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Wanting support from others, how to stop?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Everly, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Everly

    Everly Peer Supporter

    So my TMS is kind of severe, I feel like. I have all over body pain when flaring, I have dizziness a lot. I had to quit my job at a hospital a year ago (I thought it was just for couple months, but its been a year now, which seems like a bad dream to me). It often renders me completely useless and broken, not only cant I work, but I cant enjoy much, cant watch TV or read a book if I have severe dizziness etc. Can't walk a lot, because it causes foot pain. So, I feel like I deserve sympathy and support from others. And it angers me when some friends just dont get that I am not well enough to party or whatever. I know it's not conducive to TMS recovery and I am trying to work on it, but I cant help feeling it. And what I've noticed is, that if I am in middle of a severe flare up, if I talk to a friend about it, then pain sometimes lets go a bit.
    And yes, I see that this might be my brains ploy to get me the support and sympathy I didn't get in past, because my mom never was a huger and praiser and then later in life I always assumed this strong independent woman's role and I rarely asked for help, just offered loads of it to others and really loved being that way. And I suppose that my inner child was done with that and knew that the only way to get me in the position where it will get support is a state of physical illness that I have no control over (opposed to emotional issues, that I felt like I should control...) Yet, I have known this for a while and it doesnt back off. Anyone with similar experience? I feel like I'm playing the victim, but then I really do feel like that, if I am being completely honest with myself.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  2. fern

    fern Well known member

    I have a similar suspicion about my TMS (especially debilitating flares of IBS pain). My childhood memory is getting fuzzier, but I'm pretty sure I developed IBS right around the time when my little brother developed a chronic, dangerous health issue that consumed my mother's attention (which I understand completely now as a parent). I was being bullied in school at the time, but I think my parents really needed me to be a happy kid who didn't need much since they were so consumed with my brother - and I obliged. I don't remember that being a struggle or a conscious decision, but it's pretty obvious that most of my physical issues started around the time my brother was born and then later diagnosed with his issue. Or they were a result of the bullying, which started a couple years before he was born. Probably all of the above. I didn't actually receive much coddling when I had a flare-up (at least that I remember), so I don't know if it effectively served the purpose of getting me attention/care or not. I do know that when I have a flare-up now I feel best when I lie down. So my husband brings me things, I binge-watch Netflix, and I rest all evening. It doesn't FEEL like a cushy rest, since I'm doubled over in pain the whole time, but does mean I'm being served and taken care of while I do nothing. I entered a caring profession and now have a pretty persistent (but delightful) kiddo, and I wonder sometimes if TMS/IBS is an excuse to stop serving others and be served for a while. But what an unnecessarily painful excuse! I didn't think I was that bad at making time for self-care without resorting to a pain crisis to get it. I feel like I take a lot of time to relax and do things I enjoy.

    Saying that, though, I'm curious if our situations are similar in another way. When I relax and do things I enjoy, I rarely truly relax. If I'm watching a movie, I like to be knitting/sewing/etc. If I'm knitting/sewing/cleaning/etc, I like to have a podcast or movie on to occupy my brain. Sometimes if I'm listening to a podcast I will ALSO try to read a news article at the same time, like one of those things isn't enough! When I'm on a walk I'm usually thinking about things, figuring out something or other. If my mind is idle, it's often problem-solving or thinking about the past/future or planning or even just curious (like "I wonder why the waves on the river move like that when they hit each other - I should take out my phone and look up how waves work!"). I read until almost the moment I fall asleep at night because if I just lie there, I will think too much to fall asleep. I rarely truly relax, even if I look idle. But when I'm in PAIN, it's much easier (and it even feels necessary) for me to lie down, zone out watching TV that asks nothing of me, not think or plan or ruminate about anything (because, surprise, that makes the pain worse!), and do nothing. It may well be one of the only times I truly let my brain rest besides sleeping. Does that happen to be a habit of yours, too? I'm just curious to see if there is a connection between being the strong, independent child and having trouble switching off without pain as an excuse. Maybe not having enough attention from our parents felt unsafe to us as children and caused our brains to be in a higher constant state of alertness/activity.

