked okay, for some time. Right now, I am during my exams, and I cannot bear the pain anymore. I can't continue like this. I feel like I am slipping again... and I don't want to fall as deep down as I did last time. Not when I know myself better. I know that I have demons within me, and I know that they are constantly pressing me down when I don't acknowledge them. I think there are some factors, big stressors, in my life right now. What do you think contributes the most? -Med school (yes! I want to go into the psychosomatic field...I want to help people recognize that the mind is inextricably bound to the body, and health problems require a POV that encompasses the whole body and lifestyle) - I am afraid that with my not-so-stress-resilient personality, I will fail out and not be able to pursue my dream career. The tests I've had, I've passed. So I know it's not academically, but emotionally, that I could fail. I do have perfectionist tendencies: I graduated valedictorian last year so I could get into med school. And now I am so afraid of failing out because I have no Plan B. I don't know what other career would make me happy. And I fear that I am just not tough enough for medicine. I am sure I could be a good doctor. I lived through some pretty dark patches myself. I know what it's like to wake up completely disoriented in a hospital, not remembering how you got there. I know chronic pain. I know anxiety. I thought... I thought I could use those experiences to help other people. -Since the last time I wrote on here, I have been living a more "normal" life. I thought myself worthy of loving, which, I realized, I hadn't before my RSI. The "problem" with this one is quite tricky. And I see where the problem is while I am writing these lines. I am embarrassed to admit it even out here, on a random internet forum: I'm gay. And my family doesn't know. I think, they won't accept it. My mother's a huge churchgoer, my father regurlarly badmouthes "that folk". I am debating whther coming out would exacerbate or improve the situation. While I have made my peace with it, mostly, there are times when I wonder if being that way is really okay. If I can really find a girl and be happy with her - being two females in love? What about family and expectations and what will it be like in some decades? I want to see myself as a gay doctor practicing some day, but right now, I am not sure I'll ever make it that far. I moved out and away from home for med school. So this is another stressor. The good point is that I am going out, meeting people and other girls to date and just hang out with. I feel like I can live that part of myself here, in the new city. On the other hand, it's a stressful event in and of itself. Living alone, means there's no one to talk to when you're feeling down - everyone still lives back home in my old town. You have to buy groceries, clean etc. all on your own. You don't know your habitat as well as the city you grew up in and spent your whole life in. It has up-and downsides. But I feel stressed out sometimes. My friends all stayed behind. I am slowly making new aquantainces/friends here, but it's, of course, not the same. My best friend was the first I came out to. I could talk to her about it without having her freak out. She talked about her bf, I talked about my issues. Here, besides the other queer people I've met, no one knows. And now my jaw is acting out like never before - minus directly after the accident. But back then, I was on pain meds so... I refuse to take pain meds right now. I don't know what else to do. I struggle to find relief because most of the grinding and clenching happens at night. I feel like I have no control whatsoever over it. And I can't "face my demons" and throw myself into the activity...because I am not aware of when it happens! It's like my mind and body decide to let it all out when I am asleep. Makes it much harder to actively arm myself for battle. I can't fight a ghost that only appears at night... I recognize TMS: I am afraid of going to bed because I know I am going to do bruxism/teeth grinding and will wake up in extreme pain. I wake up throughout the night, as well, in pain. I feel so sore and tired after waking up. I haven't gotten a good night's rest in about two weeks. I feel adrenaline shooting up in my body when I am lying in bed, trying to sleep. Thoughts plop into my head "it'll be terrible tomorrow" or "how are you going to function properly if you can't sleep?" or "you'll fail out. and then, you have nothing" or "you are going to do some serious damage to yourself tonight" ... That, in my humble opinion drawn from prior experiences, is TMS. That's why I am back, today, after having had a terrible night. Has anyone had this? Or heard of people who could overcome this through approaching it psychologically? I am much more open to the idea, but, seeing as there was an accident at the beginning, - you know, the doubts.... (Though: It's no random happening that it's terrible RIGHT now, at exam time, is it?...) I apologize for the length of this entry (Oh! The irony! If you read through my previous posts, they were all so short, simple, in lower case (!) and fumbly.) I didn't write longer, back then, because my wrist flared up otherwise. How far I've come! And, how far I still have to go... I just... needed to talk. To people who won't tell me that that accident basically fucked up my jaw for life like most people do.