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Update on progress

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Pingman, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Pingman

    Pingman Well known member

    Hey all - I have been trying to work on myself and staying off the computer for a bit. I have had some slight improvements with my head and eye issues and still some anxiety attacks as well. I am in a much better place than I was a few weeks ago.

    I had my 4th therapy appt tonight. My therapist is using IFS even though he won't label it. I finally had a breakthrough tonight. We covered many topics like always but he asked me what do I do when I start to have a panic attack over my head and eye sensations? I said well i start to freak out.

    He asked me why, and I said well I just want to get better for my son and wife..back to normal. He said well, lets talk about your son so we did and I started to cry. I always cry when we discuss him, I feel so terrible I am having this acute anxiety and can't spend quality time with him.

    So he proceeded to ask me if I think its a coincidence that I get anxious whne we discuss my son and how I want to be there for him. So he said you know, no one was there for you as a little boy. Maybe the inner child in your is screaming to come out and show people that you too need someone to rely on emotionally.

    He asked if I had anyone who I could show the real 'me' to. I answered no, no one. No one knows the real me, I have to put on a face for everyone and be strong, confident..never showing the self conscious, worried, scared person I too can be at times.

    So thats why I want to be there for my son so he can express himself to a loving father but yet I need someone to be my rock at times and for 36 years I have been my own rock and that repressed child is now screaming it needs some attention.

    Its all very interesting and I do feel much better tonight. Dr.s have proven that the pain in my head is not from my head or eyes but from the fear inside me. I have to recall this each time I get scared!! I think I have a few areas of TMS to focus on..

    1. Constant worrying my head sensations won't get better nor my anxiety
    2. My vulnerable and self conscious part wants to be heard after 36 years but my macho part is in conflict with it..not allowing it to show itself. I am blending with my fear part to keep up the act to the outside world.
    3. The macho part is pushing me to heal fast to be normal for my son/wife.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
    Ellen likes this.
  2. joseph32

    joseph32 Peer Supporter

    Great post Pingman. I can really relate to your post. I had a childhood were both parents were absent and abuse/addictions issues. I recently developed acute anxiety from a recent flare up of a back issue. I thought of my family and it made me so anxious not to be able to be there for them if they needed me. When I looked at my kids, it made me tear up. I am working through this and making progress. I hope you continue to do better and pray for you. Good health to you. joseph
  3. Pingman

    Pingman Well known member

    Joseph - it is nice to hear that I am not alone....wow the parallel is amazing. While nice to hear I am not alone I feel sorry for you. I know how your feeling and its an aweful feeling like your letting your family down.

    Do you try and hide your emotions from your family when the anxiety is bad and push yourself to get better for them fast? Thats what I am doing and he sai its counterproductive. Your manager part is yelling at your scared part telling it to shape up and get over it....
  4. joseph32

    joseph32 Peer Supporter

    Pingman - Yes this is what I normally have done in the past. This time is different and by far the worse anxiety I have had. I am lucky that I have a wife that really believes in TMS and thinks that I need help with my emotional side, because she knows I have never really dealt with certain issues. It is still difficult, because my manager is telling me to go go go and I know I have to deal and heal. I am trying to patient for myself, which is not easy due to our personalities. I hope you are good.
  5. Pingman

    Pingman Well known member

    What I find so hard to accept is that I know it is in my mind and yet I have some good days and other times I get anxious. Most people who have anxiety have had it all their life in some form or another but I haven't. Thats what is frustrating me and why I can't get back to normal. The mind is so powerful, I guess when you stress for 3 months straight it can't unwire in a matter of days.

    I know I have to love myself more. My Therapist told me to stop overthinking life and the anxiety. I shouldn't be evaluating if coffee is going to spike my anxiety or if watching TV might cause my eye strain. He said if it makes you happy then its love, and love is from God.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I find it helps relieve anxiety if I stop doing anything stressful and practice deep breathing.

    I also like massaging the "valley point," an ancient Chinese method for relaxation.
    Press the soft fleshy space between the index finger and thumb of the left hand
    with the index finger and thumb of he right hand. Massage for a few minutes,
    then do the same on the other hand. It relieves tension and stress in the head.

    I like doing deep breathing while also massaging the valley point.