    Like maybe it's less about being cared for (although I'm sure there is that) and more about having a chance to actually shut down the constant brain busy-ness because the TMS is too severe to allow clear thoughts. I've taken up a meditation practice to learn more about letting go of thoughts, and it is helping a lot. I'm still new at it, though, and I'm trusting that in time I'll be able to apply the practice to my walking around, doing things, daily life - not just when I'm on the meditation cushion. Because incorporating this kind of relaxed awareness into my daily life would be way nicer than being suddenly and/or chronically overwhelmed with gut pain that grinds me to a halt. And I think it's probably just a much healthier way to be.

    I hope that didn't derail your thread if you're not remotely like what I'm describing. In any case, YES, I think my TMS is at least partly a result of having to be a strong, independent, happy child for my family. I just can't figure out if it's about being cared for or the opportunity to switch off an overactive brain.
    Everly likes this.
  3. moon123

    moon123 New Member

    I can relate to what both of you have said. I definitely feel that anyone experiencing a debilitating pain flare deserves sympathy and support, and I can understand feeling angry if friends aren't providing that. I also really relate to the idea that TMS can force us to slow down and rest, both physically and mentally, something I've never been inclined to do. I tend to always be "busy" thinking or doing something, often in service of others (e.g. parenting, activism) but TMS actually forced me to actually take breaks and do nothing for a while and I realized I actually need that. So recently I've been making a much greater effort to notice when I'm starting to feel just a little bit tired, irritable, or burned out and take a break, before those mild feelings balloon into stress that will trigger pain. It feels out of character to take 5-10 minute breaks from my kids throughout the evening, but it seems to be helping!
    Lily Rose, Lunarlass66 and Everly like this.
  4. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Hi Elina,

    That's such a cute dog in your picture. :)
    You might feel like a victim because you need more self compassion from yourself but not others. Trying to get it from others is giving the pain too much power and making it part of your identity.
    Lily Rose and Everly like this.
  5. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Hi Elina..
    I read your story and can absolutely relate. I lived much the same way with a mom that never showed affection and I know I felt insecure and resentful throughout my childhood because I longed for that kind of love so much.
    As an adult I have dizziness, chronic all over pain and it seems to get worse when I'm alone (fear of abandonment) or no one seems to understand. Obviously my insecurities followed me into adulthood..and unfortunately all kinds of pain and severe anxiety along with it.
    I just wanted to let you know, you are definitely NOT alone. My circumstances seem pretty similar to yours... My struggle is completely believing the TMS diagnosis and not being so traumatized by what doctors have said.. ( MRI findings, getting older.. All the reasons they say I have pain..)
    I completely understand what you feel.. I would even go so far as to say, what it so bad about wanting reassurance or support?... Chronic pain is a tough cross to bear and I think everyone deserves to feel loved, safe and secure even if it means looking to others when need be... I understand it can go too far sometimes, but the other side of the coin is that too little support can be just as detrimental.. Just my two cents.. :)
    Wishing you all the best and please feel free to respond! Nancy
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  6. Everly

    Everly Peer Supporter

    Thank you for the support Ines and Lunarlass! Yesterday, I actually realized that it is me that I need the support from the most. I did a mediation where all of a sudden I felt like saying ''I love you'' to myself loudly over and over and I started crying. I didnt fully realize why I was crying, but it clearly struck a chord in me. Its funny really, that during most of of my life Ive never really said that to myself... I mean I used to think I was smart and funny and nice and I liked myself because of these things, but never just unconditional love. This morning I woke up with very little pain, I think that goes to show that self-compassion and love are what I have been missing thus far in my recovery journey.
    Ines, Lily Rose and Lunarlass66 like this.

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