1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Day 10 Updates and such

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by readyforthis, Apr 4, 2023.

  1. readyforthis

    readyforthis New Member

    I have been going a bit slowly through this program.. missing a few days at a time. But I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I also am going to EMDR therapy once a week (for the last 2 months or so), and things have been getting very intense during those sessions. I'm digging deep into my emotions and realizing important things that I have clearly been hiding away in my subconscious. Last week.. I discovered that I am extremely lonely. It's strange because I am an introverted person, but I was extroverted all the way up to my 30s or so (I'm 38 now). This is when my anxiety and fear around my work really began to be an issue. When Covid hit, I used it as the perfect excuse to do NOTHING. Didn't put myself out there at all, and I always had an easy excuse to say no.. covid. I have found that I have pushed everyone out of my life, and I spend most of my days working for a few hours, watching youtube, reading, and managing my pelvic symptoms.

    Over the last few weeks, I have made an effort to change what I'm doing on the day to day. I have been jogging for the first time in 2 years during my walks. I started sticking to an exercise plan my PT put together for me. This includes jumping and twisting and doing body weight work. And there is fear there when I'm doing these activities, but I fight through the fear and tell myself, "I am strong. My body is not delicate. I can do these things." And no serious issues from the increased activities! I still have issues with other things.. like going to the bathroom. I find myself clenching my pelvic floor and rectum when I urinate or have a bowel movement. This causes all sorts of muscular problems throughout the day for me in my pelvic floor, and once I clench I have trouble relaxing those muscles at all for the day. I do believe I have conditioned myself to clench, and I am trying to unlearn this habit. But it is slow work.

    I tell myself throughout the day that I have TMS. When I am jogging or jumping, I sometimes feel twinges of pain, that in the past would have immediately put me on a downward spiral of fear that would usually end up escalating the physical sensations and causing a flare up. But when I feel the twinge of pain now, I just smile at it and say, I know what you're doing TMS, and it's not going to stop me. And I continue on. Soon enough I realize that the pain or twinge is completely gone. This has happened many times. And each time gives me confidence. I want to be able to do this to my pelvic issues, but it isn't so simple there. At least so far.

    I am making progress, but I do continue to manage my symptoms quite a lot throughout the day. But I am down from spending anywhere from 4-8 hrs managing my symptoms, down to about 1-2 hours a day. So that is a positive. I know that I am healing. I know that I am getting better emotionally and physically.

    I still have problems in my relationship. I still push away my girlfriend and I don't share myself with her. I am still extremely lonely. But at least I am aware of these emotions now. But I still find myself overeating, or watching youtube to drown out the "black hole" that lives inside of me. But I don't know what to do with my time some of the day. I did my exercises, my walk, my work, my stretching.. and I still have like 4-6 hours of free time to fill. I'm not sure what to do that's productive outside of my hobbies.. playing poker, watching youtube, reading books.. I need to make friends. I need to get myself out of the house more. I need to go on a trip with my girlfriend. I need to breathe fresh air more often.

    Think of a person in your life from whom you hide your emotions. What is preventing you from telling this person how you feel?

    I have been more open with my girlfriend about my feelings than I ever have been before. Before my pelvic issues, I was a closed book, I pushed all my emotions down inside of me and I was a "stoic" rock. I used to think being stoic was a good thing for the health of my relationship. That I would be the rock for my girlfriend in the storm of life. But pushing down all of those emotions backfired on me. But.. I've been pushing down my emotions going back to 6 years old when my dog died. For whatever reason, I told myself I wouldn't cry. My parents comforted me, and I felt like crying, but I pushed it down as far as I could inside of me. And I didn't let myself cry. Years later, I found myself in bed, and I thought about my dog, and I started bawling.

    Ever since I was a kid, I learned to repress all of my emotions. I wanted to be strong. No one can touch me. No one could hurt me. One time I visited a friend in California. I was probably 15. The friend I was visiting was my best friend when I was growing up, but I had moved states and hadn't seen him for a few years. He had gone astray a bit and was now in a gang. So when I visited him, I went out with him and his gang. We drank beers and one guy in their gang started harassing me and telling me he was going to mess me up. And then, he started trying to physically assault me. I threw my beer bottle on the ground in an effort to scare him off. It was me surrounded by an entire gang. I felt cornered and trapped. It's a bit of a blur but I believe he did end up punching me one or two times. Luckily the cops came, and we all ran and started hopping fences. But I was crying. I was so ashamed that someone hurt me. Furious that this had happened, and that I didn't protect myself. And now I was crying in front of everyone.

    After that day, I told myself no one would ever hurt me again. I bought a punching bag and started hitting it without gloves until my knuckles were a bloody mess. No one would ever hurt me again. I would learn to defend myself.

    Of course, many people have hurt me since that day. And each time, I feel that sense of shame.. that furiousness that I let myself get hurt again. I fell in love with a girl in my late 20s and opened my heart to her. It was a pure love.. I trusted her with my heart. I put it all out there. And then she cheated on me. That was a devastating blow. And it put me down a horrible path of never trusting women. Never wanting to open my heart again. It was difficult for me to feel any emotions at all for years after this.

    It's been a long road. But I'm making a new path now. I'm letting myself feel again. I'm embracing it even though it hurts. But honestly.. it hurts so good. Now when I feel sad, I let it flow through me. I won't hold it back at all. I'll cry until I'm snotting all over myself. And I always feel so much better after I'm done. I'm proud of myself for taking care of my emotional self again. It's been a long time.

    In therapy, I realized how badly I had been treating myself over the years.. ignoring my needs, repressing my emotions, being extremely self critical, talking down to myself, feeling like my life wasn't worth living. And I would never in a million years treat a good friend the way I had been treating myself. That realization broke my heart. I had been treating myself so badly for so long. It's hard to change that though. I wish I could say I'm better now. It's a slow march back, but I do feel like I'm headed in the right direction.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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