    Both exercises are good mindbody techniques for relaxation and anxiety relief.

    Try telling your mind you've had enough anxiety for now and practice deep breathing and
    massaging the valley point.

    And when you wake up, because the techniques can put you into a pleasant sleep,
    try laughing. Laugh that you've taken a vacation from anxiety.
    Msunn likes this.
  7. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    Pingman, I do this constantly. It is so exhausting to have to play the role of the perfect person, whatever that means for that particular situation, and as you know, it takes a toll. My highly vocal perfectionist parts (acting on some very strong and deep-set fears) feel it is essential that I keep up this front, that I am always portraying myself in the best/perfect light. I can't make a mistake. I am constantly terrified of making a mistake. I convince myself I have always made a mistake until proven otherwise, so I am always pleasantly surprised instead of let down. It is an exhausting way to live.

    I know very well that this is 100% a defense mechanism, as I am guessing yours is as well. For me, it's actually very similar to how TMS develops: somehow, based on certain past experiences, my subconscious determined it is not safe to express hostility, for example, or internalize compliments (something I really have issues with, again, because it doesn't feel safe). Yet, like TMS, this well-intentioned defense mechanism is counterproductive.

    Unfortunately, though, knowledge therapy doesn't apply here. Even though I am quite aware of this "defense mechanism" theory as I am sure you are probably as well, I still don't feel safe enough to stop using it. But that doesn't mean we're totally lost in our next steps. In fact, I think you hit it right on the head when you wrote, "I know I have to love myself more." I know, without a doubt, that I do too. This is the key. Once we can figure this part out, putting up a front starts to appear less essential to survival, TMS symptoms start to have less power, we get back a bit more control, and life gets easier. I truly believe that. The overall positive difference in how we view ourselves can make us so much stronger. Now it's just a question of getting there! (I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just am at the opposite end of that very, very long tunnel...)
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Becca. I think we're all in that long tunnel of trying to understand ourselves and like or love ourselves more.
    It's comforting to know we're not in the tunnel alone. In fact, it feels crowded.
    But in a way, it's like being in the London subway with lots of others during the blitz when Nazi planes
    were bombing overhead.
    Huddled together, hoping to survive. Sharing each other's TMS gives us all strength.
    Becca likes this.
  9. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist

    It can definitely be difficult to make the transition from "I know have to love myself more" to taking it on and living. It's so difficult in the moment to overcome those ingrained patterns! One thing that can be helpful in dealing with some of the fear and pressure that comes from feeling the obligation to keep that "mask" up is to ask yourself how it has worked out in the past when you have been your "real" self. Often the fear of "exposure" is infinitely worse than the actual experience itself. As an example, one of my clients was dealing with intense anxiety and pressure at work, always feeling as though she had to blow everyone away with her work ethic and quality of work. She was constantly under pressure to be the best and terrified that she would slip up. I asked her if she ever had made mistakes at work. Of course she responded that she had. I asked her what the fallout had been and she replied that nothing overtly negative happened; her supervisor asked her to revise some of her work. Her internal bully was putting far more pressure on herself than anyone else at work, to the point where her personal and work life began to suffer. Pingman, this is similar to the "macho" part of yourself that is pressuring you to heal "for your family". Your family deserves a man who is willing to love himself for who he is, not a macho-man who is "perfect". They aren't the ones who are putting pressure on you, it is the sense of obligation that they create in you that is giving that internal bully an excuse to pressure you.
    Becca likes this.
  10. Pingman

    Pingman Well known member

    Alex - the sense of obligation comment was very helpful. I think I have been putting myself through an added layer of anxiety about my family, wondering if they were causing me more stress and then feeling even more guilty. I think you are spot on that its the obligation and not them.

    You could have also written that work example about me as well. My internal bully pushes me to be perfect at work and to be perfect in the eyes of my family. He has caused me to stress about physical attributes that no one else but me would even notice. He bullies me to get all worked up when my hair is out of place or my shirt is wrinkled.

    My bully cares much more about what the outside world thinks of me than he does about what I think about myself. How do I convince him that I understand what he is trying to do. he is trying to make me the man that society has told him I need to be but that he is hurting me. How do I convince him and myself that none of what he worries about matters.

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